The Atlanta Braves and Pittsburgh Pirates will continue a four-game series when they square off at SunTrust Park in Atlanta on Wednesday night. Victories in each of the first two contests have extended the Braves’ winning streak to five.
Offense isn’t the problem
While the Braves have hit 23 homers while winning eight of their first 10 games in June, the Pirates fell to 6-16 in their past 22 games and have allowed 7.3 runs per game in that span. First baseman Josh Bell drove home two runs during Tuesday’s loss, becoming the first player in the majors to reach 60 RBIs on the season and giving him at least one RBI in six of his past eight games. Infielder Kevin Newman finished 3-for-4 and has hit safely in 21 of his past 23 starts, batting .292 in that stretch for the Pirates.
Tonight's game is official and will not resume. pic.twitter.com/urNbWfJt8L
— Pirates (@Pirates) June 12, 2019
Right-hander Mitch Keller (0-1, 13.50 ERA) is taking the mound for Pittsburgh on Wednesday. Pittsburgh plans to recall Keller from Triple-A Indianapolis and give MLB.com’s 18th-ranked prospect his second major-league start, as the Pirates continue to adjust their pitching plans following Monday’s first-inning ejection of Joe Musgrove. The 23-year-old gave up six runs on seven hits in his big-league debut May 27 at Cincinnati, striking out seven over 4.0 innings.
Going, going, gone
The Braves have cranked up the power through their first two contests of a four-game home series against Pittsburgh. They have hit 10 homers in winning the first two games of the series while launching five in each contest, riding two homers and four RBIs from catcher Brian McCann in Tuesday’s 7-5 victory over the Pirates. Atlanta hit back-to-back blasts twice in the second inning. Josh Donaldson, Nick Markakis, and Ozzie Albies also homered along with McCann’s first longball in the second inning, the first time in franchise history the Braves have recorded multiple back-to-back homers in one frame since the Milwaukee Braves did so in 1965.
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Mike Soroka (7-1, 1.38 ERA) will oppose Keller on Wednesday. The right-hander isfashioning a Cy Young-worthy season through his first 10 starts, leading the National League in hits per nine innings (5.5) while ranking second in ERA and WHIP (0.87), and fifth in WAR for pitchers (2.6). The 21-year-old gave up a season-high three earned runs in a victory against Detroit on June 1, but he responded by giving up one run on three hits over eight-plus innings last Friday at Miami to win his seventh consecutive decision.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are:
- 0-5 in their last five overall
- 0-5 in their last five road games
- 0-5 in their last five games against teams with winning records
The Atlanta Braves are:
- 5-0 in their last five overall
- 4-0 in their last four home games
- 5-0 in their last five games against right-handed starters