Game 124, Thursday, August 18, PNC Field, Moosic, PA
Durham Bulls 5, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees 1
Season: 72-52; Trip: 5-2; Streak: 5-0, Games Left in Regular Season: 18
The 10,000+ fans who came to see Alex Rodriguez on Wednesday dwindled to 3,000+ for Thursday. Apparently most of those came to see the Bulls' Russ Canzler. He put on a show for them and got some love in the local newspaper. Deservedly so. The local lad (from nearby Hazelton) had three hits, including a big home run in the 8th.
Every year it seems the Bulls have a non-40-man roster guy who is beating on the door of the Rays in August. This year it's Russ Canzler. We can hope that the Rays are listening — just wait for the playoffs to be over, if you don't mind.
Meanwhile the Bulls infield continued with some simply stellar baseball. Six double plays! OK, two of them came after errors by Bulls' infielders that let runners on in the first place, but six in one game has to be some sort of season high. (Am I too lazy to go leafing through all the box score? You bet I am.) Ray Olmedo's hitting might have fallen off a cliff since coming to Pennsylvania (0-8), but he and Tim Beckham make one heck of a pair out there at short and second. Pretty to watch them. Beckham, by the way, got his second home run of his brief AAA career. His rep was not as a batsman, but 7 RBI in 8 games for a leadoff batter is quite an accomplishment.
With that kind of defense, as long as you're not giving up home runs, a pitcher can do just fine. Alex Torres went seven innings, Jay Buente finished off the last two.
The Bulls have won five in a row. The Yankees have lost eight in a row. Brian Baker is starting tonight. Time for the big bats to roll out, cause Baker is gonna give up a couple of runs. We like Mr. Baker a lot, but he has only pitched 3 innings since July 25. We hope he's ready to come back.
Speaking of coming back, catcher Robinson Chirinos, last seen in a Bulls uniform in Pawtucket on July 16, is coming back. John Jaso has finished his rehab and went to St. Petersburg yesterday. With Brandon Guyer back and covering center field, outfielder John Matulia was sent to Montgomery. Hope he's ready to come back, because I'm guessing the Rays are gonna want to take a look at Guyer in September.
Pleased to read that Alex Cobb's surgery was successful.
What we're looking at here is the team wOBAs for each of the last 15 games. The green bars are the Bulls, the red bars are the Bulls' opponents. The Bulls won 10 of the last 15 games and the widening gap between the trend lines helps explain why — pitching and defense has been just terrific. By the way, the Bulls are now 20 games over .500, the best they've been all year.