The offense (mercifully) showed signs of life on Friday and Saturday, but it went back into the doldrums tonight in a 2-1 nationally-televised defeat. Most of that was due to the performance of Yu Darvish, who threw by far his best game of the young season (he had allowed nine runs in 7.2 innings over his previous two starts). Darvish allowed just a single run on a Marcell Ozuna solo shot in the top of the seventh and allowed four hits over 6.2 innings, striking out eight without a walk.

The Braves actually outhit the Padres 4-3 in this game, but the Padres brought a pair of runs across in the second with not much more than a couple of singles. Ha-Seong Kim and C.J. Abrams provided the only two hits of the frame, but San Diego followed that with a walk and a hit batsman to force in a run, and a force out to score another.

This brings up the travails of Bryce Elder, who was not as sharp as he’d been in his first start. He allowed those two runs on five walks and three hits over 4.1 innings. All-in-all, I thought he did a pretty decent job of limiting damage. He left with a runner on first and one out in the fifth, and Spencer Strider entered and immediately induced a double-play grounder. He went the rest of the way and did nothing to dampen any enthusiasm for his prospects. He didn’t allow a hit or a run over the final 3.2 innings that the Braves spent in the field and kept the Padres well within range. The Braves just couldn’t get much of anything off of Darvish or the relievers that followed.

So it’s a brief trip up I-5 to take on the Dodgers and one Freddie Freeman for the first time this season. It’ll be interesting to see how that series plays out, but the Braves have been showing some signs of settling in. They played their best two games of the year so far Friday and Saturday, and a four-game split out of this series strikes me as a decent result, even with the disaster on Thursday and the tepid offensive performance tonight.

Let’s go take a(nother) series from the Dodgers!