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Digging deeper in the “Unwritten Rule Book” in Rangers’ recent loss to the Padres

Photo: Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire

Digging deeper in the “Unwritten Rule Book” in Rangers’ recent loss to the Padres

On Texas’ 14-4 loss Monday night against the Padres, there was one specific moment that stung Chris Woodward and the Rangers. In the top of the eighth inning, the Padres had the bases loaded. Fernando Tatis Jr came to the plate against Juan Nicasio. Nicasio threw three pitches out the zone, starting the at-bat off with a 3-0 count. Typically, you wouldn’t see a hitter swing at 3-0 with a substantial lead. It falls under the “unwritten rules” of baseball. Other examples would include stealing a base up big or taking an extra-base with a considerable lead. However, instead of taking, Tatis Jr took a 92 MPH fastball the other way and launched it for a grand slam, his second home run.

After the home run, Chris Woodward was furious on the top step of the Rangers dugout. Plus Ian GIbuat, who replaced Nicasio, threw a four-seam fastball up and in on Manny Machado on his first pitch. “I didn’t like it, personally,” Chris Woodward said after the game. “You’re up by seven in the eighth inning; it’s typically not a good time to swing 3-0. It’s kind of the way we were all raised in the game.”

Look, I’m not a big leaguer. I’m not one to explain the fraternity of Major League Baseball and what’s considered ethically correct or wrong. It’s simple to say that on a 3-0 pitch, if you have a problem with the swing, throw a better pitch.

Another example came last Saturday in Pittsburgh when the Tigers hit four home runs off former Rangers pitcher, Derek Holland, in the first inning (on 11 pitches). After Jeimer Candelario hit the inning’s fourth homer, you could tell that he was playing it cool, not trying to show up Holland or the Pirates. Another instance came in Adrian Beltre’s last home run off Felix Hernandez on August 7, 2018. The two have fun playing against each other. However, Beltre’s homer in that game in the sixth put the Rangers up by seven. What did Beltre do after that? Nothing, he high fived his teammates, and I don’t think he looked at Felix once, despite getting laughed at by a nasty breaking ball earlier in the game, which made Beltre look bad.

Do I think what Tatis Jr did on Monday was intentional to show up the Rangers? Of course not. Tatis Jr. is a talented young 21-year-old making his mark in the big leagues. However, as a twenty-one-year-old, there are still some things to learn in the baseball fraternity that players have to experience. It looked like both Eric Hosmer and Wayne Kirby (Padres’ first base coach) explained to Tatis Jr. what happened. “If they don’t think it was right, then I’m sure they’re gonna talk to him,” Woody said. “I’m guessing that’s what was going on on the bench over there.” Tatis Jr. even said after the game that he was told to take a pitch from the dugout and missed the sign. “I was getting a sign to take a pitch. That was on me,” Tatis Jr. said after the game. “It was a learning opportunity,” Padres manager Jayce Tinger said responding to the Tatis Jr. missed sign.

Will there be any retribution on Tuesday? I doubt it. Padres manager Jayce Tinger spent twelve seasons in the Rangers organization. He and Woody are great friends, so I don’t think we’ll recreate Taylor Swift’s Bad Blood. However, Chris Woodward said he and Tingler would talk. The Padres didn’t retaliate at all in the final two innings. Therefore, I think the whole situation diminished before things got ugly, like last night’s game.

Are the unwritten rules changing? Possibly, even Woodward acknowledged. “The norms are being challenged daily, just because I don’t like it doesn’t mean it’s not right,” Chris Woodward added. Maybe Woodward hit his breaking point when the team is struggling. It could be an instance of trying to get his team motivated. I want to welcome you all to the world of baseball, and well, we are just living in it.

Credentialed Media Staff Writer covering the Texas Rangers for Dallas Sports Fanatic | 2014 University of North Texas graduate with a Bachelor's in Radio, Television, and Film. I talk about things. Find me on the tweeter @aplinckTX

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