Season: 58-50; Home Stand: 3-4; Standings
The first several starts of Nathan Karns were not very impressive, but July has been terrific, with four wins and a no-decision. Notable last night was the sheer efficiency of his pitching. WDBB’s back-of-the-envelope measure of efficiency, pitches per out, was a spectacular 4.29 last night. Add to that his 7 K’s and it was all good.
As were Brandon Gomes, after he gave up of leadoff triple, and Adam Liberatore. A puzzle to us was why, after striking out the first two batters of the 9th, Liberatore was pulled for Josh Lueke. Lueke did finish out with a K after allowing a Joe Bateman-ish double, but we couldn’t figure out why he was out there at all.
At the plate, a very good night. Notably Justin Christian’s two doubles and single; Ali Solis' (!) and Wilson Betemit's (opposite field) home runs; and Mikie Mahtook’s breaking of mini-slump with a couple of singles.
The Mud Hens seem overstocked with left-handed pitching, with all four starters this series being lefties. Overall, the Bulls have not been doing so well against lefties the year, but the last two games’s 28 hits holds out some hope.
Outside the game —
- Sometimes it takes us a while to notice things, but it finally sunk in that Mikie Mahtook has been playing right field and Justin Christian playing center field the last three games. Right field was Mahtook's spot early in the season when Kevin Kiermaier held center field, and this might be some sort of Montoyo matching up going on. On the other hand, the Rays are more likely to need a corner outfielder before they need a center fielder, so could be they want to keep Mahtook working out there. Of course, the DBAP's left field doesn’t prepare anyone for anywhere, except maybe Fenway.
- The Rays have DFA’d starting pitcher Erik Bedard. That puts two of their players in DFA Limbo, Bedard and Juan Carlos Oviedo. Even though Bedard did pitch a game at the beginning of the season for the Durham Bulls (4 innings, no decision, 7 April), it’s hard to imagine that he would return. As for Oviedo, maybe.
- After a long, long trial, the turf at the DBAP seems to have finally established itself. Beautiful. This has been a tough slog for Scott Strickland and his crew — over six months. But it looks great at last!
The Charlotte Knights are poster children for the importance of pitching. They lead the entire International League in OPS (On Base Percentage plus Slugging) and have a pretty good 4th place batting average. On the other hand, their team ERA is the league-worst and their won-lost percentage puts them a decimal point from the bottom in the league. Lately, however, they have been doing quite well.