Saturday, August 21, 2010

Bulls Win South

Image courtesy Durham Bulls

Game 126: Durham Bulls 3, Norfolk Tides 1
Season: 79-47; Road Trip: 6-3; Streak: 5-0
Wrap, Box, Herald-Sun

The Bulls clinched their fourth-in-a-row championship of the International League South Division last night when they beat Norfolk 3-1 and the Gwinnett Braves lost 3-4 to the Charlotte Knights. T-shirts were on sale within ten minutes after the game was over. That was a hint that the championship was not a surprise, and it wasn’t. Other than the hiccup just after the all-star break (which the Bulls followed up with an eleven-game winning streak), the Bulls have had and continue to have a great year. Video highlights at link on Bulls home page include a very nifty game-ending, championship-winning double play initiated by Justin Ruggiano.

Last night was a good example of the kind of team we have this year. It was the Bulls fifth win in a row and they have made that run with only two starters being our “regular” starters. I put regular in quotes since neither of those two (Aneury Rodriguez and Richard De Los Santos) came to the Bulls with the intent of them being starting pitchers. The other three starters in this run were Darin Downs (recently up from Montgomery to work in relief), Bobby Livingston (new guy), and Ramon Ortiz (even newer guy).

Still, what better guy to get the save than Joe Bateman? More appearances than any other Bulls pitcher this year.

I was not listening when Ortiz was on the mound last night, so didn’t get any impressions of his performance. Comments from readers welcome. Did notice that Jake McGee got the win and kept his 0.00 ERA intact.

Offensively two mature (old) guys showed the way. Chris Richard and Rocco Baldelli got Durham’s only hits, but they were enough. Pleased to see Baldelli’s first home run. Have to wonder how long he will stay with the Bulls. Would love to see him stick with the team long enough to play in Durham.

Noted that Fernando Perez started the game, first start in quite a while (0 for 3).

Joe Dillon is on the DL, apparently due to worries about hamstring, but not a re-injury.

Now the trick is going to be keeping the focus for the next couple of weeks. Charlie Montoyo and his crew appear to be really good at that, so not really very concerned.

Except that Dale Thayer is off to the Rays, so turmoil in bullpen is not going to let up.

  • Interesting podcast/interview with Charlie Montoyo from Thursday evening. Speaks to roster changes, young pitchers, Elliot Johnson and Rocco Baldelli.
  • Ramon Ortiz gets a profile over at The Process Report.
  • At the same site there’s is a review of the Rule 5 draft. Don’t understand that? Join the club. Nevertheless, one current Bull and a couple that we’ve seen are apparently affected: Anuery Rodriguez, Heath Rollins, and Emeel Salem.
  • Yesterday John Romano at the St. Petersburg Times made the argument for sending Jeremy Hellickson back to Durham for a couple of weeks. Well, after another very impressive start out in Oakland, the Rays did send him to the minors, just not to the Bulls. Stories here and here. Surely more to come on the usual Rays blogs.
  • For those interested in minor league life here’s a good, if overlong, article (cries out for an editor to whack about 2,000 words out of it).
  • Over at Flip Flop Fly Ball he takes a look at the Red Sox.
[Update: Thanks to careful reader Samantha, here's a terrific article on last night's game with some good quotes from Charlie Montoyo.]


  1. Tried to read that article...OMG...I gave up! Did you see the article on Milb about the division title. I told Charlie if he says "awesome" one more time I'm going to smack him!

  2. Thanks. I missed that article, so will go back and put it in the main post as an update. It's really "awesome" :)

  3. whoa they really bumped Hellickson down the ladder...

  4. My guess is that it's a matter of convenience. The Bulls are (with a two-day exception) on the road till the end of the month. Port Charlotte is just a short drive from St. Pete, all of their opponents are in Florida, and the Rays can keep a close eye on his schedule until Sep 1. And maybe there's a specific coach there to work on Hellickson as a reliever.

  5. Yeah, the Rays use A ball at Port Charlotte a lot for guys that are just going for a game or two. Much easier for them that way.

  6. I hate to hear that Dillon is on the DL (he's one of my favorite players ever since he CRAWLED home after sustaining an injury - what spunk!!!)


    They put him on the DL for worries about an uninjured hamstring, huh?

  7. Regarding Dillon: My guess would be that there's some roster juggling going on and that it was convenient for Joe to take a break. At least I hope that's the situation. We'll need him come playoff time.