In August 2010 the Bulls carried out a strong campaign for the division championship with little change until September call-ups. Most of the team had been with the Bulls all of the year. Some of the names remain very familiar: Jeremy Hellickson, Dan Johnson, Elliot Johnson, Justin Ruggiano, Mike Ekstrom, Jose Lobaton, Jake McGee.
In 2011, however, the August Durham Bulls are essentially a new team. They are certainly in the hunt for the South Division championship, but very few of the players are familiar names. Two year-long members of the team are on the disabled list, pitcher Dirk Hayhurst and outfielder Brandon Guyer.
So, who are your August 2011 Durham Bulls? Listed by when the player first took the field for the Bulls.
- LHP Alexander Torres (23) is the only starting pitcher currently with the Bulls who began the year with the Bulls. First game April 21. He’s doing OK. 20 starts, 7-6, ERA 3.04, 106 innings. One brief visit to the Rays, in relief, in July.
- RHP Mike Ekstrom (27) is on his way back from a brief visit with the Tampa Bay Rays. 36 appearances, 4-3, ERA 4.10, 3 holds, 5 saves, 52 innings.
- RHP Dirk Hayhurst (30) is on the disabled list for the second time this season. 11 starts, 4-2, ERA 4.12, 59 innings.
- RHP Brian Baker (28) was slotted to be a long reliever this year, but has only had three relief appearances, and has now had 17 starts. Reportedly suffering from arm tiredness, so we may not see much of him the rest of the year. 7-7, ERA 6.18, 83 innings. [To Hudson Valley, 8/2] [Fm Hudson Valley, 8/7]
- RHP Dane De La Rosa (28) has been a strong man in relief all year. 39 appearances, 4-3, ERA 3.55, 50 innings, 881 pitches, 7 holds, 4 saves. One brief trip to the Rays.
- RHP Rob Delaney (26) another bullpen stalwart with terrific numbers. 35 appearances, 4-1, ERA 1.78. 50 innings, 4 holds, 2 saves. One visit to the Rays.
- RHP Ryan Reid’s (26) first game with the Bulls was on May 1 when he came up from Montgomery. He’s been back once since then. A couple of spot starts. 23 appearances, 1-0, ERA 4.34, 45 innings.
- RHP Jay Buente (27) was claimed off waivers from the Marlins and pitched his first game for the Bulls on May 29. Intended to be a reliever, he has started 4 games. 13 appearances, 1-3, ERA 6.51, 27 innings. Not particularly impressive as a starter. OK as a reliever.
- RHP Lance Cormier (30) was released by the LA Dodgers, signed by Rays, and assigned to the Bulls. He pitched his first game for the Bulls on June 12. He has had 3 starts. 11 appearances, 3-3, ERA 5.91, 32 innings.
- RHP Matt Torra (27) was acquired from Reno in the PCL (Diamondbacks). His first game was July 6. He has had 5 starts. 0-1, ERA 6.29, 24 innings. Not very impressive yet.
- RHP Andy Sonnanstine (28) was sent down from the Rays. His first game was July 14. He has had 4 starts. 1-1, ERA 3.24, 25 innings. He looked pretty good in his last two appearances, a 7-inning win and an 8-inning no-decision. Very helpful to the Bulls.
- RHP Joe Bateman (31). Released by Oakland A’s. First appearance July 20. 3 appearances, ERA 3.38, 5 innings. Big help to Bulls in 2009 and 2010. Hope he does the same this year.
- LHP Matt Moore (22). From Montgomery Biscuits. First start July 22. 2 starts, ERA 0.69, 13 innings. Impressive young man.
- RHP Adam Russell (28). Sent down from Tampa Bay. First appearance July 28. 1 game, ERA 0.00, 1 inning. Too soon to tell.
LHP Cesar Ramos (27). Sent down from Tampa Bay. First appearance July 29. 2 games, ERA 4.5, 2 innings. First impressions positive.[To Tampa Bay, 8/7]
What can we say about this lineup?
Careful readers will have noticed that there are 15 pitchers on this list (one on the DL). The Bulls typically carry only 12, but sometimes 13 pitchers. Also, readers will have noticed that there are only two legitimate starting pitchers on the list (Torres and Moore), three if you count Sonnanstine, four if you count Torra. Expect a decision or two today (Aug 2) on who may be leaving the list.
Six of these pitchers made their first appearance in the month of July. That’s half of a normal pitching staff. That is a huge challenge to Montoyo and pitching coach Neil Allen.
[Update: I will be using line in and