When Pittsburgh and Cincinnati meet again Saturday at Great American Ball Park, James McDonald will pitch for the Pirates against surprise starter Leake.
Leake flip-flopped in the rotation after scheduled starter Edinson Volquez was pushed to Sunday because of a stiff neck. Either way, the Pirates will be employing a new look at the top of the batting order designed to shake some things up.
Center fielder Andrew McCutchen is back in the leadoff spot, and Neil Walker has taken over the cleanup spot. Lyle Overbay, who had been hitting fourth, moved to the third spot, and Jose Tabata dropped one spot to No. 2.
"I try to be more proactive than reactive," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "Normally, whenever I make a move with a player or group of players, I have a conversation with them about it. I thought about it overnight. We had a good first week, we had a bad second week. I pay attention to numbers, but I also rely quite a lot on my eyes and my gut. In watching those four guys, I thought if I could rearrange them, it would be best for the group.
"It should bring comfort. And I think they can play upon each other's strengths."
Walker, for one, said he thinks the new alignment might prevent the team from trying to do too much.
"I think that the four that have been switched around here -- it's not at all that anybody is going to be in an uncomfortable position that they've never been in before," Walker said. "Andrew has hit leadoff before. Tabata has hit second many times before. I know Lyle has probably hit third, fourth, fifth, sixth probably his entire career. I don't think it's going to affect any of us."
As for the Reds, they're in need of a rebound by Leake, who blew a 5-0 lead to Arizona in his last start on Sunday, giving up six runs over 4 2/3 innings, including a five-run fifth.
"Five runs should be enough. I didn't make it enough," said Leake, who allowed nine hits with two walks and four strikeouts. "I got a couple of unlucky rolls that went through for hits. ... They made me pay."
Pirates: McDonald looking for help
McDonald left his last start with a 5-4 lead, but the bullpen gave up two in the seventh in the 6-5 loss to the Rockies. McDonald is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in three relief appearances against the Reds, all with the Dodgers. He was the winning pitcher in a 12-inning victory at Great American Ball Park on Aug. 30, 2009.
Overbay has hit safely in 14 of his 16 career games at Great American Ball Park, going 28-for-66 (.424 average) with four homers, 16 RBIs, five doubles and 16 runs scored.
Eight of Pittsburgh's first 12 games were decided by two runs or less. The Pirates are 3-2 in one-run games this season, including a 2-1 mark on the road.
Reds: 'Bake' cooking up history
Reds manager Dusty Baker became the 11th big league manager to earn 250 wins with each of three or more teams when the Reds beat the Padres on Monday night. Baker previously managed the Giants to 840 wins and the Cubs to 322. Only Joe Torre (five), Gene Mauch (four) and Dick Williams (four) led more than three clubs to at least 250 victories. Meanwhile, Baker has 1,413 career wins as manager and needs only one to pass Hall of Famer Miller Huggins for 21st on the all-time list. Hall of Famer Earl Weaver is next at 1,480.
Including his two victories this season, reliever Logan Ondrusek has begun his Major League career with a 7-0 record. He is the only right-hander in franchise history to win his first seven career decisions and the first Reds pitcher to start a career 7-0 since lefty Rob Murphy went 8-0 in 1986-87.
Reliever Aroldis Chapman hasn't allowed an earned run this season and hasn't allowed a hit in any of his last three appearances.
Ryan Doumit has hit 48 career homers as a Pirates catcher, tying him with Smoky Burgess and Manny Sanguillen for fourth place on the club's all-time homer list by a catcher. Jim Pagliaroni is third (49) and Tony Pena (63) ranks second behind leader Jason Kendall (66). ... Reds righty starter Johnny Cueto (irritation in his right biceps/triceps) is scheduled to start a rehab assignment Saturday for Triple-A Louisville. ... Reds righty Homer Bailey (right shoulder impingement) is scheduled to start a rehab assignment Sunday for Louisville.