Series Preview: Pirates vs. Braves

preview ATL

Pittsburgh Pirates (7-7) vs. Atlanta Braves (12-2)

April 18, 2013 – 7:05 pm
April 19, 2013 – 7:05 pm
April 20, 2013 – 7:05 pm
April 21, 2013 – 1:35 pm

PNC Park


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Resources: Pirates Depth Chart | Bullpen Workload

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Probable Starters:

Game 1 – Jeff Locke (1-1, 4.09) vs. Julio Teheran (0-0, 7.36)

Game 2 – Wandy Rodriguez (1-0, 1.00) vs. Tim Hudson (2-0, 2.50)

Game 3 – James McDonald (1-2, 5.27) vs. Paul Maholm (3-0, 0.00)

Game 4 – Jonathan Sanchez (0-2, 12.96) vs. Kris Medlen (1-1, 1.42)

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Batting Leaders:




Starling Marte (.362)

Chris Johnson (.409)


A. McCutchen, M. McKenry (2)

Justin Upton (8)


McCutchen (11)

Justin Upton (12)


McCutchen (5)

B.J. Upton (3)

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Pitching Leaders:




Seven tied with 1

P. Maholm, E O’Flaherty (3)


A.J. Burnett (35)

Maholm (20)


Burnett (2.63)

Maholm (0.00)


Jason Grilli (5)

Craig Kimbrel (6)

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Upton Here Upton Here Meme

Opponent Blogs: Talking Chop, Chop-N-Change, Capitol Avenue Club

Player to Watch: Justin Upton, who leads all of Major League Baseball in home runs. All eight of his round-trippers have been mashed over 400 feet.

Go Bucs

Revisiting the Justin Upton trade rumors

July of 2012 was an exciting time to be a Pirates fan, as the team just kept finding ways to win. Andrew McCutchen was enjoying an MVP-caliber first half, while A.J. Burnett (who was 10-2 with a 3.68 ERA) and James McDonald (9-3, 2.37 ERA) were leading one of the top pitching staffs in baseball. First place at the All-Star break meant that the Bucs were considered “contenders.” With the trade deadline looming, potential trade targets furthered the fan base’s excitement.

One of those targets was outfielder Justin Upton. He did not land in Pittsburgh, but was traded to the Atlanta Braves this past offseason. He and the Braves, who are currently the top team in Major League Baseball, visit PNC Park this weekend for a four-game set.

Just for kicks, here’s a look back at the Upton-to-Pittsburgh trade rumors…

– Jayson Stark really got things going on July 15th with this tweet:

– ESPN actually had a Q&A-type session with Christina Kahrl, Matt Philip, and Matt Meyers about the Pirates and Upton.

– A couple of funny Bleacher Report posts:

– “The Addition of Justin Upton Would Make Pirates NL Favorites
– “Pirates Should Sell the Farm for Justin Upton
– “Justin Upton Would Make Pittsburgh Pirates Serious Contenders

[quote_simple]”The future is starting to look bright in Pittsburgh, but it would look a whole lot more promising if they strike gold at the trading deadline with Justin Upton.” – Bleacher Report[/quote_simple]

– Bucco fans got tripped up by this fake Ken Rosenthal Twitter account:

fake rosenthal
(Click to enlarge)

It would have been pretty surreal if Neal Huntington went out and acquired Upton, but who knows how his addition would have impacted the club. There’s still a decent chance they would’ve tumbled beneath .500, even with Upton.

The 25-year-old outfielder is off to a great start in 2013, hitting .333/.393/.852 with eight home runs in 14 games. He leads the league in home runs, slugging percentage, OPS, and total bases. Along with his brother, B.J., and Jason Heyward, Atlanta has some serious talent in their outfield.

Tonight’s lineups for game #1 between Buccos and Bravos:

Pirates   Braves
Marte LF B.J. Upton CF
Snider RF Heyward RF
McCutchen CF Justin Upton LF
Jones 1B Johnson 1B
Walker 2B Uggla 2B
Alvarez 3B Francisco 3B
Martin CF Simmons SS
Barmes SS Laird C
Locke P Teheran P

Dissecting the Schedule: June

We’ll spend time this week breaking down the Pirates’ 2013 schedule, month by month. 

Schedule June
(Click to enlarge)


– Only 11 home games will be played in June, the lowest amount of any month in the 2013 season.

– The first series of the month, which brings the Cincinnati Reds to town, is set to be the annual Heritage Celebration weekend. The Saturday night, 7:15 pm start, will be broadcast on FOX. Kool and the Gang will play a postgame concert after the Saturday night contest as well.

– Blues Traveler will also come to PNC for a postgame concert; they’ll play after the June 15th Dodgers game, first pitch at 4:05.

– The Bucs will take a mini west coast swing, consisting of five games. Both series feature interleague opponents; they’ll play a weekend set against the LA Angels before travelling up to Seattle to take on the Mariners.

– The defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants come to Pittsburgh for a three game series, June 11th – 13th.

– Team the Pirates will see most in June: the Cincinnati Reds – two at home, four on the road.

– June could be a tough month for the Bucs, with 18 games coming against the Reds, Braves, Giants, Dodgers, and Angels.

Tickets to any 2013 Pirates game can be purchased HERE.

Previous Editions:

Dissecting the Schedule: April

We’ll spend time this week breaking down the Pirates’ 2013 schedule, month by month.

Schedule April
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– The Pirates have just two off days in April, the least of any month this season.

– The Bucs open against the Chicago Cubs; you may remember they started the 2011 season against them, though they played at Wrigley Field.

– They start the season at the friendly confines of PNC Park for the second consecutive year.

– The club will once again travel to the west coast in early April. They’ll stop in Los Angeles and Arizona before coming home for an extended homestand.

– That homestand, consisting of 10 games, will feature three 2012 playoff teams: the Cincinnati Reds, St. Louis Cardinals, and Atlanta Braves.

– April is definitely a tough month for the Bucs:



– The Pirates will travel to the east side of the state for a four-game series against the Phillies. The Phils will be without their starting catcher, Carlos Ruiz. Chooch is suspended 25 games for amphetamine use.

– The team they’ll play the most in April: St. Louis – three at home, three on the road.

– Some cool promotional items will be given away at PNC in April, including an awesome A.J. Burnett free shirt and Andrew McCutchen bobblehead.

Tickets to any 2013 Pirates game can be purchased HERE.

Most Anticipated Series of 2013

Last winter, we put up a short post about three series of the 2012 season that we thought would be entertaining and important.  As it turned out, the Bucs went on to win eight of the nine games in those series, with the lone loss coming on Opening Day against the Phillies.  This year, with the new MLB schedule format, the Pirates’ schedule looks a little bit different, but here are three series to look forward to in 2013:

April 18th-21st vs. Braves

Just like last season, April looks like it will be the toughest month for the Pirates.  Many of teams that they play the first month of the season were contenders in 2012, but the toughest team will probably be the Braves.  They’ll play a four-game series at PNC Park against the Bravos, which will be an early test.  Seeing the two Upton brothers will be cool, but this series could be rough.  It will definitely be an early indication of how well the Bucs will handle themselves against the league’s best.

May 27th-30th @/vs. Tigers

The home-and-home series with the Tigers is a bit strange.  The new schedule format makes the Pirates and Tigers *natural* rivals, which means they’ll play four games in a row, two at Comerica and two at PNC.  Four games in a row means that the Bucs will likely face Justin Verlander, which should be interesting.  Seeing an American League team is always nice, although it’s slightly less special with the year-round interleague starting this season.  The first game of the series is Memorial Day, so it starts at 1:05.

July 2nd-4th vs. Phillies

Celebrating the Fourth of July at PNC Park is always nice, especially when the Bucs are playing well and in contention.  This July, it’s likely that both the Pirates and Phillies will still be hanging around .500 and maybe even fighting for the top spot in their divisions.  Phillies fans will be traveling to Pittsburgh in droves for the holiday, so expect a bunch of red in the seats.  It’d be great to send the Phils back to the city where America was founded with a loss on the country’s birthday.

Tickets to any game can be bought here at TiqIQ