Friday, July 4, 2014

Hellickson Wins at the DBAP

Happy 4th of July!

Photo by Christine Nguyen, Durham Herald-Sun

Season: 48-41; Home Stand: 2-0
Wrap, Box, Herald-Sun

As Bulls fans what we want to see are pitchers who don’t lose control of the game. That’s what we saw last night. It wasn’t the champion we were seeing back in 2010, but Jeremy Hellickson seemed to have a grip on things. Of course, in the stands we are never quite sure what’s really going on in circumstances like this. For example, Hellickson seemed to be throwing a lot of off-speed stuff. Was that because that was his (and Solis’ and Acosta’s) read of the situation or was it because that was his goal for the game, to work on his curveball? We will never know. The important thing is that he stayed in the game and got his first win for the Bulls.

If I were a Rays fan I’d have to say that Hellickson does not look quite ready, although that does not necessarily mean that he won’t be showing up on the mound for the Rays on his next start. He is on the same schedule as Rays’ starter Bedard (who began season with Bulls) who had a really bad night last night.

Outside of watching Hellickson show off that he’s not really a Durham Bull by wearing his long trousers, it was a fun night with every Bull getting a hit except for Mike Fontenot and activated-for-the-day Mayo Acosta. But even Fontenot got into the act in the 7th. In what sure looked like a tactical error on the part of the Braves, Fontenot came to bat with runners on 2B and 3B and was given an intentional walk to get at Mikie Mahtook, one of the top hitters in the league. Yes, there was just one out, but Mahtook drove in a run as did Jeremy Moore who followed.

Gotta love Justin Christian’s work over these two games. Big hits, big plays in right field.

Catcher Ali Solis’ got a finger on his right hand mashed when he attempted a bunt in the 2nd inning. He tried again and ran out a bunt single. He ended the inning on 3rd base and put on the gear to start the 3rd, but apparently he could not hold a grip on the ball. Mayo Acosta, who had been activated when Vince Belnome went up to the Rays, was already in his gear and came into the game. Wonder what effect that has on a pitcher to have his catcher changed on him?

Outside the game —
  • Interesting piece in the New York Times on how dominant the pitchers are this year.
  • Sometimes we are slow to notice the obvious. This year for the first time we have beer vendors walking around at the DBAP — except they can’t say that they are selling beer! They are selling “ice colds” and they hold up the cans, and they announce “last call” near the end of the game, but apparently they can’t say the word, “beer.”
  • Then there’s a foghorn-voiced fellow selling peanuts who at least once a game somehow succeeds in evoking a call and response from youngsters in the crowd. Great fun to listen to. 
  • Herald-Sun’s paywall does not seem to be up (or maybe isn’t working). Nice summary of Jeremy Hellickson’s career as a Durham Bull by Harold Gutmann today.

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