Friday, September 9, 2011

See You Next Year

Playoffs, Round One, Game Two, September 9, DBAP
Columbus Clippers 8, Durham Bulls 3
Wrap, Box, Examiner

The headline is what we were saying to each other near the end of last night’s game. The Bulls are a good team, but on these two nights Columbus was clearly the better in all respects: hitting, fielding, 
and pitching.

That’s why we don’t think we’ll be back to the DBAP this year. Mind you, we haven’t given up. I’ll be listening/watching tonight night (both teams took buses to Columbus!). I’ll be hoping, but I won’t 
be expecting.

In spite of striking out fifteen Clippers, the Clippers nevertheless got key hits when it counted (RISP: 6 for 15). As important, when the Bulls were smashing themselves against the outfield fences and dropping fly balls, the Clippers outfielders were chasing down deep fly balls and catching them; when the Clippers were moving runners around the bases, the Bulls were hitting into double plays 
(three of them).

At the beginning, it looked like the Bulls were going to get to former teammate Mitch Talbot. They scored two runs in the 1st and led off the 2nd with two singles. But Tim Beckham hit into the first of the three double plays and Clippers right fielder Travis Buck made a terrific grab of a Stephen Vogt fly ball to the wall to end the inning. Talbot was never really in trouble after that.

Chris Archer shows a lot of promise, in spite of the five runs he was charged with. The relief crew of Ekstrom and Russell weren't very helpful (three more runs).

Everyone is going to have to do better up in Columbus tonight, and the next two nights. I hope my headline is wrong.


  1. Your comment yesterday about lack of range in the OF really hit home last night. I really miss Jennings, Guyer, and even Matulia in the OF. Vogt is serviceable with the monster, but Carson & Canzler are slooooooooow.

    Oh well, all in all a great season should tonight be the last game. It's hard to win 5 divisions in a row.

    Next year looks pretty bright if you want to start speculating...

  2. I do want to start speculating a bit and next year does look pretty good.

    Canzler has too much to offer to the Bulls not to be in the outfield. As bad as he's been there, he does less damage than when he was in the infield. If he's in the outfield, his offense will offset his defense.

    And I think most of the later call-ups this year will be exciting to watch next year; they'll probably even add some wins. I'm looking forward to seeing a full season of the new pitchers, especially. Beckham ran a little hot and cold, but showed he has some skills.

    At the same time, I'm ready to stop watching Furmaniak and Johnson play. They're not going to be Rays in the future and they don't seem to enjoy being Bulls. And if I ever have to see Brian Baker pitch again, I'd like him to be wearing a Gwinnett uniform. Ray Olmedo always seems to be having a good time - I'm thinking he'd have just as much fun in Hudson Valley.

    Any other players to look forward to coming up from Montgomery? Maybe a catcher who can hit .250?

  3. At a guess, here's how the Bulls breakdown next year:

    SP: Moore, Archer, Padush, FreeAgent1, FreeAgent2
    Pen: De La Rosa, Delaney (if he's not up), Bush, Others

    Infield: Beckham, Mayora, One of Furmaniak & Olmdeo, Anderson

    Outfield: One of Canzler/Vogt (one will be in Tampa, not sure who), Matulia, Carson, maybe that guy who played 1 game for us that's in AA

    Obviously a bunch of gaps, but not a terrible start.

  4. Oh yeah, forgot to add catcher, so I guess we'll get one of Ashley (Rays love him)/Lobaton/Chirinos/Jaso (probably not him).

  5. We have to remember what we know about the contracts these guys are on and what that might meant to the Rays (and their agents). Dan Johnson's on a $1m contract and is surely not to be renewed. So he must be shopping around. Furmaniak, Canzler, Carson, Olmedo, Paduch are on minor league contracts. So they are waiting to see what the Rays have to offer. I'm not sure about all the rest of the pitchers, but in addition to Paduch, probably Cormier, Torra and Bateman (at least), possibly Baker, are on minor league contracts.

  6. To natter on a bit more:
    It will be interesting to see how many of the players on the 40-man go on down to St. Petersburg to finish the year.
    I'm guessing that if the Rays want to keep Canzler, they need to put him on the 40-man right now and bring him down to spend some time with the team.
    I don't know what the Anderson contract was when he defected. He has never looked like major league material to me. You'd think the Rays would want to develop a first baseman (Vogt? Canzler?). And you'd think they'd want to develop a third baseman — neither Furmaniak or Mayora looks good for that role.

  7. See my "What's Next" post. Jump in!