Series Preview: Padres Host Braves in Battle of Future NL Heavyweights

Credit: MLB

Credit: AP Photo

San Diego, California

The San Diego Padres wrap up their 10-game home stand with a three-game series against the National League East-leading Atlanta Braves. The series runs June 4-6 at Petco Park.

The Braves have been one of the biggest surprises this season. Atlanta has been rebuilding over the past few seasons, and weren’t expected to be a contender in 2018. Up to this point, they sit in first place in the NL East. They’ve done this with a roster mixed with young talent and seasoned veterans.

Two of those surprises are Ozzie Albies and Robert Acuna, Jr. You will be able to watch one of these players when the Braves visit Petco. Acuna, Jr., MLB’s No. 1 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, suffered a mild strain of the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. He is listed as day-to-day, and could be back in the lineup as early as June 8.

Albies will be in the Braves’ lineup. He currently has 14 home runs this season, putting him just one behind Padres third baseman Christian Villanueva, who has the second-most in the NL.

Atlanta got off to a hot start that catapulted them to the top of the NL East. They enter this series against San Diego having won three of their last four games. The Padres have also found a spark in recent days, winning five of the last six. This could potentially be a series between future NL heavyweights, being that both teams have the two best farm systems in the majors.

Game 1: Clayton Richard (3-6, 4.74 ERA) vs. Julio Teheran (4-3, 4.03 ERA)

Richard enters this game looking for his sixth straight quality start. His last start was May 30 against the Miami Marlins. He allowed just two runs over seven innings in a 3-2 Padres win. Richard has a 3.24 ERA over his last five starts, with 29 strikeouts over 36.1 innings in those five starts.

Starting opposite of Richard in Game 1 is Julio Teheran. He is coming off losses in each of his last two starts, but has pitched well. He went seven innings against the New York Mets on May 30, He allowed just two runs in a 4-1 loss.

Credit: MLB

Game 2: Jordan Lyles (2-1, 3.65 ERA) vs. Sean Newcomb (6-1, 2.73 ERA)

Lyles was inserted into the starting rotation last month. He’s made four starts thus far. He flirted with a no-hitter against the Colorado Rockies on May 15, going 7.1 innings before allowing a hit. In his most recent start, on May 31 against the Marlins, he allowed two runs over seven innings. He struck out seven and issued just one walk.

Newcomb has picked up a win in six of his last seven starts. His most recent start was May 31 against the Washington Nationals. He pitched seven innings, allowing just two runs. Newcomb induced 13 groundball outs in that start. Newcomb has failed to go at least six innings just twice in 10 outings this season.

Game 3: San Diego TBD vs. Atlanta TBD

Players to watch

Freddie Freeman: Freeman leads the Braves in both OPB (.431) and SLG (.534). He takes a 13-game hitting streak to Petco Park. He’s batting .385 during that hitting streak.

Franmil Reyes: Reyes homered in three straight games during this homestand. He made his major league debut on May 13 and got off to a slow start, but closed out the month with a .689 OPS and four home runs. He’s registered a hit in four of his last five games.

Christian Villanueva: After being named NL Rookie of the Month for April, Villanueva’s production grinded to a halt through the first half of May. He’s gotten a hit in five of his last six games.

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