The Cove
Deep coverage of the Giants

Reds Game 4 Starter Up in Air

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Dusty Baker's gotta make a call as to who'll start Game 4 of the NLDS in Cincinnati for the Reds. But because of some crazy circumstances involving his starting pitchers, he still doesn't know who will start.

    However, the choice is between Mat Latos and Mike Leake, Baker indicated following the Giants crazy 3-2 victory on Tuesday night.

    "I wish I had an answer," Baker said, per Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com.

    As we mentioned earlier on Tuesday, Johnny Cueto's dealing with a oblique strain. In a perfect world, Cueto would've thrown more than eight pitches in Game 1 and the Reds wouldn't have had to burn Latos in relief early at that point.

    But Cueto did and now Baker has to decide between a) starting Latos on four days rest or b) starting Leake.

    The biggest downside to (b)? Baker would need to remove Cueto from the roster, which means he'd be done for the postseason.

    "It's very difficult, but it all depends on if your ace can't go or whatever it is," Baker said after the game. "You have to go with the healthy bodies. That's part of the consideration, is us going without him. We realize what's at stake and that's part of the decision."

    A lot depends on where Latos is at this moment. The former Padres star threw just 57 pitches against the Giants in the first game. If he's thrown additional work since, Baker might be concerned about overexposing him.

    But Baker has to also be concerned about using Leake in a spot like this. If the Reds bring Leake up and the Giants jump all over him, suddenly Baker's staring at a Game 5 nightmare situation. It's a difficult choice and it's exactly why he doesn't know right now.

    The best guess is Latos, but if Cueto's looking like he can't return at all, then Leake could end up getting the call.