Reds lose a home series

It was a decision that will bring out second guessers when Dusty Baker let Mike Leake hit for himself with two on and two out in the seventh. Leake had 96 pitches during seven very well pitched innings. Sean Marshall and J.J. Hoover were warming in the bullpen. The safe move would have been to bat for Leake.

Leake batted and flied out and then gave up two hits that led to a five-run top of the eighth in a 7-2 Reds loss.

With bench options thin, Leake was the best hitting option from the right-side vs. LHP Mike Minor.

“Not to take anything away from our guys, he’s the best right-handed hitter we had on the bench,” Baker said of Leake. “It didn’t work. I’m not going to make alibis or whatever when it doesn’t work. It’s not always going to work.”

Atlanta did have two lefties bat in the 8th in Schafer and Freddie Freeman with the right-handed Simon in between. Sean Marshall was 100 points worst last season vs. righties (.273 to .173). Leake was in command of the game until the eighth. I get the decision. It just backfired.

I go into more detail on Baker’s thought process — click here to read my full game story on MLB.com.

The Reds streak of five-straight winning home series to start 2013 is over.

Three stars:

No. 3 star: Zack Cozart — 2-for-4, HR. Cozart also made a nice diving stop and throw to the plate for a fielder’s choice play on Dan Uggla in the eighth. It only temporarily held off Atlanta, who got a grand slam from Juan Francisco off J.J. Hoover on the next at-bat.

No. 2 star: Dan Uggla, ATL — 2-for-4, 2 HRs — Uggla took Leake deep for solo homers in the fourth and six innings.

No. 1 star: Mike Minor, ATL — 7 ip, 4 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 7 K, 117 pitches/74 strikes. — Left-handed hitters had a particularly tough day vs. Minor. Joey Votto was 0-for-4 overall to snap a 10-game hitting streak. Shin-Soo Choo was also 0-for-4.

7 Comments

Leake is a better hitter than all of our bench. I think Leake hitting for himself is a complete non-issue. I want him doing that every time. I think the issue is at 96 pitches should we have given him one batter or none and let the bullpen take over in the 8th. That made the most sense to me.

I had no problem with Leake batting. He was the best choice to bat. The problem is that as far as pitching goes … I wouldn’t have pushed him any further. 7 innings and 2 runs is more than enough from him. BTW … has anyone else noticed that it seems like the half inning after Leake bats he seems to struggle pitching? I, often think it’s because he tires himself out running the bases or something. Is there any way to look up what his era is in the next half inning after he bats vs the rest of the game? I would be really curious. Dusty, sometimes gets all caught up in trying to get a pitcher a win or something like that so he’ll give him a chance to get through the next inning. The top of the order already had several hits off him so if he left him in at all he should have been pulled after the first hit. In any event … our offense is the main problem … especially vs LH pitching. Also, I hate how we have totally minimized Chapman’s role on this team to pretty much meaningless. If we bring him in the eighth to get out of trouble and keep the score at 2-1 or 3-1 at worst than Chapman would have “saved” us at least a chance to win the game. Chapman being used for a maximum of 1 inning at a time and only in games we are winning or it’s tied is the biggest waste! Please, please, please Reds move him into the starting rotation around the all star break! That way he is more useful not only now, but also looking into the future. Arroyo is probably gone after this year and Mike Leake is a 5th starter at best! We could upgrade to a possible ace with Chapman and along with Cingrani the starting staff could be dominate. We don’t need Chapman in the role he’s in now. Most of his saves have been with a 2 or 3 run lead so probably anyone in the bullpen would close out most if not all of those games anyway.

I would have replaced Leake; having Izturis bat for him. Start off fresh inning with new reliever. Absolutely no reason to stretch him out another inning with a superb bullpen like we have.

Curious Neb, why would you have Izturis bat for Leake? Is it your opinion that Izturis is a better hitter?

Blue…I don’t think Leake is a hitter in that situation; game literally on the line and an RBI chance. I would prefer to have a proven hitter at the plate, regardless that he is struggling so far this year, as a roll player (0 for 2 against pitcher; lifetime). That is why we have them on the bench. As it turned out, Leake was completely overmatched. In any event, I would not have had Leake walk back out to the mound the following inning after 7 IP and 96 pitch count. What purpose did that serve other than showing he had lost it by putting ducks on the pond for our relievers to come in and attempt to contain.

Saving our bullpen with the next day off? 4th game this season we have lost to poor coaching decisions

Friday A.M.: Saw Cueto pitch in Dayton last night. Three innings, a run, 2 or 3 K’s, about 40 pitches; looked smooth but hittable, which may be besides the point.

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