Scoring Change Benefits Mike Leake
The Reds rookie saw his ERA drop from 3.86 to 3.43 on Monday afternoon. That's a bit odd because he doesn't pitch until Monday night against the Cardinals. The reason for the improved ERA is that someone at Major League Baseball went back and changed a hit from Leake's last start to a Scott Rolen error. That means all six earned runs charged to Leake on Tuesday against the Pirates are now unearned.
There's an outside chance that the change could wind up impacting the Rookie of the Year race. Leake should capture a lot of attention as the Reds make their stretch run and his ERA is suddenly looking a lot more attractive to voters who might not make up their minds until late in the season.We're not arguing for Leake as the winner of the award, mind you. Jaime Garcia is more deserving among pitchers and Jason Heyward, Buster Posey and Gaby Sanchez all make for more appealing choices at this point in the season. Stranger things have happened, though, especially for pitchers on winning teams with good superficial stats.
Perhaps someone could look at this situation and use it as an instructive lesson in how ERA is not the end all, be all way to judge a pitcher's effectiveness. Leake still gave up four more hits and a walk after Lastings Milledge reached on what is now Rolen's error and it is hard to make a convincing argument that the difference between the two rulings was the difference between the way the inning played out.
The larger point is that Leake has had a fine season regardless of one six-run inning. A lower ERA doesn't really mean he's pitched any better, even though a lot of people will wind up thinking so because of an otherwise unmemorable play in an early August game.