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Category Archives: Mat Latos

The mystery behind Howard and SD’s Latos

Why can't Ryan Howard hit this guy? (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Philadelphia Inquirer’s own Phils beat writer Matt Gelb recently tweeted that John Mayberry, a right-handed bat, will be playing first base today in place of Ryan Howard.

With a right-handed pitcher on the mound, the move makes no sense if you took a quick glance. Howard has been a major leaguer since 2005, and despite his lack of success against left-handed pitching, he has much better success against right-handers.

But San Diego’s right-hander is no ordinary pitcher. It’s Mat Latos.

Now, some of you are laughing right now as you read this. “Who the hell is Mat Latos?” “This guy is a scrub!” “Why is Howard sitting against Latos such a big deal?”

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Oswalt, pen blank Padres

Roy Oswalt had a no-no going through the first 4 2/3 inning. But he also had a high pitch count running.

But despite the battling Padres, they could barely solve the right-hander, let alone score as he and the bull pen combined for a 3-0 shut out win to open the series against San Diego.

Right fielder Ben Francisco makes a catch in the fifth. He homered in the win, his third of the season. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

It was the first time the Phillies won the series opener in five series.

Oswalt allowed only one hit and two walks in his six innings of work, striking out seven. His fastball was full of life despite San Diego hitters fouling off a lot of his pitches.

One of the problems the Phils had was leaving runners on. They went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left 20 on in this game, six from Ryan Howard.

Howard’s day was especially rough, going 0-for-5 with four strike outs.

But despite the offensive struggles, Mat Latos had the most frustrating game of the night. Despite sitting down Howard three times, Latos couldn’t get any short at-bats, being lifted after 107 pitches in 4 1/3 innings of work. He allowed three runs, two off solo homers, on four hits and five walks while striking out seven.

The Phils got a pair of solo home runs in the second inning. Ben Francisco hit a ball to dead center. Center fielder Cameron Maybin appeared to have a play on the ball but crashed back-first into the wall as the ball just made it over to give the Phils a 1-o lead.

Two batters later, catch Brian Schneider ripped a shot deep to right center to make it a 2-0 game.

The Phils added one more on a sacrifice fly, fielding error by Padres outfielder Chris Denorfia.

Placido Polanco had a two-hit game for the Phils. Francisco drove in a pair of runs as well.

The pitching overall was tremendous. After Oswalt’s six, David Herndon and Antonio Bastardo combined for the next two innings. Jose Contreras then earned his fifth save of the season in a rough ninth.

HR: Francisco (3), Schneider (2).

WP: Oswalt (3-0). LP: Latos (0-3). S: Contreras (5).