Game 60: Durham Bulls 6, Buffalo Bisons 4
Streak: W2; Last 10: 8-2
Wrap, Box, Herald-Sun, Indy Week
It was a long, slow game, relieved by a couple of oddities and the fact that we won. But first let’s mention the beautiful crepe myrtles that are in bloom inside the park up near the Blue Monster and out along Blackwell street. In this part of the south we do not have a better signal that summer is actually here.
To the game: Jeremy Hellickson did not have a good outing, simple as that. Yes, a lot of strikeouts (8) and only two walks. On the other hand, he took 101 pitches to get through 4 ⅔ innings. Hints were there as early as the second inning when Jeremy gave up two doubles and a walk. The 4th was a mess with a homer and three singles before Montoyo pulled him. Reliever Mike Ekstrom might not mind since he’s gotten two wins in his stats for the last two Hellickson no-decision starts.
Before the game we had a discussion regarding what might happen when Joe Dillon comes off the disabled list. The consensus was that J. J. Furmaniak would go to Montgomery. J. J. must’ve been listening. He led off with a triple, had two more hits, and scored two runs, including a heads up dash on a passed ball in the 6th. He’s hitting .333. I don’t envy the decision that’s coming for the Bulls.
Matt Joyce, Chris Richard (really hot lately), Angel Chavez, and Jose Lobaton hit the RBI. Justin Ruggiano had three singles and found a new way to take one for the team when he was hit by an errant throw the Bison’s second baseman.
The oddity of the night, however, was Matt Joyce insuring Bison Mike Jacobs’ inside-the-park home run by throwing the ball up to the fans on top of the Blue Monster. Jacobs hit a fly ball to the top of the Blue Monster that hit something and dropped back down to the warning track with Joyce (left field) and Perez (center field) watching. They appeared to have a conference and must have decided (a) “it’s a home run” or (b) “it’s a ground rule double”. “In either case we don’t have to do much.” Apparently a third option, (c) “none of the above”, did not cross their minds. Meanwhile Mike Jacobs ran around the bases. Surely, surely the team will not let either player forget that mistake.
Have to mention Ryan Shealy’s stellar play at first base last night. He grabbed at least three low and outside bounced throws for outs. Great job.
Now, how about Salisbury-born Bison reliever Bobby Parnell? Here’s a pitch speed sequence for two at-bats last night: 98, 96, 95, 97, 97, 99, 100, 99, 91. I saw at least two 100 mph signals during his appearance. So here was a guy who can really bring in a fast ball. We got two hits off of him, and a run on a wild pitch. Don’t think we’ll see him again this trip, and that’s a good thing.
In our corner up came left-hander R. J. Swindle, who is a guy worth coming to the park to see. Swindle’s “heat” hits 80 mph on a good day and he has a curve ball that is 20 mph slower. Talk about screwing up a batter’s timing. Gotta love the guy and glad he’s pitching for us.
Winston Abreu provided a couple of thrills before closing the Bisons out. Keeping the ol’ heart pumping.
As noted by commentators the last couple of days, we really miss Neil Solondz doing play-by-play on the radio. Among the comments along our row last night were, “What are you gonna say about his in your blog?” And a loud grumble, “It’s men on second and third, not first and second, dummy.” That last to the great puzzlement of fans who didn’t have earphones on. And, “It’s the Bisons, dammit, we’re playing the Bisons, not the Tides,” to the persistent references to the wrong team by Rich Herrera’s colleague Scott Pose. I won’t go on at length. Neil simply does a better job than Herrera.