Thursday, June 11, 2015

How to Win a Marathon

Season: 35-26; Home Stand: 3-0
Wrap, Box, Herald-Sun

The finish of this longest game of the year (4:12) is well-covered at the links, including the heroics of infielder Leonardo Reginatto who now has a place in the 2015 Durham Bulls record books as a pitcher.

But how in the world did they get there when they had a 7-3 lead going into the 6th inning? Well, I’d like to blame the Tampa Bay Rays, who told the Bulls not to start Matt Andriese, so they had to go with Jordan Norberto who had never started a game in his professional career, and who was, by WDBB’s measures, the Bulls’ worst reliever. But Norberto got out of his 2+ innings in decent shape. The Rays also took away a reliever, Preston Guilmet, which came into play later on.

But we have to admit that the first big mistake was leaving generally superb reliever Jim Miller in the game with two outs in the 6th. Jared Sandberg was ready to take him out since he was over 50 pitches and C.J. Riefenhauser was ready to go. Sandberg, who seems to be quicker with the hook that Charlie Montoyo, even went out to the mound. But Miller apparently talked Sandberg out of pulling him. Didn’t work. The very next batter hit a home run and the IronPigs were then 4 runs back at 7-3. Riefenhauser came in to finish out the 6th.

Andy Oliver, not the Bulls’ best reliever, but not the worst either, came on in the 8th, struck out a batter, then loaded the bases with three quick walks. The last man standing in the Bulls’ bullpen was closer Ronald Belisario. Yes, it was true that this would be his 12th appearance in the last 21 Bulls’ games, but that’s what closers do, right? This was to be, however, a 5-out save and Belisaro had only attempted that twice before this year: one save and one loss. On the other hand, the Bulls really did not have a choice in the matter. The bullpen was empty.

A run scored on an infield out at first and the next batter flied out. The Bulls got the run back on a Reginatto double in the bottom of the inning, so they went into the 9th with a comfortable 3-run lead. After all, Belisario does lead the IL in saves.

A walk, a single, and a home run (by former Bull Russ Canzler), and the game was tied. The marathon began. Young Brazilian infielder Reginatto kept the Bulls in the game until the IronPigs pitching faded in the bottom of the 12th. Note that the rules of the game meant Reginatto also had to keep on coming to bat, which he did in the 12th. He was hit by a pitch and was on 2nd base when Taylor Motter’s home run brought home Hak-Ju Lee to win the game.

Outside the game —
  • As mentioned, Preston Guilmet has been called up. Enny Romero is coming back. Kirby Yates was taken off his rehab status and is coming on to the Bulls roster.
In the wings —
  • According to the Tampa Tribune’s Roger Mooney, Matt Moore will have a rehab start with the Durham Bulls on June 18. That would be their first home game after the Bulls get back from their current trip.
The Bulls are now alone in first place in the International League South Division.

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