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Pirates Preview: Can Bucs Bring Out Brooms Against Braves?

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David Bednar, Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Atlanta Braves 4-1 on Saturday for their second-straight victory to start the series.

Mitch Keller worked around two rain delays and delivered another strong start for the Pirates (25-28), continuing his strong month of May.

The Pirates will have a chance to complete the sweep over the Braves (29-20) when they get together for the final game of the series on Sunday afternoon.

First pitch is scheduled for 1:35 ET and the game will be aired on SportsNet Pittsburgh.

Weather

Mix of sun and clouds with temperatures in the 80s. Winds SSE at 6-7 mph.

The Pittsburgh Pirates Will Send Out LHP Martín Pérez (1-3, 4.80 ERA)

In his last start against the Giants to open the Pirates’ homestand, Pérez allowed four runs (two earned) on five hits and struck out four in 4.1 innings.

After an excellent start to the season, Pérez hasn’t been nearly as sharp in May. In four starts this month, Pérez is 0-2 with an 8.24 ERA and opponents have slashed .356/.383/.667 against him.

Pérez has only faced the Braves one time in his career and it did not go well. In six innings, Atlanta scored seven runs off him on 12 hits with three of those hits going for home runs.

The Atlanta Braves Will Send Out LHP Chris Sale (7-1, 2.22 ERA)

Sale was picked up by the Braves in a trade with the Red Sox this offseason and received an extension from his new team. So far, the strategy has proved to be genius.

Sale is off to a brilliant start this season and ranks seventh in the National League with 11.12 strikeouts per nine innings. His 70 strikeouts are tied for 10th in baseball while his 2.22 ERA is also 10th.

As good as he’s been this season, he enters his start at PNC Park pitching at his best. The left-hander has not allowed a run over his last three starts (20 innings pitched) and has a 0.56 ERA over his last five.

Sale has faced the Pirates once before and threw seven-shutout innings.

Braves Hitters vs. Pérez

  • Matt Olson: 1 for 9, one double, one RBI
  • Travis d’Aranud: 1 for 7, one RBI, one strikeout
  • Joey Wendle: 1 for 7, one RBI
  • Adam Duvall: 3 for 5, one strikeout
  • Jarred Kelenic: 0 for 5, one RBI, two strikeouts
  • Ozzie Albies: 4 for 4, two home runs, two RBIs
  • Ronald Acuña Jr.: 0 for 4, two strikeouts
  • Marcell Ozuna: 2 for 3, one double, one RBI
  • Zack Short: 2 for 3, two RBIs
  • Orlando Arcia: 0 for 3, one strikeout

Pirates Hitters vs. Sale

  • Rowdy Tellez: 2 for 3, one double
  • Andrew McCutchen: 0 for 3
  • Edward Olivares: 1 for 2

Tidbits

  • Mitch Keller has gone 42-straight starts of pitching at least five innings, the longest active streak in the majors and the longest by a Pirate since A.J. Burnett’s streak of 49 from 2012-13.
  • Over their last nine games, Pirates’ started have posted a 2.41 ERA and have held opponents to a .205 batting average. Eight of those nine outings have been quality starts.
  • Speaking of quality starts, the Pirates have had 27 of them this season, second-most in the National League behind the Phillies (31).

Links

Perrotto: A Happy Day … But a Somewhat Sad Day

Pirates Prospect Watch: Braxton Ashcraft and Khristian Curtis Shove

Maybe All Mitch Keller Needed Was a Flip of the Calendar

Keller’s Sharp Start Leads Pirates to 4-1 Win Over Braves

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