We are two weeks into the 2023 season, and it is too early to form an opinion on the San Diego Padres. Juan Soto will not hit .200 all season. Luis Garcia will not finish with a near 7.00 ERA this season. And the Arizona Diamondbacks will not win the National League West title in a wire-to-wire finish.
But that does not mean the Friar Faithful should refrain from tracking recent trends that have taken place in games. Some of them may not continue much longer. But other trends may turn into noticeable liabilities that force Padres general manager A.J. Preller to make quick-fix trades to shore up those holes.
Here are two truths and one lie about the Friars:
San Diego Padres Truth: Blake Snell early-season struggles continue
For an MLB starting pitcher, beginning the new season strong could springboard him to a career year. But that is not the case for Padres starter Blake Snell, who has labored through his first three starts this season.
Snell’s mound struggles are alarming (0-2, 6.92 ERA) but not surprising. Since his arrival in San Diego, Snell’s first-half pitching numbers greatly contrast with the outcome of his second-half starts. Snell has recorded six quality starts in 20 first-half starts. After the All-Star break, he transforms into a different pitcher with 14 quality starts in 25 second-half starts.
In 2023, opposing hitters have touched him for a .327 BA (batting average) and .405 BABIP (batting average on balls in play). Thankfully, Snell has left 64 percent of those runners on base. Often, the biggest culprit to his early season demise is command issues. Snell misses his spot by nibbling with the corners of home plate. Sometimes, he pigeonholes himself by trying to make the perfect pitch in getting batters out.
It is all about his mindset on the mound. Snell needs to attack the strike zone by trusting his stuff and hitting the catcher’s glove.