Game 141: Durham Bulls 6; Norfolk Tides 7 (10 innings)
Season: 86-55; Home Games Remaining: 2
You know things are going to be a bit odd when you come through the gate, take a look at the lineup cards, and see Bobby Livingston batting DH. Livingston? A pitcher? How come?
Probably a couple of reasons. The Bulls are short of position players (usually have 12, now have 11 on the list). Then Angel Chavez and Justin Ruggiano got banged up on Friday night. That meant the Bulls were down to a choice between catcher Kyle Holloway or a pitcher. Which leaves me with this image in my head (probably not fair, but it’s there) of Bobby Livingston jumping up and down on the bench, waving his hand and saying, “Send me in coach! Send me in!” I’m guessing he likes to hit and he’s spent some time with National League teams so he isn’t a complete stranger to the craft.
But that was before the game started. The oddness continued into the first inning when with just one out the Bulls were down 4-0, Ramon Ortiz had left the game, and Dale Thayer was taking warmup pitches. (Note: no word on Ortiz’ problem/condition).
After that it was a glass half-full/half-empty kind of game. I’ll take a mostly half-full look.
The Bulls went through five relief pitchers and they mostly did just fine. Notable was R. J. Swindle’s two innings. He looked a lot like the guy we were seeing until recently. Here’s hoping he keeps it up. Dale Thayer didn’t look all that good, but not bad either. Winston Abreu can’t go two innings. Charlie knows it. Winston knows it. But what else was he going to do for the 10th, put Angel Chavez in?
Well, that apparently was what he was going to do before the Bulls got within a run in the bottom of the 8th. Chavez was warming up to come in for the 9th, but then sat down and Winston Abreu started warming up.
New guy Kyle Holloway had his moment when he came in for Bobby Livingston (0 for 3, by the way), hit a double, then score the tying run in the 9th.
On the half-empty side of things, Leslie Anderson doesn’t seem comfortable at the plate or in the field. Did he really think he’d be playing for the Rays in September? Is that what’s going on? Hard to tell.
Nevin Ashley gets to be the goat since he was the catcher of record for the wild pitch that allowed the winning run, and got the last out with a runner in scoring position in the 10th.
Nevertheless, the Bulls did well to just get back into the game after that awful first inning.
Now, what are the Rays going to do about our lineup? Even if Ortiz and Shouse are moved off the current roster, there’s still only room for one pitcher, and that will need to be a starter.
The Biscuits’ loss last night put them out of the Southern League playoffs, but not sure who down there will be a help. But if there’s a choice, my vote is for defensive skills (let’s not give away a playoff game) among the position players and craftiness among the pitchers.
If you haven’t noticed, broadcasts of the games seem to have been switched to 99.9 FM for the last couple of days. And today’s game is at 5:00.
A final note about last night’s game:
Wasn’t that a wonderful night for baseball? Great crowd. Perfect weather.