Two starts into his Cincinnati Reds career and we're already asking the question: What's wrong with Mat Latos? The awkward answer to these questions, in the middle of April, is usually: Nothing much. They were asked about Matt Holliday, they're being asked about Albert Pujols now, and usually it ends up not mattering. The right question is a variant: What could be wrong with Mat Latos, whose peripherals are bad and his results worse?
1. Home field disadvantage. Latos began his career in the San Diego Padres' Petco Park, which falls only a little short of its reputation as an authentic recreation of the Deadball Era, sans racism. Latos wasn't especially outstanding at Petco—his career ERA there, in 31 starts, is 3.11, and at 0.8 per nine innings his home run rate isn't particularly low. It's unlikely that the park didn't help him at all, but it hasn't had an enormous impact on his numbers to date; his career road ERA is still 3.57.
What else could be to blame?
2. He could be hurt. His velocity is hardly changed from 2011, so if he is we don't know about it, yet.
3. It's probably nothing and Reds fans are worrying over nothing. Oh, and Cardinals fans are exalting over nothing. Latos—like Adam Wainwright, set to pitch for the Cardinals the next day—is probably just fine. He was unlucky enough to have two bad starts in a row right after they reset everybody's numbers for the season.