It’s not unusual for players to shuffle between the Major League and Triple-A club.
But Austin Bibens-Dirkx has been spending lots of time on the Triple-A to Double-A shuttle.
He was transferred to New Hampshire on Sunday and spent less than 24 hours there before being promoted back to the Buffalo Bisons for the fifth time this season.
And while he takes every opportunity he can get to be on the mound, his performance Wednesday night fell on the disappointing side. Bibens-Dirkx took the loss as the Herd was shut out by the Syracuse Chiefs, 5-0, in front of 8,401 at Coca-Cola Field.
He gave up four runs on five hits in four innings. He issued two lead-off walks, one which came back to bite him in the third, and struck out three.
“Sometimes you get unlucky,” Bibens-Dirkx said. “I wasn’t making the best pitches in the world, especially when I needed to and that’s just kind of the way it goes.
“If you don’t make good pitches to good hitters then you’re going to pay for it.”
That’s what happened in the third when he walked Jeff Kobernus, the No. 9 hitter, to start the inning. Emmanuel Burriss then homered to center to give the Chiefs a 2-0 lead.
Syracuse scored twice more against Bibens-Dirkx in the fourth. Back-to-back doubles made it 3-0. Another run scored when Burriss hit the ball back to the mound, but Bibens-Dirkx went for the easy out at first instead of trying to get the runner breaking for home.
“I don’t think he had the good command he’s shown us in the past,” manager Gary Allenson said. “He’s been better out of the bullpen for us rather than the starts. … I think he’s probably broken the record for moves between Double-A and Triple-A but he’s handled it pretty well.”
It’s not just his team that’s been a moving target for Bibens-Dirkx this season but his role has been ever changing as well. He began the season as a starter in New Hampshire but in his 10 appearances for the FisherCats, six have been starts.
In Buffalo, he has pitched in 17 games and only four of those have been starts.
He got the call Wednesday after scheduled starter Esmil Rogers was called up to Toronto Tuesday.
“It’s the same anywhere you go,” Bibens-Dirkx said. “You just have to regroup yourself, mentally be strong and be ready to go out and help the team. Tonight, unfortunately, it didn’t work out in my favor but I hope next time it will.
“I’ve done everything pretty much in my pitching career. I just have to take the ball when they give it to me, go out there and do the best I can.”
While Bibens-Dirkx was struggling to make his pitches, Syracuse starter A.J. Cole was keeping the Herd offense silent.
Cole, the top pitching prospect in the Washington Nationals organization, picked up his third straight win. The Triple-A rookie threw seven scoreless innings, giving up just three hits, with no walks and six strikeouts.
The Herd made several other moves on Wednesday in addition to promoting Bibens-Dirkx.
Reliever Randy Boone got his first promotion of the year to the Bisons after spending all of 2014 with Double-A New Hampshire.
Infielder Kevin Nolan earned his second promotion to the Herd this season while outfielder Darin Mastroianni returned after being optioned by Toronto.
Meanwhile Mickey Storey was activated off the Bisons’ disabled list and the reliever was transferred to New Hampshire.
The two-game series concludes today (1:05 p.m., TWCS, Radio 1520 AM) with lefty Raul Valdes (3-3, 4.50) getting the start for the Herd against righty Taylor Hill (9-4, 2.63).