By Jon Weisman
For the first two days of August, none of the players acquired by the Dodgers at the non-waiver trade deadline have been used. That changes today, when Mat Latos makes his first start for Los Angeles.
Latos is pitching on six days’ rest. In his final start for Miami, on July 26, he allowed three runs in six innings of a 3-2 loss at San Diego.
One thing I spotted with Latos — and honestly, I hadn’t noticed anything like this before — is that he has thrown four consecutive quality starts without exceeding 90 pitches. If he does it again, he will tie an MLB record, held by Bob Tewksbury, Marvin Freeman and Greg Maddux.
In his past five starts, Latos has averaged 6.5 innings per start and 13.2 pitches per inning. He has struck out 26 and walked five in that time.
To make room for Latos on the active roster, the Dodgers optioned Yimi Garcia to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Garcia, who has a 3.99 ERA and 1.07 WHIP in 38 1/3 innings for the Dodgers this year, returned July 26 from a mid-July trip to Oklahoma City and pitched a shutout inning against Oakland on Tuesday. With 12.7 strikeouts per nine innings this season, Garcia still has great promise.
The revamped Dodger bullpen now features Kenley Jansen, Jim Johnson, Pedro Baez, Juan Nicasio and Joel Peralta from the right side, and J.P. Howell and Luis Avilan from the left. Jansen, who has allowed runs in his past three outings, has been battling a virus for the past week, as Steve Bourbon of MLB.com notes.
If a save situation were to arise today, Jansen would likely get the day off after throwing 50 pitches over the past two games. Conceivably, the Dodgers could use all newcomers on the mound, with Latos, Avilan and Johnson. (Neither Johnson nor Avilan have pitched since Monday.)
By the time Alex Wood starts for the Dodgers on Tuesday, he could be the Dodgers’ 50th player of the season. The team record is 53, set in 1944 and 1998.