Saturday, July 31, 2010

# 9

Game 106: Durham Bulls 9; Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs 2
Season: 66-40; Trip: 4-0; Streak: 9-0
Wrap, Box, Morning Call

The Bulls tied on their hitting shoes and put on their fielding gloves to get their ninth win in a row, the best streak this season. And they are 26 games above .500. They have swept the last two teams. It just keeps getting better.

Just a few highlights:

Five double plays. Even though Durham pitchers gave up eight hits (all singles) and two walks, very few went far.

Dan Johnson, held to “just” four singles and 3 RBIs during the series. But he got a hit and 2 RBI last night, just to keep his hand in, I suppose. In the meantime, Dan, with a .303 batting average, has let Chris Richard (.304) and Elliot Johnson (.306) slip ahead of him in the batting average category. We won’t talk about Omar Luna’s .362.

Chris Richard and Justin Ruggiano had a classic Durham Bulls-type night. Chris hit two doubles (he has the most in the IL — 33), a single, an intentional walk and three RBI (51). Justin Ruggiano had two doubles, a single, three RBI (53) and scored two runs. Elliot Johnson got on base a lot (3 times), stole two bases, and scored 3 runs. Should not overlook the contributions of Desmond Jennings (2 doubles, couple of nifty outfield plays) or Omar Luna, two hits, participation in most of those double plays.

Richard De Los Santos has won his last three starts and pushed his ERA down from 4.34 to 3.78. That’s hard to do this late in the season. The first run scored in the 5th last night was the first in something like 15 innings.

As good was Joe Bateman’s 2 innings. We’ve been a bit worried about him. He’s been having these little bitty appearances, an inning here, ⅔ of a inning there, for the last couple of weeks. Last night it was a solid two innings work. No walks, two Ks, no runs.

Need to mention the enthusiasm of Iron Pigs fans. They are filling of their park every night and it sure sounds like they are having fun. On the other hand, there was a fan interference ground rule double last night for Justin Ruggiano last night. Would it have been a grand slam otherwise? Probably not, but …

Good to have broadcaster Solondz back in the booth last night. He said that the Triple-A Durham Bulls streak record is 11. We’re up against Red Sox affiliate Pawtucket tonight, with Virgil Vasquez scheduled. There’s a chance.

By the end of the day there will probably be a bit of roster-shuffling, trades, claims, etc. And then probably a couple of days before we can make sense of it. With last night’s win over the Yankees, however, you have to think that the Rays might start throwing money around to stay in the game for the next two months. On the other hand, they’ve made it this far without throwing too much around. Will be fun to watch. Here’s hoping it doesn’t mess up the Bulls too much.

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