With the Padres handing the ball to their red-hot starter Blake Snell, they held high expectations on Saturday night. He delivered big time for the team as he tossed 6 shutout innings and struck out 11 Mets. With the bats, the Padres got some support from an unlikely name. Matthew Batten, who spent a few games with the big league team last season, made his 2023 debut and smacked his first career home run off of David Peterson. His homer would give the Padres a 3-0 lead, and the bullpen would hold the game down to secure a promising 3-1 win.
Here are three takeaways from the game:
More Snell, more problems for opponents
Since May 25, Blake Snell has become arguably the most dominant pitcher in baseball. In this time frame, he has started 9 games, pitched 53 innings, and allowed merely 4 earned runs (0.68 ERA). Things were no different for him as he toed the rubber against the Mets. Snell cruised his way through 6 dominant innings of work and did not allow an earned run. He struck out 11 batters along the way and lowered his ERA to 2.94. He was able to keep control of key players in the New York lineup such as Francisco Lindor and Pete Alonso, as the duo ended their night a combined 1-8 from the plate. He was also able to hold up and coming catcher Francisco Alvarez hitless, although he would end up hitting a solo home run later in the game to provide the only run of the night for the Mets. The silver lining for Snell going forward will be his ability to limit the amount of batters that he walks. So far this season, he has walked 49 batters, which is tied for the highest mark in baseball among all pitchers. He will need to be cautious of this heading down the stretch of the season, but as of recent he has proved the walks to be no big issue for him. Snell will get his next chance to shred a new lineup when he pitches coming out of the All-Star break (which some fans may be wondering why Snell has not been invited to).
Matthew Batten has a night to remember
Matthew Batten, who made his season debut on Saturday, had only taken 19 career at bats in the MLB. When he stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the second inning with the Padres up 1-0, he surprised everyone at Petco Park. Batten took a breaking ball from lefty David Peterson and deposited it into the seats in left field for the first home run of his major league career. He ended the day 1-2 and reached base twice in the contest. His home run would end up providing enough offense for the Padres to take the game 3-1 and send Batten and the rest of the team home feeling good.
In the minor leagues this season at El Paso, Batten has hit .241 with 10 homers, 46 RBI, and 27 stolen bases. He was called up to play second base for San Diego after Ha-Seong Kim injured himself during last night’s game by kicking a water cooler and jamming his toe. While Kim and the rest of the team can admit that these unnecessary injuries are not the ones that you ever want to see, Batten surely took advantage of his opportunity and helped to lift the Padres to a big win and force a rubber match on Sunday. Perhaps his impressive showing will earn him some more at-bats in the big leagues going forward.
San Diego bullpen holds down the fort
While it’s no secret that Blake Snell is someone who the Padres can rely on to give them scoreless innings, they understand that he can’t pitch all 9 innings (unfortunately). After throwing 105 pitches through 6 innings, San Diego was forced to lean to their bullpen to get them through the final 3 innings of the game. Pitchers Luis García, Nick Martinez, and Josh Hader each pitched an inning in relief. Together they allowed just 1 earned run (solo homer for Francisco Alvarez off of García) and sealed the deal in the win. They were able to rack up an impressive 6 combined strikeouts and leave the Mets grasping for answers in the later innings. Hader was especially dominant, striking out 2/3 batters after allowing a leadoff single to Fransico Lindor. He brought his ERA on the season down to an electrifying 1.08 and had the crowd on their feet throughout the duration of his time in the game. He struck out the likes of sluggers Pete Alonso, Francisco Alvarez, and got Jeff McNeil (2022 MLB batting champion) to groundout and end the game.
The team will look forward to more dominant bullpen performances going forward as San Diego will face off against the Mets in a rubber match before officially heading into the All-Star break.
First pitch on Sunday afternoon is scheduled for 1:10 PST.