This is what the Padres had in mind last December 28.
That was the day A.J. Preller pulled off trades for both Blake Snell and Yu Darvish, two established stars they envisioned as one of the best 1-2 punches in the game at the top of their starting rotation.
It took until August, but they finally saw their dynamic duo in action. One night after Darvish went 7.0 innings with 12 strikeouts in a Padres win, Snell looked like his 2018 Cy Young winning self, going 7.0 shutout innings with a career high-tying 13 punchouts and just two hits allowed in a 2-0 win over the Diamondbacks.
It was the first time in Padres franchise history that two pitchers have gone 7.0 innings with at least a dozen strikeouts. With the way these two threw over the weekend, they might do it again this season.
Possibly the most encouraging and important part of Snell’s outing is he was efficient with his pitches and, instead of nibbling around the plate and running deep counts, he let his defense help him.
Left fielder Tommy Pham made a fantastic leaping catch against the left field fence in foul territory for an out in the 1st inning and shortstop Jake Cronenworth did a worthy Fernando Tatis Jr. impression, diving into the hole and making a one-hop throw to first base for another out.
Snell didn’t get a ton of run support but he had Cronenworth and that was enough. Jake drove in the first run of the day, plating Adam Frazier with a single off Madison Bumgarner in the 1st inning. The Rake got another one in the 4th inning with a solo homer to right field, his 16th of the year.
After Snell left the bullpen did its job. Emilio Pagan struck out two in a perfect 8th inning and Mark Melancon converted the save.
San Diego takes the series from the cellar-dwelling snakes and opens a 3-game set against the Marlins on Monday night at Petco Park with the 3rd ace in their deck, Joe Musgrove on the mound.
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