Baker defends Leake after another bad start

The Sports Xchange

Right-hander Mike Leake is going through what a lot of pitchers go through -- a little slump, a bump in the road.

But Leake's struggles are magnified by the fact that left-hander Aroldis Chapman is waiting for a spot in the rotation. The Reds fan base wants Chapman in as soon as possible.

Leake lasted only 3 2/3 innings Friday in a 6-4 loss to the Houston Astros. It was the shortest outing of the year for a Reds starting pitcher. Leake allowed six runs (three earned) on seven hits, walked none and struck out one.

He's 0-3 with a 6.65 ERA. He has struggled in each of his last three starts. Three starts ago, he blew a 5-0 lead and got a no-decision. He has given up eight earned runs on 17 hits in 9 1/3 innings over his last two starts.

Reds manager Dusty Baker gave Leake a vote of confidence, however.

"Everybody can have three bad ones in a row," Baker said. "Don't panic. Mike Leake will be Mike Leake."

The Reds could skip Leake's next turn with Monday's off day.

"The game just ended," Baker said. "How am I supposed to even think about that? Kind of premature to ask me about it. Right now, we haven't thought about it."

Leake, who went 12-9 with a 3.86 ERA last year, said he's physically fine.

"I'm just trying to figure out throwing strikes and what not to throw," Leake said. "I'm just kind of stuck in the middle."

Copyright (C) 2012 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.


Biggest Stories



Most Popular