Padres LHP Blake Snell 'lucky' to pitch Friday after collision with DUI suspect

San Diego Padres pitcher Blake Snell took the mound on Friday against the Washington Nationals. He apparently did so despite an interesting night before.

The former Cy Young winner's car was struck by a suspected drunk driver Thursday night during a stoppage by San Diego Police over an alleged traffic violation on Interstate 5, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

The DUI suspect allegedly veered his Toyota sedan off the freeway and into the driver's side of Snell's car around 11 p.m., an hour after the Padres lost the series opener to the Nationals. The reason for Snell's traffic stoppage remains unknown.

The crash was reportedly minor, with Snell evaluated and cleared to start Friday by the Padres' medical team. A passenger in Snell's Mercedes reportedly complained of pain, but was evaluated and released from the scene without a hospital visit.

From the Union-Tribune:

“Physically, he’s fine,” Padres manager Bob Melvin said before Friday’s game. “But that can shake you up a little bit. But our guys checked him out today. And we’ve talked to him. And he’s ready to pitch. So I think we probably got lucky.”

Any injury to Snell, who has said in the past he has never had a drop of alcohol in his life, would have been highly for the Padres, especially as he is currently in the best stretch of Padres tenure.

The southpaw has so far posted a disappointing 3.99 ERA since the team's blockbuster trade brought him to San Diego, but he's allowed only three earned runs in 28.2 innings (a 0.94 ERA) while striking out 39 across five starts. Whether or not he can keep it up will be a major factor in the Padres' wild-card race, in which they currently hold the third spot with a 1.5-game lead over the Milwaukee Brewers.

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 14: Blake Snell #4 of the San Diego Padres pitches against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on August 14, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
Blake Snell has been hot for the Padres lately. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)