Mike Leake Remains a Mystery to the Chicago Cubs – Cubs 1 Reds 2

Game One Hundred Forty-Eight – Cubs 1 Reds 2
WP – Mike Leake (12-9) LP – Ryan Dempster (10-12) Save – Francisco Cordero (33)

Mike Leake is a solid big league pitcher and will likely have a very good career but he is not as good as the Cubs have made him look over his last two starts.

After taking a one-hit shutout into the ninth last Tuesday at Wrigley only to receive a no decision in the first complete game of his career, Mike Leake basically shut down the Cubs on Tuesday night. Leake allowed only one run on six hits with a pair of walks and two strikeouts in eight innings. The best two outings of Leake’s career have been in against the Cubs in the last seven days … three runs on nine hits with two walks and eight strikeouts in 17 innings (1.58 ERA and a 0.65 WHIP).

The Cubs only run scored on a double play and Q’s offense was a miserable 1-for-7 with RISP, left six on base and did not record an RBI. The Cubs seemingly made no adjustments against Mike Leake from a week ago. Basically the same lineup and the same approach produced the same result.

Darwin Barney (2-for-4 with a double) and Carlos Pena (2-for-4 with a double and a run scored) combined for four of the Cubs’ six hits. Starlin Castro’s hitting streak (13 games) came to an end with a 0-for-3 night at the plate. Castro walked in the first inning and has reached base in 26 straight games.

Ryan Dempster had a rough outing and if it wasn’t for Jay Bruce (0-for-4, three strikeouts, hit into an inning ending double play with the bases loaded and left seven on base) his final line would be more indicative of the way he pitched. Dempster was all over the place Tuesday night and had little to no command. Dempster walked six batters (season-high) for the third time this year and threw 128 pitches, 71 for strikes, in seven innings. The 128-pitch outing was a season-high and the most pitches in a single outing for Dempster in a Cubs’ uniform. Dempster allowed two runs on six hits with the six free passes and eight strikeouts.

Prior to Tuesday’s game, Mike Quade expressed his desire to give Ryan Dempster three more starts after Tuesday this season in order for Dempster to hit the 200-inning mark. Quade allowed Dempster to hit for himself down by one in the top of the seventh. Dempster added an inning to his season total at the expense of a position player being able to hit with his team down by a run late in the game.

Sean Marshall pitched a perfect eighth to keep the game at 2-1 going into the ninth. The Cubs went down in order quickly against Francisco Cordero to end the game.

With Tuesday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to 65-83 on the season … 18 games under .500.

The Cubs wasted a great opportunity in the opening frame. Starlin Castro walked to start the game … the 26th straight game Castro has reached base. Darwin Barney singled to right (1-2 pitch) and the Cubs had runners on first and second with no outs.

Aramis Ramirez lined the first pitch into right center. Castro tagged and advanced to third. Carlos Pena struck out swinging (2-2 pitch) and Bryan LaHair lined out to Drew Stubbs in deep right center (first pitch) to end the inning.

Ryan Dempster labored through a long first inning … again. Struggled with his command … again. And gave up runs … again.

Brandon Phillips led off the bottom of the first with a towering homer to right center (3-2 pitch). Phillips’ third homer in two games against Cubs pitching. Edgar Renteria lined the first pitch into the right field corner and Joey Votto walked on four pitches.

With runners on first and second with no outs, Jay Bruce struck out swinging (0-2 pitch). After Yonder Alonso received new life on a 3-1 pitch (Alonso popped a 3-1 pitch into shallow left that fell in between Starlin Castro and Alfonso Soriano in foul ground), Dempster retired Alonso on a fly out to center (3-2 pitch) for the second out. Drew Stubbs struck out swinging to end the inning.

Dempster threw 27 pitches, 16 for strikes, in the first inning and wiggled his way out of a major jam with allowing only the one run.

The Cubs did nothing against Mike Leake in the second … and Dempster retired the Reds in order in the home half of the second inning. Dempster threw 41 pitches, 24 for strikes, in the first two innings.

Darwin Barney turned on a 1-2 pitch with two outs in the third … and drove the ball into the left field corner for a double. Aramis Ramirez hit a 0-1 pitch to the hole at short. Ramirez hustled down the line and nearly beat Renteria’s throw.

Dempster struck out Phillips swinging to start the third. Edgar Renteria singled to center with one out but was erased on a 4-6-3 double play off the bat of Joey Votto to end the inning.

The Cubs singled twice and walked in the fourth but came away empty. Carlos Pena led off the fourth with a single to right. LaHair hit into a 4-6-3 double play. Alfonso Soriano walked and advanced to second on an infield single to the hole at second by Marlon Byrd. Soto grounded into a 5-4 fielder’s choice to end the inning.

After four, the Cubs were 0-for-5 with RISP and had left five on base.

Dempster struck out Jay Bruce swinging to start the fourth. Yonder Alonso blooped a single into right center (2-1 pitch). Dempster jumped in front of Stubbs 0-2 before running the count full. Stubbs hit a sharp grounder to short. Castro shoveled the ball to Barney but the Cubs could not double up the speedy centerfielder. Juan Francisco popped out to Barney on a 3-2 pitch to end the inning.

Ryan Dempster reached on catcher’s interference to start the fifth … but did not advance past first. Castro flied out to center, Barney flied out to right and Ramirez grounded out to second to end the inning.

Dempster issued a four-pitch walk to Devin Mesoraco to start the bottom of the fifth. Leake popped up a sac bunt attempt on a 0-1 pitch. Pena let the ball fall and threw out Mesoraco at second. With Leake at first, Phillips walked on a 3-2 pitch to put two on with one out for Edgar Renteria.

Renteria notched his third hit of the night, a single to center and plated Leake with the Reds’ second run. Phillips held at second with one down.

Dempster issued his third walk of the fifth inning to Joey Votto to load the bases for Jay Bruce. Bruce grounded into a 6-3 double play to end the inning.

Ryan Dempster threw 96 pitches in the first five innings … only 53 for strikes.

The Cubs got on the board in the top of the sixth after Carlos Pena doubled past Joey Votto to start the inning. Bryan LaHair blooped a single into center. Pena had to hold then advanced to third with no outs … the Cubs’ only hit of the night with a runner in scoring position.

Alfonso Soriano hit a 0-1 pitch to Renteria … 6-4-3 double play. Pena scored but the double play took the air out of the inning. Byrd predictably grounded out (third base) to end the inning.

Yonder Alonso blooped a single into left to start the bottom of the sixth. Stubbs lined out to short (first pitch) and Francisco popped out to Byrd (0-1 pitch) for the second out. Mesoraco grounded out to short (forced Alonso at second) to end the inning … 104 pitches for Dempster after six, 59 for strikes.

Mike Leake sat down the Cubs in order in the seventh. Leake threw only 82 pitches in seven innings, 55 for strikes.

Ryan Dempster hit for himself in the top of the seventh and started the home half … after throwing 104 pitches in six innings. Dempster struck out Leake to start the inning before issuing a one out walk to Brandon Phillips (3-2 pitch). Phillips advanced to second on a wild pick off attempt. Dempster threw the ball into the dirt and Pena could not scoop. Renteria flied out to right (3-1 pitch) and Phillips went to third.

Quade left Dempster in to face Joey Votto and Dempster walked him on four pitches.

With runners on first and third and two down, Dempster struck out Jay Bruce looking to end the inning … the third time Dempster struck out Jay Bruce on Tuesday night.

Ryan Dempster threw a season-high 128 pitches, 71 for strikes.

The Cubs did nothing against Mike Leake in the eighth.

Sean Marshall took over in the bottom of the eighth and retired the Reds in order … only the second time the Reds went down in order all night.

Francisco Cordero picked up his 33rd save of the season with a 1-2-3 ninth. Cordero threw only 11 pitches, eight for strikes.

The Cubs looked flat on Tuesday night … and came out on the short end against Mike Leake again.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Casey Coleman is slated to face Johnny Cueto on Wednesday night.

Quote of the Day

"When you play, play hard; when you work, don’t play at all." – Theodore Roosevelt