Wednesday, April 30, 2014

End of Game Thrills and Injury Updates

Season: 17-9; Home Stand: 3-1

A tip of my Durham Bulls hat to Harold Gutmann for his reporting in today’s Herald-Sun. It appears that the Bulls/Rays don’t feel any obligation to report injury information to the fans … unless queried by the media. Well, here’s what the Herald-Sun is reporting:

Mikie Mahtook, who got hit in the face with a fastball Monday night:
Outfielder Mikie Mahtook was headed to Florida Tuesday to see a specialist after he was hit by a pitch in the face on Monday. The doctor will determine if he could play with a protective helmet of if he will be out for up to four weeks. 
C.J. Riefenhauser, who was placed on the disabled list Monday:
… C.J. Riefenhauser went on the DL with an oblique sprain.
Kevin Kiermaier, who has not played since April 23 and whose absence is the reason for infielders playing outfield:
Outfielder Kevin Kiermaier (hamstring) is hoping to return Thursday after missing the past four games.
Again, thanks Harold. Nice to have someone looking out for the fan’s interests.

This was a really interesting game. If you weren’t able to make it there, too bad. Yes, the weather was ugly and the kids were loud, really loud, but the baseball was thrilling.

Infielders Robby Price, playing in the outfield for the first time in many years and Ray Olmedo, playing 2B had some key hits, Olmedo’s triple in the 2nd inning got the scoring started and his beautiful safety squeeze bunt in the 8th scored a critical game-winning run in the 8th. Price’s single in the 8th set it up.

And then there was Mike Fontenot in the unusual role of designated hitter to simply would not let Rail Rider pitching off the hook. He had two singles and an RBI double on the night.

What may have been the key to winning the game, however, were the two hitters who started off the 8th inning. Rail Rider Chase Whitney had been on the mound since the 4th inning.  Justin Christian took him to a full count before striking out and then Vince Belnome chipped his way through a 10+ pitch at bat before hitting a double to right field. That opened the door for the Bulls. Jerry Sands got a walk. Mike Fontenot doubled, scoring a run. Robby Price’s single brought in the go ahead run. Olmedo’s bunt brought in the insurance run the Bulls would need.

Kirby Yates (ERA 0.00, 8 saves) came on to close in a 6-4 game. I packed up my stuff and bragged about Yates to the fans around me. Never a good idea. The first batter tripled then came home on an infield ground out. The next batter struck out, but it took 9 pitches to close the deal. After two strikes on the next batter, Yates threw eight straight balls, putting runners on first and second. Time for a mound visit by Neil Allen. Ball, strike, ball, strike, strike, game over. But it was a bit more thrilling that I wished. Yates’ ERA ballooned up to 0.69.

The Rail Riders are a better team than their record shows. If their pitching comes around they could be contenders.

Today is the first day off for the Bulls this season. Take a break guys.

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