Blake Snell Gets Padres Opening Day Nod

Mar 24, 2023 - 10:58 PM
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Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images

After an impressive offseason for the San Diego Padres, Bob Melvin announced today that Blake Snell will be starting on Opening Day. The 30-year-old left-handed pitcher is entering a critical season not just for the team but for him as well. Snell is scheduled to hit the free agent market after the 2023 season.

“You saw the way he finished up last year in the second half,” Melvin told the media this morning. “He’s, you know, come into this spring looking to put together a really good season from the very beginning. A lot of reasons for that but I think giving him the Opening Day nod on top of that would suggest we feel like he’s in a really good place this year.”

Snell won the American League Cy Young Award in 2018 and has been dominant at times in San Diego. Usually it has come in the second half of the season, which was the case last year. Snell had a 5.22 ERA in the first half of 2022 before earning a 2.19 ERA in the second half.

Starting on Opening Day is a great honor and Snell will get his first crack at it as a Padre next Thursday afternoon. His only other Opening Day start was in 2019 when he was still in Tampa Bay.

Snell, who threw six scoreless innings today in the Padres 3-0 win over the Los Angeles Angels, was the obvious choice for the Friars after it became clear that Yu Darvish and Joe Musgrove weren’t going to be available for the season opener. Darvish needs more time to get built up after throwing just 93 pitches in the entire World Baseball Classic with Team Japan and Musgrove is making his way back from fracturing his toe in the weight room earlier this spring.

Darvish will be throwing 3-4 innings tomorrow in a minor league game and that could set him up to start the Padres sixth game of the season on April 4, which likely means the Padres will go with a six-man rotation at least to start the season.

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