The NL West race might have changed with one swing of the bat Monday night at Petco Park in San Diego.
San Diego Padres superstar Fernando Tatis Jr. sustained a left shoulder subluxation in the bottom of the third inning of his team's 3-2 loss to the Giants in the opener of their three-game series. The Padres announced that the 22-year-old will be re-evaluated Tuesday.
Giants starter Anthony DeSclafani struck Tatis out with a breaking ball for the second out of the inning, and the Padres' shortstop fell to the dirt in immediate pain. He stayed down on the ground for a minute before walking off with the team's trainer.
A subluxation is a fancy medical term for a partial dislocation. It's unclear at this time exactly how bad Tatis' injury is.
"You never want to see anybody get hurt," Giants manager Gabe Kapler told reporters on a video conference call after the game. "I don't know what Tatis' status is, but you feel for somebody who puts in a lot of work and prepares to play the game and then suffers an injury. Again I don't know what his status is, but you feel bad for anybody that has an injury in-game."
Dr. David J. Chao, the former NFL team doctor tweeted that he believes Tatis will eventually need surgery.
Depending on the severity of Tatis' injury, the Padres chances of competing with the Los Angeles Dodgers for the NL West crown would be compromised.
While the Padres still are a deep and talented team without Tatis, he is an NL MVP candidate and arguably their best player. Without him, San Diego will have a tough time toppling the reigning World Series champions.
The Giants very likely weren't going to compete with the Dodgers and Padres for the NL West title, but if Tatis is out for a significant amount of time, the gap closes ever so slightly. Could the Giants leapfrog the Padres and finish in second place behind the Dodgers? Unlikely, but certainly possible.
Everyone around baseball, including the Giants, hopes that Tatis isn't seriously hurt and he will miss limited time. He just signed a 14-year, $340 million contract, so this is the last thing the Padres want to see.
We'll find out Tuesday just how bad the injury is and how long Tatis will miss.