Game 83: Bulls 5: Knights 1
Good to see Elliot Johnson back in the lineup. It’s been a very long time, May 5th, since he’s been in a Durham Bulls uniform. He went 1 for 4 last night and made a couple of good plays. Creates a puzzle for management given the quality year that Henry Mateo’s having, but we should all have such problems.
Those who were at last Friday’s game will, I’m sure, be happy to learn that Charlotte pitcher Jack Egbert (who was hit in the pitching arm by a Henry Mateo line drive) may miss a rotation, but will be back pitching soon. [Thanks, N]
About the game: Four runs in the top of the 4th, a solo homer by Ruggiano (his 11th) and a three run shot by Ray Sadler (also his 11th) was enough. In the 9th Jon Weber hit his league-leading 27th double to score Ray Olmedo for an insurance run. Weber also tossed two more bats into the stands.
It was a difficult outing for Wade Davis, but his 5th inning really stood out. It took a ton of pitches, but over the radio it sounded like he was showing a lot of character. The first batter, Miguel Negron, held on through 8 pitches to draw a walk on a 3-2 count. During Eider Torres’ 9-pitch at-bat Negron stole second, but Torres struck out, also on a 3-2 count. Carlos Quentin, the rehabbing White Sox star and batting .800 on his rehab stint was walked on 4 pitches. Have to think that with first base open, the walk was semi-intentional with a man on second and one out. When Josh Kroeger came to bat, Jason Childers started warming up. Davis was at 91 pitches at the time. Kroeger hit a fly ball to Jon Weber in left. Daryle Ward hit a fly ball to Ruggiano in center. So Davis, at 96 pitches, got out of it leaving a 4-run lead to the relievers.
Then came the relievers: Childers, Julio, and Bateman. Not a single Knight got on base, not one! Childers: six up, six down — ground out, strike out, pop up, strike out, line out, ground out. Julio (OK, I am going to have to break with my own tradition and say something nice about Jorge Julio): three up, three down — strike out, strike out, ground out. Bateman: three up, three down — strike out, ground out, pop up. Just terrific pitching.
An aside: If you are listening to the games over the web, you can choose to listen to the broadcaster for the Bulls’ opponents. On the last road trip and again last night I did that for a couple of innings, thinking it might be fun to get someone else’s take on the Bulls. What I learned was how fortunate we are to have a broadcaster of Neil Solondz’s caliber calling games for us. He provides an excellent sense of the park and of our opponent’s strengths and weaknesses. His pitch by pitch, play by play calling of the game is simply superb. You really have a sense of what’s going on — how each pitcher and player has been doing recently, what’s currently in front of him, and how well he does his job. And the incredible ability to keep on calling a game like that 11-2 mess a couple of nights ago. A game like that and he’s got to know that folks are switching off their radios and computers all over the Triangle. It’s an every day grind for Neil and his “crew” as well. He’s doing a terrific job. Check out some of the other broadcasters, you’ll see what I mean. He’s the best of the bunch that I’ve heard so far.