Posted on: September 12, 2010 5:04 pm

Latos' record streak ends

Mat Latos
The streak is over for Padres right-hander Mat Latos.

Entering today's huge start against the Giants, Latos had gone a major-league record 15 consecutive starts pitching five or more innings with two or fewer runs allowed. He gave up two-run homer to Buster Posey in the first inning, then gave up a third run on a sacrifice fly in the third.

During his amazing run, Latos, a 22-year-old in his second season, went 9-1 with a 1.49 ERA. He entered today's game leading the National League in ERA at 2.21.

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
Posted on: September 11, 2010 1:40 am

Giants catch Padres in standings

For the first time since June 18, the Padres have company at the top of the standings.

The Padres have one fewer loss, but the two teams are in a virtual tie for first. The Padres are now 79-61 (.564) and the Giants are 80-62 (.563).

As recently as Aug. 25, the Padres had a 6 1/2 game lead in the National League West. A 10-game losing streak erased all but a game of that, but after a sweep of the Dodgers, they've lost the first two of the four-game series with the Giants.

Just behind those two teams is the Colorado Rockies, winner of eight straight and 2 1/2 game back.

The culprit for the slide isn't that tough to find -- the Padres have been held to four or fewer runs in 14 straight games. Friday's game was the second shutout of the streak. The Padres managed just three hits in the game, two by catcher Nick Hundley.

Padres starter Clayton Richard allowed just one run and two hits in six innings. Giants starter Jonathan Sanchez walked seven in five innings, but allowed just one hit and no runs.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: September 10, 2010 12:52 pm
Edited on: September 10, 2010 12:52 pm

Dodgers' Lindsey bats at last

John Lindsey
John Lindsey came tantalizingly close to his first big-league at-bat Wednesday night. The 33-year-old, who has spent 16 years in the minors, was sent up to pinch-hit for the Dodgers before manager Joe Torre called him back after the Padres made a pitching change. Because he was announced, he technically made his debut and appeared in the box score. Torre gave him the lineup card with his name crossed out.

On Thursday, Lindsey -- the oldest player (other than Asian pro transplants) to debut since 2002 -- finally got to the plate. With 13 friends and relatives, including his 3-year-old son, in the stands after driving from Mississippi to see him play in Houston, Lindsey led off the seventh as a pinch-hitter. He flied out in a three-pitch at-bat.

"I got a little antsy on deck," Lindsey said after the game. "But I tried to take deep breaths and keep my heart rate down. But when I got in the batter's box, it was just like normal. This is what you do."

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
Posted on: September 10, 2010 12:35 pm

Cards: No regrets on trading Ludwick

Ryan Ludwick
Despite the Cardinals' offensive struggles since trading outfielder Ryan Ludwick, manager Tony La Russa maintains that the team had little choice but to sacrifice to acquire a starting pitcher.

The July 31 three-team trade, which sent Ludwick to San Diego and brought Jake Westbrook to St. Louis, left a hole in a lineup that already had problems. A serious ankle injury later suffered by third baseman David Freese only compounded the effects of Ludwick's loss. Prior to Thursday's 11-run outburst, the Cardinals had scored just 23 runs in their previous 10 games.

La Russa said the plan had been to replace Ludwick with another bat, but no trade ever materialized.

"The best answer was to bring in a legitimate starting pitcher, keep Ludwick, trade somebody young," La Russa told reporters Thursday. "Or bring the pitcher in, use Ludwick, and get somebody else to replace him, which is what we tried to do. But if it came down to one or the other and if you could play the rest of the year with Ludwick and without the starting pitcher, we didn't think that gave us the best chance to win."

Westbrook has been decent if not spectacular for the Cardinals, going 1-3 with a 3.89 ERA in six starts. He has given St. Louis needed innings, going at least six every time out.

It's cold comfort to the Cardinals, but Ludwick has been a bust for the Padres, putting up a miserable .225/.306/.364 line since the trade.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: September 9, 2010 9:50 pm
Edited on: September 9, 2010 10:05 pm

Adrian Gonzalez unlikely to be dealt in offseason

Adrian Gonzalez It once seemed a foregone conclusion that Adrian Gonzalez would be traded.

Yet, he remains in a Padres uniform, and to hear ESPN's Jayson Stark tell it, he'll remain there until at least the 2011 trade deadline.

"Coming off a year this successful, it would be difficult for [the Padres] to move him," a team official told Stark of the first baseman. "They're still scrapping and clawing, trying to get people back into their park and build back their base. So it would be a precarious decision to endanger that and trade him. I'd really be surprised if they did that now."

Gonzalez is currently hitting .308/.398/.524 with 27 home runs in 595 plate appearances. He isn't hitting as well as he did in 2009, but is still among the best players in the game -- especially with Petco Park as his home.

Trading the team's best slugger coming off a successful season -- and it will be successful, playoffs or no -- would send the wrong message to the fanbase. What's more likely is A-Gon will be dealt at the trading deadline, presuming the Padres are out of the race.

So for those looking to anchor their lineup with a slugging first baseman (looking right at you, Red and White Sox, among others), they'll have to wait July.

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
Posted on: September 9, 2010 8:59 pm

Padres likely to hire A.J. Hinch

A.J. Hinch It's not often that deposed managers find themselves out of a job for long, and A.J. Hinch is no exception.

Fired by the Diamondbacks as skipper on July 1, Hinch is drawing interest from division rival San Diego to be its director of pro scouting, Tom Krasovic of AOL Fanhouse reports .

Although Hinch has a .420 winning record as manager, he has one of the brightest minds in the game and is still just 36. Prior to becoming Arizona skipper, he was manager of minor league operations and director of player development before being hired on May 8, 2009 despite no managerial experience -- simply due to how well-regarded he was.

Hinch has a strong connection to the Padres because CEO Jeff Moorad previously helmed up the Diamondbacks until taking over San Diego for the 2009 season.

Krasovic says that Hinch will get other offers but is expected to join the Padres who are currently fighting to remain in first place in the NL West in what has been an improbable, successful season.

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
Posted on: September 9, 2010 5:02 pm

Portland says goodbye to baseball

Portland Beavers
Not so long ago, Portland officials were showing off models of how PGE Park could be remodeled to become the new home of the relocated Montreal Expos. On Monday, fans were digging up the infield dirt as the city said goodbye to professional baseball -- if not for good, at least for a long time.

PGE, an odd but impressive ballpark in downtown Portland, had seen teams come and go twice before since opening in 1956. But now its life as a baseball facility is over. Portland won a bid for a Major League Soccer franchise, and MLS insisted that the stadium be fitted to be soccer-only.

With a greater financial upside to soccer, and not enough public money to both make the $31 million retrofit to PGE and create a new facility for the Portland Beavers, the Padres' Triple-A affiliate is leaving town. They'll move temporarily to Lake Elsinore, California, and the Padres want to establish a permanent location close to San Diego.

Portland was the largest market in minor-league baseball.

"I was a little choked up when we ran the bases," fan Scott Edwards told the Oregonian after Monday's finale, which drew a sellout of 15,639. "And when [Beavers manager Terry Kennedy] dug up home plate, that was a little emotional. I'm sad to see them go."

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
Tags: Padres
Posted on: September 7, 2010 4:49 pm

Looking at Manager of the Year candidates

One thing that always gets me about the Manager of the Year Award is that it's usually the "guy-whose-team-did better-than-we-thought" award.

Joe Girardi won his Manager of the Year Award when he was with the Marlins -- because they won 78 games with a young team. He won 103 games and the World Series last season, but didn't win the award. The last Manager of the Year winner to win the World Series was Ozzie Guillen in 2005 and the only other to achieve that feat this decade was the Angels' Mike Scioscia in 2002.

In his run with the Yankees, Joe Torre won the award once, and split it once. The split came in his first season, while the second was only when he won 114 games and it was hard to give it to anyone else.

In his role as the Red Sox manager, Terry Francona has never won the award, despite doing a great job year after year. The reason, he's expected to win every year with the team he has.

So, there's two things we can do here -- handicap the race or work in deep, dark corners to find out what the award should mean and by that criteria, who should win it. That sounds extremely difficult -- and there's no way to prove it.

Instead, I'll go with handicapping the actual race, because it'll be a better chance for me to sound smart when I'm right (if I'm wrong, well, sure I'm dumb, but I knew that already.)

American League

Ron Washington Ron Washington
Texas Rangers (75-62)

The Rangers skipper is the favorite. Not only has his team exceeded expectations (check), will likely make the playoffs (check), but he's also got a built-in story. Remember spring training when many were shocked that he didn't get canned following his admission he did cocaine? Now you do, but it's not the first thing anyone thinks about when they hear Washington's name anymore.

Terry Francona
Boston Red Sox (77-61)

Francona has never won the award, and this season the Red Sox will miss the playoffs for just the second time in Francona's tenure, but he's possibly done his best managing job ever (and this comes from a fan of his managing) juggling the Red Sox's roster. Here's how impressive the Red Sox have been -- Darnell McDonald will be appearing in his 102nd game tonight, the same number of games Kevin Youkilis has played in this year.

Joe Maddon
Tampa Bay Rays (83-54)

He's always in the conversation because he's really, really cool. And still everyone is shocked the Rays are good now. That's not to say he's done a bad job, but I think he'll get votes because of those two reasons, mainly.

National League

Bud Black Bud Black
San Diego Padres (77-59)

About 11 games ago, Black seemed to have this trophy in the bag. Nobody could quite figure out how the Padres were leading the National League West by 6 1/2 games. Apparently someone got the message that they weren't that good to the Padres, and the team promptly went on a 10-game losing streak. They now hold a one-game lead over the Giants. If the Padres don't make the playoffs, look for Black to fall out of the lead for this award. If they hold on to win, it's likely his.

Dusty Baker
Cincinnati Reds (79-58)

The Reds were a popular sleeper pick during spring training, but nobody actually believed they'd beat out the Cardinals. There's time for Cincinnati to completely collapse (see below), but it looks like the Reds will make their first playoff appearance since 1995 and with just three more wins, will notch the franchise's first winning season since 2000. It would also be fun to watch the internet explode when Baker wins his fourth Manager of the Year Award, tying Tony La Russa and Bobby Cox for the most ever (the award started in 1983 -- La Russa won the AL award that season).

Bobby Cox
Atlanta Braves (79-59)

One more for old times sake? Besides the sentimentality, the Braves have held off the Phillies (to this point).  Some will say Cox has been the beneficiary of great rosters, others will say his teams rarely got it done in the biggest games but in the end, his results in this day and age have been exceptional. This season is just another tribute to his consistency.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com