After facing a pair of division leaders on the first two stops
of their 10-game road trip, the Atlanta Braves get to face an
opponent with a losing record in the San Diego Padres.
It may not be much of a reprieve.
The Braves will go for their third straight win Monday night
when they open a three-game series against the Padres, who look to
win their eighth straight as they give the ball to top prospect
Casey Kelly for his major league debut.
Since taking three of four against San Diego earlier this month,
Atlanta (73-55) has gone 0-2-1 in its last three series. After
dropping two of three at NL East-leading Washington to begin their
road trip, the Braves salvaged a four-game split at West leader San
Francisco by winning the final two contests.
Brian McCann went 3 for 4 in Sunday’s 7-1 victory while Jason
Heyward, Freddie Freeman and Juan Francisco homered to back seven
strong innings from Tim Hudson. Paul Janish added a two-run
Heyward has homered in three straight games and is batting .391
over his last 12 with five homers and 12 RBIs.
“It’s good to salvage a series going down 0-2 against a team
that’s hot,” McCann said after Atlanta scored seven runs for the
second straight contest.
While the Padres (59-70) are far from the top of a division,
they’re nonetheless the hottest team the Braves will have faced on
their trip. San Diego returns home riding a seven-game winning
streak after completing a three-game sweep of Arizona with a 5-4
Edinson Volquez pitched seven effective innings, shortstop
Everth Cabrera made a spectacular diving play in the eighth and the
bottom five hitters in the San Diego order drove in four runs.
“When (seven wins in a row) happens, you are doing everything,”
manager Bud Black told the Padres’ official website. “That’s what
winning streaks are all about. If one of those falters, you more
than likely will lose a game or two.”
San Diego is averaging 5.7 runs and batting .329 during its
seven-game run, its longest since winning eight in a row in
The Padres will try to provide similar support for Kelly as he
makes his major league debut.
The key acquisition in the 2010 trade that sent Adrian Gonzalez
to Boston, Kelly is healthy after missing nearly four months with a
strained throwing elbow.
The 22-year-old right-hander is 0-1 with a 3.78 ERA in three
starts for Double-A San Antonio.
“There are Major League debuts across the landscape of our game,
almost daily sometimes,” Black said. “With Casey, it’s a little
different. He’s more of a higher profile guy but I don’t want to
put too much weight on (Monday’s) game just because it’s unfair for
a lot of reasons.”
Atlanta counters with Paul Maholm (11-8, 3.47), who is 2-2 with
a 2.40 ERA in four starts for the Braves since they acquired him
from the Chicago Cubs.
The left-hander gave up four runs in seven innings of a 4-1 loss
to Washington last Tuesday.
Maholm is 1-4 with a 4.24 ERA in six starts against the Padres,
but picked up his first win against them Aug. 15 after scattering
one run and five hits over seven innings of a 6-1 win while
striking out seven.