The month is June and the time for getting acclimated to your new surroundings is over. In plain English, San Diego Padres pitcher Blake Snell is the weak link to an otherwise very productive starting rotation.
Snell’s ineffectiveness has stuck out like a sore thumb this season. He is 2-2 with a 4.83 ERA and has allowed 77 baserunners (45 hits and 32 walks) with 30 of them scoring. In 12 starts, he has pitched past the fifth inning (5.1 IP against the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 24th, 6.0 IP against the Colorado Rockies on May 18th and 7.0 IP against the New York Mets on June 4th) in only three outings. But do not place blame on the Padres being overly cautious with Snell because he has been that bad.
Same Results, Different Location for San Diego Padres and Blake Snell
Throughout his career with the Tampa Bay Rays, Snell averaged 5.1 IP in 108 starts. The script hasn’t changed that much in his move out West. Snell continues to struggle to keep his pitch count down as the gas tank hits empty by the fifth inning. No one should be shocked by his performance. If you are, then you have not been paying attention to the progression of Snell’s career.
Snell was not supposed to be the team’s most pressing issue heading into spring training. No, the Friars biggest question marks with their starting rotation were if Chris Paddack could rebound from a disastrous 2020 campaign, if Dinelson Lamet could overcome another major arm injury or if Ryan Weathers would wilt from the lack of major league experience.
Paddack has been up-and-down, but Lamet and Weathers’ contributions have been outstanding. Yes, both starting pitchers have been removed from games while still dominating opposing lineups. But that is due to preserving their availability to complete an entire 162-game campaign. The remaining starters have out-pitched the competition thus far. But how much longer can the rotation cover for Snell before the burden becomes too much. The Friars may not be there yet.
You will not hear the Padres brass rush to judgment on Snell. Instead, they will give him every opportunity to turn his season around. That means handing Snell the ball every time his spot in the rotation comes up. Hopefully, the talented lefty can join the party and allow his performance level to match the fan’s expectations after the trade was announced.
Blake Snell Needs to Regain His Dominance For San Diego Padres Toughest Month
June could be the toughest month for the Padres to navigate this season. They have 15 games on the docket against the National League’s (Chicago Cubs, New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers) top three teams.
Currently, the Mets are atop of the East, while the Cubs sit in second place in the Central a half-a-game out of the top spot and the Dodgers three games off the pace in third place behind the San Francisco Giants in the West. Padres are 3-5 against the competition with seven games remaining.
Pitching is always key to slowing down the Cubs and Dodgers offensive attack. Combined, both teams average over four runs per game. Plus, your pitching staff must be prepared to match putting zeros on the scoreboard with the Mets talented group of starters. No problem there for the Friars as they lead all of baseball with a team ERA of 2.96.
Hitting is the San Diego Padres defining strength, but quality starting pitching will put them over the top and possibly into the playoffs. If the Friars are going to make a case for being the team to beat in the NL, then Snell must pitch to his potential.
June could be the month when something special begins.