Monday, June 20, 2016

Durham Bulls Limp Home

Game 69, Friday, June 17, Harbor Park, Norfolk, Virginia
Durham Bulls: 2
Norfolk Tides: 4
Wrap, Box, Virginian-Pilot
Game Score: Schultz 41; Season Average 55 (14 starts, 72 innings)
Tm OPS: Game .683; Season .651
Tm wOBA: Game .297; Season .294

Game 70, Saturday, June 18, Harbor Park
Durham Bulls: 0
Norfolk Tides: 1
Wrap, Box, Virginian-Pilot
Game Score: Pruit 74; Season Average 58 (14 starts, 81 innings)
Tm OPS: Game .198; Season .645
Tm wOBA: Game .102; Season .292

Game 71, Sunday, June 19, Harbor Park
Durham Bulls: 6
Norfolk Tides: 10on
Season: 30-41; Trip: 2-7
Wrap, Box, Virginian-Pilot

Game Score: Wilk 13; Season Average 53 (14 Starts. 80.1 innings)
Tm OPS: Game .580; Season .645
Tm wOBA: Game .258; Season .291

After his best game of the year on June 13, Adam Wilk followed up with his worst. But the Bulls were not helped by what turned out to be one of Jared Sandberg's worst decisions of the season.

By the middle of the 5th inning, Wilk had already given up 9 hits, 3 walks, and 4 runs. He was on his 97th pitch. He'd walked two batters and given up a single so far in the inning, loading the bases. A reliever was warmed up in the Durham bullpen. Yes, there were two outs and, yes, Tides' shortstop  Ozzie Martinez had little reputation, but what was the risk in taking out a pitcher who arguably should not have even started the inning?

Wilk gave up a grand slam and the Bulls were behind 8 to 2. They never caught up.

This was an awful road trip, the Bulls losing 7 out of 9 games. In these last three games they were swept by the worst team in the league, although you could now say that the Bulls are closing in on that distinction. Today's game will be the midpoint of the season (the International League plays 144 games, today is game 72) and we will be putting together some midseason stats. But they will not be pretty.

Why? We'll take a look at that. We could blame the Rays, and there's something to be said for that. They just got their head handed to them by the San Francisco Giants and their pitchers and hitters are not having great seasons. You could even argue that last season's turnover at the top of the Rays organization is behind what begins to look like two less-than-stellar seasons for the Bulls.

The question remains, however, are these players improving over the season or not? And if they are not, what's going on?

Should we even mention that in addition to the justly famed Bill Evers and Charlie Montoyo, the Triple-A Bulls had another manager who's name is never spoken, even though he managed the current Tampa Bay Rays manager? Should we mention he managed the 2006 Bulls who finished 15½ games out of first in the South?

Outside the game —
  • Reliever Ryan Garton is back.
  • Reliever Steve Geltz got called up.
  • A Tampa Bay rehab, Ryan Webb, has joined the Bulls. He has never pitched for the Rays. He has pitched one inning for the Bulls and was charged with the loss.
  • Tampa Bay reliever Dana Eveland may be showing up soon. He brings a less-than-stellar major league ERA of 7.56 over 16+ innings with him.
  • The Bulls roster is short a couple of position players.

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