This off-season, the Cincinnati Reds traded for Mat Latos and although they gave away a sizable portion of their future, we thought it would mean trouble for the Bucs this year. Unfortunately for the Reds, the fireballing 24-year old has hardly been the match they thought he would be at the top of their rotation.
Well, until today.
After three outings, Latos had an earned run average of 8.22 – and in the first inning yesterday, the Pirates gave strong indications that Latos was about to be rocked once again.
But it never happened as the Bucs left the bases drunk after a hit batsmen and two walks in the first inning. The Pirates powerless offense disappeared the rest of the way against Latos. The Bucs were punched out eleven times–a new career high for Latos.
The Reds’ right hander would end up actually dropping his overall ERA, especially his career 2.84 ERA coming in against the Bucs. It’s hard to fathom that in his last outing against a young Houston Astros club, he was ripped for five runs and ten hits in 6.1 innings.
Charlie Morton continued with his latest struggles and was hit hard by the Reds home-run-happy offense. In his last outing, Electric Stuff was rocked for eight hits and five earned runs in 4.1 innings against the Cardinals.
On Ceramic Bowl Sunday, Morton served up gopher balls to Todd Frazier and Drew Stubbs. It wasn’t the typical Morton outing – several fly ball outs were recorded, including some that were caught deep in the sun-splashed PNC Park outfield. The sinkerballer who typically gets tons of ground balls only got five today, against seven fly ball outs.
It was also odd to see two more right handed batters take Morton deep; perhaps the regression has begun, my friends, or – more simply – perhaps he has lost the feel for his sinkers by relying on his other pitches in recent starts.
In total, Morton allowed four earned runs and exited after six innings with the Pirates down 5-0. Quite a difference from his performance against the Reds last year, when he had a 0.93ERA in four starts.
Brad Lincoln threw a scoreless inning and allowed two hits. Jared Hughes also fired a scoreless inning giving up a hit, but he forced an around-the-horn double play ball to get out of the eighth inning.