Indian motorcycles on the Bonneville Salt Flats. Still photo from the film “The World’s Fastest Indian”
Game 73: Durham Bulls 1; Indianapolis Indians 9
Season: 43-30; Last 10: 5-5
I’m feeling a bit grumpy this morning, so let’s talk about the 8th inning. That was the inning Mike Ekstrom came in for newcomer Justin Garcia. Garcia had just pitched two innings in his second appearance in three days. Garcia’d given up two runs on two hits and two walks. Not good, but nothing like what was about to happen. Ekstrom faced six batters, got one out, and the Indians got five runs (there was a grand slam along the way). So, infielder Omar Luna was sent to the mound. A walk and two wild pitches made things interesting, but Luna got out of the inning and holds the best ERA on the Bulls roster. (Note: for baseball trivia/stats freaks, Ekstrom’s one-game ERA was 135.00!!)
A bit of a mess, but give some credit where credit is due, the Pirate’s Charlie Morton was visiting the Indians and certainly took the Bulls in hand, pitching a complete game two-hitter.
Why are we having so much trouble with our pitching? Good question. Partial answer: This weird semi-road trip with a rainout, a day off in Durham, new players on the roster, call ups and send backs, and injuries seems to have messed with the pitching staff’s poise and availability. Further, the pitching rotations for the last 8 games has probably been driven by the need to keep the ace, Jeremy Hellickson, on as regular schedule as can be managed. That throws all the rest off kilter.
And that’s OK. What’s important is that the Bulls are back. It is a very different team from the one that left here almost two weeks ago. And they will be here for a really long 11-day home stand starting tonight.