Saturday, April 20, 2013

Pirates Game 17 Preview - vs. Atlanta Braves

Atlanta Braves at Pittsburgh Pirates - 7:05 p.m.
Paul Maholm (3-0, 0.00) vs. James McDonald (1-2, 5.27)

Season Series (Tied 1-1)
April 18, 2013 - Braves 10, Pirates 6
April 19, 2013 - Pirates 6, Braves 0


Pirates (8-8)
1. Marte 7
2. Tabata 9
3. McCutchen 8
4. Sanchez 3
5. Martin 5
6. Walker 4
7. McKenry 2
8. Barmes 6
9. McDonald 1

Braves (13-3)
1. B. Upton 8
2. Heyward 9
3. J. Upton 7
4. Gattis 2
5. C. Johnson 3
6. Uggla 4
7. Francisco 5
8. Simmons 6
9. Maholm 1


-This will be Russell Martin's first start at third base since 2008. He has made eight starts at third base in his career.

-As you may know Paul Maholm is a former Pirate. When the Pirates let him go and didn't pick up his option I was OK with it. The option was for a good chunk of money and to be honest I didn't think Maholm was all that good. He was pretty good for the Pirates but no good enough to pick up the option which I think was for around $9M. Well he went to the Cubs last season and then was traded to the Braves and he has been really good since. Last season he posted a 3.67 ERA and threw 189 innings, holding hitters to a .247 average with a 1.22 WHIP. This season he has yet to give up a run in 20.1 innings and has been as good as ever. He doesn't have overpowering stuff but he knows how to pitch and much like Wandy Rodriguez it makes him really good. I was wrong on this one.

-Last season against the Pirates he started three games and held Pirates hitters to a .188 average throwing 20 innings, striking out 17, and walking nine.

-James McDonald gets the start for the Pirates and it hasn't been good for JMac in three starts this year. His last outing he only went 1.2 innings, gave up eight hits, eight runs (three earned), two walks, and no strikeouts. He has no idea where the ball was going when it left his hand and after the game he told Clint Hurdle that he was "tired." No idea what that means but he better be well rested and ready to play today. This is a pretty good (really good) Braves offensive lineup and if he is going to pitch like he did last outing it will be another long night for the pen.

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