Despite 3 strong innings from Johan Oviedo in his team debut the Pittsburgh Pirates fell to the Toronto Blue Jays at PNC Park on Friday night
Friday night at PNC Park the Pittsburgh Pirates kicked off a three-game interleague series as they welcomed the Toronto Blue Jays to town. The series got off to a rough start for the Pirates as they were defeated by the Blue Jays 4-0, falling to 49-82 on the season.
Johan Oviedo impresses in Pirate debut
After being promoted as a September call-up on Thursday, Johan Oviedo made his debut with the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night. In his first big league appearance with the Pirates since being acquired in the Josè Quintana trade the young righty impressed.
Oviedo, who is continuing to get stretched out as a starting pitcher, gave the Pirates 3 innings. Oviedo did not allow a run, allowed two hits, walked three, and struck out four. He made an immediate impression striking out all three batters he faced in the 1st inning.
Striking out the side in order in the 1st inning was part of Oviedo generating nine swings-and-misses. His fastball sat in the high-90s, looking like a power fastball with sufficient movement. Oviedo also did an excellent job limiting hard contact, as the Blue Jays only put two balls in play off of Oviedo with an exit velocity greater than the league average exit velocity of 88.3 MPH.
This start was a great first step for Oviedo toward putting himself in position to enter the offseason with a leg up on the competition for a rotation spot in 2023. Acquiring Oviedo from the division rival St. Louis Cardinals may prove to be a tremendous trade by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Tyler Beede hit hard in the 4th inning
After Oviedo’s night ended Derek Shelton handed the ball to Tyler Beede. Matt Chapman doubled off of Beede to start the inning, and this was the start of Beede’s struggles continuing as the Blue Jays would break the scoreless tie.
Following the Chapman double, Cavan Biggio reached on an infield hit that left his bat at 107.6 MPH. Santiago Espinal then ripped a 93.8 MPH double to plate both Chapman and Biggio, giving the Blue Jays a 2-0 lead.
After inducing a ground out Beede hit Vlad Guerrero Jr. with a pitch, giving the Blue Jays runners on the corners with two outs. Teoscar Hernandez then hit a ball 99.2 MPH that appeared to be ticketed for left field to plate at least one, if not two more runs for the Blue Jays. However, Oneil Cruz would then intervene and make a play that, odds are, no other shortstop in baseball could make.
Chase De Jong continues to pitch well
Chase De Jong took over for the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 7th inning with the team trailing 2-0. In the 7th inning De Jong dispatched of the Blue Jays pretty easily, keeping the score at 2-0. De Jong then had to work hard in the 8th inning.
The Blue Jays loaded the bases with just one out in the inning. De Jong then engaged in a battle with Jackie Bradley Jr., but it was a battle he won with a strikeout. After falling behind in the count 2-0, De Jong then got perennial All-Star George Springer to fly out to left field to escape the jam and keep the score at 2-0.
2022 has been a breakout season for De Jong. He has been dynamite out of the Pirate bullpen and looks like a pitcher who could be carving out a spot in the bullpen moving forward. At this point, it looks like De Jong will be one of the Pirates key bullpen cogs entering next season.
Yohan Ramirez would allow a pair of runs in the top of the 9th inning, making the score 4-0 Blue Jays.
Game two of the series will see Roansy Contreras (3.57 ERA, 4.58 FIP) start for the Pittsburgh Pirates. As of this writing, Toronto’s starter had yet to be announced. First pitch from PNC Park is scheduled for 6:35 PM ET.