The Atlanta Braves Pittsburgh Pirates Series Preview

ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 22: Kyle Wright #30 of the Atlanta Braves returns to the dugout during the fourth inning of an MLB game against the Miami Marlins at Truist Park on April 22, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 22: Kyle Wright #30 of the Atlanta Braves returns to the dugout during the fourth inning of an MLB game against the Miami Marlins at Truist Park on April 22, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /
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Atlanta Braves
Max Fried #54 of the Atlanta Braves during Game Six of the World Series. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /

Probable Pitching Matchups:

  • JT Brubaker v. Max Fried
  • Roansy Contreras v. Spencer Strider
  • Zach Thompson v. Charlie Morton
  • José Quintana v. Kyle Wright

Pirates Pitching

Overall: 4.35 ERA, 4.14 FIP, 4.27 xFIP

Starters: 4.70 ERA, 4.19 FIP, 4.29 xFIP

Relievers: 4.00, 4.09 FIP, 4.25 xFIP

The Pirates pitching staff currently sits in the bottom third of the league. A lot of that is due to inconsistent starting pitching.

JT Brubaker has started 11 games, pitching 51.2 innings, 0-5, 4.70 ERA, 4.02 xERA, 4.61 FIP, 4.40 xFIP, 4.25 SIERA, 1.45 WHIP, and 0.3 fWAR. He is coming off a rough start in Arizona, where he pitched 4 innings, gave up 8 hits, 5 earned runs (6 runs), 3 HR, 1 BB, and 3 strikeouts.

Roansy Contreras is one of the Pirates top pitching prospects who is looking to stick in the major league rotation. He currently has a 1.93 ERA, 3.22 xERA, 3.18 FIP, 3.30 xFIP, 3.29 SIERA, & 1.03 WHIP. He has great strikeout stuff, currently sitting at a 27.4% strikeout rate. He just needs to limit the walks (8.4%).

Zach Thompson has started 10 games (11 games overall), pitching 45.0 innings, 3-4, 4.60 ERA, 4.21 xERA, 4.80 FIP, 4.31 xFIP, 4.51 SIERA, 1.42 WHIP, and 0.2 fWAR. He is coming off a strong start in Arizona, pitching 5 innings, allowing 4 hits, 2 BBs, 4 strikeouts, and 0 runs allowed.

The veteran José Quintana has had a bounce back year in Pittsburgh, but one could argue it is smoke and mirrors at this moment. He has 11 starts, 53.2 innings pitched, 1-3, 2.85 ERA, 4.50 xERA, 3.03 FIP, 3.91 xFIP, 4.16 SIERA, 1.30 WHIP, and 1.2 fWAR. Will he keep it up or will the Braves take advantage?

The Pirates bullpen has been solid this year but is mostly top (back) heavy. They are led by closer David Bednar who is making a case for an All-Star appearance out of the bullpen. He currently has a 1.33 ERA, 2.25 xERA, 1.92 FIP, 2.55 xFIP, 1.94 SIERA, and 0.78 WHIP.

Braves Pitching

Overall: 3.78 ERA, 3.55 FIP, 3.85 xFIP

Starters: 4.25 ERA, 3.96 FIP, 3.98 xFIP

Relievers: 3.11 ERA, 2.95 FIP, 3.66 xFIP

The Braves pitching overall sits in the middle of the pack but is being weighed down by the starters ERA. Charlie Morton and Ian Anderson have been inconsistent at times, but the biggest issue has the been the lack of a solid 5th starter.

The Ace Max Fried will take the mound in game 1. He has started 11 games, 69 innings pitched, 5-2, 2.74 ERA, 3.53 xERA, 2.92 FIP, 3.02 xFIP, 3.25 SIERA, 1.01 WHIP, and 1.7 fWAR. Fried is not the flashiest pitcher (22.1% strikeout rate), but when he is on, he is one of the best pitchers in the entire game. A control pitcher that relies on weak contact and great control rather than overpowering, Fried gives the Braves a solid outing nearly every time.

The guy that is trying to lockdown the 5th starter spot is Spencer Strider. The Braves 2nd ranked prospect entering the year, Strider currently has a 2.76 ERA, 3.19 xERA, 2.19 FIP, 2.93 xFIP, 2.91 SIERA, 1.16 WHIP, and 0.8 fWAR. Most of this work has come out of the bullpen but has been given an opportunity to start in recent weeks. In his two starts, Strider has pitched 8.1 innings, allowed 6 hits, 4 earned runs (6 runs), walked 7, and struck out 12. He needs to limit the walks as he continues to stretch out if he wants to hold onto that 5th spot.

Charlie Morton has looked better in the past. In 2022, he has a 5.63 ERA, 5.03 xERA, 4.59 FIP, 4.53 xFIP, 4.32 SIERA, and 1.53 WHIP. Morton has had issues with control, and his walk rate is now up to 10.2%. He had a gutsy performance in Colorado, maybe he can build off of that.

The breakout player in 2022 has undoubtedly been Kyle Wright. Wright has started 11 games, with 67.2 innings pitched, 6-3, 2.39 ERA, 3.43 xERA, 2.75 FIP, 3.24 xFIP, 3.36 SIERA, 1.02 WHIP, and 1.8 fWAR. Where would the Braves be right now without Wright’s breakout 2022 campaign?

The bullpen, or the Night Shift, have been phenomenal. In fact, AJ Minter, Kenley Jansen, Spencer Strider (as a reliever), and Collin McHugh rank inside the top 12 in fWAR. Minter has been lights out, with a 1.13 ERA, 2.03 xERA, 0.93 FIP, 2.54 xFIP, 1.77 SIERA, 0.79 WHIP, and 1.2 fWAR.