After losing their closer Ryan Madson due to season-ending Tommy John surgery, the Reds were given a scare with their other big offseason addition earlier today.
Mat Latos was pulled from his start this afternoon against the Cubs after 4 2/3 innings due to a strained left calf. However, the Reds were more fortunate this time around. According to Mark Sheldon of MLB.com, Latos said that he feels fine and fully intends to make his next scheduled start.
“I don’t know the layman’s terms of what’s going on but I’m fine,” Latos said. “They looked at it, they evaluated it. I put a little ice on it as a precaution.”
Latos, who was acquired from the Padres over the winter in exchange for Yonder Alonso, Edinson Volquez, Brad Boxberger, Yasmani Grandal, posted a 3.47 ERA and 185/62 K/BB ratio over 194 1/3 innings last season. While he’s likely to give up more homers at the hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark, his home/road splits aren’t all that dramatically different. The 24-year-old right-hander owns a 3.57 career ERA on the road compared to a 3.11 ERA at PETCO.
Following the Astros’ decisive 4-0 shutout over the Yankees on Saturday night, Justin Verlander was named the Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series. Hall of Fame outfielder and former MLB manager Frank Robinson handed the award to Verlander, who was beaming as he thanked his teammates and members of the Astros’ organization.
“I’ve got to say, it came down to the wire, and one thing kept going off in my head was Dallas,” Verlander told the crowd gathered at Minute Maid Park. “When he called me, he said that I won’t regret my decision to join the Houston Astros. And here we are right now, it’s the best feeling in the world. We’ve got four more wins to win a World Series, and I do not regret my decision to come here. This is the best feeling a player can have. So, thank you.”
Among a cast that boasted the likes of Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Dallas Keuchel, among others, Verlander was spectacular. He locked down a complete game win in Game 2, holding the Yankees to one run on five hits and a walk and striking out a postseason-high 13 batters. In Game 6, he saved the Astros from elimination with seven scoreless innings, helping propel the club to their eventual 7-1 finish that set up their series-clinching finale on Saturday.
The 34-year-old righty also took his place among some postseason greats. Thanks to an eight-strikeout outing on Friday night, his collective 136 postseason strikeouts are good for sixth-most in MLB playoff history, just a smidgen shy of Tom Glavine (143), Mike Mussina (145), Roger Clemens (173), Andy Pettitte (183) and John Smoltz (199). He also joined Bob Gibson, Curt Schilling and Sandy Koufax as one of just four hurlers to strike out 20+ Yankees in a postseason series.