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Series Preview: Pirates at Braves

MLB: San Diego Padres at Atlanta Braves Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Pirates (20-24) will continue their attempts to make up ground with a soft spot in their schedule, heading to Atlanta’s Cobb County’s new SunTrust Park. The Bucs have yet to experience a generational gut-wrenching loss at this venue, which already elevates it above the Braves’ last two parks, in my book.

Like the Pirates did midweek, the Braves took two of three from the Nationals over the weekend. Atlanta just missed a sweep, dropping Sunday’s game, 3-2. The Braves have won seven of their last 10 — they took three of four from lowly Toronto last week.

Season Series: 3-0 Pirates


Monday, 7:35 p.m. - Gerrit Cole (2-4, 2.84 ERA) vs. Mike Foltynewicz (2-4, 4.10)

Tuesday, 7:35 p.m. - Tyler Glasnow (2-3, 7.34) vs. R.A. Dickey (3-3, 4.13)

Wednesday, 7:35 p.m. - Trevor Williams (2-3, 6.04) vs. Julio Teheran (3-4, 5.47)

Thursday, 12:10 p.m. - Ivan Nova (4-3, 2.63) vs. Bartolo Colon (2-4, 6.38)


18-23 (18-23 Pythag, 4.59 RS/G, 5.15 RA/G)


The Braves’ position players have overachieved a little bit, posting 5.8 fWAR as a group, 11th-best in the majors. Freddie Freeman (14 HRs, 2.6 fWAR — more than twice that of any teammate) had a lot to do with that, though, and he’s out 10-12 weeks with a fractured wrist. Matt Kemp (.346/.385/.630) has regained some of his past production, in 135 plate appearances. Tyler Flowers (.349/.465/.458) is doing unsustainable things (.443 batting average on balls in play). Dansby Swanson (.206/.292/.312) is looking more like a 23-year-old.

EDIT: You may also want to know Atlanta traded for Matt Adams recently.


Braves pitchers have amassed a whole 0.7 fWAR, besting only the Marlins across MLB. Colon has limited walks (5.2 percent), but for the most part he and Dickey have eaten innings, and, really, that’s what they were brought in to do. Teheran has not been particularly good, whichever way you want to look at it, especially considering expectations. Arodys Vizcaino (30.4 K%, 5.8 BB%) is quite good. Jose Ramirez and, strangely, Jim Johnson have been productive in the pen as well.


The Braves aren’t complete pushovers, which is a success for them at this point. These are the games the Pirates should be winning if they want to make something of themselves this season, though. It’s baseball (I say that every time; I plan on continuing to do so), but the Bucs need to make some hay down south.


How does this series finish?

This poll is closed

  • 9%
    Pirates sweep!
    (21 votes)
  • 51%
    3-1 Pirates
    (110 votes)
  • 30%
    2-2 split
    (65 votes)
  • 5%
    3-1 Braves
    (12 votes)
  • 3%
    Braves sweep
    (7 votes)
215 votes total Vote Now