Padres Series Preview: Padres Head to Atlanta for Four Game-Bout With Braves

Jun 14, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; San Diego Padres first baseman Eric Hosmer (30) celebrates at second base after he hit a two RBI double in the eighth inning against the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The San Diego Padres are looking to continue their April success after going 5-1 last week. They travel to Atlanta to take on the Braves.

The Padres sit at 16-12 with their five-game winning streak snapped on Sunday in D.C. in gut-wrenching fashion. They blew a 6-0 lead and lost their star shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. for an unspecified amount of time.

San Diego is now off to their best start since their last winning season, in 2010. They have navigated through the first week of a tough stretch well but now head into the teeth of a rough schedule, with four in Atlanta and the first place Dodgers lurking afterward.

The Braves welcome the Friars to town having lost three of their last four and have dipped below .500 at 13-14.

Game 1: (Monday, April 29- 4:20 P.M. PDT) Nick Margevicius (2-2, 3.60) vs. Mike Soroka (1-1, 1.69 ERA)

Margevicius has been one of the welcome surprises thus far this season as he has held his own through five starts, with a 116 ERA+ and 3.94 FIP. In Tuesday’s 6-3 victory over the Mariners, Margevicius went five innings, allowed two earned runs with four strikeouts and struggled with control to the tune of five walks. However, the bats bailed him out and got him the win.

Soroka is making his eighth major league start, with little more experience than the Padres’ lefty. He has never faced San Diego. In his last start, the 21-year-old Canadian went 5 2/3 innings and struck out seven and allowed one run, earning the victory over the Cincinnati Reds. He has allowed just two earned runs in his two starts this season. He was drafted by the Braves 28th overall in the 2015 draft.

Game 2: (Tuesday, April 30- 4:20 P.M. PDT) Chris Paddack (1-1, 1.67 ERA) vs. Julio Teheran (2-3, 5.40 ERA)

Paddack is coming off of the best start of his brief career and one of the most dominant starts by a Padres pitcher in recent years. He twirled seven shutout innings against the Mariners while striking out nine and walking just one. He allowed just one hit and was perfect after a hiccup in the first inning, helping the Padres to a slim 1-0 victory. He has been the Padres’ best starter thus far, with a stellar 249 ERA+ in 27 innings in five starts.

Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Teheran has struggled out of the gate this season. In his last start, he tied a season high with six innings pitched and seven strikeouts, but allowed three walks and three runs as well. He has allowed at least three runs in four of his six starts this year. The 28-year-old Colombian has faced the Padres 10 times in his career, with moderate success. He owns a 3.73 ERA with five wins in those appearances. Wil Myers has two career home runs off of Teheran in 14 plate appearances.

Game 3: (Wednesday, May 1- 4:20 P.M. PDT) Matt Strahm (0-2, 3.04 ERA) vs. Max Fried (3-1, 2.30 ERA)

Strahm has come on strong in his last two outings, throwing 14 innings with a 1.93 ERA in that span. He struck out eight in six innings in his last start against the Nationals, without walking a batter. He has gone at least five innings in four straight starts, which is much needed with the Padres’ taxed bullpen. It seems that he has established himself as a solid member of the starting rotation. This start will mark a new career high with six. He pitched against Atlanta twice last season, totaling 3 1/3 innings with one earned run and two strikeouts.

Fried is a familiar name to Padres fans as he was the seventh overall pick in the 2012 draft for San Diego. He was sent in the trade to Atlanta that brought Justin Upton to the Friars before the 2015 season. Fried is finally establishing himself in the big leagues after two seasons of brief stints. He started this season as a reliever but is now making his sixth start. He is coming off of a shaky start against the Rockies where he allowed four earned runs in 5 1/3 innings. He has allowed three home runs in his last two starts.

Game 4: (Thursday, May 2- 9:10 A.M. PDT) Eric Lauer (2-3, 4.41 ERA) vs. Mike Foltynewicz (0-0, 6.00 ERA)

Lauer struck out six in 5 2/3 innings in his last start against the Nationals. He toes the rubber against another NL East team here, his first career game against the Braves. Lauer has allowed at least two earned runs in five straight starts after his stellar Opening Day game. He has struggled with control as he has five walks in the last two starts. He has pitched at least five innings in every start so far this season.

2018 All-Star Foltynewicz has only made one start this season after missing the first month with elbow soreness. He was rudely greeted into 2019 by the Rockies when he allowed four earned runs in six innings in a Braves loss. He will be looking to find his groove against the Padres in just his second start of the year. He has three career starts against San Diego with an uninspiring 5.40 ERA. Manny Machado has hit him well, with a .500 average and a double in 10 plate appearances. Myers has a home run in three career at-bats.

Players to Watch

San Diego Padres: Manny Machado 

Machado has had a cold two weeks, hitting just .238 with no home runs and a 59 wRC+ in his last 11 games and is hitting .242 with four home runs this season. He feels comfortable on the east coast and is hitting .321 with two home runs in seven career games at SunTrust Park. He desperately needs to get the bat going, and this would be an ideal spot for him to break out. Of course, he has been elite defensively, but the Padres are yet to see the full power of Machado’s bat. It will come with time, perhaps with a game against a pitcher he has hit well, this trip to Atlanta will be the cure.

Atlanta Braves: Freddie Freeman

Freeman is always a headache to pitch to and this year has been no exception. The three-time All-Star and Gold Glover is batting .324 with five homers so far this season. He is coming off a year where he finished fourth in MVP voting. He has three-straight seasons of at least 23 home runs with an above-.300 average. He is batting .331 with nine home runs in his career against the Padres.

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Nick Lee
Native of Escondido, CA. Lived in San Diego area for 20 years. Padres fan since childhood (mid-90s). I have been writing since 2014. I currently live near Seattle, WA and am married to a Seattle sports girl. I wore #19 on my high school baseball team for Tony Gwynn. I am a stats and sports history nerd. I attended BYU on the Idaho campus. I also love Star Wars.

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