Thursday, July 22 – 1:05 (SportSouth)
San Diego Padres (55-38) vs. Atlanta Braves (55-39)
(3.53 ERA, 4.00 xFIP, 3.53 BB/9, 7.20 K/9, 8 SwStr%)
(Career vs. ATL: 2 GS, 0-2, 10.57 ERA, 3 BB, 7 K)
(2.60 ERA, 4.25 xFIP, 3.30 BB/9, 4.43 K/9, 6.7 SwStr%)
(Career vs. SD: 8 G, 7 GS, 4-0, 4.14 ERA, 15 BB, 29 K)
Padres vs. Hudson:
Jerry Hairston: 4-16, 2B, 2 K
Adrian Gonzalez: 7-14, 2 HR, 4 RBI, BB, K
Matt Stairs: 5-6, 2 2B, BB
Yorvit Torrealba: 1-4, BB, K
Everth Cabrera: 1-3, RBI, BB
Tony Gwynn: 0-2, BB
Chase Headley: 0-3
Will Venable: 1-3, HR, RBI
What to Look For:
As expected, this game will determine the series between the top two teams in the NL, so you could say it has some importance if just as bragging rights for the time being. Clayton Richard has not fared well against the Braves in his career and took a loss against them in April. He is also struggling lately. Look for Matt Diaz to take advantage as he remains red hot, not to mention he has had success against Richard. For the Braves, look for Tim Hudson to shake off a rough seventh inning in his last start that resulted in six total runs allowed. Hudson is 4-0 against the Padres in his career. The Braves have held Adrian Gonzalez in check this series but he has hit Hudson hard, and look for Matt Stairs if he has the opportunity to face Hudson.
My Take on the Opposition:
Clayton Richard will go for the Padres in the series finale on Thursday. Richard is striking out hitters at a clip much higher than he has in his professional career at 7.2 K/9. His walks are down but he still gives up his share along with plenty of hits. He’s getting grounders at a 50% rate and his HR/9 of 0.68 is very good. Richard doesn’t rely on Petco as much as Garland and his numbers are pretty equal both home and away. He has struggled lately, allowing at least five runs in each of his last three starts. He saw the Braves in April and gave up three runs in 5.1 innings in a loss. He has given up nine runs in 7.2 innings against the Braves in his career. Matt Diaz, Chipper Jones, and Brian McCann have all hit Richard well.
It’s worth mentioning since I forgot it last night, but Nate McLouth went 1-5 with a bloop single and strikeout in his return yesterday.
Per AJC: Eric O’Flaherty may not be ready to come off the DL next Tuesday because he’s still weak. With Jonny Venters scheduled to appear at a hearing that day regarding his suspension, the Braves may open the Nationals series without either lefty. Expect to see Mike Dunn more often.