Wrap, Box, Herald-Sun, N&O, Indy Week, WRAL
First game and the baseball was just fine (once the Bulls bullpen went to work).
Neither Chris D nor I were particularly accurate in our lineup predictions. Vince Belnome got called to St. Pete, sat on the bench for about half the game and is on his way back. So we both missed that one. Justin Christian started in left field. We had him as DH, so we both missed that one, too. But we both had Kevin Kiermaier in centerfield (but then we both had him early in the order. Montoyo had him batting #6). We both had Jerry Sands in RF, he started at 1B. I had Ray Olmedo on the list, but in the wrong place. He started at 3B. Chris D correctly picked Cole Figueroa to start at SS and he did a fine job there. We both liked Mike Fontenot at 2B and we were right. Mikie Mahtook started in RF, so we had the right guy, but in the wrong place. Wilson Betemit started in DH slot and did very well. We were both right about the catcher, Roman Ali Solis.
And I could find nothing to fault about the Bulls position players. A lot to like there. A good spread of youth and age. Some power (3 homers last night), some speed (3 stolen bases), decent hands (a double play on the only real opportunity), and a nice running catch by Christian to break the Braves’ back in the 8th.
Mr. Nate Karns was very shaky in his first Triple-A start. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt. Merrill Kelly, Adam Liberatore, new guy Brad Boxberger, and Kirby Yates started the season much like they finished last season. That is, they looked great. 6⅓ innings of scoreless ball.
How about the park? Very impressive. The crew obviously has been working very, very, very hard to get things in place. More than one commented that they were getting by on only a few hours rest in the last week or so. Give me a couple of more days before detailed comments.
Check out the links above for more stories. Particularly cool is Vince Belnome taking batting practice wearing Google Glasses at the WRAL link.