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Preview, #143: 9/8 @ Reds

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If we can win another Mike Leake start, who can possibly deny the D-backs are contenders?

San Diego Padres v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Today's Lineups

DIAMONDBACKS REDS
Tim Locastro - CF Josh VanMeter - RF
Josh Rojas - LF Joey Votto - 1B
Ketel Marte - 2B Eugenio Suarez - 3B
Eduardo Escobar - 3B Tucker Barnhart - C
Jake Lamb - 1B Freddy Galvis - 2B
Abraham Almonte - RF Jose Iglesias - SS
Nick Ahmed - SS Derek Dietrich - LF
Alex Avila - C Brian O'Grady - CF
Mike Leake - RHP A. DeSclafani - RHP

It’s nice to travel, but it’s nice to be back home, where the bed has an adequate number of pillows, and we are not under the landing path at an international airport. Mind you, it will clearly take some time for me to re-adjust back to my regular keyboard. The one I was typing on while in San Diego was a tablet one, which was rather smaller than normal, and made heavy use of function keys for special characters. Just as I had learned where the ‘ and - combination were, we’ve returned to Phoenix, and I have to forget everything I had learned over the last five days. So, apologies for any typos in the remainder of this or the recap I’ll be doing today.

Though if I had realized it was a Mike Leake start, I might well have made a different decision when Jack asked me whether I needed him to recap Saturday or Sunday... Even though Leake has won his last two starts, they were against the Giants and the Padres. Indeed, the two before that, he faced the Rockies and Giants. And going forward, he’ll face the Reds, both today and next Friday, when the D-backs open a series against Cincinnati back at Chase Field, then the Marlins. So that will be seven consecutive starts for Leake against teams ranked in the bottom third of the National League by OPS+.

But it isn’t as if he has dominated them: in the four already played, despite a 2-1 record, he has an ERA of 5.47. The results have been slightly better in the last couple of outings. He pitched into the eighth versus San Francisco, and had a shutout with two outs in the sixth against San Diego, and the bases empty. Of course, Leake ended up not even getting a quality start there, allowing four runs before getting the third out. It also helped the D-backs offense have scored 39 runs across Leake’s six starts. When you’re averaging 6.5 runs per game, you can handle an ERA of 6.43. But I am concerned about his HR tendencies, especially in a Little League-like part like GAB. Still, road series is in the bag = house money.