Monday, August 20, 2012

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night

Season: 59-71; Home Stand: 0-2; Bulls v. Braves: 10-11
Home Games Remaining: 9; Standings

The Bulls started the season with a four-game set against the Gwinnett Braves back on April 6th. The Bulls won in a lengthy, cold, 12-inning affair. That was followed by an 11-inning loss, a win, and wrapped up with another win. They left town in first place in the International League South Division. A few games later they were playing Gwinnett in the Braves' home stadium and began their long slide down to 12 games below .500, which is where the Bulls reside today, tied for last place with those same Gwinnett Braves.

All of which is a prelude to a pretty miserable night at the park, especially since it started as a twilight game and looked so promising. Yes, it appeared as if the Bulls had it in hand after three innings. They were up 7-3 and it felt a bit like they were cruisin’. And they kept on scoring, three runs in the next three innings.  Gwinnett was also scoring, 1 in the 5th, 2 in the 7th. But, there’s always a “but” in a losing game, the 8th was a mess with Beckham’s error and, a few batters later, Gartrell’s homer, ending up a two-inning, six-run give back. Now all we had to wait for was for Josh Lueke (why Lueke? A chance for redemption from Saturday night’s implosion?) to give up three singles and two runs followed by Rich Thompson’s inexplicable error in right that led to a third run.

For some reason I thought that in August we’d see at least interesting baseball as individuals began to strive for a September call-up. We are seeing a bit of that with Tim Beckham showing some flash in the field and at bat, with some fine work behind the plate by Chris Gimenez, and with the notable batting of Leslie Anderson. The pitchers, especially the relievers, seem to botching things (with the exception of Chris Archer). Even Frank De Los Santos gave up four runs last night, although thanks to the way things work they all were unearned and didn’t have much of an effect on his ERA.

The nine home games remaining are against Charlotte and Norfolk. The most interesting part of those games, maybe, will be roster shifts due to the Bulls and Tides parent team competition in the AL East. That is, they may be using their farm teams to set themselves up for their respective September runs.  Against the Knights, we have this matchup. Note how dramaticially team ERAs appear to affect the run-scoring metrics.

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