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Drew Smyly, Braves look to build some momentum against the Pirates

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Smyly has allowed just one earned run over his last two starts.

Atlanta Braves v Washington Nationals Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

The Atlanta Braves avoided a sweep and grabbed a much-needed win Wednesday night thanks to a walk-off home run by Ronald Acuña Jr. in a 5-4 win over the New York Mets. They will look to continue that momentum Thursday when they begin a four-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The 2021 season has been a slog for the Braves overall so far. They are sitting at 20-23 for the season and are fortunate to be just three games back in the NL East standings. The team has dealt with inconsistency across the board and just hasn’t clicked yet.

One player that has shown some signs of coming around is Thursday’s starter Drew Smyly. The Braves inked Smyly to a one-year, $11 million contract this past offseason but he struggled out of the gate posting an 8.05 ERA in his first four starts. He has looked much better through two starts in May where he has allowed just eight hits and one earned run over 12 combined innings. He is coming off his best start of the season where he held the Brewers to four hits and one run in six innings.

The home run ball was Smyly’s biggest issue in April where he surrendered nine in just 19 innings. He hasn’t allowed a homer in either of his two starts in May.

The Pirates will counter with right-hander Wil Crowe who will be making his fifth start of the season and the eighth of his career. Crowe relies on a fastball/slider combo with an occasional changeup mixed in. He has allowed three runs or less in each of his four starts this season and has logged at least five innings in three of his four outings. Crowe allowed six hits, three runs and struck out five in his last start against the Giants.

First pitch from Truist Park is scheduled for 7:20 p.m. ET and can be seen on Bally Sports Southeast.

Game Info

Game Date/Time: Thursday, May 20, 7:20 p.m. ET

Location: Truist Park, Atlanta, Georgia

TV: Bally Sports Southeast

Streaming: MLB.tv

Radio: 680 AM / 93.7 FM The Fan, WNNX 100.5, Braves Radio Network