The Pittsburgh Pirates enter the final stretch of games in the 2022 season with back-to-back three game series against the St. Louis Cardinals — one on the road before finishing at home.
It’s been a very trying year for the Pirates, but even with six games left — all against a team that has already clinched a playoff birth — there are still plenty of things to play for if you are Pittsburgh.
Avoiding 100 Losses
It won’t be easy, as they will have to win four of their last six games, but I’m sure crazier things have happened. They are coming off a sweep of the Reds, a team that you could probably say the Pirates should beat, if that’s an actual thing from an organization who will likely lose 100 games again this season.
I can’t imagine the Cardinals completely stepping off the pedal, even with a playoff spot locked up, so the Pirates are going to have to fight to get to that 63rd win of the season.
Can The Rotation Close Strong?
If there has been one bright spot for the team the last month it’s been the rotation, who has turned in some fantastic starts in September. Bryse Wilson was the latest, pitching eight shutout innings only to get a no-decision after the bullpen failed to hold the lead.
Luis Ortiz has been fantastic in his first few starts at the major league level and Mitch Keller continues to takes the kind of steps you want to see from a former top prospect. Maybe the best sign from him was his ability to work around not having his best stuff and still pitched five strong innings.
Six games against the Cardinals seems like a really good test to close things out.
Johan Oviedo could potentially get two more opportunities to pitch against his former team to show that he could have absolutely stayed in the rotation.
Oneil Cruz, Complete Hitter?
It’s been an interesting couple of games for shortstop Oneil Cruz, but in a good way. He’s really showing progress as of late, and picked up 10 hits in his last four games. Two things that make that even more impressive, he hasn’t struck out in any of those games and hasn’t had a multi-K contest since September 20.
He also hasn’t hit a home run in that time frame, which for someone with his power, is a shock he’s been this hot without putting one over the fence. Cruz came close, but hasn’t gone deep since September 18 against the New York Mets.
The defense can do a little work, but there isn’t anything new on that.
With his raw power and arm strength, Cruz has the natural talent that few possess that will also help him cover for some of his shortcomings.
Just imagine the potential once he starts to figure things out.
Just As Simple As New Surroundings?
This is one of those moves you would have liked to see a little bit earlier in the season to get more of an idea, but Miguel Andujar is going to be one of the more interesting names to watch in 2023. He’ll get every opportunity to rediscover his rookie year form where he hit 27 home runs with the Yankees.
He has six more games to make his mark to send him into the off-season.
Pirates Prospects Spotlight
Daily Video Rundown
Today: Final Stretch
Yesterday: Pirates Sweep the Reds
Pirates Prospects Daily Articles
Song of the Day
Anthony began writing over 10 years ago, starting a personal blog to cover the 2011 MLB draft, where the Pirates selected first overall. After bouncing around many websites covering hockey, he refocused his attention to baseball, his first love when it comes to sports. He eventually found himself here at Pirates Prospects in late 2021, where he covers the team’s four full season minor league affiliates.