After their second off day in four days on Thursday, the Atlanta Braves will wrap up a long homestand over the weekend with a three-game series against the San Diego Padres. The Braves split a brief two-game series against the Red Sox, dropping the opener 9-4 before a thrilling walk-off 5-3 win Wednesday night thanks to a two-run ninth -inning home run by Orlando Arcia.
Atlanta is 15-17 on the season and six games back of the New York Mets for the division lead. Wednesday’s win evened their home record to 9-9 on the season. They are 3-2 on the current homestand.
The Braves haven’t been able to find much consistency over the first 32 games of the season. They have yet to win three straight but are also one of eight teams that have not yet lost three games in a row. Wednesday’s game was just the third time this season that they won a game after their opponent scored first. They are hoping that maybe a thrilling win with an unlikely hero was the spark they need to get on a roll.
“It can’t hurt, that’s for sure. You get two or three good starts after this and then it sure can,” Brian Snitker said after Wednesday’s game. “You just never know when you’re going to look back on a game and a big win and that’s the one that got you going.”
Ronald Acuña Jr. sat out Wednesday night’s game with a sore groin. That snapped a streak of six straight games played by Acuña. Snitker said that the team was hoping that two straight days of treatment would have him ready to return to the lineup Friday night. Acuña is starting to settle in at the plate. He is riding a seven-game hitting streak and has reached safely in all nine games that he has appeared in. He has six hits on the homestand, including a pair of home runs.
Earlier this season, the Braves paid a visit to San Diego, where they two of the four games in Petco Park. The Padres come into Friday’s opener with a 20-12 record and are 1.5 games behind the Dodgers for the division lead. They will be without manager, Bob Melvin who underwent successful prostate surgery earlier this week. The Padres come into the series ranked 10th in position player fWAR (middling offense, great defense) and 11th in pitching fWAR.
Manny Machado has been carrying the team offensively and leads MLB with 3.0 fWAR. Only a handful of players have a bigger beneficial gap between their wOBA and xwOBA than Machado, but his xwOBA of .401 is still elite. Eric Hosmer is off to a strong start as well, posting a .367/.434/.550 line with a 180 wRC+ albeit while carrying a .404 BABIP and a very good-but-not-elite xwOBA in the .360 range.
Fans wanting to tune into this series will need an internet connection. Friday’s game will be broadcast exclusively on Apple TV+. No subscription is required and the broadcast can be found in the Apple TV app. Sunday’s game will be streamed exclusively on Peacock and does require a subscription to the service. Sunday’s game has a special start time of 11:35 a.m. ET.
Friday, May 13, 7:20 p.m. ET (Apple TV+)
Yu Darvish (6 GS, 33.1 IP, 20.4 K%, 7.3 BB%, 4.05 ERA, 3.67 FIP, 3.84 xFIP)
Yu Darvish will take the ball for the Padres in Friday’s series opener. He will be making his seventh start of the season and has put up good numbers despite one ugly outing. The Giants battered Darvish for eight hits and nine runs in just 1 2/3 innings in his second start of the season on April 12. He has allowed six runs combined in his other five starts. He faced the Braves back on April 17 in San Diego and held them in check, allowing four hits and one run over 6 2/3 innings in a 2-1 win. Most recently, Darvish held the Marlins to two runs, including a homer, with a 3/0 K/BB ratio across seven frames. After losing both of his first two starts of the year, the Padres have won the last four games he’s started.
Max Fried (6 GS, 37.0 IP, 24.6 K%, 1.4 BB%, 2.68 ERA, 2.59 FIP, 2.53 xFIP)
Max Fried will take his turn in Friday’s opener for Atlanta and will be looking to continue an impressive stretch. Fried’s first two starts of the season were a mixed bag with mediocre outputs despite good inputs. Things have aligned nicely over his last four starts, though, as he’s allowed just four runs combined over his last 26 innings with a 2.85 FIP and 2.38 xFIP. Fried has allowed a homer in each of his last three starts, but only one other run, which came on a wild pitch. Fried matched up against Corbin Burnes in his last start and held the Brewers to four hits and one run to go along with eight strikeouts in seven innings. Like Darvish, Fried’s team lost his first two outings, and has won his last four.
Saturday, May 14, 4:05 p.m. ET (Bally Sports Southeast)
Sean Manaea (6 GS, 36.0 IP, 25.9 K%, 8.2 BB%, 3.75 ERA, 3.43 FIP, 3.52 xFIP)
Left-hander Sean Manaea will make his seventh start of the season for San Diego Saturday. The Padres acquired him from Oakland on April 3, just before the season began, and he has settled in and helped solidify their rotation. Manaea got off to a great start allowing just three runs combined over his first three starts. In his last three starts, he has allowed 12 earned runs in 18 innings, with a 4.42 FIP and 3.92 xFIP. The Padres have dropped each of those games.
Charlie Morton (6 GS, 28.2 IP, 17.2 K%, 12.7 BB%, 5.65 ERA, 5.05 FIP, 5.43 xFIP)
Charlie Morton will be looking to carry over the progress from his last start when he makes his seventh start of the season Saturday. Morton struggled through April, allowing 14 runs in his first 18 innings. The Mets tagged him for four earned runs in the first two innings in Game 1 of a doubleheader on May 3, but he seemed to find something and settled in pitching into the sixth. He allowed two hits and three walks over five scoreless innings in his last start against Milwaukee. The alarm bells first started ringing with regards to Morton’s 2022 in San Diego, where he allowed five runs in five innings with an xFIP above 5.00. Including that game, Morton’s last five starts have featured an xFIP of at least 5.12; in all of 2021, he only had an in-start xFIP exceeding 4.90 four times.
Sunday, May 15, 11:35 a.m. ET (Peacock)
Joe Musgrove (6 GS, 39.0 IP, 27.2 K%, 2.0 BB%, 2.08 ERA, 2.38 FIP, 2.66 xFIP)
Righty Joe Musgrove will look to continue a strong start to the 2022 season in Sunday’s series finale. Musgrove put up a 2.16 ERA through four starts in April and has kept it up as the calendar has flipped to May. He has allowed a total of three runs through two May starts while logging seven innings in each. Musgrove held the Braves in check back in April, allowing four hits over 6 2/3 scoreless innings to go along with no walks and six strikeouts. Musgrove is currently third in MLB in pitching fWAR with 1.2; the Padres have won all six of his starts.
Kyle Wright (6 GS, 35.2 IP, 28.1 K%, 7.5 BB%, 3.03 ERA, 2.71 FIP, 3.01 xFIP)
Coming off of his first subpar outing of the season, Kyle Wright will try to take some knowledge from that outing into his next start Sunday. The Red Sox put up six runs against Wright in the second inning of Tuesday’s 9-4 loss with the big blow coming on a grand slam by Rafael Devers. Wright said after the game that he was trying to be too precise and should have focused on just limiting the damage. He was able to get out of the inning and hung around before exiting in the fifth. Wright faced the Padres on April 15 and allowed five hits, two runs and struck out nine in five innings of work.