NL Central champ Cardinals face Pirates, old friend Johan Oviedo
According to STATSAccording to STATS
Pittsburgh Pirates at St. Louis Cardinals
- Over the last six seasons, the Cardinals are 64-35 (.646) against the Pirates and have outscored them, 501-384. That is the fourth-best record among NL teams against a single divisional opponent in that span, behind the Dodgers (vs. Padres and Rockies) and Braves (vs. Marlins).
- The Pirates completed their fourth series sweep of the season on Wednesday against the Reds and are one victory shy of their longest winning streak of the season, which they've accomplished twice. Last season, Pittsburgh had zero series sweeps for the entire season.
- Johan Oviedo allowed three hits over 7.0 scoreless IP in his last start, matching the longest outing of his career. He'll be making his first appearance against the Cardinals since they traded him to Pittsburgh on August 2.
- The Cardinals have lost six of their last nine games, a stretch during which they're averaging 2.89 runs and are last in the majors with a .201 team batting average.
- Paul Goldschmidt has gone 17 games without a home run, one shy of his longest drought of the season (April 7-28). However, he's reached base safely in all 11 games against the Pirates this season with a pair of four-hit efforts and a .452/.558/.857 slash line, four homers and 11 RBI.
- Oneil Cruz has posted four straight multi-hit games for the first time in his career, going 10-for-19 (.526) with five runs scored. The only rookie Pirates shortstop to have a longer multi-hit streak is Dick Groat, who did so in seven straight games in 1952.
Notes Applicable For Series Dates: 9/30/2022 thru 10/5/2022
Pitcher Johan Oviedo will get his first chance to face his old team when the Pittsburgh Pirates visit the St. Louis Cardinals Friday.
Oviedo (4-2, 3.13 ERA) will start for Pittsburgh in the opener of a three-game series.
The Cardinals (90-66) sent Oviedo and infield prospect Malcom Nunez to the Pirates (59-97) for pitchers Jose Quintana and Chris Stratton before the trade deadline. Oviedo is 2-1 with a 3.05 ERA in five starts for the Pirates.
In his last outing, Oviedo blanked the Chicago Cubs for seven innings on three hits in a 6-0 victory. He walked nobody and struck out seven batters.
"He came out and commanded the zone, was really in control and he put us in good position," Pirates manager Derek Shelton said. "He did a good job of really pounding the zone and going after it. It's a good step forward."
After spending three seasons shuttling back and forth between the minors and majors, Oviedo is trying to finally establish himself as a big-league starting pitcher.
"I'm really happy and thankful, first of all, with the coaches and the staff and the work that we put into these past weeks," Oviedo said. "I was not looking at the strikeouts or pitch count, or anything. I was just trying to have fun every single pitch that I throw. Forget about the result, even if it was a good hit or a bad hit, or whatever happened in the game. I was just trying to have fun."
The Cardinals will counter Oviedo with Jack Flaherty (1-1, 4.97 ERA) as they prepare for postseason play. With the National League Central title in hand, manager Oliver Marmol plans to walk a fine line between rest and rust.
"It's a really good balance of keeping guys sharp and getting them rested, and you don't want to lose the edge of winning," Marmol told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "Will certain lineups look different? Are we going to rest guys? Will outings look shorter? Will we use our 'pen a little differently? Yes, to all of those. But you still don't miss on the small details of the game. That's the stuff that when I say sharp, you keep those things sharp."
Flaherty is 1-1 with a 4.71 ERA in four starts since returning from his latest bout of shoulder soreness.
He earned a 5-4 victory at San Diego in his last outing. Flaherty allowed three runs on five hits and four walks in six innings.
His nine strikeouts were a season high, as were his 99 pitches thrown.
"When he feels in control and in command of his stuff, that's what he is able to do," Marmol said. "He'll get the punch-outs. He's good throwing anything in any count, but it's establishing the fastball that allowed all that other stuff to play ... We'll build off of that, for sure."
Flaherty faced the Pirates earlier this month and allowed three runs on six hits and four walks in five innings. He didn't earn a decision in that game, which the Cardinals eventually won 7-5.
Rodolfo Castro and Jack Suwinski hit homers off Flaherty in the game. Cal Mitchell (2-for-4, double, RBI) has also had success against Flaherty, while Bryan Reynolds (4-for-22, five strikeouts) and Ben Gamel (0-for-5) have struggled against him.
--Field Level Media
Updated September 29, 2022