Thursday, September 8, 2011

Durham Bulls Lose First Playoff Game

Playoffs, Round One, Game One; Durham Bulls Athletic Park
Columbus Clippers (Indians) 3; Durham Bulls (Rays) 0
Wrap, Box, Herald-Sun, Examiner,

The Columbus Clippers' Zach McAllister made sure the Durham Bulls never quite got on track last night. Only six Bulls even got on base and just two of those were on hits out of the infield. I was on the verge of going up and throwing something at Neil Solondz if I heard him say "pop-up" again. After McAllister's solid six innings, Chen-Chang Lee pitched two no-hit innings and Zach Putnam struck out the side.

On the other side, Matt Moore showed the small, but noisy, crowd that he was human. Too bad he picked last night to do that. The Clippers just kept chipping away, not intimidated in the least by Moore's 96 mph fastball. To his credit, Mr. Moore worked through several very tough situations. The score could have been much worse. In the 1st inning he handled a runners on second and third, one out situation with two popups. In the 6th he had a bases-loaded, nobody out situation that he got out of scot-free (if you don't count the run that was made on a blown call earlier in the inning). It was Moore's first loss as a Triple-A pitcher. It won't be his last and there won't be very many of them before he goes to the majors. Sure wish the timing had been better.

For the first time since coming back to the Bulls, Joe Bateman showed us what we loved about him the last couple of years. That's a very positive sign. Coming on with runners on second and third, two outs, bottom of the 8th, he got a strikeout to end the inning. In the 9th he faced three left-handed batters in a row and got all of them out. Given the trouble he's been having with lefties, we can hope.

In all my thinking about these playoffs I forgot a key element missing from the playoff roster — speed. That came to me as I watched Russ Canzler and Matt Carson chase down fly balls last night. Most of the season the Bulls have had at least one, and sometimes three, very speedy outfielders: the early-season Justin Ruggiano, Desmond Jennings, and Brandon Guyer. All of them are with the Rays now, and deservedly so. But I miss 'em. Leslie Anderson isn't quick enough for a safety squeeze, such as was a possibility in the 5th last night. And if you look at the rest of the roster the Bulls don't have many who could. I can't remember the last time a Bull stole a base (I know, you've got to get on base to steal a base). So, it's a weakness I hadn't considered.

It was a small, but knowledgable and enthusiastic crowd last night. Maybe the town of Clayton will fill up the DBAP tonight for Chris Archer. Here's a challenge for the young man in his third AAA game — keep the Bulls in this one.

The IronPigs/Red Sox got rained out last night, but Bacon and Biscuits has several pre-playoff links that look at matchup.


  1. Home plate umpire Fran Burke was terrible last night. In addition to the missed call at the plate, the strike zone was hugely inconsistent. Would hope to see better in a playoff game. We weren't winning last night no matter what though.

    Loved Moore's effort to battle through adversity. At the end of the day 3* runs in 6.2 against the best hitting team in the league isn't particularly terrible.

    Prediction is that we beat up Talbot tonight.

  2. Wouldn't that be nice?

    I was going to chase down Talbot's history for today's post, then got lazy. Maybe Neil will tell us all about it tonight.

    Agree that Moore did just fine. Have to credit Columbus' pitching. Better than I expected.

  3. Not a fan of Fran Burke here...I won't be profane but I really think he should consider a career change

  4. BTW, meant to add that it was interesting that Padush and Bush were actually put on the roster (Baker & Cormier sent to AA roster). I assume this means they're actually active? I'd guess we wouldn't see them until game 4 or 5.

  5. Yes, from my understanding Paduch and Bush are on the roster and could play at any time.

    My guess is that Paduch will start game 5 if we get that far. Archer, Torres, and Torra are already announced for the next three (for what that may be worth)

    Bush could go in in relief at any time. My guess that would be if we're way ahead or way behind. Using only one reliever last night should mean that the bullpen is in good shape.

  6. We actually used 2 last night with Beunte and Bateman. I was actually feeling good about Beunte for a little bit, and then when he let up the homer-that-wasn't, I was like "oh yeah...that's right".

  7. Oops! Must've repressed that. Buente's had a couple of good days as a reliever, but hate depending on him. Much like Adam Kennedy, who also often gives us a scare.