Reds manager Dusty Baker announced the expected after Tuesday night’s game to the Mets, saying that Mat Latos will take the mound for this afternoon rubber match against the Mets.
Greg Reynolds was supposed to start the series finale today, but we all knew that wasn’t going to happen.
Latos last pitched on Friday against the Pirates and gave up four runs on eight hits and two walks in six innings. A report on Monday saying that Latos was dealing with an abdominal strain sustained in June, but Latos denied that was the case on Tuesday.
“He says he’s fine,” Baker said. “He said that whatever was written was a while ago and they made it sound like it was yesterday. He’s fine. He’s ready to go.”
By pitching Latos this afternoon, Baker and the Reds will have no doubt their ace starter this season throwing in an important game, as Cincinnati enters the day trailing first place St. Louis by three games in the National League Central with four games to play.
Perhaps as importantly, though, Latos will now be available for two potentially bigger games.
If the Reds manage to tie the Cardinals for first by the time the season ends Sunday which is highly unlikely, Latos would likely take the ball on regular rest for a tiebreaker on Monday. If Cincinnati can’t make up enough ground and ends up in the Wild Card game which looks realistic, Latos would receive an extra day of rest and be able to take the mound next Tuesday.
In five starts against the Cardinals this season, Latos is 3-1 with a 2.38 ERA, including a complete-game victory on Sept. 2. Latos has struggled a bit in five starts against the Pirates just going 1-1 with a 4.08 ERA.
Overall for the season, Latos has gone 14-6 with a 3.23 ERA. One more win would set a career high for Latos, he gave up four runs in 6 2/3 innings against the Mets in late May.