• Exclusives

    Home series with the Bucs

    By Tara Rowe

    Having dominated the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Braves arrived in Los Angeles ready to face the team leading the National League in wins. They got off to a rough start behind now demoted Jair Jurrjens, but they salvaged two games of the series with the help of now 40-year-old third baseman Chipper Jones and continued pitching brilliance from Mike Minor and Brandon Beachy. The Braves left Chavez Ravine having taken 2 out of 3 from the red hot Dodgers. Not bad for a team that got off to an 0-4 start.

    The Braves had 24 hits in the 3-game series. Game 2 showcased a 3-for-3 night for rookie Tyler Pastornicky who had been on the bench for three games. And game 3 included a 2-for-3 night for the slow-starting Dan Uggla, including 2-out RBI. The offense may not have scored as many runs in L.A. as in Arizona, but they continued to get hits and often from the most unlikely of places.

    HEADING HOME FOR THE BUCS…

    Today the Braves start a seven-game homestand that includes four games with the Pittsburgh Pirates and three with division rivals the Philadelphia Phillies. The Pirates have gone 8-10 to start the season with a miserable 3-6 on the road.

    Friday: Burnett (1-0, 0.oo) vs. Hanson (2-2, 3.38)

    Saturday: Bedard (0-4, 2.63), vs. Delgado (2-1, 5.74)

    Sunday: Correia (1-0, 2.00) vs. Hudson (0-0, 0.00)

    Monday: TBD vs. Minor (2-1, 3.42)

    Keys to having a winning series at Turner Field with the Pirates include having a successful outing from Tim Hudson, one that doesn’t tax the bullpen too much to open the series; taking each opportunity the Pirates give with runners in scoring position; and, getting to Burnett and Correia early.

    In his 2 games at Triple-A Gwinnett, Hudson pitched 10.2 innings, with an 0.84 ERA, giving up 8 hits, 5 walks, and striking out 8. Hudson had a 2-0 record at Gwinnett. Hudson looked sharp and said that his surgically repaired back felt well. Sunday night will be his first test against major league hitters.

    The Braves begin the series tied with Houston for most runs scored in the National League. They’re also leading the league in RBIs. To continue this trend, the Braves will have to manufacture runs with speed, something Jason Heyward and Michael Bourn are doing exceptionally well at, and coming through with runners in scoring position (RISP). The Braves rank 16th in Major League Baseball in runners left on base (LOB) and 24th in runners left in scoring position.

    In his first outing since fracturing his orbital bone while attempting a bunt, Burnett is looking to continue his success at Turner Field. Burnett started in place of Kevin Correia who was a late scratch due to left side discomfort. Correia has had several solid outings, but has been the victim of poor run support. Correia remains the listed probable pitcher for Sunday afternoon’s game.

    The series gets underway tonight at Turner Field at 7:35 p.m. (EST).