MLB: Struggling pitchers set to clash when Phillies visit Giants


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The Philadelphia Phillies and San Francisco Giants have been playing stellar baseball in recent weeks, and two struggling pitchers who want to get in on the fun are scheduled to square off when the teams meet Monday.

Phillies right-hander Taijuan Walker (3-0, 5.06 ERA) and Giants lefty Blake Snell (0-3, 11.40) are set to go in San Francisco in a matchup of pitchers who combined for 29 wins last season but haven’t met expectations yet in 2024.

The Phillies swept the Giants in a four-game series May 3-6 in Philadelphia. Walker pitched in that series — getting the win in the Phillies’ 5-4 triumph on May 5 — while Snell, who was injured, did not.

The Phillies have gone 13-5 since the sweep, aided in large part by Bryce Harper, a candidate for National League Player of the Month in May with a .333 average, seven home runs and 23 RBIs. He went 5-for-12 with two homers and six RBIs in the earlier series against the Giants.

This time he could be facing Snell, who generally was ineffective in his return from a strained left adductor in his team’s 9-5 win at Pittsburgh last Wednesday. He allowed four runs in 3 1/3 innings. In his four starts this season, Giants opponents have totaled 39 runs.

Snell won the National League Cy Young Award last season with the San Diego Padres but has yet to turn in a quality start this season. Signed to a two-year, $62 million deal on March 19, Snell didn’t have the benefit of a full spring training and has thrown just 15 innings over four starts.

The 31-year-old has never beaten the Phillies, going 0-3 with a 3.86 ERA in five starts.

It’s possible Snell will be scratched from this start because his girlfriend, Haeley Mar, was due to deliver the couple’s first child last Monday. Snell returned to the San Francisco Bay Area after he made his start in Pittsburgh in anticipation.

As of Monday morning, there had been no announcement of the baby’s birth.

“I don’t know what the next step is. He’s ready to pitch,” Giants manager Bob Melvin said Sunday. “The good thing is he’s still with her and she’s there in San Francisco. We’ll see what happens.”

Walker will be facing a Giants team that has gone 12-6 since last seen by the Phillies. They completed a six-game trip to Pittsburgh and New York with a 4-3 loss to the Mets on Sunday, ending the Eastern swing with a 4-2 mark.

Walker has managed to stay unbeaten for the season in five starts despite struggling in his past two outings, in which he’s allowed five runs, 10 hits and six walks in eight innings.

The 31-year-old gave up three runs in 6 1/3 innings to San Francisco earlier this month. It left him with a 4-3 record and 4.39 ERA in 10 career starts against the Giants.

Walker didn’t see Patrick Bailey in the earlier meeting, with the Giants catcher out because of a concussion. Bailey returned during the team’s just-completed trip to go 7-for-19 with seven RBIs.

According to Walker, the Phillies are motivated by the ending to last season, when they were denied a trip to the World Series by the Arizona Diamondbacks. And they’ve come out with a vengeance in the first third of the season, posting the best record in the majors.

“It was right on our fingertips last year. We had it,” he said. “There’s definitely a chip on our shoulders. You talk about the best start in franchise history, but if you don’t win the World Series, it’s all for nothing.”

–Field Level Media


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