Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#5903 San Diego Padres vs.
#5904 Atlanta Braves
Saturday, May 14, 2022 at 4:05pm EDT
Written by Nathaniel Reeves

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The San Diego Padres will continue a three-game series against the Atlanta Braves on Saturday evening at Truist Park. These teams met late on Friday night in the series opener, with the game finishing after the time of publishing. San Diego is only a game out of the NL West lead at 20-12, while Atlanta has been shaky so far with a 15-17 record.

These teams met in San Diego back in mid-April, splitting a four-game set. Atlanta took four of the six matchups last year, and has not lost the season series to the Padres since 2015.

Padres hope to keep pace in loaded NL West

The Padres have been one of baseball's best teams to start the season, but were a little shaky to start this week with a surprising series loss to the Chicago Cubs, including a 7-5 defeat in Wednesday's rubber game. After Eric Hosmer opened the scoring in the first on an RBI single, Luke Voit went deep the next inning before tying the game later in the seventh on another solo shot, only for the Padres bullpen to surrender two runs in the top of the eighth.

Starter Nick Martinez struggled through four innings, allowing five runs on four hits and two walks while piling up eight strikeouts. Luis Garcia took the loss in relief, allowing two runs on three hits and one walk in his lone inning of work. Hosmer and Voit each had three-hit games, while Jurickson Profar went 2-4 with a double, triple, a walk and a run scored.

“The way Luke swung the bat today -- it definitely deepens the lineup,” said Hosmer via MLB.com about Voit, who didn't have a homer before Wednesday. “Everybody knows he’s got that in him. He’s a big power guy that can hit. That’s the guy we know he can be."

The Padres are up a decent amount on the money line thus far while going an even 16-16 on the run line. Overs are 15-17 for the Padres after the last two games against the Cubs went over the betting total.

San Diego is solidly above average at the plate with 4.28 runs per game, although its .684 OPS is just 18th in baseball. The Padres have also been solid as a pitching staff with a 3.68 collective ERA, including a mark of 4.21 from a bullpen that stands out as a weak point.

Manny Machado is the early season NL MVP favorite, batting .383/.460/.625 with seven homers, six steals, 22 RBI, 27 runs scored and an MLB-high 3.0 WAR. After several tough seasons, Hosmer has also gotten things turned around with a .367/.434/.550 line, four homers and 21 RBI.

Sean Manaea will make his seventh start in a Padres uniform after being acquired in a trade just before Opening Day, having gone 2-3 with a 3.75 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 36 innings so far. The 30-year-old will hope to bounce back from a loss to the Miami Marlins last Saturday, when he allowed three runs on seven hits and one walk while striking out eight in six innings.

Superstar shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., who launched 42 homers in just 130 games last year, is still several weeks away from making his season debut due to wrist surgery. Outfielder Matt Beaty is sidelined by a shoulder impingement. Starting pitcher Blake Snell (strained groin) is likely to make his season debut soon as he's on a rehab assignment, while Adrian Morejon is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. Relievers Austin Adams (strained forearm), Michael Baez (Tommy John surgery), Tim Hill (shoulder inflammation), Pierce Johnson (elbow tendinitis) and Drew Pomeranz (torn flexor tendon) are all on the IL.

Braves still searching for consistency

Just like last year, the defending champs are off to a slow start, but at least enter this series having won three of four including a dramatic 5-3 triumph over the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday to earn a two-game split. Travis Demeritte launched a two-run homer in the bottom of the third to get Atlanta on the board with Matt Olson adding an RBI double later in the frame, and Orlando Arcia provided the walk-off two run shot in the bottom of the ninth.

Starter Ian Anderson went 5.1 innings, allowing three runs on seven hits and one walk while striking out four. Closer Kenley Jansen picked up the win with a scoreless ninth, striking out two. Arcia recorded a three-hit game, scoring a pair of runs.

“You never know when you’re going to look back on a game or a big win and know that is the one that got you going,” manager Brian Snitker said to MLB.com

Atlanta is down a healthy amount on the money line with its disappointing start while going a matching 15-17 on the run line. Overs are 17-13-2 for Atlanta, and only one of its last six games has gone under the betting total.

The Braves are right at the league average with 4.09 runs per game on a .695 team OPS. Pitching has been more of an issue, as the Braves rank 24th with a 4.10 ERA despite the bullpen being a strength with a mark of 3.29.

Ronald Acuna Jr. has only played 10 games since returning from a torn ACL, but isn't missing a beat so far with an .878 OPS, two homers, five stolen bases and five RBI. After being acquired in a massive offseason deal, Olson has been great for his new team with an .838 OPS, three homers, 14 RBI and 15 runs scored.

Veteran Charlie Morton will get the ball for the seventh time hoping to build on his best outing so far, as he held the Milwaukee Brewers scoreless over five innings allowing just two hits and three walks while striking out five on Sunday. The 38-year-old has uncharacteristically struggled, going 2-3 with a 5.65 ERA across 28.2 innings.

Outfielder Eddie Rosario, last year's postseason hero for Atlanta, underwent laser eye surgery after struggling badly to begin 2022 and is still out. Backup catcher Manny Pina is recovering from wrist surgery. It's unclear when starting pitcher Mike Soroka will return after he suffered multiple Achillies tears. Relievers Jay Jackson (strained lat), Kirby Yates (Tommy John surgery) and Kirby Yates (Tommy John surgery) are on the IL.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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After disappointing a year ago, the Padres have quietly been one of the best teams in baseball so far this season and have a reliable starter in Manaea going on Saturday. The Braves will get going at some point but are still scuffling a bit at this stage, and it's hard to trust Morton until he gets multiple solid outings under his belt.

It's possible Morton might just be declining quickly in his late 30s, as he's posted an ugly 12.7% walk rate leading to a 138 ERA-/133 FIP- so far this year. San Diego's 102 wRC+ at the plate despite missing its best player isn't spectacular but is good enough to back its strong pitching staff, and the Padres have graded out as an elite defensive team to help out.

Manaea has provided exactly what the Padres hoped for, going at least six innings in all but one start this year while posting a strong 1.11 WHIP. The Padres look like the better team for right now and are worth a bet at plus odds given Morton's issues.

Prediction: Padres +105

Full-Game Total Pick

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Atlanta has slowly climbed to a 97 wRC+ at the plate this season, and that will continue to go up with the superstar Acuna Jr. back in the fold in addition to slow starters like Ozzie Albies likely to get going soon enough. Manaea is solid, but isn't the type of lockdown ace to totally shut down an opposing offense with a 98 ERA-/93 FIP- on the season.

The Braves can also add on late with the Padres bullpen ranking eighth-worst in ERA while dealing with a few injuries. Both teams have been better offensively than pitching-wise this season and will be able to do enough damage against these starters.

Prediction: Over 8 (-105)
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Written By Nathaniel Reeves , "Nathaniel Reeves"

Nathaniel Reeves is an avid sports fan with degrees in journalism from the University of Washington and statistics from Western Washington University. He's always had a passion for applying statistical analysis to sports betting and has successfully handicapped college football, college basketball, and Esports for years. Nathaniel has endured being a lifelong fan of the Seattle Mariners, along with the Seattle Seahawks, UW Huskies and soon to be Seattle Kraken. He has been a very successful sports bettor the last several years and we are thrilled that Nate has chosen to bring his talents to us here at Winners & Whiners. You would be very wise to follow him daily. 
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