The Cincinnati Reds were hopeful that right hander Johnny Cueto could have recovered enough from an oblique strain suffered during Game One that he could make the start in Game Four on Thursday. With first pitch less than four hours away, the Reds finally bit the bullet and removed Cueto from the playoff roster in order to add right hander Mike Leake, who will start in Cueto’s place.
When Dusty Baker pieced together his roster for the post-season, he included only four starting pitchers instead of keeping Leake and using him out of the bullpen. Many other clubs opt to put the fifth starter in a long relief role during the playoffs and such a move would have prevented the need for this kind of transaction. By removing Cueto mid-series, he is now ineligible for the NLCS roster, though could theoretically return for the World Series.
Leake was 8-9 during the regular season with a 4.58 ERA. In 16 starts at home, however, Leake has pitched to a 5.54 ERA this season. In one start versus the Giants this season, Leake scattered nine hits and one run in a complete game victory, a start which took place at AT&T Park. Leake is 3-0 with a 4.14 ERA in five career games (four starts) against the Giants.