The host Miami Marlins are set to get their first 2021 look at superstar shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. and the rest of the San Diego Padres on Thursday night in a battle between what will surely be two very tired teams.
San Diego played a day-night doubleheader at Atlanta on Wednesday, spending about 15 hours at the ballpark. The Padres beat the Braves 3-2 in the first game, and they led the second game 5-4 when that contest was suspended in the fifth inning after a long rain delay.
The Marlins, meanwhile, earned a 3-1, 10-inning road win over the Washington Nationals on Wednesday.
Both the Padres and the Marlins had to travel late Wednesday night/early Thursday morning in order to arrive in Miami to start their four-game weekend series.
“We’ll probably get in pretty late,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said after his team snapped a four-game losing streak with the win over Washington.
Tatis, one the game’s more dynamic talents, showed yet again his breathtaking power, speed and overall talent in Wednesday’s doubleheader.
In the first game, he hit his National League-leading 29th homer of the season.
In the second game, Tatis made a thundering dash to the plate, scoring on a wild pitch just before a tag could arrive.
“He does everything with energy and passion,” San Diego general manager A.J. Preller said. “He’s the reason you want to watch a Padres game.”
The Padres, though, are a complete team, ranking fourth in the NL in ERA (3.49), first in stolen bases (89), second in walks (381), third in on-base percentage (.329) and third in batting average (.246).
However, it’s Tatis who steals the show again and again, and he has been doing that for a while now. In fact, Tatis was just 14 years old when a scout asked him who he wanted to be like when he reached the majors.
“The Dominican Derek Jeter,” Tatis responded.
Jeter, the former Yankees superstar, is now the face of Marlins management.
On Thursday, the Padres are expected to start left-hander Blake Snell (3-3, 5.21 ERA), who has yet to face the Marlins this year. In three career starts against the Marlins, Snell is 1-1 with a 4.80 ERA.
This year, the Padres are 8-9 when starting Snell, who won the American League Cy Young Award in 2018. Snell pitched five innings of two-run ball to win his only career start in Miami, on Aug. 30, 2020.
Snell is a better second-half pitcher (20-7, 2.82 ERA) than he is in the first half (21-24, 3.89 ERA), at least on average.
Miami had yet to announce a starter for Thursday’s game, but it could be rookie right-hander Zach Thompson, who would be pitching on four days of rest.
Thompson (2-2, 1.93 ERA) has been impressive in six starts this year, even though the Marlins are just 2-4 in those outings. He has never faced the Padres.
Mattingly is hopeful the Marlins — who are in last place in the NL East — can use the Wednesday win as a springboard to contention, even if that appears to be a longshot.
“It’s been a battle since the (All-Star) break,” Mattingly said of the Marlins, who are 2-5 during that span. “It feels good to get a win, and you never know when (a streak) starts.”
–Field Level Media