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.

Anthony Alford to miss 4-6 weeks following wrist surgery

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Blue Jays’ outfielder Anthony Alford will miss at least 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery on his left wrist, the team announced on Saturday. Alford was placed on the 10-day disabled list earlier in the week after sustaining a left hamate fracture on a foul pitch, and could miss significant time in what looks to be a lengthy rehab process. MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm reports that the procedure has been scheduled for next week and will be performed by Dr. Donald Sheridan in Arizona.

Alford, 22, was called up to the majors from Double-A New Hampshire last Friday. He went hitless in his first three outings, finally catching a break against the Brewers on Tuesday when he pinch-hit a leadoff double in the seventh. The injury occurred two innings later when Alford fouled off a pitch in the ninth inning, fracturing his wrist in the process.

Alford will join eight other players on the Blue Jays’ disabled list, including outfielders Steve Pearce (calf strain), Dalton Pompey (concussion) and Darrell Cecillani (partial shoulder dislocation). He’s expected to be replaced by 24-year-old outfield prospect Dwight Smith Jr.

Stephen Strasburg hit a new career high today

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Good luck getting a hit against the Nationals this weekend. Stephen Strasburg followed Max Scherzer‘s 13-strikeout performance on Friday with a dazzling outing of his own on Saturday afternoon. The right-hander whiffed a career-best 15 batters in seven innings, allowing just three hits and a walk in the Nats’ 3-0 win.

It took Strasburg several innings to get into a groove after pitching into (and out of) a jam in the first inning. The Padres loaded the bases with Allen Cordoba‘s leadoff single, a throwing error by Ryan Zimmerman and a four-pitch walk to Cory Spangenberg. By the third, Strasburg was cruising, striking out the side on 18 pitches and keeping the Padres off the basepaths until the sixth. He recorded his 15th and final strikeout in the seventh inning, catching Padres’ prospect Franchy Cordero swinging on a 1-2 pitch to effectively end his outing.

While 15 strikeouts set a new career record for the Nationals’ ace, he came close to reaching the mark twice before. The first time, he struck out 14 of 24 batters during his major league debut against the 2010 Pirates, though the 5-2 win did little more than keep the Nationals neck-and-neck with the Marlins at the bottom of the NL East. Five years later, he tied his 14-strikeout record against the 2015 Phillies, tossing a one-hitter in eight innings to cement his ninth victory of the season.

The only one who doesn’t seem overly enthused by the new record? Strasburg himself, who told MLB.com’s Jamal Collier and AJ Cassavell: “It’s pretty cool, but there’s another game five, six days from now. I’ll enjoy it tonight, but back to work tomorrow.”