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I am a freelance writer. I've covered the Cincinnati Reds, Bengals and others since 1992. I have a background in sales as well. I've sold consumer electronics, advertising and consumer package goods for companies ranging from the now defunct Circuit City to Procter&Gamble. I have worked as a stats operator for Xavier University, the University of Cincinnati, the College of Mount St. Joe and Colerain High School.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Mike Leake Continues To Struggle

Mike Leake's earned run average continues to rise like the flood waters in Texas as the Reds were buried by the Rockies in a 6-4 loss, its 10th loss in 11 games..

The Reds are struggling as a team to find itself.

"We're just trying to play good baseball," Bryan Price said. "Weren't playing our best baseball when we were 18-17. We can play a lot better.  A lot of guys like Mike (Leake) are trying to find their way."

Leake threw 16 consecutive innings without allowing a run in two starts (4/30) and (5/6). In his May 11 start he allowed just one run. His ERA after that start was 2.36.

On Wednesday, Leake left after five innings in which he was strafed for six runs. This coming off a May 16 start in which the San Francisco Giants scored nine runs.  In Leake's next start he allowed five runs in four innings to the Cleveland Indians. His ERA has risen to 4.66.

"I went through a stretch like this in 2012," Leake said. "I'm sure I can figure it out a lot faster now."
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The problem is simple but frustrating.

"He's off the edges of the plate early in the count,"  Price said.  "He has to pitch from behind. It drives his pitch count up and there's more balls hit in the air."

The Colorado Rockies ruined his day in the first inning.

After Leake issued two walks and a single (Charlie Blackman was caught stealing) Nolan Arenado hit his 10th home run with two outs.

Todd Frazier's 15th home run off Kyle Kendrick got a run back.

Leake gave up another two-out home run, this time to Blackmon, whose seventh long ball gave the Rockies a 5-1 lead.  Colorado singles from Carlos Gonzalez and Arenado put runners on first and second with two outs.  Ben Paulson singled up the middle to make it 6-1 midway through the contest.

The Reds wasted Frazier's leadoff double in the double in the fourth as Kendrick, who began the game with a 1-6 record and a 6.58 ERA,  stifled the Reds' offense on three hits through seven innings, including 12 in a row before Tucker Barnhart hit his third home run of the season, leading off the eighth.

The Reds loaded the bases on a hit from Billy Hamilton and a walk to Skip Schumaker, starting to give Brandon Phillips turf toe a break.  Boone Logan relieved Kendrick and walked Joey Votto.  Frazier worked the count full before walking to drive in Hamilton. Jay Bruce blooped a single to left to score Schumaker to make it 6-4. Rafael Betancourt took over for Logan. Marlon Byrd's fly to shallow right wasn't deep enough to score Votto  Zack Cozart's routine fly to left ended the threat.

The Reds held a meeting after the game.

"We just wanted to clear our heads for Friday," Leake said. "We all get along here. No one is pointing fingers. We are all staying positive."

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