San Diego’s one-two offensive punch of Manny Machado and Eric Hosmer look to continue their hot hitting Friday night when the Padres begin a 10-day, three-city road trip with a three-game series in Atlanta against the Braves.
Machado was 2-for-4 on Wednesday and entered Thursday leading the majors in batting average (.383), hits (46), runs (27) and total bases (75). Hosmer was 3-for-5 with a homer, two RBIs and one run scored, raising his average to .367, second in the majors.
Still, the Padres were beaten 7-5 by the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday in the rubber game of their series. San Diego has won six of 10 games.
The Braves are coming off Wednesday’s 5-3 walk-off win against the Boston Red Sox that ensured a split of their two-game series. Atlanta has won three of four.
This will be the final series between the two teams this season. They split a four-game set in San Diego, April 14-17.
The pitching matchup for the opener features Atlanta left-hander Max Fried (4-2, 2.68 ERA) against San Diego right-hander Yu Darvish (3-1, 4.05).
Fried has won his last four starts, allowing four runs in 26 innings for a 1.38 ERA. In his last outing, he pitched seven innings on May 4 against the Milwaukee Brewers and gave up one run with eight strikeouts and one walk — his first base on balls allowed since Opening Day.
“He goes out there and puts up those zeroes and gives you a chance against a really tough pitcher,” said Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said of Fried.
Fried is 2-0 with an 0.56 ERA in two career starts against the Padres, who originally drafted him out of high school in 2012. He pitched a complete-game shutout against San Diego last September. He did not face the Padres when the Braves made their visit to the West Coast in April.
Darvish will be making his seventh start of the season. He has won his last three decisions, most recently a 3-2 victory over the Miami Marlins on May 6, when he allowed two runs over a season-high seven innings.
His season ERA is inflated because he was tagged for nine runs in 1 2/3 innings against San Francisco in his second start. In his other five starts, the right-hander has allowed six earned runs in 31 2/3 innings (1.71 ERA).
Darvish is 1-4 with a 4.80 ERA in six career starts against Atlanta. He beat the Braves on April 17 when he allowed one run in 6 2/3 innings, striking out eight, in San Diego’s 2-1 win — Darvish’s first against Atlanta.
The Padres will be without manager Bob Melvin, who had prostate surgery on Wednesday. The team said it would have no further updates until next week. Ryan Christenson, who has been Melvin’s bench coach for five seasons, is taking over as acting manager.
“He’s a future manager waiting to happen,” Melvin said of Christenson. “We look at the game similarly. He’s going to manage it basically kind of the way I do. We’ve been together long enough to where he shouldn’t miss a beat.”
Atlanta’s Ronald Acuna Jr. could miss the game, too. The slugger tweaked his groin on Tuesday and was kept out of the lineup on Wednesday.
Atlanta announced Wednesday that catcher Manny Pina, signed to back up Travis d’Arnaud, will have wrist surgery and miss the rest of the season.
–Field Level Media