Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Seamhead stuff

* Mat Latos pitched well, but you could see steam coming out of the 22-year-old's ears when Tuesday's game started to turn against him. A call on a good fastball went against him, then he misplaced a slider, which Kosuke Fukudome -- remember him? -- impressively swatted to the left-field wall for a 1-0 Cubs lead.

* If he had fielded Koyie Hill's bunt with his glove instead of his hand, the Tattooed One probably gets the out and maybe the whole game is different. One of those lessons that can last a lifetime.

* Looked like steam was still coming out of Latos' ears when he batted against a wobbly Ryan Dempster in the fifth and struck out in the final failed attempt to bunt. Latos is a good athlete. On this night, not so much. Just a hunch, but his ultra-competitiveness is more strength than weakness. Didn't Bruce Springsteen say something about, can't create a fire without a spark? Latos has a spark, and a fire, and sometimes an inferno.

* Alfonso Soriano's home run off a shin-high pitch recalled what Joe Torre used to say about Soriano when the two were Yankees -- Soriano is much, much stronger than he appears from afar. Soriano is able to buggy-whip an unusually heavy bat because his hands, wrists and forearms are so powerful. Deeper into games at Petco Park, drives tend to die in the outfield, but Soriano's golf shot cleared the center field wall. Ryan Ludwick isn't as strong, and Ludwick had that Petco'd look late in the game when Marlon Byrd gloved his right-center drive at the front of the warning track.

* I wonder if Hill's bunt had anything to do with Cubs interim manager Mike Quade. He's getting a lot of praise. The Cubs are playing energetic ball. Sometimes, a small surprise can cause mistakes such as Latos' on the bunt. When those small surprises are created, you know someone's paying attention.

* I disagree with Bud Black that Miguel Tejada's throwing error was excusable because Tejada was "trying to make a play." I hate to knock Tejada, who has been tremendous with the bat and is playing despite a groin injury, but he needs to eat the ball there. A younger middle infielder, Blake DeWitt of the Cubs, wisely made a restrained if wide throw the previous night on Yorvit Torrealba's slow groundball. DeWitt realized that it was a longshot and that going for broke could've put Torrealba in scoring position.

* Adrian Gonzalez has appeared mentally tired for some two weeks now. Long season, lot on his shoulders.

* Everything I've written above takes a backseat to the following -- the Padres' offense has been dreadful of late and was so again on Tuesday.

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