Season: 74-46; Home Games Left: 9; This Home Stand: 2-4
Wrap, Box, Herald-Sun
Back in the dim, dark ages of 2010, Virgil Vasquez was an experienced 28-year old Triple A pitcher (Toledo and Indianapolis) when he came to the Bulls after some major league time with the Pirates in 2009. In Durham he got hit while riding a borrowed scooter and broke both wrists. Trying to find out what happened after that was our first encounter with the pointlessly secretive Rays’ — we ain’t gonna tell you nothin’ if we don’t have to — approach to injury reporting. In the end, his stats for the year weren't particularly good.
Since then he’s had some time in independent baseball, a couple of games in Australia, and this year he’s in the Minnesota system with 13 starts under his belt and is 31 years old. Stats.
All of that is a prelude to what happened when he came back to the Durham Bulls Athletic park and in the 1st inning faced the only remaining member of that 2010 team who is still with the Bulls, Leslie Anderson. Tim Beckham was on first base after his RBI single brought Kevin Kiermaier home. Cole Figueroa was on third base. Anderson parked a home run into the right field stands for what were to be the winning runs. Vasquez lasted four more innings, but his pitch count was soaring even as he was doing a very good job keeping Bulls off the bases. He left after five innings (and 112 pitches).
It was a huge crowd last night. Didn’t know $1.00 hot dogs made that much difference in the Triangle. I’d guess it was the best (and last) Thursday night of the season. And it was a good game to see. Shelley Duncan returned to the lineup as DH and got on base three out of four times, double, HBP, and “single”. Hard to believe that he beat out a squibbler between the pitcher and 1B, but that’s what happened in the 7th. In fact he got an RBI out of that crippled little hit. (Cue up the barroom speech for Bull Durham) After not figuring out Vasquez at all in his first two ABs (struck out looking), Vince Belnome singled and doubled to get out of his little slump.
Mike Montgomery’s pace was a bit faster last night and we fans, who are getting a bit tired of all these 3+ hour games, had hope. Didn’t happen — 3:11. Have to say that Montgomery looked better that the last time we saw him. The impressive couple of innings were Jeff Beliveau’s. The 6th and 7th innings were fun to watch.
Oh yeah, the Bulls broke that ugly four-game losing streak!
Outside the game —
- Raleigh N&O Columnist Kip Coons remembers his part in the movie Bull Durham. Nice story.
- Claw Digest catches up with former Stone Crabs. (Note: Mahtook and O’Malley are potential Bulls for playoffs)
- Sobsey tweets (@sobsey) Josh Lueke has been called up. No more on that yet.
All of the rest of the Bulls games this season are against South Division teams. Charlotte (10, 7 home, 3 away), Norfolk (7, 2 home, 5 away), and Gwinnett (7, all away). Charlotte (the White Sox Triple A team) is well back in the Governors Cup wild card standings, but has been having a pretty good run lately (6-4 in the last 10 games).