Sunday, April 29, 2012

3-Hitter Not Good Enough

Game 22, Friday, April 27, DBAP, Durham, North Carolina
Indianapolis Indians (Pittsburgh) 13; Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay) 2
Box, Wrap, Herald-Sun, Indy Week

Game 23, Saturday, April 28, DBAP
Indianapolis Indians 2; Durham Bulls 0
Season: 6-17; Home Stand: 0-2; Streak: 0-12
Box, Wrap, Herald-Sun

I went up to the top of the Blue Monster to watch the 9th inning Saturday evening. That location gives you a unique perspective on the game. I recommend it for an inning or two every now and then. From there you can look directly down on the visiting team bullpen. While Cesar Ramos was striking out the side (every batter struck out looking) I watched Indianapolis closer left-hander Doug Slaten warm up. I don’t follow Pittsburg so I can’t tell you why he’s not pitching there, but I can tell you that from the Blue Monster you have one heck of a look at what he can do. Impressive. His fastball was very close to the inside (for a left-handed batter) edge of the plate. His breaking ball started in the same place, but had a nasty away and down break. Beautiful to watch from above. Too bad he’s pitching for the Indians.

Which brings me to my point: Durham had 8 left-handed batters in the lineup last night. The Rays are famous for their platoon approach to the game, but that’s only for the Rays. No platoon down here in Durham. There are only three right handers on the roster (if you count switch hitter O’Malley as a right-hander), and only Albernaz was in the lineup last night.

Note: After Slaten went in to pitch, 6"4", 300+ lb behemoth right-hander Jose Diaz was warming up against the possibility of Albernaz coming to bat. (Doesn’t seem fair. Albie weighs maybe 190 on a good day and is hitting .143.)

Slaten had no problem at all with the three Bulls he faced and the game was quickly over.

Nevertheless, Bulls fans can take some solace even in this fifth shutout, and 12th in a row loss. For the first time in a while, the pitching was pretty solid. Archer was much improved from his last time out. If the Bulls had had what they’ve had in every season I’ve watched them, a speedy centerfielder, they might have gotten out of the 2nd inning unscathed. But we don’t have that. The Indians do. It was a treat to see their Starling Marte chase the ball down. Reminded me of Desmond Jennings or Justin Ruggiano or Fernando Perez or, heck, even John Matulia, who didn’t let many balls get past them out there.

The reality of this team is that the Bulls need great pitching, every day. Charlie Montoyo said it in response to a question about Friday’s game:
"It’s tough to come from behind,“ Montoyo said. "We don’t have that kind of team to get a three-run home run this season."
Outside the game:
  • Doc Watson is back playing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame"! Hooray!
  • I thought the "Running of the Bull" gimmick Friday night was pretty cute.
  • Video board information is much improved. Lineup. Some ingame stats. Opposing pitchers. Thanks!

1 comment:

  1. I even noticed that Wool E. Bull is a lefty also.