Snell pitches after freeway fright: 'Happy I'm alive'

August 20th, 2022

SAN DIEGO -- Blake Snell wasn’t going to be too critical of his outing Friday night against the Nationals. Not after what he went through the night before.

“I'm just happy I'm alive and was able to pitch,” the Padres' left-hander said.

Snell was involved in a traffic accident on Interstate 5 as he headed home from Petco Park after the team’s series opener against Washington on Thursday night. He had been pulled over for an alleged traffic violation and was in his vehicle on the side of the road when it was struck by another car.

“Pretty much all I can say is that I was parked,” Snell said. “I got pulled over, and the other car just came -- they said it was about 75 mph -- and it veered into me while I was parked, not moving. It hit the car. … I just remember my hat went flying, my phone went flying. I just looked at my younger brother, and I was like, ‘You good?’ … There’s more to it, but, yeah, it was just kind of crazy.”

The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that the driver of the car that struck Snell’s is suspected by police of driving under the influence. Snell said his own car skidded about 12 feet after it was struck. He came away uninjured, and his brother, who was with him in the vehicle at the time, was treated for minor injuries, related to whiplash.

“It was a long night,” Snell said. “Hard to go to sleep, thinking about what could've been.”

Certainly puts Friday’s game -- a 6-3 Padres defeat -- into some perspective. Snell was solid, but he was stung by some rough batted-ball luck, allowing three runs over five innings. Still, he clearly wasn’t the dominant version of himself that has been perhaps the Padres’ best pitcher since the All-Star break, posting a 1.60 ERA across six starts.

“I know I could’ve been a lot better,” Snell said. “But with everything that happened, yeah, I’ll get better in my next one.”

Snell admitted to being a bit shaken up by the ordeal. Physically, however, he said he felt fine, albeit a bit sore, the day after the accident. Team doctors visited Snell at his house Friday morning, before he was cleared to start against the Nationals, as scheduled.

As for Snell’s Mercedes? He says it’s totaled.

“That’s my baby,” he said with a rueful smile. “Not no more. … It did its job.”