Cincinnati Reds (54-54) vs. Miami Marlins (53-55)
Friday, August 1, 2014: 7:10 p.m. at Marlins Park
Surviving last-minute trade speculation, Mat Latos is still donning the grey and red. Now his sights focus on attempting to help carry the Redlegs’ scuffling offense to the Postseason on the strength of his right shoulder.
The last two occasions on which Latos took to the hill, he wound up with a loss. His most recent start on July 27 against Washington saw him strikeout six in six innings of work, but also walk four batters and allow three runs, which was all but an insurmountable lead for the offense.
With the calendar flipping to August, Latos enters the month in which he has thrived in his career. Having pitched the most innings and made the most starts of any month, Latos’ ERA is a sparkling 2.86 for his career when the sun beats down unbearably hot. He has only allowed nine home runs, two less than any other month, quite the impressive statistic when factoring in how well the ball travels when the air is warm.
The history of good fortune runs out there for Latos when talking about the Miami Marlins. He has made seven career starts, none of which has been wins. Going 0-3 with a 5.26 ERA, Latos’ WHIP of 1.45 against Miami is the highest of any club in which he has started against at least twice. Looking to reverse both his own fortune, and the Reds, Latos get the ball Friday night down at Marlins Park.
Just six days after the Miami Marlins beat Jarred Cosart around the yard in Houston, they figured it was the appropriate time to acquire him. Ranking as one of the more “under-the-radar” moves at the Trade Deadline, the fish swung a trade with the Astros in which they sent their 2013 first-round pick in exchange for Cosart.
They now acquire a pitcher who has not so much as had a quality start since June 26, and has gone more than seven innings only once. While Cosart is not classified as a “strikeout pitcher,” he does have three separate occasions on which he has struck out eight batters, the last of which came all the way back on June 9. Since then, he has not struck out more than four in a single start.
Just beginning to make his rounds throughout the league, Cosart must now cope with switching over to a new league and a team on the fringe of a playoff push with just two months remaining. With the Houston Astros becoming staples of the American League West Division, the Redlegs have not yet matched up with Cosart, leaving Friday night to be the opening act.
In the most bizarre of scenarios, the Cincinnati Reds are still blatantly involved in the playoff picture. Ahead of them in the Wildcard standings are only the Pittsburgh Pirates and either the St. Louis Cardinals or Atlanta Braves (depending on percentages points). They sit still just three and a half games back there, while being only five and a half off the pace for the division. The remainder of the series in Miami can set the tone for what type of month August is going to be, but September as well.