What we're watching: Hanson vs. Pedro

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hanson.jpg– The Braves got a much-needed win Thursday to avoid a home sweep at the hands of the Padres. Now they could really use two out of three games this weekend in Philadelphia. They’ll try to start the series right with Tommy Hanson on the mound against Pedro Martinez. Hanson, who will be facing the Phillies for the first time, has won four straight starts to improve to 9-2 with a 3.12 ERA. Martinez is 2-0 with a 5.14 ERA in his three starts. He’s struggled early in outings, but the Phillies have managed to support him with 21 runs in his two victories.
– CC Sabathia is on a roll anyway, but tonight he’ll get to face a White Sox team he’s gone 15-4 against in his career. If he can win a sixth straight start tonight, he’ll be the first pitcher this year to reach 16 victories. Trying to halt his streak will be old rival Mark Buehrle. The trends aren’t encouraging, though. Buehrle is 0-4 with a 6.21 ERA in six starts since his perfect game against the Rays, and he’s 1-6 with a 6.84 ERA lifetime against the Yankees. When Sabathia and Buehrle locked horns on Aug. 2, Buehrle gave up seven runs and 12 hits over 4 1/3 innings in a loss.
Game of the Night
Colorado vs. San Francisco – The Rockies won three out of four against the Giants in Colorado last weekend, but they’ll be playing in San Francisco this time and the Giants are an NL-best 41-21 at home. Game 1 would seem to be the premier matchup of the series, with Ubaldo Jimenez and Tim Lincecum facing off for the second time in six days. Jimenez prevailed last time after allowing two runs in eight innings. He’s won five straight starts, and he hasn’t lost in nine. Lincecum, on the other hand, has gone four straight starts without a victory, damaging his Cy Young case. The loss last weekend was his first in eight career starts against Colorado. He has a 1.79 ERA and a 75/9 K/BB ratio in 60 1/3 innings against Colorado lifetime.

Report: Mariners have interest in Reds’ Jay Bruce

ATLANTA, GA - JUNE 14:  Jay Bruce #32 of the Cincinnati Reds waits to bat prior to hitting a three-run homer in the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on June 14, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Mariners are among the teams that have contacted the Reds about outfielder Jay Bruce. The Mariners enter play Wednesday 51-48, six games out of first place in the AL West and 4.5 games out of the second AL Wild Card slot. Adding an impact bat like Bruce could help in their effort to reach the postseason.

Norichika Aoki and Seth Smith have handled the bulk of the playing time in left field. While Smith has hit well, Aoki has not. Bruce came into Wednesday’s game against the Giants batting .271/.324/.567 with 24 home runs and a league-best 78 RBI.

Bruce can become a free agent after the season if his controlling team declines his $13 million club option for the 2017 season by paying him a $1 million buyout. If he’s traded mid-season, his new team won’t be able to make him a qualifying offer, so the club option may be more enticing than it looks at first glance.

The Padres have homered in 25 consecutive games, tying an NL record

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - JULY 16:  Adam Rosales #9 of the San Diego Padres hits an RBI single during the tenth inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants at PETCO Park on July 16, 2016 in San Diego, California.   (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
Denis Poroy/Getty Images
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A third-inning two-run home run by Adam Rosales off of R.A. Dickey put the Padres up 2-0, but it also helped the Padres tie a National League record. The Padres have homered in 25 consecutive games, matching the 1998 Braves, the 1994 Tigers, and the 1941 Yankees. The major league record is 27, set by the 2002 Rangers.

The Padres hit three in total on Wednesday in an 8-4 victory against the Blue Jays. One of those dingers was an eighth-inning solo shot by rookie Alex Dickerson, who has now homered in four consecutive games himself. The one he hit on Monday is worth watching, as it got into the upper deck at the Rogers Centre.

As the Padres recently traded Melvin Upton, Jr. to the Jays, Dickerson is likely going to see regular playing time. That’s especially true if he keeps hitting like this.