The Atlanta Braves finished a memorable first series inside their new home, SunTrust Park, and it came at the expense of the San Diego Padres.
What was the reason for San Diego losing four straight to the Braves? The answer is simple: You can’t win if you can’t score, and you can’t score if you can’t hit.
The Padres batted a meager .197 in the Braves series, a far cry from the previous two series against the San Francisco Giants and Colorado Rockies.
In Game 1, the Padres faced Julio Teheran. Picking the Padres to lose against Teheran seemed like an obvious choice. Teheran hadn’t allowed an earned run in his first two starts.
However, that two-run second inning was the only scoring the Friars could muster, as Teheran and the Braves’ bullpen kept them contained the rest of the game.
Chacin made the start on the mound for San Diego. He went five innings, allowing four runs. He gave up an RBI-double to Nick Markakis that scored two runs in the first inning, and an infield RBI-single to Teheran in the fourth, which broke a 2-2 tie.
With R.A. Dickey making the start for Atlanta, this seemed like a winnable game. It appeared to be just that in the beginning. Hunter Renfroe and Austin Hedges hit back-to-back home runs in the top of the second inning.
However, that was all they could do. The Padres didn’t score the rest of the game.
Clayton Richard made the start on the mound for San Diego. He went six innings, giving up four runs, including home runs by Brandon Phillips and Adonis Garcia. Dansby Swanson even managed to drive in a run. He had two hits the whole series, which just happened to be RBI-singles.
Cahill pitched four innings of no-hit baseball, before unraveling in the fifth inning. Phillips hit a one-out single to break up the no-hitter. From there, he walked Garcia, threw a wild pitch that allowed Garcia to move into scoring position, then gave up a single to Tyler Flowers that let Atlanta take a 2-1 lead.
Cahill’s threw three wild pitches in that fifth inning, and looked nothing like he did in the first four innings. He did have eight strikeouts on the day. It’s the little things, right?
Meanwhile, Colon made the Padres hitters look silly. He allowed one run on one hit, which was a home run by Ryan Schimpf, over seven innings.
Atlanta won the game 9-2.
It looked as if San Diego would get out of Atlanta with a win. Austin Hedges hit a two-run shot in the eighth inning that put the Padres ahead 4-3.
Freddy Freeman changed that when he hit a home run off Brian Buchter in the bottom-half of the eighth inning.
Maurer was tasked with getting through the ninth inning. However, he let Atlanta load the bases before giving up the winning hit to Dansby. Atlanta won the game 5-4.
After getting just one hit in his first 25 at-bats, Hedges seemed to find his swing against Atlanta. Hedges went 5-for-11 in three games against the Braves, with four of those hits going for extra bases. He had two home runs in the series.
Cordoba hit his first Major League home run on April 17. Before this season, Cordoba had only seen pitching in rookie ball. He’s only had 11 at-bats so far this season, but he’s hitting .375. That’s impressive for someone who makes a jump from rookie ball to the Majors.
Hedges was about the only positive in this series. This team didn’t offer much to get excited about. Hitting .197 over a four-game span won’t help a team tie, let alone win, a series.
Schimpf has five hits so far this season — two singles and three home runs. He’s drawing walks and has a .375 OPB, along with a .424 slugging percentage. However, he’s batting .152. He’ll need to give more production if he wants to remain the team’s third baseman going forward.
The Padres lineup
The offense was underwhelming. Players were driving in runs with solo home runs. Even Wil Myers, who had a monster series at Colorado, had trouble finding any consistency at the plate.
The Padres should put this series behind them and pretend it didn’t happen. Losing three of four games against the Dodgers was not expected. Winning consecutive series against the Giants and Rockies was unexpected, but welcomed. Getting swept by the Braves was certainly not expected. These were winnable games, and the team had a chance going in to at least get a split.
This team will need to find what was working for them before, and fast. They aren’t expected to win a lot, and were predicted to be the worst team in baseball. However, they have shown potential in this young season. They will only find themselves regressing if they don’t get back to what hey were doing before.