CINCINNATI -- In a development that's probably as surprising to the Reds as it is ill-timed, given their recent slide, Mike Leake has taken a steep downturn over his last three starts.
After the Reds finally snapped their nine-game losing streak, Leake's latest effort on Wednesday afternoon was another struggle during a 6-4 loss to the Rockies. Over five innings, he allowed six earned runs and nine hits, including two home runs, with two walks and four strikeouts
"No. 1, I'm missing over the middle. No. 2, I'm not going with instincts enough," Leake said. "I'm going with the standard plan, I guess. I don't know how to word it. It will come. It's three games, but unfortunately it's been three games that I haven't caught on to quick enough. We still have a lot of starts left."
Over his first seven starts, Leake had a 2.36 ERA with 13 runs over 49 2/3 innings. His last three starts have seen him go 0-3 with a 12.86 ERA, as he's given up 20 earned runs and 27 hits over 14 innings with six homers.
During his personal skid, opposing hitters are batting .391 (27-for-69) vs. Leake. Following the game, and a team meeting, Leake and catcher Tucker Barnhart held a lengthy one-on-one discussion at the pitcher's locker.
Leake wouldn't discuss the specifics of the conversation.
"Basically it's getting back on with what we had success with. It's our job to do that," Leake said.
Leake seemed vulnerable with two outs as the Reds fell into a quick hole in the top of the first inning. Following a two-out walk of Troy Tulowitzki, Nolan Arenado's three-run homer to left field made it a 3-0 game.
Another two-out homer in the second inning, a two-run shot by Charlie Blackmon to right field, made it 5-1. Three more hits in the fifth included Ben Paulsen's two-out RBI single to center field.
"He's off the edges of the plate a little bit early in the at-bats," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "He's throwing more pitches. There's more balls in the air. At this level of play, it's finding your way. He'll get back there. It's frustrating, certainly, for him and for our ballclub, because this doesn't resemble the guy we're used to seeing."