Latos wants to learn from late-season struggles

The final month of the 2010 season taught San Diego Padres

starting pitcher Mat Latos a difficult lesson.

Prior to his final five starts of the season, Latos was on a

major league record-setting run in which he limited opponents to

two earned runs or less in five or more innings in 15 straight

starts.

But Latos ended his first full season in the big leagues by

going 0-5 with an 8.18 ERA, including a loss on the final day of

the regular season to the San Francisco Giants that kept the Padres

out of the postseason.

Latos was 14-10 with a 2.92 ERA in 31 starts and finished tied

for eighth in National League Cy Young Award voting.

”That last month brings you right back down to earth,” Latos

said. ”Does it suck? Yeah it does, because any little bit might

have pushed us into the playoffs. It was poorly timed, but I’ll

take it and I’ll learn from it.”

Prior to that stretch, opponents were hitting .191 against

Latos, who started the season 14-9.

Latos said he didn’t feel tired but thinks his numbers show

otherwise. He believes that led to location mistakes that opponents

didn’t miss. Padres manager Bud Black wasn’t surprised considering

that it was the first time Latos pitched deep into September and

October.

Latos finished the season with a career-high 184 innings

pitched.

”When you’re young and not used to it, it takes a toll mentally

and physically,” Black said.

Latos isn’t willing to let a poor ending to his season ruin his

future. His confidence is high and he plans on using last season’s

lessons to his benefit.

”It doesn’t take away from the whole season,” Latos said. ”I

think it makes the season that much better because it’s a prime

example (to learn from). I was doing my best and succeeding for

such a long period of time and then it turned around and went the

opposite way. That’s how seasons are going to be.

”It’s going to be a grind no matter what.”