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Series Preview: The Uptons are going back to Atlanta

The Upton brothers return to Atlanta.

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

After winning the weekend series against the Reds, the Padres road trip continues in Atlanta. Melvin Upton is making his return from the disabled list just in time to join his brother Justin against the team they spent the last two seasons. Hopefully we'll see a lot of former Brave Craig Kimbrel in this series, too. But the Braves won't be the only team reuniting with old familiar faces; three former Padres are on Atlanta's roster, and two of them are in the starting lineup.

Second baseman Jace Peterson was part of the package that brought Justin Upton to San Diego. He got a cup of coffee last year, but hit a disastrous .113/.116/.113 in 58 trips to the plate. He's doing much better for Atlanta, hitting .262/.335/.337 and picking up his first big league homer. Cameron Maybin got sent packing in exchange for Kimbrel and the elder Upton right before the start of season, but seems to have found a home in Atlanta's center field. He's hitting .286/.364/.422 with 5 home runs. If he doesn't run into any of the injury or suspension issues that hampered his last two seasons in San Diego, this could be a career year for him. The last former Friar is Pedro Ciriaco, who's warming the Braves' bench two years after his fill-in role in Petco's middle infield.

These ex-Padres have the potential to do some damage, but the real threat in the Braves lineup is homegrown. After coming in second in 2011 NL Rookie of the Year voting (to his teammate Kimbrel), Freddie Freeman has been to the All-Star Game twice, and he's still hitting like an All-Star this season. His .305/.369/.529 line is intimidating enough, but the 10 home runs that come with it have him on pace to set a career best.

Game 1

Ian Kennedy (3-5, 6.60 ERA) vs. Shelby Miller (5-2, 1.89 ERA)

Miller came to Atlanta from the Cardinals this offseason, and he's been the Braves' undisputed ace thus far. But that ERA may be a bit of a smokescreen. He's rocking a 3.55 FIP, and in his last start the Diamondbacks knocked him out in the fifth inning after picking up 4 runs on 6 hits and 6 walks. Meanwhile, it's impossible to predict what we'll see from Kennedy. He's had four quality starts, four disasters, and one start cut short by injury. Flip a coin, and hope it lands the right way.

Game 2

James Shields (7-0, 3.58 ERA) vs. Mike Moltynewicz (3-2, 4.29 ERA)

The Padres are 9-3 when Shields is on the mound, so it would be natural to feel optimistic about this game even if you didn't look at Moltynewicz's numbers. He's been a serviceable enough pitcher for the Braves, but his only really great performance came against the Brewers. Make of that what you will.

Game 3

TBD vs. Williams Perez (1-0, 3.55 ERA)

The Padres haven't announced probables for this game, but it should be Andrew Cashner's day. He'll be trying to get his ERA back under 4.00 after Saturday's miserable start against the Reds. There's not a lot to say about Perez, a young Venezuelan who made his debut just over a month ago on May 8th. His first two appearances were as a reliever, and then he moved to the rotation in late May. He's had three solid starts and one bad one, so your guess is as good as mine.

Game 4

TBD vs. Julio Teheran (4-2, 4.87 ERA)

It's another TBD for the Padres, but if they don't mix things up, it'll be Tyson Ross on the hill. Tyson has settled down a bit after a rough April, allowing more than 2 earned runs only once since the start of May. He still needs to cut back on the walks, where he leads the league. Teheran is in his third full season with the Braves, and so far he hasn't had the kind of success that made him an All-Star last year. Both his home run and walk rates are way up, and this year's Padres have an offense primed to take advantage of that.

This seems like a series that the Padres can easily split, and a 3-1 win is certainly in the realm of possibility. Either way, they could return home this weekend above .500 and ready to do some damage against the Dodgers.