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Monday night, the San Francisco Giants officially welcomed reigning NL Cy Young winner Blake Snell to their rotation. Snell signed a three-year, $80 million contract with two opt outs with the Giants three weeks ago, and after getting up to speed at the team's spring training complex in Arizona, Snell made his 2024 debut Monday against the Washington Nationals (GameTracker).

For all intents and purposes, Snell's first inning with the Giants was a typical Blake Snell kind of inning. He faced four batters, went to four full counts, threw 26 pitches, struck out one, and did not allow a run. That is more or less the Snell experience. He's going to throw a lot of pitches and walk some batters, but he'll also rack up strikeouts and soft contact.

The Nationals got to Snell for three runs in the second inning thanks to two walks, two ground ball singles (one of which did not leave the infield), and a steal of home. Trey Lipscomb was able to scamper across the plate when the Giants had Luis Garcia Jr. hung up between first and second on a pickoff play. 

Snell bounced back with a quick 1-2-3 third inning with two strikeouts, though the long second inning took its toll, and he was removed after reaching his pitch count after three innings. Because he had a late start to spring training, the Giants will gradually build Snell up over a few starts. He threw 72 pitches Monday of which 39 were strikes.

Blake Snell
SF • SP • #7
April 8 vs. Nationals
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"Honestly, it was just weird. I'm facing big league hitters, I was aware of that," Snell said after the game. "I was being more careful than I usually would. Usually, I would just throw it over the plate.

"Then I was really amped up too. I was really excited to pitch. Bad combination I guess."

For the Giants, Snell's debut comes not a moment too soon. Starter-turned-reliever Jordan Hicks has been a revelation, allowing one earned run in 12 innings in his two starts. The other five starters, including ace Logan Webb, have pitched to a 5.97 ERA and are averaging just over five innings per start. They badly need another reliable starter, and Snell, when fully stretched out, fits that bill.

Alex Cobb, on the injured list following offseason hip surgery, has been slowed by mild forearm inflammation recently. That will likely push his return back to sometime in May. When Cobb returns, he'll join give the Giants a formidable front four alongside Hicks, Snell, and Webb.

Snell, 31, throw 180 innings with a 2.25 ERA and 234 strikeouts en route to winning the NL Cy Young with the San Diego Padres a year ago, his second Cy Young of his career. He allowed 19 runs total in his final 23 starts.