Is this the threshold of the breakthrough that the San Diego Padres have been looking for since April
After losing three straight in Philadelphia over the weekend, San Diego has won back-to-back games in Toronto from a Blue Jays team that had won four straight games and eight of the previous nine entering the series
Now the Padres go for the sweep on Thursday afternoon, sending out one of the hottest pitchers in baseball. San Diego's Blake Snell will go up against Chris Bassitt, whom the Padres dominated last season when he was a member of the New York Mets
Or could this instead be another dead end like the ones the Padres keep running into? After all, the Padres would match their longest winning streak of the season with a win on Thursday. That mark is three
"We've been here before," Padres manager Bob Melvin said recently of his team's uneven play. "We start to make a run and we have a bad game. And we need to get on a run to get back into the playoff picture.
Toronto manager John Schneider, meanwhile, is more worried about his team scoring a total of one run in the first two games of the series.
"We're getting guys on base," Schneider said after the Blue Jays were shut out 2-0 on Wednesday. "Hitting with runners in scoring position evens out. We're getting guys on base. You're hoping in those situations to do a little damage and keep the line moving. It's just a matter of cashing chances in.
The Blue Jays went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position on Wednesday after a 1-for-8 performance in those situations during a 9-1 loss on Tuesday. Twice on Wednesday they failed to score after getting the first two batters on base in an inning
And now they face Snell, a left-hander who hasn't slowed much since being named the National League Pitcher of the Month for June. He goes into the Thursday series finale with an active and career-best streak of 21 straight scoreless innings.
Snell (6-7, 2.71 ERA) owns a 5-1 record over his past 10 starts. During that run, he has produced a 0.62 ERA, a 0.966 WHIP, a 3.64-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio and an average of 14.1 strikeouts per nine innings.
Prior to his streak of 21 straight scoreless innings, he had stretches of 16 and 18 scoreless innings earlier in his 10-game run as his ERA has plunged from 5.40 to 2.71.
"Blake is as good as anyone in the game right now," Melvin said.
Bassitt is 9-5 with a 4.12 ERA in 20 starts this season. However, the right-hander had little luck against the Padres in three 2022 starts while with the Mets
He was 0-2 against the Padres in the regular season -- giving up nine runs on 12 hits and two walks with 17 strikeouts in 10 1/3 innings. That's a 7.84 ERA, a 1.355 WHIP and a .273 opponents' batting average
Bassitt then started the decisive third game of the Mets-Padres wild-card series and took the loss in New York. He gave up three runs on three hits and three walks with two strikeouts in four innings during San Diego's 6-0 win
--Field Level Media