Series preview: Braves at Pirates
When (TV): 7:05 p.m. Monday-Tuesday, 12:35 p.m. Wednesday (SPSO)
Radio: 680, 93.7, 100.5
Probable starting pitchers:
Monday: Braves LH Paul Maholm (13-10, 3.71 ERA) vs. LH Jeff Locke (0-3, 6.35)
Tuesday: Braves RH Tommy Hanson (13-9, 4.38) vs. RH Kevin Correia (11-11, 4.33)
Wednesday: Braves RH Tim Hudson (16-7, 3.62) vs. RH A.J. Burnett (16-9, 3.43)
About the Braves:
Batting: Martin Prado had a .324 average with 24 extra-base hits (five home runs) and an .873 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in his past 46 games before Sunday…. Jason Heyward is 20-for-60 (.333) with six extra-base hits, eight RBIs and a .946 OPS in 15 career games against the Pirates, including 10-for-21 (.476) with a homer in six games at Pittsburgh.
Pitching: Maholm is a longtime former Pirates pitcher with a 41-39 record and 3.70 ERA in 113 starts at PNC Park. The lefty is 4-4 with a 3.65 ERA in 10 starts for the Braves since being traded from the Cubs. With Chicago he went 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA in two starts against the Pirates earlier this season, both in Pittsburgh…. Hanson is 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA in three starts against the Pirates, and Hudson is 6-5 with a 2.90 ERA in 12. Hudson is expected to be replaced for the regular-season finale and rested so he’s ready to start a potential division series opener Oct. 7.
Miscellaneous: This will be the last regular-season series for retiring Braves icon Chipper Jones, who has a .298 average with 17 homers and 86 RBIs in 123 games vs. Pittsburgh, with a .402 OBP and .472 slugging percentage. At PNC Park, he has a .295 average with nine extra-base hits (two homers), 15 RBIs and a .443 OBP in 27 games…. The Braves are 6-4 with a 2.71 ERA against the Pirates in the past two seasons, and the teams haven’t met since splitting a four-game series April 27-30…. Injured SS Paul Janish is the only Brave who’s faced Locke.
About the Pirates:
Batting: CF Andrew McCutchen looked like a clear MVP frontrunner until mid-summer. But after hitting .371 with 44 extra-base hits (22 homers), 66 RBIs and a 1.071 OPS in 91 games through July 23, he had a .265 average with 21 extra-base hits (nine homers), 28 RBIs and an .898 OPS in his past 62 games before Sunday. He has a .226 average with three homers and a .748 OPS in 29 career games vs. the Braves.
Pitching: Locke makes his 10th career start. He’s 0-3 with a 7.50 ERA and .320 opponents’ average in five starts this season, all in September, and hasn’t worked more than five innings. Lefty batters are 9-for-26 (.346) with a .985 OPS vs. the lefty, while righties are 25-for-91 (.275) with a .749 OPS…. Against the Braves, Correia is 3-2 with a 3.54 ERA in 11 games (seven starts), and Burnett is 5-10 with a 3.70 ERA in 19 games (18 starts).
Miscellaneous: The Pirates went 58-42 with a 3.47 ERA in 100 games through July 28. Then the bottom fell out for the second year in a row. They were 19-39 with a 4.62 ERA in their past 58 games before Sunday, including 7-20 in September…. Clint Barmes is 14-for-32 (.432) with two homers against Maholm.
By David O’Brien