National League Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, August 1 (All times Eastern)
Atlanta Braves (58-51) at San Diego Padres (48-60), 10:10 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Atlanta - Mike Minor (4-6, 5.23) San Diego - Eric Stults (3-13, 5.22)
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Atlanta Braves eye a rebound effort this weekend against the San Diego Padres, a process they aim to get started on Friday night in the opener of a three-game series.
The Braves won the final three contests of a four-game series with the visiting Padres last weekend, but then went on to get swept in three games by the Los Angeles Dodgers. That put Atlanta 1 1/2 games back of the Washington Nationals for first place in the National League East.
The club did make a move prior to Thursday's non-waiver trade deadline, sending catching prospect Victor Caratini to the Chicago Cubs for left-handed reliever James Russell and utilityman Emilio Bonifacio.
Russell had gone 0-2 with a 3.51 earned run average in 44 appearances for the Cubs in 2014. He departs the only franchise which has employed him at the major-league level with a 10-16 record, 3.87 ERA and three saves over 316 games since 2010.
The journeyman Bonifacio hit .279 with two homers, 14 doubles, three triples and 18 RBI over 69 contests during his first season with the Cubs. He'll join his seventh MLB franchise in an eight-year career.
Atlanta was edged 2-1 in Thursday's finale versus the Dodgers and their ace Clayton Kershaw. The setback came despite Julio Teheran going in the distance in a five-hitter with nine strikeouts.
"They were both outstanding pitchers tonight," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "They (Dodgers) were able to turn three double plays. Julio had a solid outing. Clayton scatters nine hits, but he doesn't get rattled. Tip your cap to him. I'm proud of the way we played in the series, even though we lost three games."
Gonzalez sends Mike Minor to the mound for the opener, with the left-hander having won two of his past three starts.
Minor is coming off an 8-3 win over San Diego on Sunday as he allowed three runs on eight hits and a walk in 6 2/3 innings. He survived giving up a pair of homers, moving to 4-6 with a 5.23 ERA on the season.
"Felt good to get a win. To go six innings plus was a lot better than the three or four that I've been throwing," Minor said. "I just feel good right now would be going deeper in the game and giving the bullpen a break."
Minor, 26, also improved to 1-2 with a 4.34 ERA in three lifetime starts versus the Padres.
Eric Stults took the loss versus Minor and the Braves last weekend, doomed by one bad inning, and hopes for redemption tonight having dropped back-to-back starts and 10 of his last 11 decisions.
The 34-year-old southpaw was drilled for six runs -- all in the third inning -- against Atlanta while also getting charged with six hits and two walks over six frames.
"I think stuff was the same," Stults said when asked about the third inning. "I executed a few pitches but just didn't get outs. That's the way this game goes. It's frustrating to feel you threw the ball well but the result didn't really show it."
Stults is 3-13 with a 5.22 ERA this year and 2-3 with a 3.60 ERA in eight games versus the Braves with four starts.
San Diego, 13 1/2 games out of first in the NL West, won its first two meetings with the St. Louis Cardinals by scores of 3-1 and 12-1, but lost Thursday's finale of the three-game set 6-2.
The Padres dealt outfielder Chris Denorfia to Seattle on Thursday in exchange for outfielder Abraham Almonte and pitcher Stephen Kohlscheen, both minor leaguers.
Though they lost three of four to the Braves last weekend, the Padres did sweep the club in three games at home a season ago.
08/01 10:52:45 ET