Who is Mat Latos? You probably haven't heard much about him; he pitches on the West Coast, for a relatively anonymous, though surprisingly formidable team, and was left off the National League All-Star team despite a 2.62 ERA and 91 strikeouts in 99 2/3 innings and the fact he leads the NL in hits per nine innings.
Latos, the 22-year-old on the mound for the Padres tonight, might be one of the tougher starters the team has faced in a run of good ones over the last two weeks.
Drafted in the 11th round by the Padres in 2006, he's the kind of late-round power arm that's so tough to find. His fastball sits at 94 mph, he'll rely heavily on a mid-80s slider and mix in a changeup and curveball. But Latos' fastball and slider have been nasty all year; FanGraphs has their weighed averages at 15.1 runs and 10.9 runs above average, respectively.
He's beaten the Nationals once already this year, striking out eight in six innings against them in San Diego on May 29. The Nationals' offense was slumping at that point as badly as it has been all year, and they should match up better with Latos tonight than they did at Petco Park.
But Latos - who was born in Alexandria, though he grew up in Florida - presents a tough test for the Nationals as they try to sweep the Padres tonight.