Padres at Braves
Freddie Freeman looks to continue another offensive surge and help the Atlanta Braves increase their lead in the National League East when they host the improving San Diego Padres on Thursday to open a four-game set. Freeman is 13-for-27 during a seven-game hitting streak with five homers, including a solo blast in Wednesday’s 2-0 triumph against the visiting New York Mets.
Freeman also had an RBI single in the last victory and has hit safely in 23 of his last 24 games, going 37-for-96 in that span to raise his NL-leading batting average to .344 with 14 homers and 48 RBIs. Anibal Sanchez tries to remain unbeaten when he takes the mound for the Braves, who lead Washington by one game in the division, against fellow right-hander Tyson Ross in the series opener after the Padres took two of three from Atlanta in San Diego from June 4-6. The Padres continue to hang around in the tight NL West race with four wins in their last five games and an 11-4 mark since May 29 with five straight series victories after a 4-2 triumph at St. Louis on Wednesday. Manuel Margot recorded a triple along with two singles in the victory and is 9-for-20 during a six-game hitting streak for San Diego, which sits 5 ½ games out of first place while sitting in the cellar.
TV: 7:35 p.m. ET, FS San Diego, FS Southeast (Atlanta)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Padres RH Tyson Ross (5-3, 3.43 ERA) vs. Braves RH Anibal Sanchez (2-0, 2.37)
Ross is unbeaten in his last six starts, but has not been able to get through six innings during the past three trips to the mound. The 31-year-old, who has held right-handed batters to a .166 average, posted quality starts in the first three outings of his streak and allowed nine runs (eight earned) over 15 2/3 innings over the last three appearances. Nick Markakis is 5-for-8 with three walks versus Ross, who is 0-1 with a 3.38 ERA in four career meetings (three starts) with the Braves.
Sanchez earned his second victory of the season Saturday, permitting two runs on three hits and two walks across 5 1/3 innings. The 34-year-old Venezuela native gave up two or fewer runs in four of his five starts in 2018, including June 3 against Washington when he yielded two unearned runs and two hits over seven innings. Eric Hosmer is 15-for-43 with five doubles and a homer against Sanchez, who is 0-2 with a 2.76 ERA in five career starts versus the Padres.
1. San Diego 3B Cory Spangenberg is 6-for-16 during a four-game hitting streak and boasts multiple hits in four of his past eight contests.
2. Atlanta CF Ender Inciarte leads the NL with 20 stolen bases and is just two away from his career high in 2017.
3. The Braves managed to outscore the Padres 19-15 in the series earlier this month and took nine of 13 meetings the previous two seasons.