Mike Leake, of all people, pitched an almost perfect game for the Cincinnati Reds Monday. When was the last time anyone could say that? Leake went 8 innings, gave up 2 hits and 1 run (on a homerun by former Red, Juan Francisco in the 2nd inning). He was masterful to say the least. He worked the ball in and out, changed speeds and kept the Braves’ hitters off balance throughout the game.
At the plate, the Cincinnati Reds broke the game open when Leake, Zack Cozart and Drew Stubbs went back-to-back-to-back with solo shots. For Stubbs, it was his second homer of the day. For Leake, he remained a steady force at the plate and kept his batting average at .333.
Actually, it was the top four hitters that powered the Cincinnati Reds to their third straight victory. They accounted for 6 of the 7 hits produced by the Reds.
Jose Arredondo was shaky in the 9th, so Sean Marshall came in to nail down the victory and get his 8th save of they year. Aroldis Chapman, who appears to have taken over the job as closer, was rested due to four nights of work in a row.
It was Leakes’ performance (1-5) that is really the story for the Cincinnati Reds. Although he had a solid performance last time out against this same Braves’ team, very few expected him to perform the way he did on Monday. Maybe, juuuussssttt maybe, he has turned the corner and will start producing the way the Reds have been counting on for some time. That will have to be answered later.
The four game series with the Braves will continue on Tuesday as the Cincinnati Reds are scheduled to throw Mat Latos. I look for a quality start from him as he is becoming more comfortable in the Reds’ uniform.