Homer Bailey kind of let this one slip during his presser last night and the Reds have made it official today that Mike Leake (left) will start Game Four today against the Giants. Since Leake wasn't on the roster to start the division series, ace Johnny Cueto is coming off due to the back spasms he suffered in Game One.
And that might really hurt the Reds down the line. By being removed, Cueto is ineligible for the NLCS.
So last night was a big one for the Bay Area as the Giants and Athletics both staved off elimination. The pressure is really on the Reds and Tigers today to win Game Four and not let their 2-0 leads slip to Game Five. Especially for Detroit, which is playing out in Oakland.
Meanwhile, Chris Carpenter starts today for St. Louis in Washington (the first home postseason game in DC since 1933) and there's still plenty of what-if-they-had-Strasburg talk going on.
Most of the focus around here, of course, deals with the Yankees. They return home in a 1-1 tie with the Orioles but with plenty of questions about their offense. Specifically, Alex Rodriguez (right). When I saw the Yanks in Toronto at the end of the season, A-Rod's bat speed was practically nil. And that's continued here.
Now comes the real question: Does Joe Girardi move him down in the lineup? Sure seems like he has to. This ESPN study shows how the fastball has been killing A-Rod of late. But there's more: A-Rod had two extra-base hits (two!) in his last 88 at-bats of the regular season. He had a .360 slugging percentage and .685 OPS in September.
In the last two years, he's averaging 17 homers and 60 RBIs. And there's still more than $100 million left on his contract. Yikes.
Joe Girardi admitted yesterday he's pondering the A-Rod situation.
Ken Davidoff of the New York Post says it's time for A-Rod to bat sixth. I might go as far as No. 7.
Wally Matthews of ESPNNY.com says you keep A-Rod where he is.
3:40 p.m. update: We ran a poll earlier today and you can see the results below. Girardi has taken the easy way out and has stayed the course. A-Rod bats third tonight. Boo.
(Photos: Associated Press)