Friday night features a National League battle of second-place teams as the San Diego Padres (20-12, 2nd in NL West) take on the Atlanta Braves (15-17, 2nd in NL East). The Braves will host this one at Truist Park, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:20 pm ET.
In the loss, starter Nick Martinez went four innings, allowing five earned runs despite striking out eight. Offensively, San Diego managed 12 hits, but they left a whopping 21 runners on base throughout the game.
Atlanta also enjoyed an off day Thursday. Earlier in the week, they split a two-game series with the Boston Red Sox, with Atlanta winning Wednesday’s finale 5-3.
Kenley Jansen picked up the win after going one scoreless inning of relief. Offensively, the Braves got a ton of production out of their eighth and ninth holes in the lineup as Orlando Arica and Travis Demeritte went a combined four for seven with two home runs.
The Braves are the favorites Friday playing at home. They are -148 to win while the Padres’ moneyline sits at +126. The runline features San Diego +1.5 (-178), and the over/under for total runs is seven.
Padres Look To Keep Pace In NL West
At 20-12, the Padres are one of four teams in the National League to have reached 20 wins. Despite their success, they still sit 1.5 games behind the Dodgers in the NL West. On Friday, they will look to keep pace with L.A. by picking up a win on the road, where they are currently 10-5.
The Padres will turn to righty Yu Darvish to get the series started on the right foot. This season Darvish is 3-1 with a 4.05 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, and has 28 strikeouts in 33.1 innings.
Darvish has picked up wins in back-to-back starts entering Friday. In his last outing, he went seven innings, allowing two earned runs on five hits against the Marlins.
Offensively, Manny Machado has been one of the best hitters in the game this season. In 120 at bats, Machado is hitting .383/.460/.625 with seven home runs, 22 runs batted in, 27 runs, and six stolen bases. In his career against the Braves’ Max Fried, he has just one hit, but that one hit is a home run.
Braves Trying To Inch Towards .500
Even though they are in second place in the NL East, the Braves’ 15-17 record still puts them 6.5 games behind the New York Mets. They will try to pick up a win at Truist Park, where they are 9-9 this season, and try to inch closer to .500 overall on the season.
Southpaw Max Fried will take the ball Friday night. In six games, Fried is 4-2 with a 2.68 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, and he has struck out 35 batters in 37 innings pitched.
Fried was dominant in his last start against the Brewers. He picked up the win after going seven innings, allowing just a single earned run on four hits, and struck out eight.
Offensively, third baseman Austin Riley has been one of the most productive hitters for the Braves. He is hitting .239/.341/.487 with a team-leading seven home runs. He also has 14 runs batted in and 16 runs scored for the defending World Series champions.
Ronald Acuna Jr. is also starting to hit his groove. In 39 at bats, he is hitting .282/.391/.487 with two home runs, five runs batted in, four runs scored, and five stolen bases.
Another player to keep an eye on is outfielder Marcell Ozuna. In 16 at bats against Darvish, he is hitting .313 with a home run and five runs batted in.
Take Atlanta To Win Opener
This one comes down to Max Fried. Even though Yu Darvish has the ability to be dominant, Max Fried has just been on a whole different level to start the season.
Also, San Diego has had its difficulties with the Braves over the years. In fact, in their last 12 games against Atlanta, they are just 3-9 straight up.
With the over/under set at seven, it is pretty risky to expect the Braves to cover the -1.5 runline, but taking them straight up seems like a smart bet with Fried on the mound.