sign stealers

Mat Latos allows three homers, thinks Indians stole signs


Mat Latos got rocked for seven runs last night against Cleveland, serving up three homers in four innings, and afterward the Reds right-hander said he thinks the Indians were stealing his signs from catcher Ryan Hanigan.

Here’s what Latos told Tom Groeschen of the Cincinnati Enquirer:

I thought I made some good pitches that they spit on, with a runner on second base. … When you go back and look at video, a couple runners on second base, they put better swings on the ball than they did most of the time without a runner on second base.

Latos went on to say that Shin-Soo Choo clearly looking for a breaking ball after they changed signs “shows me a little something.” However, he repeatedly blamed himself for leaving pitches up in the zone and in accusing the Indians of stealing signs Latos didn’t actually blame them for doing so, calling it “kind of the idea” and “that’s the way baseball goes, and it is what it is.”

And while stolen signs might have contributed to Latos allowing three homers it’s worth noting that prior to last night he’d served up 13 homers in 76 innings, including five at home against the Rockies on May 27. He’s also struggled all season overall, posting a career-worst 5.20 ERA after the Reds acquired him in a blockbuster deal with the Padres.

NL Wild Card Game: Cubs vs. Pirates lineups

Jake Arrieta

Here are the Cubs and Pirates lineups for tonight’s Wild Card game in Pittsburgh:

CF Dexter Fowler
RF Kyle Schwarber
LF Kris Bryant
1B Anthony Rizzo
3B Tommy La Stella
2B Starlin Castro
C Miguel Montero
SS Addison Russell
SP Jake Arrieta

Cubs manager Joe Maddon wanted Tommy La Stella in the lineup over Jorge Soler or Chris Coghlan, so he starts at third base and Kris Bryant shifts to left field. Bryant started just four games in left field all season, compared to 136 starts at third base. Also of note: After batting Addison Russell ninth–behind the pitcher–116 times this season Maddon has him in the more traditional eighth spot tonight.

RF Gregory Polanco
3B Josh Harrison
CF Andrew McCutchen
LF Starling Marte
C Francisco Cervelli
2B Neil Walker
SS Jordy Mercer
1B Sean Rodriguez
SP Gerrit Cole

Pedro Alvarez started 119 games at first base for the Pirates and with right-hander Jake Arrieta on the mound he was the presumed starter tonight, but instead manager Clint Hurdle has benched the 27-homer slugger in favor of utility man Sean Rodriguez. Alvarez is vastly superior to Rodriguez offensively, especially versus a righty, but he’s also very shaky defensively. During the regular season Rodriguez started a grand total of one game at first base against a right-hander, so this qualifies as a hunch by Hurdle.

The Cardinals are optimistic about Yadier Molina’s status

St. Louis Cardinals' Yadier Molina celebrates as he arrives home after hitting a solo home run during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants Monday, Aug. 17, 2015, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
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Jenifer Langosch of reports that Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina‘s bum thumb responded well after participating in baseball activities Tuesday, including catching, hitting, blocking balls and the like.

This morning Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said that he’s now even more optimistic that Molina will be on the NLDS roster. The Cards’ first game will be Friday against the winner of tonight’s Cubs-Pirates tilt.

Having Molina would obviously be a boon for the Cardinals on the field. For a look at what Molina means to the Cardinals off the field, however, take some time to go read Derrick Goold’s excellent story about what Molina’s teammates think of him. Short version: the world. It’s worth your time, even if you’re not a citizen of Cardinals Nation.