Five days ago, I wrote that the next few days after that might mark a turning point in the Pirates' season. Fast forward to the present and Matt Capps is now gone, but the Bucs have won three of five despite starting the likes of Jimmy Barthmaier, Ty Taubenheim and, tonight, John Van Benschoten. Neither Barthmaier nor Van Benchoten were any good at all (Taubenheim was fine), but the Bucs made up for it with some contributions from unexpected sources--Adam LaRoche throughout, two scoreless innings from T.J. Beam on Saturday, Doug Mientkiewicz last night, Luis Rivas tonight. The Bucs also got a remarkable 6.1 scoreless innings from Denny Bautista, Sean Burnett, John Grabow and Tyler Yates tonight to win the game even after Van Benschoten got shelled.
Now, it's true that the Pirates are also getting help from more established sources like Xavier Nady (who hit two homers tonight), Jack Wilson and Jason Bay, but I would like to stop and ask you to read some of the names in that first paragraph again if it didn't already stop you.
Jimmy Barthmaier. Ty Taubenheim. T.J. Beam. Doug Mientkiewicz. Luis Rivas. Denny Bautista. Sean Burnett. Tyler Yates. That's a remarkably ragtag group of players. I'm not sure if Neal Huntington deserves credit for wringing wins out of them in the absence of half his rotation and his closer. Regardless, I look at a performance like the one the Pirates got from their bullpen tonight, and I have to smile.