Series Preview: Atlanta Braves at San Diego Padres

Jason Heyward and the Braves are off to San Diego for a three-game set.

A split with the San Francisco Giants combined with four straight losses by the Washington Nationals puts Atlanta 4.5 games back in the National League East as the Braves venture to San Diego for a three-game series.

The two teams saw each other just last week, as Atlanta outscored the Friars 19-5 en route to winning three out of four games.

Since then, the Padres have gone 7-2 and have won seven games in a row. They sit at 59-70 overall, 12.5 games back of the National League West division leading San Francisco Giants.

Offense:

As a team, San Diego is tied for 14th in the National League in batting average (.241), tied for 11th in on-base average (.314), 14th in slugging percentage (.373), tied for 12th in wOBA (.302), and tied for sixth in wRC+ (95).

Chase Headley is leading the team offensively, sporting a line of .278/.367/.469 with a .363 wOBA and 137 wRC+. He also leads the team in home runs with 22. Carlos Quentin has hit really well in his 70 games for San Diego, going .270/.384/.512 with a .383 wOBA and 150 wRC+. Quentin also has 14 home runs.

Yonder Alonso has been solid with the bat, although the lack of power is certainly an issue. He's hitting .276/.345/.397 with a .323 wOBA and 110 wRC+. Fellow youngster Yasmani Grandal has been hitting very well, sporting a .276/.363/.500 line with .370 wOBA and 142 wRC+.

Everth Cabrera has been just about average with the bat, hitting just .240/.323/.334 with a .309 wOBA and 101 wRC+. Chris Denorfia has hit well, as shown by his .289/.347/.445 slash line, .344 wOBA, and 124 wRC+.

Logan Forsythe and Alexi Amarista have been splitting time at second base. They've been pretty similar overall, with matching 91 wRC+s, though Forysthe has an edge in wOBA.

Cameron Maybin has struggled this year at the plate, hitting just .229/.302/.329.

Pitching match-ups after the jump.

Monday August 27, 10:05 PM ET


Paul Maholm

#17 / Pitcher / Atlanta Braves

6-2

220

L

L

Jun 25, 1982



Casey Kelly

#68 / Pitcher / San Diego Padres

6-3

195

R

R

Oct 04, 1989


We're all in for a treat, as we get to see the major league debut of right-hander Casey Kelly tonight. Kelly was traded from Boston to San Diego in the Adrian Gonzalez deal in 2010, and entered this year as the 32nd rated prospect in baseball by ESPN's Keith Law and the 76th rated prospect by Baseball America.

This year has been a struggle for Kelly, as he suffered a strained ulnar collateral ligament early in the year and missed a good bit of time. However, when he has pitched, he's been fantastic. In 37.2 innings combined between rookie ball, Double-A, and Triple-A, he's struck out 39 batters while walking just three and allowing less than a hit per inning.

In terms of stuff, he sits in the low 90's and can touch up to 96 with his fastball that has some sink to it, while also showing an above average curveball. He also has a changeup that is shows promise but is currently an inconsistent offering.

Tuesday August 28, 10:05 PM ET


Kris Medlen

#54 / Pitcher / Atlanta Braves

5-10

190

B

R

Oct 07, 1985



Andrew Werner

#41 / Pitcher / San Diego Padres

6-2

215

L

L

Feb 25, 1987


Werner made his major league debut last week against the Pirates, going six innings while giving up four hits, two runs (earned), four walks, and two strikeouts. That gave him a 3.00 ERA, 6.60 FIP, and 5.66 xFIP.

He doesn't have much in terms of stuff, throwing a four-seam fastball that averaged 88 miles per hour last week. Werner also throws a change up that was his main weapon in his last start. He threw the pitch 39% of the time last week at an average of 84 miles per hour, and it had a 6.3% whiff rate on it. It appears he throws a curveball and a maybe another off-speed pitch, but he was mainly fastball-change in his debut.

Wednesday August 29th, 6:35 PM ET


Tommy Hanson

#48 / Pitcher / Atlanta Braves

6-6

220

R

R

Aug 28, 1986



Eric Stults

#53 / Pitcher / San Diego Padres

6-0

225

L

L

Dec 09, 1979


On the year, Stults is 4-2 with a 2.69 ERA, 4.01 FIP, and 4.63 xFIP in 63.2 innings pitched. He has an 11.1% strikeout rate to go along with a 6.1% walk rate; both of which are below his career averages.

In terms of stuff, he mainly uses three pitches- a four-seam fastball, slider, and a change-up. The fastball, which he throws 40% of the time, averages just under 89 miles per hour and gets hit hard. So far in 2012, opposing hitters have a .323 batting average and .677 slugging percentage against Stults' fastball.

He uses his change primarily against right-handed hitters, throwing it 29% of the time against them. Stults feels comfortable with it to use it no matter the count, but Atlanta would be especially wise to look for it when he gets ahead and when he has two strikes on them. He throws it 39% of the time to right-handed hitters in two strike counts.

It's also an above-average ground ball offering, sporting a 17.76% ground ball rate and a 69.09% ground ball/ball-in -play rate.

Stults throws his slider 19% of the time overall at an average velocity of just under 82 miles per hour. He'll primarily use the pitch against left-handed hitters (15% of the time) and will use it in any count but especially ahead and with two strikes. The pitch has a big 23.71% whiff/swing rate on it.

He also will occasionally mix in a curveball that he'll use slightly more often against lefties than righties.

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