OAKLAND -- The Dodgers are in the midst of three off days in an eight-day span, so we knew some starting pitcher was getting bumped as a way to maximize the frequency of starts by Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw down the stretch. Manager Don Mattingly said on Tuesday that pitcher would be Mat Latos.
Latos, originally penciled in as Wednesday afternoon's starter against the Athletics, will instead pitch out of the bullpen for the remainder of the road trip, which runs through next Thursday, Aug. 27 in Cincinnati.
"Mat's a pro. He understands that we'll try to line up our rotation the best way possible, and he acknowledged that he hasn't pitched his best," manager Don Mattingly said on Tuesday. "It gives him a chance to continue to work, and just be ready to go when we get there. Obviously we're still going to need him."
Latos, acquired from the Marlins on July 30, is 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA in three starts, allowed 12 runs (11 earned) on 18 hits in 14⅔ innings, with eight strikeouts and three walks. After pitching six innings in his Dodgers debut, Latos has failed to complete five innings in each of his last two times out.
"It allows us to maximize the off days, basically Zack and Clayton, making sure they are getting as many turns around as we can," Mattingly said. "[Latos] gives us a little length out of the pen, so we'll use our guys just a little bit differently."
Alex Wood now gets the start on Wednesday in Oakland, with Brett Anderson, Greinke and Kershaw, in that order, over the weekend in Houston. That foursome will remain in order after Monday's off day, with Latos slotting back into the rotation after that, and will allow Greinke and Kershaw to pitch the final two games against the Giants on Sept. 1-2 in Los Angeles.
"It's about getting Zack and Clayton lined up, and with these off days not having to wait seven days to pitch," Mattingly said.