Monday, May 7, 2012

End With a Win

Season: 11-20; Home Stand: 5-5; Standings
Box(1), Box (2)Wrap, Herald-Sun, Indy Week

At four o’clock Sunday the Bulls picked up where they left off in the rain on Saturday night, this time with Jhonny Nunez pitching and the Bulls still behind by three runs. Nunez left the bases loaded for Alexander Torres in the 6th by walking three batters, but Torres got a dribbler for a 1-3 putout to end the inning. In the 7th inning, after two outs, Torres loaded the bases himself on three walks before getting a comebacker end that inning. He ran out of luck in the 8th when two more of his BBs came in on two hits. He stayed on in the 9th and managed a 1-2-3 inning.

I’m sure that Mr. Torres is as much a puzzle to himself as he is to everyone close to him (and those of us up in the stands). So far there isn’t any hint that being moved to the bullpen makes a difference, although he’s only made two appearances. He was left in after those very messy 7th and 8th innings. Was that to save the bullpen or Torres’ confidence?

The seven-inning second game was much less frustrating. New guy Lance Pendleton had five solid innings. A terrific right field to third base throw by Jesus Feliciano in the 7th inning saved at least one run, possibly the game, for the Bulls, because Ryan Reid was not his usual sharp self.

Have to mention Craig Albernaz’ work in this game. First of all, there should be no doubt that he’s one of the best defenders in AAA. He showed that last night with a bullet to second base that caught Xavier Avery trying to take advantage of a slight bobble (could it have been intentional?). And he just has style. Ryan Reid came in with two outs in the 6th to face Norfolk’s Jamie Hoffman. Reid got to a 3-2 count and Hoffman fouled off the next pitch. On the next pitch Albernaz jumped up and began running toward the bench before the ump even called the strike and signaled the out. That’s style. Read on to see how well he can bunt.

This year’s Bulls need small ball innings like the 3rd. In that inning Jeff Salazer singled, moved to second base on a ground out sacrifice bunt by Albernaz, got to third on a wild pitch, and came home on a sac fly by Cole Figueroa. The home run by Matt Mangini an inning later was the difference in the game, but the little stuff is what’s going to keep the Bulls in games this year.

Really nice to end the home stand on a win. Here's hoping this road trip is better than the last.

Outside the game
  • As mentioned yesterday, Cesar Ramos is off to the Rays to see if he can help there. Brandon Gomes will join the Bulls sometime later this week.
  • There’s a Durham Bulls connection to that 17-inning Orioles-Red Sox game yesterday. The losing pitcher for Boston, outfielder Darnell McDonald, played for the Bulls in 2005 and 2006. Too bad he was essentially the last man standing up in Fenway yesterday (not that I mind the Red Sox losing, mind you).
Chart of the Day — Standings

In the International League South Division the Bulls ended their long slide and came back a bit. This will be an important trip for the Bulls.

click on chart for larger image


  1. In the Bulls 3rd of Game 2, my recollection is a perfect Albernaz bunt down the first base line to advance the runner, not a ground-out. It was perfect small-ball. Norfolk was consistently aggressive on the base paths, we were fortunate that in most cases the Bulls made them pay.

    Hopefully Road Trip #2 will be a different story from #1. Syracuse sits at the bottom of the IL in wins, in close company with the Bulls and recent foes Louisville and Norfolk - so a decent chance to gain some ground.

  2. You know, you're right. It's a sad day when I can't read my own notes. Now that I look more closely I see that the first baseman tagged him out after he (the first baseman) had to run in to get to the perfect bunt. All signified by a cryptic "3t" and a blotch of something that could be Pepsi.
    I sure wish Albernaz had even a slightly better bat. This is the first time since 2009 that he's had much playing time at AAA level.

    1. And, of course, I could have relied on just my memory...but that can be a problem these days ...

  3. I enjoy the Bulls games especially since it's the season where I'm using a ticket rather than juggling camera/notepad/laptop/credential. Greatly appreciate what you are doing here!