Friday, June 27, 2008

Three run homers...

Well, Jimmy Barthmaier certainly made the Bucco decision on who to send back down pretty easy. He was shellacked early and often, giving up a pair of 3-run homers, and Tampa cruised to a 10-5 victory.

The Pirates had one shining chance to make a game of it after clawing back from a 7-0 hole to a 7-4 count midway through the game. The first two runners reached, but in one of the uglier at bats this year, Chris Gomez kept bouncing down and in sliders foul to third.

He finally hit a fair hopper to the hot corner, and a 5-4-3 DP later, the Pirates had squandered opportunity's last knock. Hit it to right side next time, old timer, where the hole was a mile wide.

The Bucs can't bunt worth a diddly. Jack Splat and Nate McLouth both tried to drag bunts for base hits, and weren't close, one rolling out to the pitcher and the other popping up. Good idea, bad execution.

And new reclamation project Denny Bautista took a liner off the pitching arm. The stringbean doesn't have much meat to start with, and we'll find out later what the severity of the injury is.

The Pirate approach at the plate today was pretty good. They were patient at the dish, and as a result Ray's ace Scott Kazmir was gone after five innings, giving up a four spot after throwing 103 pitches. But the hole was too deep, again.

Now to see what happens tomorrow with Ty Taubenheim on the hill. If he pitches like Barthmaier, we may see JVB here next week.

On the Pirate front: Ty Taubenheim will get the call Saturday for the Bucs as the pitching Wheel of Fortune continues its spin. He's put together a string of 3 or 4 nice starts, although his stats are fairly pedestrian - he is 4-9 with a 4.60 ERA at Indy, striking out 61 and walking 33 in 90 innings.

Taubenheim, a 25-year-old RHP, made 13 appearances for Toronto in 2006-07. He was 1-5 with a 5.40 ERA for the Jays. Taubenheim is a finesse guy who throws the four standard pitches, including a high 80s fastball, and generally gets them over the plate.

JVB, despite the love expressed by the brass, apparently had enough nagging bumps and bruises to miss this call-up. Of course, that's what they said about Kevin Thompson, too, and look what happened to him.

On the minor league front: Yoslan Herrera, a 27-year old RHP, will be promoted to Indy from the Curve tonight to take Barthmaier's place.

> C Steve Lerud went from Class A Lynchburg to Altoona after batting .256 with eight home runs for the Hillcats. 1B Miles Durham, who's batting .348 with 14 home runs, was promoted from low Class A Hickory to Lynchburg.

> RF Jamie Romak hit his 12th home run for Lynchburg, where he's batting .296.

> RHP Brad Lincoln was roughed up at Hickory, allowing 7 runs on 8 hits in 5 innings of work. He struck out 5 without a walk. Lincoln is now 4-3 with a 3.65 ERA.

> SS Jordy Mercer, the Buc's 3rd round pick,, went from short-season State College to Hickory, so that he and 4th round selection SS Chase D'Arnaud, who will stay with the Spikes, can get some innings in the field without tripping over one another.

In his Hickory debut last night, Mercer went 2 for 4 with a double.


WilliamJPellas said...

I wonder if Lincoln is beginning to show a little weariness from his lack of work since being injured. He started out like a house on fire but has been pretty pedestrian of late. I still think he's the last, best hope among the Pirates' current minor league pitchers. If he can fully recover to his pre-surgery form, I expect him to become a dominant number one starter for us. Think, Ben Sheets. Maybe not Hall of Fame, but our best pitcher year in and year out, and an All-Star more often than not.

Hate to disagree with you, Ron, but I'm not with you regarding JVB. The guy just simply doesn't have it. He's had more than a cup of coffee (if still less than a full season) to show what he can do, and he's been utterly brutal in the bigs. The guy can't get anyone out. Now, whether that's because of his terrible injuries---though we salute him for giving it the ol' college try---or because he never was that great a pitcher and should have stayed a first baseman, I dunno. I don't think we'll ever be able to answer that question with certainty. But I've seen more than enough of him.

I'm also not sure what you have against Osoria (here referring to one of your earlier posts). No, the guy certainly isn't great. But what he does have is an absolute rubber arm and a willingness (and ability) to take the ball almost any time you ask him. There was even one game this year where he went five (5) innings, and when's the last time you saw a middle to back of the 'pen guy do THAT?

My point is, he saves an awful lot of wear and tear on other guys, and that that alone makes him quite a lot more valuable than his average-to-a-little-better-than-average raw statistics would indicate. Especially on THIS team, where our starting rotation is, in most cases, either 1) injured, 2) grossly underachieving, or 3) both.

WilliamJPellas said...

In other words, Osoria is definitely not great---no disagreement there---but he is fairly effective more often than not, and he is a particularly good fit for this team and its terrible starting rotation. More valuable to us than to some other teams, in other words. Your thoughts?

Ron said...

Will, I don't think we have anything at Indy ready to challenge for a starting role. It's just that the Bucs made such a big deal about JVB being their sixth guy, and when the chance came to put their money where there mouth was, they didn't.
And I couldn't agree more about Lincoln. My guess is he's going through a dead arm period now, which is to be expected after his layoff.
Osario is too streaky for me. And now he's in a rut, but keeps getting run out, night after night. And you're absolutely right, Will, that he's worked like a dog. But there comes a point when even an inning eater needs a break. Let Burnett get a couple of innings in, and maybe Frankie's rubber arm will snap back into shape. Now everything he throws is flat. Maybe with a little more life in his arm, his sink will come back.

WilliamJPellas said...

Methinks this entire pitching staff is on the brink and with it, the season. Things could get extremely ugly very quickly unless our guys can turn it around. The rotation is poor to mediocre, and nobody is throwing lots of innings. The bullpen---decent but definitely not great---is paying the price. If the 'pen gets abused into the ground, add that to the rotation, and all of a sudden we're in freefall.