Pirates-Braves Preview


Having struggled against left-handed pitching for much of the season, the Atlanta Braves will be facing a particularly tough assignment as they look to sweep the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Braves will try for their fifth straight victory Wednesday when the Pirates send red-hot southpaw Wandy Rodriguez to the mound at Turner Field.

Andrelton Simmons extended the winning streak Tuesday with a game-ending double in the 10th inning as Atlanta came from behind in a 5-4 victory over slumping Pittsburgh (35-24).

"I made good contact," said Simmons, who is batting .356 during a 10-game hitting streak. "I made the adjustment to go the other way and fortunately I did it.''

Trailing by two runs in the sixth, the NL East-leading Braves (36-22) tied it on B.J. Upton's homer - his second in three games - off right-hander Ryan Reid after lefty starter Jeff Locke had departed.

"You're looking at what you feel is your best matchup at the time and it didn't work out,'' said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle.

The Braves managed six hits in 5 2-3 innings off Locke, leaving them with a .177 batting average versus left-handers since May 28.

Atlanta hopes to reverse that trend as it looks for its sixth win on an eight-game homestand that concludes Wednesday against a Pittsburgh team that has lost four of five.

It doesn't figure to be an easy task with Rodriguez (6-3, 3.47 ERA) taking the ball in this finale.

Rodriguez was very good again versus Cincinnati on Friday, but had his four-start win streak snapped with a 6-0 loss. He limited the Reds to two runs over seven innings and is 4-1 with a 2.90 ERA in his past five outings.

The left-hander has been outstanding against the Braves, going 3-2 with a 1.58 ERA in his last nine starts. He yielded one hit over seven innings in a 6-0 home win April 19.

Although he's batting .163 versus lefties this season, Jason Heyward had the only hit off Rodriguez in that contest and is 5 for 11 lifetime in this matchup. Heyward also has four hits in his last two games after going hitless in 18 at-bats over his previous six contests.

Teammates Dan Uggla (4 for 25) and Justin Upton (2 for 13), however, have had far less success against Rodriguez.

Atlanta counters with right-hander Julio Teheran (3-2, 3.71), who is 3-2 with a 2.49 ERA in his last seven starts.

He had a career-high nine strikeouts and gave up three runs over 6 2-3 innings in a 3-2 loss to Washington on Friday.

Teheran, though, wasn't sharp in his only career start against the Pirates. He was reached for four runs and seven hits - two homers - over five innings before leaving without a decision in a 6-4 road win April 18.

Pedro Alvarez and Russell Martin took Teheran deep in the Pirates' only loss in that four-game series.

Alvarez is 7 for 19 with two homers and four RBIs in his last five games at Turner Field after homering for the second time in three games Tuesday.

Andrew McCutchen is 5 for 12 with three doubles and three RBIs in his last three against the Braves.

What to Read Next