Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Tale of Two Games

Desmond Jennings, July 21, 2010, Courtesy Durham Herald-Sun

Game 96: Durham Bulls 7, Columbus Clippers 0
Wrap, Box, Herald-Sun, Indy Week

Game 97: Durham Bulls 6, Columbus Clippers 7; 12 innings
Season: 57-40; Home Stand: 1-2
Wrap, Box, Herald-Sun, Indy Week

About the only thing these last two games had in common was an inordinate length, times trying fans' souls. Tuesday’s game had a hour and a half rain delay to add to its 2 hr 50 minute length. Wednesday’s went on for 12 innings, and 4 hrs and 20 minutes ending up at almost exactly the same time of night, 11:30 or so. Paid attendance at the first game was 3,861 and at the second was 3,151. But I’m here to tell you there were surely only a couple hundred left at the end of either. Unfortunately, last night that included the annoying little kid who kept kicking my seatback the entire game — shouldn’t he have been home in bed? As far as the first night goes, I must admit that I never made it to the DBAP, but watched on Channel 151.

Otherwise, the games were very different.

In the first game the Bulls pitching lineup did very nicely. Richard De Los Santos, R.J. Swindle, and Winston Abreu combined for a 7 hit shutout. Meanwhile the Johnson boys, Justin Ruggiano, and Chris Richard led the pack as the Bulls put together 14 hits and 7 runs.

For the second game things were very different. Virgil Vasquez in his second straight shaky start gave up 6 runs, but Joe Bateman, Mike Ekstrom, and Dale Thayer kept us in the game until the 12th when Winston Abreu gave up his first run since May 18th. An amazing 21-appearance run. Just wish it had gone one more game.

There were interesting events to watch throughout, however. For instance, After Dan Johnson hit his 26th home run in the 1st, and singled to lead off the 4th, he didn’t see another decent pitch. He drew three walks, including a lead off walk in the 12th. Unfortunately, while he got on base 5 out of 6 times at bat, he only scored one run (off of his homer). The snakebit guys of the night were the six and seven batters, Dioner Navarro and J.J. Furmaniak. In their combined 12 at bats in the game, 11 came with runners on base. Mr. Navarro got a vital ground-out RBI in the 6th, But Mr. Furmaniak didn’t get a one. The hitting hero was Angel Chavez with his three-run homer in the 6th that pumped some life back into the team. But after tying in the 7th, the Bulls could not push another run across.

I’m something of a Desmond Jennings skeptic. But even I have to admit that he made a spectacular, running into the wall catch in the 1st inning (see above) and a terrific running forward, keep us in the game catch in the 11th.

Both teams essentially ripped the heart out of their bullpens. Heath Phillips is due to start tonight. Every one of our relievers has seen duty either last night or the night before. One (Abreu) was up both nights. Who goes to the mound from the bench? One of the catchers?

These Columbus youngsters (the oldest is 27) are giving us fits. Maybe Mr. Phillips will repeat his terrific performance of a few days ago. We need it.


  1. It seems like we need a good couple of games to break out of this funk. I wonder if there is much talk amongst the team of the various trade rumors out there?

    Also, this was a fun after the game we won:

  2. Abreu can't pitch two nights in a row. Heather and I had been out to a movie, discovered the game was in extras, and arrived in the 11th. Abreu's fastball sat around 86-87 mph; that's four or five mphs slower than the previous night. He had nothing, was lucky to escape with only 2 runs allowed.

    I'm with you on Jennings: he doesn't go all-out all the time. Nice catches, though.

  3. Agree about Abreu. After the fact, but seems like Swindle uses much less energy, so if you wanted a guy to go two days in a row, he would have been a better choice. Didn't notice the speed differential, but certainly the twitches, fidgets, rosin bag dusting, etc. was at an all time high.

    Would all have worked fine if in either 9th or 12th D. Johnson could have been pushed across.

  4. I wish we had thrown Swindle instead of Abreu as well, but you won't typically see that when the guy went 2 innings the night before. The pen will be fine, but we really need the starters to pick it up. Aside from De Los Santos, all of them seem to be in funks.

    The people on the Rays boards are starting to downplay Dan Johnson's potential as a help up there. I wonder if the recent spat of walks has something to do with it. I haven't seen someone dominate AAA pitching like this since Earl Snyder did (before he played for us).