Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Knight Visit

Game 85: Durham Bulls (Rays) 4; Charlotte Knights (White Sox) 10
Wrap, Box

Game 86: Bulls 6; Knights 4
Season: 52-34; Trip 1-1
Wrap, Box

The Bulls are back tonight for a two game series against the Norfolk Tides. They won’t be back at the DBAP until July 15 for a game against Charlotte. Get your Bulls fix while you can.

In the meantime, a few highlights and quirks noted in last night’s game.

  • Justin Ruggiano hit a three-run homer in the crucial 3rd inning. Could he be steadying out a bit in what has been a very erratic season?
  • Dan Johnson hit his 23rd homer (77 RBI).
  • Dioner Navarro got thrown out of the game. The ejection was apparently for arguing with the home plate umpire, Jason Bradley about a stolen base call by the 3rd base umpire, David Rackley. How weird is that?
  • Then at the top of the 7th there was Chris Richard arguing that he was not hit by a pitch and should not be awarded first base. Might have had something to do with Justin Ruggiano scoring from third on what otherwise would have been a passed ball/wild pitch. Justin had to go back to third base.
  • Charlotte had three runners picked off by Durham pitchers (two by Heath Phillips, one by Dale Thayer). That helps explain how the Knights got a more hits than the Bulls (10-8) and still lost.
  • The second inside-the-park home run of the year was scored against the Durham outfield. Could not discern a reason from the broadcast. Solondz was constantly mentioning how small the park is. So how come an inside the park dash was possible?
  • Elliot Johnson back in the lineup for both games. Yeah!
  • Dale Thayer got a win. R.J. Swindle got a hold. Winston Abreu got his tenth save. Let’s not talk about Heath Phillips.
  • But, let’s do talk about Swindle — he has got some outrageous numbers. How about this over 19 appearances and 31 ⅓ innings? An ERA of 0.86; an FIP of 2.40 (for the Sabremetricians — the constant is 3.2, that means his raw FIP is -0.80); averaging one strikeout per inning; only 3 BB so far for a K/W of 10.00! R.J. had 6 innings with the Brewers last year and 4 innings with the Phillies the year before that. Looks like the majors have been ignoring him. For our sake, let’s hope the Rays continue that tradition.
  • Interesting podcast with Bulls Trainer Roger Fleming: Coping with heat, old age, and upcoming break.
  • Dan Johnson is going to participate in a Triple A All-Star home run derby. I’m not sure that’s a good idea. But as long as he doesn’t stretch/strain something, OK. And maybe there’s some bucks in it for him.
[Update: As noted in the comments, I missed the 9th and my source for a box score, ESPN, apparently did, too. Winston Abreu pitched in the 9th and got a save. I've gone back into the article and made a couple of corrections, which are in italics. Thanks to Chris D for catching the mistake.]


  1. Abreu got the save, not Swindle.

  2. Good Grief!
    The box score over at ESPN, which I use because it's easier to get the numbers to a spreadsheet, differs from the box score!
    I wasn't listening in the 9th, but Neil's story says that Abreu got the save as well.
    Thank you! I'll update/fix my article in a bit.

  3. Yeah, the MiLB gamecast was weird about that, too. They listed the pitching change from Swindle to Abreu, but then continued to list Swindle as the pitcher for the rest of the inning. I wasn't sure which was the mistake.

  4. The inside-the-park HR was the result of Jennings trying to make a highlight-reel catch of a long drive to CF. He missed it, the ball bounced far away from him (and everyone else), Gartrell circled the bases. In that inning, Jennings made another attempt to make a spectacular catch on a ball that he (according to Solondz) would have been better off making the safer play on. Phillips might have escaped having allowed fewer than 4 runs in the inning.