Pirates Preview: Contreras & Bucs Need to End Six-Game Skid
The Pittsburgh Pirates (20-14) are in danger of getting swept in back-to-back series after losing 8-2 Saturday night to the Toronto Blue Jays (20-14).
Johan Oviedo looked rough for a third straight game, and everything he threw seemed to get hit hard. As a result, Oviedo gave up six earned runs in five innings of work.
The Pirates have now scored a combined eight runs during this six-game losing streak.
First pitch at PNC Park is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. You can watch all of the action on AT&T Sportsnet, or listen to it on the Pirates radio network, 93.7 The Fan.
The chances of getting a game in Sunday seem very bleak. There are high probabilities of rain and scattered thunderstorms forecasted from 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Temperatures will range from 66-68 degrees, with a nine mph wind blowing southwest.
The Pirates will send out RHP Roansy Contreras (3-2, 4.09 ERA)
Contreras kept the Pirates in the game during his last start on May 2 against the Tampa Bay Rays.
During his 5.1 innings pitched, Contreras gave up six hits, four earned runs, four walks, and only struck out three on 99 pitches (62 strikes).
Contreras has struggled with the walks during the 2023 season, with 12 walks in April, and now already four in May.
Another aspect of Contreras that needs immense help is his four-seam. Not only are opponents hitting .402 off of it, but he’s only getting a 2.6% whiff rate on it.
Contreras has faced the Blue Jays once (one start) and holds a 1-0 record with an ERA of 1.50 in six innings pitched.
The Blue Jays will send out LHP Yusei Kikuchi (4-0, 4.02 ERA).
Kikuchi struggled mightily in his last start on May 2 against the Boston Red Sox.
The lefty managed to go only 4.1 innings, gave up nine hits, five earned runs (two homers), no walks, and struck out two on 93 pitches (57 strikes).
Kikuchi offers a four-pitch mix with a four-seam (42.6%), slider (33.6%), changeup (20.8%), and a curveball (3%). His four-seam averages around 95 mph.
Despite his clean 4-0 record, Kikuchi has some alarming trends, with opponents hitting .405 off of his four-seam and an average exit velocity of 93.3 mph.
In addition, opponents average 92.9 mph off of Kikuchi, which places him in the fourth percentile in 2023.
Kikuchi has played the Pirates twice (one start) and holds a record of 0-0 with an ERA of 7.11 in 6.1 innings pitched. Both games were in PNC Park.
Interesting Batting Match Ups
Blue Jays Hitters
- Matt Chapman: 0-3 with three Ks against Contreras
- Andrew McCutchen: 1-2 with a homer off of Kikuchi
- Bryan Reynolds has now extended his hitting streak to 11 games Saturday night.
- The Pirates’ attendance Saturday night was 34,882. That is the second-largest crowd this season and is only behind the home opener on April 7 when there were 39,167.
- Reynolds, with his double on Saturday night, gave him a 19 XBH this year. Reynolds finds himself only behind Wander Franco and Chapman for the lead.
- Surprisingly, the Pirates are still number one in the N.L. Central and lead Milwaukee by 1.5 games.
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