Sun, 24 Oct 2021

Desperate for wins, Padres go for two vs. Braves

Field Level Media
24 Sep 2021, 15:55 GMT+10

Needing a miracle over the final 10 games of the regular season, the San Diego Padres get to use their wild card in the National League wild-card race when they open, in essence, a four-game home series against the Atlanta Braves on Friday afternoon.

The day will begin with the Padres (77-75) sixgames out of the National League's final playoff spot, but could end with San Diego chopping two games off the deficit if all goes well.

That would require two losses by the St. Louis Cardinals (83-69) in a road doubleheader in Chicago against the Cubs, and then a Padres sweep of a suspended game and the regularly scheduled game against the Braves on the West Coast.

The Padres will take the field defensively for the suspended game with a 5-4 lead and the Braves batting in the bottom of the fifth. Because rain halted the July 21 contest in Atlanta as the second game of a doubleheader, it will go just seven innings.

Left-hander Max Fried (12-7, 3.31 ERA) is scheduled to start the regularly scheduled "nightcap" for the Braves. The Padres, who used all four of their healthy starters in a hard-fought, three-game series with the San Francisco Giants, likely will call upon their relievers to carry them through not only the end of the suspended game but also the regulation nine innings.

The Braves (80-71) saw a four-game winning streak end Thursday afternoon in a 6-4 road loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Atlanta's lead atop the NL East was trimmed to two games when the Philadelphia Phillies defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates later Thursday.

Fried didn't pitch when the Braves and Padres split games in what was supposed to be a three-game series in Atlanta in July.

The Southern California native has never pitched in San Diego, but did beat the Padres in their only previous head-to-head, allowing one run and four hits with seven strikeouts in seven innings in the 2019 contest in Atlanta.

Fried hasn't lost since July 28 against the New York Mets, going 5-0 with four no-decisions and posting a 1.71 ERA over that stretch.

The series will match two history-making middle infielders in Braves second baseman Ozzie Albies and Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr.

Albies belted his 30th home run Wednesday in a win at Arizona, becoming the first Braves second baseman to have a 30-homer, 100-RBI season and youngest second baseman in major league history to accomplish the feat.

"I never see him have a bad day," Braves manager Brian Snitker said one day before Albies added a double, two singles and his 101st RBI to his impressive season. "His attitude is off the charts. He's just a cool young man."

At almost the same time, 350 miles to the west on Wednesday, Tatis became the first shortstop at age 22 or younger to have a 40-homer season when he smacked his 40th in a loss to San Francisco.

"Crazy impressive," Padres manager Jayce Tingler said. "He's had to handle a lot of adversity."

--Field Level Media

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