Monday, September 1, 2014

Two Down; One to Go

Season: 74-69; Home Stand: 0-2; Games Remaining in Season: 1
Wrap, Box Game 142, Box Game 143

Interesting day at the ballpark yesterday afternoon and evening. At first we seemed to have the place to ourselves and then the DBAP filled up. They had a record ticket sales for a game—11,104—but they didn’t all use their tickets. Lots of empty seats. Too bad. They missed seeing a triple play. That just doesn’t happen very often. The Bulls set an all-time season attendance record, the most fans in the team's 100+ history — 525,199.

The first game was a resumption of Saturday’s shortened game over in Norfolk. The Bulls picked up two runs, but they needed three. The big deal, for Bulls’ fanatics, was seeing right-hand reliever Bryce Stowell on the mound. The Rays are going after the Bulls’ bullpen, so the Bulls are going to need Mr. Stowell this week. At 27, he’s been working hard for this opportunity and he’s had a fine 50 innings in Montgomery this year. He only gave up two hits yesterday. Stats.

The second game was notable for the triple play in the 3rd inning. With runners on 1st and 2nd, a sharp grounder to Mike Fontenot, who stepped on 3rd, threw to Nick Franklin at 2nd, who relayed to Vince Belnome at 1st. Very pretty.

On the other hand, even a double play in the 1st inning and a triple play in the 3rd inning wasn’t enough to keep Nathan Karns from being charged with 7 earned runs, his 9th loss of the season, and the worst ERA of any Durham Bulls starter (we’re not counting Jeremy Hellickson’s painful rehab assignment). On the other hand, it looks like he’s going to end the season tied for most strikeouts of any pitcher in the International League (153). So he’s a mixed bag of talent and readability by his opponents (sometimes).

Update (10:20): You can watch the triple play here.

It really did look like the Bulls had this one in the bag after Jeremy Moore’s three-run homer topped off a 4-run 1st inning. Then Hak-Ju Lee hit just his 4th home run off his countryman Suk-min Yoon in the 2nd. With one more run in the 3rd it was looking good. But the 5th was a mess for Karns. Even with bases-loaded opportunities later in the game, the Bulls could not come back (not a strength this year).

But a lot is going on in the bigger picture outside the game...

Rosterification —
  • Brandon Gomes and Steve Geltz have been called up to Tampa Bay. Gomes has been back and forth a good bit this year, but this is the first time that Geltz has been to the majors since a couple of appearances for the Angels back in 2012. Here’s hoping that he gets his shot and he does well. Geltz wasn’t on the 40-man, so some sort of move is going to have to be made there as well.
  • Jake Thompson and Doug Mathis are back from Limbo, or wherever it was the Rays stashed them for the last few days. In fact, Mathis is scheduled to start today.
  • We’ve mentioned Bryce Stowell up from Montgomery. With his two innings he looks to be a lock to be this year’s winner of the Moonlight Graham Award for pitchers.
  • Seen wearing catcher’s gear in the bullpen was Luke Maille, a young catcher who spent this year with the Montgomery Biscuits. If he gets to bat today (or during the playoffs) it will be his first game in Triple-A. But no roster transaction has been announced. Stats.
  • Merril Kelly was sent off to Limbo to await recall. Soon, we hope.
Playoff Prep —
  • The Pawtucket Red Sox are to be the International League Wild Card team. They will be playing the Syracuse Chiefs for the first round of the playoffs.
  • The Bulls rotation, per broadcaster Kinas, will be 
           Alex Colome
           Enny Romero
           Matt Andriese
           Nate Karns
           Mike Montgomery

  • Here’s hoping the Bulls can sweep the Clippers in three ... 

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