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CHICAGO — It was mid-March, and Manny Machado had simply discovered that teammate and Padres mate Fernando Tatis Jr. would miss important time with a damaged left wrist.
Machado, as sharp as ever, made a prediction:
“When he places on that uniform, we’ll be in a very good place. In a very good place to welcome him. You do not win a championship within the first three months of the season. You would put your self in a very good place… That is what we’ll do.” to attempt to do”.
And, boy, are they doing it.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Padres introduced that Tatis has not but been cleared to renew hitting, following the most recent spherical of imaging on his diseased wrist. On Tuesday night time, they received one other recreation with out him: a 12-5 victory over the Cubs at Wrigley Discipline.
“All the fellows are pulling the rope in the identical path,” mentioned second baseman Jake Cronenworth, who had his second consecutive three-hit night time. “I hope we get [Tatis] quickly, and it may give us just a little spark. However the guys are enjoying very well proper now, and we proceed to construct each night time from what we’re doing.”
When Machado made his prediction three months in the past, he appeared a bit optimistic. This was a crew coming off a 79-win season, dropping its finest participant the yr earlier than, in one of many hardest divisions in baseball. And but, with Tuesday’s victory, the Padres remained in a digital tie for first place with the Dodgers.
“It has been powerful being on the sidelines,” mentioned Tatis, who labored out on the sphere earlier than the sport. “However I’m happy with my crew. We’re top-of-the-line groups in baseball with out me.”
In one other time and place, information of a delayed restoration for Tatis would have felt organizationally crushing. Tatis is the Padres’ preeminent famous person, one of the crucial thrilling gamers in all the recreation.
However Machado was astute in his March evaluation of Tatis’s damage, at the same time as the remainder of the baseball world appeared terrified. The Padres weren’t going to win any playoff sequence in mid-June. They might solely put themselves in a powerful place for Tatis’s return, supplied that occurred.
We nonetheless do not have a solution. However the query instantly appears a lot much less urgent.
“We hope to have him again, it is only a matter of when,” Padres president of baseball operations AJ Preller mentioned earlier within the afternoon. “I do not suppose it modifications like, ‘Hey, we have to do one thing from a roster standpoint.’ Guys have performed properly and we’re discovering plenty of methods to win video games.”
For probably the most half, it was capturing and protection that led to San Diego throughout Tatis’ prolonged absence. However on Tuesday, the offense confirmed what it’s able to. Left-hander Sean Manaea went out after four-plus innings, his shortest begin of the season. The Padres, who had but to beat a deficit of greater than three runs, got here roaring again.
Luke Voit homered, doubled and drove in 5 runs. Jorge Alfaro additionally homered and was certainly one of six Padres with a number of hits. For the second night time in a row, the Padres pounced on a drained Cubs bullpen after scoring only one run in opposition to their starter.
“We simply imagine in one another,” middle fielder Trent Grisham mentioned. “It is an accumulation of plenty of issues, but it surely comes all the way down to: we predict we’re in each recreation. We all know our pitching workers has us. So we have now 9 makes an attempt.”
Amongst Padres starters, solely Machado went hitless. Cubs middle fielder Christopher Morel stole Machado with an excellent diving catch within the ninth, conserving Machado inside one hit of his 1,five hundredth profession milestone.
In Tatis’s absence, Machado has been the stabilizing power the Padres wanted him to be. He put up MVP-caliber numbers whereas the remainder of the offense struggled. Now the remainder of that group, Voit and Cronenworth particularly, have begun to shoulder his weight.
So what occurs subsequent? Finally, the Padres will add Tatis, one of the crucial impactful gamers within the recreation at a place the place they have not had a lot manufacturing this season. They’re already a first-place crew, off to the very best 63-game begin in franchise historical past. Is it doable that they’ll enhance much more?
“We nonetheless have backup on the way in which,” Grisham mentioned. “We now have plenty of guys who’re hungry and plenty of guys who imagine in one another. Who is aware of the place it may take us?
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