Game Preview: Padres vs. Braves (Game 1)

Tuesday, July 20 – 7:10 (Peachtree TV)
San Diego Padres (54-37) vs. Atlanta Braves (54-38)

Wade LeBlanc
(3.30 ERA, 4.69 xFIP, 3.4 BB/9, 6.12 K/9, 7.4 SwStr%)
(Career vs. ATL: First start)
Jair Jurrjens
(4.75 ERA, 5.14 xFIP, 3.89 BB/9, 6.05 K/9, 7.3 SwStr%)
(Career vs. SD: 3 GS, 1-1, 5.29 ERA, 7 BB, 16 K)

Braves vs. LeBlanc:

Padres vs. Jurrjens:
Adrian Gonzalez: 3-8, 2 2B, HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 2 K
Everth Cabrera: 0-7, RBI, K
David Eckstein: 3-7, 2B
Jerry Hairston: 2-7, RBI
Chase Headley: 3-4, 2 2B, 2 BB
Tony Gwynn: 0-4, RBI, BB, 2 K
Nick Hundley: 1-4, RBI, BB, K
Matt Stairs: 1-5, 2 K

What to Look For:
A better start for Jair Jurrjens. He had one of his worst outings last time out against the Padres, allowing eight runs in 3.1 innings back in April. Before that, he had allowed just two runs in 13.2 career innings against them. With three solid starts under his belt since returning from the disabled list, expect Jurrjens to face a weak Padres offense with more confidence. The Braves will be seeing Wade LeBlanc for the first time. The lefty isn’t pitching as well as his ERA indicates and doesn’t miss many bats. The Braves have struggled with lefties all season but are coming off a ten-run performance against Manny Parra.

My Take on the Opposition:
The Braves will see Wade LeBlanc in the opener on Tuesday. LeBlanc’s shiny ERAs from the past two seasons are not indicative of how he has pitched. He has given up over nine hits per nine innings in 92 innings this season while striking out just 6.12 K/9 and posting a 1.80 K/BB. His whiff rate is down and he’s giving up more line drives, and he’s stranding runners at an incredible 85% rate. This results in a xFIP of 4.69, far off from the 3.30 ERA. He’s likely to regress in the second half, and with how the Braves are hitting lefties better lately, it could begin here. The Braves have never seen LeBlanc, however, and he has the advantage on that end.

Game Notes:
Per AJC: Chipper Jones remains out for a third straight game. Omar Infante is starting at third base and hitting third despite a .610 OPS against LHP this season. To be fair, though, Infante’s career splits are relatively the same.

Also, Nate McLouth will be activated from the disabled list tomorrow after taking BP earlier today.

Follow me on Twitter at bravesbuzzer to discuss the game and other Braves-related stuff.

Tags: Atlanta Braves San Diego Padres

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