After wandering in the desert for over a week, the Cincinnati Reds came upon an oasis named Johnny Cueto on Saturday that snapped a seven game skid. The Reds hope to replenish their water supplies this afternoon with Mat Latos taking the mound against the Washington Nationals and Doug Fister.
When it comes to Doug Fister, the Reds hardly know her. Only Brayan Pena and Ramon Santiago have accumulated more than ten at bats against the 30 year-old right hander. Between them, that particular duo for the Reds only has 3 hits in 24 plate appearances. Since coming over to Washington from Detroit in a trade package that seemingly reciprocates the auto industry bailout, "Dog" has a 9-2 record with an ERA of 2.92. While he is only averaging 5.3 strikeouts every 9 innings, his WHIP is still a respectable 1.128.
Latos is making his eighth start this season since coming back from the disabled list and hopes to improve upon his 3.15 ERA. His 2014 ERA thus far almost mirrors his 3.16 ERA of 2013, but it doesn't appear he's achieving this success the same way as he did last year. His strikeout numbers are down to about 5.1 over 9 from 8.0 over 9 while his WHIP has plummeted to .854 from 1.210. To put it more succinctly, Mat will find ways to get guys out.
When it comes to members of the Nationals, Mat, however, has had some struggles with Adam LaRoche and Ian Desmond. In 17 plate appearances, LaRoche is sporting a 1.009 OPS with 1 home run against Latos. Desmond, on the other hand, has collected 4 hits in 11 at bats off of Latos. With promising numbers against the rest of the Nats' lineup, Latos will look to bounce back from his past 2 starts where he has given up a combined 7 earned runs in 12 innings.
There's no better way to stop a seven game losing skid like winning eight in a row, is there? Well, if there is, be sure to tell the Reds so they can get right on that task. With any luck, the Reds offense will start to pick up where Johnny Cueto left off on Saturday and show Mr. Fister what a bad time can truly be.
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