The widely considered pitcher-friendly Petco Park hasn’t been the friendliest of locations for the Los Angeles Dodgers as it was the last stadium Brandon McCarthy pitched in before undergoing season-ending Tommy John surgery, and it may be where Mat Latos made his final start of the 2015 season.
In his second outing since being moved back into the starting rotation, Latos allowed the San Diego Padres to take a 4-0 lead after just two innings. He kept them off the board in the third and fourth innings, but was pinch-hit for in the fifth.
Being removed after two scoreless frames wasn’t a decision that sat well with Latos, according to Bill Plunkett of the OC Register:
Not being able to get deep into games, being on a quick leash – it’s tough to find my rhythm,” he said. “It’s hard to get into a rhythm when you get yanked out real fast. I guess I put myself in that situation, giving up four early runs. But then I put up a couple zeroes, find my release point. By the time I do that I’m out of the game.It is what it is and I can’t do much about it.”
Latos did acknowledge the difficulty he’s had in pitching well with the Dodgers:
I don’t have to understand it,” he said. “It’s his job to manage the ballgame. It’s my job to put up zeroes. Right now, I’m having a tough time with that.”
The 27-year-old Latos began the season 1-4 with a 6.12 ERA through his first nine starts with the Miami Marlins before being placed on the 15-day disabled list. He returned and went 3-3 with a 2.96 ERA over his next seven starts, and was traded to the Dodgers.
However, there’s been little success to be had for the right-hander since joining Los Angeles. Despite being jet lagged, Latos held the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to one run over six innings in his Dodgers debut back on Aug. 2. And it’s essentially been downhill since.
Including Thursday’s outing, Latos has failed to toss at least five innings in all but one of his five starts with the Dodgers. He’s twice thrown 4.2 innings and allowed a minimum of four earned runs in three of his last four starts.
After working to lower his season ERA, Latos sports an underwhelming 6.56 ERA during his brief tenure with the Dodgers. Having already moved him to the bullpen once, which meant a span of 16 days between starts, Latos may again be in danger of getting displaced.
Mike Bolsinger is making a spot start Friday night to provide extra rest for the rotation, and it presumably could also serve as an audition for his return as a starting pitcher. Once added to the active roster, Carlos Frias would be another option to replace Latos.
Or the Dodgers simply could first decide to utilize a four-man rotation once more with off days coming Sept. 10 and Sept. 17.