Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Summer Comes Early

Game 50, May 30, Durham Bulls Athletic Park
Durham Bulls (Rays) 7, Columbus Clippers (Indians) 4
Season: 28-22; Last 10: 4-6; Home Stand: 1-0
Wrap, Box, Herald-Sun

The weirdness of this year's weather continues. Following the deluge we have stifling heat. You've got to admire ballplayers who played until late Sunday night in very cool upper Ohio, fly into RDU about noon yesterday and greet the sauna, and then play ball at five o'clock.

For the first five innings Columbus pitcher Scott Barnes seemed to have the Bulls in hand, holding them to just the one solo home run by Chris Carter. But from the 6th inning on the Bulls owned the Clippers relievers scoring six runs. Most impressive was Russ Canzler's three-run shot in the 7th.

You have to think that the coaches have been preaching to Alex Torres to throw strikes, let batters hit if he has to, just don't walk them. Torres is notorious for his walk rate, having given up 31 of them in his first nine games this year. Last night Torres let them hit (no walks at all!) and, with one ghastly exception, the defense stepped up including pulling off three double plays. 

The exception was in the third inning when the Clippers led off with two singles. The third batter grounded to second and Omar Luna would have been a hero if he'd successfully tagged the runner as he went by and thrown to first for a double play. Instead, Luna did neither, booting the ball and letting a run score from second. Torres then wild pitched in a second run. Wonder if he was standing on the mound muttering to himself, "First my second baseman and then my catcher." Getting out of that inning, he gave up his only dangerous hit, a home run, in the fourth. Still, if he could have managed one more out in the 7th he would have had the win. 

Overall, even with the no-decision, this may have been his best game. Instead of a pile of strikeouts and a bundle of walks, we got nearly seven innings of solid pitching backed up by decent defense. That'll win it for you almost every time.

* * * * * 

In exchange for Alex Cobb, Tampa Bay is sending back Brandon Gomes. [St. Pete Times] Just roster shuffling on their part, since Gomes has been doing a pretty good job in St. Pete. The same article reports that former Bull Jeff Niemann might be coming through Durham as part of a rehabilitation routine. That could really help the Bulls and it would be fun to see Niemann pitch again. Hope it happens before the Bulls go back on the road.

Speaking of Tampa Bay, they put their second stringers in the game yesterday (Ruggiano in left and Lopez at first). Together they went 3 for 8 with a walk, a home run (Ruggiano), 2 runs scored, and 3 RBI. Not bad for a couple of bench-riders even if in a losing cause.

1 comment:

  1. damn I hope this summer isn't like last year...this is too hot too early