So that Marlins series eh…
The Braves are back today for yet another 4 game series (I kinda left out the 4th game last time – my bad) against a bad team. But at least this time, it’s not inter division. The Padres are 11 games under .500, and 11.5 games out of NL West, yet they play two teams who are worse than them 18 times this year, as they are in 3rd place..
The Padres have already started abandoning ship and selling off players, as they have sold off All-Star closer Huston Street and former star 3rd baseman Chase Headley. Interestingly enough, the club opted to extend Seth Smith, a glorified platoon player with less than average defense having a career year, rather than selling high. Smith has been far and away the best offensive weapon for the injury riddled and offensively challenged Friars, slashing .293/.390/.514 with 11 big flies. The aforementioned injuries to Yonder Alonso, Jedd Gyorko, and Evereth Cabrera were very literally insult to injury, as none of these players were holding an on base percentage over .260.
These offensive woes were also further kicked while down when centerfielder Cameron Maybin was suspended for performance enhancing drugs. This move freed up an opportunity to call up our old friend Jeff Francoeur, who had been raking at AAA El Paso with a .294/.325/.465 slash and 15 home runs. With the type of terrible offense the Padres have been throwing out all year, I’m surprised it took this long for Frenchy to join the big league club.
The Padres may not be done selling yet, and no one is less safe than Ian Kennedy, who is slated to start Monday. Kennedy has been receiving all kinds of interest, and for good reason. He has been the Padres best pitcher all year, slightly edging out Tyson Ross, and is arbitration eligible for the final time next season, and the Padres could be primed to profit off of another one of Kevin Towers’ losing trades.
We can more than expect the rest of the rotation to stay put, though, as the young pitching core of this team is the lone positive note for the Fathers. Injuries have also plagued the rotation, with Robbie Erlin and Andrew Cashner on the DL. Replacements Jesse Hahn and Odrisamer Despaigne, although having only 7 and 5 starts respectability, have put up impressive numbers, with Despaigne flirting with a no hitter last time out.
The bullpen was pretty much shifted upside down once the anchor in Street left. Joaquin Benoit now owns the 9th for San Diego, for better or worse, while Dayle Thayer shifts into primary setup with a spectacular season so far. Lefty Alex Torres walks a bit more people than they’d like, but has been very good at getting out of hairy situations this year.
The Braves face a much more offensively challenged team than the Marlins, but the Padres make up for it in good, young pitching. It might come down to a pitches duel this weekend in Atlanta, and it should be a good one to watch.
7:35 PM EST, Friday, July 25th at Turner Field
7:10 PM EST, Saturday, July 26th
5:05 PM EST, Sunday, July 27th
12:10 PM EST, Monday, July 28th
Probables: Ian Kennedy (8-9, 3.66 ERA) vs. Ervin Santana (9-6, 3.87 ERA)
Tags: Atlanta Braves