The Pirates look to continue their winning ways against the Braves tonight in game three of the four-game set. First pitch is set for 7:05PM.
This series has followed the same script both nights, Pirates build a big lead and the starter and/or the bullpen let the Braves back in it. Tonight, the Bucs will look to keep the wins coming against the lowly Braves.
Francisco Liriano starts for the Bucs tonight. It’s his eighth start of the season and hopefully he can rebound from his awful outing against the Cubs last time out. Liriano’s ERA is hovering near 5.00 and that’s just not a pitcher we’ve seen since he became a Pirate. The Braves may be just what Dr. Searage ordered.
The past two losses have been costly for the Braves. First, it was manager Fredi Gonzalez losing his job after Monday’s loss and now Aaron Blair lost his job after giving up 9 runs as he was sent back down to Triple-A following the loss. Tonight, Julio Teheran opposes Liriano on the mound. Teheran is probably the Braves best pitcher on this staff, but he’s never quite lived up to the expectations attached to him after his big 2014 season. He regressed last year, but is off to a decent start on a team that won’t provide him with many wins. He’s also been middle of the road against the Pirates in his career: 4.32 ERA and 8.4 K/9 in six starts versus Pittsburgh.
The Pirates offense has had 35 hits through two games against the Braves. Yes, you read that correctly. What will they do tonight? Matt Joyce remains in the lineup with Starling Marte on paternity leave and could Polanco be ripping a double or two tonight? Polanco has 15 doubles on the season and is hitting one every 9.1 ABs. And as if the Pirates needed any help swinging the bats, Liriano has been a pretty good hitter this year with a .316 average to date.