Saturday, May 24, 2014

Durham Bulls Back in First Place

Season: 28-21; Trip: 2-0

Last week, last Saturday to be exact, the Bulls lost to Indianapolis and fell out of first place in the International League South Division. They’re back. With last night’s win (and Gwinnett’s loss) they are ½ game in front. [IL Standings] Good news.

Back at the beginning of the season I had the opportunity for a short chat with a couple of Bulls players. I asked them which pitcher should I watch this year. Who had an “arm”. One of them just shrugged, but the other thought for a moment and then said, “Andriese.” After these last three starts of his, it may be that he was on to something. Last night Matt Andriese went 7 innings (100 pitches) and it sounded like he was in control almost all of the way. That let Adam Liberatore come on in the 8th and strike out the side and Jeff Beliveau, he of the astounding ERA after 14 appearances (0.00) came on and added his 3 Ks to the total.

Nice to see Kevin Kiermaier back in center field (he delivered the winning hit as a pinch hitter the previous night). Vince Belnome continued his return to form with a 1 for 2 and 2BB night. Nice to see everyone on the roster above the Mendoza line (.200). That’s a recent, and very welcome, development.

Outside the game —
  • Not sure we’ve mentioned all these roster changes: Pitcher Jim Patterson has been sent back to the Montgomery Biscuits. Pitcher Doug Mathis has been assigned to extended spring training. Brandon Gomes is with the Bulls and pitching in relief. Kevin Kiermaier is back.
  • Long time WDBB favorite Elliot Johnson is playing for the Columbus Clippers. He started the season with the Cleveland Indians, was designated for assignment, passed through waivers, and accepted assignment to the Clippers early in the month. Mr. Johnson put in most of three years with the Durham Bulls and stands very high on WDBB’s Greatest Bulls Hitters leaderboard. [WDBB] Since leaving the Bulls he has played in the majors for the Rays, the Royals, Atlanta and Cleveland. [Baseball Ref]
  • Speaking of former Bulls, Shelley Duncan, a important part of last year’s championship team [WDBB], is back in the game and playing in the International League. He just signed with the Reds and is now playing for the Louisville Bats, joining with Jason Bourgeois on that team, also of the 2013 Durham Bulls championship team. [MLB Rumors]
  • Cole Figueroa had a spectacular moment last night playing for the Rays. Just check out the game video and you’ll see. [] He came on in the bottom of the 9th as a pinch-hitter and hit a game-winning RBI double.

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