Reds skipping Mike Leake’s turn in rotation to keep Johnny Cueto on normal rest

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Mike Leake has mostly struggled since throwing a one-run complete game against the Mets on August 15, allowing 24 runs and nine homers in 32 innings, and the Reds have announced plans to skip his next turn in the rotation.

Leake was slated to pitch Tuesday, but instead Johnny Cueto make that start against the Brewers on what will still be normal rest thanks to today’s open date on the schedule. Barring another change of plans Leake will then re-enter the rotation Saturday versus the Pirates.

That means the pitching matchups for the Cincinnati-Milwaukee series will be Cueto vs. Mike Fiers on Tuesday, Bronso Arroyo vs. Shaun Marcum on Wednesday, and Mat Latos vs. Wily Peralta on Thursday.

Report: Padres interested in Maikel Franco

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The Padres may have some interest in acquiring Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco, according to a recent report from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. It seems unlikely that the team would deal their starting third baseman with J.P. Crawford (fractured left hand) sidelined through July; to that end, however, they signed infielder Danny Espinosa as minor league depth on Friday and have reportedly been eying the Rangers’ Adrian Beltre, among other veteran options.

Franco, 25, entered Sunday batting .255/.297/.425 with nine home runs and a .721 OPS in 229 plate appearances this season. While he has yet to live up to the .280+ average, 1.9+ fWAR he posted during his rookie campaign, he’s been a solid 20+ home run producer over the last few years and shown some stability at the hot corner. He’s also under team control for the next three years and could provide some much-needed insurance behind the Padres’ current third base option, 27-year-old Christian Villanueva.

Rosenthal notes that the Phillies could strike a deal for one of San Diego’s relievers, though no one specific has been connected to the team yet — and the club probably wouldn’t be able to finesse a one-for-one deal given the quality of the Padres’ pitchers. The Phillies’ bullpen has looked downright abysmal over the last month, placing 11th-worst in the league with a collective 5.34 ERA and 0.3 fWAR. Their failure to procure a viable reliever beyond Seranthony Dominguez, Victor Arano and Edubray Ramos lends a certain urgency to any potential deal they make over the next few weeks, though the official trade deadline is still over a month away.