What is wrong with Mike Leake? What is wrong with Joey Votto? What is wrong with the Cincinnati Reds?
One might as well ask, “What is wrong with the world?” The answer: everything.
After another awful-looking loss, 6-4 to the last-place Colorado Rockies on Wednesday afternoon, the Reds’ 10th loss in 11 games, manager Bryan Price called a clubhouse meeting.
It lasted eight minutes, but there were no paint-peeling shouts or flying spikes. When asked about the meeting, Price said, “There was (a meeting). And it is really nobody’s business.”
Catcher Brayan Pena said it was a one-man stand-up, but there was no comedy. It was all Price, he said, “And it was very positive. He told us to believe in ourselves and believe in our talent and to keep our heads up. It was a very good meeting, good, very good.”
Pena, as always, was smiling, but said, “I love to smile. I smile a lot. But right now I am giving you guys my fake smile.”
Price was asked about feeling pressure over the team’s slide toward the depths.
“Pressure is self-induced,” he said. “It’s no fun to go through this. There is no added pressure for me. I’ve been criticized a lot in my life, so getting more criticism doesn’t change my mindset or lifestyle.”
There was a telling remark, though, when Price was asked if there is anybody on the team to whom he looks to boost morale during troubled times. Said Price, quickly and directly, “No. Uh-uh.”
For the third straight time, starting pitcher Mike Leake was nothing more than a highly-paid batting practice pitcher.
Leake gave up five runs and five hits in the first two innings, a three-run home run in the first to Nolan Arenado and a two-run home run in the second to Charlie Blackmon. In Leake’s last three starts he has been body-chopped for 24 runs (20 earned) and 27 hits in 14 innings, an earned-run average of 12.86.
It was a day for meetings. Catcher Tucker Barnhart and Leake held a corner confab for several minutes after the game and Leake said, “To me, that’s personal and I won’t share what we talked about. It was basically getting back to what we’ve had success with.
“I’m missing over the middle of the plate and I’m not going enough with my instincts. I’m going too much with the standard plan. It’ll come back. Unfortunately it has been three games that I haven’t caught on quickly enough.”
Staring up at a 5-1 early mountain, the Reds could do little against Colorado starter Kyle Kendrick, who came into the game with a 1-6 record and 6.58 ERA.
It is fortunate for the Reds that Todd Frazier was in the lineup. For seven innings the Reds had three hits, two by Frazier — a solo home run, his 14th, in the first and a leadoff double in the fourth. But he never budged off second base.
There was no visible meeting between Votto and any coach or team member, but remember all the hullabaloo over Votto when he was hitting .386 on April 22? Well, since then Votto is 24-108 (.231) and his batting average has pancaked more than 100 points, down to .275.