Mat Latos has been fantastic this year. I want to say that at the outset. If he doesn’t pitch like he’s pitched most of the season the Padres are not in this thing right now. He’s taken the ace role and, even if he may be petering out a bit under the workload as the season ends, he deserves some credit for his moxy.
But he also deserves a figurative kick in the pants right now. Partially for what looked like some pouting in last night’s game against the Cubs — he was clearly miffed by the umpire’s strike zone and the Padres’ defensive lapses, both his teammates’ and his own — but also for these comments he made to Scott Miller of CBS Sports.com, talking about the hole in which the Padres currently find themselves:
“Baseball works in funny ways,” said Latos, now 0-4 with a 10.13 ERA
over his past four starts. “The only way I could honestly put it is, we
could be like the Giants and go and change our whole lineup, put guys
with ‘San Francisco Giants’ across their jerseys. We didn’t.
“We added two guys [Miguel Tejada and Ryan Ludwick,
now hitting .221 with five homers in 54 games with the Padres]. We’ve
been the same team all year. We haven’t just gone and grabbed guys from
Welcome to baseball, Mat. Teams make trades for players, be they your team’s two guys or the six or seven players the Giants have brought in over the course of the year. It makes you no more morally or ethically superior to the Giants. It in no way constitutes an excuse for poor performance by the players who remain. It does, however, make you look really, really immature to be complaining about such things.
Latos has one start left this season. It will come against those Giants, be they authentic, in his estimation, or fraudulent. They’ll all be trying to hit the cover off the ball when Latos pitches it to them. He had best concentrate more on that and less on commenting on which team is doing a better job of keeping it real.
Major League Baseball announced on Wednesday that former Red Sox DH David Ortiz and Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant won the 2016 Hank Aaron Award in their respective leagues.
Ortiz, 40, flourished in his final season, batting .315/.401/.620 with 38 home runs and 127 RBI in 626 plate appearances during the regular season. His .620 slugging percentage, 1.021 OPS, and 48 doubles led the majors while his 127 RBI led the American League. Ortiz also won the Hank Aaron Award back in 2005.
Bryant, 24, is the likely winner of the National League Most Valuable Player Award as well. He hit .292/.385/.554 with 39 home runs and 102 RBI over 699 plate appearances. He also led the league by scoring 121 runs. Bryant is the first Cub to win the Hank Aaron Award since Aramis Ramirez in 2008.
Last year’s winners in the AL and NL, respectively, were Josh Donaldson and Bryce Harper.
If you’ve happened to catch any of the coverage of the 2016 postseason on Fox and FS1, you’ve heard former Yankees DH Alex Rodriguez as part of an analyst panel with host Kevin Burkhardt and former major leaguers Pete Rose and Frank Thomas. Rodriguez has drawn rave reviews not just for passing a rather low bar we set for former athletes-turned-commentators, but because he’s adding real insight drawn both from his playing days and from doing research.
Indeed, Rodriguez is taking his new job as an analyst quite seriously, Newsday’s Neil Best reports. Bardia Shah-Rais, the VP of production for Fox, said of Rodriguez, “This is not a hobby for him. It’s not a parachute in. He’s invested. If we have a noon meeting, he’s there at 11:30 a.m. He’s emailing story ideas in the morning. He wants research. He’s almost all-in to the point where it’s annoying.”
Rose also praised Rodriguez, saying, “You’ve never been around a guy who prepares more than Alex does. Alex does his homework. He knows the game. He understands players. He’s into the deal . . . Frank does a great job in preparation, too. I’m the only one that don’t prepare as much as these two guys. I don’t know if that’s because I can’t write or what it is. But these guys do their homework and they ask questions and they ask the right questions and then you put that in with our experience, all the things we’ve been through and how good we get along with each other, that’s why it shows up on the TV.”
Rodriguez, who hasn’t officially retired despite not having played since the Yankees released him in mid-August, wouldn’t commit to more TV work beyond this year’s postseason.