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Pirates Spring Preview: Split-Squad Day With Keller, Jones as Starters

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Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Jared Jones throws during the first inning of a spring training baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays Tuesday, March 5, 2024, in Bradenton, Fla. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

The Pittsburgh Pirates will once again split up their roster with a pair of games on Saturday evening.

The Pirates will play host to the Detroit Tigers at 4:05 ET at LECOM Park in Bradenton. The other contest will come against the Atlanta Braves in North Port at 6:05 ET.

For their home game against the Tigers, Mitch Keller will make his fourth start this spring. It hasn’t been smooth sailing for the 2023 All-Star yet. Though his first three starts, Keller has a 6.75 ERA with five strikeouts and five walks in eight innings pitched.

Pittsburgh Pirates Lineup vs. Tigers

1. DH Andrew McCutchen
2. LF Bryan Reynolds
3. 3B Ke’Bryan Hayes
4. C Henry Davis
5. 1B Connor Joe
6. LF Edward Olivares
7. CF Gilberto Celestino
8. 2B Sergio Alcantara
9. SS Alika Williams

The Pirates will face a tall task in left-hander Tarik Skubal. Through his first two appearances on the spring, Skubal hasn’t allowed a run in five innings. He’s allowed one hit, walked one and struck out eight.

The home game will be televised on SportsNet Pittsburgh.

Against the Braves, talented prospect Jared Jones will make another audition to try and secure one of the two open spots in the Pirates’ rotation. Through his first four appearances (0ne start) Jones has yet to allow an earned run in 7.1 innings pitched.

Pittsburgh Pirates Lineup vs. Braves

1. DH Joshua Palacios
2. 3B Nick Gonzales
3. 1B Billy McKinney
4. CF Jack Suwinski
5. C Carter Bins
6. RF Jake Lamb
7. SS Tsung-Che Cheng
8. LF Joe Perez
9. 2B Termarr Johnson

On the mound for the Braves will be former Pirates pitcher Charlie Morton. The veteran right-hander has made just one appearance so far this spring. He threw 2.2 scoreless innings with three strikeouts against the Tigers on Mar. 5.

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