Mat Latos

Mat Latos has lost nine straight starts dating back to last year

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I’m not normally one to treat win-loss records for pitchers as being particularly meaningful, but this stat has to be pretty scary for Padres fans: Mat Latos has lost nine consecutive starts dating back to last season.

Latos was 14-5 with a 2.21 ERA in 26 starts through September 7 of last year. Since then he’s 0-9 with a 6.60 ERA in nine starts.

Latos has allowed 57 hits in 44 innings during that time, including seven homers, which is a lot of long balls for someone calling pitcher-friendly Petco Park home. He’s also began the season on the disabled list with a shoulder injury, which when combined with the extended struggles might suggest there’s something more going on with his arm.

However, his 44/17 K/BB ratio in actually very strong and after yesterday’s loss–in which just one of his six runs allowed was earned–Latos told John Maffei of the North County Times that he feels fine physically:

I feel fine. On the positive side, I didn’t give up a home run. I had good command of my curve and fastball. I felt I was aggressive down in the zone. I had a rough spring with injuries, didn’t pitch in a lot of games. I faced a lot of guys in rehab assignments, but it’s hard to get a rhythm facing your own guys. Have I lost confidence? No. Not at all. It’s not like I’m giving up 10 runs and getting the crap kicked out of me. I need to stay where I’m at and build on it.

Latos’ raw stuff has still been good enough to rack up plenty of strikeouts, but 0-9 with a 6.60 ERA is tough to ignore and his fastball velocity is down about two miles per hour so far this season.

Report: Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on Sonny Gray

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 06: Sonny Gray #54 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum on August 6, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.

Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.

Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.

President Obama Welcomes the Cubs to the White House

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As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.

Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.

Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.