It's getting so weird I can't work up a real angry lather. Jonathan Sanchez and Mat Latos have faced each other twice this year, both times the game has ended 1-0 for the Padres. The Giants have also lost 3-2 twice and 5-2 twice. Looking only at the boxscore or even the play-by-play recap of today's game, you might stomp about and curse the Giants' hitters: One hit (of the infield variety)! No walks! Latos only throws 105 pitches! Knowing what you know about the Giants, they must have made it easy for Latos to look like Roger Clemens. After all, he's thrown 16 shutout innings against SF, and the only other team he's dominated is pitiful Houston.
Other than Pablo Sandoval, though, the Giants did not have terrible at-bats. Latos was throwing strikes, the Giants were swinging at them and either hitting them weakly or right at people. (There were at least four balls smoked right at infielders; Adrian Gonzalez robbed Huff twice.) I saw a lot of lazy fly balls off Latos's fastball, which shows how well he was throwing his breaking balls for strikes. The Giants couldn't sit and wait fastball, so when it came -- and Latos throws 90 to 93 MPH -- they had defensive swings.Even when the Giants worked into hitters' counts, Latos made great pitches.
Would he have one-hit the Yankees or Phillies? Perhaps not, but in a big ballpark with glovemeisters like Gonzalez behind him he would have done well against any team.
That said, giving credit to Latos doesn't appease my general dread that there's not enough Magic Inside (TM) to overcome a lineup increasingly hamstrung -- not to mention groin-strung and wrist-strung -- by gamer-warrior injury.
I had another thought about yesterday's "Replacing DeRosa" post. Has Matt Downs ever played the outfield? A little tiny bit in the minors, so when Freddy Sanchez returns he might have a way of staying on the roster. I like the way he swings the bat.