|4:05 PM PT5:05 PM MT6:05 PM CT7:05 PM ET19:05 ET23:05 GMT7:05 4:05 PM MST6:05 PM EST6:35 PM VEN3:05 UAE (+1)6:05 PM CT, April 8, 2017
PNC Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Attendance: 31,756
Kuhl to make delayed season debut when Pirates host Braves
Atlanta Braves at Pittsburgh Pirates
- The Pirates are 11-6 at home versus the Braves since 2012, winning four of their five home series versus Atlanta over that span. Pittsburgh has won the season series versus Atlanta in each of the last three seasons (2014-16).
- For the second consecutive season, the Braves lost their season-opening series, losing two of three road games versus the Mets. Atlanta's starters allowed just five earned runs in 18.0 innings pitched in the series (2.50 ERA), but the Braves' bullpen pitched to a 6.30 ERA in the opening three games (seven earned runs in 10.0 innings pitched).
- The Pirates are 0-2 this season, losing two games at Boston to start 2017 (the third and final game of the series was postponed). Pittsburgh's number 1-4 hitters went a combined 3-for-35 (.086) over the two games, the lowest batting average this season by any team's first four hitters in the lineup.
- Brandon Phillips has hit 26 career home runs versus the Pirates, the fifth most all-time by any second baseman (based on career position) versus Pittsburgh behind Rogers Hornsby (55), Jackie Robinson (32), Ryne Sandberg (30) and Jeff Kent (27).
- Mike Foltynewicz went 5-0 with a 3.88 ERA over his last nine starts last season after going 4-5 with a 4.60 ERA over his first 13 starts. However, Foltynewicz is 0-2 with a 10.80 ERA in two career starts versus the Pirates.
- Ivan Nova won his only career start versus the Braves, throwing 7.0 innings of shutout baseball at Atlanta on June 11, 2012. Nova's teams are 7-1 in his eight career starts versus NL East opponents, winning each of his first seven starts before losing his last one, 6-1, versus Washington on September 24 of last season.
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PITTSBURGH -- Saturday is an adjustment on the fly for Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander Chad Kuhl, who makes his season debut when he starts against the Atlanta Braves at PNC Park.
Things were falling beautifully in place before his scheduled start Thursday afternoon against Boston got wiped out by a rain postponement.
"It is what it is. It comes with our game," Kuhl said Friday.
The 24-year-old broke into the majors last season, going 5-4 with a 4.20 ERA and 1.32 WHIP in 14 starts -- several of them spot starts -- with 53 strikeouts and 20 walks. He was impressive enough that he was pretty much given a spot in the Pittsburgh rotation from the start of spring.
"Going in, I had nothing but good feelings ... knowing that I had a spot," Kuhl said. "It wasn't in pen yet, but I had my spot kind of figured out already."
During the spring, manager Clint Hurdle backed Kuhl wholly.
"The work that was done lets you know he can compete at this level," he said.
Kuhl tailored his timing to start Thursday. Several relatives traveled to Boston from his hometown in Delaware.
"I woke up (Thursday) really excited to get a chance to pitch against the Red Sox in Fenway. It's just one of those things. You've got to move on. You just get used to it in the game of baseball.
"When your family can make that trip, (a rainout) is always disappointing. I apologized. It seemed as though they had an all-right time in Boston. They enjoyed the trip, even though I didn't pitch."
Kuhl's parents, if not the full original gang, are expected to be at PNC Park Saturday.
"You've got to just go with the flow," Kuhl said. "There are ups and downs just within a game. There's definitely going to be ups and downs in your season. It's one of those things where you just kind of have to adjust and just go with it. This isn't a bad alternative, opening up (my season) at home. It's a really good option."
Kuhl is expected to face knuckleballer R.A. Dickey in the second game of the series following a 5-4 Pirates win Friday.
The Braves had 10 hits, but they couldn't punch in runs at critical moments and fell to 1-3.
"Eventually that ball's going to find holes, pierce the gap and we'll be the recipient of something good," Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said.
Dickey, the third-oldest active player at 42 and a 2012 NL Cy Young Award winner, makes his debut with Atlanta, his sixth club. He has been reliable, averaging 31 starts over the past seven seasons.
"I'm excited to get the season started because I think we're healthy and we're ready," Dickey told the Atlanta Journal Constitution after his last spring start, an exhibition against the Yankees. "I know I certainly am. My hope was to build all spring to the end and feel like I was 100 percent and had all my weapons in the holster. I do feel that way."
In five Grapefruit League starts, Dickey had no scoreless innings, but against the Yankees he pitched a couple of scoreless frames, with one hit, two strikeouts and no walks.
"I just wanted to refine my knuckleball as much as I could," Dickey said. "I probably had the best knuckleball I've had all spring (against the Yankees), which is exactly the way you want it."
Dickey went 10-15 with a 4.46 ERA last season with Toronto, and he has a 3-2 record with a 2.55 ERA in his career against Pittsburgh.
Updated April 7, 2017