Mat Latos may be the Cincinnati Reds’ most consistent starter.
He’s been their most dominant of late.
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Latos may have a chance to challenge the longest scoreless streak of his career as he looks to help the Reds rebound from their sixth loss in eight road meetings with the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday night.
Latos (12-3, 3.04 ERA) leads Cincinnati in wins and strikeouts (154), but wasn’t among the team’s representatives at last month’s All-Star game.
The right-hander has certainly looked like one since, going 4-0 with a 1.32 ERA in five starts. He’s tossed 15 1-3 scoreless innings over his last two games, and is within reach of his career-high 21 consecutive shutout innings, most recently accomplished April 19-May 5.
Latos’ dominance was on display Monday, when he allowed six hits with nine strikeouts while throwing 94 pitches in eight inning of a 2-0 road win over the Chicago Cubs.
“I had real good stuff,” Latos said. “I was able to rely on the fastball and the slider all game. I threw one other pitch beside the fastball and the slider.”
He struggled against the Brewers on May 11, though, surrendering a season-high seven runs and nine hits – two homers – in six innings of a 13-7 win.
Latos couldn’t be blamed for the 3-2 loss in his most recent appearance at Miller Park on Aug. 8, 2012, leaving with the lead after yielding one run in seven innings and striking out eight.
The bullpen, specifically Aroldis Chapman, was to blame for Friday’s 7-6 loss to Milwaukee. The closer – one of three Cincinnati All-Stars – surrendered a two-run, walkoff homer to Jonathan Lucroy, ending the Reds’ five-game winning streak.
“You can’t get them all,” third baseman Todd Frazier said. “Chapman’s still a really good pitcher. … We’re not worried about it at all.”
Frazier is 5 for 10 with two homers and six RBIs over the past three games. He went 3 for 3 with a solo homer and a walk Friday, matching his career high with four RBIs.
The Brewers are expected to activate Yovani Gallardo (8-9, 4.91) from the disabled list after he sat out more than two weeks with a strained left hamstring.
The injury forced the right-hander to leave his most recent outing July 30 after he allowed three runs, six hits and three walks in 4 2-3 innings of a 6-5 win over the Cubs.
Gallardo is in the midst of his worst season, posting career highs in ERA and WHIP (1.48). He’s also lost five of his last seven home starts with a 6.25 ERA.
He’s hoping the stint on the DL has provided enough rest to put together a consistent end to the season.
“That’s something that I’ve struggled with this year,” Gallardo told the team’s website of his lack of consistency. “It’s tough, it’s been one of those years. But to get the opportunity to go on the DL and work on a few things while you’re trying to get back on the mound is important.”
Gallardo has won his last two home starts versus the Reds, yielding three runs in 13 innings. He beat them on the road June 15, throwing six innings of three-hit ball in a 6-0 victory.
Lucroy is 11 for 23 (.478) over the past six games, and 10 for 23 (.435) with two homers in his last six meetings with Cincinnati.