Cincinnati Reds starter Mat Latos came over from the San Diego Padres anointed as a savior and it appeared the pressure of that got to him at first. The Cincinnati Reds were starving for that starter that would put them over the top and Latos simply needed some time. He was actually a bit of a curious choice as many of the Cincinnati faithful had other positions much higher on the needs meter. Either way, he came over and struggled at first. For whatever reason, Latos had to get a few starts under his belt to find his groove. Now, we find the Cincinnati Reds up nearly five games in the dead of summer with a solid grip on the Central. Latos has been a huge part of that turnaround from the disappointment of 2011.
Mat Latos has given the Reds two shut down starters
In years past, it seems the Reds always had one guy that was excellent or none. I don't recall recent years where the Reds had two guys the level of Mat Latos and Johnny Cueto at the same time. That one two punch has been bulldozing the competition all season long and I don't expect it to slow down. Cueto just shut down the Chicago Cubs on Sunday, August 12 for win number 15. Latos is in line to head home and face the New York Mets in search of his eleventh win. The combination of Latos and Cueto is a pairing I would not want to face when the playoffs come around, and it is also a combination that has made gaining ground on the Reds very difficult.
Mat Latos has given the Reds a confidence
This guy takes the mound and you feel the confidence in his stride. When he warms up, throws his pitches and walks off the field, there is a calmness that overtakes the field. Not many pitchers have had that over the years, but Latos has it in spades. He certainly gives him team the confidence they need to go out and win his starts.
Mat Latos truly has a better record than what shows
Although Latos sits currently at 10-3, he actually should have four more wins than that. He has been victimized by blown saves on four occasions during 2012. His record could easily be 14-3 and have him nipping at Cueto's heels for the team lead. His bad luck in this area will even itself out through the season, but it is amazing that he has continued to dominate anyway. He just shrugs it off and moves on to the next start. That is a professional.
As a huge Cincinnati Reds fan, I am very glad to have Latos around. Though I was not sold on him at first, I have become a big fan rather quickly. Dominating the opposition will do that for you. Hopefully Latos will be able to take the Reds to the promised land and beyond. He might be that savior after all.
*Southern is a life-long Cincinnati Reds fan that grew up watching Pete Rose, Johnny Bench and the boys dominate the Major Leagues. He longs for those days once again in Cincinnati.
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