Even during the roughest stretch of his young career, Mat Latos
is still confident.
The San Diego right-hander looks to avoid setting a franchise
record with his 10th consecutive losing start when the Padres host
the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night.
Latos (0-4, 4.98 ERA) tied for the team lead with 14 victories
last season, but has a 6.60 ERA while dropping nine straight starts
since beating the Dodgers on Sept. 7. He joins Andy Benes (Sept. 6,
1993-April 19, 1994) and Dennis Rasmussen (June 26-Aug. 9, 1991) as
the only Padres to lose nine consecutive starts.
Despite that distinction, the 23-year-old Latos still believes
in his ability.
“I feel fine,” Latos said. “It’s not like I’m giving up 10 runs
and getting the crap knocked out of me.”
Latos allowed six runs in five innings of a 7-0 loss to Atlanta
on Wednesday, but only one was earned after an error by first
baseman Brad Hawpe with two outs in the second inning led to the
Braves scoring five unearned runs.
“I did my job for the most part and you just have to keep
going,” Latos said.
Though Latos felt he pitched well and his teammates failed to
score a run in his second straight start, manager Bud Black knows
Latos has room for improvement in his second full major league
“He couldn’t string pitches together,” Black said. “We’ve seen
that this year, just the inconsistency from hitter to hitter. We’ll
see some great sequences to hitters. And other times we’ll see it
slip away from him.”
Latos did not seem to have that problem in his only previous
start against the Pirates when he allowed two runs and struck out
seven in six innings of a 9-2 win at Pittsburgh on July 24.
The Pirates (14-15) kept the Padres (11-18) from a third
straight win overall and snapped a nine-game skid versus San Diego
dating to 2009 with a 4-3 victory Monday.
Garrett Jones and Chris Snyder each hit a two-run homer in the
first inning to help Pittsburgh win two in a row for the first time
since April 17-18 and improve to 3-1 on a six-game trip.
After going 17-64 on the road in 2010, Pittsburgh is 10-7 away
from home this season.
“We come into a town, and we’re not overwhelmed by a situation,”
pitcher Charlie Morton told the Pirates’ official website. “We
leave a lot of the past out of the clubhouse and just turn the
Jones is 7 for 17 with two homers and six RBIs his last five
games, and 2 for 3 versus Latos.
San Diego native Jeff Karstens (2-1, 3.57) makes his fourth
straight start Tuesday since leaving the Pirates’ bullpen. The
right-hander gave up five runs – two earned – in 6 2-3 innings of a
5-2 loss to San Francisco on Thursday.
Karstens is 0-2 but has a 3.00 ERA in two previous starts versus
San Diego – both last season.
Ryan Ludwick, 2 for 5 with a double and home run versus
Karstens, had two hits with an RBI on Monday for the Padres.
Still, San Diego has scored fewer than four runs in 13 of 16
games at Petco Park, where it’s 4-12 this season.