Sunday, August 30, 2009

As Fine a Pitching Performance As You Will See In the DBAP

Game 136: Bulls 4, Braves 0
Season: 78-58
Games Left in Season: 8; Home Games: 5
Wrap, Box

What an extraordinary two nights this has been. First, last night’s 14th inning come-from-behind victory and then a simply masterful pitching performance tonight by Jeremy Hellickson.

As a fan sitting near me said tonight, “This kid’s the real thing.” And he is. The numbers for tonight are truly exceptional. He faced only 26 batters over 8 innings, gave up only one hit (in the 6th) and two walks. He struck out 12 and let me tell you, the Braves were just flailing at the ball when they weren’t just watching it go by. He never seemed to lose his composure. Heck, in the 7th he struck out the side. In the 8th he got 2 strikeouts. And he did it on 107 pitches. Someone on the radio said that this was as fine a pitching performance as you will see in the DBAP, and he’s pretty close to being right (although I’ve seen a tag-team no-hitter here, and Wade Davis’ 1-0 shutout back in May was a pretty darn good game too).

Hellickson’s first game for the Bulls was just July 24th and he’s put up some impressive numbers. He’s started 8 games and won five of them. His Opponent’s On Base Percentage is a stellar .240, the best among our starters, and his ERA is 2.86 the second best after Jason Cromer.

He got some fans back in Montgomery, too. As the game was going on, Stacy Long was keeping track.

As important was the help that he gave the team. Last night when the Rays pulled our starter from the lineup and the game went 14 innings, we went through six of our relievers (and a 3rd baseman). Tonight Dale Thayer came on in the 9th (he pitched two innings last night) and gave up a hit, but still finished it out very nicely. So everyone else got a bit of rest.

Timely hitting got us our four runs. A sac fly by Joe Dillon, Jon Weber’s 46th double, a timely single by Elliott Johnson drove in three of the runs; and Matt Joyce drew a base-loaded walk for the fourth one.

The one mildly sour note was Reid Brignac getting ejected in the 6th for arguing a third strike call. Didn’t need to happen. Shouldn’t have happened.

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