Coming into the 2023 season, few fans expected the Pittsburgh Pirates to find success in the pitching realm. In fact, you would’ve been hard-pressed to find any that expected to see a shutout, let alone two.
Then, Johan Oviedo (and Mitch Keller) answered the call.
Oviedo was tabbed to start against the Kansas City Royals and had no problem mowing them down in a 5-0 win, but the biggest thing that stood out about it was that it was almost nonexistent. Because of the storylines around it, it became our seventh best game of the season.
After eight stellar innings, manager Derek Shelton considered pulling Oviedo at 97 pitches, but thanks to Endy Rodriguez, who vouched for him to stay in and finish the job, he was given a chance at a milestone. Needless to say, Rodriguez knew what he was talking about.
With 112 pitches under his belt, Oviedo earned his first-career shutout. In the game, he struck out five hitters and allowed just two hits.
Oviedo was aided by his offense, especially Ke’Bryan Hayes, who went 4-for-4 with a RBI double. He also made several notable plays on defense which helped keep momentum on the Pirates’ side.
PLATINUM GLOVE. NOW.— Platinum Ke’Bryan (@PlatinumKey13) August 29, 2023
Ke'Bryan Hayes is the best defender in MLB. Period.
Oh, and he's 3-3 tonight too pic.twitter.com/vHxir9ujSk
The shutout kept the Pirates motivated over the rest of the series as they swept the Royals and outscored them 15-4 across all three games.
For a team that normally slugs their way through the latter months of the season, Oviedo helped give fans some post-Trade Deadline excitement while etching his name in the history books as well.
It’s a shame Oviedo will miss the upcoming season after undergoing Tommy John Surgery, but at least fans will have this game to look back on.