Braves look to stay hot after the All-Star break against the Padres

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The Atlanta Braves capped off a two-month hot streak with perhaps their most thrilling victory of the season to clinch a series win against the Marlins. I’ll show you one more time because this play will never get old.

The definition of poetry in motion. That win pushed Atlanta’s streak of consecutive series without dropping one to nine and stretched their division lead to six games over the Nationals in the NL East.

Meanwhile, the Padres are in the same position as most of the National League – trying to figure out if they should push all their chips in for this year or start looking forward to next season. They are currently two games back of the Phillies for the second Wild Card spot, but there are a host of teams in the mix, and a matchup with the Braves should give them an idea if they can compete with the league’s best.

If there is a word to describe San Diego thus far, it would be streaky. They ended the first half with three straight wins against the Dodgers, which followed five straight losses, that came after four straight wins, following three straight losses. You get the picture, which is why they sit right at .500 to begin the second half.

In the first game of the series, the Braves will throw out their new toy, Dallas Keuchel. The southpaw has now made four starts with a tomahawk across his chest – his last being the most effective. Keuchel went 7 1/3, allowing five hits and two earned runs in a win. However, those two runs were runners he left on base for Chad Sobotka, who proceeded to give up a three-run homer. It was the best the Braves newest acquisition looked to date, lowering his ERA to 3.60 and evening his record at 2-2.

Keuchel will be facing a hard-throwing righty in Dinelson Lamet, who just made his first start Post-Tommy John Surgery on July 4th against the Dodgers. He went five innings, allowing three earned runs and striking out seven in a loss. Lamet was touching 99 on the radar gun and says he is a much better pitcher than he was as a rookie in 2017.

The Padres have yet to announce who will follow Lamet in games two and three, but the Braves are sending out Julio Teheran on Saturday and Mike Soroka, fresh off his first All-Star appearance, on Sunday.

Teheran finished his magnificent first half with six shutout innings against the Marlins. Soroka has experienced some bumps over the last month for the first time in his career but is still 9-1 with a 2.42 ERA. He looks to become just the fifth pitcher in the National League with ten wins on Sunday.

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