CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

<< Previous Article
Premium Article The Prospectus Hit Lis... (04/26)
<< Previous Column
Raising Aces: Now Pitc... (04/24)
Next Column >>
Raising Aces: There's ... (04/30)
Next Article >>
Manufactured Runs: The... (04/26)

April 26, 2013

Raising Aces

Throwdown: Mat Latos vs. Jeff Samardzija

by Doug Thorburn


Midwest baseball fans were treated to an NL Central showdown on Wednesday, as the Cubs and the Reds squared off at Great American Ballpark with their aces on the mound. Mat Latos has been a reliable top-of-the-rotation arm for the Reds ever since his arrival via trade with the Padres in the offseason of 2011-12, and he has assumed the top spot in the Cincy rotation with Johnny Cueto currently on the shelf. The Cubbies countered with Jeff Samardzija, whose 2012 breakout has carried over to this season and who entered Wednesday's contest with the third-highest strikeout percentage in the National League (among starting pitchers).

The pitching prodigies did not disappoint. After a 90-minute rain delay, the two right-handers traded scoreless frames until the Reds broke through with a solo homer by Todd Frazier in the bottom of the sixth. When the dust cleared on the duel, that lone run would stand as the difference in a 1-0 Reds victory. Both players performed exceedingly well, yet a very different approach was at the foundation of each pitcher's success.

Mat Latos
Latos was on fire for the final two months of 2012, compiling a 2.39 ERA in 82 innings after the calendar flipped to August, though his luck ran out in the NLDS against the eventual World Champion Giants. He entered Wednesday's game without a decision in 2013 despite having four strong starts on his early-season resume. He had walked exactly one batter in each of his previous games, compiling a K-to-BB ratio of 29-to-4 en route to a strikeout percentage that ranked just behind Samardzija’s at fourth in the NL.

Pre-game Stats

IP

ERA

WHIP

K %

BB %

26.3

2.73

1.14

27.6%

3.8%

Latos was perfect the first time through the batting order, utilizing a healthy combination of 91-94 mph fastballs mixed with sliders in the 84-87 mph range. His patterns were more predictable on his second run through the lineup, and though he tossed a rare first-pitch curveball to David DeJesus to lead off the fourth, Latos then went on to throw first-pitch fastballs to the next nine consecutive hitters. The Reds jumped on the strategy, taking hacks and making contact early in the count, as four of the nine batters put the ball in play on the first pitch of the at bat.

One of those hitters was Julio Borbon, whose fourth-inning double off the right-field wall would end up being the hardest-hit ball of the day off Latos. Borbon was the first of just three baserunners who reached as far as second base for the Cubs on the afternoon.  

The rest of this article is restricted to Baseball Prospectus Subscribers.

Not a subscriber?

Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get access to the best baseball content on the web.


Cancel anytime.


That's a 33% savings over the monthly price!


That's a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Already a subscriber? Click here and use the blue login bar to log in.

Related Content:  Pitching,  Scouting,  Mechanics,  Delivery,  Grades

4 comments have been left for this article.

<< Previous Article
Premium Article The Prospectus Hit Lis... (04/26)
<< Previous Column
Raising Aces: Now Pitc... (04/24)
Next Column >>
Raising Aces: There's ... (04/30)
Next Article >>
Manufactured Runs: The... (04/26)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Fantasy Article Dynasty Dynamics: NL Central U25 Lists
Premium Article Minor League Update: Games of Monday, April ...
Premium Article Going Yard: How Carlos Gomez Got His Groove
Premium Article Notes from the Field: California and Carolin...
Premium Article Baseball Therapy: Why Sabermetrics Needs Tra...
Premium Article What You Need to Know: Back-and-Forth Baseba...
PECOTA Takes on Prospects

MORE FROM APRIL 26, 2013
Overthinking It: This Week in Catcher Framin...
Premium Article What You Need to Know: Muscle and Braun
Manufactured Runs: The Hawk Trap
Premium Article The Prospectus Hit List: Friday, April 26th
Fantasy Mailbag: Buy Low on Strasburg
Premium Article Daily Roundup: Around the League: April 26, ...
Fantasy Article Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner: Week Five

MORE BY DOUG THORBURN
2013-05-07 - TINSTAAPP: TINSTAAPP Episode 2: Bailey v. Ly...
2013-05-03 - Premium Article Raising Aces: Time to Unwind
2013-04-30 - Raising Aces: There's Something About Farrel...
2013-04-26 - Premium Article Raising Aces: Throwdown: Mat Latos vs. Jeff ...
2013-04-24 - Raising Aces: Now Pitching, Bryce Harper
2013-04-19 - Premium Article Raising Aces: Trending: National Grade
2013-04-12 - Premium Article Raising Aces: Jose Fernandez, the Debut Ante
More...

MORE RAISING ACES
2013-05-10 - Premium Article Raising Aces: Extending the Process
2013-05-03 - Premium Article Raising Aces: Time to Unwind
2013-04-30 - Raising Aces: There's Something About Farrel...
2013-04-26 - Premium Article Raising Aces: Throwdown: Mat Latos vs. Jeff ...
2013-04-24 - Raising Aces: Now Pitching, Bryce Harper
2013-04-19 - Premium Article Raising Aces: Trending: National Grade
2013-04-12 - Premium Article Raising Aces: Jose Fernandez, the Debut Ante
More...

INCOMING ARTICLE LINKS
2013-05-07 - TINSTAAPP: TINSTAAPP Episode 1 (Pilot): Linc...