Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Marlins vs. Reds: RHP Nathan Eovaldi vs. RHP Mike Leake

Miami Marlins (55-59) vs. Cincinnati Reds (59-56)

 
RHP Nathan Eovaldi (5-6, 4.22 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, .263 OAV) vs. RHP Mike Leake (9-9, 3.46 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, .264 OAV)

 
Friday, August 8, 2014: 7:10 p.m. at Great American Ball Park

 

 

Having faced the Reds just six days ago in what was his best outing of the season; Eovaldi looks to have continued success against virtually the same lineup he saw last week in Miami. The two hits he would allow would serve as his lowest total all season, and his six strikeouts were the most he had in any start since June 6.

 
Key to the Reds attack will be getting Eovaldi out of the game and facing the Marlins bullpen. He has not gone north of 100 pitches in a start since the Fourth of July. As the game has worn on, Eovaldi has wilted to the tune of a .339 opponent batting average and .890 opponent on base + slugging on pitches 76-100.

 
A subtle difference that may ultimately make a drastic difference is in his battery mate. Last time out, Eovaldi had defensive-minded Jeff Mathis behind the dish, to whom he has dealt a 3.11 ERA to thus far in 2014. When the powerful Jarrod Saltalamacchia is behind the dish, he sees his ERA spike all the way up to 4.75.

 
Here is the lineup he will face via the team’s Twitter account:

 
CF – Billy Hamilton (0-for-3, 2 K’s)
RF – Jay Bruce (0-for-3)
3B – Todd Frazier (0-for-3)
C – Devin Mesoraco (0-for-2, 1 BB)
1B – Brayan Pena (0-for-3)
LF – Skip Schumaker (2-for-6, 1 2B, 2 K’s)
2B – Kristopher Negron (yet to face Eovaldi)
SS – Zack Cozart (0-for-2, 1 K)
P – Mike Leake (yet to face Eovaldi)

 

 

Having made his own start against Miami five days ago, Leake returns to the hill hoping for a repeat of success similar to Eovaldi. On August 3, Leake pitched six innings and allowed just a single run. His season-high four walks spelled an early shower for him, but he picked up a decision (a win) in his 13th of last 14 starts.

 
Where Leake has been susceptible is where most pitchers are: the middle of the order. Although Leake would strike out Marlins’ slugger Giancarlo Stanton three times during his last outing, number three hitters in the order have the highest OPS against Leake than any other spot, coming in at .959 in 2014. The cleanup spot has been just as effective against the right-hander, boasting a .411 on-base percentage. If Leake is to be beaten, he must make sure it is by another part of the lineup.

 
Improving his career numbers against Miami the last time out, Leake has now won all three starts he has had, allowing just four earned runs in 18.2 innings of work. His 17 strikeouts in that same amount of time give him his second highest total of K/9 against any club he has faced. (Number one on that list is the Cleveland Indians, whom he just missed making a start against.)

 
Here is the lineup he will face via the team’s Twitter account:

 
LF – Christian Yelich (0-for-1, 2 BB’s)
2B – Jordany Valdespin (0-for-6, 1 K)
RF – Giancarlo Stanton (1-for-6, 3 K’s)
3B – Casey McGehee (0-for-4, 2 BB’s, 1 K)
1B – Garrett Jones (13-for-42, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 3 2B’s, 4 K’s)
CF – Marcell Ozuna (1-for-5, 1 BB, 3 K’s)
C – Jarrod Saltalamacchia (yet to face Leake)
SS – Adeiny Hechavarria (1-for-6, 1 2B, 1 K)
P – Nathan Eovaldi (yet to face Leake)

 

 

With Leake having had much success against the Marlins in the past, the Reds are looking to kick off Hall of Fame Induction weekend the right way with a victory before the fireworks on Friday night. The club will need to enter the game with a much different approach against Eovaldi than the last time around, but all numbers point to Eovaldi not being able to repeat his success to such a high standard.

 
Rain should stay out of the area as the Marlins and the Reds lock up at 7:10 p.m.

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Tags: Cincinnati Reds Miami Marlins Mike Leake Nathan Eovaldi

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