The Atlanta Braves will be trying to put a disappointing end to their homestand behind them on Monday when they head to Pittsburgh where they will open a three-game set against the Pirates. In a strange scheduling twist, this will be the first meeting between Atlanta and Pittsburgh this season.
The Braves just completed a 6-5 homestand and are looking to put an end to a four-game losing streak. They took 2 of 3 from the Milwaukee Brewers before sweeping a four-game set from the Marlins. However, the Colorado Rockies came into SunTrust Park and ruined Atlanta’s weekend sweeping a four-game series.
Pittsburgh made waves at the trade deadline with the acquisition of Chris Archer from the Tampa Bay Rays. The Braves were one of the other teams that were rumored to be in pursuit of Archer but were unwilling to meet Tampa’s high price tag. The Pirates were just six games back in the NL Central and just three games back in the wild card race. They have faded since then and now trail the Cubs by nine games in the division and are 5.5 back of the wild card.
Instead of Archer, the Braves went out and acquired right-handed starter Kevin Gausman from the Baltimore Orioles. We will be treated to a matchup between those two pitchers in Monday’s series opener.
Monday, August 20, 7:05 p.m. ET (Fox Sports Southeast)
Kevin Gausman (24 GS, 7-9 W-L, 19.0 K%, 5.9 BB%, 4.22 ERA, 4.42 FIP, 4.07 xFIP)
Gausman is off to a good start with the Braves having allowed six runs over 19 innings in his first three starts in an Atlanta uniform. He has struck out 12 and walked four over that span and has allowed just one home run after giving up 21 while with the Orioles. He allowed four hits and two runs over six innings in his last start against Miami.
Gausman has faced the Pirates twice in his career and it hasn’t gone well allowing 13 hits and 10 runs in 10 2/3 innings.
Chris Archer (20 GS, 4-5 W-L, 24.5 K%, 7.7 BB%, 4.49 ERA, 3.70 FIP, 3.69 xFIP)
Archer’s first three starts with the Pirates could be described as lukewarm at best. He has allowed 18 hits and nine earned runs in 14 1/3 innings with Pittsburgh and has yet to last beyond the fifth inning in any of his starts. He struck out seven and allowed four runs but needed 96 pitches to get through five innings in his last start against Minnesota. This will be his first career start against the Braves.
Tuesday, August 21, 7:05 p.m. ET (Fox Sports Southeast)
Julio Teheran (24 GS, 8-7 W-L, 22.2 K%, 11.7 BB%, 4.24 ERA, 5.16 FIP, 4.71 xFIP)
It has been an up and down season overall for Julio Teheran but he has quietly put together a consistent stretch of late. Teheran has allowed three runs or less in each of his last four starts. He has shown improved command walking just two batters in each of his last two starts. He allowed three hits and two runs over seven innings in his last outing against the Rockies.
Teheran has faced the Pirates nine times in his career and is 3-1 with a 2.67 ERA in 54 innings.
Ivan Nova (23 GS, 7-7 W-L, 16.3 K%, 4.8 BB%, 4.26 ERA, 4.57 FIP, 4.32 xFIP)
Like Teheran, it has been an up and down season for Ivan Nova who will start for the Pirates on Tuesday. After a rough July, Nova has fared better in August allowing seven runs over his last 16 2/3 innings. He gave up seven hits but just one run over 6 2/3 innings in his last start against the Cubs. He has been a much better pitcher at home where he has a 3.32 ERA in 11 starts versus a 5.18 mark in 12 road starts.
Nova has been lights out against the Braves in three career appearances going 3-0 with a 1.69 ERA.
Wednesday, August 22, 7:05 p.m. ET (Fox Sports Southeast)
Sean Newcomb (24 GS, 10-6 W-L, 21.7 K%, 11.3 BB%, 3.73 ERA, 4.11 FIP, 4.37 xFIP)
Sean Newcomb will look to get back on track in Wednesday’s series finale. Newcomb has struggled in his last two starts allowing 12 runs in just 9 1/3 innings. He was tagged for nine hits and seven runs in just 5 1/3 innings in his last start against Colorado.
This will be Newcomb’s first career start against the Pirates.
Trevor Williams (24 GS, 10-9 W-L, 15.9 K%, 8.0 BB%, 3.53 ERA, 4.30 FIP, 4.89 xFIP)
Trevor Williams has been pitching like an ace for the Pirates of late and will be looking to continue that trend in Wednesday’s series finale. Williams has allowed just three runs over his last six starts, a stretch spanning 36 innings. He allowed just four hits and one run over seven innings in his last start against the Cubs.
Williams has faced the Braves two times in his career allowing seven hits and three runs over in seven innings.