While Mike Leake brought embarrassment to the Cincinnati Reds this past weekend, he also provided the lone solid effort by a starter in a disappointing four-game series.
Sam LeCure, however, has also fared very well in his outings this season.
Still in search of his first 2011 victory, LeCure will make his third start when the Reds begin a three-game home set Tuesday night against the Arizona Diamondbacks, owners of the worst ERA in the NL.
Cincinnati (9-7) lost three of four to Pittsburgh in a series capped by a 9-3 defeat Monday. What transpired earlier in the day was more interesting, with Leake arrested on a shoplifting charge at a downtown department store, accused of trying to steal six shirts with a total value of $59.88.
"Long day," manager Dusty Baker said.
The Reds issued a statement saying, "We do not condone behavior of the type alleged, which is wholly inconsistent with the principles of this organization and our community and is detrimental to the positive direction we seek to follow. When the legal process has been completed, we will handle this matter internally."
With Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey out with injuries, Leake was the only starter to pitch well against Pittsburgh, allowing two runs over six innings Saturday in an 11-2 win. Reds starters posted a 11.77 ERA in the other games.
LeCure (0-0, 2.25 ERA) could provide a cure for those woes. He has a 2.45 ERA in two starts, and yielded one run and one hit over six innings last Tuesday, retiring the final 12 batters he faced in an 8-2, 11-inning win at San Diego.
The right-hander will be starting against the Diamondbacks (6-8) for the first time. He yielded one hit over three innings of scoreless relief against them in a 3-1 loss Sept. 14.
Reds starters fared poorly in losing two of three at Arizona from April 8-10. Travis Wood and Leake each allowed six runs in losses sandwiched around Bronson Arroyo's solid six innings in a 6-1 victory in the middle game.
The Diamondbacks' Stephen Drew went 6 for 12 with four RBIs in that series while Chris Young was 4 for 13 with two homers and five RBIs. Justin Upton was 5 for 12 and Willie Bloomquist 5 for 10.
Offense has not been a problem for the Diamondbacks, who are in or near the top five in the majors in batting average (.277) and slugging percentage (.437).
The issue has been their NL-worst 5.55 staff ERA. Arizona's starters have the worst ERA in the majors at 6.00.
"We haven't made pitches," manager Kirk Gibson told the Diamondbacks' official website. "The pitching side we're well below average, and that's where our success lies."
Armando Galarraga (2-0, 6.75) has won his first two outings despite not pitching well. He gave up five runs over five innings last Tuesday in a 13-8 victory over St. Louis.
The right-hander has never faced the Reds.
He'll get his first look at Joey Votto, a career .377 hitter against Arizona after going 6 for 10 earlier this month. The reigning NL MVP has reached base in every game this season, hitting .429 with 14 walks.
Jay Bruce and Drew Stubbs combined to go 3 for 24 against the Diamondbacks earlier this month.