The San Diego Padres wrap up a 3-game series in Atlanta on Sunday looking to win the rubber match of the 3-game set. The Braves bounced back from a series-opening loss on Saturday with a 6-5 win over the Padres. The pitching matchup for Sunday is an excellent one with right-hander Joe Musgrove (4-0, 2.08) going for the Padres to oppose Kyle Wright (3-2, 3.03) the Braves' right-hander. The game is at a special time as part of the Sunday morning Peacock broadcasts scheduled for 11:35 AM EST.
Hanging Tough in the WestThe Padres remain in the thick of the NL West Division race as they continue to find ways and get contributions from all over the lineup. On Saturday, however, the Padres ran out of steam after making an 8th inning comeback. Trailing 2-1, the Padres rallied for 4 runs in the 8th inning by piecing together runs on an RBI single, an error and two fielder's choice. The Padres bullpen was unable to hold it, allowing the Braves to score four runs of their own in the bottom half of the 8th inning for a 6-5 defeat. The Padres blew another stellar performance by left-hander Sean Manaea. Manaea went 7 innings, allowed 6 hits and 3 runs and struck out 12 in a no-decision.
Final. pic.twitter.com/INDdBEcFJy— San Diego Padres (@Padres) May 14, 2022
The Padres have put together a strong starting five this season including the addition of Manaea, the recent return to form of Yu Darvish and the development of Sunday's starter, Joe Musgrove. Musgrove leads the Padres in wins, ERA and is now tied with Manaea in quality starts with 6. As a staff, the Padres have 17 quality starts to lead the MLB. With a lineup that has not quite yet reached its stride, the Padres pitching has kept the team right in the heart of the NL West race.
Braves Bounce BackThe Braves continue to try and regroup from a slow start, particularly from their pitching staff and have shown signs of late that they could find their groove shortly. Consistency still remains the Braves' biggest challenge as evidenced by their 5-5 record in the last ten games and splitting a short 2-game series with Boston this week. The Braves will have a chance to win this series on Sunday thanks to a come-from-behind 6-5 win over the Padres on Saturday afternoon. The Braves got a second straight quality performance from veteran Charlie Morton who went six innings and allowed just 2 hits and 1 run and struck out 9 batters. He left the game with a 2-1 lead but the Braves bullpen coughed it up by allowing 4 runs in the 8th. The Braves bats came alive in the bottom of the 8th, highlighted by a 2-run home run by Marcell Ozuna and a 2-run double by Austin Riley, who homered earlier.
The Braves have historically been known as a team built around its pitching staff but the pitching has not been up to par, until lately. Morton's start gives the Braves another lift as they hope to get their top 4 starters in order. The Braves are just 18th in quality starts thus far this season although Morton's recent two-game stretch looks more like the pitcher that was amongst the best in the NL last year. Sunday's starter, Wright, was dominant through the first part of the season before struggling a bit in his last couple of starts. Wright was roughed up by Boston in his last start, his shortest of the season, in which he went just 4.2 innings and allowed 7 hits and six runs. He does lead the Braves in ERA, strikeouts and is second on the staff in WAR at 0.9.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Despite the blip in his last start vs. Boston, Wright has been the Braves' best pitcher and certified stopper this season. Wright has overpowering stuff and, in his one career appearance vs. SD, he struck out 9. Musgrove has been solid against the Braves in 8 career starts, going 3-1. The Braves have won four out of six games and have scored 5 or more runs in five out of their last ten games. I expect the Braves' offense to be a bit more opportunistic against Musgrove and win a tight game. Don't discount that the Padres will be taking on the Braves in a game that is 830AM west coast time.
Take the Braves with the money line.
Full-Game Total Pick
An early start, two strikeout pitchers and two slightly depleted lineups make for a great recipe for a low-scoring battle in the third and final game of the series. San Diego is 8th in the MLB in runs scored by game and the Braves are a middle of the pack 14th. Musgrove comes into the game with the 9th best ERA in baseball. Wright was in the top 10 prior to his rough outing this week but has consistently held the opposition under 3 runs this season. This will be a well-paced, tightly played game that will not go over the total.
Take the under, 8 runs.