The San Diego Padres started their season with a home game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on April 1, 2021. Their first game was a high-scoring battle that ended with Padres on top 8-7. However, San Diego’s 300-million-dollar man Fernando Tatis Jr. was silent behind the plate, only collecting one run out of his five at-bats. Fans assumed that this was just a case of “first game jitters,” but his batting average improved very little over their next two games against the Diamondbacks. However, on Sunday April 3 Tatis demolished the ball in the bottom of the ninth to send it flying 465 feet over Diaondback’s outfielders for a San Diego home run. Fans went wild assuming that “el niño” was back and so were “The Slam Diego Padres.” This was the only run scored in the Padres’ loss 3-1.
This dream soon became shattered the next day when they faced their NL west rivals the San Francisco Giants. The Padres were down 2-1 when Tatis took the plate for his second at-bat to put the Padres ahead. Tatis swung for the fences but immediately dropped to his knees. The game stopped and fans watched in awe as their beloved el niño was aided to the dugout. It was announced that Tatis would not be returning to the game and the spirit of the stadium immediately evaporated. The Padres had their first loss 3-2.
Tatis had suffered an injury to his left shoulder that, apparently, he had been battling for the past couple weeks. The young star chose not to undergo surgery and the Padres have placed him on a 10-day IR. It is speculative that he will return in 10 days, but team medical staff will reevaluate then. Padres GM AJ Preller has reported that the athlete has full range of motion but will need some time to heal and relieve swelling.
The Padres have gone on to win one and lose one in their next two games, but it is obvious that spirits are down due to the absence of “el niño.” One fan tweeted “Padres need some energy tonight. I know it won’t be easy with knowing your best player/spark plug is gonna be out for a long time” (@craigmeddy). Tatis has not given any comment or posted to social media since before his injury.
The Padres currently trail the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West with a record of 4-3. On Wednesday the Padres were awarded their first day of rest after the seven consecutive home games since opening day April 1. They are currently gearing up to play their first away game against the Rangers in Texas on Thursday, April 9. This will be a difficult series for the Padres as they have not played in a stadium with more than 10,000 fans in over a year; however, due to Texas’ lift of COVID-19 restrictions, more than 38,000 people are expected to be in attendance. The Rangers are currently 3-3 in the AL West division behind the Los Angeles Angels and the Houston Astros. Las Vegas has the Padres favorite by -1.5 runs in the opening game of the Padres/Rangers series with an Over/Under set at nine runs.