Friday, June 14, 2019

RailRiders Come to Durham

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders come to town today. They are the New York Yankee's AAA team and the buzz is that rehabbing Yankee's stars Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge could join the team in Durham.

But for a Bulls fan, the better story is that the two best teams in the International League are meeting for a 3-game matchup to be followed by a visit to the RailRiders' home field next week.

The Bulls are on a 6-game winning streak and have won 8 of their last 10. The RailRiders had a recent streak broken, but they have won 7 of their last 10. The Bulls are 3½ games up in the South, the RailRiders are 5½ games up in the North Division.

These are very well-matched teams and, with any luck, we could be seeing some of the most interesting baseball of the year this weekend and next week (assuming you've got MiLB TV).

Monday, June 3, 2019

Ugly Home Stand, So Far

This home stand is not going well. So far the Bulls have lost 5 games and won just two. Two key players were called up (congrats to Nate Lowe and Christian Arroyo) and catcher Nick Ciuffo, who was really improving at the plate, got hurt. Otherwise, it's a bit hard to peg just one reason.

Yes, the Bulls got shut out for just the second time this season. Yes, in one game they gave up 3 unearned runs. But the team ERA is virtually unchanged as is the team batting average. About the only metric that I watch that's been a problem is the opponents' Secondary Average. And that's grown quite a bit, reflecting on the 14 (count 'em, 14!) home runs hit by Louisville and Columbus. The Bulls hit 7 in the same period. Maybe that's what's made the difference.

At any rate, the Durham Bulls are out of first place in the South, with three more home games (against Norfolk) to go.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Back to the Bats

The Bulls split their 4-game Memorial Day series over in Charlotte. But the series featured extreme lows and highs in the last two games. In the first, on Sunday, Bulls pitchers had their worst outing of the year. They gave up 12 bases on balls! And 4 home runs. They lost 12 to 4. Then yesterday the pitching crew threw a shut out, only 3 hits and 4 walks. The hitters reversed the scoring by hitting four home runs and scoring 12 runs for the good guys.

Today is the big day for super-prospect Brendan McKay. So go to the game or watch his start on TV.


The Bulls swept the Louisville Bats at their home field last month, and they still match up well against them. The Bats are in third place in the IL West. They come in on a two-game win streak.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Remember — Memorial Day — 2019

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 2019

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

Matchup: Durham at Charlotte

The Durham Bulls took three games from the Norfolk Tides then drove past the Durham Bulls Athletic Park on the way to Charlotte.

The White Sox franchise is in third place, but banging the heck out of the new baseballs. They've hit 68 home runs this year, but their pitching record is the worst in the league.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Matchup: Durham vs Nofolk

The Durham Bulls are off to Norfolk for a 3-game series. Then they drive by Durham to a 4-game set with Charlotte. Then they return for a 9-game homestand. Meanwhile all those metal bat PINGS! will be sounding inside the DBAP as the ACC tournament sees its last days in Durham. Note: Why not use the old DAP for the ACC tournament? That would be a bit crowded, but fun.

The South Division is very competitive this year. Tides are only one game below .500 and they match up well against the Bulls. Plus the Bulls don't do all that well at Harbor Park. They lost 3 out of 4 at the beginning of the season. Plus the lost 2 out of 3 at home. That is, they are 2-5 against the Orioles farm club this year.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Durham Bulls Pitching at Game 41

As a team, Durham Bulls pitching is doing OK. The team ERA of 4.80 is slightly below the International League average of 4.88. But they rank 9th of 14 in the IL, almost a full run behind the leading Syracuse Mets (note the name change from "Chiefs" to "Mets").

The starters, however, are not distinguishing themselves. Over their 156 innings they are at a pretty crummy 5.96, while the Bulls' relievers in their 199 innings are at a stellar (for 2019) ERA of 3.89. Safe to say that it's the relief crew that is keeping the Bulls in the running.

Another way of measuring pitching performance is to look at your opposition's hitting. Here is where the Bulls are doing exceptionally well in some categories. This next chart shows their opponent's batting average and their "secondary average". What this implies is that (with the notable exception of yesterday's game against Rochester, see that tick upwards in the secondary average) Bulls's pitching (and catching) is very stingy when it comes to awarding extra base hits, walks, and stolen bases. They have given up the least amount of walks in the league, are in the middle of the pack on home runs, data on doubles and triples aren't available, and appear to be the best in the league in preventing stolen bases. Hence the tremendous difference in the league secondary average and the secondary average when those teams are playing the Bulls.