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Series Preview: Braves vs. Padres

Time to take care of the fathers

Kevin Liles

After a disappointing series against the Miami Marlins, the Braves welcome the San Diego Padres to town for a four game weekend set.

The Padres have been in full on sell mode, as they have lost Huston Street and Chase Headley over the past two weeks, and have also lost Cameron Maybin to suspension for using performance enhancing drugs. The Padre offense is already week, and the loss of Headley and Maybin only further weakens the group. In fact, the Padres have went ahead and called up our old friend Jeff Francoeur a few days ago.

There is not much to worry about witheir offense. Rene Rivera has hit for some power in his 57 games with the team, Yasmani Grandal is probably the best overall hitter on the team, and Yangervis Solarte was hot in the early goings with the Yankees but cooled off immensely before being traded to the Padres in the Headley deal. It is a very weak group and the Braves pitchers should be able to slice and dice their way through the lineup with relative ease. While that should be the case, obviously the games are not played on paper and it is far from certain that this will actually happen.

The pitchers for the Padres are actually pretty respectable for this series. The Braves will oppose Jesse Hahn (2.21 ERA, 2.80 FIP in 7 starts), Odrisamer Despaigne (1.31 ERA, 3.67 FIP in 5 starts), Eric Stults (5.00 ERA, 5.20 FIP in 20 starts), and Ian Kennedy (3.66 ERA, 3.11 FIP in 22 starts).

Obviously Stults is the weakest of the bunch, but the two youngsters have impressed in the early going, especially Hahn. Hahn is a fastball/curveball pitcher who has gotten a lot of ground balls this year. He has some command issues but has struck out a lot of batters thus far and has a history of success in the minors, as his highest ERA at any level is 2.77. The Braves will have to be patient against him and work the counts in order to draw walks and stretch out innings.

Despaigne has flirted with a no hitter but has not been a strikeout pitcher whatsoever. He has forced weak contact but with a very poor strikeout-to-walk rate the Braves should be able to hit him well. Kennedy is on track to start on Monday but could very well be traded before then. As mentioned, the GM-less Padres are in full on sell mode and Kennedy is a commodity that many teams would enjoy having. He’s a solid innings eater and has been around for a while, so I would not be shocked to see him moved before his scheduled start.

All in all, the Padres are a weak team that has sold off some of its better players already are likely to continue to do so as the trade deadline nears. The Braves should be able to win this series and anything less would be a disappointment. They are 1.5 games behind the Nationals and three back in the loss column, so taking care of teams like the Padres at home is essential if they want to win their second consecutive NL East title.

Pitching Matchups:

Friday 7:35: Jesse Hahn vs. Alex Wood

Saturday 7:10: Odrisamer Despaigne vs. Julio Teheran

Sunday 5:05: Eric Stults vs. Mike Minor

Monday 12:10: Ian Kennedy vs. Ervin Santana

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