Game 74: Durham Bulls (Rays) 2; Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (Phillies) 1
Season: 44-30; Last 10: 5-5
Wrap, Box, The Morning Call (Allentown), Herald-Sun, Indy Week
It was hot last night, but the park was nearly full. The new grass on the infield was nice and green. Later in the evening a spectacular full moon would rise to watch over Winston Abreu in the 9th. Jeremy Hellickson was on the mound. Joe Dillon was on third base and Chris Richard was on first. All was right with the world. The Bulls were back in town.
Truth be told, the Iron Pig’s Nate Bump arguably pitched a better game than Hellickson — after he got past the first four batters in the 1st inning. For almost all of the night he kept the Bulls hitting ground balls for easy outs. A good example was the 5th inning where he used only 5 pitches to get three ground outs, third to first.
Nevertheless, Jennings, Furmaniak, Ruggiano, and Dan Johnson did come to bat in the 1st; they all hit singles; and two runs were in before Bump and the Pigs got a grip on things. Good for the Bulls, because we really didn’t do much after that. Ruggiano did get to third base in the 3rd with a two-out single, a passed ball by former Bulls catcher Paul Hoover, and a steal (what was the point of stealing third?). In the 8th Fernando Perez escaped the Mendoza Line with a one-out triple (he ended the night at .203). Unfortunately, he was caught in a “safety squeeze” run-down two batters later.
A couple of nice plays in the outfield — a diving catch by Ruggiano to close out the 4th inning and a pretty grab by Perez in left at the beginning of the 6th.
Hellickson is now 10-2, with an ERA of 2.19. The won-loss is the best in the International League, the ERA is third among IL starters (FIP is 2.42 using an American League constant of 3.2). No doubt that he is, by a good bit, our ace.
Fun watching both R.J. Swindle and Winston Abreu close out the game. Really would like both of them to get a shot in the majors. Winston much better than his last outing, thank goodness.
Charlie Montoyo got picked as a coach for the upcoming Futures game. To be perfectly honest, I don’t know much about that game, but to be picked as coach is yet another acknowledgment of Montoyo’s growing reputation. Are we at risk of losing Charlie, too?
Matt Joyce went 0-4 in his first at bats since his call up. But neither did anyone else on the Rays team as former Bull, now Diamondback, Edwin Jackson (the guy they traded to Detroit for Matt Joyce and then … it’s a long, not very interesting story) pitched a 149-pitch no-hitter.