The Pirates' long homestand concludes with a four-game set against the Braves, who are almost certainly the best team in the early part of the 2013 season. The Braves are currently 12-2 and they've outscored opponents 68-27 (that is, the most runs scored and the fewest allowed) on the season. They're just steamrolling teams pretty much every night.
Of course, the Pirates are playing pretty good baseball themselves recently. They're 6-2 since the series in Los Angeles ended and the offense has really come to life. Honestly, I'm pretty excited to watch this series, if only to use as a measuring stick for the Pirates. The Bucs need one win in the next four games to guarantee a winning homestand against the Reds, Cardinals, and Braves. More than that would be a really good result against a really good Braves team.
Tonight, Jeff Locke takes the mound against Julio Teheran. Locke hasn't been very good in either of his two starts, but he's at least kept the Pirates in both games that he's pitched. Teheran has definitely been the Braves' worst starter thus far. In his two starts, he's allowed nine of the 28 total runs the Braves have allowed as a team this season. In other words: the Pirates break out the bats tonight and see if they can't start the series off with a win because Hudson, Maholm, and Medlen are waiting in the wings.
First pitch tonight is at 7:05.