There were two big stories of the night–the first was Reds’ pitcher Mat Latos. Not to be outdone by Opening Day starter, Johnny Cueto, Latos went six and two thirds innings and allowed seven hits, three runs (all earned), one walk and eight strike outs. It was a night that Latos needed to have, considering that he has struggled out of the gate early in his career. For Latos to pitch as well as he did, if you take away the three runs he gave up, it’s a big step forward for his confidence going into his next starts. Although he didn’t get the win, I was very pleased the way he pitched.
The second big story has to be the way Brandon Phillips hit the ball tonight. For as bad as the Reds did on Opening Day where they hit a combined .071, Phillips provided a spark in a big way in the fourth inning when he launched a 3-run home run to give the Reds an early 3-0 lead.
Phillips, who batted clean-up tonight for the Reds, is not a clean-up hitter by trade but the stats show that it is actually one of his better spots in the lineup for him to hit. In the last three years, Phillips has hit .281 with 18 home runs and 97 RBI. He’s still, to me, not a clean-up hitter by any means, but with Ryan Ludwick being out for sometime, you’d have to think that this where Phillips might have to bat for the time being.
The Reds are back in action against those same Angels Thursday afternoon at 12:35.
Follow Brad Stiene on Twitter, @bs_rant1