Braves-Padres Preview

The Atlanta Braves’ first series sweep of the season came at the
expense of the reigning World Series champions.

Visiting the punchless San Diego Padres may help them prolong
their winning streak.

Atlanta looks to get back to .500 and continue its success at
Petco Park in the opener of a three-game series against the
last-place Padres on Monday night.

The Braves (11-12) began their 10-game road trip by dropping
three of four in Los Angeles before putting together their most
impressive series of the young season, sweeping a three-game set at
San Francisco.

Atlanta capped the sweep Sunday when Nate McLouth’s two-run
single in the 10th inning proved the winning hit in a 9-6
victory.

The Braves, who are also riding their first three-game winning
streak of 2011, now have a chance to climb back to .500 for the
first time since they were 4-4.

“You win three games off the world champs,” third baseman
Chipper Jones said, “and confidence is at a different level.”

The Braves have reason to be confident against the Padres
(8-14). Atlanta has won 12 of its last 16 games at Petco, batting
.301 with 25 homers in those contests.

Jones and Brian McCann have done much of the damage.

Jones has a .397 average with three homers, 18 runs scored and
11 walks over the last 16 games in San Diego. McCann has been even
better, batting .412 with four homers and 20 RBIs in his last 15
contests there.

Atlanta starter Derek Lowe (2-3, 3.25 ERA) could stand to have
Jones, McCann and the rest of the Braves hit better when it’s his
turn in the rotation. The right-hander has received a total of
seven runs of support through five starts.

Lowe didn’t do much to help himself in Wednesday’s 6-1 loss to
the Dodgers. He surrendered five runs and nine hits in three
innings, equaling the total runs he’d given up over his previous
four outings.

The sinkerballer is 1-0 with a 1.40 ERA in his last three starts
against the Padres, and he appears to have a good chance for
similar success Monday. San Diego’s .212 team batting average is
the lowest in the majors.

The Padres (8-14), tied with Houston for the worst record in the
NL, totaled three runs, batted .165 and got shut out twice during a
four-game weekend sweep at the hands of Philadelphia.

“We’ve got to keep working, and we’ve got to grind through
this,” manager Bud Black told the Padres’ official website. “We’ve
got to keep doing our work in the cage and watching video. We have
to keep working our (rear ends) off to get to where we need to
be.”

Probable starter Dustin Moseley (0-3, 1.40) is all too familiar
with San Diego’s offensive shortcomings. The Padres have yet to
score a single run for the right-through four starts. He allowed
one unearned run and five hits in six innings at Chicago on
Wednesday, a game San Diego eventually lost 2-1 in 11 innings.

“It’s frustrating, but you go out there and do your job and
leave it up to the hitters,” Moseley told the Padres’ official
website. “These guys will start scoring 10 runs a game for me. I
look forward to them getting their swings and confidence back.”