Sunday, May 16, 2010

Clipping Clippers

Game 36: Durham Bulls 8, Columbus Clippers 1
Wrap, Box, Columbus Dispatch

Game 37: Durham Bulls 7, Columbus Clippers 3
Season: 23-14
Streak: W4
Wrap, Box, Columbus Dispatch

Jeremy Hellickson was back in form Friday: six innings, eleven strikeouts, no walks. Very pretty. And well backed up (well, sort of) by Joe Bateman and Mike Ekstrom. Joe gave up his first home run in 14 appearances (20+ innings). Ekstrom hasn’t walked a batter yet (3 appearances, 4+ innings).

Lots of doubles (Richard, Jennings, Chavez, Shealy) and a couple of home runs (Shealy, Richard) drove the offense. Hellickson’s pitching and a couple of double plays kept Columbus off the board.

Then Heath Phillips stepped to the mound yesterday (Saturday). Heath had his best game of the year, marred only slightly by a 7th inning when he arguably should not have even been in the game. Probably Charlie was saving his bullpen for another day and assuming that the game was in hand (score 7-0 at the time), but a single, wild pitch, single, home run put three runs on the board very quickly. Still a fine day for Heath.

Other interesting features of the game: Ryan Shealy hit a grand slam, the first grand slam for the Bulls this year. Last year it seemed like we hit one every time we got the bases loaded. Chris Richard most memorably hit two in one game. So it was fun to see our first one of the year. Also good to see Shealy have two good days in a row. Shealy really hasn’t had a very productive year so far, but it’s been somewhat hidden by the stellar performances of Dan Johnson, Hank Blalock, Chris Richard, Angel Chavez, and company. Maybe now that he’s out of the shadow of Blalock he can blossom.

Justin Ruggiano was back in the lineup and had a ground out RBI and a walk. We’re going to need his bat pretty soon now.

So we are 2-0 in Columbus, have a 1:05 game today with (probably) Aneury Rodriguez getting a start. As seems to be usual, we can expect at least of couple of transactions while on the road.

Transaction Speculation

Let’s start with what we know: Blalock is gone. An infielder we’ve never seen, but who has been on our roster since opening day, J. J. Furmaniak has been activated and put on the Montgomery Biscuits roster. Seen as a Bull, that is. Furmaniak was with Lehigh Valley last year.

We usually carry 12 position players. So we’ve got room for two. Down in St. Petersburg things are fairly complex and those considerations will, of course, have an impact on us. [St Petersburg Times] So I’ll just put a few names in play here — catcher John Jaso could come back, infielder Sean Rodriguez might get sent down to give him some more playing time, outfielder Matt Joyce will surely at least visit on a rehab tour if not an assignment. Furmaniak’s physical condition could be really good and so maybe just a short visit to Montgomery before coming to the Bulls. Pat Burrell, in an extraordinary act of penance to Rays fans, donates $6,000,000 to earthquake relief and comes to the Bulls to learn how to play team mascot. (“I’ve been a fan of Wool E. Bull all my life. It’s going to be an honor to study with him this season. I’ve heard that he’s on the DL, so maybe I’ll get an even earlier shot at a performance that I expected.”)

Update: A modest correction or two to today's post. It was noted that at the bottom of today's "wrap", Neil provided us with the name of today's starter and it is, indeed, Aneury Rodriguez. Secondly, a slight difficulty with my enumerative skills was noted in that the Bulls usually carry twelve position players (I got that right) and they have 12 position players. Other than that, I guess I got things right...


  1. The Rays don't need to send anyone down for a bit, though, right? At least until Joyce or Shoppach comes off the DL.

  2. That's right. As far as I understand the situation, they don't have to do anything right now as far as their own roster is concerned. I left out the most likely possibility of all -- bring up someone from downstream in the Rays system. Was busy patting myself on the back for the Burrell joke.

  3. I understand. It was a good joke.

  4. FYI - Chris Richard has a good Facebook Fan Page; it's better than your typical fan page because Chris actually posts comments on it. Here's the link: