Robinson Chirinos led off the 3rd with a double. One batter later Desmond Jennings hit a home run (his 10th). That was enough to win.
Chris Bootcheck got out of trouble twice and generally pitched a terrific seven innings. In the 1st things looked dire when the Bisons had runners on first and third with one out. But, for the first time in my memory, the old “fake to third base, throw to first base” pickoff gimmick actually worked. With a runner trapped between first and second, the runner on third broke for home and was thrown out by Dan Johnson. Just to keep our hearts pumping, the next batter got a single, so we were back to runners on first and third with two outs. Bootcheck got a K and didn’t look back until the 7th. In that inning two singles and a sacrifice put runners on second and third with one out. But Bootcheck, in what might have been the key moment in the game, struck out Bison catcher Mike Nickeas. The next batter flied out to end the inning.
Over in his blog, Durham starter Dirk Hayhurst recently offered a meditation on pitching efficiency. I’m sure that the sabermetricians have a metric for that idea, but I don’t know what it is. However, whatever a good metric might be, a simple one suffices to look at the terrific job that Mr. Bootcheck did last night. Over his seven innings he faced 27 batters and threw 89 pitches (3.29/batter). Compare that to his opponent, Dylan Owen, who in his basically very good six innings had to throw 96 pitches to 25 batters (3.84/batter). Of course, throwing fewer pitches is not necessarily a good thing if they’re crushing everything you throw. Nevertheless, safe to say that Bootcheck had an “efficient” outing.
First time I’ve seen Felipe Lopez at second base. J.J. Furmaniak made a couple of very pretty plays at third. The relief crew has now gone three games in row (9.1 innings) without allowing a run.
Dale Thayer (missing his moustache) came on for two innings for the Bisons. Have to admit he was looking better than the end of last year. Lots of pop to his fastball. That’s enough, Dale. You’ve shown us your stuff. Go back to the bullpen and stay there.
Because of a couple rainouts, the Bulls are only going to play 142 regular season games this year. That means that today’s game is the exact midpoint of the season.
Remember that Elliot Johnson visited the Bulls when they were up in Allentown playing the Iron Pigs? Turns out his blog writing spouse, Nicole, was traveling with him.
Rays Index discusses Alex Cobb, Justin Ruggiano, and the return of Jeff Niemann to the Rays' lineup.
How about a totally impossible, unsubstantiated, unlikely, couldn't possibly happen speculation? Why not? We note that the modestly well-known Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter is on the disabled list and might (or might not) play a rehab game or two. We also note that the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees are in town later this week ...