Monday, May 21, 2012

A Simple Game

Season: 18-27; Home Stand: 3-3; Bulls vs. Knights: 3-7; Standings
Box, Wrap, Herald-Sun

Regarding Saturday’s game: Former Bull Alex Cobb went to St. Pete and won a game for Tampa Bay; Montgomery Biscuit Shane Dyer came to Durham and did not.

But let’s talk about Sunday ...

Three home runs, terrific pitching, a 6-0 shutout. This really is a simple game isn’t it?

When Matt Torra took a couple of his warm-up pitches from the stretch I have to admit that I was worried. But it seemed justified. In the first two innings he pitched exactly four pitches from a full windup. However, at the end of those two innings the Knights had not scored a run and had left three runners on base. After that, for the first time since his great game against Louisville on April 30, the 2011 edition of Matt Torra was in the DBAP. Welcome back!

Then John Gaub got his first real test of the season. Gaub has been used for extremely short relief so far this year. Last night he was in there for three full innings and earned a save (again demonstrating I don’t understand the rules. How do you earn a save in a 6-0 shutout?)

Meanwhile infielder Cole Figueroa got his first home run with the Durham Bulls, new catcher Mayo Acosta got his first home run with the Durham Bulls, and Leslie Anderson got his third. As the Herald Sun’s Steve Wiseman wrote:
Sunday felt like old times for the Durham Bulls and their fans at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Other RBI were recorded by Henry Wrigley on a double and a Hedeki Matsui sacrifice fly.

About Hideki Matsui:

First, let me say what a great pleasure it is to have him and his entourage at the DBAP. I don’t think we’ll see its like again. And I don’t think we’ll see a player quite like Matsui here again either. What he is showing us, however, is the tiny differences the years bring to even the greatest talent. He may be only 5% less than the player he once was, but that is a difference. So far he is 3 for 31 in 6 games (.143/,174/.190). He has hit two balls with authority and both were caught. There’s an elegance and smoothness to all his play, but my guess is that it’s a notch below last year, and well below his prime.

For example, he was on first with a single when Henry Wrigley hit his double in the 3rd inning. His run from first to home to score did not have a hitch and his slide was perfect. He wasn’t some lumbering, knee-broken catcher. On the other hand, with even a slightly better throw from centerfield that hadn’t pulled the catcher up the line, he would have been caught.

The chatter is that he may be heading for the Rays as soon as this weekend. Looking at it from the perspective of a Bulls fan, he may be filling the stands, but he’s not helping the Bulls win games. Sorry to say that. He appears to be a great gentleman and a great ballplayer and maybe he just needs to work on his timing more. I hope so.

Outside the game
  • Former Bull, switch-hitting catcher Jose Lobaton is rehabbing with the Montgomery Biscuits. He’s appeared in four games so far. In normal times he might be coming through Durham. But yet another catcher left the game early in Tampa Bay last night (Stephen Vogt put on the gear), so he might just head for the Rays when he’s ready. Too bad. I like watching Lobaton play.
  • Bulls RHP Bryan Augenstein is off the disabled list. Bryan who? you may ask. That would be understandable. Augenstein pitched one game for the Bulls back on April 7. Did pretty well, but went on the DL. Jhonny Nunez has been “reassigned to Hudson Valley.” Note to new readers: the Hudson Valley Renegades is a real baseball team in the Rays system. However, what this means is that Nunez may be hanging out with the Bulls, but he can’t pitch until he gets assigned back to Durham. In other words, the Bulls are gaming the system. More power to them.
  • If I’m reading the plots correctly Dian Van Deren came off the Parkway and made in almost to Pilot Mountain in one day! On foot! I know it was sort of downhill, but, Wow!


  1. A quick game Sunday, 2:02! I was driving back into town and tuned in planning to hear the late innings, instead I got the recap!

  2. would be nice if Matsui stayed here longer even in his diminished late career fade the buzz he has brought to the DBAP takes things up a notch

    Forgot to mention earlier the new mini car antics of
    Wool E Bull seem a little out of sync, it made more sense when he only made one late game victory lap at the end of game

  3. Bulls tweeted that Lobaton is rehabbing with us. No details as to when, but yay!