Thursday, April 15, 2010
Opening Day, At Last!
Game 6: Durham Bulls 3, Gwinnett Braves 1
Game 7: Durham Bulls 3, Gwinnett Braves 1 (10 Innings)
The Durham Bulls come home and at last the season begins!
What can we say about this team as they come off a really successful road trip?
First, the pitching looks pretty darn good. Granted they’ve only been through the rotation this one time, but the team ERA is a decent 3.77 and its FIP is 3.14. Not the best in the IL, but pretty good. The small sample size and the awful 10 April loss (12-3) at Norfolk skews things a lot. Hellickson is certainly living up to his promise and we should get a chance to see him on Sunday. Heath Phillips had a superb game last night, but we won’t see him this home stand (only four days). Jeff Bennett got beat up on in his first game. He’s pitching tonight and we’ll see how he comes back.
I only caught the last couple of innings last night, but it was really, really great to listen to Bateman and Abreu team up to shut down the Braves. By the way, it was a sweep! Did you notice that?
Second, the hitting proves the old cliche that hitting takes a while to get on track. Our team batting average is a nothing special (actually pretty dismal) .226 and wOBA is .306, also nothing special. Individually, Chris Richard, Joe Dillon, Dan Johnson and Angel Chavez are off to decent starts. At the other end are Elliot Johnson, Matt Joyce, Alvin Colina, and Justin Ruggiano (although his game-winning double last night bodes well).
Thirdly, even this early in the season the Montoyo Merry-Go-Round is whirling right along. In just seven games we’ve seen three different players catching, three at 1B, three at 2B, three at 3B, two at SS, four in left, three in center and four in right. Particularly interesting to my eye is Chris Richard’s three games in left field. Otherwise, it doesn’t look like anyone has really staked a claim to any one location on the field.
Note for the Rays fanatics in the area: I haven’t met one, but maybe there is one. Out in the far, far eastern reaches of Wake County the Montgomery Biscuits (the AA team of the Rays) are one game into a four game set with the Mudcats. Uber-prospects Alex Torres (pitcher) and Jose Lobaton (catcher) did well over there in Zebulon last night. So, if you want to split your attention, you can see the next several generations of the Tampa Rays within an easy commute over the next couple of days.