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Pirates Preview: Johan Oviedo & Bucs Head to Boston for Three



Pittsburgh Pirates- Johan Oviedo

On the heels of losing two straight to the Cincinnati Reds, the Pittsburgh Pirates look to right the ship in Boston as they face the Red Sox for three games before their home opener on April 7.

The Pirates lost the rubber match against the Reds 3-1, after a pitiful offensive display as they went 0-8 with runners in scoring position.

The Pirates’ best opportunity of the game occurred in the eighth inning with runners on the corners and just one out with Andrew McCutchen and Carlos Santana due up.

Cutch and Santana recorded unproductive outs, and the Pirates squandered an opportunity away.

The first pitch at Fenway Park is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. You can watch the game on AT&T Sportsnet or listen in on 93.7 The Fan.


At first pitch, the temperature should be around 49 degrees with a swirling 23 mph wind. The wind will be blowing southwest and will stay between 17-23 mph throughout the game.


The Pirates will send out Johan Oviedo to make his 2023 debut

In Oviedo’s last start of spring training, the Pirates successfully stretched him out to five innings of work, and probably put forth his best effort in doing so.

Oviedo induced 17 swings and misses against the Twins on March 28; he topped out at 98.5 mph, and used his slider effectively, getting nine whiffs out of the 17.

If Oviedo can use his slider as his primary weapon, the Pirates may have found themselves a decent starting pitcher for now, or at the very worst, a very capable bullpen arm.

Oviedo’s slider put forth a whiff% of 34 in 2022 (by far his best pitch) and held opponents to a .218 average with an average exit velocity of 84.9 mph.

Oviedo’s four-seam, on the other hand, has had some issues. Opponents hit .272 against it, and it didn’t seem to fool batters at all, with a whiff% of just 13.6%

Oviedo has never faced the Red Sox.

The Red Sox will send out Kutter Crawford, and yes, he throws a cutter

On top of throwing a cutter (31.5% usage in ’22), Crawford throws a four-seam (38.5% usage in ’22), curveball (16.9% usage in ’22), changeup (7.2% usage in ’22), and a slider (5.9% usage in ’22).

If there was any pitcher for the Pirates to get going against, it seems to be Crawford.

Crawford gives up a ton of hard contact, according to last year’s numbers ranking near the bottom of exit velocity at the 18th percentile, barrel% at 24, and ranking in the 45th percentile in hard hit%.

Opponents mashed Crawford’s four-seam in ’22 to the tune of .316 with a slugging percentage of .551. In fact, his three major pitches all got hit fairly hard. Crawford’s cutter gave up a batting average of .278, and his curveball wasn’t much better, at .260.

Kutter has never faced the Pirates before.

Interesting Batting Match Ups

Trevor Stroy is 0-3 against Oviedo

Raimel Tapia is 0-3 against Oviedo

The only Pirates’ position player to face Crawford has been Ji-Man Choi, and he is 1-6 with a double and three strikeouts.


  • With his eighth-inning single Sunday, Cruz extended his on-base streak to 13 games dating back to Sept. 23, 2022, the longest stretch of his young career.
  • This will be the Pirates’ fifth-ever trip to Fenway Park. The last time the Pirates faced the Red Sox in Fenway was in 2017 when they dropped all three games against Boston.
  • The Pirates placed J.T. Brubkaer on the 60-day IL to make room for their latest DFA pickup in RHP Edwin Uceta.


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