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Reliable on mound, Leake taking a dip at dish

CINCINNATI -- Reds pitcher Mike Leake has been the rotation's most consistent starter this season. Historically, he has also been the staff's best hitter -- but not this season.

Leake, who was 0-for-2 and grounded into a double play in Friday's 5-3 win over the Pirates, is in an 0-for-25 funk since his last hit, a single vs. Braves pitcher Mike Minor on June 8. He is batting .200 overall after he batted .295 with two home runs in 2012. Perhaps the opposition is no longer treating him like a free out during their planning meetings.

"Sometimes that happens. They're definitely pitching me a little bit tougher, I feel," Leake said on Saturday. "They're definitely not saying, 'Here, hit this fastball.' They're definitely making me work more. It's one of those years, probably, where I'm not making the best contact. It's just something where you have to take it, and the next game you'll be better."

During Friday's win, Leake pitched 5 2/3 innings with three runs, six hits and two walks allowed while he struck out five. He is 9-4 with a 2.79 ERA in 19 starts.

"I'm here to be a pitcher. I'd rather be slipping on my hitting than my pitching," Leake said.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon.
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