Monday, June 18, 2018

Another Dismal Home Stand

Well, this home stand was a disaster. The Bulls lost 5 out of six, with a run differential of -10 over the six games. And of the total of 21 runs given up, 7 were unearned (see chart below). About the only nice thing that could be said of the week was that it was great to see Kevin Kiermaier in a Bulls uniform. On the other hand, it was painful to see the difference between a major leaguer and what we saw on the mound, at bat, and on the  field.

Why? Well, part of it stems from the four hitters who are below .600 OPS: Brandon Lowe, Ji-Man Choi, Jeremy Hazelbaker, and Micah Johnson (although Johnson just went on the disabled list). Of those, three are below the Mendoza Line (batting average of less than .200). Only one hitter  on the Bulls is over .800 OPS, Kean Wong.

Pitching isn't all that bad. The team ERA and other metrics are among the best in the IL. But the fielding has been awful.

Nevertheless, even though they can't seem to win at home, the Bulls remain, just barely, in the IL South lead as they head off to Louisville and Indianapolis.


The Bulls are a half game ahead of Norfolk.



This is just plain ugly. Bulls mistakes have cost them 41 runs on the year.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Bulls Dis Durham

What's wrong with this picture? The last homestand the Durham Bulls lost 4 and won 2 against lightweight competition. Then they went on the road, also against sub-.500 teams, and won 5 and just lost 1. Now they are back home and have dropped the first three games to the worst teams in the South Division.

Not to oversimplify, but there's a good chance that it has something to do with lineups like last night's. Two batters were below the Mendoza Line (.200): Hazelbaker and Lowe. As much as aggressive baserunning is fun to watch, watching a pickoff and caught stealing (Lowe) was tough. New guy Ji-Man Choi is probably going to turn out OK, but he's had several opportunities to knock runners in and he hasn't in these early days.

Of course, missing Adames and Bauer, as well as Anthony Banda for the season, makes a difference. And it's just June. But it's also coming up on mid-season and playing at home should be more fun.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Bulls Back, Bauers and Adames Are Not

The Bulls are back after taking 5 of 6 on an exceptionally productive road trip to Pennsylvania and New York to play the Phillies and Twins franchises. I have to note that it seems only fair that after the Rochester Red Wings swept the Bulls at their home at the end of May, that the Bulls went up to the Red Wings’ home and swept them.

The biggest problem with the Bulls being back is that they are back without two key players, Willy Adames and Jake Bauers. Adames got called up yesterday and Bauer has been up there for a couple of days where he has been the starting first baseman and doing very, very well. See reports in the Tampa Bay Times. We here at WDBB also wish them well.

Other news is that outfielder extraordinaire and former Durham Bull Keven Kiermaier may be coming through on a rehab stint this weekend.

Meanwhile, the Rays have acquired first baseman Ji-Man Choi in a trade with the Brewers and sent him to the Bulls. Choi is carrying a stunning .924 OPS in 40 games with Milwaukee's AAA franchise, the Colorado Sky Sox and has had 12 games with the Brewers this year where he hit .781 including a recent grand slam.

Hard as it is to believe, but the Bulls are only 9 games away from mid-season! And only 35 more home games.

Oh yeah, they are in still in first place, 3 games ahead of Norfolk and 9½ games ahead of Charlotte.


Matchup

The White Sox franchise, the Charlotte Knights are having a surprisingly poor year at the plate, particularly given their hitter-friendly ballpark. Former Bulls Casey Gillaspie (OPS .627) and Patrick Leonard (OPS .664) are not having strong years. Too bad. Now, of course, it not the time to get their games back.


Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Bulls Hit the Road; and More...

Not the best of home stands. Four losses and two wins. And then comes the news that Anthony Banda is out until 2020 as he goes through Tommy John surgery and rehab. We wish only the best for Mr. Banda. We really liked watching him pitch this year.

Nevertheless, the Bulls stayed in first place, a full game ahead of Norfolk. Standings.

The team is off to Pennsylvania for their first trip to the North Division. Three games against the Yankees franchise, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, then three games against the Minnesota team, the Rochester Red Wings who just swept the Bulls here at home.

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders do not play in either Scranton or Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, a bit of trivia that's always fun to share. Their actual zip code is Moosic. They are just off of a 6-day trip to the West Division where they split with Louisville and Indianapolis. At the moment they are in last place in their usually very competitive division.

Matchup

The Bulls lead the RailRiders in all categories except defense.



We note that Curt Casali hit a home run in his first game as a Cincinnati Red. We also noted that in that game he caught reliever Dylan Floro who appeared in 32 games as a Bull in 2016 (and 22 in 2015) and now is pitching for the Reds.

Meanwhile (drumroll please), the Stetson Hatters are in the NCAA Super Regionals and will be playing UNC. The Hatters are on an impressive 18-game winning streak. Here's hoping they keep it up! Have I ever mentioned that I am a Stetson alumni and a huge fan of Doc Johnson's leadership of the Hatters team back in the 60's?

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Bulls Back in First Place

May 28, Game 49
Durham Bulls 5; Louisville Bats 1
Wrap/Box

New guy, righthander Andrew Moore, in trade from the Seattle system, pitched his first game as a Bull and did just fine. He only allowed one run over his 5+ innings. He is on the Rays' 40-man roster. Catcher Adam Moore, the second half of the Moore/Moore battery contributed 3 hits and 2 RBI.

Meanwhile, Norfolk's winning streak got broken and the Bulls are back in first place as they come home to play Rochester. Here's hoping the field is dry and has survived the ACC's depredations.


Monday, May 28, 2018

Durham Bulls Drop Out of First Place

May 27, Game 48
Durham Bulls 0; Louisville Bats 5
Wrap/Box

The Norfolk Tides have run off 6 wins in a row as the Bulls have lost 5 of 7 on this 8-game road trip. Time to come home.


Sunday, May 27, 2018

Memorial Day — 2018

Bald eagle on veteran's grave, Fort Snelling National Cemetery. Photo by Frank Gilk, Minneapolis Star Tribune. Stories by Jon Tevlin June 25 and August 10, 2011.
Memorial Day 2018

The Young Dead Soldiers Do Not Speak

     Nevertheless they are heard in the still houses: who has not heard them? 

     They have a silence that speaks for them at night and when the clock counts. 

     They say, We were young. We have died. Remember us. 

     They say, We have done what we could but until it is finished it is not done. 

     They say, We have given our lives but until it is finished no one can know what our lives gave. 

     They say, Our deaths are not ours: they are yours: they will mean what you make them. 

     They say, Whether our lives and our deaths were for peace and a new hope or for nothing we cannot say, it is you who must say this. 

     They say, We leave you our deaths: Give them their meaning: give them an end to the war and a true peace: give them a victory that ends the war and a peace afterwards: give them their meaning.
     
     We were young, they say. We have died; Remember us. 

— Archibald MacLeish