The Braves opened the season a red-hot 6-1, but they’ve dropped their last two games against the Padres. Does Atlanta have a bounce-back game in the cards on Sunday Night Baseball? Rookie Dylan Dodd is set to start against Padres right-hander Seth Lugo. Atlanta enters as a slight home favorite at -115 on the moneyline, with San Diego at -105.
Let’s make predictions for Sunday’s game and break down why the Braves can finish the series strong.
Padres vs. Braves Prediction
This one does feel like a bit of a tossup considering it’s difficult to trust such an inexperienced starter against the Padres, but the Braves’ offense feels due for a bounce-back night after an ugly showing on Saturday.
Dodd’s strong performance against the Cardinals indicates he’s up for the task, especially with the home crowd behind him. Lugo looked more formidable than expected in his first start with the Padres, but this Braves offense is a gigantic challenge with the way some of their best bats have been hitting.
It would be surprising if the Braves couldn’t take advantage against Lugo and dropped this four-game series at home. With the lights of Sunday Night Baseball shining down, Braves -110 feels like the better way to go.
Padres vs. Braves Prediction: Braves -115
Padres vs. Braves Odds
The Braves are very slight home favorites at -115 on the moneyline. The over/under is 9 runs.
This seems like a fair line despite the Braves holding home-field advantage. Dodd is an unproven commodity going up against a strong lineup. On the other hand, reigning in the Braves’ offense for a second consecutive night might be tough for San Diego to do.
Padres vs. Braves Key Matchups
Here are the key matchups that could decide Padres vs. Braves.
Dylan Dodd vs. Heart of Padres’ Lineup
I doubted Dodd in his first start, considering he had to go up against a loaded Cardinals lineup on the road. He rose to the occasion. Dodd allowed just one unearned run and walked none across five innings in a Braves win. He did allow six hits and might be a bit fortunate to have escaped with only one run on the board.
The Padres similarly have a dangerous heart of the order. How will Dodd handle Manny Machado, Xander Bogaerts, and Juan Soto? Bogaerts has started the season hot while Soto homered on Saturday.
If Dodd could handle Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado as well as he did (combined 1-for-4), he can probably handle the Padres’ trio at home – that’s a major reason for my Padres vs. Braves prediction.
Seth Lugo vs. Strikeout-Heavy Braves Lineup
The Braves’ offense had the most strikeouts of any team in the National League last season, even while boasting one of the most powerful lineups in baseball. They’ve cut back on the strikeouts so far this season, but a 15-strikeout showing against the Padres on Saturday night was a sign that the issue hasn’t gone away. Can Lugo take advantage?
He was a high-strikeout arm out of the Mets’ bullpen and managed seven K’s in his first start for San Diego. The Padres need Lugo to miss some bats, because his stuff might not be good enough to slow down a dangerous Braves offense if he’s consistently giving up contact.
It appears the Padres have stretched out Lugo already, considering he gave them seven innings in his first start, but the former reliever is still one to watch for short outings as he transitions back into a full-time starter.
Padres vs. Braves Starting Lineups
Padres Starting Lineup
CF Trent Grisham L
3B Manny Machado R
LF Juan Soto L
SS Xander Bogaerts R
DH Matt Carpenter L
1B Jake Cronenworth L
C Austin Nola R
RF Rougned Odor L
2B Ha-Seong Kim R
Braves Starting Lineup
RF Ronald Acuna Jr. R
1B Matt Olson L
3B Austin Riley R
C Travis d’Arnaud R
2B Ozzie Albies S
LF Eddie Rosario L
CF Michael Harris II L
DH Marcell Ozuna R
SS Orlando Arcia R
CF Sam Hilliard L