Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Conger Has a Good Night

Game 104, July 25, Durham Bulls Athletic Park, Durham, North Carolina
Toledo Mud Hens (Detroit Tigers): 2
Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay Rays): 8
Season: 46-58; Home Stand: 1-0
Wrap, Box, Herald-Sun

Game Score: Faria 56; Season Avg 47 (6 starts, 26.2 innings)
Team OPS: Game .952; Season .668; Diff +.284
Team wOBA: Game .383; Season .300; Diff +.083

In yesterday's post, I complained about new guy Hank Conger who was not having a particularly good introduction to the Bulls, hitting just .130. Nor could I understand why he'd be put in a DH slot with that kind of record. And then there he was in the lineup as DH as I filled out my score card! I grumbled about that all through the first two innings, along with being appalled at the appearance of the turf. The outfield looks just awful.

I continued to be sure of my opinion even after Mr. Conger's single in the 3rd inning. After all, every one of the players on the bench, Jaff Decker, Richie Shaffer, or Daniel Robertson, had much better stats than him. But then he came to bat in the 4th. By that time the Bulls had scored a run off an Arencibia fielder's choice. Runners were on first and second with two outs. So what did he do? Batting left-handed (he's a switch-hitter), he chips one over the Blue Monster, bringing home 3 runs and putting the Bulls ahead, 4 to 2. Jake Goebbert hit a home run the next at bat to put the game away.

Bottom line: As much as it pains me to my soul to admit it, putting Hank Conger in the lineup in the DH slot was the right call last night.

Jacob Faria had a good night. It was particularly notable following his last two starts where he had Game Scores of -6(!) and 24.

But it was a hitters' game. J.P. Arencibia continued his hot streak with a single and 2 RBIs. Taylor Motter hit two doubles, scored 2 runs, and had an RBI. Dayron Varona had a double, walk, scored a run, and an RBI. We've already mentioned the homers by Conger and Goebbert.

Plus, we need to mention that twice the Mud Hens put a runner on third base with a triple and neither of them scored. Good defense, good pitching.

Outside the game —
  • The Montgomery Biscuits, Tampa Bays' AA team, is in first place in  their division in the Souther League. (standings)
  • The Bulls are 12 games below .500, but have moved into sole possession of second place in the South Division of the International League. (standings).
  • The web is abuzz with possible deals involving the Rays. Most of the speculation involves them trading off starting pitchers. If they are dealing pitchers for prospects, we can expect some roster turmoil here with the Bulls.

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