Reds vs. Brewers: RHP Mike Leake vs. RHP Matt Garza


Cincinnati Reds (71-78) vs. Milwaukee Brewers (77-72)

RHP Mike Leake (11-11, 3.62 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, .264 OAV) vs. RHP Matt Garza (7-8, 3.83 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, .237 OAV)

Sunday, September 14, 2014: 2:10 p.m. at Miller Park

* * *

Barring injury, or an epic beat down; Mike Leake will reach the 200 innings plateau on Sunday afternoon. Crossing the threshold for the first time in his career that began five seasons ago, Leake will be placing himself in the conversation to earn a big-time contract in just over a season’s time.

In all three of his starts against Milwaukee this season, Leake has earned the decision. Curiously enough, his only win came on what was his weakest start (5 IP, 9 H, 4 ER).

The meddling inconsistency against the Brewers has been throughout Leake’s career. He holds a 2-2 record with a 4.62 ERA in eight starts, in addition to allowing nearly a baserunner and a half each inning he pitches.

Unlike some (most) of his teammates, Leake does not turn into a wizard when pitching in the afternoon. His ERA rises by nearly an entire run, up from 3.63 to 4.55 when transitioning from evening to daytime.

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

CF – Carlos Gomez (6-for-16, 1 2B, 1 3B, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K)

2B – Scooter Gennett (4-for-9, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 BB)

C – Jonathan Lucroy (9-for-23, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB’s, 3 K’s)

RF – Ryan Braun (2-for-12, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 K’s)

LF – Khris Davis (3-for-11, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K’s)

1B – Matt Clark (yet to face Leake)

3B – Mark Reynolds (4-for-8, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 3 K’s)

SS – Jean Segura (3-for-15, 1 3B, 1 BB, 1 K)

P – Matt Garza (0-for-1, 1 K)

* * *

Thrown a heaping pile of cash this off-season, now would be the time that the Brewers brass are seeking the return on their dollar. Needing a starting pitcher to dominate desperately down the stretch, Milwaukee turns to Garza, who has had a solid year, but maybe not quite what they expected.

Having spent the majority of August on the disabled list, Garza is just finally beginning to build his arm strength back up. His first two starts since coming back have gone just three and four innings, respectively.

While his ERA has hovered above four nearly the entire season, the Reds would seemingly have no idea. Back in Milwaukee on June 13, Garza tossed seven innings and allowed just a single earned run (although, the runs were unearned due in large part to Garza’s fielding errors—whatever sense that makes). He followed up that performance on July 5 in Cincinnati with a complete game, two-hit, nine-strikeout shutout. It was by far and away the best game he has thrown this season, and one of the best overall in the Bigs this year.

The Reds are hoping that Garza will revert to his old ways against them, as he still carries a career 4.44 ERA against Cincinnati in eight starts, despite the 2014 domination.

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

CF – Billy Hamilton (0-for-8, 2 K’s)

3B – Kristopher Negron (yet to face Garza)

1B – Todd Frazier (3-for-11, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 K)

C – Devin Mesoraco (0-for-9, 1 RBI, 1 K)

2B – Brandon Phillips (6-for-20, 1 2B, 3 RBI, 4 BB’s, 2 K’s)

RF – Jay Bruce (8-for-22, 3 2B’s, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 1 BB, 7 K’s)

LF – Ryan Ludwick (2-for-7, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB’s, 2 K’s)

SS – Zack Cozart (3-for-11, 2 2B’s, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K’s)

P – Mike Leake (1-for-2, 1 RBI, 1 K)

* * *

As the season winds to a close, this game has major significance in terms of the playoff picture, but unfortunately not for the Reds. This is a game, and a series, the Brewers must have if they want to avoid one of the most legendary collapses in baseball history.

Despite the NFL’s stronghold on the nation’s sporting eyes, baseball must trudge on. It’s Leake v. Garza at 2:10 p.m. from Miller Park in Wisconsin.