Friday, August 14, 2009

Durham Bulls, Come on Home!

Game 119: Bulls 9, Braves 5
Season: 66-53
Games Left in Season: 25; Home Games: 15
Wrap, Box, Indy Week, Gwinnett Daily Post

I’ve never met Elliot Johnson, so I don’t know if he’s really a nice guy or not. That’s a fan’s perspective. I’m guessing that if you’re an opposing team catcher you are firmly in the “not a nice guy” camp. Take Gwinnett’s Clint Sammons’ experience in the 9th last night. The Bulls were down 3-4 when Elliot led off the inning with a single to right. Rhyne Hughes struck out. Then Henry Mateo whacked a line drive to deep center. As Neil Solondz told the story, Elliot didn’t even slow down coming around third. Sammon’s did get the ball a moment or so before Elliot ran him down — he just couldn’t hold on. Jubilation in the dugout as the score was tied. Enough jubilation that 5 of the next 6 batters got hits, 4 singles and a double. Johnson, in his second at-bat of the inning, made the last out.

So, six runs in the top of the 9th and enough of a cushion to withstand most anything. No sweep in Gwinnett, a glimpse of the real Durham Bulls at last.

Other game notes:

When Joe Nelson came down from Tampa Bay, I thought it was probably a good deal for the Bulls. Now I’m not so sure. I know it’s a really small sample size, but things are not looking good. He’s appeared in only four games, pitching six innings. On the other hand, he’s had to face 32 batters in those six innings, giving up 6 earned runs on 9 hits and 4 walks with five strikeouts,. Weirdly enough, with last night’s potentially game-losing effort, his ERA actually improved (from 11.25 to 9.00). I appreciate that he’s searching for something, let’s hope he finds it real soon now.

Chris Richard got four RBIs last night, moving him up to a tie with Jon Weber (who got 2) at 59 and three behind Justin Ruggiano (1 more last night) at 62. Jon Weber cracked the .300 barrier and is now hitting .302. With a double and a homer he remains comfortably in the lead in the IL’s doubles and extra base hit categories.

Tomorrow the old Durham Athletic Park re-opens. I don’t think I’ll be able to make it to the ceremony, but it’s a good idea to bring it back into shape. Here’s hoping it prospers.

Really, really pleased to see a good, old-fashioned Durham Bulls rally last night. Keep it up!


  1. sure would be nice if they could bring back those softball dragons to the old ballpark,,, should petition to bring them back

  2. Nelson should really only be charged with 3 ER at this point. The "home run" to left last weekend wasn't. His ERA would be 4.50 w/o that.

  3. Good point. But his Opponents' On Base Percentage would still be in the vicinity of .400 and well above any other Bulls, pitcher. Still, it's a small sample size. We can hope he settles down (and maybe has a bit better luck).

  4. Elliot Johnson has a history of running into catchers, if my memory is right. Isn't he the one that broke the wrist of a Yankee's prospect in spring training last year, which lead to a few fights?

  5. That's the way I remember it. Spring training 2009, that is. And a few dustups after that.