Blake Snell is set to make his season debut with the San Diego Padres on Wednesday, and he could help make the team even stronger.
After getting a late scratch at the start of the season, Snell is set to debut on Wednesday night against the Philadelphia Phillies. The Padres are having a fairly strong season so far and are currently second in NL West, just half a game behind the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Can Snell make the Padres even stronger?
Snell’s return will push his replacement, MacKenzie Gore, temporarily into the bullpen. Gore made his MLB debut in place of Snell and did not disappoint. He pitched 26 innings and produced 28 strikeouts so far in his MLB career. Gore isn’t scheduled to pitch during the three-game series against the Phillies, but he may be available out of the bullpen.
The Padres are expecting to start Mike Clevinger, Snell, and Yu Darvish on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Each starting pitcher has significant MLB history with awards to back up their skill. The team has a strong rotation of pitchers, and Snell is likely to enhance the strength. He hasn’t had consistent pitching history with the Padres, but his performance in the second half of the 2021 season showed a lot of promising potential.
What potential does Blake Snell bring to the Padres this season?
Snell, a Cy Young award-winning pitcher, didn’t have a strong start to his 2021 season, but he quickly turned that around when he changed his pitching strategy mid-season.
“Snell scrapped his once-dominant changeup — which had been getting hammered last year — on Aug. 3 and ramped up his usage of sliders and four-seamers. The result was a dominant 1.83 ERA and 39.4% strikeout rate with a solid 8.5% walk rate — all marks that dwarfed his numbers through the end of July (5.44 ERA, 27.3% strikeout rate, 14.3% walk rate). If that’s the version of Snell the Padres welcome back this week, an already-strong rotation could develop into a powerhouse.”
Steve Adams, MLB Trade Rumors
Snell was becoming acclimated to a brand new team, which may have contributed to his initial poor performance. He took it as a learning experience and worked hard during the off-season and spring training. He was ready to use the start of the new season as a chance to put that experience behind him, but the injury put a halt to his plans.
Though his two seasons with the Padres didn’t start as planned, he’s seemingly kept a positive outlook with the determination to do the best he can.
“We’ll keep building. The first one is like get it going. Start by building that confidence. Second one, let’s take off. First one, I don’t know how I’m going to feel, don’t know how I’m going to act. I know I can’t wait. I’m excited. I’m ready. Those emotions always, like, the first one gets you going. After that, you’re like, ‘All right.’ I’ll be nasty. I’m looking forward to it.”
Blake Snell, The San Diego Union-Tribune
If he can pitch the way he did in the second half of the 2021 season, he’ll only make the Padres stronger.