If a win can be more than just a win, the Pittsburgh Pirates will go into a home series against the Atlanta Braves on Monday.
The Pirates lifted a weight after beating the visiting Milwaukee Brewers 2-0 on Sunday. Things were tense – Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton had used the word “frustrating” for the nights in a row – with six straight losses, only eight runs in those games, and the headache of helping Milwaukee pull out their winning streak of 11 games with three unilateral defeats before Sunday.
In fact, Pittsburgh have scored two runs in each of the last five games, but the two Sundays certainly had a different flavor.
“We needed a clean game like this. We needed a (well) executed start like this,” said Shelton of the relief Sunday’s win brought.
Atlanta also celebrates a feel-good victory and has won four out of six.
On Sunday, the Braves scored three times in ninth place to create a tie, then left-handed Max Fried – the scheduled starter on Monday – provided a wild 8-7 win over the Miami Marlins in 10th place.
“We never stopped,” Fried told Bally Sports, speaking of Sunday’s comeback win and the team in general. “We have been doing it for the past couple of years.”
Atlanta made it despite second baseman Ozzie Albies going 0 for 4 and finishing a series of five straight games with an RBI.
A win on Monday would put Atlanta at .500 for the first time since June 8th. Pittsburgh is showing no signs of sniffing .500 without a historically hot track despite its win on Sunday.
At the start of the series, Atlantas Fried (5-4, 4.16 ERA) will play against Pittsburgh’s right-hander Chase De Jong (0-3, 5.65 ERA).
De Jong, who has never competed against the Braves, faced a hard act to follow as Sunday starter Tyler Anderson pitched seven shutout innings. De Jong has lost three starts in a row after failing to make decisions three times.
At his last start, a loss to Colorado on Tuesday, he was a little upset and allowed five runs and nine hits in five innings, without walks and three strikeouts – especially when compared to his opponent German Marquez, who threw an A. Hitter after coming within three outs of a no-hitter.
That game was De Jong’s first game at Coors Field, a hitters’ park, and he believes that influenced him.
“Error fields will happen [in that park]”he said.” It’s just a matter of limiting them. “
Maybe it will help to be back at PNC Park on Monday.
On the pitching side, not the hitting side, Fried wins in an efficient, if not flashy, start against the New York Mets on Wednesday. In five innings, he allowed two runs and three hits, with two walks and seven strikeouts.
On the other hand, he didn’t have to be spectacular on a night when Atlanta scored 20 runs.
This game was a return from the IL after a bladder problem.
Fried is 1-0 with a 4.91 ERA in two career starts against Pittsburgh. That win came on May 23 when he gave up a run and four hits over seven innings with three walks and two strikeouts.