Tatis Jr. and Machado
(image from Jeff Curry/Getty Images)

Tatis Jr. and Machado Get into Dugout Argument in Padres-Cardinals

Things got heated last night in St. Louis, Missouri last night – specifically in the third base dugout. During the fifth inning of a crucial matchup between the St. Louis Cardinals and San Diego Padres, Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado, two of the league’s brightest stars, could be seen arguing face-to-face for a small but very passionate amount of time.

Machado confronted Tatis Jr. seconds before retaking the field for the bottom of the fifth and minutes after each getting plate appearances in the top half. Tatis Jr. struck out looking on a high, but in-the-zone, 89-mph fastball from Cardinals veteran pitcher Adam Wainwright to lead off the inning. Tatis Jr. argued umpire Phil Cuzzi’s call, and San Diego manager Jayce Tingler immediately came out to protect his superstar shortstop. Tingler was ejected after voicing frustrations on Tatis Jr.’s behalf, leaving San Diego without their skipper for the rest of the night. Machado popped out to second base two batters later.

After second baseman Adam Frazier lined out to end the inning, Machado made his move towards Tatis Jr. The two got nose-to-nose for a brief moment before teammates and coaches could separate them. Machado, likely upset with Tatis Jr. putting his team in jeopardy by carelessly arguing balls and strikes, repeated out loud: “It’s not about you. It’s not fucking about you.”

Manny Machado, 29, is in his 10th major league season while Fernando Tatis Jr., 22, is in his third. It’s customary for established veteran professional athletes to get on younger players and teach them valuable lessons, even if it looks ugly at first. Tatis Jr. should not have tried arguing balls and strikes, a sinful act in the game of baseball. Doing so prompted his manager to be sent home early, and San Diego ended up blowing their 2-0 lead at the time and lost 3-2. The youngster is putting together an incredible 2021 season, however, slashing .286/.369/.625 in 116 games played. Tatis Jr. leads the National League with 39 home runs, and many consider him to be the NL MVP frontrunner with just two weeks remaining in the regular season.

But will he win MVP if the Padres miss the playoffs? They sit with a 76-72 record and have now lost eight of their last 11 games, and their schedule does not get any easier down the stretch. San Diego is slated to play one more game tomorrow night in St. Louis, who they are now 2.5 games behind for the second NL Wild Card position. They then come back home for seven against the NL West-leading San Francisco Giants and the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves before finishing with six at the 95-win Los Angeles Dodgers and Giants again.

Frustrations seem to be boiling over for this ball club. During their last 11, the Padres offense has averaged 3.5 runs a game including three shutouts, and their pitching has given up an average of 5.5. Needless to say, San Diego needs to play better down the stretch. Some believe they just aren’t ready to contend yet, while others love the big names that make up their roster. They’re looking to make back-to-back payoff appearances for the first time since the 2005 and 2006 seasons.

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