Andrew Werner's major league debut last week may not have had the anticipation and hype of Casey Kelly's debut last night, but it ended with the same result: a win. Tonight, Werner goes for his second win in as many starts as he takes on the Braves in game 2.
In his previous start, Werner kept the Pirates to two runs on four hits in six innings. Tonight he'll be facing a Braves team that has been down on it's luck lately. With the loss last night, Atlanta has now dropped seven of their last ten games. After salvaging a split in their series against the NL-West-leading Giants, they had hoped to ride that momentum against the Padres, but were denied by Kelly's stellar outing last night.
Atlanta will send Kris Medlen to the mound to try to turn their luck around and put an end to San Diego's eight-game winning streak. And Medlen seems like just the guy to do it. He has pitched 21 scoreless innings going into tonight's matchup and has a 4-0 record as a starter. One of those wins came against our Padres earlier this month when he pitched a complete game shutout at Turner Field and limited our offense to five hits. He then went on to Washington, where he threw seven scoreless frames against the Nationals. It was the 16th consecutive win for the Braves with Medlen as the starter, a streak dating back to May of 2010.
He will need his offense to do better than it did last night, when they failed to put any runs on the board for Paul Maholm. Chipper Jones returned to the starting lineup after taking a couple days off with a sore oblique, but when 0-for-3 last night. Jason Heyward has been hot lately, hitting five home runs and driving in 12 over his last 13 games. He's hit .379 with a couple of home runs and nine doubles in 17 career games against San Diego. Last night he went 1-for-4 with a double.
Our offense has been great lately. Their three runs last night was the least they've scored in their past nine games. Tonight they'll need to figure out how to get to Medlen and give Werner some run support. Padres hitters are hitting just .167 all-time against Medlen in 37 total plate appearances. But they have a ton of momentum going into tonight's game, riding their longest win streak since May of 2009 when they won ten in a row. They continue to play spoiler against playoff-hungry teams and show that, even though they are in just fourth place in the NL West, they aren't going to lay down and coast for the remainder of the season. They're making the playoff races a lot more interesting and giving us a taste of what is to come for the Friar Faithful in the coming years.
One team's streak will come to an end tonight. Our Padres will try to make sure Medlen comes up short.