The Texas Rangers think Fernando Tatis Jr. should have been looking for a walk instead of a grand slam in the eighth inning Monday night.
Tatis Jr. came to the plate in the eighth with his San Diego Padres up 10-3 on the Rangers. After working to a 3-0 count on Juan Nicasio, Tatis swung on the fourth pitch and clobbered the baseball over the right-center wall for a 14-3 Padres lead.
The Rangers were apparently unhappy that they gave up a grand slam. And unhappy that the 21-year-old Tatis had the nerve to swing in that count with his team up seven. It was his 11th homer of the season.
“I think there's a lot of unwritten rules that are constantly being challenged in today's game,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said at his news conference after the game. “Yeah, I didn't like it, personally. You're up by seven in the eighth inning — it's typically not a good time to swing 3-0. It's kind of the way we were all raised in the game. But, like I said, the norms are being challenged on a daily basis, so just because I don't like it doesn't mean it's not right. I don't think we liked it as a group.”
That dislike was clear after Tatis’ home run. Nicasio was replaced by Ian Gibaut and Gibaut immediately threw a pitch behind Manny Machado.
Tatis missed a take sign?
Tatis was apparently told that he shouldn’t swing on that pitch from Nicasio, but the Rangers seem to believe that Tatis didn’t need a take sign to not swing.
“I've been in this game since I was a kid, and I know a lot of unwritten rules,” Tatis said. “But this time, I didn't.”
Padres manager Jayce Tingler after the game said that because the Padres were up seven runs at the time, Tatis did in fact receive a sign to take that pitch.
“Just to make sure we get the signs 3-0 in that game,” Tingler said after the game about what he told Tatis. “Just to make sure and he’s young, a free spirit and focused and all those things and that’s the last thing we’ll ever take away. It’s a learning opportunity and that’s it and he’ll grow from it.”
Tatis said that Tingler told him the take sign was on after he got back to the dugout.
“He told me that I was given the sign to take a pitch and I told him right away that was on me, I didn’t look in,” Tatis said.
The grand slam gave Tatis sole possession of the MLB home run lead after the Angels’ Mike Trout hit his 10th home run earlier in the evening. Tatis, who knocked in seven runs Monday night, also has the MLB lead with 28 RBI. Though the Rangers would certainly argue with three of those. They would have much rather preferred that Tatis had taken a walk to drive a run in.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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