Padres look to continue hot streak in Atlanta
ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Braves are glad that their four-game series with the San Diego Padres beginning Thursday night is at home rather than in San Diego.
The Braves swept four games from the Padres in the opening series for new SunTrust Park in April 2017 and have almost nothing but success against the team in Atlanta.
It has been exactly the opposite in San Diego, though.
The Padres took two of three from Atlanta in San Diego last week, and the Braves have dropped 16 of their last 19 games in the Padres' home stadium while being outscored 98-59 over the stretch of futility.
The Braves have lost eight straight series at San Diego dating to 2011, but own an all-time record of 186-122 against the Padres in Atlanta.
The Braves (39-28) went 2-4 on their road trip against the Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers, but returned home to sweep a two-game series from the New York Mets and regain sole possession of first place in the National League East.
The Padres (33-37) have won five straight series after taking two of three at St. Louis and own 11 wins in their past 15 games.
Anibal Sanchez (2-0, 2.37 ERA) will start the series opener for the Braves, with fellow right-hander Tyson Ross (5-3, 3.43) going for San Diego.
Sanchez has made three starts since spending six weeks on the disabled list because of a hamstring strain and is 1-0 with a 1.46 ERA in the past two, allowing just five hits in 12 1/3 innings.
Atlanta has won Sanchez's last four starts, with the 34-year-old getting a no-decision in his best outing since signing a minor league contract in spring training after being released by Minnesota.
In that game, Sanchez worked seven innings against Washington on June 3 and allowed just two hits and two unearned runs while walking one and striking out five.
"He's got a great feel for pitching and knows what he's doing," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "I think his stuff is better than what I was led to believe when we signed him. He's sneaky. He knows what he's doing. He can change speeds and he locates the fastball well."
Sanchez has made five career starts against San Diego, losing his only two decisions but posting a 2.76 ERA.
The Padres have won the last six games started by Ross and are 10-3 in his outings this season.
"When it's your turn to take the ball, you have to believe that you're the ace," Ross said. "It's a rotation of five, but when it's your turn to go, you have to give the team a chance to win."
Ross won a combined 23 games for San Diego in 2014 and 2015, and was the Padres' Opening Day starter in 2016. That was his only outing of the season, though, as thoracic outlet surgery forced him to miss the rest of the year as well as the first part of 2017 after he signed as a free agent with Texas.
The 31-year-old California native made 10 starts and two relief appearances for the Rangers last year, going 3-3 with a 7.71 ERA.
Ross has faced the Braves four times, with one appearance in relief, and is 0-1 with a 3.38 ERA.