Well, it's officially a funk. Sometimes the Bucs hit and don't pitch; sometimes they pitch and don't hit. When they can't do either, against the last place team in the West, well, it's time to worry.
And when you're shut out in back to back games 16-0 and have Tim Lincecum, Barry Zito, and Matt Cain on deck, look out, Loretta.
First, Bucco hurlers have to buckle down with two away. It was a 9-0 shellacking; eight of the nine runs came in with two out, and a half-dozen of those scored with two away and nobody on base. Two of those innings were started with walks.
Next, they have to square away the Freddy Sanchez situation. He's in an 0-for-20 streak, and you have to wonder if the contract and deadline are weighing on his mind. He had a spell like this a few weeks back, but ink the guy or move him, and let's get on with life.
Finally, it's becoming obvious that Virgil Vasquez isn't the answer. He's too cute on the mound and won't attack hitters, falls behind in the count, and gets whacked. We understand the options at Indy. Too soon to bring back Tom Gorzelanny and start his arbitration clock, and too much bad blood with Ian Snell.
But if Pittsburgh can't move Snell by the deadline, the suits have to get over their snit and plug him back into the rotation. He probably won't clear waivers for an August deal, but he could rebuild some value for the offseason.
--Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated writes that: "The Red Sox appear to be checking out shortstops, including Jack Wilson..."
-- Bruce Levine of ESPN-Chicago posted that: "The Cubs have had conversations with the Pirates about left-hander John Grabow, one of the best left-handed set-up men in the league. A bigger trade with Pittsburgh, for a starter like Zach Duke or Tom Gorzelanny, may be the right avenue to follow..."
So the Pirate suits apparently have no compunctions about dealing within the division.
-- Peter Gammons of ESPN reports that: "Whether it's...the gaggle of prospects the Pirates have indicated they need to move Zach Duke, the songs remain the same. The small-market teams say they think the big-market teams overvalue prospects."
Well, at least we know now that the Zachster's asking price is a "gaggle of prospects," whatever that means.