After being ejected in the first inning of Monday's game, Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander Joe Musgrove will be back on the mound for a do-over on Thursday for the series finale against the Braves in Atlanta.
The Pirates are trying to avoid a sweep in the four-game set and at the same time end their six-game losing streak. After winning 8-7 in 11 innings on Wednesday, the Braves are on a six-game winning streak and in first place in the National League East.
Musgrove was on just his fourth batter Monday when the dramatics began in Atlanta. Musgrove grazed Braves third baseman Josh Donaldson with a chest-high fastball, leading Donaldson to shout at the pitcher while preparing to walk to first.
Musgrove responded by dropping his hat and glove and defiantly standing his ground. Donaldson shoved Pittsburgh catcher Elias Diaz, who was trying to defuse the situation. The benches from both sides emptied onto the field, but no punches were thrown.
Musgrove, Donaldson and Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle were all ejected, and the Pittsburgh bullpen had to cover the final 8 1/3 innings.
Because Musgrove threw only 18 pitches, he will be able to come back Thursday, the final time the clubs will play this year.
"I'll move on," Musgrove told reporters. "I felt really good going into (Monday), had a good game plan, stuff felt good in the first inning. Come back with a new approach and get ready to face them on Thursday."
Musgrove (4-6, 4.40 ERA) will be opposed by veteran Atlanta right-hander Julio Teheran (4-4, 3.03), who has posted a 0.70 ERA over his past seven starts.
Teheran threw a combined 11 scoreless innings over his past two starts. On Saturday against the Miami Marlins, he threw six scoreless innings and allowed only two hits in a game the Braves won 1-0.
"Command would be the biggest thing," Atlanta catcher Tyler Flowers said of Teheran's improvement. "It really opens up and gives him a little more margin for error on the off-speed stuff. Also, the slider, he's having a real good feel for. His two-seam fastball is really helping him, too. Makes the plate seem a little bigger for the hitters and still gives him the four-seam he can run up the zone later in at-bats."
Teheran has good history against the Pirates. In 11 career appearances (10 starts) he is 4-1 with a 2.38 ERA. He faced them twice in 2018, going 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA and striking out 10 in 14 innings. He has not pitched against the Pirates this year.
Prior to Monday's early ejection, Musgrove had snapped a two-game losing streak in beating the Braves on June 5. He pitched eight-plus innings and allowed three runs on five hits. He walked one and struck out six. Musgrove left after giving up back-to-back homers to Ronald Acuna Jr. and Dansby Swanson in the ninth inning.
Musgrove is 2-0 with a 3.98 ERA in four career starts against the Braves. The first two starts came when he was a member of the Houston Astros.
--Field Level Media