Mat Latos is in need of a dose of maturity

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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
other teams.”

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.

Marlins, Giants get into heated beanball war

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You may have heard that Giants closer Hunter Strickland broke his hand punching a door in frustration after Monday night’s subpar performance. He’ll miss six to eight weeks as a result. Strickland came in to protect a 4-2 lead but ended up giving up three runs. The tying run was knocked in by Lewis Brinson on a single to right field. Brinson moved to third base on a go-ahead single by Miguel Rojas, which prompted manager Bruce Bochy to take Strickland out of the game.

On his way to the dugout, Strickland started chirping at Brinson. Much like Bryce Harper and Strickland, Brinson and Strickland have a bit of a history. Last Thursday, Brinson handed Strickland a blown save with a sacrifice fly to deep center field. Brinson was happy to help his team tie the game, pumping his fast and saying, “Let’s go” at no one in particular. That rubbed Strickland the wrong way. Everything seems to rub Strickland the wrong way.

During Tuesday night’s game, Giants starter Dereck Rodriguez threw at Brinson with the first pitch, a 92 MPH fastball. Home plate umpire Andy Fletcher issued warnings to both benches. Manager Don Mattingly came out to argue, suggesting that his team hadn’t done anything wrong so it was unfair to essentially take the inside part of the plate away from his pitchers. On his way back to the dugout, Mattingly could be seen saying, “You’re next” to catcher Buster Posey.

The Giants scored twice in the bottom of the second against Dan Straily to extend their lead to 3-0. Posey came to the plate with a runner on first base and one out. Straily hit Posey with a 91 MPH fastball on the first pitch, prompting ejections of both Straily and Mattingly. Posey was hit on the arm. If the pitch had come in a bit lower and hit Posey on the wrist or hand, Posey might have had to go on the disabled list for a couple months. Or if the pitch had hit Posey a couple of inches higher, in the head, then who knows what would have happened.

Things calmed down from there, thankfully. The two clubs have one more game against each other in San Francisco on Wednesday and that will be the final time they meet this season. If anything further is going to happen — and hopefully, nothing happens — then it will come tomorrow.

Straily will almost certainly be facing a suspension and a fine, as will Mattingly. It’s less clear if Rodriguez and/or Bochy will be reprimanded for throwing at Brinson, even though it was fairly obvious the pitch was intentional. Regardless, the punishments amount to just one missed start for the pitchers, which isn’t nearly enough of a detriment to deter beanball wars.