Series preview: Braves vs. Padres
When (TV): 7:10 p.m. Monday-Thursday (SPSO)
Radio: 680, 93.7, 100.5
Probable starting pitchers:
Monday: Braves LH Mike Minor (6-8, 4.95 ERA) vs. LH Eric Stults (2-2, 2.72)
Tuesday: Braves Tim Hudson (11-4, 3.77) vs. LH Clayton Richard (9-11, 3.79)
Wednesday: Braves LH Paul Maholm (10-7, 3.50) vs. RH Edinson Volquez (7-8, 4.03)
Thursday: Braves RH Kris Medlen (3-1, 2.28) vs. RH Jason Marquis (6-6, 3.66)
About the Braves:
Batting: Freddie Freeman had a .327 average with six homers, 37 RBIs and a .946 OPS in his past 45 games before Sunday, including .362 (17-for-47) with 14 RBIs in his past 13 games…. Jason Heyward had a .299 average with 13 homers and an .889 OPS in 60 games since the beginning of June, after batting .233 with a .740 OPS in 50 games during April and May. In 12 games against the Padres, Heyward has a .353 average with seven extra-base hits and nine RBIs.…. Reed Johnson was 18-for-48 (.375) with five extra-base hits and a .423 OBP in his past 20 games before Sunday, including 5-for-16 with three runs in five games since being traded to Atlanta.
Pitching: Minor is 2-2 with a 2.13 ERA and .189 opponents’ average in his past six starts, with 32 strikeouts and eight walks in 38 innings. The Braves scored no runs while he was in the game in those two losses. Minor has faced the Padres once, allowing eight hits and three runs in six innings of a loss in May 2011…. Hudson is 5-0 with a 2.98 ERA in 11 games (10 starts) against the Padres, while Maholm is 0-5 with a 5.63 ERA in six starts against them…. Medlen is 0-2 with an 8.10 ERA in four relief appearances against the Padres.
Miscellaneous: The Braves have been on one of their best runs in recent years, yet barely cut into Washington’s lead during that stretch. The Braves were 14-3 with a 1.84 ERA and 91 runs in their past 17 games before Sunday, but the Nationals were 15-4 with a 3.23 ERA and 93 runs (23 homers) in that same period since July 24. Atlanta was 24-8 with a 2.91 ERA and 161 runs (34 homers) in 32 games since July 5, but before Sunday the Nationals were 24-11 with a 3.32 ERA and 166 runs (40 homers) in that same period.
About the Padres
Batting: Chase Headley hit .314 with 10 homers, 28 RBIs and a 1.020 OPS in his past 27 games before Sunday, including six homers and 18 RBIs in his last 10 games. He had three homers and eight RBIs in wins Friday and Saturday at Pittsburgh. In 57 road games, Headley was batting .290 with 13 homers, 41 RBIs and a .931 OPS…. The Padres had a .244 average and .393 slugging percentage on the road before Sunday, while they have a league-worst .231 average and league-worst .345 slugging percentage in home games at spacious Petco Park.
Pitching: Stults is 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA in his past five games, including four relief appearances. He pitched 5-1/3 scoreless innings (five hits, two walks, five strikeouts) in win Monday against the Cubs, his first major league start since June 3. Against the Braves, he’s 0-2 with a 4.11 ERA in five games (one start). His only start against them came in 2008, and he faced the Braves three times in relief in 2011. Heyward homered in his only plate appearance against Stults, and Chipper Jones is 1-for-4 with a homer against the lefty.
Miscellaneous: San Diego had a 2.33 ERA during a six-game winning streak before Sunday’s series finale at Pittsburgh…. The Padres won five of nine games against the Braves in 2011. The teams haven’t met this season…. Against the Braves, Richard is 0-4 with a 7.36 ERA in four starts, Volquez is 1-2 with a 2.86 ERA in four starts, and ex-Brave Marquis is 3-4 with a 7.27 ERA in eight starts…. Another former Brave, veteran outfielder Mark Kotsay, has a .302 average in 85 games at Turner Field. The Southern California native is now a backup in his second stint with the Padres.
By David O’Brien