Monday, July 30, 2012


Season: 51-59; Road Trip: 3-3; Bulls v. Tides: 6-6; Standings

In spite of giving up 6 runs in the first ⅔ of the 1st inning, the Bulls actually had a clear shot at tying or going ahead in the top of the 9th. They were only one run down with runners on first and third when the final out was made. In fact, they had a very good overall game scoring 7 runs on 15 hits.

But ...

If there was ever a clearer example of just how much the lack of starting pitching has hurt the Bulls this year, I don’t know what it would be. The 1st inning tells the tale of the 2012 Bulls. The starting pitching put the team into a hole they simply could not dig themselves out of.

More specifically, Alexander Torres is not a good pitcher and has not been all year. It has me wondering about why the Rays are inflicting this on us Bulls fans. In his last five starts Mr. Torres has only gotten through a total of 13 innings. He’s given up 20 earned runs on 17 hits, 16 walks, 1 hit batsman, 2 home runs, for a stunning ERA of 13.85. The Bulls have ended up losing four of those five games. Torres was charged with the loss in three.

Last night he left the game after two outs in the first inning. He’d given up three hits (two doubles and a single), hit one batter, walked three. Five runs had scored and there were two runners on when he was pulled for Matt Torra. One of those runners scored.

Any Bulls fan has seen plenty of pitchers who weren’t quite ready for either AAA or the major leagues, but I don’t think we’ve had to suffer through anything quite like this. Does he have an upside? Should he be pitching anywhere, for example A or AA? I don’t know. But here’s what I do know. I don’t have to go to a game that Mr. Torres starts. I don’t have to listen to a game that he starts.

I know that the purpose of the minor leagues is player development, but I’m not quite sure what is being served by the pain we are watching/listening to here. Surely Mr. Torres has some potential. He would not be here otherwise. But for those of us who enjoy watching good baseball (and for those who are rightfully proud of the way they play baseball), surely it is time for him to try either a different team or a different profession.

Outside the game —
  • Starting pitcher trivia: This year the Bulls have had nine games when the starting pitcher lasted two innings or less. They lost seven of those nine games and the two games they won were oddities when the starting pitcher was a reliever on the front end of a “committee” game. 
  • So far rehabbing Even Longoria is 1 for 9 with a sac fly, 3 walks, and 2 Ks over three games at DH.


  1. Alex Torres is one of my favorite Durham Bulls over the past couple years so I'm sad that he's lost his way on the mound in 2012.

    In 2011 he was solid for the Bulls, even spent some time with the big club and did OK (ERA under 3.5 in 4 appearances totaling 8 innings). He remains one of three left handed starters on the 40 man roster (Price and Moore are the others).

    But 2012 has indeed been another story. Partway through the season Torres went to the bullpen to try to find his control, a big step that can't have been easy. Call ups from Montgomery couldn't fill the hole in the rotation, so back into the breach he went after up and down outings from the pen. As you note, walks and homers have been the issue, even though he's striking out more batters than last season it's not enough. Alex might have been put back into the starting lineup to showcase his skills for a trade, but that certainly hasn't helped in any way. I don't know his contract situation (he came over in the Scott Kazmir trade), but with the tools and positive attitude he has, age 24 is way too soon to give up.

    My hope is that Alex can go back to the bullpen, get some good coaching for the rest of the season, and get back to a good place; starting just isn't working out for him or the club.

    1. Orin,
      I take your point about Torres being the rare left-handed starter available in the Rays system. I had not given that any thought at all. I did want to vent a bit about how much he has hurt the Bulls this year, and the inability of the coaches to figure it out.
      Yes, he's young and yes, that's part of the fun (and pain) of being a Bulls fan. I think we could agree to disagree over his 2011 numbers: Half full (walks) vs half empty (Ks). Last year he had 83 BB to 156 Ks, for a not-very-good, 1.9 BB/K ratio. This year the he's at 61 BB to 77 Ks for a pretty awful 1.3 ratio. His WHIP went from 1.5 to 2.05.

      My problem (and obviously the Rays' and Bulls') is what should be done. I'd thought the Bulls were going to give a Paduch, Pendleton, Torra, Archer, Ramos rotation a shot, now I don't know.

      Don't want to give up. Would like to hear that they have, or are trying to implement, some sort of plan that will help him and the Bulls.