Sunday, August 26, 2012

Five W's Are Good

Season: 64-72; Home Stand: 5-3; Bulls v. Tides: 11-7
Home Games Left: 3

The Herald-Sun is reporting that Jeff Neimann’s pitching hand is OK after X-rays did not find a fracture. Fans were worried when they saw the ball hit Niemann and his very awkward, looping toss to Anderson at first base to end the inning. Niemann then met the Bulls trainer at the top of the dugout steps and disappeared into the clubhouse.

I haven’t been able to make many games of this next-to-last home stand, so it was fun to be at one of the better ones. Great to see the Bulls have a nice winning streak near the end of the season. 

As careful readers will know, I’m not the best judge of pitching talent. Nevertheless, it seems clear to me that even before his injury Niemann was not ready for prime time, unless he was working on specific issues without regard to the game. The first batter hit a home run. He gave up a walk in the 2nd and a single in the 3rd. The 4th was something of a mess with a single, double, walk, single, and sac fly scoring a couple of runs before he got the last out with two men on base. So far with the Bulls he’s gotten in 8⅓ innings, 17 hits, 3 BB, 4 Ks, 1 HR for an ERA of 7.56.

Fortunately, Ryan Reid, Frank De Los Santos, and Dane De La Rosa were on their games. For the next five innings they held the Tides to just 2 hits.

Meanwhile, the Tides’ young Zach Clark absolutely dominated the Bulls the first time through the order, but had trouble the second time through. In the 4th, two walks and a single got a run across (but then he struck out the next two batters). In the 5th, however, the Bulls got to him with the help of visiting major leaguer Sean Rodriguez, playing shortstop. His two-run double capped off a three-run inning, and that would be enough to win the game.

A glance at the International League hitting stats show just how tight the race for the batting title is. The Bulls’ Leslie Anderson ended the night leading the league at .313, but he’s only 1 percentage point in the lead. The key “lurker” on the list is the Bulls’ Rich Thompson at .305. No doubt this is going to go down to the wire. One of the players on the list, Mauro Gomez of the Pawtucket Red Sox, has been called up. That means his numbers are fixed. If everyone drops below .310, Gomez wins. Of course, after that Red Sox-Dodgers deal yesterday, maybe the entire PawSox team will get called up.

Outside the Game
  • In his column yesterday Adam Sobsey took a look at a couple of Bulls prospects for a September call-up: Stephen Vogt, Chris Gimenez, Leslie Anderson, Tim Beckham, Dane De La Rosa, and Cole Figueroa get profiled.
  • The Pawtucket Red Sox and the Lehigh Valley IronPigs are neck and neck for the wild card slot. Worth checking out fan blogs up that way, Bacon and Biscuits (Iron Pigs) and PawSox Heavy (PawSox).

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