After my opining late last night about whether the Reds should start Mike Leake or Mat Latos in Wednesday's NL Division Series game four, the decision has bubbled up early this morning: Dusty Baker is going with Leake, meaning that Johnny Cueto will be out until the World Series (if the Reds advance that far).
During the regular season, the 24-year old Leake had a 4.58 ERA in 30 starts for Cincinnati. He only struck out 116 hitters in 179 innings, and recent splits seem to heavily favor the Giants in Wednesday's game. Leake had a 5.54 ERA at Great American Ballpark this year, allowing 17 homers in just 87 2/3 innings. Since the All-Star Break, Leake has a 5.27 ERA, allowing 15 homers in 80 1/3 innings.
If Reds fans are looking for a positive sign with Leake, it's this: he faced the Giants on June 29th this year, and threw a complete game, allowing just one run in a 5-1 Reds win. That day, he outdueled Matt Cain (starting a game five if it gets that far for the Giants) and faced a lineup that had six of eight position players consistent with the Giants postseason lineup (excluding Melky Cabrera and Ryan Theriot in favor of Hunter Pence and Marco Scutaro). If the Giants win game four, it looks like we'll have a rematch in full of game one, with Latos taking on Cain with the winner moving on to the NLCS.