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Series Preview: Braves at Pirates

Milwaukee Brewers v Pittsburgh Pirates Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Pirates start a three game series against the Atlanta Braves in PNC Park. Atlanta has won their last two games and are a half game behind the Philadelphia Phillies, who lead the National League East. The Pirates are still reeling a bit with a 3-7 record through their last ten and are five games out of first place.

Offensively, the Braves have scored eight more runs than they’ve allowed, while the Pirates are still in the bottom ten for run differential with -68.

The Braves lineup can explode at any time so Pirates pitching is going to have to do what they can to keep the games close. Pittsburgh, at times, have shown they can put up runs and they have a shot to do it facing two of the worst pitchers on the Braves’ staff during this three game stint.

However, the starters the Pirates will be running out for those aforementioned games have problems of their own.

We could see some barn-burners but tonight’s match up has the potential to be a pitchers duel.

First pitch is at 7:05 EST on SportsNet-PIT

Schedule

Tuesday, 7:05 p.m. — Steven Brault (2-1, 5.87 ERA) vs. Max Fried (7-3, 3.19 ERA)
TV: AT&T SportsNet-PIT

Wednesday, 7:05 p.m. — Joe Musgrove (3-6, 4.57 ERA) vs. Kevin Gausman (2-4, 5.56 ERA)
TV: AT&T SportsNet-PIT

Thursday, 4:05 p.m. — Chris Archer (2-5, 5.56 ERA) vs. Mike Foltynewicz (1-4, 6.10 ERA)
TV: AT&T SportsNet-PIT

Braves Notes

Offense

-Freddie Freeman and Ronald Acuna are the best hitters on the team. Both are approaching a WAR of 2 and regularly get on base (.391 and .360 OBP, respectively).

-Rookie Austin Riley has been killing the ball lately with eight home runs in 17 games. Though he’s not without flaws and will strike out at least once in every three at-bats.

-Second baseman Ozzie Albies isn’t exactly playing to his potential, hitting just .266 with a wRC+ of 89.


Pitching

-Fried will open the series for the Braves and has arguably been their best pitcher. He’s anything but a strikeout machine however his control is good with a sub-7% BB-rate. He has the tendency to give up the long ball (1.02 HR/9) so the Pirates offense will need to get as many runners on base as they can to have a shot.

-The next two games will be a bit more balanced but Gausman isn’t necessarily a pushover. He’s had a few good starts but has been struggling lately. He’s given up 13 runs in his last three starts (13 IP), including eight runs on eight hits against the Nationals on May 29th where he lasted one inning; he’s due for a strong start.

-Game three will feature 2018 rotation stud Foltynewicz who hasn’t been the same pitcher this season. He’s battled an injury which may still be an issue for him. His best start was against the St. Louis Cardinals back on May 24th (6 IP, 0 ER, 7 Ks, 0 BB), but in all his other starts this season, he’s given up at least two runs and as many as eight.