Wow, dandy of a pitching match-up tonight. It's two contrasting 22-year old pitchers who are showing that you don't have to be a veteran to know how to get big leaguers out. Kershaw is a hard-throwing lefty with a tough slider. He leads the league in walks, so Reds hitters better be patient. The problem is that Kershaw's stuff is so nasty that it can be hard to hold off on. That's why he also leads the league in K/9.
Leake gets it done in a very different fashion than Kershaw. While the Dodgers lefty can hit 95 or 96 on the radar gun, Leake's fastball usually sits in the high-80s. The difference between the two is that Leake has shown pinpoint accuracy so far. He gets guys out by hitting his spots more than by fooling them with his stuff. Two divergent philosophies that can work for any pitcher than can pull them off.
This will be Leake's second time facing the Dodgers, who put up 5 runs on the right-hander back on April 22. Leake had handled the Dodgers' attack fairly well that day, but left a pitch over the plate for Garret Anderson in the 7th inning, surrendering a 2-run home run and losing what would have been his third straight quality start. He also had a string of 8-straight quality starts broken last Thursday against the Giants, who he said approached their at-bats differently than anyone had against him yet this season. Hopefully the magic formula hasn't been discovered against the rookie. We'll find out tonight how well he adjusts to the league as it adjusts to him.
Gonna be a beautiful night tonight! And with an exciting pitching match-up, there's really no reason not to head out to the ballpark. That is, unless you are heading to Books & Co. at the Greene Shopping Center in Beavercreek to see John Erardi and me sign copies of The Wire-to-Wire Reds at 7pm. Don't worry, we'll have game updates for you as we talk. If you do come by, be sure to introduce yourself.
Go Reds! They're my favorite team!