As Nationals manager Dave Martinez says, “OK! Wipe that one away.”
On Friday night, in the opener of a three-game series, the visiting San Diego Padres crushed Washington 24-8 — opening the season’s symbolic second half with the Padres’ single-game record for runs.
But it was just one game. The series will resume Saturday night in a match of left-handers — the Padres’ Blake Snell (3-3, 4.99 ERA) going against the Nationals’ Patrick Corbin (6-7, 5.40).
Before we delve into the pitchers, however, let’s look at another matchup unique to the Padres and Nationals — that of the Padres’ once-shortstop-of-the-future against their shortstop of the now and future: Washington’s Trea Turner and the Padres’ Fernando Tatis Jr.
The 28-year-old Turner was the Padres’ first-round draft pick in 2014 and was moving rapidly toward the major-league roster when, on Dec. 19, 2014, he was sent to Washington as part of a three-team trade that brought Wil Myers (who had two homers and seven RBIs in Friday’s rout) to San Diego.
They still talk about the merits of that trade in San Diego. But there is no question which team got the better part of the June 4, 2016, deal that brought then teenager Tatis to the Padres for right-handed starting pitcher James Shields.
Turner and Tatis recently were teammates on the National League All-Star team — Tatis Jr. as the starter and Turner worthy of being a starter.
Both have impressive numbers.
Tatis, 22, is hitting .286 with a .368 on-base percentage and leads the National League in slugging percentage (.652) and on-base plus slugging (1.020). He has 28 homers, 62 RBIs and a league-leading 21 stolen bases.
Turner is hitting .319 with a .368 on-base mark and a .520 slugging percentage for an .888 OPS. He has 17 homers, 42 RBIs and 19 steals.
“Two of the very best,” Padres manager Jayce Tingler said recently when asked about Tatis and Turner. The comparison was made because Friday marked the sixth time in less than two weeks that Turner and Tatis have been on the same field — the All-Star Game plus five Padres-Nationals meetings.
“It’s very rare you can see two of the best players at the same position playing each other,” Tingler said.
It will happen two more times — Saturday and Sunday — but they won’t face one another during the regular season after that until 2022.
After five Padres-Nationals games this season, Tatis is 5-for-21 with two homers, two walks, three stolen bases, five RBIs and five runs scored, three of those coming Friday night. Turner is 8-for-21 with three homers, a stolen base, two walks, four RBIs and seven runs scored.
Turning back to the pitchers, Snell will face the Nationals for the first time this season. He was on the injured list (illness) the first time the clubs met.
“He’s much stronger now,” Tingler said of Snell, who was felled by a stomach ailment that has kept him sidelined for all but one outing since June 22. On July 4, he started and worked four scoreless innings against the Phillies.
Snell has made just one start against the Nationals, picking up a win. On June 25, 2018, when he was pitching for the Tampa Bay Rays, he went seven innings, allowing no runs and just one hit with four walks and 10 strikeouts in an 11-0 victory.
Corbin gained a win against the Padres on July 7, allowing two runs on seven hits and two walks with three strikeouts in six innings in San Diego.
In 21 games against the Padres, 16 as a starter, Corbin is 7-8 with a 4.23 ERA.
–Field Level Media