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Braves kick off San Diego series with bizarre doubleheader against Padres

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Let’s play two! Well, one and three innings of another.

MLB: JUL 21 Padres at Braves Game 1 Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

After a very disappointing day yesterday, in which the Braves blew a three-run lead by allowing a five-run inning while the Phillies came back from a 6-0 deficit to win by six total runs, things are about to get weird. On Friday night, they’ll begin their series in San Diego by playing (at least) ten innings of baseball, spread across two games. And, oh yeah: they’ll be the home team in one of the games.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, recall that on July 21, the Braves and Padres attempted to play a doubleheader. They got the first game in, but the second seven-inning contest had to be called due to weather in the bottom of the fifth. The Braves were trailing 5-4 at the time, so they’ll have three half-innings in which to tie (or win, or fail to do so and lose) the game. In and of itself, that game was already shaping up to be a crazy one: Bryse Wilson (no longer with the team) got the start and allowed four to the Padres in the first, and then a fifth run in the second. The first two pitchers the Padres used in the game, Reiss Knehr and Daniel Camarena, are also no longer with the Padres, having been optioned down to Triple-A. The Braves scored four runs off those guys in the bottom of the second, making it a 5-4 game — a procession of relievers held the bats scoreless for the remaining frames afterwards.

So, the Braves will send the top of the lineup (Joc Pederson, Dansby Swanson, Freddie Freeman) out in the bottom of the fifth at Petco Park when the game resumes. The Padres’ Tim Hill is technically still in the game, while Jesse Chavez has the ball for Atlanta. They’ll need a substitute for the now-injured Steven Vogt, and might want to swap Adam Duvall and/or Eddie Rosario in for Guillermo Heredia and Orlando Arcia in the outfield. The Braves will have use of their full pitching staff, while the Padres will be down just Nabil Crismatt, who pitched earlier in the game. We’ll see what happens.

At the conclusion of that game, things will get a little bit more normal, with a regularly-scheduled nine-inning contest to be played between these two teams. We know that the Braves will be starting Max Fried; the Padres haven’t announced their pitching plans as of the time of writing.

Overall, this whole Friday night set is pretty whiplash-inducing. When the rainy doubleheader in Atlanta ended up being suspended, the Braves were 46-48 and had playoff odds of around 8.0 percent, trailing the NL East-leading Mets by five games. It was, more or less, a nadir of the entire season for Atlanta. The Padres, meanwhile, were sitting pretty — their playoff odds were over 93 percent, and at 56-42, they had the eighth-best record in the majors. They were third in the division, but had a six-game lead over the Reds for the last NL playoff spot.

So, of course, coming into play today, the Braves have a three-in-four shot of making the playoffs, while the Padres are just two games over .500, now have a six-game deficit for that last playoff spot, and have playoff odds that round to zero percent. This has been one really crazy baseball season, and that’s before the Braves play part of a game as the “home team” at Petco Park.

Even if the Braves falter in their suspended game comeback attempt, they should have a decent chance of not getting “swept,” due to the presence of Max Fried. The Braves’ southpaw has been dominant since late July (42 ERA-/67 FIP-/71 xFIP- in his last 10 starts), and carved up the Giants with seven scoreless innings in his last outing. Fried hasn’t had a bad start in two months and now has 3.1 fWAR on the season despite some struggles early on, and a bunch of inconsistency around May and June. The Padres have used their pitching heavily in recent days, so it’s not clear exactly what their plan is — they used five relievers to cover 4 23 frames of a 10-inning win yesterday and seven hurlers in nine frames the day before — everyone but Austin Adams and Dinelson Lamet has thrown a ton over the past week. Maybe they’ll make a roster move, we’ll see.

Game Info

Resumption of suspended game is scheduled for 8:10 pm EDT; actual nine-inning game scheduled for 10:10 pm EDT, though we’ll see what happens.

TV: Bally Sports Southeast

Radio: 680 AM/93.7 FM The Fan, WNNX 100.5, Braves Radio Network