Roansy Contreras didn’t dazzle, but he showed why there’s reason to be excited for his future.
Facing the reigning World Series Champion Atlanta Braves who currently hold the first Wild Card, Contreras put up his best MLB start to date.
Ronald Acuna Jr. lead off the game with a double that would be the hardest ball hit of the evening at 110.6 MPH (per Baseball Savant). Contreras then set down the next three batters on 11 pitches. Roansy continued to throw strikes throughout his start, throwing 67% of his 89 pitches for strikes. Although the Braves did draw three walks to go along with their four hits.
Contreras was going back and forth with Braves starter Jake Odorizzi, keeping the game in a 0-0 tie until the fifth inning, when a couple of young Braves’ rookies ended the tie game. To start off the fifth inning, rookie 2B Vaughn Grissom singled to left field. Two pitches later, rookie OF Michael Harris II hit a hanging curveball to left center for a 2-0 lead.
In the bottom of the inning Oneil Cruz — looking to break out of a slump — took an inside 87.7 MPH cutter from Odorizzi and hit it 108.7 MPH (per Baseball Savant) into the Clemente Wall stands.
The three total runs scored between both teams in the fifth inning would be all the offense scored on the evening. Neither starter surrendered another run and the bullpens for both teams combined to allow only one hit and one walk the rest of the way. Contreras ended up going seven innings for the first time in the big leagues with his last seven inning start coming with the Altoona Curve in June of 2021. Contreras has now gone at least six innings in each of his last three MLB starts.
Roansy continued to lean heavily on a Fastball-Slider combo throwing the two for a combined 89% of his pitches. The fastball topped out at 97 MPH and sat mostly 95 MPH. The Slider showed good separation coming in 10 MPH slower than the Fastball. He didn’t use them much but he flashed a curveball (8 pitches) and changeup (2 pitches). Trying to refine the two latter pitches and utilizing them more would be beneficial to future success. He’s going to need to miss more bats than the five strikeouts in seven innings he had Monday night as he only had a 31.6% groundball rate while giving up an average exit velocity of 94.8 MPH.
Braves @ Pirates
Time: 7:05 PM EST
Pirates Starter: JT Brubaker (3-10, 4.19)
Braves Starter: Max Fried (11-4, 2.60)
Brubaker Notes: JT Brubaker will take the mound after arguably the best start of his career. On August 18th Brubaker threw seven scoreless innings against the Boston Red Sox. He only allowed two hits, struck out seven batters, and didn’t issue a single walk. It was the second time of Brubaker’s career he completed seven innings with the only previous occasion happening on July 13th of this year against the Miami Marlins. It’ll be his 24th start of the season — matching last year’s total — needing only 4.1 IP to surpass last season’s MLB career high of 124.1 IP.
— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) August 23, 2022
1. Ronald Acuna Jr. (R) RF
2. Dansby Swanson (R) SS
3. Austin Riley (R) 3B
4. Matt Olson (L) 1B
5. Travis d’Arnaud (R) C
6. William Contreras (R) DH
7. Michael Harris II (L) CF
8. Vaughn Grissom (R) 2B
9. Robbie Grossman (S) LF
Raised in Cranberry Twp, PA, Jeff attended Kent State University and worked in Cleveland and Pittsburgh, before moving to New Orleans in September of 2012. His background is as an Engineering Designer, but he has always had a near unhealthy passion for Pittsburgh sports. Hockey and Baseball are his 1A and 1B, combined with his mathematical background, it's led to Jeff's desire in diving into analytics. Jeff is known as Bucs'N'Pucks in the comments, and began writing for Pirates Prospects in 2022 after contributing so many useful bits of information in the comment section.