Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Baseball At Last

Trooper Mike Potts and Son to throw opening pitch
photo Durham Herald-Sun

Season: 3-1
Wrap, Box, Herald-Sun, News & Observer

As our regular readers know, here at WDBB we tend to highlight the quirks of the game or stuff that catches our eye. We figure most fans have already seen or listened to the game or possibly followed one of the links. So we all sort of know what happened.

That perspective makes it really fun to write about an opening day and even more fun to point out what a bizarre end it was. I don’t know how to research this, but a baseball game with no earned runs by either team has got to be an oddity. If no earned runs, then no RBIs either. Very strange.

All the scoring action took place in the 9th inning after a superb 6 ⅔  inning outing by Jake Odorizzi and an impressive four outs in eight pitches by Adam Liberatore (see, I said I look for the quirks of the game). But then in the 9th Josh Leuke walked a batter and followed that with a fielding error that put runners on first and second. Another error, this one by shortstop Hak-Ju Lee let a run in.

In the end, however, conventional baseball wisdom lost the game for the Braves. In the 9th Wil Myers led off with a single and the Braves went into a “no-doubles” defense (fielders back near the warning tracks) for reasons admirably explained by color commentator Scot Pose (By the way, great to have fellow University of Arkansas Alum Pose back in the radio booth this season. He brings a lot to the game.) Problems arose, however, when that alignment allowed a weak Leslie Anderson liner to drop in front of the Braves center fielder and Myers was able to reach third base. Chris Giminez drew a walk and, again, conventional wisdom called for the infield to be drawn in. That can often work. This time it didn’t. The Braves shortstop couldn’t handle a Brandon Guyer grounder and two runs scored.

Meanwhile, the weather could not have been better. We experienced one of our proudest moments watching former Durham Bulls pitcher Trooper Mike Potts and his son throw the first pitch and the standing ovation that greeted them. The men’s choir’s rendition of the National Anthem was spot on. The baseball was crisp. I’m gonna withhold judgment on the Bull Durham doll race for the moment. It was kind cute, though. And it got some attention outside our area. The “little bulls” parade is still my favorite.

Solid set of videos at WRAL site.

Outside the game —

A comment to another post points out that the starting rotation seemed to be disrupted by the postponed game, lengthy game, double header, etc. down in Norfolk, not sure why that should be. I'm sure if we could ask Charlie Montoyo we could get a better answer but here's my guess. All five starters this year (Archer, Colome, Montgomery, Odorizzi, and Torres) are on the Rays 40-man. In addition to being on reduced pitch counts for the early part of the season (75-85) Tampa Bay wants to have at least one of those guys available for a spot start at any moment. That means putting them on a schedule and keeping them on a schedule.

But that's absolutely pure speculation. If there's another reason that makes more sense please share it with us.


  1. Some info on MLB games with no earned runs:

    Agreed, it was a strange ending last night (interesting night for both the Bulls and Rays to end on strange, though very different, notes). Glad to have the guys back in town.

  2. This is very cool:

  3. Agree. Just heard interview on WUNC. Beautiful website. You may recall that they did some work back, I think, at the end of 2011. Will have to keep an eye out for their work.

  4. MiLB has a recap of Monday's game: