The Atlanta Braves and Pittsburgh Pirates meet on Monday to get a three-game series underway. The stakes are a little higher for the Braves who are currently in a heated race in the NL East. Pittsburgh isn’t out of the game yet, but it’s getting dicey for the guys in Pirates’ uniforms. They’re 6 behind the final wildcard and that race is incredibly bunched up at the top. It’s looking difficult if not impossible for the Pirates to make a run at those clubs.
For the Braves, they have three different routes they could end up going. It could be a NL East championship, a wildcard, or miss out on the postseason altogether. Things are so tight that it’s all realistic scenarios. There is still a lot of baseball left to be played, so we’ll see if it stays like that or breaks apart. Usually it comes down to a couple of teams who aren’t separated by much in the final week of the regular season.
The Pirates had a couple of feel good days over the weekend. They won two in a row over the Cubs to get a split in a four-game series against the Cubs. It isn’t a nice way to conclude the weekend for the Cubs, but they are still up by 3.5 over the Brewers in the NL Central. Pittsburgh trail in the division by a wide margin of 9 games.
The Pirates traded for Chris Archer to try and make a run at the postseason, but I’m not really sure what they were doing. It didn’t look too realistic that they were going to make a push and Archer has been one of the more overrated pitchers in baseball. They didn’t acquire him for free and I don’t think they’re going to win that trade. Who knows if prospects pan out, but Archer likely doesn’t have a future in Pittsburgh. Archer will get the nod tonight for the Pirates, while the Braves will go with Kevin Gausman. Head below for our free Braves vs. Pirates pick.
Atlanta Braves vs. Pittsburgh Pirates Pick
Kevin Gausman (2-1, 2.84 ERA) vs. Chris Archer (4-5, 4.49 ERA)
Kevin Gausman has found a new career in Atlanta, or so the Braves hope it keeps going for him. A career that wasn’t going so well in Baltimore, Gausman has found some stability with the Braves. However, it’s only been three starts and Gausman has shown an inability to stay consistent. He was expected to be a fixture of the Orioles’ rotation, but things never quite worked out. Gausman posted a 4.68 ERA and left Baltimore with a 4.43 ERA in 2018.
He could never get to the next level and the O’s got what they could for him in a trade. Gausman has a 2.84 ERA and 1.05 WHIP with the Braves. The one road outing he made, he got hit for a 5.40 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, and .391 OBA, though. Gausman had some issues on the road when he was an Oriole, too. He owns an overall ERA of 4.47 away from home. The Braves’ bullpen with a 4.17 ERA, is one of the worst of current postseason teams.
Archer will look to get the better of Gausman in this matchup. He’s an average pitcher that masquerades as an ace. Archer hasn’t seen his ERA below 4.00 since 2015. That’s not an ace and I’m sure the Rays were glad to get rid of his contract. Archer had a 4.31 ERA before leaving the Rays and has regressed in Pittsburgh. In three starts with his new team, Archer has posted an ERA of 5.65, 1.67 WHIP, and .368 OBA. In his last five starts overall, he’s allowed less 3 runs on only one occasion. The OVER has gone 8-2 in the Braves and Pirates previous ten meetings. In their last three games, there’s been an average of 13.6 runs scored per game. I think the total is a run too short here.