The Atlanta Braves will continue their homestand from Truist Park on Friday evening. This time they welcome in the Pittsburgh Pirates for a 3-game set.
Atlanta is coming off of an impressive offensive outburst in their final game against the Cardinals to end a three-game losing streak. Thursday's game featured two more homers from MVP candidate
Ronald Acuña Jr. pushing him closer to a potential 40/70 season. Matt Olson continued his ridiculous season with his 47th of the year. Olson is now just 5 homers away from breaking Andruw Jones' franchise record of 51 home runs in 2005.
The team hit 5 homers total (2 from Acuña, 1 from Olson, 1 from Harris, and 1 from d'Arnaud) bringing their season total to 270. This extends their franchise record in homers for a season and is just 9 away from the NL record of 279 in a season. The MLB record is 307 set by the 2019 Twins and the Braves are only 37 homers from that mark.
This Atlanta offense has been absolutely ridiculous to watch this season and we hope they'll carry this high-powered offense into the postseason. A quick note for the lineup: Austin Riley will not be playing for the second night in a row due to sickness but will be available off the bench according to Snit. Nicky Lopez will get the start at third base.
The Pirates have won 7 of their last 10 games and their record sits at 65-75. Braves fans will remember how well they played against the Braves back in August with a split in that series. They played the Braves tough in Pittsburgh in early August, splitting a four-game series.
The Pirates will be looking to play tough against the Braves, similar to how the Braves used to play hard against contenders just a few years ago during the rebuild.
Atlanta has also won 7 of their last 10 games and sits at 91-48 on the season. They struggled a bit pitching-wise in the Cardinals series but the offense has continued its onslaught. It shouldn't be too challenging facing them but they did have a hard time back in August so anything is possible.
Mitch Keller will face the Braves on Friday evening and he's been a bright spot for Pittsburgh all season. He is 11-8 with a 3.93 ERA through 169.2 innings pitched and a 3.67 FIP which indicates he's been much better than his 3.93 ERA indicates.
In his last start, Keller allowed 1 run on 5 hits with 3 walks and 8 strikeouts. So, he's pitching pretty well right now. His last start against the Braves resulted in a no-decision and wasn't his best as he allowed 3 runs on 9 hits through 5 innings as Atlanta won that game 8-6.
Keller will be opposed by Bryce Elder. Elder's most recent outing for the Braves was against the Dodgers and he allowed 1 run on 5 hits through 6 innings of work. He also allowed 4 walks and struck out 4 batters. Walks have been a big problem for Elder this year and that needs to get better before we reach the postseason.
The Pirates roughed him up on August 10th in a 7-5 Braves loss as he allowed 5 runs on 6 hits through 5 innings with 2 walks and 5 strikeouts.
He was so sharp in the first half but was bound for some regression after pitching at such a high rate for so long. Braves fans hope he can find some semblance of his former self so they can feel confident with him on the mound in the postseason. His ERA now sits at 3.42 through 155.1 innings and a 4.26 FIP.
It will be interesting to see what happens this time around. Game one of the series kicks off at 7:20 PM EST from Truist Park. You can watch the game on Bally Sports Southeast or listen on 680 AM/93.7 FM The Fan, La Mejor 1600/1460/1130 AM.