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Jun 2, 2024 9:59 am

Giants’ Blake Snell aims to take step forward in finale vs. Yankees

Blake Snell

San Francisco’s Blake Snell hopes to improve on what he considered to be an improved effort in his most recent start when the Giants attempt to avoid a three-game series sweep against the visiting New York Yankees on Sunday afternoon.

Aaron Judge continued his homecoming rampage with a third home run in two nights on Saturday, helping the Yankees follow a 6-2 win Friday with a 7-3 triumph.

Snell and Judge have plenty of history, with the Giants’ left-hander having pitched his first five seasons in the American League East for the Tampa Bay Rays. Both players made their major league debut in 2016.

Snell has dominated the matchup, limiting Judge to one hit — a single — and six walks in 22 lifetime at-bats. Judge, who made his major league debut against the Rays on Aug. 13, 2016, has gone 1-for-16 (.063) in those at-bats.

A first-year Giant after having spent the past three seasons with the San Diego Padres, Snell (0-3, 10.42 ERA) hasn’t pitched to that kind of form in 2024. His ERA is the highest in baseball among pitchers with five or more starts.

The left-hander had his most effective outing on Monday, allowing four runs (three earned) and five hits while striking out a season-high seven in four innings in San Francisco’s 8-4 win over the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Giants have won both his starts since a return from a monthlong absence due to an adductor strain.

“I’m feeling better, so I should be getting better results,” Snell said in summarizing Monday’s game. “It’s definitely fun to watch (the bullpen) have a lot of success and get the win, especially when I haven’t been pitching like I should be. Definitely feels great, but me personally, I got to be better, and I’m getting there.”

Snell, 31, will make his 19th career start against the Yankees. His lifetime record against them is 4-6 with a 4.31 ERA.

The Giants have totaled just 12 hits in the first two games of the series. Only three — a home run by Casey Schmitt and doubles by Mike Yastrzemski and Jorge Soler — have gone for extra bases.

They’ll take their hacks at a totally unfamiliar opposing pitcher in the series finale, as they’ve never faced left-hander Nestor Cortes (3-4, 3.30 ERA).

The 29-year-old is coming off a May in which he went 2-1 with a 2.48 ERA in five starts after having gone 1-3 with a 3.86 in seven starts in March and April.

Cortes can only hope for the type of support Yankees batters – Judge in particular – have given starters Marcus Stroman and Cody Poteet in the first two games of the series.

Stroman faced only one batter while trailing in Friday’s game, while Poteet never experienced a deficit on Saturday.

Judge had an early home run in each game – a three-run shot in the third inning Friday and a two-run blast in the top of the first on Saturday. He has 21 homers and 47 RBIs for the season.

“What Judgey’s doing is pretty incredible right now,” Stroman said. “I just think we all need to witness – we almost take it for granted each and every day. But it’s truly, truly incredible what he’s doing.”

–Field Level Media

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