The San Diego Padres look to get over the .500 mark this weekend when they play a three game series against the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park.
At 5-5 entering this weekend’s play, the San Diego Padres have exceeded early expectations. Against three difficult divisional opponents in the first three series, the club split the first ten games, seven of which were on the road.
Now, San Diego continues their current road trip by stopping in Atlanta, their first series against a team from outside of the National League West division.
This weekend’s games will be very winnable for the team, as the Braves are struggling to start the season, losing six of their first eight games.
Based on the way the Padres have pitched recently, especially in Colorado, the matchup against the Braves appears to be a favorable one. We examine each game’s starting pitching matchup, and determine the best approach for the Padres.
Friday, 4:35 PM: Chacin vs. Teheran
San Diego Padres
Opening Day starter Jhoulys Chacin is set to make his third start Friday evening coming off of his last outing against the Giants which went very well. Chacin’s ERA is now 8.10 thanks to his Opening Day meltdown in Los Angeles, but the 29-year-old is focused and ready to ensure that he doesn’t return to Opening Day form.
Facing Atlanta’s lineup is sure to help, as the club has totaled 27 runs through eight games, just over three runs a game.
Julio Teheran will pitch for Atlanta, making his third start of the year. Through 13 innings of action, the 26-year-old native of Colombia has been stellar, avoiding any earned runs. Still, Teheran has not earned any decisions thus far.
It will be difficult for the Padres to hand Teheran his first loss, but they can if Chacin pitches as well as he did last Saturday. The bottom line is, this figures to be more of a pitcher’s duel, one in which San Diego is capable of competing.
Saturday, 4:10 PM: Richard vs. Dickey
Clayton Richard is back in action for the middle game of the weekend set, facing 42-year-old R.A. Dickey. While the Padres have not had the opportunity to face Dickey a whole lot recently, they know just how effective the knuckle-baller can be when he is on.
The good news is, he hasn’t been on much lately. On the downside of his career, the right-hander is nothing like himself during his prime, as control is now an issue and longevity of his outings is in question.
To get to Dickey, the Padres can take a lot of pitches and try to force him into he zone. Raising the pitch count and getting into Atlanta’s bullpen before the sixth inning would give the club a major advantage, especially with Richard on the mound.
If the Padres can get a few runs on the board early and get past Dickey, Richard and San Diego’s bullpen should be able to take care of the rest.
Sunday: 10:35 AM: Starters TBD
The starting pitching matchup for Sunday’s series finale is still unknown as the series gets underway. With Trevor Cahill on the 10-day disabled list, he will not be available. The only question is whether the club will stick with Miguel Diaz who earned the win on Monday against the Rockies, or if they will find another starter such as a Jarred Cosart to give an opportunity.
More from Friars on Base
- Jurickson Profar free agency update likely rules out Padres reunion
- Fernando Tatis Jr. may not take to outfield move after Xander Bogaerts addition
- Padres News: Fernando Tatis Jr. trade rumors, Seth Lugo chase, Manny Machado
- Padres barely missed out on high-end veteran starting pitcher
- This veteran DH target seems ideal for contending Padres roster
Regardless, the Padres must understand entering this one that it will more than likely come down to their bullpen. This only underscores the significance of not over exhausting the ‘pen in the first two games of the series by making sure Chacin and Richard turn in quality starts.
Most of all, the Padres will need to take advantage of a thin Atlanta pitching staff and attack early and often. Scoring a lot of runs may be the only way of winning this game, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen. San Diego has had their share of offensive outbursts this season thus far, a promising indicator that this young lineup is capable of going toe to toe with most pitching staffs.
As bad as the Braves may be, the Padres still should have their sights set on another series victory. Consistency is key, and it is something the club must find as the season progresses. Becoming over ambitious and looking for the sweep is a dangerous way of approaching this series.
All games in this weekend set can be seen by San Diego fans on Fox Sports San Diego and heard on FM 94.9. Out of market, games can be seen on MLB.TV. Enjoy the series, and go Padres!