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#pounditMonday, December 4, 2023

Fernando Tatis Jr. has interesting explanation for Padres’ struggles

Fernando Tatis Jr. looking away.

Apr 19, 2022; San Diego, California, USA; San Diego Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. (23) looks on after the game against the Cincinnati Reds at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

The San Diego Padres have won seven consecutive games, but their streak is almost certainly too little, too late for their playoff hopes. That may not be coincidental, at least based on what Fernando Tatis Jr. had to say after Wednesday’s win.

Tatis suggested that the Padres had struggled under the weight of expectations to start the season, and that players put too much pressure on themselves to perform instead of simply focusing on the task at hand.

“All the expectations and knowing the group that we were,” Tatis said, via AJ Cassavell of “All the good players and the hype. People were excited. Coming in as a group together, I feel like we put a little bit of pressure on ourselves. Too much. Not trying to perform, but trying to make it happen. … I feel like we learned our lesson.

“It taught us a lot as a group. It means: Cut the eyewash. Just come in as a group knowing what you need to do. Go out there, play the game, make yourself feel like a kid again. This is the hardest game in the world. Adding that pressure is just overwhelming.”

After an NLCS appearance in 2022, the Padres signed Xander Bogaerts as a free agent and were considered World Series contenders at the start of the season. The attitude they had very much backed that up. Instead, things went wrong, as the Padres have struggled from start to finish. Even after winning seven straight entering play Thursday, they are just 75-78.

The 2024 Padres should have a lot less hype surrounding them, and perhaps that will help. Tatis will have a big say in whether things improve next year, as he hit a modest 25 home runs with a .260 average so far this season.


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