The Los Angeles Dodgers have found a lot of success against the San Diego Padres during the regular season over the past few years, but that changed a bit on Wednesday as Blake Snell turned in a gem.
Thanks in part to Snell, the Dodgers lost a series to the Padres for the first time since June 21-23, 2021, when they were swept at Petco Park. The southpaw threw six shutout innings, allowing just one hit, which came to Mookie Betts on a leadoff single in the bottom of the first.
“He had all his pitches working,” Chris Taylor said. “Obviously he’s having a good year for a reason. He’s got great stuff, and when he can throw any pitch in any count, that makes it tough.”
Snell also added eight strikeouts to only one walk, which also came against Betts in the third inning after he had retired eight straight hitters. Snell followed that by retiring the next 10 batters faced.
“When Blake is on, there’s just not too many teams that are going to put at-bats together, put hits together,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “The breaking ball for strike, breaking ball down below, he’s a strikeout pitcher, gets a lot of swing and miss, he was getting ahead early, had a good rhythm.
“And it’s still a fastball that’s 95 to 97 (mph). We just really couldn’t put anything together. Wasn’t much of a story. He was on early, he pitches well against us. He’s really on a good run right now.”
Snell has historically given the Dodgers trouble, and Wednesday’s start lowered his career ERA against L.A. to 2.60 in 62.2 innings. He also threw 10 innings against the Dodgers in the 2020 World Series, allowing just three runs, and another 5.1 innings in the 2022 NLDS where he allowed one run.
“I mean, we’ve faced him quite a bit. He’s always had success against us, but I thought tonight was the best he’s looked,” Taylor said.
While the Dodgers lineup was stifled all night, it was also a potential test for the type of pitching they will be facing in the postseason, but Taylor doesn’t necessarily think it will help prepare them for October. “I don’t know if it does,” he said.
“It’s just a baseball game. We play 162 of them, and you’re going to have some off nights. Sometimes you’re running into the Cy Young pitcher and he’s feeling good. I think sometimes you just have to forget it and move on.”
Chris Taylor recognizes Blake Snell as Cy Young favorite
Snell now owns an MLB-best 2.43 ERA in 167 innings to go along with 217 strikeouts and a 1.22 WHIP, which makes him the likely favorite for the 2023 National League Cy Young Award.
“I think with him, he’s trying to make his push for the Cy Young, and understandably so,” Roberts said. “He’s having that type of season. A guy like that, with the stuff that he has, when he’s on, there’s really not too many lineups that are going to be able to do anything with him.”
The biggest competition to take the award is Justin Steele of the Chicago Cubs, who has pitched to a 2.49 ERA in 159 innings with 159 strikeouts and a 1.13 ERA.
“I just know he’s in the running,” Taylor said when asked if he thinks Snell will win the Cy Young. “He’s definitely deserving.”
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