|Mat Latos will make his first postseason start for the Reds on Thursday. (US Presswire)|
CINCINNATI -- Last December, Walt Jocketty traded three of the Reds' top prospects to San Diego for a pitcher he thought could put the team over the edge -- the type of pitcher that you can count on in the postseason if you have just one game to win. Mat Latos will have his chance to prove he's that guy on Thursday.
Latos will start Game 5 of the National League Division Series against the Giants for the Reds at Great American Ball Park on Thursday afternoon with the chance to send Cincinnati to the National League Championship Series for the first time in 17 years.
Latos, 14-4 with a 3.48 ERA, came into Game 1 in relief for the injured Johnny Cueto and pitched four innings of one-run baseball. He was 2-0 with a 0.56 ERA against San Francisco during the regular season and has quite the history with the team. To say he's fired up, one teammate said, would be an understatement.
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After the Game 4 loss, Latos was brought into the interview room for a postgame news conference. His responses were terse, but he said he was certainly up for the task, especially pitching on regular rest.
"I'm just looking at it as another start," Latos said. "I just got to go out there and pitch my game."
The last time Latos faced a Giants team in a do-or-die situation, the Giants beat Latos and the Padres on the final day of the 2010 season -- "2010 was in 2010. 2012 is a little different," Latos said. "It's two years ago, so ..."
He'll be facing Giants ace Matt Cain, the loser of Game 1.
"All four games have been pretty mentally tiring, well-played games on our end there and well-played games on their end here," Reds left fielder Ryan Ludwick said. "It'll be a good matchup, Latos, Cain, that's two pretty-good pitchers."
Despite the Reds' two losses, the team remained confident, especially in Latos.
"I'm excited he's getting the ball, I have a lot of confidence in him, he's got a lot of confidence," catcher Ryan Hanigan said. "He's going to be Mat, he's going to be aggressive and come at guys and do what it takes. He's pitched well for us, he's been hot. That's all in our favor."