Just a week removed from a discouraging slide, the Atlanta Braves are on the verge of their longest winning streak of the season.
The Braves will be trying for their sixth straight win on Thursday as they attempt to complete a three-game home sweep of the San Diego Padres.
Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Atlanta -161 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for tonight's game, the over/under has been set at 9.5 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 52% of bets for this game have been placed on Atlanta -161 (View MLB Bet Percentages). Bet this game.
Atlanta (17-15) lost a season-high four straight games from April 26-30, but has rebounded nicely with its second five-game win streak of the season. The run started with a three-game sweep of Cincinnati, and now the Braves - 13-4 at Turner Field - will be trying for their first three-game sweep of the Padres at home since Aug. 14-16, 2000.
Atlanta swept a three-game series against the Padres (12-22) in San Diego July 14-16, 2006.
The Braves won 5-2 on Wednesday, moving two games over .500 for the first time this season. Greg Norton, acquired from Seattle on Monday, drove in the go-ahead run in the seventh, sparking a three-run inning.
"It was big," Norton said. "I know that's my role, to try to help the team coming off the bench. To actually do it, it was a big moment for me."
Chipper Jones continued his impressive start, going 2-for-4 to improve the majors' best batting average to .429. Jones, who has 16 multi-hit games and has hits in 27 of 30 contests, owns a .322 average with 21 career homers against the Padres.
"He's just hard to stop right now," said manager Bobby Cox, who extended his major league record with his 137th career ejection. "I think how you have to explain Chipper Jones right now is just hope your defense is where the ball is hit. He's that good. He's cracking the ball as good as I've ever seen."
The Padres could use someone like Jones, as they have been outscored 20-8 over their last three games, all losses. San Diego is tied with San Francisco for the fewest runs in the NL at 113.
"The Braves are swinging the bats," said manager Bud Black, whose team fell to 6-13 on the road. "They hit some balls leading off the seventh, and we couldn't get through it."
In Thursday's series finale, Black will give Wilfredo Ledezma (0-0, 1.96 ERA) his first start of the season in place of Justin Germano after seven relief appearances. Black said he wanted to start a left-hander against the Braves and give Germano, 0-3 with a 6.35 ERA, a chance to regroup.
"I thought it was time to have Justin take a step back," Black told the Padres' official Web site. "With that, it coincides with giving Wilfredo this opportunity to throw against the Braves and turn some of those switch-hitters around to the other side.
Ledezma made 12 relief appearances for Atlanta last season, going 0-2 with a 7.71 ERA, but has never faced his former team. He is 8-13 with a 5.64 ERA in 34 career starts.
Atlanta's Jo-Jo Reyes (1-0, 1.69) will make his second start since being recalled from Triple-A Richmond to replace the injured John Smoltz, who will likely return as Atlanta's closer. Reyes allowed one run in 5 1-3 innings of Saturday's 9-1 win over Cincinnati.
Reyes went 2-2 with a 6.22 ERA in 11 games - 10 starts - for the Braves last season while struggling with his control. He made his major league debut against the Padres on July 7 and was battered for five runs in three innings of an 8-5 loss at Petco Park.
"I was just thankful that it was over," said Reyes, who was born in West Covina, Calif. "I had a bunch of family there, and just a lot of hype. I'm glad it's over and now I've got to move on." Bet this game.
Here are some top trends for tonight's game:
-2 of 2 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL this season .
-ATLANTA is 2-0 (+2.0 Units) against SAN DIEGO this season
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