Friday, September 5, 2014

Game 2 to the Bulls

Columbus Clippers catcher Dusty Brown (27) can’t hold onto the ball as he tries to tag Durham Bulls third baseman [sic] Ray Olmedo (13) at home plate in the 9th inning. 
Kyle Robertson, Columbus Dispatch

Playoffs (Best of 5): 1-1
Wrap, Box, Columbus Dispatch

We are going to get to see at least two more home games this year. Good news for Bulls fans. Wonder if we are going to do any better in attendance than Pawtucket (2,560) or Columbus (5,158) did last night? At least there will be fireworks after the game, and maybe in the game.

Note that Saturday is a 1:00 pm day game — that’s 1300 for my former colleagues.

About last night ...

A thriller all around. I watched the game on MiLB TV, but listened to the stream of Patrick Kinas, which was 5-20 seconds behind. Created the illusion that I was going to know something before Patrick did. I knew Ray Olmedo (pinch-running for Vince Belnome) missed his grab for the plate, but the Clippers Dusty Brown could not handle the ball and Olmedo was able to dance back to the plate and score the tying run in the 9th.

That comeback was atypical of the 2014 Bulls, but could not have been more welcome. What was typical was the absolute shutdown of the Clippers by the Bulls relief corps. Merrill Kelly, Josh Lueke, and Adam Liberatore combined for 5 solid innings allowing just one hit as the Bulls chipped away with a run in the 7th, 9th, and the winning run in the 10th.

Cole Figueroa led off the 10th with a triple and it looked like at least one run was in the bag. But the Bulls needed a gift from the Clippers’ second baseman who let Mikie Mahtook on base. With just one out, Tim Beckham launched a fly ball to center field that let Figueroa score the winning. Adam Liberatore shut down the Clippers to finish the game.

Both teams took overnight busses to Durham. They should be in town by now. The field looks magnificent even after last night’s deluge.

Over in Pawtucket, the Red Sox defeated the Chiefs 8-2 (who were stripped of talent in the September call-ups). Could we be looking for another Red Sox/Bulls playoff?

Outside the game —
  • Terrific bit of analysis out of The Atlantic that attributes the falloff in major league hitting to better umpiring! The article contends that the little boxes we see on the screen showing the strike zone has had the effect of significantly increasing called strikes, especially in the bottom of the zone (thus more swinging strikes, ground balls, etc.) Makes a lot of sense to us. The data are pretty persuasive. And another reason that the transition from the minors to the majors is more difficult for hitters than for pitchers.

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