Back home, back in the thick of the race. The Reds find themselves two games back of the Brewers, after having been 5 games back of the Cardinals just one week a go. Something tells me the NL Central is going to get wacky this summer - especially if it remains a four-headed race for any length of time. The Reds, Cards and Pirates are all within 3 games of Milwaukee entering today. Complaint fans may be looking forward to complaining about the inherent un-fairness of the 6 teams division as realignment talk ramps up, but I would point out that the plan seems to be to move the Astros. Maybe we're looking at a New Central Order. We should embrace the cluster of competitiveness while it lasts and be grateful that our team (Cincinnati Reds) are starting to look a lot more like they're in this for the long haul. While we're on the subject of complaints: there's plenty wrong with interleague play, not the least of which is that the novelty has apparently worn off completely. But while an AL East-heavy draw can seem unfair, playing the Blue Jays at home is no cause for griping. Especially when they bring baseball's best hitter with them for up-close inspection. The Brewers, meanwhile, face the Red Sox.
One good reason for the new optimism is Mike Leake. Leake has a 1.92 ERA as a starter since his return on May 27. While four starts are too few to know whether there's been a permanent reversal of his previous struggles (one of these starts was at AT&T Park) he's looking good in all the right places. The defense-independent pitching bodes well, as Leake is only walking 1.6/9IP since his return and has given up but one HR. If he can continue to miss some bats, as he demonstrated in his 8 K performance in SF, it'll be further indication that his success is sustainable. His opponent, Jo-Jo Reyes, you may remember for almost setting the record for most starts without a win.
As a bonus pre-game ritual, I've attached a poll based on your suggestions for an alternate Drew Stubbs walk-up song. Vote your favorite in the box below. The Red Reporter Jukebox is an exciting to new Red Reporter branded product we hope you'll enjoy and also someday understand what it is.
|2011 - Mike Leake||6-2||16||10||0||0||0||0||64.1||65||29||29||6||18||48||4.06||1.29|
|2011 - Jo-Jo Reyes||2-5||13||13||1||0||0||0||73.1||86||44||35||6||25||47||4.30||1.51|
Drew Stubbs CF
Brandon Phillips 2B
Joey Votto 1B
Jay Bruce RF
Scott Rolen 3B
Jonny Gomes LF
Ryan Hanigan C
Paul Janish SS
Mike Leake RHP
Which song would you select to play when Drew Stubbs comes to bat?
This poll is closed
"Riot" - 3 Days Grace (Stubbs' current song)
"Rooster" - Alice in Chains
"The Spark that Bled" - Flaming Lips
"The Entertainer" (or "Maple Leaf Rag") - Scott Joplin
"Runaway Child Running Wild" - Otis Williams
"White Light/White Heat" - Velvet Undergound
"Numb" - Linkin Park