CINCINNATI - Cincinnati Reds pitcher Mike Leake will take the mound to start in Wednesday’s Game 4 of the National League Division against the San Francisco Giants at Great American Ball Park.
Reds management kept fans in the dark about who would be the starting pitcher after the team lost 2-1 to the Giants in a Game 3 that needed extra innings Tuesday evening.
The Reds announced only hours before Wednesday's game that Leake was to be the starter.
Right-hander Leake, who had an ERA of 4.58 during 2012's regular season, will match up against the Giants' lefty Barry Zito, who has let the Reds score just two runs on 10 hits in the 12 innings he faced them this year.
The decision to tap Leake for the starting role was not an easy one. Leake was not on the Reds’ NLDS roster, so adding him means putting pitcher Johnny Cueto on the disabled list. Cueto left Saturday’s Game 1 after just eight pitches when he pulled muscles in his side. Putting Cueto on the DL would mean he would not be eligible to pitch in the NLCS, further changing the Reds starting rotation if they advance.
"It's tough taking your potential Cy Young guy out of your rotation," general manager Walt Jocketty said. "It was a very, very tough decision to make, but our medical staff felt at best, Johnny would be able to pitch maybe one game in the next series if we get there, if he were available for that series."
"It's quite a blow but at the same time, you hope Leake steps up and pitches well," manager Dusty Baker said.
Dusty Baker and the Reds could have called on Mat Latos on three-days rest for the second time in a row, but with a potential Game 5 or NLCS in mind, it's likely the Reds wanted to ensure they were at the fullest strength they could be. Latos is scheduled to pitch Game 5 if the series goes that far.
The injury is an especially troubling one for Cueto, who turns his back to the batter before each delivery, putting a lot of stress on his side.
The Reds were concerned that if they sent him back to the mound before the injury was fully healed, he could cause worse damage.
"It's more of a muscle strain in the side that was very mild, but with his torque and the way he pitches and his twisting motion, we didn't want to take the risk of injuring him," Jocketty said.
Game 4's first pitch is at 4:07 p.m.
( Some information from the Associated Press was used in this report)
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