Andruw Jones and Padres Need Some Offense to Snap Slump Print
Saturday, 07 July 2007 04:35
MLB Headline News

Padres Offense Struggling

A three-game series at Petco Park could be just what Andruw Jones needs to pull himself out of his slump before the All-Star break.

After a strong performance in the opener, Jones looks to continue his recent dominance in San Diego as the Atlanta Braves go for their fourth straight win on Saturday against the Padres.

Oddsmakers have made San Diego -130 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 8.5ev total runs (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 58% of bets for this game have been placed on San Diego -130 (View MLB Bet Percentages).

Jones went 2-for-5 with a home run and three RBIs to lead Atlanta (46-41) to a 7-4 win in the series opener on Friday - the Braves' fourth straight win against the Padres since dropping the teams' first meeting this year.

Jones' two-run homer in the fourth inning was the ninth of his career at Petco Park, the most by any visiting hitter at the ballpark, which opened in 2004.

In 13 career games at Petco Park, Jones is batting .360 with 15 runs scored and 19 RBIs.

"I like it," Jones said. "I don't know, I just feel comfortable seeing the ball. Guys make mistakes and you take advantage of it."

Jones' multihit game on Friday, though, was his first since he had two hits against the Chicago Cubs on June 9. In 22 games between his two-hit performances, Jones batted .131 (11-for-84) and saw his season average dip from .225 to .199.

He hasn't hit below .250 since 1997, his first full season in the majors.

San Diego (48-37) is dealing with its own slumping slugger as first baseman Adrian Gonzalez continues to struggle at the plate. Gonzalez was 4-for-47 (.085) since June 23 before receiving his first day off on Friday.

Gonzalez, whose batting average has dipped from .294 to .265 during the slump, will likely return to the starting lineup Saturday.

He will try to help a San Diego offense that has scored 14 runs in going 2-4 this month.

The Padres hope to snap out of their offensive funk for Saturday's starter David Wells (4-5, 4.16 ERA), who has received more than three runs of support only three times in his 16 starts this year.

Wells is looking to win back-to-back starts for the first time since Aug.11-16 of last season. He held Florida to five hits in 6 2-3 shutout innings on Monday, and San Diego won 3-1 despite recording only three hits.

"As long as you're patient, I think (the offense) is going to come," Wells said. "Hopefully we're a different team in the second half and we put up the numbers. If not, we've still got to go out there and pitch and keep the team in the ballgame."

Wells is 3-1 with a 2.67 ERA in five career starts against the Braves, but he is winless in his last two outings against them. He gave up five runs in 5 2-3 innings to suffer the loss against them on May 10.

Jones is 5-for-16 (.313) with six strikeouts in his career against Wells.

Jo-Jo Reyes will make his first major league start in place of the injured John Smoltz, who was placed on the disabled list Friday after an MRI of his sore shoulder revealed inflammation. Smoltz is expected to be ready to return to the rotation when he is eligible to be activated on July 18.

Reyes combined for a 10-1 record between Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Richmond this year. In four starts with Richmond this year, the left-hander was 2-0 with a 1.57 ERA.

by: Michael Cash - thespread.com – Email Us

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