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Game Thread: Can the Pirates find gold in Florida?

MLB: Atlanta Braves at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Heading into Miami for the third stop on their ten game road trip, the Pirates are still looking to secure their first victory of the trip, as they’ve slid into last place in the National League Central. They’ll send left-hander Steven Brault (2-1, 5.05) to the mound at 7:10 p.m. Eastern against Miami right-hander Trevor Richards (3-6, 3.31)

Brault has pitched better lately, since injuries necessitated his return to the starting lineup. Owner of an 8.82 ERA after his sixth appearance of the year on May 12 in St. Louis, he’s allowed just seven runs, for a 2.55 ERA, in his last 24 23 innings over five games, the last three being starts. Last time out in Milwaukee, Brault had the longest outing of career, allowing two runs in six and a third innings, although the Pirates ended up losing 5-2.

Miami signed the 26 year old Richards in 2016 out of the independent Frontier League, after Richards had gone undrafted through four years of a rather successful career at Drury University. Richards then compiled a 2.44 ERA over 238 minor league innings as he quickly rose, debuting with the Marlins last year and having a 4.42 ERA in 25 starts. Combined with his 3.31 ERA this year, Richards’ career MLB mark is 4.01 in 200 innings, averaging 3.9 walks and 8.9 strikeouts per nine innings.

Richards has a rather pedestrian fastball that average 91.0 mph but adds a change up on 34% of his pitches. In his MLB career he’s shown reverse splits, allowing a .777 OPS to right-handed batters on a 249/327/450 line, while .666 to lefties (220/316/351) - the major difference being an isolated power of .201 by the right-handers, with a homer rate nearly twice that of left-handed batters.

As for the Marlins lineup...you won’t know who most of these guys are without a scorecard. They’ll sent nine right-handed batters up to face Brault, who over this season have combined for a .885 OPS (286/412/473) against him, with more walks than strikeouts, compared to .648 by left-handers.

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PIRATES

1 R Kevin Newman SS

2 S Bryan Reynolds RF

3 R Starling Marte CF

4 S Josh Bell 1B

5 L Colin Moran 3B

6 L Corey Dickerson LF

7 R Elias Diaz C

8 L Adam Frazier 2B

9 L Steven Brault LHP

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MARLINS

1 R Austin Dean LF

2 R Garrett Cooper 1B

3 R Brian Anderson RF

4 R Starlin Castro 2B

5 R Harold Ramirez CF

6 R Jorge Alfaro C

7 R Yadiel Rivera 3B

8 R Miguel Rojas SS

9 R Trevor Richards RHP