Coming off a 4-2 home stand against two teams who have excellent chances of making a deep postseason run, the Cincinnati Reds have packed their bags are headed out to the Midwest to face an NL Central foe in the St. Louis Cardinals.
Today’s afternoon starter for the Reds will be Mat Latos, someone who has not fared well against the Cardinals.
In the 2012 season, Latos was roughed up by the Cardinals. His overall stats in four games pitched against the Cardinals last year are 20.2 innings pitched, one win against two losses, 26 hits, 18 runs scored (all of them earned), three home runs, eight walks, 20 strikeouts and a whopping 7.84 ERA.
To make matters even worse, the Cardinals had a field day against him, batting at a .313 clip.
Trying to find some comfort? Well, it’s a new season and it’s a new Latos. He’s coming off a pretty solid outing against a very tough Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim lineup and was able to pitch 6.2 strong innings while striking out eight and allowing only three runs. If he can build off that outing against a team that has essentially owned him throughout his career, then Latos will pitch better this time around.
On top of that, Latos really is going to need to pitch well tonight because of the bullpen being overtaxed already. Reds’ manager Dusty Baker told reds.com,
“Broxton has gone two days in a row. Chapman has gone two days in a row,” Baker said. “We need some innings, big-time, out of Latos tomorrow to put us back in sync.”
I have to agree with this. While it’s most likely too early to start talking about a bullpen being tired (but I would say they have been used quite a lot to begin the season), the pressure is completely on Latos. It would be an absolute luxury for him to give the Reds seven innings of quality baseball against a team that has dominated him.
Follow Brad Stiene on Twitter @bs_rant1