Padres News: Adrian Morejon dominates Rangers as bullpen struggles continue

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

Adrian Morejon made his first start of the year for the Padres on Tuesday, and he dominated the Texas Rangers over three innings.

Flashback to spring training when a 21-year-old Adrian Morejon was celebrating his birthday. His gift was to face an Angels lineup that featured Anthony Rendon, Shohei Ohtani, and Mike Trout. And while the Padres hurler tossed just 1.1 innings, he completely froze Rendon for struck and got Ohtani to whiff on a blazing fastball.

Morejon was working his way back from a 2019 season that saw him pitch just 44.0 innings, as he was limited by a shoulder impingement. On Tuesday, he made an enormous leap towards a regular start in the rotation, and sure, the sample size was limited to just three innings, but Morejon looked dominant.

He threw 26-of-39 pitches for strikes, allowing just one walk while fanning four batters. A good argument can be made that Jayce Tingler should have let him go another inning, but perhaps the team is stretching him out while continuing to build up his confidence.

Still, what came after was an all-too-familiar feeling for the Padres this season. Javy Guerra allowed four runs (three earned) with a fielding error by Manny Machado contributing to the cause.

Guerra’s outing was highlighted by a three-run homer to Joey Gallo in the bottom half of the fourth inning that still has yet to land. The former shortstop was expected to see more time in the bullpen this year, but it might be time to end that experiment.

Luis Patino made another appearance, but he just hasn’t been sharp. He’s essentially learning on the job with marginal innings above High-A, but he allowed three free passes and struck out one in his only inning of work. His slider, when on point, has been nasty in the early going, drawing a 64 percent whiff rate.

Fernando Tatis Jr. steals third up six runs.

One day removed from the controversy that caught the baseball world by surprise, Fernando Tatis Jr. stole third base while the Padres were up by six runs. Granted, it was in the sixth inning, so perhaps Tingler won’t have any strong words for him today.

Through 25 games, Tatis leads the MLB in home runs (11), RBI (28), and is fourth in the NL in OPS (1.096). Rangers starter Mike Minor was baffled by Tatis, claiming that “he didn’t know what to throw to Tatis…he hits everything.”

Yes, Mike. Yes, he does.

These two teams will play another two-game series—this time, at Petco Park.