Well, here we go. This should be fun. From a pure numbers point of view the Indianapolis Indians match up pretty well with the Durham Bulls. In the regular season the teams went Bulls 5, Indians 3, but that was back in June. There's a big spread in runs scored, but not much else separating the two teams.
In spite of the recent turmoil on the Bulls roster, the point could be made that the Pirates have treated the Indians even worse. Actually, the point has been made.
Thanks to a hint from a regular reader I need to point out that just glancing at the team stats can mislead you regarding turmoil. Yes, 49 different Indians have come to bat this year, but in the IL when the farm teams of two National League teams face each other the designated hitter is not used and pitchers have to hit. Nevertheless, it looks like 33 different position players have shown up in the Indians lineup this year, compared to only 19 for the Bulls. The Indians have had 35 different pitchers; the Bulls 26. Does that matter? Maybe.
Way back a couple of weeks ago when WDBB wrote about the Governors’ Cup we said:
An interesting and sort of fun feature of the Governors’ Cup playoffs is that more often than not the players on the teams in the playoffs are not the players that got the team to the playoffs. That’s because the playoffs come after September 1st when the major league clubs can expand their active rosters from 25 to 40 players. The received wisdom is that the team with the best chances in the IL playoffs are those with 1) the better manager/coaching staff, 2) the better AA players, and 3) recent wins.
If that’s even close to being right, the Bulls are in great shape because of Montoyo and his crew; because the AA guys who are now with the team include several exceptional pitchers, and a catcher and infielder with AAA experience (Acosta and O’Malley). Both teams had a lot of losses at the end of the season, but the Bulls did win their last game; the Indians didn't.
On the Indians side we will get to see Russ Canzler again, this time in an Indians uniform. That makes four different AAA uniforms Russ Canzler has worn. I’m a bit worried about former Bull Ryan Reid pitching for the Indians. I’ve always thought he was an above-average reliever and here he will be in the opposing bullpen.
The Bulls have announced their starting rotation for this series: Jake Odorrizzi, J.D. Martin, Merrill Kelly, Matt Bushmann, and Mike Montgomery. Here’s hoping that they never get to Montgomery or if they do another player is considered for the start of the fifth game.
For details, bring your radios. We can expect more info from Kinas and Co as we get ready for the game.
For overview of both playoff series, check this out.