The Atlanta Braves and San Diego Padres open a three-game series starting on Friday. Actually, it is a four-game series as the teams will begin by completing a suspended game from July 21 where the Padres were leading 5-4 entering the bottom of the fifth.
Atlanta Braves vs. San Diego Padres
Friday, September 24, 2021 – 10:10 PM EDT at Petco Park
Both of these teams were playing on Thursday, but this preview was written prior to the conclusion of those contests. Atlanta has won their last four games, including earning a 9-2 victory over Arizona on Wednesday. San Diego has lost five straight after falling to the Giants on Wednesday, 8-6. They are all but eliminated from earning the final wild-card spot.
These two teams have split the first two games this season, with Atlanta beating San Diego on July 20, 2-1, and the Padres beating the Braves on July 21, 3-2. However, the Braves are 7-3 in the last ten meetings.
The Atlanta Braves looked like they were in some trouble at this time last week, losing four straight games and five of six, but they have suddenly caught fire, winning four straight games. Atlanta is firing on all cylinders, as they have scored 29 runs during the four-game winning streak while allowing just seven. Freddie Freeman had the big bat and Wednesday’s 9-2 victory, going 3-5 with three runs scored and two RBI. Freeman doubled twice and hit his 31st homerun of the year.
Atlanta is eighth in runs per game (4.89) and seventh in runs allowed per contest (4.13). The team is eighth in run differential at +0.77. This is a solid hitting lineup, 11th in team batting average (.244) and second in homeruns per game (1.50).
The Braves will start left-hander Max Fried. Fried is 12-7 with a 3.31 ERA in 26 starts. The lefty has been outstanding in September, posting a 2.16 ERA in four starts. In 25.0 innings he has allowed 16 hits and six earned runs, striking out 26. Fried has not faced the Padres this season.
This is a potent Braves lineup, with three batters who have already hit 30 homeruns. Freddie Freeman and Austin Riley lead with 31 and Ozzie Albies is close behind with 30. Albies has driven in team-leading 101 runs.
The San Diego Padres are all but eliminated at this point, dropping five straight games, including an 8-6 loss to San Francisco on Wednesday. This has been an abysmal month for San Diego as the team has gone 5-13 in September. The Padres are 29th in homeruns this month (15) and 28th in runs scored (72). However, this slide is not just the result of poor hitting, as San Diego is 28th in ERA at 5.71.
San Diego is 14th in runs per game (4.54) and 13th in runs allowed per contest (4.25). They are 11th in run differential at +0.29. The team is 12th in team batting average (.243) and 24th in homeruns per game (1.11).
San Diego has not named a starter for this contest. Chris Paddack would have been eligible to come off the disabled list, but his ailing left forearm is not healing, and he is likely done for the season. Blake Snell is also not ready to return, so this will likely be a bullpen day.
The Padres are led by MVP candidate Fernando Tatis with 40 homers and 94 RBI. Manny Machado is the team leader with 96 RBI and has 26 homers. The Padres are hitting .240 and averaging 4.64 runs per nine innings against left-handers.
The Padres have completely collapsed. This was a team that was battling Los Angeles and San Francisco for the top spot in the NL West, but they are not even going to make the playoffs now. The problem is that this team is not even in a position to play the spoiler. They are just a bad club right now, not able to keep opponents from scoring and not able to score themselves.
Meanwhile, Atlanta is playing very well. Their slump is over, and they are getting outstanding hitting and pitching. It also helps that they have dominated San Diego in the last ten.
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