2013 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Titanic Struggle Recap: All I do is win (at Wrigley Field)

Let’s recap today’s titanic struggle….

FINAL
Cincinnati 2
Chicago (NL) 1

W: M. Leake (6-3)
L: T. Wood (5-5)
S: A. Chapman (17)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–Mike Leake’s excellent season continues. Today, Leake pitched eight very strong innings, allowing just one run on three hits and a walk, with six strikeouts. The bum went 0-3 at the plate, though.

–Todd Frazier went 1-3 with a walk and the 7th-inning homer that provided Cincinnati’s winning margin. Brandon Phillips had a walk and an RBI single. Shin-Soo Choo and Derrick Robinson each doubled.

–Aroldis Chapman pitched a perfect ninth.

NEGATIVES
–None.

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
–And the beat rolls on. That’s twelve straight wins for the Reds at Wrigley Field. The Reds have won 25 of their last 31 overall against the fuzzy cubbies. That’s crazy.

–How difficult is winning twelve in a row at a particular stadium? Well (see below), the Reds have never won twelve in a row at GAB.

–Leake is now 6-3 with a 2.76 ERA. Not bad for a fifth starter, eh?

–Our old friend Travis Wood pitched a pretty good game, too, but not quite good enough.

–Dusty Baker moved Choo down to #2 in the order, and elevated Derrick Robinson to the leadoff spot. Don’t ask me to explain why.

Source: FanGraphs

91 thoughts on “Titanic Struggle Recap: All I do is win (at Wrigley Field)

  1. I’m on my phone so I can’t do it now, but someone needs to make some animated GIFs of BP and Super Todd in the dugout today. That was classic. Both the choke-out high five and BPs impression of Todd’s butt-up one-handed home run swing. There’s also a nice moment of Dusty doing a BP Superman impression that I swear to god made me like Dusty Baker at least 2 or 3 times more than I did before today.

    On a serious note, Joey needs a day off. He looks exhausted.

  2. I love baseball. Of course it is great when my team wins, but that just makes it better. I am not a fan of DBaker’s game management. His players seem to think highly of him and I love the lack of drama.

    I understand that Joe D would not attend any event if he knew Casey Stengal would be there.

    Draw your own conclusions, if any.

  3. I miss Travis Wood.

    that guy is a gamer. He took his team on his back and almost stopped the win streak.

    I was kind of happy to get Marshall, but more sad to loose Travis

    Hope Sean gets healthy soon because we need him

    nice sliders again today from Chapman who only has one pitch. Rizzo missed that ball by 23 inches

    • @reaganspad: Travis Wood was a perfect prospect to trade. He hadn’t materialized for us and we suddenly had too many guys at the position. We needed an elite bullpen arm. It is one of this trades that could theoretically still work out if Marshall gets healthy.

    • nice sliders again today from Chapman who only has one pitch. Rizzo missed that ball by 23 inches

      In discussing Cingrani’s status as reported by Joey Nowak

      Baker said the team has to keep the team’s and Cingrani’s best long-term interests in mind. For that reason, moving him to the bullpen is unlikely. But if the situation calls for it, perhaps in September or in the playoffs, that may be a different story.

      “If you did that, that’s thinking about today,” Baker said. “Because he wouldn’t have progressed with his breaking ball or his secondary pitches if he went to the bullpen. You can’t have both.”

      I think what I find most repungnant about Dusty is his penchant for saying anything to support whatever his position is at the time and the free pass the writers give him when he’s talking out of both sides of his mouth. I would much prefer that Dusty simply didn’t say anything at all and just cancelled all press meetings and interviews.

      • @Shchi Cossack: I wish Dusty had said that regarding Chapman in the spring. You’re exactly right – he’ll say whatever nonsense he has to say to do whatever he pleases and we don’t have a single beat writer with the guts to call him out on it.

        • @Kyle Farmer: I asked C Trent on Twitter to explain the inconsistency in the club’s win-now logic. I mean, if you’re going to send Chapman to the bullpen because it helps you to win now then why not send Cingrani? I was told that it’s because Cingrani has proven himself as a starter — a logic which overrides the “win-now” excuse for Chapman and implies that rather than being needed in the bullpen they didn’t think Chapman could be a starter. Then after noting the inconsistency, I received a typically flip reply from an Enquirer writer asking if I expected him to write a soliloquy in 140 characters…. No, I expect someone to do their job, ask a question everyone is asking, and then maybe write a blog post about it (like not even a professional article or something).

          Clearly, the Enquirer guys get as edgy as Dusty when pushed to do their jobs. I wonder how they’d react if someone instructed them to actually proofread their articles for those typos I consistently see on the website.

        • @walshjp: 99% of the people who tweet those guys are idiots so they are in that frame of mind. CTrent is the only one it doesn’t irritate me hough because I know he’s being good natured about it. Fay’s replies drip with “YOU ARE A IDIOT” subtext.

        • @TC: Fair enough, but not every response needs to be sarcastic, particularly to an honest question from, if I may be so bold, a fan who’s a few notches above idiot. I’ve actually never had a problem getting consistent and fair replies from Fay.

      • @Shchi Cossack: I certainly get that you don’t like Dusty, but don’t see the quote you cite as evidence of him talking out of both sides of his mouth. He’s simply saying that as a bullpen guy, Cingrani won’t have much chance to work on secondary pitches, but does note that later in the season, they might really need him in that role, regardless. A number of other people have said essentially the same thing.

    • @reaganspad: He has only had one pitch that he would rely on, it seems, but also seems that he is working on that. The first slider, though, to Hairston, would quite possibly have been hit 450 feet if another pitcher had thrown it. Grooved is the word I’m looking for, and if Aroldis starts throwing the slider more frequently he might not get away with one that hangs dead center over the plate.

  4. This just came across the wire. I’d think he would be an upgrade over Lutz.

    Rockies designated OF Eric Young Jr. for assignment.
    Young is batting just .242/.290/.352 this season, and the Rockies haven’t been happy about his defense in the outfield. Still, he batted .316/.377/.448 last year, has tons of speed and can also play second base, so he’ll surely draw interest on waivers.

    • @RedForever: The issue is not an upgrade for Lutz. Lutz is just keeping a roster spot warm until Heisey comes off the DL. Would Young be an upgrade over Heisey?

      • @Shchi Cossack: Not if his defense is suspect. Reds are very strong defensively, but that has mostly to do with the infield. With a mediocre defensive left fielder next to Choo, the outfield defense would become a real liability.

  5. I don’t care if it was the Cubbies, Leake had a great game and is having a superb season. I’m also glad to see travis Wood having an equally superb season. I wish the Reds had a roster spot for Wood, but he was the extra starter/odd man out and hadn’t yet developed. Both Leake and Wood are shooting for a very nice payday after this season. That thought got me to thinking about the economics of quality starting pitching.

    Arbitration is going to seriously impact the Reds payroll for the next couple of years. Certainly the Reds will let Arroyo walk after this season without making a qualifying offer. Can the Reds really afford to to extend Latos, Bailey or Leake beyond arbitration? As much as I want to see them extended, I’m not sure they will be extended. All three would be looking at a BIG payday as a FA and all three would receive a qualifying offer that would be rejected, providing a compensation draft pick. Could the Reds just be planning on the development of new starting pitching to replace the current group of starters and pocketing the draft picks to help continue stocking the pipeline?

    • @Shchi Cossack: I hear what you’re saying. However, in Steve Mancuso’s article in the pre-season magazine, he paints a much rosier scenario moving forward due to a new TV contract. I hope Steve’s right and we can get at least a couple of those arms signed long term.

  6. I think the Reds should look at trading Johnny Cueto in the offseason. They could get a nice haul for him. I dont think he can stay healthy.

  7. Geez, the Giants’ starting pitching staff is expensive and atrocious.

    $5MM Vogelsong 7.19 ERA
    $20MM Cain 5.09 ERA
    $20MM Zito 4.79 ERA
    $22MM Lincecum 4.70 ERA

    The Bucos’ hitters are just feasting for the past two games.

  8. The bottom of the 8th inning with the Mets leading the Birds 5-1 with the top of the order due up for the Mets. Matheny doesn’t fool around and brings in his main man and closer, in the 8th inning, to shut down the best hitters in the Mets lineup. The Birds may still very well lose this game (we can certainly hope), but Matheny is certainly playing to win the game rather than playing to not lose the game.

  9. WLB have lost and the Reds are right back where they were prior to the WLB series.

    But they need to start making up ground.

  10. “I think what I find most repungnant about Dusty is his penchant for saying anything to support whatever his position is at the time”

    When normal people are asked to explain a position, don’t they usually say something to support it?

    • @Mutaman: Replace Cingrani’s name with Chapman’s and then I think you’ll understand more of what the Cossack was saying there. In a very similar situation, Dusty is completely on the other side of the fence as it pleases him. He’s pointing out how Dusty contradicts himself…

      • @Matt WI:

        1. That may have been what Cossack meant, but that’s not what he wrote.

        2. Why replace Cingrani’s name with Chapman’s? The two situations have nothing in common.

        • @Mutaman: Sure they have something in common, in fact everything… perhaps not this year, but say it was 2011. Right after 2010 and the Reds moved Chapman from AAA starter to “win now” relief pitcher… long term consequences unfolded. Baker has always wanted Chapman and his “undeveloped secondary pitches” to stay off the starters mound.

          I happen to agree with Dusty that the Reds shouldn’t mess with Cingrani in the bullpen, but Chapman should have been given the same chance. The point is that why is it fine for Cingrani to take time to develop into a solid starter, but Chapman never got that chance.

          If it is good for the goose (T.C) in 2013, why not the gander (A.C.) in 2011, 2012, or 2012?

        • @Mutaman: Also, away from the pitching situation but to the point of Dusty being contradictory, his statements about it being important for guys to know roles in Spring Training (when he wanted the Chapman debate over) but talking about the goodness of competition for anyone else, when some guys sit when they’re hot (to get others guys hot instead)… so yes, a reasonable person gives support to answers for a question, but a reasonable person also adheres to consistent logic.

        • @Mutaman: I most certainly am not “moving goalposts.” I was providing context because I simply thought there was a misunderstanding of the original comment. The kind of context has everything to do with how I believe most people interpreted the original comments. Like TC said, your name is new, and I was just trying to give background, not start some kind of argument. My bad.

        • @Mutaman: Also, if asking Dusty to be consistent in his logic is stretching the field, I’d hope everybody was comfortable with moving those goalposts. Currently, Dusty seems to get to play with the kind that collapse right away when you try to move them so. To prevent injuries I guess.

        • Well they are both left handers who throw hard….

          But yes, you are right. Cingrani and Chapman are not the same person and do not require the same approach.

          @Matt WI: 1. That may have been what Cossack meant, but that’s not what he wrote.2. Why replace Cingrani’s name with Chapman’s? The two situations have nothing in common.

        • @CaptainTonyKW: Keep going.

          Both don’t just throw hard, both have excellent fastballs.

          Both have good (to great in Chapman’s case) secondary pitches.

          Neither have a well defined 3rd pitch (although Cingrani has been developing it in AAA this year).

          Both have been a closer and a starter over the course of their young baseball careers.

          From a physical and stuff standpoint it’s hard to see much of a difference at all. Moreover, Chapman had more starting experience than Cingrani before hitting the Big Leagues which is also a little ironic.

        • @Mutaman: I’m not familiar with your nickname. Maybe I haven’t been paying attention. If you are a regular and I’ve failed to notice I apologize.

          If you were around during Spring Training you couldn’t help but understand The Cossack was talking about Chapman. I mean, my goodness, it was all we talked about for 2 months. Everything thread someone brought it up, and there we went…. pouring out of the dugouts onto the field. It was tiresome.

          Chapman and Cingrani are not so different in their development. Both rely heavily on the fastball. Both are two pitch pitchers. Yet the statements Baker made regarding Chapman are completely opposite about what he said about Cingrani. He completely dismissed the same statements when others said them about Chapman.

        • @Mutaman: There are some major distinctions between Cingrani and Chapman. First, in context, these are organizational decisions, not Dusty Baker decisions. Dusty has zero control over what Cingrani does in the minor leagues. Second, Chapman was being paid much more from the onset, and the Reds likely didn’t want him toiling in High A while paying him that much, when they believed he could contribute out of the bullpen. Third, while both are left-handers with excellent fastballs, Chapman has a historically elite arm, while Cingrani does not. Chapman does fit the profile of a closer much more than Cingrani, and I say that even believing that the Closer Role is largely nonsense. Fourth, and perhaps most importantly, Chapman apparently has some personality quirks, which is completely understandable given his life history. Cingrani’s story is a conventional one for an American pitcher.

          For whatever reason, probably much related to Chapman’s personality and make-up, Baker believed that Chapman best helped the team in the bullpen. (And count me among those who wanted Chapman to start.) Baker couldn’t very well say, “Look, Chapman is a head case, and we think he would end up in the insane asylum if he started.” So he said what he did. With Cingrani, for the long term benefit of both him and the team, they (meaning The Organization) want him developing his breaking and off-speed pitches in AAA, which to me seems reasonable.

          And why rush Cingrani and start his arbitration clock early? They did that with Homer Bailey, who arrived probably 2 years before he should have. Now, even if they keep him, they will have to pay $14 million or so for a year or 2, when they could have spent less if they had been more patient. That extra $20 million they have to pay Homer may well keep them from re-signing Latos or Cueto, or vice versa.

        • Chapman apparently has some personality quirks, which is completely understandable given his life history.

          Thanks Big Ed. This point is why I changed my mind on Chapman about moving him to the rotation. It’s not his arm I question. It’s his makeup.

        • @TC: Chapman and Cingrani are two different human beings, plus Chapman’s fastball is 6-8 mph faster than Cingrani’s. Maybe the correct decision was made as to both guys. Again, I thought Chapman should be a starter; people who know him better than me decided otherwise. I think the modern Closer’s Role is a goofball idea; most baseball lifers do not. But the Reds are going to stick with Chapman in the bullpen this year, so there isn’t any point in harping on it.

          We get it that some of you loathe Dusty Baker. Some would deride him for how he puts on his deodorant.

        • @Big Ed: To argue that Chapman and Cingrani are different human beings is to miss the point. But really, it doesn’t matter anymore.

          We get it that some of you loathe Dusty Baker. Some would deride him for how he puts on his deodorant.

          Actually, I have a split personality when it comes to Dusty. I love the guy and love him as the team manager. I get frustrated with his game management and bullpen management. I think that it’s where most here fall. There are some who bash Dusty no matter what. I don’t subscribe to that and the Cossask is certainly not one of those. There are also those who go out of their way to sound stupid defending Baker.

          Until last year I put myself firmly in the Dusty apologist column. Now, I would put myself slightly to the other side of the other column. But I certainly don’t care how he puts his deodorant on so long as he puts it on the left pit first. If he does the right pit first he and I have a problem.

  11. Craziest prediction: Reds will be no worse than tied for first at the ASB. But be warned, DB will still be no better in the post-season than he has in the past. Reds beat the teams they are supposed to beat without fail and the Birds are due to cool-down. And soon. Read it here first.

    • @CharlotteNCRedsFan: I had that same crazy feeling last nite. Somehow I knew Gee was going to beat the Cardinals. And when the Reds play against the Cubs, I get euphoric. You could be right.

      The Reds are now obviously the underdog vs. the Cards, and that’s how they like it. Look at what got them going in 2010 and 2012: getting swept at home by the Cards (2010) and losing Joey Votto for 2 months (2012).

      The post season ? I feel they’ll get there, I wish I could feel better about how they would do.

    • @OSUScott:

      I still think the Reds should target Stanton and offer Chapman as the conversation starter.

      Chapman and Lutz for Stanton and Jennings should be about right. Honestly, I think Chapman would be perceived as the most valuable asset in that trade, so it theoretically should be about balanced.

      • @CI3J: I suggested this trade during the offseason (minus Jennings and Lutz, but with some prospects thrown in from the Reds), and I still think the Marlins see Stanton>Chapman, while the Reds see Chapman as an investment that they don’t want to lose. I’d like to see Chapman traded for a huge haul, but I don’t think that they can get Stanton for him.

        • @rhayex:

          Here’s the question: Are the Marlins really going to try to move Stanton? If so, the Reds should be in on those talks as LF has long been a problem for them (ever since getting rid of Dunn, although some would argue it was a problem while Dunn was still here).

          Stanton is a young, right handed power bat. The Reds have two left handed power bats (Votto and Bruce) who figure to be here for a long time. Putting Stanton in the middle of those two would form an extremely potent middle of the order of the likes which few teams could compare to.

          If Stanton is available, the Reds HAVE to at least kick the tires on it. Rarely do you find a chance to plug a hole with a potential long-term solution like that.

      • @CI3J: I was all for that trade until Stanton played in Cincinnati earlier this year. He had an ungly series. It cooled me off him.

        • @TC:

          That was right before the Marlins put Stanton on the DL for 5-6 weeks. He was hurt when he played in Cincy. Don’t cool on Stanton. It’d be cool if he were in the lineup between Votto and Bruce. His defense and arm are better than Bruce’s. And he usually hits for a better average than Bruce.
          CI3J says it would be a potent middle of the lineup. I’d take it one step further and say potent lineup. Choo, Phillips, Votto, Stanton, Bruce, Frazier, Cozart, Hanny/Mez. Wow.
          Stanton is the missing link, the missing piece to the puzzle. Chapman won’t bring the Reds a World Series title. But having Stanton in the middle of the lineup and patrolling LF, that just might do it.
          By the way, when the Reds visited Miami last month, they had most of the front office on that trip. It was just after Stanton went on the DL. Were WJ, Miller, and Williams all in Miami laying the groundwork for a trade?? Or did they just take their wives to South Beach??

        • @WVRedlegs:

          And in a trade for Stanton, let me add, they also could pick up a good LH reliever in the deal too. Say, a Michael Dunn.

    • @OSUScott: That trade makes little to no sense to me. Does it solve the bullpen issue? Maybe. But Oliver Perez? No way do I trade for him based on 50 IP in relief. And I don’t really see why the Mariners would WANT Heisey at this point. Also, Robinson and Paul have been doing well, so I don’t quite understand why you would go out of your way to trade for a rental who is only hitting .250 with a bit of power. I just can’t see the Reds doing it. I’d really like to see them trade Broxton tho, for whatever they can get.

      • @rhayex: Yep, Oliver Perez, I didn’t even know he was still playing. I hate relievers who can’t throw strikes.

        • @rhayex: Yep, Oliver Perez, I didn’t even know he was still playing. I hate relievers who can’t throw strikes.

          I know, right?!? It’d be like Coco… or others who escape me… or Broxton… all over again.

  12. The 12 straight road wins at Wrigley is the first time a team has ever done that. Hard to believe at first, but 12 straight wins on the road against anyone is a LOT.

  13. GreenMtRed: “Chapman has only had one pitch that he would rely on, it seems, but also seems that he is working on that. The first slider, though, to Hairston, would quite possibly have been hit 450 feet if another pitcher had thrown it. Grooved is the word I’m looking for, and if Aroldis starts throwing the slider more frequently he might not get away with one that hangs dead center over the plate.”

    Good observation. But Aroldis has been on a roll since blowing 2 saves, and the only adjustment I see is that he’s throwing the slider more often. It’s helped him to strike out some good fastball hitters. He got strikes 2 and 3 with Rizzo today with the slider.

    He will hang one now and then – he got away with hanging one to Shane Robinson in the Cardinal series. Brantley was saying how Robinson could have hit it out, and it was the ONLY way he could hit one out against Chapman.

    With his using the slider more often, at some point he’s going to hang one and someone’s going to hit it out. But he has no choice. Without the slider, major league hitters can and have hit him. And hopefully the more he throws it, the better he can control it.

  14. Todd Frazier is truly a bad ball hitter. He likes pitches about 2 inches off the ground. On mlbnetwork they said he generates remarkable bat speed on pitches where he’s fooled and is way out in front. I would go further than that. I’d say he generates remarkable bat speed when swinging with one (or no) hands.

  15. Pure frontier gibberish from Shchi Cossack:

    Geez, the Giants’ starting pitching staff is expensive and atrocious.

    Ummm…..Geez, the Giants pitching staff has two World Series rings.

    As for your “repugnant” Dusty comment on Dusty. He’s 100% right in regard to sending Cingrani down to work on other pitches. My gawd people, we’re 14 games over .500 before mid-June and all most of you want to do is bash Dusty.

    • @sezwhom1: Huh? He’s talking about current value, not how many rings they have. Same problem is happening in Philly, though not to that extent. Imagine if Cueto and Arroyo were having 5+ ERA’s right now and we were paying them 20 mil a season.

      His issue is with Dusty’s self-serving public statements, not the decision to let Cingrani develop in AAA. Many times in the last few years he will say one thing about a player to justify a decision regarding them, then in a similar situation he will say another thing to justify the opposite decision with another player. Most obvious example is that it’s okay to have Cingrani develop his other pitches in AAA so that he doesn’t stunt his growth as a starter, while with Chapman we need to have him as our closer instead of working on his secondary pitches.

      The reason so many people talk negatively about Dusty is because he makes baffling decisions with no foundation in logic at all. Constantly. Most obvious example? Cozart at the top of our lineup for the last season and a half.

      Fans are greedy. We want to win every single game we can, not just be a certain number of games over .500 and content. It’s frustrating to watch the team be managed the way it is. It leaves you wondering where we could be with some easy sensible decisions each night instead of what we currently have.

    • @sezwhom1: Geez. You might have been a little hard on the Cossask. I too agree with Dusty’s comment, as does probably the Cossask. His point was the irony of the statement with regards to Chapman.

    • @sezwhom1: What Dusty said about Cingrani is completely reasonable, and many here have said the same thing. It set off negative comments only because of the Chapman situation. No comment from me about Chapman. I

      BTW the other day you got on me for “bashing” Dusty about his “this past weekend against the Cardinals was an embarrassment personally, to the organization, to the team” quote. That was not bashing him at all. Quoting him is not necessarily mocking him, I respected his quote and simply asked people what they thought he was referring to, other than the profanity (for which I was sympathetic).

      TC and I both replied to you, don’t want to belabor the point, just don’t know if you saw our replies.

  16. Leake and Wood have had parallel careers. And besides the whole lefty/righty thing, are similar pitchers. And, it seems, they’ve always had to compete against each other. Leake always seems to get Wood by a nose.

    The difference in this game, however, is the Reds bats, not the pitchers. The silly Cubs are still a year or two away, but they are starting to show some signs of being dangerous with that pitching staff of theirs.

    • @TC: Yep. Wood was called the LHed Mike Leake, right from the start. Fun to see them develop.

      As I’ve often said, I like Mike.

  17. If we end up hosting a one game wildcard playoff, do you think we could rent out Wrigley and play it there? :-)

    Of course, the team we’re playing at Wrigley might have more to do with the record than the park itself.

    Count me as a member of Team Cossack!

    • @zblakey: I think the Verducci Effect could explain it. Google it. It talks about 3rd year pitchers who threw over so many innings in their first two years are expected to have a bad third year blah blah blah.

    • @zblakey: Leake HR/FB ratio is a career low 9% and that is a drastic improvement over his previous best of 13%. His line drive percentage is a also a career best as is his ground ball percentage.

      So, hitters are getting as good a contact on his pitches. Why?

      His speed on his fastball is clearly up about half a mile an hour – over 90 for the first time. That coupled with an improvement of and reliance on his curve has really diversified his ability to change speeds. He is throwing the curve and change a lot more in a game when he used to rely on his slider and cutter – I think that is keeping hitters more off balance and helping keep his fastball stronger deeper into games.

      That is my layman’s opinion!

      • @rightsaidred: Leake has just gotten better across the board, and the bigger fastball helps. He’s older and stronger now, and never was a “maximum effort” thrower, so it stands to reason that his fastball is better. Leake himself claims he is just more experienced now, and knows what to do, but that is probably just a way of saying he has better command of almost everything.

  18. At the end of April, Mike Leake had made 5 starts – 3 really bad and 2 good starts. His last start at that time was the one where he was pulled after allowing 4 runs in 3 innings to the Natinals.

    His line through 5 starts: 29ip, 33hits, 11bb, 19k, 4.34 era, 1.52whip 5.9 k/9
    His last 8 starts: 52.2ip, 50hits, 7bb, 40k, 1.88 era, 1.08whip 6.8 k/9

    So, a few things
    – he’s really cut down on his walks. He went from an average of over 2 walks per start to less than 1 walk per game.
    – He’s missing more bats, as seen in his higher K/rate.
    – His HR/9 rate is actually about the same (just a little lower from 0.9 to 0.7 HR/9).
    – Leake’s BABIP is not obnoxiously too high or too low in either set of starts. The first five starts, his BABIP was .330. His last 8 starts, his BABIP was .301. Over his career, he has a .298 BABIP.

    For the 2013 season as a whole, Leake’s BB/9 and HR/9 are the lowest of his career. His K/9 rate is the highest of his career. He is getting ground balls at a higher rate than any previous sesaon.

    • @Greg Dafler: So what you’re saying is that Leake has turned that corner and is becoming a young, but possibly better (less propensity to give up the HR), Arroyo?

      The prior discussion, had Cingrani possibly surplanting Leake this season as the 5th starter and Leake as an adequate to possibly good 5th starter for the rotation. Leake is silencing most of his critics. Since he is not a flame-throwing, fastball-reliant pitcher, there will always be some critics (see Arroyo’s critics), but his performance on the mound pretty much speaks for itself.

      With his performance, Leake has made a serious statement that he is NOT a 5th starter, just one of 5 starters in an outstanding starting rotation. Looking forward to next season, I don’t think anyone considers Cingrani a 5th starter in any rotation, even as the newbie, so we can look forward to another starting rotation lacking back-end starters, just 5 starters in an outstanding starting rotation. Of course the elephant in the room is Cueto’s health.

      • @Shchi Cossack: Leake’s performance lately has been extra impressive given the added preasure of Cingrani nipping at his heals for a Big Leage job. There is no way Leake wasn’t hearing some of the media/fan barking for Cingrani to take his spot. Leake is young and that could easily have harmed his performance, however, it appears the opposite is true and he’s responding by pitching better than ever.

        • @bohdi: Leake has said that the Cingrani pressure has helped him. “I like competition”, he said in that context. The guy is mentally tough.

      • @Greg Dafler: So what you’re saying is that Leake has turned that corner and is becoming a young, but possibly better (less propensity to give up the HR), Arroyo?

        This is what we Leake fans have talked about and hoped for, for years. Bronson of course is his mentor.

  19. For what it’s worth Cozart 2013 stats: not as bad as it seems batting out of the 2 hole. And I for one would like to see more of Paul or Robinson at the top of the order.
    AB AVG OBP SLG OPS
    Batting #2 200 .275 .304 .410 .714
    Batting #7 34 .088 .111 .265 .376
    Batting #8 4 .000 .000 .000 .000

    • @skatedog:

      I think the batting 7th stats are too small of a sample size (34 AB) and for sure the batting 8th stats are. Still, a guy who just got his OBP over .300 in the #2 hole is not a good option for #2. I know you aren’t saying he is a good option, so no rebuttal needed. ;) Thanks for pulling out those slash lines.

  20. The Reds and Pirates have not been separated by more than 1.5 games since April 11.

    That’s more than two full months without a separation 2 or more games.

    And that’s a remarkable streak.

  21. One other factor to take into account when looking at Mike Leake this year – opposition.

    His quality starts have been against: Cubs, Pirates, Cleveland, Mets, Marlins, Cubs again, Phillies, Cubs again.

    The only good offense in that group is Cleveland.

    His sub-quality starts have been against: Braves, Cardinals, Nationals, Nationals again, Pirates

    Not saying this accounts entirely for Leake’s good start this season, but it’s obviously a factor.

    • @Steve Mancuso:

      Interesting. Hopefully his recent streak against the poorer teams on that list will translate into increased confidence against the tougher teams when they come calling later in the season.

  22. Reds starters so far in 2013: 28-12. If you throw in Villareal’s game, it is 28-13. Pretty impressive. And in all honesty, it should be better, if the bullpen hadn’t blown a few games pitched by Latos and Bailey. They also have impressive ERA’s and low BB-rates, too.
    A tip of the hat to Brian Price.

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