Mat Latos wasn’t about to give away any state secrets in advance of his first start of the 2013 season.
The 25-year-old Reds right-hander said Monday he was “excited to get the season started for sure.”
Then when asked what he would take away from what he saw from his fellow Reds pitchers and the Angels batters Monday, Latos wisely said, “I can’t really tell you that. I watched a couple of their swings, the way they handled the bat, the way Johnny (Cueto) approached them. Johnny is a little different than I am. I’ll have my own game plan. I’ll hope for the best.”
Latos takes the mound at 7:10 p.m. Wednesday in game two of the series at Great American Ball Park. The Reds have titled it Opening Night at the park, though Monday’s 13-inning opener spoiled the fun by lasting almost to 9 p.m. This evening’s game will feature Reds players and coaches walking the red carpet in the Kroger Fan Zone at 5:30 p.m.
While the Reds’ 3-1 loss Monday puts a bit of pressure on Latos, at least he won’t have the weight of the season on his shoulders as he did in his last start in Cincinnati. Last October, he gave up a grand slam to Buster Posey and six runs in Game 5 of the National League Divisional Series against the Giants. The Reds lost the game 6-4 and the series 3-2.
That performance marred an otherwise fine first season with the Reds for Latos, who was acquired in December 2011 in a trade that sent Edinson Volquez, Yonder Alonso, Brad Boxberger and Yasmani Grandal to the Padres. Latos went 14-4, matching his career high in wins, and posted a 3.48 ERA with a career-high 209 1/3 innings.
Latos made five starts in spring training. He was 0-2 with a 5.49 ERA in 19 2/3 innings. In his last outing of the spring, Thursday against the Royals, he gave up five earned runs on nine hits in three innings.
Don’t read too much into those numbers. Cueto was 2-2 with a 5.16 ERA in the spring and gave up five earned runs in 1 2/3 innings 11 days before Opening Day, and he allowed just one run in seven innings Monday.
“The spring was really good,” Latos said. “The one thing I’ve been wanting to work is not letting the small things get to me. I controlled it for most of the spring, except for that last outing. I was a little aggravated with myself for letting it get to me. It’s a new day, and the season is just getting started.”
Left-hander C.J. Wilson is the scheduled starter for the Angels tonight. He was 13-10 with a 3.83 ERA in 202 1/3 innings last season.
Wilson didn’t put up good numbers in the spring either. He was 2-0 with a 7.11 ERA in four starts and 12 2/3 innings.
Wilson is in his second season with the Angels after playing his first seven seasons with the Rangers.