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Two Padres to watch in Atlanta

The San Diego Padres are set to take on the Braves in Atlanta. Here are two players the Padres need to step up.

Chicago Cubs v San Diego Padres Photo by Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/Getty Images

Look there’s no excuse to lose a home series vs a struggling team like the Chicago Cubs. But at the end of the day, you can look up the 5 north and see the Los Angeles Dodgers lost a three-game set in Pittsburgh. Short story, in a 162 game season it happens. The difference between a competitive team and a good to a really good team is to not let losing a series to a lesser team become a trend. Similar to last season.

Hitter to watch: (Friday at Atlanta)

In Luke Voit’s first 14 games as a member of the San Diego Padres, to say Voit struggled would be an understatement. A combined 6 for 44 at the plate with one extra-base hit. A guy who was supposed to come in and be the slugging DH was only doing the DH part and not the slugging. No home runs and a slugging percentage down to .159. For reference, rookie C.J. Abrams had one home run and a slugging percentage of .273. Still not good, but it was better than Voit at the time.

Then Wednesday happened.

Voit smashed a home run in his very first trip to the plate. Taking the so-called monkey off his back. Three appearances later, Voit goes yard again tying the game at five. A man who went homerless in an ugly fashion now has a multi-home run game.

The Padres are in desperate need of more offense and especially of more power offense. Keep an eye on Voit to see if he can carry that momentum into the weekend series.

Pitcher to watch: (Friday at Atlanta)

Yu Darvish may support the highest starter ERA but that is partially due to one game. Since the trip to San Francisco Darvish has been sharp with a 2.10 ERA. For me it’s Sean Manaea, three consecutive starts with three or more earned runs for the lefty. Manaea did not face the Atlanta Braves in the first four-game set in San Diego. Something to also note, Atlanta is two games below .500 on the season but they are actually 6-6 when an LHP starts the game.

I am a huge believer in Manaea, but he hasn’t recorded a win since April 18th. Almost a month ago once he takes the hill on Saturday. He is the only Padres starter with a losing record early on this season.

It is extremely possible the extra rest of having a 6th man rotation plus the day off on Thursday can help Manaea get back on track. He is tied with Darvish with the lowest hits per nine innings (7.0) amongst the Padres starters, so there is still a lot to love.

What to watch: Weekend series in the ATL

This go around the Braves will have star Ronald Acuna. Although since his return the Braves are just 5-5. Atlanta is a good team but they haven’t caught their stride yet and for the Padres sake, hopefully, they don’t catch it this weekend.

This will be the last time these two teams face. As of now, it is a 2-2 series tie and this three-game set will determine the season series winner. For the Padres, you are coming off a series loss at home vs Chicago. It is time to get back on track.