Since the beginning of his Reds career, Mike Leake has defied expectations. While it's sometimes hard to tell the the level of intent behind his actions, Leake been a thoroughly surprising player. He seemed destined for Louisville and spot-starter-dom, but instead delivered a convincing performance against Houston in his 2011 debut. He followed up the news of his arrest with a similarly respectable outing against Diamondbacks. On an earned run and WHIP basis, he's pitched better so far than both Edinson Volquez and Travis Wood. He has a chance tonight to further solidify his spot in the rotation. Based in part on Dusty's comments earlier this month about only playing pretend during spring training about sending him down, I'd project him to stay with the big league team even after Bailey and Cueto return.
Speaking of which, remember when Dusty said this recently about Leake:
His eyes were gentle eyes, which lets me know that nobody knows joy and bitterness in anybody's heart but that person. No matter how their face looks. His eyes were gentle to the point of pain and embarrassment.
These are the words of a professional sports manager and not a folk singer, poet or Anita Shreve. Although perhaps Dusty is at least one of these things. Baker's interviews - and testimonials by players - suggest he has a pretty deep understanding of the human condition. And he's seen some a gentle determination in Leake from the start. So until they turn into Angry Eyes, Leake is likely to have every chance to remain a starter. He faces a stiffer test in his first road game since the arrest. Brewers fans are surely aware of it, as the story made national news, but it's had some time to die down. I'd expect at least smattering of hecklers.
While we're talking fresh starts, let's try that new lineup thing again.
12 - 11