Before getting to the game, let’s talk about the Tatis injury, which is far more important than wins and losses at this point in the season. In the sixth inning, Tatis fouled a ball off to the left side, and came up hobbling after the swing. He saw two more pitches in the at-bat, eventually striking out on a high fastball, then walked back to the dugout with a noticeable limp. The official injury prognosis from the team is a lower back spasm. If it’s of the minor variety, he could be back in a day or two. More serious back spasms typically keep players out for four to six weeks. Also, as a bit of a side note, the Padres have this horrible habit of initially downplaying injuries only for the injured player to miss far more time than was originally expected. Remember when they went with “arm soreness” for Dinelson Lamet, only to announce he was getting Tommy John a few weeks later? I really hope that’s not the case here. Anyway, he was replaced by Greg Garcia in the top-half of the next frame.
Unfortunately, this is becoming a bit of a trend for Tatis early in his career. In just over a calendar year, he’s had his Double-A season cut short due to a broken thumb, missed a month with a strained hamstring, and now this. Three potentially serious injuries in that short of a time span, at the ripe age of 20 years old, isn’t the end of the world. But it also doesn’t bode well for his long-term sustainability, especially considering the borderline-reckless nature with which he plays. We all love when he goes flying into bases head-first and runs out every ground ball at 100 percent, but this is certainly the downside to that. As he gets older, he’ll have to learn to develop a more selective aggressiveness in order to stay on the field while still maintaining his electric flair. An athlete’s most valuable ability is availability, after all.
As for the game, it wasn’t much better. Eric Lauer got the start and pitched well enough, allowing three runs over five competitive frames. The Padres were owners of a 4-3 lead when he left, thanks in large part to a bases-clearing double off the right-field wall by Luis Urías. Eric Hosmer also knocked in a run on an RBI double of his own in the inning.
The wheels began to fall off when Andy Green went to Craig Stammen in the sixth, who proceeded to surrender a leadoff double to Willy Adames. Adames advanced to third on a groundout by Eric Sogard, then came home on a sailed throw to the plate by Stammen on a comebacker. The error tied the game at four.
Michel Baez got the seventh and gave up a go-ahead, two-run bomb to Ji-Man Choi. Later in the inning, an Adames single followed by a Sogard RBI double extended Tampa Bay’s lead to three.
The Padres got one back in the eighth courtesy of an RBI single from Urías - his fourth RBI of the game - but the comeback bid ended there. Emilio Pagán slammed the door in the ninth for the Rays and that was all she wrote. Myers, Machado and Renfroe - the lineup’s two-three-four hitters - each went hitless in the ballgame. The Friars are now 55-64 - nine games under .500 - and will have to play their best baseball of the season from here on out to avoid a ninth straight losing season.
It’ll be a quick turnaround for Wednesday’s 12:40 PM start, with Cal Quantrill set to take the ball for San Diego. Tampa Bay’s starter has yet to be announced.