It was the outing Reds fans have longed to see from Mat Latos. Seven shutout innings allowing only a pair of walks and four hits. Latos worked out of a two out, bases loaded jam in the top of the 6th and tossed a perfect 7th to garner his first win as a Red.
And the sighs of relief were felt across the vast Redsland…
A lot of debate still centers around the deal that brought Latos to the Reds. Some say the Reds handed the Padres too much: a pair of first round picks, a supplemental pick that some scouts felt was a first round selection and a former All-Star. Others will say that prospects are just that and that the days of Edinson Volquez in a Reds uniform should not have even happened. The anti-EV brigade also cried for the Reds to get him out of town.
None of this will affect Latos. As we always say about Joey Votto, he’s a different cat. And last evening, Latos sure looked like a different cat from his previous three starts.
In those three, Latos had failed to get past the 6th inning going 4.2, 5.0 and 5.2 in those outings. In his last game versus the Cards, he also threw 112 pitches. Last night, Latos would need 95 for his seven innings of work, 66 for strikes. The only inning where Latos hurled more than 11 pitches was that 6th inning where the Giants posted a rally. 37 of the 95 pitches come there. He averaged less than 10 pitches an inning if you extract that 6th inning.
Last night’s win also brought Latos to the .500 mark for his career against the Giants (3-3). His career ERA against San Fran now sits at 2.35 and he owns a WHIP of 0.985. I think he fares pretty well against his former rival.
Stats that will drive you nuts
When manager Dusty Baker first decided to make some changes to the lineup, one was moving Drew Stubbs into the #2 spot. It was not a popular one. Even here, it wasn’t. If you check the comments of that piece, I state some numbers about Stubbs.
Just a reminder after last night’s game. In the six games since the switch, Stubbs is 10-for-26 which translates to a batting average of .385. He’s added a homer and driven in 6. He has struck out 4 times while drawing only 1 walk. And that may be concerning? The 4:1 SO:BB ratio? Yes, it does project out (based on a 162 game season) to 108 whiffs and 28 walks. As long as the strikeout rate drops, we should all feel better, right?
For the record, in the short stint of six games, that SO% is 13.8%. In his prior 11 games, that was 31.0%. Which Drew Stubbs would you rather have?
We know the guy batting second is a key component of the lineup as opponents will deliver many fastballs to challenge the guiy Dusty has penciled in at the second spot. Don’t want to face Votto with men on base.
And Jay Bruce did something last night he hadn’t done all season: drove in a run while runners were in scoring position. A reference was made on the telecast that Bruce only drove in one run on the recent road trip. You can take it back even a little bit more…
Since the opening series and until that hit last night, Bruce had driven in only two runs while not leaving the yard. When the Reds departed for DC, Bruce led the team in home runs with 3. He still has 3. His batting average over that stretch was only.224. He also had been prone to strikeouts early this season as he whiffed 14 times in that span which was 12 games.
We like to say “it’s early”, but when is it not become too early to say certain things about how one is performing? Scott Rolen has received his fair share of criticism of his slow start. I mentioned Bruce, but there weren’t a whole lot of cries about that.
But we’re not hearing too much about Joey Votto. He leads the National League in walks with 17…one a game, but as alluded to last night, his strikeouts are up a bit. Would you believe 19? Now there’s some irony…
Those 19 have him tied for 7th in the NL. For 2011, he was ranked 16th with 129.
A cause for concern or is it still “too early”?