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.

Phillies sign Francisco Liriano and Neil Walker to minor league deals

Francisco Liriano
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Robert Murray and MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported earlier, respectively, that the Phillies signed pitcher Francisco Liriano and infielder Neil Walker to minor league contracts. If he makes the major league roster, Liriano will earn a salary of $1.5 million with an additional $1.25 million available through performance incentives. Walker’s contract information is not yet known.

Liriano, 36, struggled from 2016-18 but enjoyed a productive year out of the bullpen for the Pirates this past season. He posted a 3.47 ERA with 63 strikeouts and 35 walks over 70 innings. The lefty was quite effective against same-handed batters, limiting fellow lefties to a .659 OPS. That would figure to be a key component if Liriano makes the Phillies’ Opening Day roster.

Walker, 34, hit .261/.344/.395 with eight home runs and 38 RBI over 381 plate appearances with the Marlins last year. The veteran is versastile, having played first, second, and third base along with both corner outfield spots in recent seasons. Despite Walker’s versatility, it is tough to see room on the Phillies’ roster for him, barring injuries to other players. It never hurts to have depth.