Overshadowed by a slow start, Mat Latos has quietly put together another dominant year on the mound. He finished his 2011 campaign with 7.0 shutout innings of two-hit ball last night over the Cubs, leading the Friars to a 2-0 victory.
Over his last 23 starts of the season, beginning with his May 25 outing, Latos went 8-8 with a 3.13 ERA (52 ER/149.1 IP), .229 opponent batting average and 8.6 strikeouts per 9.0 IP. During that span, he averaged over 6.0 innings per start while allowing just over two runs per start. Latos matched last year’s total with 31 starts, while besting his 2010 workload with 194.1 innings of work this season (184.2 IP in 2010).
Chase Headley is tearing it up this road trip, hitting .533 (16-for-30) with four doubles. Last night marked his third four-hit game of the trip. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, last MLB player before Headley with at least three games of four or more hits on one road trip was (former Padre) Marcus Giles for the Braves in 2003. Atlanta had a brief road trip of four games (a four-game series in Montreal) and Giles had three four-hit games in that series.
The Padres will look to turn the tide tonight with Mat Latos taking the hill. He was slated to face Josh Beckett, who has been scratched due to illness. RHP Alfredo Aceves will start in his place. Tonight’s game will be Latos’ fifth career Interleague start. He is 3-1 with a 2.45 ERA (7 ER/25.2 IP) in his four previous outings against the American League.
In other news from Boston, it has been a busy homecoming for General Manager Jed Hoyer. He was swarmed by media on the field prior to last night’s series opener:
The Pads did it again, winning 5-4 over the Braves last night and extending their winning streak to a season-high four games. Each of the four wins have come by one run (2-1, 5-4, 3-2, 5-4). It is the longest winning streak for the club since taking five straight 8/15-19/10.
Over the current win streak, Heath Bell has tied his career high by picking up four saves in four consecutive days. He also accomplished the feat 8/10-13/10. Bell is one shy of tying the club record for saves in consecutive days (Thanks to Channel 4’s Chyron Bob Wehrsdorfer for the research):
Mark Davis, 9/2-6/89
Rollie Fingers, 5/28-31/77 (two saves during doubleheader on 5/30)
Heath Bell, 5/28/11-current
Heath Bell, 8/10-13/10
Trevor Hoffman, 5/25-28/08
Trevor Hoffman, 7/5-8/06
Also of note, Mat Latos picked up another win with 6.0 innings of two-run ball last night. He has won two straight and three of his last four, lowering his ERA to 3.97 on the year.
Ryan Ludwick continues to pound the ball, collecting four hits last night. He is 9-for-14 over his last three games and finished the month of May hitting .314.
The Padres can still clinch a split of the season series against the Cardinals with a win this afternoon. They are 9-7 in series finales on the year. Today it will be Mat Latos taking on Chris Carpenter. Latos has not faced the Cardinals this year while Carpenter started against the Padres on Opening Day, a 5-3 extra-inning win for the Padres.
A few notes following last night’s game:
Aaron Harang has now worked 7.0-or-more innings in three of his last four starts and is 1-0 with a 3.42 ERA (10 ER/26.1 IP) over that stretch. He is 3-2 with a 3.40 ERA (17 ER/45.0 IP) in seven starts at home this year.
Chase Headley (1-for-3 last night) has hit safely in 18 of his last 24 games since 4/29, batting .316 (24-for-76) with six doubles during that stretch.
Brad Hawpe (1-for-4 last night) has hit safely in 19 of his last 23 games with an at-bat, hitting .314 (27-for-86) with eight doubles and 13 runs scored in 25 games overall since 4/25 over that span.
Padres players and staff talk about their favorite cities to visit when not playing at PETCO Park: