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Game 72: Durham Bulls (Rays) 7; Indianapolis Indians 6
Season: 43-29; Last 10: 5-5
Winston Abreu gave everyone a thrill in the bottom of the 9th. You got the feeling he was in the middle of negotiating his second half contract. Bulls were ahead 7-6 and, given his past history, it seemed the game was in the bag. The first batter popped up, so things looked even better. But Winston hit the next batter, then struck out the next. Two outs, runner on first. Everything is under control. Abreu has got the next batter, Van Every, at a 3-2 count, one strike away from the win. But he lets Van Every get away and walks him. Now runners are on first and second. Montoyo comes out to the mound. Very unusual in my experience. Typically Charlie only comes out to change pitchers. Whatever he said does not work. Over the course of the next at bat, in which Abreu gets ahead 0-2, the two runners advance on steals on two different pitches. Then Abreu throws four straight balls, walks the batter, and loads the bases. Still two out. But Winston is, after all, Winston: Ball, strike, foul, foul, ball, foul, strike. Game over.
Abreu was the fifth pitcher that the Bulls used (Indianapolis used six), including new guy, Darin Downs, who relieved Richard De Los Santos in the 3rd. Downs had a good start, but difficult middle and left after 2 ⅓ and a couple of runs.
Dan Johnson’s three-run homer in the 3rd and Joe Dillon’s two RBI double in the 7th after Indianpolis’ pitching unraveled, were the scoring highlights. The game was played in brutal temperatures, but wait till they get home. If local weather keeps up, they will be coming home to the sauna.
This was game 72 of the year. If I’m not wrong (entirely possible), the Bulls will play only 143 games this year because they had a rainout that can’t be made up. That means that game 72 was the midpoint of the year. I’d bet that this is the best first half of the year in Bulls history. They are 14 games above .500 and are at or near the top in almost all hitting and pitching statistics. Congratulations on a great first half! Keep it up!
- Rays Prospects has another interesting list, this one stats for the teams in the Rays organization. Durham leads in most categories.
- Bulls blogger notices the Rays stadium debate.
- Two Bulls are picked for the “XM Futures All-Star Game”, Jeremy Hellickson and Desmond Jennings. Two points to be made here. The first is that the press release very cleverly doesn’t tell you when the game is going to be played (11 July). The second is that I’m beginning to wonder about Mr. Jennings. Sure, he’s a terrific young player. The best Rays prospect? I’m not sure about that at all.