Monday, June 27, 2011

Walking Before Running

Game 76, June 26, DBAP
Durham Bulls 11, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees 3
Season: 42-34; Home Stand: 4-3
Wrap, Box, Herald-Sun, Indy Week

Before we get to the various oddities and quirks of last night’s game, I want to highlight the stellar performance of catcher Jose Lobaton. We pointed out over a month ago that he was having a good year, but that was mostly about his hitting. Last night he showed us how well he can play catcher with two very pretty plays in the 5th inning.

Lance Cormier started off the 5th (the score was 3-3 at the time) by walking Scranton outfielder Austin Krum, but when Krum attempted to steal second, Lobaton threw him out. I should note that Krum has 18 stolen bases this year (14 in AA). This was the first time he’d been caught stealing.

The next batter grounded out, but Mike Lamb doubled and Cormier walked Jesus Montero. Mike Ekstrom came on in relief of Cormier. In what I think was the key play of the game, a perfect Lobaton throw picked off Lamb on second. It helped that veteran Olmedo positioned himself perfectly to block the bag, but it was a superb play.

Should I mention that Mr. Lobaton also had 2 doubles, a walk and 3 RBI on the night? Bringing his numbers up to .313/.412/.547, team high OBP and slugging? Of course I should. Much as I’d hate to lose him, time for him to see what he can do for the Rays. Commentary over on Rays Prospects would seem to agree.

How about home plate umpire Mark Lollo? His eye last night was something like a wine taster’s palate, very careful, very judgmental. In other words, picky, picky, picky. He turned his head aside to spit out the bad stuff 64 times as he called 16 bases on balls (10 against the Yankees, 6 against the Bulls). Of the nine strikeouts recorded, only one was a strikeout looking (the Bulls’ Canzler in the 7th). That, my friends, is a very discerning eye. We may never see its like again.

Which leads me to a stat that’s gotta be killing the Yankees: They outhit the Bulls 10 to 8, but lost 11-3. Those walks (and a couple of hit batsmen), at the wrong time, are just killers. And then there’s the fact that the hits the Bulls did get were big ones: six doubles and a home run, only 1 single.

Felipe Lopez’ 2-run homer in the 2nd, followed by a walk and an RBI double by Lobaton put the Bulls ahead early, but the Yankees tied it up in the next two innings. It wasn’t until the 7th when the Yankee’s bullpen of Brackman and Schmidt completely unraveled after the first out (Anderson, who was also the last out of the inning, tough night for Leslie). BB, BB, HBP, double (2 runs scored), BB, double (2 runs score), K, double (2 runs score).

Two more runs in the 8th for the good guys.

I can’t say that Lance Cormier actually looked very good last night in his second try as a starter this year. Even if we want to continue blaming the ump for the walks called (5) he didn’t do a very good job keeping runners off the bases. Unless and until the Rays give the Bulls some help in the starting pitcher department, however, looks like Lance is our man.

Alex Cobb supposed to start today in the last game of this home stand. Then we start more of the 2011 schedule weirdness: Four away games (Charlotte), two home games (Gwinnett), two away games (Gwinnett), three home games (Norfolk), two away games (Norfolk), and then the All-Star break.

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Yesterday an interesting thread got started about noise at the DBAP. Adam Sobsey gave us a link to this June 7th New York Times story about the noise at professional sports games, especially in the NBA (however, if a ‘Canes game is any example, the NHL is right in line). Most fans quoted seemed to love the noise and, in spite of the risks, the owners apparently are deliberately designing the noise in (possibly to drive the really fat cats into their quieter skyboxes). Here’s a thought, though. NBA seats are notoriously empty these last few years. Is there a connection?

Lastly, just to get you ready for today’s game, here’s some interesting speculation about our favorite ex-Bulls shortstop (or should that be former Bull, ex-shortstop) B.J. Upton, Desmond Jennings, and Brandon Guyer.


  1. So is Cormier still in the rotation now that Cobb is back? Don't we have:

    Bootcheck (or is he being put back in the pen?)

  2. You know, I think you are right. I should have counted again before writing that sentence. Cormier was my speculation a couple of days ago as the top candidate to go to the bullpen on Cobb's return. Screwed up. I guess I just wanted to complain about the Rays again.

    Although looking at the list, maybe Baker should be the guy to go to pen instead of Cormier.

    The loose end is what happens when Buente comes off DL.

  3. It is to be hoped that what happens is that Buente goes to Montgomery.