This could be a pivotal series for the Pirates. Jimmy Barthmaier made his major league debut tonight, and the results were predictable. He looks like he's got major-league stuff, but his minor league numbers indicated he wasn't ready. He had to be removed from the game after a couple innings, and the Bucs replaced him with the newly-acquired Denny Bautista, who pitched to three batters before being struck in the elbow with a ball. He then had to leave (who knows when he'll be ready to pitch again), and the Bucs put in Sean Burnett. At the end of the game, they used John Grabow and Matt Capps even though they were out of it.
The postponement of last night's series finale against the Yankees now looks like a blessing. Paul Maholm had given up three runs in the first inning, and while he showed signs of settling down before the game was called, it might have been a short outing.
Now the Pirates face at least two more days of what could be very bad starting pitching--Ty Taubenheim presumably pitches tomorrow, and Tom Gorzelanny is up the day after that. If neither of them can last three innings (and while no one likes a doomsayer, that seems like a real possibility), their bullpen will be seriously strained, particularly considering the injury to Bautista. Then after the series with the Rays, the Bucs are due to square off against Aaron Harang and Edinson Volquez on Monday and Tuesday. Harang's having a tough season, but his ratios are still good. Volquez has just been fantastic. These next few days may be a turning point for the Bucs.