The Pittsburgh Pirates attempt to slow down the red hot Atlanta Braves today in Atlanta. A win will salvage some pride especially against a team like the Braves who have scored more runs than any team in the NL. They also have a 17-8 record in May.
The Pirates are leaning heavily on Paul Maholm, who is 2-2 in May, and starts today against Kenshin Kawakami. The Braves version of Charlie Morton in his ability to secure wins as Kawakami is 0-7 and has suffered mainly from bad luck. He hasn’t allowed more than five earned runs in any of his starts this season. Kawakami brings a 4.93 ERA with him, but he has a much better 3.31 ERA in his last three starts.
Kawakami is chasing a Hall of Famer. Joe Neikro has the top five single season loss records for a Braves pitcher. Kawakami is on pace for an 0-25 season. The Atlanta press is calling him the worst free agent acquisition in history, and well, sort of like all the things that are being said about Charlie Morton, except I don’t think anyone is calling him Zane Smith. My cousin Zane went 1-12 with the Braves.
So we know that Kawakami has been quite good lately, giving up just over three runs. Which makes me think this boils down to whether Paul Maholm can keep the Braves off the basepaths today. He effectively has done that in his career against the Braves controlling the scoring with a 1.33 ERA (4runs/27IP). Although Jason Heyward makes me quiver when making predicitons like this, Maholm was rock solid against the Reds in his last start when he allowed six hits and no runs. He didn’t get the win.
So what to take from all this crap? Win loss records for pitchers don’t mean much. Unless it’s the worst pitcher on your team.
So it says here, the Bucs will win one today. Sure would make me feel better if I could see a lineup before I throw it out there. What the hell, I got a gut feeling and I’m going with it. Walker better be in the lineup….
I need a clock to countdown the time until Tabata gets here, with him at the top of the Pirates order, well, it makes think scoring three runs a game will be a lock. Good story on Tabata by Bob Cohn
In the meantime, the Pirates want him to be more selective, make good contact, aggressively use his speed and score runs. Banister, who told Tabata he can be a 100-run guy, calls it chewing up the real estate. I think Jose put his mind to being the type that can use the speed that he has, apply his hitting ability and show some occasional power,” Banister said. “I think when he was able to think about the type of guy he wanted to be was when he really started having fun in the game.”