The numbers can be deceiving.
The Salt Lake Buzz pitching staff is second in the league with a 3.72 earned-run average, even with Saturday night starter Shane Bowers' 10.13 ERA and Saturday reliever Kevin Ohme's 18.00 ERA figured in.They had surrendered a league-low seven home runs, yet after Saturday's 15-1 loss to the Tucson Sidewinders, the Buzz are 6-8.
The pitching staff took a beating, but hitting was and still is non-existent, as they collected just six hits.
Entering the series opener with the Sidewinders, the Buzz were hitting an anemic .245 (the league's second-worst average) with only four homers (the league's worst). They're averaging just over four runs per game.
No wonder the Buzz are struggling with a sub-.500 record.
"We've got to get into a groove. We need to get more comfortable at the plate," Salt Lake manager Phil Roof said. "We're not being aggressive. No wonder they're (the Sidewinders) hitting .325. They walk up there and swing the bat and put the ball into play with authority. For us, it's ground ball out, ground ball out, ground ball out."
The Sidewinders, who lead the league in hitting with a .325 average, pounded out 20 on the foursome of Bowers, Ohme, Chris Cumberland and shortstop Es-te-ban Beltre, while Tucson starter Cory Lidle, on injury rehab from the Arizona Diamondbacks, allowed just two hits and struck out two while walking two in 42/3 innings, while reliever Chris Clemons was equally as impressive in earning the victory by allowing just one run on four hits.
Tucson scored single runs in the first and second innings before breaking the game open in the fourth inning on a three-run double by Edwin Diaz to take a 5-0 lead.
The Sidewinders plated three more runs in the top of the fifth to put the game out of reach at 8-0.
Salt Lake's Cory Koskie hit the Buzz's first home run at Franklin Quest Field in 1998 in the bottom of the sixth for Salt Lake's only run of the game.
The Sidewinders pulverized Salt Lake pitching in the top of the ninth as they scored seven runs on five hits, one error and two balks.
Diaz finished 2-for-3 with a double, triple and three RBI for Tucson, while Scott Stahoviak and Chad Rupp had two hit each for Salt Lake.
The two clubs square off today at 2 p.m. at Franklin Quest Field with RHP Ricky Bones (0-1, 4.11) facing off against LHP Neil Weber (1-0, 4.50).
BEE LINES: The Buzz loss came on a tough travel day. They finished a doubleheader at nearly 1 a.m. (MDT) in Vancouver and had a 5 a.m. wake-up call for a two-hour bus ride to Seattle. They finally arrived in Salt Lake at 1:45 p.m. for Saturday's 6 p.m. contest . . . Phil Roof is 43 wins away from 700 as a minor-league skipper . . . At the 13-game point last season the Buzz had 11 homers, while this year they had just four.