Thursday, April 21, 2011

Leake Stops The Leak, For Now

Mike Leake ended a few interesting days with a much needed quality start for the Reds. The youngster was his normal unflappable self in pitching the Reds past the Diamondbacks Thursday afternoon. I'm still wondering if Leake's side of the Macy's alleged shoplifting story is true, (I've heard it definitely was an exchange gone bad) why the Reds and Leake weren't more pro-active. If that story had come out Monday night, that would have doused two days of bad publicity and radio talkers jumping the gun. But I don't know the legal end of things and it could very well be that attorneys are advising everyone involved to keep a lid on it until a judge rules. I still think something should have been done to get out in front and keep Leake from taking fire the past few days, but the unflappable Leake just takes it all in stride. He probably chuckled when Brandon Phillips praised Leake's poise after Thursday's game, then added, "it feels good for him to steal a win like that." Leake would probably even wear one of these tee-shirts St. Louis fans are preparing to wear for the Reds visit this weekend.

The more important thing is the win ended a brutal home stand that should have been much better. Seven games at home against Pittsburgh and Arizona should have translated into at least four, maybe five wins. But baseball doesn't work that way. The Reds could only capture two of the seven games, including a four game skid. So now they have to find a place to make up for it, and there is no better place than St. Louis and Milwaukee. Take two out of three in St. Louis, two out of three in Milwaukee, and things get better in a hurry. However, the Reds were 3-6 in Busch Stadium last season. The last 3-game sweep in St. Louis came back in June 2006. You want more bad news? Since that 3-game sweep, the Reds have not won a single series in St. Louis. They are 0-10-1 in series and 10-24 overall since that sweep. If nothing else, the Reds are due. They've had better luck in Miller Park, where the Reds won four of six games last season.

The big question: will the gloves come off again against the Cardinals? Maybe, but it won't be the Reds firing the first shot of the battle. There was speculation something might heat up last season in St. Louis, but that was in September with both teams focused on winning a division title. With the way the home stand went, the Reds will be focused on getting that winning feeling back. I suspect the Cardinals will do the same, but since former Reds catcher Jason LaRue had to retire in St. Louis after taking a kick to the head by Johnny Cueto, the Cardinals just might be READY TO RUMMMMBBBLLLLE!

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