Wednesday’s afternoon matchup is a fun one.
It’s a Roansy Contreras start, which itself is a headliner. This will also be the first time the Pittsburgh Pirates face their 2016 1st round pick (41st overall) prep pitcher Nick Lodolo, who didn’t sign. Lodolo decided to head to TCU which paid off in the end as he was then drafted 7th overall by the Cincinnati Reds in 2019.
On Tuesday the Pirates and Reds played a pair of games where the Pirates kept piling on the long ball in Cincy.
Johan Oviedo started game one for the Pirates and had his best start for them to date. Oviedo tossed five scoreless innings with two walks and four strikeouts, not allowing a hit until the fifth inning. That would in fact be the Reds sole hit against Oviedo. 65 of his 74 pitches were either a fastball or slider, with his fastball reaching as high as 99.7 MPH.
Bryan Reynolds got the Pirates on the board first with an RBI single in the third inning, knocking in Michael Chavis who lead off the inning with a single.
In the fourth inning, Ke’Bryan Hayes hit his first HR of the season since August 7th, for his 7th of the year and a 2-0 lead.
In the fifth inning, Reynolds wanted another steak and connected for his 23rd HR of the season.
Cal Mitchell, who has been on fire since his recall, hit a two-run HR in the sixth just after Chavis doubled to give the Pirates a 5-0 lead.
Zach Thompson took over in the bottom of the sixth and would give up hits to the first two batters he faced. Fortunately Jonathan India was thrown out attempting to advance to 2B (my assumption is he didn’t expect the ball to be thrown directly into 2B as he wasn’t even close) with TJ Friedl advancing to 3B and would score on a groundout from the next batter.
Thompson pitched 2.2 innings in total with only the one earned run given up. Manny Banuelos replaced Thompson in the 8th and finished with 1.1 scoreless innings and one strikeout.
The Pirates would add another run in the top of the 9th on back-to-back doubles by Hayes and Ben Gamel for the games final score of 6-1.
Luis Ortiz pitched game two for his MLB debut and he came out firing. He was hitting 98-99 from the get go, and flashed triple digits by the second batter with his fastball.
It didn’t stop there either as he was still upper 90’s into the sixth inning. Luis Ortiz filled the strike zone with 56 of his 88 pitches going for strikes. He threw a total of 53 fastballs and 27 sliders with three changeups mixed in. Ortiz generated 11 whiffs for a total of 26 called strikes and whiffs. Unfortunately he couldn’t finish the sixth and barely missed out on claiming his first big league victory in his debut. Through 5.2 IP he allowed only a single hit, three walks, and five strike outs. Of balls put in play, he had an average exit velocity of 82.7 MPH (per Baseball Savant).
Chase De Jong came in for Ortiz in the sixth inning and stranded the lone inherited runner on a first pitch flyout. In the top of the seventh inning Rodolfo Castro scored the only run after hitting a double and coming home on a Kevin Newman single. De Jong then pitched the bottom of the inning to complete his 1.1 innings with one walk and one strike out.
Yohan Ramirez pitched the bottom of the eighth and retired all three batters on 14 pitches with one strike out. In keeping the appearances short on this day, Derek Shelton used Duane Underwood Jr. for the ninth and Underwood closed it out on 16 pitches for his first save of the season.
The Pirates managed to only use five bullpen arms in total for the double header which leaves them rather fresh for a quick turnaround into Wednesday’s early game.
Not sure who had Oviedo and Ortiz combining for 10.2 scoreless innings with only two hits allowed on their bingo card (no one’s hand should be raised), but it was a very welcoming day from the young starters.
Pirates @ Reds
Time: 12:35 PM EST
Pirates Starter: Roansy Contreras (5-4, 3.29)
Reds Starter: Nick Lodolo (4-5, 3.78)
Contreras Notes: Roansy Contreras has been on a recent stretch of facing expected playoff teams. He’ll finally get a slight break against the Reds who have the 21st offense in the MLB with a .692 OPS. His previous four starts were against four of the top six in MLB by OPS. His previous five starts were all top five if you want to include the Boston Red Sox. Contreras last faced the Reds on July 7th where he went six innings with seven strike outs and one earned run.
— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) September 14, 2022
1. TJ Friedl (L) LF
2. Jonathan India (R) 2B
3. Kyle Farmer (R) 3B
4. Donovan Solano (R) 1B
5. Aristides Aquino (R) RF
6. Nick Senzel (R) CF
7. Spencer Steer (R) DH
8. Jose Barrero (R) SS
9. Austin Romine (R) C