The San Diego Padres were reeling entering play Sunday but they got a big boost with the return of superstar shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr.
Except, at least for now, he is known instead as the superstar outfielder.
Tatis came back from the 10-day injured list to help San Diego beat the Arizona Diamondbacks and end a four-game skid. Now the Padres continue their road trip with a three-game set at the Colorado Rockies, beginning Monday night.
San Diego has not named a starter for the opener while Colorado right-hander Antonio Senzatela will take the mound.
The Padres have fallen off the pace in the National League West but still are holding onto the second NL wild card spot. Getting Tatis back from a partially dislocated left shoulder will help, as it was apparent on Sunday when he hit two home runs and had four RBIs in the 8-2 win over the Diamondbacks.
Tatis approached the team about playing outfield despite being an All-Star at shortstop, in part to help reduce the stress on the shoulder.
“It’s not that he’s moving to the outfield permanently or anything like that,” Padres general manager A.J. Preller said Sunday. “What we’ve talked to him about is that it will be combination getting him in the lineup and about our team and what may fit with our club. It is an idea that he brought up in terms of going to the outfield and something he wants to do. He’s obviously a very good athlete and can play all over the field.”
San Diego struggled offensively with Tatis out, averaging just over a run a game during its losing streak. To build on Sunday’s win, the Padres will have to turn around their fortunes against the Rockies. After winning five of the first six between the teams this season, San Diego has dropped seven of the past 10 to Colorado, which includes getting swept in Denver in mid-June.
The Rockies earned a four-game split at the Padres in late July, which accounts for two of their 14 road wins this season. Colorado just wrapped up a 1-5 road trip at San Francisco on Sunday, which included scoring just one run in the first three games.
The Rockies have been shut out 15 times this season, a franchise record, and all have come on the road.
“Honestly, I think we’re doing a really good job of showing up every day with a fresh mindset and not worrying too much about what happened last night,” infielder Ryan McMahon said. “So I think we are coming to work every day with a good attitude and ready to play hard baseball.”
Colorado won five of six on a recent homestand and plays its next six at Coors Field. Senzatela (2-9, 4.71 ERA) is coming off a quality start in a loss at Houston on Wednesday and will face the Padres for the second time at home this season. In the first meeting, he gave up four runs on seven hits and two walks in five innings and took the loss in the 8-1 defeat.
He is 7-3 with a 3.38 ERA in 16 career games (10 starts) against San Diego.
On the season, the Rockies are 38-21 at home.
–Field Level Media