Tatis exits, Padres drop another to Cubs

June 2nd, 2021

Things seemed to be going San Diego’s way midway through its matchup with Chicago on Tuesday night.

The Padres took the lead in the top of the fifth, scoring three runs on just six pitches off Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks thanks to a solo home run from Victor Caratini and a two-run shot from Tommy Pham. It was the first lead San Diego had in the series since Chris Paddack gave up a go-ahead two-run homer to Javier Báez in the third inning on Monday, and considering Hendricks had needed just 43 pitches to get through the first 4 2/3 innings Tuesday, it was a sorely needed boost for the club.

But almost as quickly as things started going well for the Padres, they went south.

In the bottom of the inning, starter Ryan Weathers -- looking to make it through five innings for the first time since April 22 -- left an 0-2 sinker up in the zone for Chicago catcher Willson Contreras. A few seconds later, Weathers watched the ball sail over the wall in left-center to give the Cubs the lead for good, and San Diego took the 4-3 defeat to Chicago at Wrigley Field.

“I'm sure he'd like to have two pitches back or so,” Padres manager Jayce Tingler said. “… With Contreras there, I think [Weathers] just didn't quite get the 0-2 pitch where he wanted."

"Just left [the pitch] middle,” Weathers said. “It was supposed to be up and in. Perfect height, just left it middle. Just little stuff like that, just got to clean up and keep runs off the board.”

The loss was the Padres’ third in a row, marking the first time they’ve dropped three consecutive games since they were swept by the Brewers in mid-April. However, the club’s biggest loss of the game came when superstar shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. was removed before the bottom of the sixth inning, though San Diego said Tatis was taken out as a precaution due to right oblique tightness.

“I think it kind of tightened up on him during one of his swings. More when he kind of loaded and turned into the ball,” Tingler said. “He said something, and obviously [it was] precautionary. Wanted to make sure and not do any more damage or anything like that.”

On a micro-level, losing the best bat in their lineup was the last thing the Padres needed as they trailed the Cubs by a run. On a macro-level, though, another Tatis injury is the last thing San Diego needs as it heads into a new month hoping to leave behind the injury issues that have plagued the team all season.

As of Tuesday, the Padres had 10 players on the 60-day injured list with another four sitting on the 10-day IL. Center fielder Trent Grisham is closing in on his return to the team, though it will be a few more days until he could be ready.

Tingler was at least optimistic postgame that Tatis could avoid his third IL stint of the season, saying the reaction from Tatis and the trainers gave him some hope that they had “caught something early, before it got bad.”

However, It was only two days ago that San Diego was in a tie with the Rays for the best record in the Majors. Now, with another game left to play in their 10-game road trip, the Padres look more like a team that could use a trip back home.

“Obviously, we've lost three in a row, [but] we're going to be ready to play ball,” Tingler said. “No matter what our lineup looks like, no matter what our situation is, we're pretty consistent at being the same. Ready to play ball each and every day.”