Tension builds when teams are at the center of the playoff chase. Sometimes that can lead to frustration, even among teammates.
That was the case Saturday night when Padres third baseman Manny Machado was seen arguing in the dugout with shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. after Tatis struck out looking in the fifth inning. Tatis had argued with plate umpire Phil Cuzzi about the decision, prompting Machado on the bench to tell him, “It’s not about you” and encourage him to “go play baseball.”
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After the matchPadres manager Jayce Tingler said the incident was not viewed negatively, but did not discuss the details.
“We are a family,” Tingler said. “There is passion. There is frustration. All the emotions that are natural and those things happen. But it comes down to a group of men who care.”
The clash between All-Star teammates took place during a game that was critical in the Padres’ fight for their postseason lives. They lost on Friday to the Cardinals, who have taken the lead for the second wild card in the National League. San Diego led 2-0 at the time of Saturday’s confrontation, but St. Louis scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth to win 3-2 and push the Padres 2 1/2 games behind the Cardinals for the second. wildcard.
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Tatis stepped onto the bench after the fifth inning ended and hit his helmet, prompting Machado to reach out and speak to the 22-year-old superstar.
Tingler said in his press conference that he felt Machado had done a good job as a leader this season.
“I would say that Manny being able to share his experience and being able to share past experiences of being young in the league is a good thing,” Tingler said.
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Machado, like Tatis, came to the majors young and immediately faced pressure to perform. He made his Orioles debut at age 19 in 2012 and was thrown into the limelight as a spark for a team competing for the playoffs. He helped the Orioles finish second in the AL East, although they lost in the ALDS that year. During their first five years in the big leagues, the Orioles made the playoffs three times, including in 2014 when they won the division. In three of those seasons, Machado received votes for the AL MVP.
Tatis is in a similar situation. San Diego is in its second playoff push since Tatis debuted, and the team reached the postseason in the 2020 COVID-19 shortened campaign. Tatis received MVP votes as one of the 2020 team’s spark plugs and is seen by some as the top contender for NL MVP in 2021 behind a .286 / .370 / .629 line with 39 home runs and 25 stolen bases .
It wasn’t long ago that the Padres were fighting for the NL West title. When the 2021 All-Star Game took place, the Padres were just six games behind the Giants in the division and held a 3 1/2 game lead over the Reds for the second wild card. Since the All-Star break, the Padres are 23-32.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.