Saturday, September 5, 2009

Running For Home

Game 141: Durham Bulls 4, Knights 1
Season: 81-60
Games Left in Season: 3
Wrap, Box, Indy Week

This has been a remarkable run. On the 23rd of August the Bulls were 13 games above .500 and four games behind Gwinnett in the International League’s South Division. Now, twelve games later, the Bulls are 21 games above .500 (the best of the year) and lead Gwinnett by two games. We’ve won 10 or our last 12 games and are very close to winning the division. Extraordinary!

Now they’re coming home after sweeping the Charlotte Knights, closing it out with a very nice 4-1 win last night behind yet another sterling performance by Jeremy Hellickson — he hasn’t let a run score in his last two games. Charlie Montoyo let the new arrival from Montgomery, Heath Rollins get his second taste of AAA ball in the 8th inning last night, but after his first pitch went over the wall, didn’t let him stay too long before bringing in Winston Abreu to close it out.

What to look for in this Norfolk series — rotation experimentation. We’ve only got two starters, Jason Cromer and Jeremy Hellickson, so just how do you go ready for a playoff series? Montoyo could choose to keep Cromer out until Wednesday or pitch him in his normal rotation on Monday afternoon, which would bring Jason up for the fourth game of the first round of the playoffs. My guess is that it depends mostly on how Jason deals with days off. For some guys too many is just as bad as too few. Jeremy’s normal rotation brings him up for the first game of the playoffs. So we’re good there.

I’d expect Charlie to use these three games to take very close looks at Raynor Oliveros, Paul Phillips and Heath Rollins.

The rest of the lineup really looks great. Desmond Jennings fell off his remarkable streak last night, going 0-5 after going 7-7. Nevertheless, Rashad Eldridge and Sean Rodriguez seem to be fitting in. Matt Joyce should be recovered from his foot injury. Chris Richard is banging the ball well. Justin? Continuing his feast or famine problems at the plate. Has not been his year, but we all know he’s capable of making a real difference these last two weeks.

World Cup

Team USA 7, Canada 4 (exhibition)
Indy Week

Jon Weber played left field and went 1-3 with a walk and a RBI.

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