Sunday, September 6, 2009
Durham Bulls 2009 South Division Champions
Game 142: Durham Bulls 5, Norfolk Tides 1
Games Left in Season: 2
I was apprehensive going into last night’s game. Sure, we were going to get into the playoffs, but how were we going to win with only two starting pitchers (Cromer and Hellickson)? Maybe, just maybe, a piece of that puzzle got solved last night.
One of the recent arrivals from Montgomery, Raynor Oliveros, in his first AAA start, went 5⅔ innings and only gave up 2 hits and 1 walk while striking out 8. Pretty darned good even if the Tides, as with Charlotte, have been chopped up by their parent club. Not sure what it is about Montgomery, maybe something in the water. First we get Jeremy Hellickson, who’s been doing a terrific job. Now Rayner steps up when we really needed a starter. Or maybe it’s just wanting to be sure they don’t go back to Montgomery.
DePaula, Thayer, and Abreu slammed the door.
If Montoyo and X. agree, then that gives us three starters. We can probably get through the playoffs with four, so who’s going to get the start tonight, Joe Bateman, one of the new guys? Stay tuned. Better yet, go to the park and find out.
A curious feature of the game is that we won without an extra base hit. Nine singles, four walks, one hit by pitch, and one reached on an error. We also gave Norfolk's infield a ton of practice. Even though they committed four errors, they also turned four double plays.
Two brilliant plays in the 7th were fun to watch. Matt Joyce stretched himself out in right to steal at least a double from Norfolk’s Brandon Snyder. And the very next play Elliott Johnson, playing short, went deep behind second base to grab a grounder and throw out Norfolk catcher Guillermo Rodriguez. Sort of made up for his two errors on the evening.
Gwinnett got crushed by Charlotte 10-1. How could that happen? Charlotte seems to be Gwinnett’s nemesis this year. Nevertheless, when Syracuse lost, Gwinnett locked up the wild card berth.
And the Durham Bulls won the South Division Championship!
Three years, three championships. Really, really something to be proud of. The Bulls will play the Louisville Bats in the first round of the playoffs. It was fun to see Winston throw that third strike and watch the guys dash out on the field with champagne bottles in hand.
Adam Sobsey got some interesting quotes in the clubhouse after the win. Worth looking at.
Team USA 6, Canada 5 (Exhibition)
Jason Childers got a save. No other stats available.