It's awfully nice to have the real Blake Snell back.
The Padres lefty who has been, at best, underwhelming for most of his tenure in San Diego has regained his form as one of the best pitchers in the game and Sunday's performance in Washington might be the most impressive outing yet.
Snell went 6.0 shutout innings, allowing just three hits, in a 6-0 win over the Nationals to win another series for the Padres. Perhaps most importantly, Snell struck out 10 and did not walk a single batter. Command has been his bug-a-boo with the Friars but it looks like he's fixed that.
Through his first seven starts on 2022 Snell's numbers looked like this:
That's not the kind of line you expect for a former Cy Young winner. Over his last seven starts (there was an 8th in Colorado where everything went wrong but we'll throw that out because it's an anomaly due to pitching on the moon) his numbers look like this:
That's EXACTLY the kind of line you expect for a former Cy Young winner. Snell's resurgence means the Padres have at least four starting pitchers they know with certainty they can win a playoff game with (joining Joe Musgrove, Yu Darvish, and Mike Clevinger), and that's the kind of rotation that go deep into October.
Snell was pitching with a lead from the 3rd inning on. Wil Myers, who looked like he woke up in 2016, doubled to left to drive in Jake Cronenworth to make it 1-0. In the 3rd inning Manny Machado and Brandon Drury both drove in a run, then Myers struck again in the 6th with an RBI single. Wil finished the day 3-for-4, not a bad afternoon for the 8th hitter in the lineup.
It's worth noting that Juan Soto was on base three more times on a single and two walks. In his first trip back to Nationals Park he was on base a ridiculous eight times
The Friars really put it away in the 9th inning. With the bases loaded Machado hit a missile that 3rd baseman Maikel Franco made a great diving stop on ... then he threw the ball into right field for a 2-run error. Reliever extraordinaire Nick Martinez took over for Snell and tossed 2.0 scoreless innings. Robert Suarez handled the 9th to finish the win.
The Padres start a 3-game series in Miami on Monday with a heck of a mound matchup. Joe Musgrove takes the ball against National League Cy Young frontrunner Sandy Alcantara.
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