Saturday, May 28, 2011

Looking Better

Game 47, 28 May, First Third Field, Toledo, Ohio.
Durham Bulls 7, Toledo Mud Hens 3
Season: 26-21; Last 10: 4-6; Trip: 2-4
Wrap, Box, Toledo Blade

The Mud Hens are getting turned inside out by their parent club, the Detroit Tigers. See the Toledo Blade link for details. No reason for the Bulls not to take advantage of that, and they did. On the mound was the 32 year-old elder statesman of the Bulls pitching staff, Chris Bootcheck. Have to admire him stepping into the breach until the Rays can find a couple of starters for the Bulls. And he did a decent job, going 4 2/3 innings. This was his second start as a Bull and the first time he’s started games in quite a few years. The last time he saw regular duty as a starter was in 2005 with the Angels AAA team in Salt Lake City. Good job.

Meanwhile Ray Olmedo has slipped into Justin Ruggiano’s #2 spot in the batting order and is acting a bit like Justin. His batting average is up to .293 and yesterday he went two for 5 and scored both times he got on base. Dan Johnson played first and got his first hit. Russ Canzler remains hot, playing third and hitting another homer, just his fourth, but they have been timely. (By the way, Justin Ruggiano has not started a game with the Rays, but did have a little bit of playing time back on May 21st. Guess the Rays are treating him pretty much as usual. Too bad.)

I’m not quite sure what to make of Chris Carter’s day. His hitting helped a lot (two RBIs). But his aggressive base running led to him being thrown out twice trying for third base. And he grounded into two double plays.

Craig Albernaz and Jeremy Hall (I guessed right!) have been taken off the Bulls’ roster and sent to Hudson Valley, making room for Rob Delaney, who passed through waivers, and new guy Jay Buente.

Chart of the Day — Fielding Independent Percentage

This is one of those relatively new numbers that really is a better way of evaluating pitchers than ERA. I like it. It does, however, punish the pitcher who gives up home runs as you can see by the rankings of Swindle (6), Bootcheck (3), and McGee (3) who have pretty high HR/Inning numbers. But, all things considered, that’s seems only fair. An interesting feature of this chart is how well Edgar Gonzalez, today’s starter, comes off. He’s been having back problems recently. We can hope that that sorts itself out.

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