Cincinnati Reds starter Mat Latos has been named the National League Player of the Week for the period ending July 1st.Latos was a perfect 2-0 in two complete games last week, leading the Majors with 18.0 innings pitched and ranking second in MLB and first in the National League with 20 strikeouts. The 24-year-old became the first Reds pitcher to record back-to-back complete games since 2006, when Aaron Harang notched victories on September 24th (at CHI) and September 29th (at PIT). Latos allowed just a single earned run in each of his starts, good for a 1.00 ERA (2 ER/18.0 IP) for the week, which reduced his season ERA from 5.20 (through June 18th) to 4.42. He earned his seventh victory (7-2) of the season on Sunday afternoon, two-hitting the N.L. West-leading Giants in his complete-game, 2-1 win at AT&T Park. The righty fanned seven in his 9.0 innings of work and did not allow a walk en route to his second victory over San Francisco this season (also April 24th). Latos notched a career-high 13 strikeouts in his outing one week ago, June 25th, walking only two and scattering four hits in a 3-1 victory over Milwaukee at Great American Ball Park. He threw 80 of his 109 pitches for strikes, and during a span from the first through fifth innings, threw 26 consecutive strikes, marking the longest streak by a Reds hurler since records have been kept, going back to 1988. The Broward (FL) Community College product also matched a career high with two hits. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Latos only the third Reds pitcher since 1900 to collect at least two hits as a batter while recording 13-or-more strikeouts (Jim Maloney twice, 1963 vs. CHI and 1966 vs. NYM; and Ron Villone, 2000 vs. STL). This is Mat’s first career weekly award.
Other noteworthy performances last week included San Francisco’s Madison Bumgarner (1-0, 0.00 ERA, CG, SHO, 8 SO, 9.0 IP) and Barry Zito (1-1, 0.69 ERA, 13.0 IP); Chicago’s Travis Wood (2-0, 0.00 ERA, 10 SO, 14.2 IP); San Diego’s Alexi Amarista (.412, 7 H, 3HR, 8 RBI, 1.000 SLG, .412 OBP); Washington All-Star Ian Desmond (.414, 12 H, 7 R, 7 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, .931 SLG, .452 OBP) and teammates Michael Morse (.484, 15 H, 9 R, 2 HR, 6 RBI) and Ryan Zimmerman (.364, 12 H, 7 R, 3 HR, 12 RBI, .400 OBP); Pittsburgh All-Star Andrew McCutchen (.407, 11 H, 8 R, 2 HR, 6 RBI, .429 OBP); Daniel Murphy (.409, 5 R, 3 HR, 10 RBI, .955 SLG) of the New York Mets; and Philadelphia’s Hunter Pence (.414, 12 H, 3 HR, 7 RBI, .828 SLG) and All-Star Carlos Ruiz (.423, 11 H, 8 R, 2 HR, .444 OBP).