A pair of 2022 playoff teams — the Atlanta Braves and San Diego Padres — hook up in Georgia on Thursday as both teams will look to solve the riddle of each other’s lineups.
San Diego Padres vs, Atlanta Braves (-165, 7.5)
With the pitcher-friendly environment PetCo Field provides, the team’s lineup usually has its best success on the road and, 2022 was no exception.
The Padres were second in the National League in runs per game on the road last season with just over 4.9 runs per game while their 3.7 runs per game at home ranked just 26th among MLB teams.
The man in charge of keeping those bats in check on Thursday is Braves starter Spencer Strider, whose numbers through 34 career appearances and 21 starts dazzle with a 2.57 ERA and 13.6 strikeouts per nine innings with just 0.5 home runs per nine innings allowed.
If there is an issue with Strider, it is his 3.2 walks per nine innings, which can lead to an elevated pitch count and even an early exit.
Behind Strider is a Braves bullpen that was fourth in Major League Baseball last season in ERA, but did lose Kenley Jansen in the offseason who finished with 41 saves last season.
On the other side, Padres starter Blake Snell has always dealt with command issues, averaging 4.2 walks per nine innings in two-plus seasons with the team.
Since being traded to the Padres, Snell has a 4.78 road ERA with 16 of his 22 pitching appearances on the road lasting for five innings or fewer.
Snell is backed up by a bullpen that has a 5.95 ERA thus far this season after ranking 14th in the league last season.
The combination of Snell and the bullpen have the task of shutting down a lineup that returns almost everyone from last season when they ranked third in the league in runs per game and led the National League in home runs.
With the Padres offense doing much of its damage on the road coupled with the early season struggles of the Padres bullpen, Thursday’s series opener should feature plenty of runs.
The Play: Padres vs. Braves Over 7.5