At 7:10 p.m. on Sunday, the Pirates and Atlanta Braves finish a four-game series with what could be an interesting pitching matchup — James McDonald took a no-hitter into the seventh and struck out eight in his last start, while the Braves’ Mike Minor hasn’t walked a batter in either of his last two starts and struck out nine Diamondbacks over eight innings a couple innings back. Minor is relying more heavily on his breaking stuff this year, and it looks like he might be emerging as one of the better young lefties in the majors.
Normally, of course, this would mean that we might expect the Pirates to get about three hits, and lose 2-0. But recent hot streaks by Pedro Alvarez and Jose Tabata might (or might not) give the Pirates a better chance of winning than they would have had a few weeks ago. Alvarez is 9-for-25 with two homers in his past seven games, while Tabata is 11-for-25 in his last seven. Those are small sample sizes, for sure, but those two players are finally hitting the ball with authority after struggling to do so in the first couple weeks of the season.