Mat Latos went five and two-thirds innings and threw 94 pitches, 58 for strikes. He got first pitch strikes on 12 of the 22 batters that he faced and struck out five against two walks and five hits.
Padres manager Bud Black noticed the difference between what he saw in spring training as opposed to what he is watching now.
“I think in spring training he tried to do too much, which is the opposite of what he is doing now. I think he may have been trying to throw too hard and come out of his mechanics and may not have been as locked in as he needed to be.”
Padres pitching coach Darren Balsley didn't necessarily agree with that.
“He looks very similar to what he was doing in spring training to what he is doing now. The difference is pitchers aren't throwing all fastballs on very hard infields in places where the ball carries really well and the ball doesn't move.
"Every spring training everybody gets hit.”
Two of the hits were home runs, the first to shortstop Cristian Guzman and in the sixth to third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, a very long drive over the left field wall. When the ball is coming in around the mid-90s and a batter gets the barrel of the bat on the ball, its going places.
Despite the two long balls,it was a very good pitching performance from a player that began the year in the Midwest League with the Fort Wayne TinCaps.
“What impresses me about Mat is that he is not shying away from hitters and he is throwing strikes,” said Balsley. “Whether it is extreme confidence in his ability, his stuff or mound presence whatever it is, its a good thing.”
In his first start against the Colorado Rockies, Latos needed 75 pitches to get through four innings.
“I was down in the zone and making pitches when I needed too. Last time I thought there was too much in adrenaline,” said Latos. “This time so many of them were taking strike one and I was just going after them.”
The only possible negative on the night was Latos at time appeared to struggle with his emotions, but was able to pull himself together to get out of a jam in the fourth; getting big Adam Dunn to ground into a double play.
“At times you have to keep an eye on Mat like any young player he can become emotional, but he's done a pretty good job so far,” said a smiling Black.