Postgame extra: More Leake

A 5-3 win over the Cubs gave the Reds two of three in the series and has them over .500 at 16-15. They remained 3 1/2 games behind the first-place Cardinals.

The really good – Mike Leake

Based on the previous entry, the second time around vs. the Cubs presented few problems for Leake – 7 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 1 WP, 1 HR — 91 pitches/61 strikes. He allowed one walk and faced the minimum through his first five no-hit innings.

“I was curious,” Leake said of facing the Cubs again. “In college I faced some of the teams more than once. For three years, I faced the same guys. It comes down to making your pitch. They could have a book on you but as long as you’re hitting your spots and mixing it up, it’s still tough to hit.”

*I really had that feeling Leake was going to get the no-no. Usually, I’m pretty unconvinced until the seventh but he was cruising and his pitch count was low. I have yet to see a no-hitter in person.

Through six starts, Leake is 3-0 with a 3.10 ERA. Not bad for a guy who has no minor league experience, eh?

“Remarkable is a generous word but it really has been considering he hasn’t touched minor league ball,” Joey Votto said. “I really like playing behind him. I can speak for the rest of the team. It’s been a really short period of time so far but he’s really earned some respect from us.”

“He was throwing strikes,” catcher Ramon Hernandez said. “He paints, especially his sinkerball. He really got a lot of groundballs. He got ahead of a lot of guys and made the other team stay very aggressive so he could make more pitches and early outs. They were figuring out he was throwing strikes.”

“He’s a little dude with a big ol’ heart. With his heart, he’s 6-6 or something,” manager Dusty Baker said.

Baker was asked if Leake was the real deal or just having a very good first six starts.

“I don’t care. He’s been the real deal for six weeks,” Baker said. “Without him, where would our bullpen be and our team be?”

The concern going forward will be not to rely on Leake too much, even if he is the rotation’s best pitcher through five weeks.

“We’re monitoring him and watching his pitch counts very carefully. If there is extra day’s rest in there, we give it to him. you don’t know how he’s going to be in august or September because he’s never been to august or September. We’ll take his April and may. Hopefully we take care of him so he’ll still be strong in August and September.”

That’s it for me for a few days. I will not be on the trip to Pittsburgh. I will have stories coming in a leadup to the Civil Rights Game. Hope you can check them out.

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