Horacio Ramirez looks to earn his first win in nearly two months and help Atlanta avoid a season high-tying three-game losing streak as the Braves resume their three-game series with the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park.
In his last start, Ramirez gave up three earned runs and six hits in seven innings of the Braves’ 4-3 loss to the San Francisco Giants on Aug. 21, but did not receive a decision.
The rookie left-hander has not earned a decision in four straight starts and in six of his last seven. Braves pitching coach Leo Mazzone said Ramirez’s 11 starts without receiving a decision are the most since Tom Glavine accumulated 13 in 1989 while going 14-8.
Ramirez has not won since pitching a complete game in a 7-3 win over the New York Mets on July 7.
However, the Braves are still pleased with the way Ramirez is pitching. He was 7-2 through June.
“I told Horacio the other day to add five wins to his total,” Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said. “He’s pitched that good.”
Cox decided to skip Ramirez on Wednesday and let Greg Maddux pitch on regular rest. Ramirez has already pitched 141 innings this season, six shy of his professional high, set in 2000 with Class A Myrtle Beach.
“It’s always good to give a young pitcher some rest,” Cox said.
Ramirez will be facing Oliver Perez, who is making his Pirates debut.
“I’m excited,” Perez said. “I’ve just got to keep working like I have been. I’m ready to pitch.”
The Pirates beat the Braves 6-5 on Friday for their season high-tying fourth straight win.
STANDINGS: Braves - 1st place, NL East. Pirates - 4th place, 7 GB, NL Central.
BRAVES PROBABLE STARTER: Ramirez (8-4, 4.26 ERA). Ramirez has never faced the Pirates.
PIRATES PROBABLE STARTER: Perez (4-7, 5.38 ERA). In his last start, Perez gave up five earned runs and four hits in seven innings of the Padres’ 5-1 loss to the Mets on Aug. 21. He has never faced the Braves.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Braves - Gary Sheffield, .331 avg., 109 RBIs and 110 runs; Sheffield and Javy Lopez, 34 HRs; Furcal, 22 SBs. Pirates - Jason Kendall, .315 avg. and 72 runs; Reggie Sanders, 29 HRs, 72 RBIs and 9 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Braves, 2-1.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Braves - The Braves claimed RHP Jaret Wright off waivers from the Padres on Friday. Four relievers—RHP Kevin Gryboski, RHP John Smoltz, RHP Roberto Hernandez and RHP Darren Holmes—are currently on the disabled list. … SS Furcal played Friday after a bruise on his leg kept him out of Thursday’s game against the Mets. … LHP Ramirez is 5-2 with a 4.40 ERA in 14 road starts this season. Pirates - SS Jack Wilson went 2-for-4 Friday, extending his hitting streak to a career-high 16 games. … OF Jason Bay, who also came over from the Padres in the Giles trade, is 4-for-9 (.444) with two RBIs and three runs in three games with the Pirates. … OF J.J. Davis was optioned to Triple-A Nashville on Friday to make room for RHP Salomon Torres, who started Friday after being activated from the 15-day disabled list.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Braves - 39-28 on the road; Pirates - 32-36 at home.
INJURIES: Braves - INF Julio Franco (finger), 15-day DL; RHP Paul Byrd (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Gryboski (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Hernandez (hamstring), 15-day DL; RHP Holmes (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Smoltz (elbow), 15-day DL. Pirates - RHP Kris Benson (shoulder), 60-day DL; LHP Dave Williams (shoulder), 60-day DL; INF Pat Meares (hand), 60-day DL; INF Pokey Reese (thumb), 60-day DL.