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The game within the game: Game 2 - Phillies’ lefties against Blake Snell

Other than the obvious...

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at San Diego Padres Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Each game of this National League Championship Series, we’re going to take a microlevel look at an intriguing matchup of the day.

Today’s matchup: the Phillies’ left handed hitters against Blake Snell

Listen, I know what you’re thinking. “This is going to be all about Bryce Harper, isn’t it?”

Well, yes and no.

Listen, one of the things that many people were talking about once they realized that the Phillies had to play the Padres was the fact that this was the team that broke Harper’s thumb. Specifically, it was Blake Snell that threw the fateful pitch.

For those fans that think like this, go right ahead. Once you reach the playoffs, there really isn’t anything off limits outside of common decorum amongst civilized people.

But if we want to go a little deeper, think about this: the Phillies haven’t faced many left handed pitchers this postseason so far. In five games (61 innings of offense), they have only seen a southpaw 11 23 innings thus far. Left handed pitchers aren’t exactly common place in baseball as it is, but Snell presents them with a challenge they haven’t had yet.

When they faced Max Fried, they batted him around in that game, but postgame, we came to learn that Fried was 2-3 miles an hour slower than he was on average, the effects of a lingering flu the possible culprit. AJ Minter and Dylan Lee combined to have some decent success, though Lee was the victim of a Harper home run that may not have landed yet. Still, the team hasn’t faced the kind of sustained test against a left hander yet in the postseason.

Yet when you think about Snell as a left hander, you think about how bad opposing left handed batters might fare against him. After all, we’ve all been taught how much the platoon advantage matters and, well, it kind of doesn’t for Snell.

2022 vs. RHH: 438 PA, .213/.288/.346, 10 HR
2022 vs. LHH: 97 PA, .233/.309/.326, 1 HR

The fact that lefties are hitting 20 points higher than righties isn’t trivial. There is a bit to it. The lack of power is more expected, but still, there isn’t the kind of dominance one would expect against lefties from an upper echelon starter. The team as a whole hasn’t seen Snell a lot in their careers, so that could pose an issue too.

With the main players on the Phillies showing their power last night, it’ll be up to Snell to try and quash Harper and Schwarber’s power surge tonight. The answer to the question of how they’ll do against him will go a long way in determining the series goes back to Philadelphia with the Phillies in a commanding lead or if the teams are split down the middle.