Chavez Ravine- Los Angeles, California
Coming into Friday night’s game, Fernando Tatis Jr. had been a bit of a disappointment to begin 2021, at least for the young star’s typical standard. Through 12 games, Tatis had a .163 average with only two home runs and three RBIs. Most frustrating for Tatis, he had struck out in essentially a third of his plate appearances.
The young shortstop has a lot of reasons for his slow start, but none more so than the shoulder injury that caused him to miss a week and a half. For all the mental and physical adjustments that he must be conditioning himself to cater to the injury while staying in the lineup, the struggles shouldn’t be overly concerning to Padres’ fans.
Friday night in Los Angeles against the Dodgers, Tatis put a lot of the concerns to rest. In five at-bats, Tatis hit two solo home runs that might still be flying somewhere in the Los Angeles sky. Even more encouraging, both home runs, the two hardest-hit home runs in Tatis’ career, were hit off Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw. Tatis finished the game going 3-for-5 with three RBIs that ended up being a major factor in the 6-1 Padres win.
The two home runs were personally significant to Tatis because April 23 is the anniversary of the game that his father, Fernando Tatis, hit two grand slams in a single inning at Dodger Stadium. 22 years later to the day, at the same ballpark, Tatis Jr. hit his two home runs that made for a fun father-son moment.
“Me playing today on this field, it means a lot to me and my family,” Tatis said regarding the shared historical moment with his father.
On the pitching side of things, Kershaw was matched up with Padres ace Yu Darvish for the second time in a week. Kershaw got the best of Darvish last Saturday night in San Diego, shutting out the Padres lineup in a 2-0 Dodger win. Darvish would turn the tables on Kershaw and the Dodgers on Friday night, pitching a gem and earning his second win of the season. Darvish pitched seven innings of four-hit ball, allowing one run and striking out nine.
“You let him face Betts the fourth time. We were gonna go with Darvish there. That’s his game,” said manager Jayce Tingler when asked about leaving Darvish in to finish the 7th inning after getting in a bit of trouble and having to face Mookie Betts with two outs.
The win for Darvish extended a pretty impressive streak covering his last four starts. In those four starts, including tonight, Darvish has a 1.33 ERA in 27 innings.
Wil Myers joined in the fun against Los Angeles, hitting his fourth home run of the season. Myers’ home run got the scoring started for the Padres, tying the game at one in the second inning.
San Diego has now won two in a row against the Dodgers in Los Angeles with two more games to go in the four-game series. The two wins represent a significant turnaround for the Padres after getting swept at home by the Brewers at Petco Park right before heading to LA. The Padres improved to 12-10 on the season while the Dodgers fell to 14-6, though still holding on to first place in the NL West.
The Padres will look to make it three in a row on Saturday night, which would earn them a series win in Los Angeles against the first-place Dodgers. Blake Snell will face off against Trevor Bauer at 6:10 PM.