This past weekend saw the continuation of the season series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres, which has been widely considered to be a potential National League Championship Series preview. The series was at 3-3 coming into Sunday night’s matchup that would determine whether the Friars would take a series win or split at Dodger Stadium. While some Dodgers fans claim to have little interest in this divisional rivalry, the same cannot be said of the players. They have staged some epic baseball battles early in the 2021 season, to the delight of MLB fans everywhere.
Padres star and 2019 Rookie of the Year Award finalist Fernando Tatis Jr. had two home runs off alt-righthander and 2020 Cy Young Award winner* Trevor Bauer on Saturday night to bolster his career home run totals. On Sunday, the first of his two stolen bases would break a MLB record for young players. According to @PeloterosRD, Tatis Jr. became the first player in MLB history to hit 40 home runs and steal 30 bases over the first 162 games of his career. He currently has 46 homers and 31 steals.
#MLB | ⚾️ Fernando Tatis Jr 🇩🇴 se convirtió en el primer jugador en la historia de la MLB con 40 jonrones y 30 bases robadas en los primeros 162 juegos de su carrera. #PeloterosRD pic.twitter.com/XAGG6oLO1W
— ⚾️ PeloterosRD 🇩🇴 (@PeloterosRD_) April 26, 2021
While this framing involves a bit of cherry picking since this is Tatis Jr.’s 3rd MLB season, “El Niño” has yet to play a full 162-game season because of the injuries he suffered in 2019 and the abbreviated 2020 Covidball season.
The Padres shortstop also recorded a more dubious achievement with his fielding error in the 2nd inning of Sunday’s game. According to Dominican sportswriter Víctor Báez, this error which helped the Dodgers score their first run of the game was his 9th of the season, making him the first player to commit 9 errors over the first 15 games of the season since Scott Fletcher in 1983.
El 9º error de la temporada de Fernando Tatis Jr. contribuyó a que anotara la 1ª carrera de los Dodgers.
Tatis se convierte en el primer jugador desde Scott Fletcher en 1983 en cometer 9 errores en sus primeros 15 juegos de la temporada pic.twitter.com/rMxwjlAiFO
— Víctor Ml. Báez S. (@VicBaezS) April 26, 2021
After being down by a score of 7-1 at the end of the 6th inning, the Friars rallied in the late innings to tie the game and force extra innings. In the 11th inning, they drove in the eventual winning run on a sacrifice fly by Eric Hosmer which scored none other than “El Niño.” The 8-7 victory over the Dodgers secured a series win and also pulled the Padres ahead in the season series.
The Padres will continue their NL West road trip with a two-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on Tuesday night. Game time is 9:40 PM ET. Chris Paddack (1-2, 3.50 ERA) will face Merrill Kelly (1-2, 7.71 ERA).
Featured Image: Fernando Tatis Jr., infielder for the San Diego Padres at Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria, AZ, USA March 23,2021 by Keeton Gale / Shutterstock.com.