Sunday, June 19, 2011

Two Good Starts; Two Wins

Game 37, June 17, Coolray Field, Lawrenceburg, Georgia
Durham Bulls 8, Gwinnett Braves 5
Wrap, Box

Game 38, June 18
Durham Bulls 8, Gwinnett Braves 1
Season: 37-31; Last 10: 5-5; Trip: 2-1
Wrap, Box

I missed most of Friday's game, but the Dirk Hayhurst interview was instructive. Not making jokes, but instead talking about his pitching and then the early run support helping him out.

And then there was Desmond Jennings and Ray Olmedo getting on base a lot for Brandon Guyer to hit them in. The three of them pretty much kept that up into Saturday's game. Decent pitching, solid top-of-inning hitting, what more can you ask for?

On Saturday Alex Torres got his first win since May 1 (counting last night, he's had eight starts in that period — 1 win, 3 losses, 4 no-decisions). After his five innings, the relief corps of Delaney, Swindle, and De La Rosa had a perfect 4 innings. They did not let a single runner get on base. In fact, from the 3rd inning on, the Braves only had two men on base.

The oddity of the evening has to be Dan Johnson's four walks, one for a RBI. For a guy who's only hit one home run since he came back to AAA, they sure are being careful about how they pitch to him.

With the win the Bulls pull one game ahead of the Braves in the South Division and have one more game, today at 2:00, before coming home. Begins to look like we'll be back and forth with these guys all season. Much like the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (Phillies), the Gwinnett Braves seem to suffer a bit by being close to their parent club. The Braves have had 32 different position players on the roster this year (the Bulls have had 16).

Speaking of roster changes, time to speculate about the return of Alex Cobb. He pitched his last game for the Rays last night and did very, very well as reported by the St. Petersburg Times and Tampa Tribune. But now he's coming back to Durham (hooray!).

So, who gets thrown off the bus? Or at least sent back to the bullpen?

Only one of the current starting pitching crew has a recent history as a starting pitcher. In fact, only two of them (Hayhurst and Torres) began the year as a starter. So among Baker, Hayhurst, Bootcheck, Buente, and Torres who would you send back to the pen? Or off the bus entirely. Note that in the pen you've only have four who are not on the 40-man, Swindle, Delaney, Reid, and Cormier.
Let's see if the charts are any help. First a look at FIP, then at WHIP.

At this point, of course, the Rays have long since made their decision. It'll be interesting to see who, as they are packing out of their hotel this morning, gets told, "Don't worry about what time the bus leaves for Durham after the game. You're not going to be on it. Here's a ticket to [Montgomery/???]. Good luck."

Don't want to finish up without pointing out a couple of good pieces over at Rays Prospects. The first is a summary of how the Bulls did last week. The second is an analysis of the pitching prospects in the Rays system. Four current Bulls are on the list.


  1. Presumably Buente is done with us for now.

    But how about Swindle? Neil mentioned he hann't given up a hit since May 24th and in that span he seems to made a lot of appearances (even if only for a few batters each). How did he go from so wrong to so right?

  2. Actually, I heard Neil say the afternoon that Buente was going to the bullpen and Cormier was going to try start! But, if he speculated on effect of Cobb's return, I didn't hear it. I'm confused. Maybe we'll hear something tomorrow, or Herald-Sun reporter will sort it out for us.