Friday, July 9, 2010

Elliot’s Back ...

Game 87: Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay) 11; Norfolk Tides (Baltimore) 3
Season: 53-34
Wrap, Box, Log, Herald-Sun, Indy Week

The Bulls jumped on the Tides in the 1st inning and, after a bobble in the top of the 2nd, never looked back. By the end of the game, everyone had gotten at least one hit, and most had even more.

I would have been happy just to see Elliot Johnson back in the game. Seems like for a very long time all we’ve seen of him is the number 29 hanging on the dugout rail, hat back on his head. Elliot started at shortstop and handled his opportunities there just fine. At the plate he was a star. He singled and scored in the 1st; had a lead-off single and scored in the 3rd; had a two-run homer in the 4th; and a two RBI single in the 7th. Pretty good night’s work. All batting left, as I recall. His one at-bat batting right he struck out.

And is Justin Ruggiano back on form, as speculated yesterday? Sure looks that way. Three hits, two doubles and a home run, pushed his average up to .294 and his OPS to .836. Looking much better. He got a stolen base (19) as well.

Always on the look out for oddities we noted that in the 5th inning Angel Chavez, Jose Lobaton, and Fernando Perez each hit singles to almost exactly the same place—just over the head of Norfolk shortstop Robert Andino.

And then there was the extremely unusual event of two Tidesmen reaching on errors. Including those two, this year Bulls have only allowed 19 base runners to reach on errors. On the other side of the equation, 45 Bulls have reached on errors. That goes along with other numbers the Bulls excel at this year. For example, the Bulls have drawn 339 walks, but only given up 273. One metric that seems to be a wash is hit by pitch—Bulls have been whacked 34 times and returned the favor 36 times.

I had also thought that a possible explanation for this lopsided score was turmoil in the rosters. And that might be true as far as pitching staff is concerned. But I looked at the lineups for last April 18 and can only find two Tides players missing—infielders Josh Bell and Scott Moore. The Bulls lost Hank Blalock and Ryan Shealy, so you can’t point to roster changes to explain things. On the other hand, we won that game 10-1. Guess things haven’t changed all that much.

We are 19 games above .500 for the first time this season. (Note: So are the Rays, but not for the first time.)

Speaking of the Rays, here’s a quote from Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times regarding our own Dan Johnson.
OF Dan Johnson hit his 23rd homer of the season on Wednesday for Triple-A Durham, tops in the International League and second in all of the minors. He is hitting .304 with 77 RBIs. Those numbers have caught [Tampa Bay Manager Joe] Maddon’s attention. “He’s not just down there being lucky, getting hits,” he said. “He’s a good hitter. We look at that all the time.”


  1. Elliot is glad to be playing again! He was getting pretty bored sitting out, he was ready to get back in the game. :)

  2. Well, it certainly sounds like Elliot is making up for lost time!