Results tagged ‘ Mike Leake ’

PGX: Ejected, not dejected

Wednesday’s 6-2 loss to the Dodgers have the Reds mired in their first three-game losing streak since they dropped five in a row from Apr. 14-18. As he often is, manager Dusty Baker kept things positive.

“I told my boys to stay together,” Baker said. “Nothing remains the same forever. Nothing. Not in good times. Not in bad times.”

*Baker held a meeting with his position players before the game.

On the ejections —

Both Scott Rolen and Dusty Baker were ejected in the sixth inning for arguing balls and strikes with home plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt. With runners on first and second with no outs and Cincinnati trailing 5-0, Rolen looked a full-count pitch from Clayton Kershaw. Thinking it was ball four, Rolen took two steps towards first base until Wendelstedt signaled a called strike three.

The ball was very, very low and below the strike zone. Rolen was irate as he argued and was ejected for the only the third time in his career, and the first time since 2006.

“I felt that was a big at-bat,” Rolen said. “I felt that was a game-changing at-bat, possibly, whether I do anything or at least to fight to have a good at-bat and get on first base and we’re in business. The call we disagreed on, obviously, and I just felt that was a big spot in the game, and a big at-bat. I reacted to that.”

Baker was run moments later coming to Rolen’s defense. Rare is the time Baker is ejected too. That was his first ejection since April 25, 2009.

“Scott hardly says anything. I saw it the same way he saw it,” Baker said. “That was a big call of the game — bases loaded with nobody out. They’re human too but it doesn’t mean you have to like it.”

One thing I really like about Rolen is his sense of humor — even after what went down tonight. When we asked him about what happened with Wendelstedt, this was his reply:

“You guys missed it. He was saying ‘are you tired? Did you sleep well last night after a long night?’ I said ‘no, how about you?’ He said ‘why don’t you go in and sit in the cold tub and get ready for tomorrow’s day game.’ I said ‘that’d be great.’ That was it. I’m not sure what it looked like.”

It wasn’t a good night in the Reds’ dealings with Wendelstedt. In the fifth, Ramon Hernandez was called out on a play at the plate trying to score on a Orlando Cabrera two-out single. Replays showed catcher Russell Martin missed the tag.

“From the angle I saw, I thought he missed it or else I wouldn’t have said anything,” Baker said. “Ramon certainly thought he missed it because you can feel somebody tag you.”

Quote —

“I’m not glad we lost but I’m glad I finally got my first loss so it’s out of the way and we can move on from there.” — Mike Leake on his first loss in the Majors. Leake allowed five earned runs and nine hits over six innings with three walks and four strikeouts. For Arizona State last season, his only loss came on March 10, 2009, against Kansas State.


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Reds lineup vs. Dodgers

Cabrera 6
Phillips 4
Votto 3
Rolen 5
Gomes 7
Bruce 9
Stubbs 8
Hernandez 2
Leake 1

*With Micah Owings working last night and giving up five runs in 1 1/3 innings, there isn’t any long guy in waiting should the need arise. Dusty Baker is prepared to mix and match — but obviously he was thinking more optimistic before Wednesday’s game.

“C’mon Leake,” Baker said.

*The blowout loss on Tuesday didn’t otherwise burn out the bullpen as much as it could have. Daniel Ray Herrera pitched out of his usual situational role and worked 1 2/3 innings in what was essentially mop-up relief.

“We used Daniel as long as we did to save Ondrusek. We saved Arthur. We saved Masset. Smith threw only one inning,” Baker said. “You hate to sacrifice anybody but sometimes you have to take one for the team.”

*I talked to Homer Bailey, who is pretty mellow these days despite enduring one of the things he loathes the most — inactivity. Bailey, who has been on the DL since May 24 with right shoulder inflammation — was originally pushing hard to get back but has since realized it’s not in his long-term best interests.

“You can mope and be angry about it or just be patient and do everything right,” Bailey said. “I’m trying to have the best attitude I can and get everything done right.”

*Baker usually has a goatee but was clean-shaven on Wednesday. He was also wearing a new pair of black wristbands. Apparently, he is not above superstition after a 12-0 loss.

“I’ve got different colors,” Baker said. “I remember one time when I was with the Giants, we had a three-game series with the Cubs and Billy Williams noticed it. He goes ‘man, you’re about to run out of colors, aren’t you?’ I think we had lost four or five in a row.”

*Batting practice started a little later than normal today. Position players held a closed-door meeting that lasted around 30 minutes. No word on what was discussed.

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Postgame extra: another comeback

Mike Leake finally had a bad one but it was still all good in the end for the Reds, which took a 7-6 win over the Giants to earn a four-game series split. The Reds opened a 1 1/2 game lead on the Cardinals, which are idle Thursday.

The good —

*It was the Reds NL-leading 13th one-run victory and their 12th in the final at-bat. Also, the 21st come-from-behind win.

*Temporary leadoff hitter Brandon Phillips was 4-for-5. His two-run triple in the eighth tied the game at 6-6 and Phillps scored the winning run on Joey Votto’s roller up the middle through a drawn-in infield.

*Arthur Rhodes, again. His 1.2 IP were his highest since May 1, 2008. He earned the victory and extended his scoreless streak to 25 innings and 27 appearances.

*Defense. Paul Janish got a rare start at shortstop and made a splendid diving stop of Juan Uribe’s hot grounder to start a 643 double play with the bases loaded to end the fourth. Janish saved at least two runs, maybe three. Brandon Phillips started a 463 double play to end the fifth with a very fine play.

“Those are what saved the game for us,” manager Dusty Baker said. “You know how I am about defense. You play defense, especially up the middle defense, you save a lot of runs.”

*Francisco Cordero pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his 17th save. It was the only perfect inning a Reds pitcher had all day.

The not so good —

*In his worst start for the Reds, the rookie right-hander pitched a season-low 4 1/3 innings and allowed a season-high 11 hits while tying a season high with five earned runs. He also allowed two home runs. Three-straight inning-ending double plays with the bases loaded — including the two mentioned above, helped save his bacon.

*Scott Rolen made an uncharacteristic E5 on a ball between his legs in the fifth with Del Rosario on the mound that scored what was the Giants go-ahead run charged to Leake.

*Nick Masset entered in the sixth and got two quick outs to end the inning. But he labored in the seventh, allowing a run and two hits.

*The game was a slog that felt longer than three hours, 28 minutes. The Giants left 13 on base while the Reds stranded nine.

*There was a weird scene in the eighth after Joey Votto singled. While on first base, Votto appeared to think that pitcher Guillermo Mota was saying something to him and the two exchanged words. Baker said that Mota was actually talking to his first baseman, Buster Posey.

“It’s the heat of the summer,” Baker said. “Tempers are usually shortest about this time.”

More quotes —

“I think what was different about this game is their coaching staff had a pretty good plan for me. They punched me right off the bat and I couldn’t react fast enough. Sometimes games are going to be like that. They didn’t square every ball up. I did make more mistakes than I wanted to.” — Mike Leake

“He wasn’t struggling. They were flaring him to death. They found every hole. They had a bunch of one-hand hits, bloopers. We had a couple too but they had more than we had, especially early. That’s why we kept running him out there. We didn’t want to go to our bullpen in the third or fourth. You could tell by the way things were going, you had a feeling it was going to be a high-offensive day.” — Dusty Baker on Leake.

“You can’t count these guys out here, man. We go out and play hard for nine innings. We play hard until the game is over.” — Arthur Rhodes.

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Postgame extra: Blanked

Well, we’ve seen what happens when Mike Leake doesn’t have his good stuff. Six scoreless innings. He got the no-decision in a 2-0 Reds loss to Houston, in 10 innings.

Leake said the humidity bothered him — not quite as dry as his Arizona State days.

“Now that I know what it’s like a little bit, I think I will be a little better,” Leake said. “This is not my type of weather, especially growing up on the West coast. In Arizona, it’s a dry heat.”

Leake is 4-0 with a 2.45 ERA through 10 starts.

The good —

*Leake got double plays in his first three innings, including with runners on first and second and no outs in both the first and second.

*The first double play was a 4-6-3 started by Brandon Phillips, who made a slick backhanded stop on a Berkman grounder.

*Double play No. 2 was courtesy of Laynce Nix in center field, who caught Tommy Manzella’s flyball and then threw out Hunter Pence trying to tag up and take third base.

“We have such a great defense – you don’t want to expect it but you kind of know they’re going to do something for you,” Leake said. “It helps us because we’re not afraid  to throw certain pitches. We’ll get a groundball in a situation where we want a groundball because we know they’ll make it behind us.”

*Leake allowed seven hits with three walks and three strikeouts. He was done after 97 pitches.

“Very impressive,” Dusty Baker said. “When he struggles with his control, it’s not like he’s way wild. He’s barely wild. He had a bunch of near misses off the plate. The guy just keeps pitching.”

*Francisco Cordero had a nice 1-2-3 ninth inning, used only nine pitches.

The not-so-good —
*After 27 runs over the last two games, nada over 10 innings Sunday.

*The team that’s best in the league hitting with runners in scoring position was 0-for-9 and stranded 11 men

*The Reds’ 18-game streak with a home run is over.

*The last shutout loss in extras was Aug. 8, 2003, at San Diego,

News —

Arthur Rhodes pitched another scoreless inning over the seventh and eighth but left with a cramp in his thigh.

A quote —

“He just has a good feel for moving the ball in and out, he keeps it down. He’s got a little more movement probably than you give him credit for. Some guys feel like, for example, if you’re facing a Brandon Webb where his sinker drops two feet, well Leake’s doesn’t look like it’s moving that much but I think it is. If you go back and look, it moves late, and it moves more than you give him credit for. So I think that’s how he’s able to induce as many ground balls.” — Astros 1B Lance Berkman on Leake.

See you Monday from St. Louis.

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Postgame extra: Twilight bites Reds

A 2-1 loss to the Pirates was decided in the ninth inning on Ryan Doumit’s home run off of Nick Masset but the most regrettable moment for the Reds came in the eighth inning.

Center fielder Drew Stubbs lost Aki Iwamura’s routine fly ball in the twight and it dropped several feet behind Stubbs as Iwmura got a triple. He scored on Neil Walker’s double. That was the lone run to score on Mike Leake.

“It’s one of those situations where if you lose the ball, you lose the ball,” Dusty Baker said. “There’s nothing you can do. That happened to me right here in Cincinnati as well early in my career. Pete Rose hit the ball to me and I did the same thing. That was tough.”

“This time of year theres probably a 10-15 minute window where its just before it gets dark and any ball that gets up there is very tough to see,” Stubbs said. “I guess different points of view from the field allow you different perceptions of it. But just definitely a bad break for us, some bad luck for Mike Leake. Obviously a very catchable ball but just one that none of us saw.”

The good —

*Leake allowed a career high 10 hits, but only one run with one walk and three strikeouts over a career-high 7 1/3 innings. He dodged trouble and helped himself early by inducing two double plays, one of which he started himself in the third inning. He threw only 97 pitches in the game.

*Both starters were tremendous — Leake and Paul Maholm. No runner reached third base until the sixth inning when Andrew McCutchen went from first to third on a two-out single.

*After the twilight issue cost Leake a run, Brandon Phillips got it back with a solo homer in the bottom of the eighth. It was also the 100th homer of Phillips’ career.

*Another solid outing for Arthur Rhodes, who has 19 scoreless games and counting.

The not so good —

*Masset left a 2-1 pitch over the plate that Doumit had no choice but to crush.

Quotes —

“I didn’t execute a pitch, and that was a good hitter up at the plate and weve seen each other quite a bit in the past. I got behind in the count and left one, I don’t know exactly where the pitch was, but it sure was up enough to where he could drive it. ” — Nick Masset.

“We both kind of deserved wins but it didn’t turn out that way for both of us.” — Mike Leake

“He’s started off great the first month and half or so. He’s the type of guy who’s going to compete and he’s going to get ground balls. He gets off to a great start, and you know you have to keep some zeros up there and let the offense keep battling away.” — Paul Maholm on Leake.


Aroldis Chapman tested the blister on the middle finger of his left hand and threw on the side Tuesday. It went fine and Chapman is scheduled to make his next start Thursday for Triple-A Louisville against Gwinnett.

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Finally, the Brewers

The Reds have already played the Cardinals nine times…but tonight is the first time they get the Brewers. Interesting.

Belated question of the day: Sure, it’s premature but since you’re allowed to vote, I’m allowed to ask. If you could send one Reds player to the All-Star game right now, who would you send?

Right now, I’d have to think my vote is for Arthur Rhodes. Mike Leake and Joey Votto could certainly be worthy of consideration when the time comes to start naming rosters.

Monday’s lineup vs. MIL

Cabrera 6
Phillips 4
Votto 3
Rolen 5
Bruce 9
Gomes 7
Stubbs 8
Hernandez 2
Cueto 1

*Laynce Nix, who missed the last few days, with back spasms is available and ready to go.

“It was spasming for a couple days and took a couple of days to heal up and get better. I’m swinging 100 percent and everything,” Nix said. “It happens now and then when I’m coming off the bench. I’m working around it. I’m fine now.”

*There was some chatting about the Reds going from first base to third base five times on singles Sunday vs. the Cardinals (bringing season total to 32). Bronson Arroyo did it on a Cabrera single to left field in the fifth inning

“It’s the only time you feel like a baseball player, running the bases from first to third,” Arroyo joked. “Pitching doesn’t count.”

*Walt Jocketty told me that RHP Jared Burton, who has been on the DL since April 8, is almost ready to rejoin Triple-A Louisville soon.

*It’s raining right now (5:11 pm) and the tarp is on the field. The Reds sent out an email earlier that it would be dry in time for the game.

*Every once in a while you see something new in a big league clubhouse. Today, I saw Mike Leake, Chris Dickerson, Jay Bruce and Ramon Hernandez kicking and juggling a soccer ball. Hernandez especially seemed to have some skills.

*Reds players were shooting PSA’s for next week’s “Bark in Park” night and the SPCA. “Bark in Park” is May 26 vs. the Pirates. In the picture below are Aaron Harang and Homer Bailey. Few players could resist petting the puppies.


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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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Test for Leake?

Happy Mother’s Day!

Reds Sunday lineup vs. Cubs

Cabrera 6
Phillips 4
Votto 3
Rolen 5
Bruce 9
Gomes 7
Stubbs 8
Hernandez 2
Leake 1

This will be the first time Mike Leake will be facing a team for the second time. Pitchers can often have success the first time around the league like Leake has had because he’s not as known. Now teams have a book and background information to take into the second time around.

The last time Leake faced the Cubs, in his big league debut on April 11, he allowed one earned runs and four hits over 6 2/3 innings. He did give up seven walks and struck out five. He’s since cut down on his walks.

Is it tougher for a rookie seeing a team the second time?

“It depends on what adjustments he makes to them and the adjustments that he sees they’re making to him. That’s the thing,” Reds manager Dusty Baker. “It could go both ways. No. 1, which he does very good, he reads swings. He’ll see if they’re trying to go to right field or taking pitches early or swinging early. They’ll show you their game plan pretty quick.”

Ramon Hernandez has worked well with Leake and he will be able to help with the adjustments as he also watches what the hitters are doing. It could be an interesting day and a nice test for Leake.

“That’s what Greg Maddux was so good at,” Baker said. “He would notice the difference in your stance, if you’re bent over, if you’re closed or if you’re open. That’s what he used to study in video. Everybody studies themselves, most of the time it’s bad or wrong and try to correct it — instead of studying the opposition. He’d notice all of those little differences.”

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Postgame extra: Leake

A 3-2 win over the Mets in 11 innings was achieved by Laynce Nix’s walkoff home run and Nick Masset’s stellar two scoreless innings of relief. I will have plenty about that in game story on — please head over there when you have a chance.

Pushed to the background a little tonight was the effort of rookie Mike Leake.

“It was well pitched game on both sides, especially Leake. He pitched great,” Dusty Baker said.

Leake pitched six innings with one of his two runs allowed being earned. He walked and struck out four and threw 100 pitches.

“They got underneath my balls for the most part,” Leake said. “I didn’t get as many groundballs as I hoped to. It seemed like they liked the low ball. They dropped their hands down to it tonight. Francoeur was a good example in the second. I had to mix and match a little more today.”

Drew Stubbs’ two-out dropped catch on Jeff Francoeur’s liner scored the first Mets run. Another run scored in the sixth after Orlando Cabrera dropped Ramon Hernandez’s throw to second as Luis Castillo stole second. Castillo went to third and scored on a Jose Reyes double.

“They’re always doing their best out there,” Leake said. “You can’t complain about anything. It’s baseball. There will be games when it doesn’t go the way you want it. the good thing is we stayed in there long enough to  get that clutch hit.”

It was the first time Leake didn’t get into the seventh inning but it was his fourth quality start.
He is 2-0 with a 2.94 ERA in five starts.

Other notes:

*Chris Heisey was 0-for-5 in his MLB debut.

*Mike Lincoln has not allowed a run in his last six appearances (4 innings, 1 hit)

*The Reds are 3-0 in extra innings games this season.

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Postgame extra, Leake

It got a little hairy at the end but the Reds have a series win with a 6-4 victory over the Astros.

What was good: Mike Leake, of course. He’s 2-0 with a 3.25 ERA in four starts. He has three-straight outings of seven innings and three quality starts. He pitched seven innings, gave up one earned run and five hits with two walks and five strikeouts. Through the first four innings, the rookie allowed one single and faced the minimum batters. He left with a 6-1 lead.

Hard to believe Leake was pitching for Arizona State this time last year?

“I don’t think about that,” manager Dusty Baker said. “I think about him trying to get better here. He’s a quick learner, very confident but not cocky with his confidence.”

What happened in the ninth? Coming off Tuesday’s flawless appearance for Nick Masset, Baker wanted to keep him rolling and called on him to finish the game. But Masset walked first batter Carlos Lee and then gave up Reds killer Lance Berkman’s two run homer. Masset has a 12.54 ERA in 11 games. 

“That ball was supposed to be on the outside,” Baker said of Masset’s 2-1 pitch to Berkman. “It had good velocity except it was on the heart of the plate. I’m just glad we had the runs we had. We’ll try not to make it so tight tomorrow.”

Francisco Cordero had to finish but also had trouble. A leadoff single off Joey Votto’s glove, a walk and a lined RBI single made it a two-run game.

Check the rulebook: Many assumed, including myself, that Cordero was awarded the save since the lead was three runs. Not true. Rule 10.19 says that with the three-run lead Cordero needed to work at least one inning. He only pitched two-thirds of an inning.

Game changer: In the four-run fourth with the bases loaded, Brandon Phillips hit what seemed to be a routine fly to right-center field. Michael Bourn and Hunter Pence both lost it in the twilight and the ball skipped out of Pence’s glove. It was ruled E9 although Baker thought it should have been a hit.

“That’s a play that has to be made,” Pence said. “Here when the twilight hours are going on, the balls disappear. You just have to keep going with it and try to find it and I lost it and found it late and wasn’t able to recover as good as I needed to. I’ve got to make that play.

Quotes: “I just had that one inning where I threw too many pitches and tried to do too much. The infield was great today and the outfield as well. Ramon caught a great game tonight and the offense did their job as well. A good all-around game.” — Mike Leake.

“I’m not going to take nothing away from him. He made some good pitches on me tonight and I give credit where credit it due. We’ll see him again, and we’ll be back and ready to face him again.” — Michael Bourn, who was 0-for-5, with four strikeouts. Three Ks came vs. Leake. 

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