- Mike Leake owes someone at Major League Baseball a freshly smoked ham.
The Reds rookie saw his ERA drop from 3.86 to 3.43 on Monday afternoon. That's a bit odd because he doesn't pitch until Monday night against the Cardinals. The reason for the improved ERA is that someone at Major League Baseball went back and changed a hit from Leake's last start to a Scott Rolen error. That means all six earned runs charged to Leake on Tuesday against the Pirates are now unearned.
There's an outside chance that the change could wind up impacting the Rookie of the Year race ...
Outside chance is right. The above was written before Leake's latest outing, in which he gave up seven runs, and this time -- pending another scoring change, of course -- six of them were earned. Leake's ERA after last night's Disaster Start (4.16) is still respectable enough, but he's got only seven wins and he's 2-4 with a 5.72 ERA in his last 10 starts.
To be a viable Rookie of the Year candidate, Leake will have to win at least a dozen games. Jaime Garcia has nine wins and more strikeouts and a significantly lower ERA (2.53). And there are hitters, too, most notably Jason Heyward, Gaby Sanchez, and Buster Posey.
So, yeah: Rookie of the Year is a real long shot.
The Reds aren't a long shot for the playoffs this fall, though. Call them a medium shot, with viable chances for both the NL Central title and the wild card.
If they do get there, though, it's not clear that Leake would do much pitching. At the moment, he's certainly not one of their three best starters. Johnny Cueto, Bronson Arroyo, and fellow rookie Travis Wood have all pitched better than Leake. And if Edinson Volquez can stop walking so many guys, he'll obviously jump ahead of Leake, too. Come to think of it, we should probably talking about a supposed Rookie of the Year candidate who might not be good enough to make his team's postseason roster.