The Oakland A’s series ended as a tale of two very different stories.
Tuesday was a very complete game. Chris Paddack overcame early struggles. The offense couldn’t be stopped. The defense did its job. Wednesday was the exact opposite. Blake Snell struggled all game, the defense behind him was well below average, and the offense failed to produce for half the game.
Blake Snell has easily been the biggest disappointment of the San Diego Padre’s season. When he was acquired everyone, saw him as a No. 1 or No. 2 pitcher in the rotation. Instead of being that, he has been one of the worst starters on the team.
The biggest problem for him has been command.
His BB/9 has increased from 3.24 in 2020 to 5.71 in 2021. Wednesday followed that trend when he walked four batters. Three of those walks came in the first inning when the Athletics plated four runs. A victim of that weak command has been his chase rate. Simply put, batters know he is going to miss the strike zone; they won’t swing at borderline pitches. That’s why his chase rate is in the 21st percentile after being in the 82nd percentile or higher in the last three seasons.
Another result of the lack of his command is his high pitch counts. On Wednesday, he threw 89 pitches and only got through four innings. Even then, he probably made it through four innings to save the bullpen from throwing useless innings.
“I expect to dominate every start. So obviously, it is going to be surprising and disappoints. It’s how I started that game with the three walks and the home run. I am killing myself with walking the bases every time, and I know that. It’s just frustrating, but I got to find a way to get the win and start coming in the zone. I really believe once I do that, and I’ve shown glimpses of that, but once I do it consistently, that’s when ill really start to succeed,” Snell said after his start.
The opposing pitcher, Sean Manaea, was dealing in this game.
He carried a perfect game through 5.1 innings. At that point, he had already struck out nine and showed no signs of slowing down. Jurickson Profar finally broke up the perfect game with a walk. Later that inning Eric Hosmer had a pinch-hit single to break up the potential no-hitter.
The Padres tried to make a 9th inning comeback, but it was too little too late. They recorded four hits, including a double. That scored three runs and made it a six-run game. That last bit of life just helps the team as they look toward their upcoming matchup against the Rockies.