Thursday, September 5, 2013

First Playoff Game to the Bulls

Tim Beckham hits key single. Photo Bernard Thomas, Durham Herald-Sun

Wrap, Box, Herald-Sun, News & Observer, MiLB, WRAL

This was a baseball lover’s game. Good food from the food trucks. Perfect weather. Two teams pumped up and ready to play. A small, but informed crowd. Two very good young pitchers on the mound. How good? Well, Tim Beckham got a hit on the first pitch he saw from the Indians’ Brandon Cumpton. That was the last hit by a Bull until the 6th inning (a double, also by Beckham). Meanwhile, the Bulls’ Jake Odorizzi was piling up the Ks as he only allowed one hit through his seven innings.

Boring? Not for fans, especially the bottom of the 7th when things got very antsy for Mr. Odorizzi. First his shortstop (the aforementioned Beckham) let a runner on. That was not the end of the earth, since the next batter hit into a fielders choice and it was one out, runner at 1B. But then his catcher blew a pickoff throw that let the runner get to 2B. Things got really ugly when he gave up two walks to load the bases. Here’s what made it fun for the fans. Everyone understood what was going on and everyone stood for the final pitch of two very difficul Ks. Odorizzi was out of the inning and the score was still tied.

The 8th inning was the Bulls turn to create some offense. Kevin Kiermaier got a one-out double. With his speed, things were looking good. But Jesus Flores drew a walk in a sequence that included a pitch that seemed to completely miss the catcher’s mitt and really nailed home plate umpire David Soucy in the chest/gut. The game was halted for a while. Then Beckham got his third hit of the night, a single, and Kiermaier just flew around the bases to score. However, umpire Soucy was hurting and had to leave the game. We had what seemed like a long delay while another ump got the gear on (we started the night with four umps). Cole Figueroa singled to load the bases. Jason Bourgeois hit a grounder to 2B, who threw out Flores at the plate. Bases were still loaded, two out, fans going nuts. A Belnome single was enough to bring Beckham home, but Figueroa coming around from 2B was tagged out.

But those two runs seemed to be enough. Jeff Beliveau shut the Indians down in the 8th and Kirby Yates came on to close it out. I packed up my stuff. Yates struck out the first batter. The second batter lined out to Belnome at 1B. Things were looking really good.

But then the ghosts of Joe Bateman and Winston Abreu came to visit at the DBAP. All of us old farts needed a cardio check anyhow — BB, single, BB (to pinch hitting former Bull Russ Canzler). Bases are loaded. But fly ball to Evan Frey in right field (a bit of defensive re-arrangement by Charlie Montoyo just for the 9th inning).

All was right with the world.

Outside the game —
  • Am I the only one who was flashing back to Joel Guzman while watching the Indians’ young Gregory Polanco run the bases? 
  • The Rochester Red Wings took the first game of their series with Pawtucket 7-1. Wrap.
  • WRAL’s Aaron Schoonmaker has a nice bit of reportage on the Bulls’ Leslie Anderson. Bulls fans, and not a few Rays fans, would like to see him get his chance. With free agency in the offing here’s a bet that he will join Dane De La Rosa, Stephen Vogt, Reid Brignac, Justin Ruggiano and other Bulls who have gone off to find out if they can break in with another club. Too bad. We’d like see him get his first shot with the Rays. Meanwhile, Leslie, stay focused on the Bulls for the next couple of days.
  • Brandon Guyer was a late scratch from the lineup. Back problems.
  • You'd think, playoff game and all, that Nuke LaLoosh wouldn't get distracted by the TV cameras. But noooooo! Nuke chalked up his 37th loss.

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