The Texas Rangers and San Diego Padres resume their home-and-home, four-game series Wednesday night with a matchup of their respective No. 1 starters at Petco Park in San Diego.
Chris Paddack (2-2, 4.91 ERA) will start for the Padres against the Rangers’ Lance Lynn (3-0, 1.11).
But the pairing of hard-throwing right-handers and the Padres’ two straight wins at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, is taking something of a backseat in the series thus far.
Everyone was still talking about baseball’s “unwritten rules” Tuesday after Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. hit a grand slam homer on a 3-0 pitch Monday night with the Padres already leading 10-3.
Almost everyone in baseball had chimed in with an opinion by Wednesday morning, including Hall of Famers Johnny Bench and Reggie Jackson, who came out solidly in support of Tatis, the 21-year-old who leads the major leagues in home runs (11) and RBIs (28).
And the aftermath of the debate resulted in suspensions for Rangers manager Chris Woodward and relief pitcher Ian Gibaut, who threw behind Manny Machado with the first pitch following Tatis’ grand slam and ensuing back flip.
The question on the table: Should Tatis have swung at the 3-0 offering from Juan Nicasio?
“I’m not pounding my fist on the table saying this was absolutely horrendous,” Woodward said in his pregame media session Tuesday. “I just thought it went just past the line. But I don’t know exactly what the lines are. I just find it funny that they’re coming at me as old school.”
Woodward was speaking before he learned of the one-game suspension that he received and subsequently served Tuesday. Gibaut is appealing the three-game suspension he drew for throwing behind Machado, and he pitched a scoreless inning Tuesday.
“We don’t want to take matters in our own hands like that,” Woodward said of Gibaut’s reaction. “Obviously, I get that. It is a different day and age. Back in the day, that was acceptable, but MLB has made it clear that’s not. Let’s do the best thing by getting (the batter) out. That’s the biggest message I am going to send today. Instead of retaliating, let’s try to get the kid out or get that team out.”
Padres manager Jayce Tingler, who was on Woodward’s staff last year, wasn’t in favor of Tatis swinging — and he even put on a take sign that the shortstop missed. Tinger also was disappointed in Gibaut’s reaction.
“Definitely not OK,” Tingler said in his Tuesday morning media session. “I didn’t expect it. That whole stuff is tired, throwing at players and throwing behind them. It’s just tired. MLB has been very adamant from the get-go that this won’t be tolerated.”
There were no further incidents Tuesday, although the Padres showed why Tatis was swinging away with a seven-run lead. They led 6-0 early Tuesday and won 6-4, getting the final out with the tying run on.
Paddack was originally scheduled to face the Rangers in Texas on Tuesday, but he was pushed back to get an extra day’s rest. He gave up six runs (all but one on three homers), six hits and a walk in three innings at Dodger Stadium on Thursday. Paddack has given up 12 runs and six homers over his past three starts covering 14 2/3 innings. He will be facing the Rangers for the first time in his career.
Meanwhile, Lynn is off to one of the best starts in the major leagues. In five starts, the 6-foot-5, 250-pound veteran has given up five runs (four earned) on 12 hits and 12 walks with 36 strikeouts in 32 1/3 innings. He is coming off a 16-win season during which he had a 3.67 ERA and 246 strikeouts in 33 starts and 208 1/3 innings.
Lynn has made seven career starts against the Padres, producing a 3-3 record, a 3.00 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP in 42 innings.
–Field Level Media