Photo: Arturo Pardavila III
Pittsburgh Pirates (20-24) @ Atlanta Braves (18-23)
Time: Monday – 7:35
The Braves have a new ballpark this year, and a mediocre team to celebrate it with. Their pitching rotation is about as mediocre as they come. Earlier in the year, the Pirates sweeped the Braves scoring 5 runs, 6 runs, and 6 runs again. This Pirates offense isn’t a powerhouse, so them averaging 5.5 runs against the Braves tells you all you need to know.
Mike Foltynewicz lasted just 3.2 innings in his game against the Pirates earlier this year. There is not much reason to believe he will do much better, given he has a 4+ ERA and a FIP to match.
Gerrit Cole has been on an absolute tear. He has a 1.96 ERA over his last 7 starts and he looks much like his 2015 self. With that said, he does have a career FIP of 3.84 against the Braves, but the Braves are without their best hitter, Freddie Freeman. I expect him to keep the train rolling tonight.
The Pirates are favorites in this one. They are -140 if you’re in Vegas, or 58% if you’re not.
Time: Tuesday – 7:35
RA Dickey is the second oldest pitcher in the league. At 42 years old, few can have success in the big leagues. He has managed to find some success with the help of his knuckleball. Watching Felipe Rivero hit 102 is awesome, but few things are more mesmerizing than a good knuckleball. There has been some research on knuckleball pitchers, and there seems to be a hangover effect. Pitchers that come in after knuckleballers have better numbers than if they would come in after a ‘normal’ pitcher.
Tyler Glasnow has been incredibly inconsistent. The Braves offense is impatient, which means that they may not be able to lay off Glasnow’s pitches out of the zone. The new Atlanta ballpark is playing like a big hitters park, but Glasnow has been able to limit hard contact. I am optimistic that he will be able to go at least 5 innings in this one.
Time: Wednesday– 7:35
Julio Teheran is the Braves ace. But, he has a 5.47 ERA, and has struggled quite a bit this year. Last year he walked 5.4% of the batters he faced, this year that has nearly doubled to 10.5%. The Pirates are a very patient team, so hopefully they can take advantage of that in this one.
Trevor Williams last two starts have been much better than his first. He has been unable to miss bats, though. If you don’t miss bats, hitters will find ways to get lucky like they did in his last start. He did give up very weak contact, so as long as he doesn’t give up rockets, his lack of swinging strikes may not be a huge deal.
Time: Thursday – 12:10
RA Dickey is the 2nd oldest pitcher in the league. Bartolo Colon is the oldest at 44 years old. He has been surprisingly productive the last few years, but has hit quite a wall this year. Last year he hit one of the most bizarre home runs of all time, and if you haven’t seen it, I recommend clicking that link.
Ivan Nova is as steady as they come. There is no reason to expect anything less than an excellent start from him in this one. In his first start against the Braves, he thew 6 innings of shutout ball.