Sunday, April 18, 2010

Running With the Bulls

Game 10: Durham Bulls 7, Norfolk Tides 2
Season: 7-3
Wrap, Box, Herald-Sun, Indy Week

Another terrific game on a wonderful afternoon. I know we’re going to get tired of seeing the Tides, but we did see some good baseball yesterday.

Carlos Hernandez did not look dominating; however, at the end of six innings he had five strikeouts, had only given up one walk and one run — pretty darn good. Elliot Johnson and Justin Ruggiano continued their improvement at the plate, Johnson with a double and a homer, Ruggiano with two singles and a homer.

I know Durham ain’t Pamplona, but we’ve sure got some Bulls running this year. In just ten games the Bulls have stolen 15 bases — Eight of them in the last two games. Hard to tell if Charlie is just being aggressive, if Tampa Bay (who is also running a lot) wants this to happen, or if we are just taking advantage of the talent we have this year. One interesting feature is that the guy you’d expect to be leading the pack, Fernando Perez, has only 4 of them. Of course, you’ve got to get on base first, and Fernando hasn’t been doing too good a job of that, yet. Elliot Johnson has 6, Perez 4, Angel Chavez has 2, and Matt Joyce, Justin Ruggiano, and Rashad Eldridge have 1 each.

Gotta say something about the human bobbleheads at bat. I know that a good batting helmet protects the players and their future, but don’t these new ones look really awful? For what it’s worth, the new helmet isn’t required in the major leagues, just the minors. Guess if your making millions you gotta look really studly. And you sure won’t in one of those hats. Wonder what would happen if a couple of players wanted to wear them? I mean, if you're making millions, wouldn't you want to protect them? To see just how awful they look, check out the photo of Elliot Johnson over at Indy Week.

Who says I don't occasionally come up with a blinding glimpse of the obvious? Another interesting feature of the 2010 Bulls jumped out at me last night. You know the scene where the manager steps up out of the dugout and taps either his left or right forearm to indicate whether he wants a righty or a lefty to come in? Montoyo doesn’t have to bother with that this year. He doesn’t have any choices. He doesn’t have any lefties in the bullpen.

Not only that, there’s only one on the Tampa Bay active roster, and only one on the Biscuits roster. Two lefties are on the disabled list, one for the Rays and one for the Bulls (Howell and Swindle), but you have to think that the Rays front office is in the hunt for left-handed relievers.

Jose Lobaton’s debut was pretty good. I will display my ignorance of the business of baseball and speculate on how he got here. Lobaton was on San Diego’s 40-man last year. When they put him on waivers to move him back to Portland (their AAA team) the Rays grabbed him. But I think when you claim off waivers you have to keep the player on your 40-man. The Rays did that, but sent him to Montgomery, where’s he’s been until last night. How good is he? I guess we’ll find out. The Rays’ system isn’t quite as short of catchers as it is left-handed relievers, but they aren’t in really good shape either.

As I speculated earlier, Tampa Bay newspapers are now reporting that the Rays catcher Kelly Shoppach may be out for a while and Jaso might stay up there longer than expected. He sure had a good start last night with two doubles, a walk, and a RBI.

Note: Video board is back.


  1. Helmets: there were a couple of players that tried wearing these helmets in the majors last year, I think that David Wright from the Mets was one after he got hit in the head. As I recall, they got made fun of so much they quit. It is sad, actually, that these days we can't get helmets that provide better protection that players will actually wear.

    Lefties: I also have noticed our lack of a lefty, though I assume that if we had one any good he would get called up, since the only one the Rays have in the pen, Choate, have gotten rocked a couple of times. This has to be a good year to have a lefty available for a trade. You would be able to get a ransom.

  2. In this day and age you'd think they could design something more attractive. But guess that if you go in a lab and shoot baseballs at 100+ mph and look for unbreakability, then this is what you get.