Game 21: Durham Bulls 9, Buffalo Bisons 2
Season: 15 - 6
Must be getting used to the cold, because the weather was only a little bit warmer, but the Bulls pulled out their bats and Jeremy Hellickson re-asserted himself.
Hellickson did a very credible 5 ⅓ innings, followed by visiting Tampa Bay reliever Mike Eckstrom. Winston Abreu got in an inning (his ERA remains at 0.00) and Dale Thayer closed it out.
Meanwhile Chris Richard and Angel Chavez got home runs. As did Rashad Eldridge after a long stay on the bench. Fernando Perez and Joe Dillon had disappointing at bats, but the rest of the team did more than fine. Notable was Justin Ruggiano’s three hits. Is Justin having a breakout year? Here’s hoping so.
So, let’s get to the interesting, trivial part of yesterday.
The Bulls’ parent club, the Tampa Bay Rays is having a great start as well, even better than the Bulls. They are 16-5. You will notice that both teams have played 21 games. But, you may also note, the Rays started the season a couple of days before the Bulls did. How could it be that they have only played 21 games? That’s because AAA ballplayers work harder than major league ballplayers. That is, they play more games in a shorter period of time. The Bulls first day off will be next Wednesday.
The starting lineup last night for the Bulls was, on average, older than the starting lineup last night for the Rays. The Bulls’ spread was from Jeremy Hellickson and Fernando Perez (23 & 24) to Joe Dillon and Chris Richard (34 & 35). Down on the shores of Tampa Bay the spread went from Evan Longoria and B. J. Upton (24 & 25) to Carlos Pena and Gabe Kapler (31 and 34). The average last night for the Bulls was 28.7, for the Rays 28.2. So the youth movement is not going to start in Durham.
To that end, however, reliever Joaquin Benoit (32) is heading for Tampa Bay in exchange for Jose Lobaton’s (25) return. So we will be measurably younger by day’s end.
I’ve decided to start tracking our bench sitter and DL’ers. We know that Montoyo really prefers a steady rotation of players on the field, so you have to think that when someone spends a good bit of time on the bench it’s because he needs to.
On the bench last night: Jennings (7 days), E. Johnson, (1), Shealy (1). Others on our roster but not around are: Virgil Vasquez, Infielder J.J. Furmaniak, and pitcher Jason Cromer.
I’m a huge fan of Craig Robinson’s “infographics”. He’s got a new one up depicting time allocation for a baseball fan. Worth a look, as are all the others on his site.