Prior to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline the Los Angeles Dodgers were active in their pursuit of starting pitchers. Although Los Angeles didn’t acquire an elite, front-end starter, their trades for Mat Latos and Alex Wood appeared to address their pitching need.
However, the results thus far have largely left plenty to be desired. Particularly for Latos, who has failed to earn a victory in his first three starts as a Dodger, all while allowing a combined 11 earned runs over three starts.
Manager Don Mattingly announced the club was going to a four-man rotation for their eight-game road trip in order to maximize the number of starts for Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke; a move which placed Latos in the bullpen.
The temporary transition to a relief pitcher has essentially served as a de facto period of rest for Latos as he wasn’t called on out of the bullpen; he did warm-up during the Dodgers’ Aug. 18 game with the Oakland Athletics.
Any chance of seeing the Latos as a reliever has for now been eliminated as according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, the right-hander threw a simulated game in preparation for his return to the starting rotation on Saturday:
Mat Latos pitched in a sim game in Arizona Monday prepping for his Dodgers start Saturday. Rejoins team in LA.
— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) August 25, 2015
On the season Latos is 4-9, with a 4.81 ERA, 3.54 FIP, 81 ERA+ and 1.27 WHIP. He had been on the upswing with the Miami Marlins since being reinstated from the disabled list, but has failed to duplicate some of that success after the trade.
Latos has made 12 career starts against the Chicago Cubs, the Dodgers’ opponent on Saturday. He’s 7-3 with a 2.76 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, and 81 strikeouts to just 19 walks in 78.1 innings pitched. Latos last faced Chicago on July 5, striking out seven and allowing just one run on hit in seven innings. However, he walked away with a tough-luck loss as the Marlins failed to provide any run support.