SF Giants: Picking the Perfect Lineup to Beat Reds' Mat Latos in Game 5
It all comes down to Thursday, where Matt Cain will face Mat Latos at Great American Ballpark. Today was the first game of the series where the Giants showed any sort of offensive threat, putting up eight runs on 11 hits in their 8-3 Game 4 win.
The series ends in true postseason fashion, with San Francisco facing one of its least favorite pitchers. Latos has a 2-0 record and 0.56 ERA in 16 innings against the Giants this season.
This may be the lineup we’ll see from them tomorrow.
Angel Pagan sparked the offense early in Game 4 with a leadoff homer to begin the game. He doesn’t have good numbers against Latos—batting .176 with three strikeouts—but he's making solid contact and should continue that in Game 5.
He went 2-for-3 today with a double and a home run and needs to keep up that production throughout the rest of the Giants' postseason run.
The top of the Giants’ order is not going to change much. It’s going to be Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro in the first two spots and their production will be a huge decision-maker in the team's success throughout the playoffs.
Scutaro is 2-for-6 in his few meetings with Mat Latos and is 3-14 in his plate appearances during the season at Great American Ballpark.
Pablo Sandoval’s monster home run in Game 4 may just be the beginning. Sandoval has not done much offensively up until his three-hit game today, but the San Francisco Giants need as much offensive help as they can get.
He has batted .226 (7-31) against Mat Latos with one home run and five strikeouts. Plate discipline will, as always, be huge in deciding Sandoval’s success against Latos.
With the exception of Game 1’s home run, Buster Posey has been quiet this series, batting only 3-for-15 and going hitless in two games. That won’t do anything to change his position in the lineup. The MVP candidate put up great numbers all season and is batting .267 with two homers against Mat Latos.
Game 5 will need to see much more production from the middle of the order. Both Posey and Hunter Pence have not yet been a threat, but there isn’t a much better time to get back on track than when a trip to the NLCS is on the line.
Hunter Pence has shown plenty of heart in the last couple games, boosting the San Francisco Giants’ spirit with speeches and tough plays. His offense hasn’t been as inspiring.
Pence has only two hits and needs to kick it up in order to provide some security behind Buster Posey. The rest of the offense was able to improve in Game 4, so the Giants will have to hope Posey and Pence will do the same in Game 5.
Brandon Belt hasn’t done well so far this series, but he’s batting 3-for-11 against Mat Latos with a double and a triple.
A day off may be what he needed to get himself together and come out fighting tomorrow. Belt went 3-for-7 this season at Great American Ballpark and could be huge factor in Game 5.
Neither Gregor Blanco nor Xavier Nady have good numbers coming into tomorrow’s game, whether it’s against Mat Latos or over the season as a whole.
Blanco’s speed and two-run homer in Game 4 gives him the edge, so we will probably see him tomorrow in left field. He doubled in Game 1 off Sam McClure and drew a walk off Latos later in the same game.
Brandon Crawford is 3-for-11 against Mat Latos, but Joaquin Arias did everything he could in Game 4 to deserve a starting spot in Game 5. His two leadoff doubles resulted in runs both times and San Francisco needs every single offensive threat they can get tomorrow.
Crawford may come in later for defense, but Arias should start so that he help generate some runs early. The Giants need to score quickly and do whatever they can to avoid trailing in the game with Aroldis Chapman lurking in the bullpen.
Matt Cain will look to redeem himself from his poor Game 1 outing. If he can calm his nerves and pitch like he has all season, the San Francisco Giants have a great chance of taking this series.
Cain has some success at the plate himself; he could have a few RBI by the end of the game. You never know.
Aubrey Huff has some success off Mat Latos. He’s batting .259 off the righty with two doubles and three strikeouts.
The aforementioned Brandon Crawford is 3-for-11, Xavier Nady has a hit and Ryan Theriot has two.
Hector Sanchez is hitless in seven at-bats against Latos, but was 2-for-3 this season at Great American Ballpark.
There isn’t much to go off to predict how the San Francisco Giants will do against Latos tomorrow, but this is October baseball.
Anything is possible.