CINCINNATI -- Clint Hurdle is getting reacquainted with the expression, "Darned if you do, darned if you don't." Category: Pitching staff.
Getting more innings out of starting pitchers has been a concern for a couple of seasons, thus a target entering this one. So the burden placed on the relievers does not "catch up to them," Hurdle said.
The Bucs' rotation responded by going six-plus innings in 11 of the first 14 games. So the problem became having one key reliever with nothing to do: Entering Wednesday, Stolmy Pimentel had gotten into one game, albeit for four innings in the 16-inning extravaganza on April 2 with the Cubs. In Wednesday's 4-0 loss, Pimentel gave up one run on two hits in one inning.
"We're looking for an opportunity for him, but there hasn't been any with the length our starters have given," Hurdle said. "We've tried to pick a spot for him and haven't found it yet. We're looking hard for one now, actually hunting for something to get him out there."
Pimentel is one of two long men in the Pirates' bullpen, alongside Jeanmar Gomez, who gets first call.
"You don't want to use Stolmy and Gomez in the same game, ever," Hurdle said, "because that wipes out your long man for the next day."
There could soon be an undesirable solution: Next time a long man is needed, Pimentel could get the ball due to Gomez's ineffectiveness. Gomez has been hit hard in each of his four outings, allowing a total of 12 hits in 8 1/3 innings.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.