Monday, July 5, 2010

Nice Fourth of July

Game 83: Durham Bulls 6; Gwinnett Braves 4
Season: 50-33; This Home Stand: 7-3
Wrap, Box, Herald-Sun, Indy Week

Bulls pitching was (with one small exception) superb, our offense was opportunistic, and a monster crowd saw an interesting game.

Overall, Bulls pitching had a season high 16 strikeouts, no walks, and only one freebie, a hit-by-pitch early on. On the other hand, Bulls batters drew 8 walks and reached on errors twice for 10 free base runners (four of them scored).

Virgil Vasquez certainly put his rehab time in Florida to good use. Except for a shaky moment in the 4th inning, he was superb with 10 strikeouts, no walks, one hit batter, and six hits (a double and five singles). Darin Downs had a very nice 7th inning, but could not keep it up, giving up three runs in the early part of the 8th.

Which brings me to Winston Abreu. Yes, his mannerisms on the mound can be irritating, but he’s our quirky pitcher. Last night was the first time since 4 June that Winston has gone more than one inning (he’s had ten appearances over that time), so I was worried. He came on with the bases empty and one out in the 8th. Two K’s to finish the 8th, two K’s and a ground-out to finish the game. Brilliant ninth save.

As mentioned, the offense was opportunistic. In the 4th, Justin Ruggiano drew a walk and scored on a Chris Richard double. In the 5th, Bulls loaded the bases with a walk (Perez), single (Jennings), and a fumbled bunt (Furmaniak). Dan Johnson drove two of them in with a double. The bases were re-loaded by a Chris Richard walk and two runs scored when Gwinnett’s shortstop let a Navarro grounder run underneath his glove. In the 7th Dan Johnson drew a walk, then scored on a Chris Richard double.

Thanks, Gwinnett!

Odds and Ends:
  • As remarked on earlier, we have noticed that since his return from a hamstring injury Joe Dillon has eliminated his little hop before approaching the batter’s box. We also note that he is 1 for 27 in his last seven games, including that very long, 400’ out last night. Bring back the hop!
  • Justin Ruggiano has had an erratic season. He gets some attention from the News & Observer in today’s edition. For our part, we note that when he comes to bat with bases loaded and one out (4th inning) he really needs to get a bat on the ball. He struck out looking.
  • Fernando Perez, batting 9th in the order, ended up leading off in three innings — ground out, walk (run scored), strikeout.

I will admit to traffic cowardice last night. We left during the 8th, so listened to 9th on the radio. Good idea for someone who had to trek back to Raleigh because Durham really turned out.

So a fitting near end to a weirdly long home stand. Today’s five o’clocker will probably play to just a few folks. But maybe not. Lots of folks have the day off. And then the schedule continues its weirdness with two games in Charlotte, two here, two back on the road, then three days off. All against our South Division colleagues. A chance to get further ahead.


  1. Well, that was a nice easy end to the homestand...

    This twitter post came from the MiLB account:

    "the International League removed 4 players from the All-Star Game roster today: Michael Brantley, Joe Dillon, Tyler Flowers and Cody Ransom"

    Any idea what is up with Joe coming off the roster?

  2. No idea. I'll see what I can find out.

    Was over early, but mostly fun to watch.