The Mike Leake story was fun for a few months. Now, maybe not so much:
- The Reds sent rookie sensation Mike Leake to the bullpen on Tuesday, temporarily dropping the right-hander from the starting rotation.
Leake, Cincinnati's No. 1 pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, never played a day in the Minors. He's 8-4 with a 3.78 ERA spanning 22 starts and 135 2/3 innings. But in his past three starts he allowed 17 runs on 21 hits, losing the past two.
"This way we can see where we are," Reds manager Dusty Baker said before his club played the D-backs at Chase Field. "It doesn't take him long to get loose. We can monitor his innings. It shouldn't be a horrible transition."
Baker said there was no particular timetable for bringing Leake back into the rotation.
"It depends," Baker said. "It depends on how far we go into September and hopefully into October."
I don't even know what that means.
If the Reds go "far" into September and perhaps October, then Leake might go back into the rotation? After not starting for five or six weeks?
I think Baker's just trying to avoid saying the obvious, which is that Leake's been so awful lately that a contending club just can't justify pitching him when there are other options. And he's been awful for more than just three starts. In his last 11 starts, Leake's got a 5.60 ERA due to a low strikeout rate.
Maybe the Reds would have limited Leake's innings, anyway. But his performance since early June has made it easy for them. And for six weeks, he won't be fighting to reclaim his place in the rotation; he'll be fighting for a spot on the postseason roster.