The Atlanta Braves, fresh off an intense and losing series against one of the best teams in the National League, get to turn right back around and take another swing at their opponents of just 4 days ago in the San Diego Padres.
As you can imagine, there isn’t much more to be said than what was said exactly one week ago: The Padres cannot hit.
Despite this, the Padres were actually able to take 2 out of 3 from the NL Central juggernaut known as the St. Louis Cardinals. True, the Cardinals have been a little less dangerous than in years past this season, but we can’t discredit how big of a win this was from the offensively challenged Padres. They managed to outscore St. Louis 17-8, including a vicious 12-1 victory Wednesday night.
The Padres offensive rise has been headlined by the return of the under-performing trio ofJedd Gyorko , Yonder Alonso, and Everth Cabrera. Alonso was still almost a non-factor, and Cabrera was only 2-11 in the series, but his speed puts pressure on the opposing pitching staff to work harder just to keep him off the base paths. Gyorko on the other hand, exploded in his return with a 6-11 series, including a home run. This is very good for San Diego, who extended Gyorko in the offseason after it became clear Chase Headley would be departing sometime this season. The Braves will need to not under estimate Gyorko’s sophomore slump: he launched 23 homers as a rookie last season and has been heralded by the Padres for quite some time.
Also working for the Padres in that series was the aforementioned good, young starting pitching. Odrisamer Despaigne had his tendency to rely on contact tested yesterday, as he was tagged for 6 earned runs in 5.2 innings, but aside from here, the Padres arms showed up to ball. Tyson Ross continued his really good All-Star season, despite walking 5 men. Jesse Hahn continued his sharp work as well, allowing just 6 base runners in 7 innings. What all this means for the Braves is that they get to matchup with Eric Stults, far and away the Padres worst pitcher, in tonight’s game. The Braves chased Stults after 6 innings on Sunday, scoring as many runs in those innings. Fortunately, Stults once again gets to go toe to toe with the Braves’ own Eric Stults in Mike Minor. Slow and steady is the progression so far for Minor, and hopefully he can help his climb back to dominance against some familiar faces.
10:10 PM EST, Friday, August 1st
Probables: Mike Minor (4-6, 5.32 ERA) vs Eric Stults (3-13, 5.22 ERA)
8:40 PM EST, Saturday, August 2nd
4:10 PM EST, Sunday, August 3rd
Probables: Aaron Harang (9-6, 3.43 ERA) vs Tyson Ross (10-10, 2.60 ERA)
Tags: Atlanta Braves