Sunday, August 15, 2010

Pitching Challenges

Game 118: Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay) 3; Gwinnett Braves (Atlanta) 4
Wrap, Box
Game 119: Durham Bulls 2; Gwinnett Braves 4 (7 innings)
Game 120: Durham Bulls 6; Gwinnett Braves 2 (7 innings)
Season: 74-46; Games Remaining: 23; Home Games: 10
Wrap, Box (119), Box (120)

To say that the Bulls’ pitching situation has been difficult over the last two days is not exactly accurate. Chaotic might be a better word. In Friday’s game Heath Phillips pitched one inning, gave up four runs, left the game, and is now reported to be on the disabled list. Carlos Hernandez (who came off the disabled list a couple of days ago) came in, pitched two innings, and is now reported to be back on the disabled list. Aneury Rodriguez came in to hold things in check for five innings, but the offense could not quite catch up. Plus, since Rodriguez was supposed to start Saturday, Montoyo and X. Hernandez had to do some scheming.

As an aside, I like watching Carlos Hernandez pitch. For those new to the Bulls, he’s been around for much of the last two years. He started 21 games last year and he’s got 18 appearances this year. And yet I also worry about him. If he’s back to the DL you’ve got to wonder if he will be around to finish the year with us. I hope so.

Outside of the pitching problems, Friday’s game also saw new outfielder over from Montgomery, Emeel Salem, take left field and hit a double in his second at bat.

Because Aneury Rodriguez pitched Friday, Charlie Montoyo had to get creative for the double-header yesterday. He started the first game with new guy Brian Shouse. I couldn’t chase down the last time he started a game. However, in 10 years in the majors (467 games) he doesn’t have a one. Unfortunately, the baseball gods don’t necessarily smile on either ingenuity or necessity. Shouse gave up four runs in the first inning and that was enough for Gwinnett to take the game. Need to mention Darin Downs. He pitched 4 innings of 1-hit baseball. Very nice performance. He’s looking better every day. Nice to see Elliot Johnson back in the lineup.

Back to Shouse — Chris Richard is no longer the “old guy” in the clubhouse. Shouse (41) has him by several years.

Which brings us to the second game of the double-header and a very nice 2-inning start by Jake McGee. Four K’s, still no walks for the left-hander. Followed by 2 innings by Dale Thayer, 2 by R.J. Swindle (who got the win), and one by Winston Abreu. Brian Baker will be starting today and, if he can hang on, the pitching situation might settle down just a little bit.

Nice to see the 13-hit performance by the offense.

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