Padres looking for third straight win tonight versus the Braves

SAN DIEGO — All that stands between the San Diego Padres and their best homestand of the season are the Atlanta Braves.

And while that looks like a formidable challenge on paper, given the fact that the Braves just won three of four from the Washington Nationals to reclaim first in the National League East, it’s even a bigger hurdle when you consider the way the Braves handled the Padres last year.

The Braves won five of seven games against the Padres. And it wasn’t really that close.

But the Braves flew across the country from Atlanta on Sunday night to open a six-game West Coast trip to San Diego and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Padres, meanwhile, are 5-2 after seven games of a 10-game homestand leading into a stretch where they play 19 of 21 games on the road.

The Padres’ recent run improved their record at Petco Park this season to 14-19.

“We’ve played better on the road (11-14) than we have at home,” Padres manager Andy Green said recently. “We need to play better at home against the better teams.”

The Padres’ recent successes at Petco Park could be a little deceiving. They won back-to-back series against the only two teams with worse records in the National League than the Padres — the Miami Marlins and the Cincinnati Reds.

The Padres-Braves series opens Monday night with right-hander Julio Teheran (4-3, 4.03 ERA) starting for the Braves and left-hander Clayton Richard (3-6, 4.74) going for the Padres.

Teheran will make his 13th start of the season. He has allowed 30 runs, 52 hits and 30 walks with 54 strikeouts in 67 innings.

Teheran has had success against the Padres in the past. He is 4-2 against San Diego in his career with a 3.76 ERA in eight starts. He picked up a victory last year in Atlanta in his only outing against the Padres, giving up two runs, five hits and four walks with five strikeouts in six innings.

Meanwhile, Richard’s overall statistics this season are a bit misleading. Given the fact that the Braves are from the NL East could work to Richard’s advantage Monday night.

Richard has made 12 starts this season:

–In his six starts against teams from outside the NL West, Richard has allowed 13 runs, 35 hits and six walks with 33 strikeouts in 44 innings — posting a 2.66 ERA and 0.93 WHIP. The Padres are 3-3 in Richard’s starts outside the division, and he is 2-2. Richard has given up one home run to teams outside the division.

–However, in his six starts against NL West teams this season, Richard has given up 27 runs (26 earned), 37 hits and 19 walks with 28 strikeouts in 30 innings — posting a 7.80 ERA and 1.87 WHIP. The Padres are 2-4 in Richard’s starts inside the division and he is 1-4. He has given up eight homers to NL West teams.

But Richard has had almost no luck during his career against the Braves. He is 0-6 with a 6.75 ERA in nine games (six starts). He has given up 26 runs (25 earned), 53 hits and 11 strikeouts with just 17 walks in 33 1/3 innings against Atlanta.