Season: 57-50; Home Stand: 2-4; Standings
Where to start? With the problems with home plate umpire A. J. Johnson who blew a call at the plate in the 3rd inning and then threw Charlie Montoyo out of the game for the first time in 4 years? And who then shrunk the strike zone on Josh Lueke that led to two BBs, a three run homer, and a near disaster 9th inning?
Or the rules/statistical weirdness of Adam Liberatore coming in the game in the 6th inning with two outs and a runner on third base? Liberatore struck out the batter to end the inning and he then left the game. The Bulls scored four runs in the bottom of the 6th to go ahead. For his 4 pitch, ⅓ inning appearance, Liberatore got the win.
Why not at the beginning?
After Matt Andriese served up a walk and three home runs in the very first inning, I was ready to pack up and go home, especially since the Bulls hitting has been awful in recent games. (See the chart from a couple of days ago.) The Bulls were down by four runs and then left runners on second and third in their part of the 1st. But then came a hint, just a hint, the 2nd when catcher Ali Solis nailed the best base stealer in the International League, Toledo’s Ezequiel Carrera (42! so far this year), for the third out of the inning. The Bulls then put four runs across in the bottom of the inning, most notably Justin Christian with a three-run home run, and the Bulls were back in the game.
More than just back in the game, by the end of the night the Bulls had 16 hits for 27 total bases for the 11 runs. And there should be have at least one more but for the blown call at home when Jeremy Moore scored from second base on a Vince Belnome single. As noted above, umpire A.J. Johnson was the only one in the park who didn’t see it that way. Every Bull hitter had a multi-hit game except for Mikie Mahtook and Mike Fontenot. Justin Christian had a spectacular night with 4 RBI off of two singles and a home run. Vince Belnome went for a single, double, and homer. Wilson Betemit had two hits, notable for the fact that the switch hitter was batting right-handed and he’s had trouble with that this year. Watching Ali Solis trundle around for a triple was simply great fun.
Do not want to overlook the performance of Steve Geltz. He came on in the 7th inning and absolutely handcuffed the Mud Hens. He did allow a single, but struck out 2 in the 7th, and everyone in the 8th. Leaving a 4 run lead for Josh Lueke in the 9th.
Lueke promptly put himself and the fans through the wringer. The ghost of Joe Bateman (see below) must have drifted into the house. Lueke walked the first batter, got fly outs for the next two, but then walked batter number four and then gave up a home run to, who else, Mike Hessman. That brought the Mud Hens to within a run. But Lueke K’d the next batter to finish it off.
Outside the game —
- Joe Bateman was with the Bulls in 2009, 2010, and for a couple of games 2011. In 2010 he appeared in 54 games and seemed to get our hearts pumping every appearance with narrow escapes from disaster. Chasing down his stats I see that at 34 he’s still in baseball and pitching for the Bridgeport (Connecticut) Bluefish of the Atlantic League.
- If you want to take a real walk down memory lane, a colleague of his on the Bluefish is none other than Winston Abreu, also a closer of some renown from the same era. And also a favorite of WDBB. Abreu is now 37 and appears to be having a decent year with the Bluefish.
- We have nothing but fond memories of their time with the Durham Bulls.