San Diego Padres starting pitcher Mat Latos has now come annoyingly close to throwing a perfect game in back to back games. The 22-year-old right hander threw a one-hit shutout against the San Francisco Giants Thursday, while facing just 28 hitters.
Latos retired the first fifteen batters he faced on the afternoon, before catcher Eli Whiteside hit a ball back up the middle. Latos deflected the ball (he had a good chance to glove it) and third baseman Chase Headley tried to make a play to no avail. That’s all Latos allowed all day as he breezed to his first career complete game and shutout.
His line was stunning in its simplicity: 9.0 innings, one hit, no runs, no walks and six strikeouts in 109 pitches.
In his last start against the Houston Astros, Latos was almost equally as dominant. His line on that day: 8.0 innings, two hits, no runs, no walks and nine strikeouts on 108 pitches.
He has tossed 18 straight scoreless innings and retired 55 of the last 58 batters he has faced. So the kid is just filthy right now.
These past two starts come on the heels of back-to-back losses that saw his ERA jump up to 5.47. After the past two wins his record is now at 3-3 and his ERA has dropped to 3.32.
Thanks to Latos, the Padres swept the Giants in San Francisco for the first time since 2005 and stretched their lead in the National League West to 3.5 games.
Latos looks to be rounding into form as he’s clearly gotten better with each start over the past few weeks. He’s got un-hittable stuff at times, but the big key is that he’s not throwing too many pitches. He’s getting outs without trying to throw everything by hitters. He’s an uber-talented kid who is learning to be more than just a thrower. He’s becoming a pitcher.