Something has gotten into our Padres lately, and it is wonderful. They've scored more than any team in the National League since the All-Star Break, averaging 5.1 runs per game in that span. Tonight they'll try to lock up the series against the Braves, which they were unable to do last week in Atlanta when they dropped the final three of the four-game set.
Ian Kennedy was scratched from his latest scheduled start due to a sore oblique, but will be back in business tonight, making his first appearance wince July 23rd. It's good news for the Friars having Kennedy back on the mound considering the success he's seen lately. Prior to his missed start last week, Kennedy put together a 3-0 July record with a 2.53 ERA in five starts during the month. And he's been especially effective at home, going 30 in his last five at Petco Park.
A lot of Kennedy's success has had to do with an increased amount of run support from the Padres offense. Through those last five home outings, Kennedy has gotten over five runs of support on average, a stark contrast to the 2.21 run support average he received through his first six home starts this season while going 0-5. The team has gone 10-4 at home since June 29th and has batted an improved .282 at Petco Park in that stretch. Last night's 20 hits was the most by the team since 2012, with each spot in the lineup producing at least one base knock. They'll try to keep the hot streak going tonight against Ervin Santana.
That might be a tall order, however, if the Padres perform like they did last week against Santana. He kept them to only five hits through eight innings of work while matching a career-high 11 strikeouts. That was both his third straight win overall this season and his second straight win against the Padres in his career, whom he's kept to a .197 batting average. Tonight he's tasked with getting the Braves the first win of their road trip, after having been swept by the Dodgers and then losing last night's series opener. They're also riding a five-game losing-streak overall at Petco Park, which Kennedy and co. will try to extend to six tonight.
See if they can keep the runs coming in game 2, which kicks off at 5:40 PT.