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.