Coming off one of the biggest wins of the year and a fantastic 7-3 road trip, our boys are back home to open up their final series, a four-game set against the Reds, before the All Star Break. Emotions will be high as former fan favorite Mat Latos takes the mound in his first appearance at Petco Park since being traded to the Reds in December.
Latos started the year struggling, taking losses in two of his first three starts and raising his ERA to 8.22. But since then he has returned to his 2010 form, going undefeated in his last 13 starts and earning seven wins. He has been particularly spectacular as of late. He's coming off back-to-back complete games in which he allowed a only two runs on six hits combined and throwing 20 total strikeouts. We'll see if he can continue that success in his former home ballpark and make Padres fans miss having him on the team even more than they already do.
Interestingly, the pitcher opposing Latos is one of the four players who was included in the deal that sent him to Cincinnati. Edinson Volquez will also take the mound against his former team tonight. Volquez is 5-7 on the year, but has pitched better than his record makes it seem. June was probably his best month so far this season and he comes into tonight's game off two consecutive wins in which he allowed only two total runs on six hits. If both pitchers can continue to pitch the way they have, we should have a good ol' Petco Park pitchers' duel on our hands tonight.
But hopefully our offense won't allow that to happen. Among that offense are Yasmani Grandal and Yonder Alonso, batting fifth and sixth, respectively, who also came to San Diego in the Mat Latos deal. Grandal has really added a spark to the the lineup since he was called up and it seems like the rest of the team has fed off of it and has been playing better baseball altogether. Tonight we will see if that was all just a matter of being on the road or if their offensive production will continue successfully back home at Petco Park.
#Padres lineup for tonight, 7/5, matchup v. Reds and Latos: Venable, Amarista, Headley, Quentin, Grandal, Alonso, Maybin, Cabrera, Volquez.— Chelsea Janes (@CJanes15) July 5, 2012
GO FRIARS!! KEEP THE FAITH!!