Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Awkward Day for the Durham Bulls Starter

Game 7, April 13, Durham Bulls Athletic Park
Gwinnett Braves: 6
Durham Bulls: 2

Season: 4-3
Wrap, Box

The Bulls finished off their first home stand of the season with some pitching/playing oddities, a noisy education day crowd of 8,700, and a 2nd place IL South record of 4-3.

Matt Andriese never looked comfortable in his 5⅔ innings. Guess we could blame some of it on the umpires, who called two balks, but Andriese himself was responsible for the 2 wild pitches and an error.

Some late inning excitement (and two runs scored), but the early dominance of Gwinnett’s Mike Foltynewicz could not be overcome.

Tidbits from the home stand:
  • Mikie Mahtook has been outstanding in his leadoff role. He played in all 7 games with a terrific On Base Percentage of .455, 3 triples, 8 runs scored, and a stellar OPS of 1.075. Playing right and center, his fielding has been superb as well.
  • Richie Shaffer started off ablaze and has since slightly cooled off, but his OBP of .484 is even better than Mahtook’s, partially due to the 6 BBs he’s drawn and his OPS over the 7 games is a superb .979.
  • Dayron Varona was fun to watch in his 4 games. A canon of an arm, team-leading OPS of 1.078, and willingness to try anything, e.g., pitching the 10th inning on Tuesday.
  • At the other end of our concerns are Jake Goebbert, 4 games, no hits, 3 BB; and Kyle Roller, 5 games, 1 hit, but 6 BB. 
  • We mentioned the long pants earlier.
  • We haven’t mentioned that hitting coach Ozzie Timmons is usually not on the field coaching 1B, a break from tradition. Jake Goebbert and Kyle Roller are the ones that I’ve noticed.
  • Haven’t sampled much of the food yet. Your comments/observations welcomed.
The Bulls are off for a very long, 10-game road trip to Charlotte (4 games), Gwinnett (3 games), and that odd run past Durham and over to Norfolk (3 games). They are back on April 24 to play their first out-of-division games with Indianapolis (Pirates) and Louisville (Reds).

ERA Trend

With the usual early season/small sample warnings, here’s how the collective ERAs are looking. Yes, it’s a small sample and just today's events moved the marker quite a bit; nevertheless, a 2-run gap between starters and relievers is worrisome.

click on chart for larger image

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