Don’t look now, but the Padres have quietly won two straight series coming off last week’s All-Star break.
In those victories, they are scoring more than seven runs a game. Wait a second, could there be a correlation between scoring runs and winning ballgames? Why didn’t someone tell them earlier?
Seriously though, the Padres are now 32-5 when scoring four or more runs – second best in the league. The problem is they’ve now played 101 games on the season. That’s a lotta three-runs-or-less performances, resulting in too many losses.
Maybe some good ol’ southern hospitality will do the Padres well, as they travel to Atlanta this weekend for a four-game series with a Braves team that just dropped three of four to the Miami Marlins to fall out of first place in the National League East.
Friday, 4:35 p.m.: Jesse Hahn (R, 5-2, 2.21) vs. Alex Wood (R, 7-7, 3.24)
The wins just keep on piling up for Hahn, who has won five of his last six starts, allowing three earned runs or fewer in each of them. Wood has four quality starts in five outings since rejoining the rotation last month.
Saturday, 4:10 p.m.: Odrisimar Despaigne (R, 2-1, 1.31) vs. Julio Teheran (R, 9-6, 2.64)
OD took a no-hitter into the eighth inning on Sunday, and has yet to have a bad outing in his month in the majors. Teheran has won three of his last four decisions.
Sunday, 2:05 p.m.: Eric Stults (L, 3-12, 5.00) vs. Zach Minor (L, 3-6, 5.32)
The defeats just keep on piling up for Stults, who took over the league lead in Ls with his 12th on Tuesday. But he still has a better ERA than fellow lefty Minor, who has allowed 12 earned runs in his last two starts.
Monday, 9:10 a.m.: Ian Kennedy (R, 8-9, 3.66) vs. Ervin Santana (R, 9-6, 3.87)
With six more strikeouts on Wednesday, Kennedy jumped to second place in Ks in the NL with 143. Santana has won four of his last five starts, striking out 10 against the Marlins this week.
What’s at stake: These two teams might as well get used to each other. They meet in seven of the next 10 games for each – the only times they will face off all season.
While the Padres are keeping their phone lines open to entertain trade offers from contenders, the Braves could be looking to shore up their pitching staff as the trade deadline nears. They would love to be able to flip underachieving outfielder B.J. Upton for a low-end starter or bullpen arm. Good luck with that.
Who to watch:
Padres: Outfielder Seth Smith has nine hits during his current five-game hit streak and continues to lead the team in home runs (11), RBIs (31), average (.293) and walks (43). Fellow outfielder Will Venable is hitting .393 in his last 10 games. Catcher Rene Rivera is coming off a three-hit game that includes a homer and two-run single.
Braves: Outfielder Justin Upton (B.J.’s brother) has a hit in eight of his last nine games. He leads the team with 18 homers, 57 RBIs and a .287 average. First baseman Freddie Freeman leads the team and is fifth in the NL with 28 doubles. Third baseman Chris Johnson has a pair of homers in his last five games.
Coming up: Welcome the Padres back home next week with a series against the St. Louis Cardinals starting on Tuesday, followed by a visit from these Braves next weekend.