If you see Latos in an away uni, hide your eyes. (Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE)

Mat Latos is Right at Home at GABP

Yes, I’m bringing up the trade that brought Mat Latos to the Cincinnati Reds. I do so for one reason.

The biggest concern was the “change of scenery” aspect. Some feared that change may not be to the liking of Latos. Pitching in the haven that is Petco can become as secure as Linus and his blanket. Petco is routinely among the top pitcher’s parks in baseball. Moving from there to Great American Ball Park could play mind games. GABP is known as a hitter’s paradise and the ball will literally jump out of the field of play with barely a sneeze to propel it.

If you don’t think Petco can play mind games on a player, just ask Ryan Ludwick.

But you know something. Latos had slowly adapted to the confines of his new home park. It’s far from a complete process (is it ever?), but the early returns are favorable.

I hear ya, those that still retort about the trade every time Latos throws a pitch. Even you cannot deny the fact the Latos has performed well in a hitter’s park.

Wait. Did I mention something about signs? I did. More to follow on that.

Here’s the splits of home Latos and road Latos.

Home 5 1 3.47 9 59.2 24 23 52 12 15 49 3.27 .235 .287 .448 1.123 7.4
Away 1 1 7.45 6 29.0 27 24 38 5 13 34 2.62 .306 .377 .565 1.759 10.6

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde? That’s the best way I’d explain it.

The only two negatives: home runs allowed (which everyone should have seen coming) and the lower SO/9. Sometimes you need a strikeout more at GABP than at other stadiums. This is a concern, but I think Latos solved that for at least last evening.

The past three outings (overall) have been, um, eventful for Latos. On June 13, Latos went seven innings in a game at GABP against the Cleveland Indians. That was the game that exposed the “Dusty Hates Derek Hates Dusty” and “Derek has no respect for Dusty” deals. We heard that Dusty requested (maybe that’s too kind) of Latos to buzz Derek Lowe while he was at the plate…and we still don’t know exactly the reason for this.

Then came the “return game” at Progressive Field where Latos was knocked around, lit up, rocked. After the game, accusations were made that the Tribe was stealing signs, a claim the Indians refute. The rebuttal was “…you don’t have to steal signs when you’re tipping pitches”.

You have to think that maybe the circumstances played in the head of Latos. Maybe. Maybe not. We will most likely never know.

Then last night. The Reds were clinging to a one game lead over surging Pittsburgh Pirates. Latos went out and delivered one of his best games…of his career. A career high 13 whiffs and a complete game.

I was on record stating I didn’t take much issue with the trade to bring Latos to Cincinnati. Many want to place a grade on this trade now. You simply cannot do that.

Oh, wanna compare some numbers? Let’s…

Latos 5 1 3.47 9 59.2 24 23 52 12 15 49 3.27 .235 .287 .448 1.123 7.4
??? 2 4 3.45 10 60.0 24 23 45 3 32 57 1.78 .212 .312 .316 1.283 8.6

I brought back the Latos home (GABP) numbers here. Can you fancy a guess whose owns the home numbers displayed on the other line? They belong to Edinson Volquez. Overall, Latos (at GABP) has out pitched Volquez (at Petco) at their respective home parks. Digest that for a moment. The one area where there was concern, Latos has thus far proven there should be none.

It’s on the road where things have to start in a different direction. And as I say…baby steps.

Look, I know there will always be those that will never be a fan of the trade. I see comments along those lines after every Latos outing. Tyler eluded to such the other day.

If this will help redirect your hatred either toward Latos personally or the deal, the Reds are 9-6 in his 15 starts. That’s .600 baseball. That will win you the division…at least, it should.

Tags: Baseball Cincinnati Reds Edinson Volquez Mat Latos MLB

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