The Launching Pad: Mets try to solve Leake

What to expect in the major leagues today: 

Reds’ phenom off to strong start

Cincinnati's Mike Leake looks to continue his strong start against a hot Mets team.
Cincinnati’s Mike Leake looks to continue his strong start against a hot Mets team.

While Aroldis Chapman was attracting the buzz in spring training, fellow rookie Mike Leake was busy making the team. The Reds righthander became the first player since Xavier Nady in 2000 to completely skip the minor leagues. In his first start, Leake allowed the first three Cubs he faced to reach base, but none scored. He has been dodging trouble since with the poise of a veteran. Leake, 22, takes a 2-0 record and 3.25 ERA into Monday’s start against the Mets in Cincinnati. He isn’t overpowering—his fastball reaches 90 mph—and he has allowed 39 base runners in 27 2/3 innings. "His stuff can get him into trouble but he has the ability to pitch his way out of it," a scout said.

Padres take a test at home

Strong pitching and a revamped offense focused on speed have helped the Padres to a strong start. They lead the majors with five shutouts, including back-to-back blankings of the potent Brewers last week. On offense, they lead the NL in steals and Chase Headley is providing a solid bat behind Adrian Gonzalez. But are the Padres a legitimate contender? Monday’s game in San Diego should provide more than a clue. They face Rockies’ ace Ubaldo Jimenez, who is 5-0 with a no-hitter, 0.79 ERA and working on a 23 1/3-inning scoreless streak. The Padres will counter with their four-game winner, Kevin Correia.

Peavy tries again

Someone tell the White Sox’s Jake Peavy he’s not in pitching spacious Petco Park anymore. He’s in the American League now. Peavy, like fellow NL alum Ben Sheets, is not enjoying the success he did before changing leagues. Peavy has been roughed up for 13 runs over his past two starts as his ERA has ballooned to 7.85 even though he says he’s healthy. Peavy will go for his first win Monday at home against the Royals, a club that just won a series against the majors’ hottest team, Tampa Bay.

Stan McNeal is a writer for Sporting News. E-mail him at smcneal@sportingnews.com.

What to expect in the major leagues today: 

Reds’ phenom off to strong start

Cincinnati's Mike Leake looks to continue his strong start against a hot Mets team.
Cincinnati’s Mike Leake looks to continue his strong start against a hot Mets team.

While Aroldis Chapman was attracting the buzz in spring training, fellow rookie Mike Leake was busy making the team. The Reds righthander became the first player since Xavier Nady in 2000 to completely skip the minor leagues. In his first start, Leake allowed the first three Cubs he faced to reach base, but none scored. He has been dodging trouble since with the poise of a veteran. Leake, 22, takes a 2-0 record and 3.25 ERA into Monday’s start against the Mets in Cincinnati. He isn’t overpowering—his fastball reaches 90 mph—and he has allowed 39 base runners in 27 2/3 innings. "His stuff can get him into trouble but he has the ability to pitch his way out of it," a scout said.

Padres take a test at home

Strong pitching and a revamped offense focused on speed have helped the Padres to a strong start. They lead the majors with five shutouts, including back-to-back blankings of the potent Brewers last week. On offense, they lead the NL in steals and Chase Headley is providing a solid bat behind Adrian Gonzalez. But are the Padres a legitimate contender? Monday’s game in San Diego should provide more than a clue. They face Rockies’ ace Ubaldo Jimenez, who is 5-0 with a no-hitter, 0.79 ERA and working on a 23 1/3-inning scoreless streak. The Padres will counter with their four-game winner, Kevin Correia.

Peavy tries again

Someone tell the White Sox’s Jake Peavy he’s not in pitching spacious Petco Park anymore. He’s in the American League now. Peavy, like fellow NL alum Ben Sheets, is not enjoying the success he did before changing leagues. Peavy has been roughed up for 13 runs over his past two starts as his ERA has ballooned to 7.85 even though he says he’s healthy. Peavy will go for his first win Monday at home against the Royals, a club that just won a series against the majors’ hottest team, Tampa Bay.

Stan McNeal is a writer for Sporting News. E-mail him at smcneal@sportingnews.com.

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