Monday March 15th (Night game)
Giants- More poor defense from the Giants today as they committed 4 errors, most of them simple mistakes. It was a bullpen game for the Giants, which meant no young guns or anything either, although Guillermo Mota was sittin’ em down through 2 innings. Nothing too exciting here. Played subs and the bullpen and only scored 1 run.
Padres- Let’s get the boring stuff out of the way first so we can get to Mat Latos. Wil Venable (yes, only one L) looks pretty good this year, and Kyle Blanks is currently tearing the cover off the ball. Adrian Gonzalez lined one up the middle as well for his first really impressive hit of my spring. Ok, it is Mat Latos Time.
Mat Latos has everything it takes to be a big-time pitcher in the majors. He has a mid 90s fastball that he can locate extremely well, a filthy curveball and a lethal changeup. Perhaps best of all about his pitches is that he rarely uses the curve or change superfluously. He is a fastball first guy, but his off-speed stuff is so good that it actually catchespeople off guard, unlike the Zito curveball or other guys like that. His fastball is a threat AND his other pitches work off of it, not the other way around. The worry with guys like that is that if their fastball is not working they are in trouble. Mat Latos throws in the mid 90s and has outstanding command of all his pitches, especially his fastball. Throughout the minors, he had a 6:1 K:BB ratio. You read that right, 6:1. He has great command of it, and because of that, his already plus off-speed stuff is even better. Let’s see how he did today.
Here is a breakdown of his 4 innings of work:
1st Inning: 7 pitches, 7 strikes, 2 Ks. What else do you need to know? Got the 2 Ks on nasty curveballs that made Velez and Nate Schierholtz look really bad. Fastball at the knees with pinpoint accuracy.
2nd Inning: 24 pitches, 13 strikes-9 balls, 2 hits, 1 walk, 1 run, 1 K. He walked Aubrey Huff on some high fastballs, something uncharacteristic for him, and that is where the trouble started. After Huff got on, the two guys after him Eli Whiteside hammered one, but it was right at Tony Gwynn Jr (again, on a higher fastball). That was followed by two seeing eye singles that scored Huff and accounted for the only run Latos, or the Padres, would allow. His troubles came from losing fastball command, but he right the ship quickly and finished it off with a K with men on 2nd and 3rd.
3rd Inning: 11 pitches, 8 strikes-3 balls, 1 hit (3B), 0 runs, 0 Ks. He came back with authority, not allowing just about anything other than a shot to Schierholtz in the gap that he turned into a 3-bagger. Other than that, Latos was in control, only throwing 3 balls and making hitters look downright silly. Eugenio Velez again stuck out, getting completely fooled on a change up before pounding it into the ground on the 3rd base side. No issues for Latos.
4th Inning: 15 pitches, 9 strikes-6 balls, 1 walk, 0 hits, 0 Ks. Again, no problems for the electric Mr. Latos. Command of the strike zone, and still overpowering hitters. Unlike most youg pitchers, we was extremely efficient on the mound. 4 IP, 57 pitches, 37 strikes (65%, and the misses were mostly either intentional or close), 2 BB, 3 hits, 1 ER, 3Ks.
Watch out San Diego, you might have a storm coming your way, an electric storm, an electric feel, and its name Mat Latos.