Friday, July 10, 2009

Coming of Age in the Bullpen?

Game 87: Bulls 6, Braves 8
Season: 50-37
Wrap, Box, Herald-Sun Story

The bottom-of-the-9th heroics were a thrill, no doubt about it, but the rational part of us knew it was very unlikely. So I’ll look for something else good to say about the game. I don’t have to look far. A pitcher, about whom I don’t recall ever saying anything nice, did a fine job tonight. James Houser has had two decent outings in relief since being pushed into the bullpen by Andy Sonnanstine. I’m beginning to wonder if the right guy got pushed. Last night he went 5 ⅓ innings and gave up 2 earned runs. That compares to starter Matt DeSalvo’s 3 ⅔ innings and 5 earned runs. Houser’s last (and first) stint as a reliever was on July 4th, the 2-11 debacle in Charlotte. There he went 3 ⅓ innings and gave up one earned run. So his ERA as a reliever is a not too bad 2.89.

On the other hand, Matt DeSalvo is killing us. He’s yet to win a game in 9 starts. In his last 4 starts he’s lasted 2, 4 ⅔, 2 ⅔, and 3 ⅔ innings. I couldn’t bring myself to go farther back. The Bulls/Rays have done a good job signing free agents in the past, but Matt’s not one of them.

This series starting in Norfolk tonight is a big deal and we’ve got our best pitchers in the rotation coming up (Davis, Hernandez, and Sonnanstine). Our eleven men to the plate 9th inning last night shows that the offensive power is in good shape.

Trivia question: Name that player. He joined the Durham Bulls in early May and played in 12 games with 42 at bats (.262) before departing for Tampa on May 26th. In Tampa his first game was May 27th and he has since played in a grand total of 12 games with 25 at bats (.320 average). Seems to be filling the Gomes/Baldelli seat on the Tampa Bay bench this year.

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