Despite an offense that has done very little to help the cause, the Braves have been pretty competitive of late primarily due to the effectiveness of the starting pitching. While many were optimistic about pitchers like Teheran and Wisler doing well, few likely thought that Williams Perez would turn in the lights out performance he did in his last start.
After throwing a complete game 1-hitter in his last start in AAA, Williams went 8 innings and allowed just 2 hits and 1 run on only 85 pitches no less in his first start back with the big club after getting sent down to AAA earlier in the season due to being, well....less than good. He takes the mound against the Pirates who have limited at-bats against Perez (which is hardly surprising), although Francisco Cervelli had some success against him going 2-3 with an RBI. Its worth noting that Perez was hit by a line drive against the Pirates which ultimately led to him missing some time last season.
The Braves will be facing Jonathan Niese from the Pirates who is no stranger to the Braves as he was a starter for a bit for several seasons with the Mets. He brings a 5.63 ERA this season with him and the Pirates are 5-2 in games he starts so it appears at least the Pirates have been at least giving him some run support in his starts.
No Brave has particularly strong numbers against Niese with Freddie Freeman having the most at-bats against him (by a wide margin) to go along with a couple homers and a .224 batting average. With the Pirates coming off a win against the red-hot Cubs and the Braves losing a heartbreaking, series-deciding game in extras against the defending champs, the Royals, it will be interesting to see how the teams fair in the series opener.
Date and Time: 5/16 at the Pirates at 7:05 EST
TV: Fox Sports SE for Atlanta, ROOT TV for Pittsburgh
Radio: WYAY 106.7 , Braves Radio Network 680 AM/93.7 FM