The San Diego Padres traded for Blake Snell thinking they were getting an ace. But that’s hardly what the left-hander and 2018 AL Cy Young winner looked like on Tuesday night in Pittsburgh.
Heading into the start, the big question was whether or not he could finally get into the sixth. In his first two starts, he pitched five and 4 2/3 innings, respectively. There was all kinds of hope that, against a Pirates team that is supposed to be among the worst in baseball, Snell could settle in early and cruise.
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That’s not what happened.
Only one time in his career has Snell turned in a shorter outing than what we saw on Tuesday. He departed after just two-thirds of an inning, having allowed three runs on three hits and a pair of walks. To get those two outs, it took a whopping 38 pitches.
Padres need Blake Snell to work deeper
Now, that was just the third start of the year for Snell. But concerns over his ability to pitch deep into ballgames dates back to long before the Padres acquired him from Tampa Bay. It’s been the big knock on him for years now – and a start like this does little to assuage the concerns a lot of folks rightly have at this point.
"“There’s no reason for me to have the outing that I had,” Snell told MLB.com. “I’ve got to learn from it, from the mistakes that I made.”"
The lefty wasn’t on the same page as his battery mate for most of that fateful inning – but it’s hard to put the blame on Luis Campusano who, at just 22 years of age, is filling in behind the dish for the injured Austin Nola.
Regardless of the reason, Snell struggled. And he has to be better – not just in results, but in his ability to eat innings – if the Padres are going to achieve their ultimate goal of winning a World Series.
He’ll get a shot at redemption this weekend against the Dodgers at home. The first Dodgers-Padres series of the year is reason enough to get hyped. But don’t forget – the last time he faced Los Angeles was when his former manager, Kevin Cash, pulled him out of the blue in the World Series – and we all know how that wound up going for Snell and the Rays.