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Game Thread: Pirates hope for a deep game from Musgrove

Pittsburgh Pirates v St Louis Cardinals Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

The Pirates take on the Braves at 7:05 p.m. ET tonight at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, after dropping the opener on Tuesday night by a 12-5 score. Kevin Gausman (2-4, 5.56) will start for the visitors against the Pirates’ Joe Musgrove (3-6, 4.57)

Gausman was acquired from the Orioles last year at the July 31 trade deadline and contributed to Atlanta’s play off drive with a 2.87 ERA in ten starts, but this year has struggled, allowing runs at nearly twice that rate.

Although once possessing a fastball that average nearly 96 mph, still only 28 year old, a former #4 overall pick, is done to 93.6 in each of the last two years, mixed with a splitter and slider. Despite the rise in ERA, Gausman is averaging 9.3 strikeouts per nine innings this year, up from his career average of 8.2

This year Gausman has had very even left/right splits, allowing a .742 OPS to right-handed batters and .721 to lefties.

Musgrove has also struggled of late, giving up five or more runs in four of his last six starts after starting the season with five straight quality starts and a 1.54 ERA. Since then, he’s been battered at a 302/364/524 rare for a 8.10 ERA, including a game where he allowed no runs and only one hit over seven innings.

Josh Bell and Gregory Polanco both return to the lineup against the right-handed starter Gausman.

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BRAVES

1 R Ronald Acuna CF

2 R Dansby Swanson SS

3 L Freddy Freeman 1B

4 R Josh Donaldson 3B

5 L Nick Markakis RF

6 R Austin Riley LF

7 L Brian McCann C

8 S Ozzie Albies 2B

9 L Kevin Gausman RHP

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PIRATES

1 R Kevin Newman SS

2 S Bryan Reynolds LF

3 R Starling Marte CF

4 S Josh Bell 1B

5 L Colin Moran 3B

6 L Gregory Polanco RF

7 R Elias Diaz C

8 L Adam Frazier 2B

9 R Joe Musgrove RHP