There are several key players for the 2022 San Diego Padres.
If Manny Machado is producing on offense and defense, like he has this year, the offense will have a chance.
If Juan Soto returns to his 2018-2021 MVP form, the lineup will be scary.
If Joe Musgrove and Yu Darvish keep showing elite command and racking up the strikeouts, the Friars will be competitors.
But if Blake Snell can pitch like he did on Wednesday (against a true contender, the St. Louis Cardinals), this rotation will be able to match up against any offense in baseball.
Last night, the left-hander blanked the Cards for seven innings, notching 13 strikeouts in the process.
Snellzilla: King of the Strikeouts pic.twitter.com/QasT9PB3rJ
— MLB (@MLB) September 22, 2022
It’s easy to forget just how dominant Snell can be at times.
A Former Cy Young Award Winner
Let’s remember that despite all his recent inconsistencies, injury issues and control blips, Snell won the 2018 Cy Young award when he was with the Tampa Bay Rays.
He is capable of doing this on a nightly basis: he just needs consistency, health, and motivation.
For the season, he has a 3.62 ERA, but a much better 2.76 FIP.
FIP means Fielding Independent Pitching, and it means that Snell has been elite in the things he can control: walks, strikeouts, and inducing weak contact.
If Snell pitches like he did on Wednesday, the Padres will have four aces on their playoff rotation: Darvish, Musgrove, Snell, and Mike Clevinger.
That rotation is very, very competitive and can measure up to any unit in baseball.
If the offense can catch up, and Snell can pitch like the ace he is night in and night out, look out because the Padres may be able to shock a team or two in October.