Monday, August 8, 2011

Baseball in the Steam Room

Game 113, August 7, DBAP, Durham, North Carolina
Durham Bulls 6, Lehigh Valley IronPigs 4
Season: 64-49; Home Games Remaining: 13
Wrap, Box, Herald-Sun, Examiner, Wild Card

Matt Moore showed himself to be human last night, allowing two runs in the 7th inning of what turned out to be a 6-4 game. But he also had a bit of bad luck up at the scoring table. Yes, he did start the inning by giving up a double and a single, putting runners on first and third. But Reid Brignac really did botch the grounder hit to him by Lehigh Valley's Josh Barfield — probably getting ahead of himself going for a double play. Instead of what should have been an E6, the grounder was scored as a hit. That meant that the run scoring from third was scored an earned run and on the books against Moore. If an error then the run goes on the books as unearned. The next run that scored (on a wild pitch from Jay Buente) might also have been unearned. And Moore's fabulous numbers would have been even better. Oh well, Moore will just have to live with the awful 1.09 ERA. Nice to see Moore's work so well recognized by Bulls fans as he left in the 7th. Gonna have to work on his hat tip, though.

This series with the IronPigs tested the mettle of the roster that we are likely to see through August and the end of the season. Although the changes are far from over, as you'll see below, we can hope that the pace of change will dampen down some. Russ Canzler rediscovered both his power and plate discipline last night with a single, double, home run, and a walk. Stephen Vogt's home run turned out to be very important. John Matulia's bat is hidden somewhere on the other side of Magnum St. Reid Brignac laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt, but still isn't hitting all that well. Dan Johnson had the day off. My point is that this is the team we'll be watching for the rest of the month and they are playing pretty well, with each having his ups and downs. Given the brutal heat, that has to be expected.

Speaking of the heat, yesterday was just awful. Again, all praise to the conditioning of these young men.

The Bulls gained a game on Gwinnett and are now 2 1/2 games ahead of Gwinnett.

Roster changes. Brian Baker is back from his stay on the Hudson Valley roster. As noted in an earlier post, Cesar Ramos went back to St. Petersburg. The Bulls have no left-handers in the bullpen at all. John Jaso is coming back to the Bulls for what may be an extended rehab assignment. Should be in the lineup by tomorrow. That will help out a lot.

Question of the day: Who is the catcher who's been warming up pitchers while Ashley's been behind the plate and Vogt's been in left field? Not Craig Albernaz, too tall, too much hair. No name on his jersey. Anybody know? Anonymous answers welcome.

Last roster change: Broadcaster Neil Solondz has been called up to St. Petersburg for a few days. He's expected to rejoin the Bulls in Buffalo where he can spend the evening telling Fernando Perez stories.

Update: Oops! Forgot to put up the link to the fabulous Brignac-Johnson play on the 6th. 


  1. Beside the not so terrific BA (altho inflated or deflated due only playing in 10 games), how is Briggy doing ? Any changes with the swing? Look like he will be back in Tampa in September ? We sure miss his web gems here on the D.

  2. His play in the field has been terrific (you have probably seen the clip of one from the other day). Also really a lot of fun watching him interact with Ray Olmedo our usual 2B. They make a terrific team and they seem to be having fun. Their won-game handshake/dance is a sight to behold.

    At bat my understanding is that he's supposed to be working on hitting the ball squarely and into the middle of the field. I'd say he's coming along, but has a ways to go. He has been unlucky in placement of a few well hit balls. I don't know enough to judge his swing. Looks the same to me as when he was here year before last.

    My judgement, however, is suspect. I always thought Elliot Johnson was a better hitter than Reid, so what do I know?

    Local opinion (mine, really) is that if we're in the playoffs, why not leave him with us for early September. The Rays don't need him any more in the first week in September as the third week. That's assuming they don't want to give Beckham a taste of AAA (more likely event, I'd guess).

  3. Thanks for the reply, good to know hes a least making progress at bat. I still have hope for the Cajun. Just getting back to his 2010 numbers would be better than most of our current lineup haha.
    I agree, Id like to see him stay there for the AAA playoffs. The Rays dont need him. Although, I really, really miss the D. Sean Rod- just no. And as far as Elliot goes, he looked lost at the plate when I was there Saturday night. It was ugly.