It certainly did not take long for the first sign of panic to come from a fan base longing for success.
Many took to social media yesterday to scream and yell, virtually, of course, that the Reds season was over before it even began due to Mat Latos’ knee injury.
The surrogate ace of the club had surgery yesterday morning to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee, which should sideline him for anywhere from 1-2 weeks.
As C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer stated in a tweet yesterday, “modern medicine” is responsible for the lack of time the big, tall right-hander will miss.
Although the Reds seemed to avert disaster, the omen of the teams ace pitcher tearing his meniscus prior to any significant activity, cannot be the best one they have ever received. The starting rotation is the backbone of the 2014 club, needing to avoid injuries at all costs if they hope to compete with the dominant St. Louis Cardinals and the upstart Pittsburgh Pirates.
Since his arrival in Cincinnati, Latos has statistically been one of the best pitchers the Reds have ever run out on the hill.
His combined record of 28-11 in his two years with the Reds, has accumulated to an astronomical .718 winning percentage. Initial naysayers of the deal that saw a litany of top prospects head to San Diego, did not believe the “California cool” Latos would be able to buy into the team element vital to the Cincinnati atmosphere. If there were any doubts about his commitment, he recently purchased a home in the area with his wife, showing that he is perfectly capable of settling down.
In the near future, the Reds organization seemingly will have to make a choice between Latos and homegrown talent, Homer Bailey. Both will be commanding ace-like money, even if they play second fiddle to the Dominican superstar, Johnny Cueto. In a perfect world, both will be secured long-term, not being forced to let one of the two leave via free agency and continue to feed the big-market monopolies.
As Cueto’s health remains in the air due to his arm issues, Latos has proven vital to the club’s overall success. Regardless of his future endeavors, it will be difficult to forget his heroic efforts in Game 1 of the 2012 NLDS where he came in cold and set the Reds in the perfect position to advance out of the first round for the first time in 17 years.
Last season’s Game 163 seemed destined to be Latos’ time to shine, but with elbow issues arising, it was “Cue-to, Cueto” who took to the hill. Even if it meant additional work this season to regain full health, Latos was willing to take the ball, in spite of his nearly impossible situation.
Ultimately, crisis averted. Before we all know it, Latos will be toeing the rubber and getting back to his mission of winning a championship for the Queen City.