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MLB Cincinnati Reds

Cincinnati Reds: Mat Latos Will Need Ace Stuff in 2013 Debut

Frank Victores-USA Today Sports

Coming off a heartbreaking loss against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the Cincinnati Reds are back in action tonight with their second ace Mat Latos taking the mound on Wednesday.

Latos is coming of a 2012 season in which he set career-highs in games started, innings pitched, complete games and tying career highs in wins (14-4 overall) and strike outs (185). Tonight, he looks to pick up where he left off in the regular season: in absolute dominating fashion.

But, Latos has never really been one to start hot out of the gates, as he is a career 2-8 with a 5.73 ERA in the month of April and wasn’t necessarily stellar in his outings during spring training. Still, it’s a fresh start in 2013 and I fully expect Latos to be on top of his game.

I’ve said it a few times throughout recent posts for the Reds — Latos has ace-like stuff. But, with great expectations comes great responsibility while being on the mound. Although he has the tools in his arsenal of pitches to be an ace, Latos can be his own worst enemy at time while he’s on the mound.

In order for him to be successful, he has to keep his composure while things get hairy. While it’s not easy for him to do, it’s something that has to be done in order to see the good Latos. When the good Latos happens, the Reds get six to seven innings of quality baseball. When the bad Latos comes out, the Reds will be lucky to see him get out of the fourth inning.

While it’s been documented that the Angels have big bats in Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, Mike Trout and many others, the one advantage Latos has on them is the fact he has never faced the Angels before.  Pitchers who have never faced a team tend to do better and Latos will needed it, considering the Angels are throwing 13-game winner C.J. Wilson in opposition.

Overall, I see this coming down to the wire again like it was on Monday. It’s a battle between two teams who have the capability to make a deep run in October who are throwing two pitchers that would aces anywhere else, and teams who have arguably some of the best lineups that their payroll can allow.

Follow Brad Stiene on Twitter @bs_rant1