Monday, April 11, 2011

Typical Bulls-Braves Series

Game 4: Durham Bulls 4, Gwinnett Braves 5 (11 Innings)
Season: 2-2
First Home Game: This Thursday
Wrap, Box, Gwinnett Daily Post

In the end, this was a fairly typical Bulls-Braves series. It was distinguished only a bit by the low number of home runs by either team: 2 over 41 innings of play, 1 by the Bulls and 1 by Gwinnett. Yesterday, the Bulls went through five relievers after starter Edgar Gonzalez only lasted 3 2/3 innings. My ability to listen to the game was sporadic, so I don’t have anything to offer regarding his performance.

Hard not to notice, however, catcher Robinson Chirinos’ troubles at the plate so far this year, 0-14. Chirinos, who came from the Cubs as part of the Matt Garza deal, had a terrific spring training with the Rays. So much so that the bloggers were talking about trading off Kelley Shoppach (one of the Rays’ catchers) and keeping Chirinos. Surely this is just a slow start for him. Similarly, infielder J.J. Furmaniak is off to a tough start, 0-12. Both of these young men are better players than the numbers show, but sure hope the dry spell ends soon.

On the plus side, Justin Ruggiano is having a great start. 7 for 17 with 2 doubles, 2 walks, 5 RBIs, and only 2 strikeouts. He was pulled from the game after doubling in 2 runs in the top of the 5th inning, apparently injured. I’ve got emails out asking about his status. If the Bulls release any more info before tonight's game, I’ll come back and update this.

In the end, the game turned on the Braves’ bullpen ability to keep the Bulls off the bases in the 9th, 10th, and 11th; and the Braves touching to reliever Rob Delaney for a homer in the 9th and putting together a rally off Dane De La Rosa in the 11th.

Smart, aggressive baseball by both teams. We’ll get to see the Gwinnett team in Durham on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Should be fun.

I’ve been thinking we should keep an eye on the Montgomery Biscuits, the Rays AA team. They are off to a bit of a slow start, but nothing like their parent club (Rays are now 1-7)

Biscuit Watch
Game 4: Montgomery Biscuits 4; Birmingham Barons 3
Season: 1-3
Wrap, Box, Montgomery Advertiser

UPDATE: Bulls front office says that Justin Ruggiano is fine. Good news.

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