Happy Mother's Day everyone! If you are not headed to the park today with mom, I hope that you are at least spending time with her watching it on the television. There's no better way to spend the day with mom than watching some Reds baseball, unless she's a Cubs fan. In which case, she can get bent.
Seriously though, make sure you give your mom a hug today, even if it is just over the phone.
Mike Leake would like to spend the day with him mom, but he's got a job to do. Today will be the first time Leake has faced a team for the second time this season. He last faced the Cubs back on April 11, in his big league debut. He was pretty good that day, though he did walk 7 batters in 6.2 innings. He walked 5 batters in his next start, but has only walked 4 hitters in his last 3 starts combined. The good news is that the last time he faced the Cubs, he was probably a ball of nerves. I think we can expect a much more stable Leake on the mound today.
Also, hopefully we'll continue to see the groundball machine that we saw in his middle three starts of the season. His last time out on the mound against the Mets, Leake was a little flyball happy, which led to two doubles. Amazingly, he still has only given up 6 extra base hits in his first 5 starts. To me, that's the most impressive thing about this kid that hadn't thrown a pitch in the pros before this year.
Ryan Dempster hasn't been the same pitcher that we've grown to know and hate over the years. He has shown much better control so far this year than any previous year in his career, walking just 2.3 batters per 9 innings. This might actually be a good thing for the Reds, who aren't ones to take a walk much. If Dempster is around the plate more, maybe that will mean the Reds bats will be able to reach him better.
Yesterday was the Reds first blowout win of the season. Today feels like a good day for the second one.