The Pirates got a superb start from Johan Oviedo in St. Louis, but the offense, defense and bullpen all let him down. The result was a 3-0 loss to the Cards.
Oviedo went seven innings on 93 pitches. He fanned a career-high ten, walked one and allowed six hits. The high point in his outing came in the fourth, when the Cards put runners on the corners with nobody out. Oviedo fanned Nolan Gorman and Willson Contreras, then got Nolan Arenado on an easy fly.
Oviedo kept St. Louis off the board until the sixth. Even then, he should have escaped. With a runner on first and one out, Connor Joe, who was playing first base because of something something, botched a chance to get the out at second on a grounder. Gorman singled to center and Jack Suwinski had a chance to get the runner at home, but his throw sailed about 30 feet up the first base line.
The Pirates’ offense meanwhile missed chance after chance. Some of it was just bad luck. They piled up the triple-digit exit velocities against unimpressive St. Louis starter Jake Woodford, but the hits didn’t drop or the Cards made great plays. Andrew McCutchen, in particular, could easily have been 4-for-4 instead of 1-for-4.
Two of the biggest failures came in the second and fourth. In the second, the Bucs loaded the bases with one out, only to have Austin Hedges hit into a double play. In the fourth, Canaan Njigba-Smith singled with two out and stole second. Mark Mathias followed with a single, his first Pirate hit, but Smith-Njigba was easily out at the plate.
After wasting a leadoff double by Hedges in the fifth, the Pirates never threatened. They finished 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and, of course, the one hit just got them an out at the plate.
When Oviedo departed after the seventh, Derek Shelton went with Duane Underwood, Jr. That illustrated one of the problems the team faces: They have part of a good ballclub, but still have a lot of holes, mainly in the lineup and bullpen. Underwood, Colin Holderman and David Bednar have been effective in innings 7-9, and Dauri Moreta has been very good, but Shelton shouldn’t need to use the same four guys out of an eight-man bullpen whenever the game is in doubt.
Anyway, Underwood was ineffective, allowing two runs and retiring only one of the five batters he faced. Newly arrived Robert Stephenson had to get the last two outs in the eighth.
Having followed the Pirates fanatically since 1965, Wilbur Miller is one of the fast-dwindling number of fans who’ve actually seen good Pirate teams. He’s even seen Hall-of-Fame Pirates who didn’t get traded mid-career, if you can imagine such a thing. His first in-person game was a 5-4, 11-inning win at Forbes Field over Milwaukee (no, not that one). He’s been writing about the Pirates at various locations online for over 20 years. It has its frustrations, but it’s certainly more cathartic than writing legal stuff. Wilbur is retired and now lives in Bradenton with his wife and three temperamental cats.
Yep the outcome sucked but that’s baseball. Probably win that game 75% of the time. If we play the same way today and tomorrow we will win both games. The bigger story-and to everyone’s credit I’m seeing this from every poster-is Oviedo. If we hit on him as a top of the rotation starter then we’re really in a good place. Let’s face it without Cruz till late august and Brubaker till June 24 we’re capped at 75-80 wins despite the overall good play. This season is about Keller-Oviedo-Roansy establishing themselves as a legitimate 1-2-3 punch, late inning bullpen defined roles being established, Hayes becoming a functional bat and hoping an OF establishes himself. This team will be in the postseason in 2024, and I’m excited to watch every night right now despite knowing eventually they’ll become a 75-80 win team
The Pirates are 8-6 and assured they will complete the first 10% of the season at .500 or better, and we have already seen a lot from Reynolds, ‘Cutch, Santana, Joe, Cruz, Castro, Bae, Oviedo, and Hernandez. This is who we are and we should be very satisfied with the season so far.
A lot of comments about our hitting coaches, but here’s some food for thought – our worst 4 BB/K batters (Choi, CSN, Mathias, Bae) are a combined 6 BB/45 K. The other 11 hitters are 46 BB/70 K. Going in the right direction.
Is there a better MI/Utility player in AAA than Tucupita Marcano? So far he has played 2B, 3B, SS, and LF and has a slash of 422/458/689/1.147 OPS. Only 23, excellent BB/K numbers in AA and AAA in 2022, and the .689 Slugging so far in 2023 is an indication he can hit for plenty of Extra Base Hits. 45 AB, 19 hits, 7 doubles, 1 triple, 1 HR, 10 RBI.
Great with a capital G outing by Oviedo. Done in by an unlucky Pirates offense and a Connor Joe bobble.
Despite what WM said, no chance any CF throws out the runner from Cards who scored from 1B. And I mean any CF ever.
Oviedo, 10Ks, 1BB, 6 hits, 1run (1 WHIP of couse) over 7 tidy innings, that will be my takeaway on Friday nights usa game. Hope runs eternal we have something here, necessary i think, to take the next step for playoffs in 2024🤷♂️🙏
(Guess this is where some will insert Jim Mora playoffs GIF, sigh🤷♂️🤣)
He and Keller seem to have found the groove. VV did very well in his last outing, as did Hill. Hoping for something positive from Roansy.
Getting Oviedo and Malcom Nunez from the Cardinals in exchange for Quintana and Stratton at the trading deadline was very quiet, but had big upside possibilities for the Pirates. This year the Pirates will have Hill, VV, Choi, and a few others (not ‘Cutch) to take to market.
Hayes’ bat has been _so bad_ that we could plug Castro in at 3B and expect to win 2-3 more games ROS, imo.
There’s no question the Ke’Bryan’s hitting has been dismal but last nights game was a reminder of why he’s important, at least while we wait for some offense, i.e., “the Cardinal way.” They beat us with leather and by making no mistakes. It kept the score tied at zero until they managed a score of their own. Burleson threw out Smith-Njigba at the plate with a perfect throw. Arenado made a force at third and threw to first where Goldsmith made a ridiculous save while holding the bag for a double play erasing a Pirate run. Cutch hit three balls that could have been hits except for exceptional defensive plays. See where I’m going with this? Hayes brings great defense. Castro does not and his hitting doesn’t make up for the difference.
Like Castro and thrilled with how he and Bae playing multiple positions adds versatility, but Hayes is our 3B. In the last two years he has had negative Off numbers, +double figure Def numbers resulting in +2.0 fWAR in 2021, and +3.0 fWAR in 2022. If not mistaken, he was 3rd best in MLB in 2022 with like +18 Outs Above Average?
That’s simply a misunderstanding of what wins games. Stopping runs matters.
I’ll also say it’s really early and a tiny sample size… but I’ve been very underwhelmed with BC’s trades in aggregate. But this one is looking like it MIGHT be the best of the bunch.
I always watch the mlb highlights on you tube and it’s always interesting. Seeing Trevor Williams pitching to Josh Bell or Josh Harrison pitching in a blow out loss for a team in 2023 is mind blowing for me, lol.
I don’t know what Oviedo’s gamescore will be tonight but it will be pretty damn good. He had a 76 gamescore last outing. I’ll have to recount but in 5 years I think Gerrit Cole had 7 or 8 game scores higher than that.
Not arguing gamescore is everything but Oviedo has been flat out dominant the last 2 outings. Would love to see this continue.
don´t really care about the outcome of the game
with the way that that guy pitched, tonight was a humongous win for the future of the team
he sure did look like a horse