Atlanta Braves vs. Pittsburgh Pirates Series Preview

Craig Kimbrel and the rest of O'Ventbrel have been utterly dominant over the last couple of games and look to continue that success back at home against the Pirates.

The Braves are playing good baseball right now and hope to continue rolling through National League opponents during this weekend's four game wrap-around series against the Pirates. While going 12-3 over the last fifteen contests, the Braves have all but made us forget about the 0-4 start that had doomsday thinkers jumping off of bridges and even normally optimistic fans considerably worried. The Pirates, who are 8-10 in 2012, made a splash last year when they looked to be a contender through the first half of the season, before collapsing down the stretch. On July 28th of last year, the Pirates beat Derek Lowe and the Braves on get-away-day to earn a respectable 54-49 record through 103 games but then reeled off a ten game losing streak that ultimately sank their 2011 campaign and extended their losing record streak to a whopping 19 seasons.

This year, the Pirates have been playing an interesting brand of baseball that may sound familiar to Braves fans (pre-2012, of course). Through 18 games so far this season, neither the Pirates nor their opponent have scored more than five runs in any game. The Buc's pitching has been tremendous and their offense has been abysmal, resulting in their current 8-10 record. The Pirates rotation and bullpen are both at the top of the league in ERA, with a 2.59 and 2.56, respectively. Their starting pitching has only won three of their eight games so far this year, though. I would like to think that the Pirates are going to run into major issues if they expect to score runs late in the ball games at the Ted.

Only the Padres, who look to be a 100 loss team, have a lower batting average in the National League. The Pirates are hitting at a .221 clip as a team, and have the National League's lowest OPS by far at .594. If you couldn't guess, Andrew McCutchen is leading the team in quite a few offensive categories with a .329 average, ten runs, five doubles, four stolen bases, and is tied for the team lead with six RBI.

Although the Braves' slugfest has slowed down a bit, the club has shown that they can win close, lower-scoring games as well, which bodes well for the upcoming series. The Braves haven't scored more than four runs over the last five games, but have managed to win three of the five behind great pitching performances as well as timely hitting. Oh...yeah...and we get Huddy back!

Matchups after the jump...

Friday 4/27 7:35 PM

Tommy Hanson

#48 / Pitcher / Atlanta Braves

6-6

220

R

R

Aug 28, 1986


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2012 - Tommy Hanson 2-2 4 4 0 0 0 0 24.0 20 10 9 2 9 23 3.38 1.21


A.J. Burnett

#34 / Pitcher / Pittsburgh Pirates

6-4

230

R

R

Jan 03, 1977


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2012 - A.J. Burnett 1-0 1 1 0 0 0 0 7.0 3 0 0 0 2 7 0.00 .71

Saturday 4/28 7:10 PM


Randall Delgado

#40 / Pitcher / Atlanta Braves

6-3

200

R

R

Feb 09, 1990


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2012 - Randall Delgado 2-1 3 3 0 0 0 0 15.2 15 10 10 2 9 17 5.74 1.53


Erik Bedard

#45 / Pitcher / Pittsburgh Pirates

6-1

200

L

L

Mar 05, 1979


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2012 - Erik Bedard 0-4 4 4 0 0 0 0 24.0 24 8 7 1 10 17 2.63 1.42

Sunday 4/29 1:35 PM


Tim Hudson

#15 / Pitcher / Atlanta Braves

6-1

175

R

R

Jul 14, 1975

Kevin Correia

#29 / Pitcher / Pittsburgh Pirates

6-3

200

R

R

Aug 24, 1980


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2012 - Kevin Correia 1-0 3 3 0 0 0 0 18.0 11 4 4 1 3 9 2.00 .78

Monday 4/30 7:10 PM


Mike Minor

#36 / Pitcher / Atlanta Braves

6-3

210

R

L

Dec 26, 1987


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2012 - Mike Minor 2-1 4 4 0 0 0 0 26.1 21 12 10 1 5 21 3.42 .99

There is not yet a Pittsburgh probable for Monday's game. The Buc's played a double-header against the Rockies on Wednesday, in which James McDonald and old Brave Charlie Morton were the starters. Both pitched seven good innings that day, each giving up just a run.

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