Pittsburgh Pirates: Injuries Starting to Hit Hard, SPs Struggles, & More Takeaways From Being Swept by Toronto
By Marty Leap
Injuries finally starting to hurt the team
The injury bug has already hit the Pirates hard this season. JT Brubaker and Mike Burrows have been lost for the season to Tommy John surgery, and they're currently joined on the injured list by Vince Velasquez.
Losing three of your top six or seven starting pitchers is a recipe for problems for any team. Those problems are starting to pop up for the Pirates. While he has a ton of potential, young righty Johan Oviedo is struggling right now.
Struggles for Oviedo are to be expected. After all, this is his first full MLB season. However, Oviedo struggle while the team is also battling injuries in the starting rotation is a major problem. Even if the Pirates would want to skip a start or two for Oviedo or shift him to the bullpen for a short period of time, they do not have enough starting pitching depth left to do so.
The lineup is being impacted by injuries as well. Andrew McCuchen missed the entire series due to an ankle issue and Ji Hwan Bae exited Friday's game with injury. Two tough blows for a lineup that is alreayd without their highest ceiling hitter in Oneil Cruz. The Pirates are really missing Cruz's defense as well.
Pittsurgh also misses Ji Man Choi more than many people likely thought they would. Sure, Choi was off to a slow start this season before landing on the IL, but he has a career 114 OPS+ and wRC+. With the lineup currently struggle and dealing with additional injuries, Derek Shelton would love to have Choi available right now.