Leake’s value rising for Reds

The Sports Xchange

July 22, 2015 at 11:47 pm.

CINCINNATI –If Mike Leake is auditioning for a new team, the line of potential suitors now might extend out the front gates of Great American Ball Park.

Mike Leake was lights out in the Reds win over the Braves. (Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports)

Mike Leake could be on the move at the trade deadline. (Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports)

The 27-year-old Cincinnati Reds right-hander has allowed one earned run in his last two starts totaling 16 innings. He has won six of his past nine starts.

In the first game of a doubleheader on Wednesday afternoon against the Cubs, Leake gave up one run and four hits in eight innings with no walks and six strikeouts.

He retired the final 16 batters in the Reds’ 9-1 victory. The Cubs salvaged a split with a 6-5 win in the nightcap.

“When he’s pitching his game, it’s attack mode early, then he’s able to expand the zone,” said Reds manager Bryan Price. “The one thing that shows up every day is his competitiveness.”

A free-agent following this season, Leake is rumored to be on the trading block if a desirable deal is there for the Reds’ taking by the July 31 trade deadline.

“If I’m traded I’m traded. If I’m not I’m not,” said Leake, who now is 8-5 this season with a 3.78 ERA in 20 starts. “I’m trying to show myself and that I can be better than I’ve been. That’s my goal, to get better every day.”

Price served as Cincinnati’s pitching coach for the first four seasons of Leake’s career, and is fully aware of the possibility that Leake’s start on Wednesday could be his last at Great American Ball Park.

“It’s challenging for everybody,” said Price, of the trade speculation. “But I’ll defer questions about how things affect players to the player. I don’t think trade rumors make it any easier.”

Leake has been a mainstay in the Reds’ rotation since he debuted in 2010, against the Cubs at Great American Ball Park.

“It would be ironic if my first and last starts here were against the same team,” said Leake. “I can’t control what happens.”