Signs Mat Latos Was a Product of Pitcher-Friendly Petco Park

Scott L. HutchinsonCorrespondent IJuly 1, 2012

Signs Mat Latos Was a Product of Pitcher-Friendly Petco Park

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    Since moving to Cincinnati as the key piece in one of this summer's biggest blockbuster deals, pitcher Mat Latos has enjoyed a rather impressive start to his Reds career.

    That said, he hasn't exactly panned out as the lockdown ace Reds fans hoped for when Cincinnati shipped several top-tier prospects to San Diego.

    While he is undeniably talented, there is still evidence to suggest that Latos' dominance in San Diego may have been a product of the always pitcher-friendly confines of Petco Park.

    Here's the low down...

Riding the Offense

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    While his 7-2 record in 2012 is certainly impressive, Latos has to consider himself fortunate. All things considered, he could easily be looking at a much uglier win-to-loss ratio were it not for solid run support.

    Sure, his last two wins have been nothing short of spectacular, but he has also earned wins in far less impressive outings, including a five-home run meltdown against Colorado.

    Even more thought-provoking, he somehow managed to avoid losses in two separate seven-run outings last month alone, and also dodged an L in a five-run, ten-hit performance in late April.

    So, while he may be doing enough to pile up victories, he has his offense to thank for that—an offense far more explosive than that of the San Diego Padres.

The Home Run Blues

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    Perhaps the most prevailing sign that Latos is missing the larger confines of Petco Park has been the 24-year-old's newfound knack for giving up the long ball.

    Sure, Great American Ballpark is one of the most hitter-friendly parks in all of baseball, but no one on the Reds' staff seems to be more plagued by the park's small dimensions than Latos.

    Having already given up 17 home runs this season (12 at home) after allowing only 16 in all of 2011, the first-year Red has clearly struggled to adjust to his new surroundings.

    While it's hard to blame him, considering the fact that several of those big flies would have likely been nothing more than lazy fly balls on the west coast, it's still a matter of concern and a sure shot sign of the pitcher-friendly nature of San Diego.

On the Bright Side...

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    Fortunately, there are two sides to every story.

    While Latos hasn't quite lived up to the monstrous hype that surrounded him this offseason, his production has been undeniable.

    As cliche as it may sound, a win is a win and Latos has been winning ball games despite his imperfections. 

    Whatever pitching advantage he may have lost when making his transition to Cincinnati seems to have been made up for by improved run support.

    If his past two outings are any sign of things to come he may may still develop into an ace in Cincy after all.