It is no secret that the San Diego Padres miss rookie Fernando Tatis Jr. The shortstop suffered a hamstring injury at the end of April and still has not returned to the field.
The San Diego Padres genuinely miss Fernando Tatis Jr.
Defensively, Manny Machado has filled in well at shortstop, but the rookie provided the team with a spark. He kept the team loose. In the last few weeks, the Padres have still shown character with their play, but the energy seems to have diminished slightly.
The Padres are now 7-13 without Tatis. Reports indicate the Dominican infielder could return at the end of the week. Just in time for a road trip in which the team visits Toronto and New York. Having Tatis back against two AL East Division opponents should help revitalize the Padres.
A major league season is a marathon. The Padres started well in 2019 and avoided long losing streaks. Having lost six of their last seven games has challenged this young team. How they respond will dictate a lot for the rest of the season. Each day, this Padre team expects to win. Losing is not acceptable.
The Padres starting rotation is presently very young. Only Matt Strahm has completed eight innings this year for the team, and that has been an issue.
With a rotation full of rookies and second-year players, there are pitching counts and concerns about overusing young arms. The Padres have been diligent in keeping the teams starting staff fresh, but we are in late May. There is still a long season to go. This will be an issue that will only worsen as time goes on. The bullpen is being overused, and there is no relief in sight for the Friars. The team will need to get creative to stabilize the pitching staff moving forward.
Offensively, the Padres have suffered since Tatis was injured. Ty France has had an opportunity to step up and play on most days but has struggled in his first taste of major league pitching. The young infielder owns a .638 OPS so far in 2019 after hitting .211 in his first 57 at-bats for the Padres. France has still shown a ton of potential for a young player. Fernando Tatis Jr. is just a valuable talent.
Fernando Tatis Jr. had just been placed at the leadoff position by manager Andy Green before his injury. The Padres have used a mixture of Ian Kinsler and Greg Garcia in the role, but they have not been able to set the table adequately and consistently. It is not known how limited Tatis will be with his legs, but his speed is also missed on the base paths.
Though the loss of their young phenom has hamstrung the Padres, there is relief in sight. With the return of Tatis, there should be a return of the swagger to the Padres’ step, and perhaps, that can power the team back into the playoff race.