The Braves kick off their second series in as many weeks tonight with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Kevin Gausman will take the mound for the opener in what could be his last chance at staying in this Braves rotation.
Last week, against the Pittsburgh Pirates, was the tipping point for Kevin Gausman. Coming off a nightmare start against the Washington Nationals, in which Gausman got hit for 8 runs, his next start against Pittsburgh was only slightly better. In Pittsburgh, Gausman got hit for another 7 runs. The Braves responded by signing Dallas Keuchel, an unspoken death sentence for Gausman’s prospects to stay in the starting rotation.
The arrival of Keuchel has been delayed by inclement weather, so Kevin Gausman will be called on for another start, maybe his last for the Braves. That doesn’t mean Gausman can’t find innings on this team. Those innings will most likely be coming from the bullpen, but that’s a role Gausman has played with Baltimore, too. In a small sample size, 35 innings, Gausman has been used in the bullpen before. It’s not where he wants to be, but with two effective pitches, which is what Gausman has, he will be able to get guys out in the bullpen.
It’s not ideal for a guy who is looking to be a starter, but if he has a decent start tonight against the Pirates, there’s a possibility the Braves could even use Gausman as a trade chip. The Braves are looking for any useful arms they can get at the moment so I wouldn’t count on the Braves shopping him aggressively. The Braves want Gausman to bounce back, and that can start tonight with a good outing.
The Braves will play tonight a 7:40 P.M. at home. The Pirates will be pitching Joe Musgrove, a guy who beat the Braves last week in a great 8 innings. With the offense looking better, the Braves will look to avenge last week’s loss.