The San Diego Padres and Atlanta Braves will begin a three-game series when they square off at Petco Park in San Diego on Friday night.
Atlanta begins the second half six games up in the National League East after winning 24 of its past 34 games dating to June 1. Center fielder Ronald Acuna Jr. continues establishing himself as one of baseball’s brightest young stars, as the 21-year-old is hitting .301 with 14 homers and 47 runs scored in 53 games since being moved to the leadoff spot in the Braves lineup.
“I was extremely excited to be here for my first All-Star Game,” Acuna said Acuna, who also made it to the semifinals of the Home Run Derby. “Hopefully, there will be many more to come.”
Left-hander Dallas Keuchel (2-2, 3.60 ERA) is taking the mound for Atlanta on Friday. Keuchel makes his fifth start since signing last month, and in past two outings has allowed only four runs on 10 hits with three walks in 14.1 innings. The 31-year-old earned the win in the Braves’ final game before the all-star break last Sunday, holding Miami to two runs on five hits with one walk in 7.1 innings. Keuchel, who has recorded at least 10 ground-ball outs in each of his first four starts, has not allowed more than three earned runs in an outing.
Will they lament starting Lamet?
The all-star break came at the right time for San Diego rookie shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., who used the four days off to rest a sore left elbow in advance of this series opener against the Braves. Hit on the elbow by a pitch last Saturday, Tatis responded during Sunday’s 5-3 win over the Dodgers by becoming the youngest Padre to record a multi-homer game with two dingers, the 13th and 14th homers of the season. for the 20-year-old who is hitting .327 with a 1.013 OPS.
“You don’t take his talent for granted,” first baseman Eric Hosmer said following last Sunday’s 5-3 victory, which moved the Padres to .500 on the season and within two games of the final National League wild-card spot. “It’s incredible what he does. You forget his age in all that.”
Dinelson Lamet (0-1, 5.40 ERA) will oppose Keuchel on Friday. The right-hander gets his second start since returning to the majors for the first time since 2017 on July 4, when he allowed three runs on three hits with seven strikeouts in 5.0 innings of a loss to the Dodgers. Lamet went 7-8 with a 4.57 ERA in 21 starts two seasons ago, averaging 10.9 strikeouts per nine innings, before missing all of last season after injuring his elbow late in spring training and undergoing Tommy John surgery. He gave up 16 runs on 21 hits with 33 strikeouts in 24.0 innings across six minor-league rehab starts.
The Atlanta Braves are:
- 36-17 in their last 53 overall
- 18-8 in their last 26 road games
- 6-1 in their last seven games against the National League West
The San Diego Padres are:
- 0-4 in their last four home games
- 0-8 in Lamet’s last eight starts
- 7-15 in their last 22 games against Atlanta