Manager Don Mattingly of the Los Angeles Dodgers announced earlier in the week that Mat Latos was slated to start the series finale of the three-game set against the Los Angeles Angels. Although Latos hasn’t found stable success in his tenure with the Dodgers, his best quality outing came in his first start against the Angels.
A change of plans occurred when management announced that Latos was suffering with a stiff neck. Latos was a late scratch and in his place was Joe Wieland, who stated that he learned of the possibility on Tuesday night.
According to JP Hoornstra of the LA Daily News, the young right-hander wasn’t expecting the results after being off for a couple weeks:
I thought I was going to be more rusty.”
In a bit of unfamiliar circumstances, Wieland took the mound opposing Garrett Richards, the ace of the Angels starting rotation this season. When it was all said and done, the 25-year-old didn’t go the required five innings, but put forth an outing to keep the Dodgers in the game and within striking distance. His line for the night was four innings pitched, four hits allowed, and two earned runs given up, while striking out two batters in a no-decision.
Wieland’s only runs allowed came via a David Freese double to deep center field and a sacrifice fly from the bat of Kole Calhoun. On the other hand, the Nevada native retired the side in two innings, including retiring future Hall-of-Famer Albert Pujols in two consecutive at-bats. For a pitcher who has not pitched in a Major League game since August 26, Wieland felt that his arm held up just fine:
My arm felt great. I thought toward the end maybe I was going to lose some in the tank, but I came in after that fourth (inning) and I told (pitching coach Rick Honeycutt) I’m good.”
The outing on Wednesday was a promising sign for the pitcher who spent much of the season in Triple-A Oklahoma City, especially after his first start where he allowed six earned runs against the Milwaukee Brewers. The right-handed pitcher can definitely be used appropriately, especially if used in a long-man type role when other starts don’t have their A-game in future starts.