Saturday, May 28, 2016

Memorial Day — 2016

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 2016

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

Shutout in Columbus

Game 49, Huntington Park, Columbus, Ohio
Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay): 2
Columbus Clippers (Cleveland): 0
Wrap, Box

This was only the second shutout by Bulls pitching this year. The last came on April 13, the 8th game of this season. Jamie Schultz seemed to recover from the rough outing he had in his last game and pitched 6 shutout innings. Parker Markel got his first win as a Bull, in relief. Adam Kolarek faced just one batter in the 9th, gave up a hit, and was replaced by Dylan Floro, who appears to be the Bulls new closer. Floro got his second save of the season, and his career, with just 10 pitches. Shultz and Floro were both involved in the April 13 shutout, as was Tyler Sturdevant, who had a clean inning against the Yankees last night.

All of the Bulls' runs were scored off a Nick Franklin double that brought in pinch-running Patrick Leonard and Daniel Robertson. Tim Beckham had a nice day back at shortstop by starting a key double play in the 9th and fielding a grounder for the last out.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Matchup: Durham Bulls vs. Columbus Clippers

The Cleveland Indians’ Triple A team is on a 3-game losing streak. On the other hand, they have the best record in the entire International League and are 2 games ahead of their nearest West Division rival, the Louisville Bats.

This is the team that the Bulls have often faced as their key West Division rival. Statistically, the Bulls do not match up well at all on the hitting side of things. Pitching a bit more even.

Three in Toledo; Roster Turnover

Game 46, May 24, Fifth Third Field, Toledo, Ohio
Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay Rays): 0 
Toledo Mud Hens (Detroit Tigers): 5 
Wrap, Box, Toledo Blade
Note: 8th shutout; RISP: 0 for 11

Game 47, May 25
Durham Bulls: 5 
Toledo Mud Hens: 3 
Wrap, Box

Game 48, May 26
Durham Bulls: 4 
Toledo Mud Hens: 5 
Wrap, Box
Season: 19–29; Trip: 1–2

Blake Snell bookended himself, giving up two runs after the first out of the first inning and then, after the game was tied, giving up two walks in the 6th, both of whom scored. Still, the game turned on all the runners left on base. Eight Bulls came to bat in the 4th inning, only two scored. In the 6th runners were left on second and third base. Newcomer Steve Geltz had a perfect inning.

  • Rehabbing Brad Boxberger moved on to Montgomery 
  • Bulls reliever Ryan Garton got put on the 40-man and called up. Congratulations! 
  • Infielder, and frequent Durham Bull in previous years, Tim Beckham, got sent down. Should show up soon. 
  • Jake Goebbert, who got off to a rough start this year, has been designated for assignment (he was on the disabled list).

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Matchup: Durham Bulls vs. Toledo Mud Hens

The Toledo Mud Hens are the second-most famous team in minor league baseball. That distinction may be fading as those of us who spent the 1970's watching M*A*S*H and Jamie Farr's character Max Klinger try to figure a way to get out of the Army while sometimes wearing Mud Hens gear pass on. Meanwhile folks are still watching Bull Durham. (At least I am. Don't you watch it at once a year?).

The Detroit Tigers AAA franchise is in last place in the International League West Division, 7.5 games behind the Columbus Clippers. Their stats reflect an early season oddity for numbers geeks. According to their Pythagorean Expectation, they "should" have a won-loss record of 22-20, much better than what they've got. The Bulls, by the way, "should" have a won-loss record much worse than what they've got, 16-29. Bottom line: the Mud Hens score a lot of runs. That, unfortunately, matches well with the Bulls tendency to allow a lot of runs.

Monday, May 23, 2016

9th Inning Loss

Game 45, May 22, Durham Bulls Athletic Park
Rochester Red Wings: 3
Durham Bulls: 2
Season: 18-27; Home Stand: 1-4
Wrap, Box, Herald-Sun

Austin Pruitt pitched a terrific game. Too bad it dribbled away in the top of the 9th as the Bulls had yet another losing home stand. As noted in yesterday’s chart, the relief crew is a large part of the problem with this year’s Bulls.

J.P. Arencibia had his first game with the Bulls and looked fine. He even came through with an RBI single off the wall. His several visits to Neil Wagner in the 9th did not solve whatever the problem was.

Outside the game —
  • The Rays have their own problems in the bullpen with the result that they are swapping Steve Geltz for the Bulls’ Tyler Sturdevant.
  • We sure liked Geltz when he was with the Bulls in 2013 and 2014. He had stunning WHIPs of .881 and 1.056 in those seasons. He had a very good year with the Rays in 2015 and maybe their thinking is that he needs some time with the Bulls pitching coach to get back on track. Stats.
  • This will be Sturdevant’s first trip to the big leagues. Good Luck!
  • Pretty sure that the Rays will have to kick someone off their 40-man roster to make room for Sturdevant. No word that I’ve seen. The Bulls are short one player on their roster.
  • Interesting thinkpiece on the Tampa Bay Rays by Time Bay Times writer Mark Topkin.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

One-Man Home Run Show; Not a Bull

Mikie Mahtook, showing off Bull City Blue uniform before call-up.
Photo courtesy Durham Bulls

Game 44, May 21, DBAP
Rochester Red Wings: 12
Durham Bulls: 2
Season: 18-26; Home Stand: 1-2

First of all, let us stipulate that Rochester’s Adam Walker can hit a baseball, especially in the general direction of the Bull. He’s done so five times in the last three games, including three times last night. Yes, he does strike out a lot, but here in Durham he’s held that to just 4 times. The crowd even acknowledged his performance last night with a nice round of applause on his third home run.

Then, let us also note that Jamie Schultz had a horrible night. Schultz is having a decent season, but his 3⅓ last night was awful. (included two of the Walker homers). Brad Boxberger made a relief appearance (and gave up Walker’s third homer). 

The Bulls hitters were not a lot of help with their 17 K’s, their season-worst performance. About the only hitter to do well was outfielder Mikie Mahtook who was 2 for 2 until …

In our part of the stands a buzz started in about the 3rd inning. Former Bull Kevin Kiermaier, Tampa Bay’s spectacular center fielder, had broken his hand. Several folks were tapping away at their phones. I was regretting that the battery on my radio had died and I couldn’t follow Kinas’ commentary. But soon it became clear enough. In the top half of the inning Richie Shaffer, playing third base, came running toward the dugout asking for a different glove. He was handed one and headed out toward right field, sending Mikie Mahtook in. Here’s the neat part — a fair fraction of the fans knew what was happening — Mahtook was headed to the Rays and we were happy for him — a cheer went up as he went into the dugout. Juniel Querecuto took Shaffer’s place at third base and the game went on.

Outside the game — 
  • Misty rain through the first couple of innings and a nice rainbow stretched out through the eastern sky. 
  • For more on Kiermaier’s injury see the video at Rays Index and comments at the Rays site.
  • The Bulls introduced their fancy blue uniforms last night (see photo at top) and I have to admit that I like the look, with the exception of the slightly ugly awkward looking orange belts. And I have to point out that if you're going all "designer" on us, then the shade of blue on the batting helmet should match.
  • We left after the 5th inning and watched the end of the game on TV. Very pleased to see that the HD broadcast is in operation. Looks really good.
Pitching Update

The team ERA was improving until last night. Overall, however, we still see a big spread between the starters and relievers. The Bulls have two relievers on the DL and the help that’s come up from Montgomery hasn’t been. If Gamboa and Bellatti return; if after Boxberger finishes his rehab and goes to Tampa Bay; maybe then.