Pittsburgh Pirates: Johan Oviedo Needs to Improve 1st Inning Woes

Chicago White Sox v Pittsburgh Pirates
Chicago White Sox v Pittsburgh Pirates / Justin K. Aller/GettyImages

When Johan Oviedo takes the ball for the Pittsburgh Pirates against the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday night, he needs to improve upon his 1st inning struggles

Saturday night Johan Oviedo will start for the Pittsburgh Pirates. The young righty will be looking to help the team get back on track in game two of their three-game series agains the Toronto Blue Jays. He will also be looking to overcome an issue that has plagued him all season - the 1st inning.

Overall, Oviedo has pitched well this season. In six starts he has pitched 32 innings, posting a 4.78 ERA and a 3.83 FIP. His ERA certainly does not tell the entire story as it is ballooned by a poor start last time out agaisnt the Washington Nationals. He has walked 8.2% of batters faced, struck out 20.4%, and has allowed just three home runs (0.84 HR/9).

The three home runs that Oviedo has allowed is a sign of his 1st inning struggles. All three of those home runs came in the 1st inning of his first start of the season against the Boston Red Sox. Since then, he has not allowed a home run.

Oviedo has allowed 17 earned runs on 35 hits and three home runs this season. He has allowed 9 of those runs on seven hits and all three of his home runs in the 1st inning of games. Also, two of the seven doubles he's allowed this season came in the 1st inning.

His 1st inning ERA is 10.50. In innings 2 through 7, it is just 3.46. His opposing slugging percentage and on-base percentage also drop substantially after the 1st inning. So, whatever it is that's plaguing Oviedo in the 1st inning, it needs to be solved.

Maybe Oviedo needs to change something in his pregame warm up or routine. Perhaps changing up his pitch selection or method of attacking hitters in the 1st inning would benefit him. Whatever needs done, that is up to Oviedo and pitching coach Oscar Marin to solve.

Plus, if there was ever a time the Pirates are in need of Oviedo to step up with a strong start it is tonight. The Pirates have lost a season high five games in a row to drop to 20-13 on the season. However, thanks to the Milwaukee Brewers also struggling, the Pirate lead in the NL Central remains 1.5 games.

Hopefully, Oviedo will overcome his 1st inning woes and turn in a strong strart. This would be a big step toward the Pirates snapping their five-game losing streak. This skid started in a game Oviedo started, now let's hope ends in a game started by Oviedo.

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