Found April 05, 2013 on
Fox Sports Ohio:
Arizona State Sun Devils
CINCINNATI Dusty Baker was asked what he expects from pitcher Mike Leake when Leake scrapes his spikes on the pitchers rubber Saturday afternoon against the Washington Nationals.
A victory, said the Cincinnati Reds manager. Victories. Wins. Winning.
Then, with barely a pause for breath, Baker shook his head and said it isnt right for the paying public to assess Leake every time his turn pops up in the rotation.
It was Leake who was battling for his rotation life this spring against closer Aroldis Chapman, even though Baker was on Leakes side throughout the process, preferring to keep Leake in the rotation and Chapman as the closer.
Leake shouldnt be under any pressure because he isnt under any scrutiny from us every time he goes out there, said Baker. Thats not fair. All we know is that he is pitching against one of the best teams in our league.
Leake, though, was under pressure and scrutiny all spring while he and Chapman started games on the same day some in split-squad exhibitions and some against minor-league teams.
And while Leake was trying to solidify the teams confidence, the 25-year-old No. 1 draft choice in 2009 was trying to re-invent himself, return to his collegiate glory days at Arizona State.
Im eager and excited about getting out there to see where I am, said Leake. During spring training I got back to establishing how I like to pitch this year. I have to continue it, carry it on.
Even though Leake said he drifted away from the way he pitched at Arizona State, where he won 40 games in three seasons.
Since Ive been here I havent done anything to get the hitters off my fastballs, he said. I threw too much hard stuff. So Im learning to change speeds a little more and mess with the hitters a little more, keep the hitters off balance.
Leake is heaped upon extraordinarily for a guy who is 28-22 for his three major-league seasons, for a guy who came right off the ASU campus and into the Reds clubhouse with no intermediate stops in any minor-league seasons. To compare, Greg Maddux, a cinch to be voted into the Hall of Fame this winter, was 8-18 in his first two major-league seasons.
Leakes first 2013 assignment is no stroll through the park against the Nationals.
He is pitching against the best team in our league, said Baker. They have an excellent pitching staff, good speed and one of the top three bullpens in the league. They added Rafael Soriano to an already tough bullpen.
Leake said he wasnt assured of the rotation spot until his penultimate spring training start and it was if somebody lifted the batting cage off his back.
I was sort of used to it because I had to win a spot the previous three years, said Leake. Youd love to go to camp having a spot, but its nice to have a competitive edge going for you. You dont want to have to work harder and stress over, but it you definitely have to see what you need to improve upon and attack that.
And talking about facing the Nationals, Leake said, Yeah, they have a good lineup. But you have to treat them just like they are any other lineup.
Thats a tough thing to do when you stare at the catcher to get your signals and you see Bryce Harper, Jayson Werth, Ryan Zimmerman, Adam LaRoche and Ian Desmond staring back from the batters box with Washington on their shirts.
A good team and Ill try to be a little better than they are, he said.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
Friday night was an eventful one for fans at Great American Ball Park.
Not only did the hometown Reds pound the only undefeated team left in the majors by a score of 15-0, but in the seventh inning, the crowd was entertained by a man who ran onto the field of play.
The crazed fan, who may or may not have been under the influence of alcohol, sprinted onto the field and slid...
No one ever told Todd Frazier he was going to be the Reds starting third baseman this season, maybe because it was just a given to most people. As important as Scott Rolen had been to the Reds the last four seasons, the time had come for Frazier to take over the position on an every-day basis.
Still, no one told that to Frazier directly. The closest he got to hearing it was while...
This guy’s got balls. If he misses that catch, disaster could’ve struck and really harmed his child. We’re sure his wife is not pleased either way.
But this guy wasn’t going to let that happen, as he snagged the ball with perfection, prompting cheers from those around him. H/T USA Today Sports.
Louisville won 6-4. Box Score
Billy Hamilton went 2-3 with a double, run and 3 steals before exiting with an injury.
Henry Rodriguez went 1-4 with a double, walk, RBI and a run.
Mike Hessman went 2-4 with a walk and 2 solo HR (4).
Denis Phipps went 1-4 with a HR (1) and 2 RBI.
Jason Donald went 2-4 with 2 doubles.
Felix Perez went 1-3 with a double.
Nevin Ashley went 1-4 with a...
Louisville won 6-4. Box Score
Jason Donald went 4-5 with 2 doubles, an RBI and a run.
Henry Rodriguez went 1-4 with a walk.
Mike Hessman went 0-2 with a walk and 2 RBI.
Felix Perez went 1-3 with a run and a walk.
Konrad Schmidt went 1-4 with a double, RBI and a run.
Krisopher Negron went 1-2 with 2 walks and a run.
Josh Fellhauer went 1-1 as a pinch hitter.
Chad Reineke threw 4...
Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson is being honored for something he did in Cincinnati 18 years ago.
Johnson led the Reds to a division title in 1995 and the NL championship series, where they were swept by Atlanta. Former owner Marge Schott decided to replace Johnson with Ray Knight after the season.
The Reds wouldn't win another division title until 2010, when they...
How fast is a foul ball moving when it comes via contact made on a Aroldis Chapman 100 mph fastball?
Just ask Reds kid…
Todd Frazier and Zack Cozart each homered twice, and the Reds
hit six in all - including Xavier Paul's pinch grand slam - while
sending the Washington Nationals to a 15-0 defeat Friday night,
their first loss this season and their worst loss since returning
as a team.
I had actually meant to write this article for yesterday, but things got in the way of that happening so it got pushed to today.
Positional Player Breakout Predictions
When looking at guys who could potentially break out, I look at a lot of things and pick players for different reasons at times. My first pick already had a bit of a breakout season last year, but it went largely unnoticed...
The Washington Nationals had a rough series opener against the Cincinnati Reds on Friday night losing 15-0, which was the worst loss in team history since 2005. The Nats looked to come in to recover from that beating on Saturday afternoon behind Ross Detwiler, and they did just that, even if it did come off the rails a bit in the late innings.
Speaking of Detwiler, he had quite...
CINCINNATI Just another work day for Xavier Paul is to show up at the ballpark and be ready to do whatever Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker asks.Pinch-hit? Hes ready.Pinch-run? Hes ready.Late-inning defense? Hes ready.Hand Baker a wristband or a toothpick? Hes ready.So Sunday morning in Great American Ball Park was different for the 28-year-old Paul, a native of Sidell, La. When...