Game 1: Padres 4, Braves 3
This was a game that the Braves had in their grasp and just found a way to lose it. Probably one of the most dis-heartening losses of the season. After rookie starter and Georgia native David Hale threw a dominant 5 innings in his Major League debut, he left with a 3-0 lead and the best bullpen in baseball to preserve his first Major League victory. Unfortunately, the Padres didn’t get a copy of that script as they chipped away at the Braves bullpen for 2 runs each in the 7th and 8th innings to steal a game in Atlanta. For some reason, Fredi Gonzalez thought it was a good idea to use 5 pitchers to get those 6 outs in the 7th and 8th. Pretty bad bullpen mismanagement by Gonzalez if you ask me. Hopefully, it is not a preview of the way Fredi will be managing the pen in October.
Even though he didn’t get the win, David Hale had a hell of a first game. He actually broke the Braves franchise record for strikeouts in a debut with 9, a record that was most recently held by Kenshin Kawakami of all people with 8. He only allowed 4 hits and a walk in his 5 scoreless innings.
All of the Braves offense was provided in the 4th inning. Justin Upton led off the inning with a solo homer and Brian McCann added a home run of his own to drive home Freddie Freeman, who had singled earlier in the inning to stake the Braves to a 3-0 lead. It was McCann’s 20th homer of the season which now gives him six straight 20-homer seasons(only 6 catchers have more) and seven 20 homer seasons overall(only 3 other catchers have done this).
Also of note, Jason Heyward took batting practice on the field before the game with the rest of the team. This was the first time he had taken a full normal batting practice since his jaw injury. He did wear a protective attachment on his helmet for extra protection.
Game 2: Braves 2, Padres 1
Kris Medlen is really pitching well the second half of the season and it continued Saturday night against he Padres. Medlen pitched 7.1 scoreless innings only giving up 4 singles and 2 walks while striking out 5. Over his last 7 games, which includes a 3 inning stint out of the bullpen, Medlen has pitched 43.2 innings with a 1.65 ERA and has started to resemble the pitcher that dominated baseball last season.
The Braves got an RBI single from Chris Johnson in the 4th and a Freddie Freeman solo homer in the 6th for all the runs they would need on this night. Freeman went 3-3 with a walk and is now hitting .314 with 21 homers and 99 RBI on the season. That, my friends, is an elite hitter. Chris Johnson added 2 more hits and is sitting at .330 for the season and is still in great position to win the NL Batting Crown. BJ Upton didn’t get a hit, but did walk 3 times, which is about at positive as the Braves can get out of him right now. He did get picked off though, so it wasn’t all roses for BJ.
Craig Kimbrel finished the game for the Braves for his Major League leading 47th save, but did give up a solo homer run to red-hot Chase Headley to lead off the 9th and raise Kimbrel’s ERA back over 1.00.
Also, Jason Heyward took batting practice again before the game, YE!!
Game 3: Padres 4, Braves 0
Welp, that game happened. San Diego rookie pitcher Burch Smith had made 4 previous starts this season. In those 4 starts he allowed 17 ER in 12.1 innings and didn’t even make it past the 1st inning in TWO of his four starts. So naturally he doesn’t give up even a HIT to the Braves until Julio Teheran singled off him in the 6th inning. Smith finished 7 innings giving up only 3 singles, walking 2 and striking out 10 Braves. I think its safe to say that the offense wasn’t really into the game today. Pathetic effort. Not even worth mentioning anyone really.
Julio Teheran pitched wonderfully for the first 5 innings, but started to fall apart in the 6th. Julio had retired 14 straight Padres before Venable singled to lead off the 6th. Venable later scored on a single from Gyorko and Headley then homered to put the Pads up 3-0. Overall, Teheran went 6.2 innings allowing all 4 Padres runs on 7 hits. He didn’t walk anyone and struck out 6.
For the season, the Padres won 5 of the 6 games between the 2 clubs. The Braves magic number remains at 4 as they head to Washington for a 3 game series. All the Braves have to do is win 2 of the 3 games in D.C. to clinch the NL East. It sure would be nice to clinch on the Nats home field, haha.