Adam Duvall finally confident as Braves wrap up series with Pirates

Adam Duvall led the National League in RBIs with 113 in 2021 and was an All-Star in 2016. But the 35-year-old outfielder, who also won a Gold Glove while helping the Atlanta Braves win a World Series three years ago, has struggled in 2024.

Make that, really struggled.

Duvall is batting just .167 this season and finally hit the 20-RBI mark in Saturday afternoon’s 2-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates when he led off the bottom of the 10th with a walk-off RBI single.

Duvall also saved a run in the sixth by making a leaping, highlight-reel catch up against the right field wall on a sharp fly ball from Michael A. Taylor.

Atlanta will be hoping Duvall stays in the zone when it goes for a three-game sweep of visiting Pittsburgh on Sunday morning.

“It felt good finally to come through for the team,” Duvall told Bally Sports. “I’ve been grinding a little bit, so to be able to do that feels good.”

Rookie right-hander Spencer Schwellenbach (1-3, 5.40 ERA) will make his sixth career big-league start for the Braves on Sunday. He will go up against Pirates left-hander Bailey Falter (3-6, 4.00), who is out to snap a personal four-start losing streak.

Falter is 1-1 with a 6.41 ERA in four career starts against Atlanta. He has made five starts since his latest win, which came at home against the Braves on May 24, when he allowed three runs on six hits over 7 1/3 innings.

Falter is 0-4 with a 6.63 ERA in four June starts, and he most recently gave up five runs (four earned) and five hits in four innings while facing the Cincinnati Reds on Monday. All five runs Falter allowed came in the fourth.

“Just got a little tired,” Falter admitted after his performance against Cincinnati. “Just wasn’t executing a lot of pitches. A lot of first-pitch balls compared to the first three innings. So, they just capitalized on it.”

Still, Pirates manager Derek Shelton had reason to be encouraged.

“I think the first time through (the lineup) he did a really good job executing the fastball at the top of the zone, inner half of the plate,” Shelton said. “It looked like in the fourth inning the ball just leaked back towards the middle, and because of that, we saw the hard contact.”

The 24-year-old Schwellenbach, a second-round pick out of Nebraska in 2021, has had a slightly better June than Falter, going 1-2 with a 5.40 ERA in four starts.

Schwellenbach is coming off Monday’s outing against the St. Louis Cardinals, a loss in which he yielded four runs on eight hits in five innings. It came six days after he picked up his first major league victory, helping Atlanta down the Detroit Tigers on June 18.

MLB Pipeline has Schwellenbach ranked as the No. 3 prospect in the Braves’ organization. Sunday marks his first career appearance against the Pirates.

Pittsburgh will be trying to end its struggles at Truist Park, which opened in 2017. Since then, the Pirates are 5-19 when paying Atlanta a visit.

–Field Level Media