Monday, September 6, 2010

Elliot Got Some Hits

Game 142: Durham Bulls 6; Norfolk Tides 5
Season: 87-55; Home Games Remaining: 1
Wrap, Box, Triangle Offense

The last regular season game of the year is at one o’clock today. Look for a few unusual moments. But before that, let’s savor last night’s win. Wasn’t that game fun? Great weather. Decent (not great) baseball. And a win.

Who were the offensive heroes? Who other than Elliot Johnson, Chris Richard, and Joe Dillon? Who was the pitching hero? Joe Bateman, of course.

In the not-great category was Brian Baker’s pitching. He just looked like he had run out of gas before he got on the mound. And that may be the case. Over at Triangle Offense Adam Sobsey is reporting that Baker may be done for the year. Since it looks like Ramon Ortiz is also out for the year, I may go back and delete my post about the playoff starting rotation. Brian let five runs in on 7 hits and 4 walks. The Bulls were down 5-3 when he left.

Also in the not-great category was Brian Shouse’s appearance. But he didn’t let any runs in. We are finding it hard to believe that he is still on Maddon’s short list for a lefty specialist.

Jake McGee looked terrific.

In the great fun category was watching Omar Luna play shortstop. He wasn’t going to let anything by him last night, and he didn’t. Our opinion is that, after pitching, defense will be the key to the playoffs. Feeling good about having Mr. Luna around.

And then Elliot Johnson came to the plate in the 8th with Fernando Perez and J. J. Furmaniak on base (he and Chris Richard had hit back-to-back homers in the 1st). Elliot whacked a triple and the game was tied. Joe Dillon hit a sac fly and the Bulls were ahead. Joe Bateman stayed in for one...more...inning (his 76th on the year) and the Bulls had a win.

Game note: Justin Ruggiano and Angel Chavez were out for another game although Justin came in on defense in the 9th, and Angel was warming up to pitch the 9th until Elliot’s heroics changed the equation.

Looking back to last year’s last game is interesting. Note that last year the Bulls played 144 games but this year a rainout on the road meant that one game simply didn’t get played. The Bulls started the game using the same bat. Don’t remember when or if it finally broke. They were using Jon Weber’s bat, which gives me a bit of a twinge. Checking out the lineups a couple of familiar names jump out. Elliot Johnson was at shortstop, Michel Hernandez (now with the Tides) was the DH. Joe Dillon and Justin Ruggiano were getting a day off. Chris Richard had just been called up to the Rays. Joe Bateman appeared in relief. Desmond Jennings, Matt Joyce, and Sean Rodriguez from the last year’s starting lineup are now with Rays.

The Bulls still don’t know who will be their opponent on Wednesday. So let’s have some fun today and then wait and see.

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