Monday, July 25, 2016

Long Trip; One-Run Losses

Game 101, July 22, PNC Field, Moosic, Pennsylvania
Durham Bulls: 5
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRaiders: 6
10 innings
Wrap, Box, Scranton Times-Tribune
Game Score: Schultz 42; Season Avg 54 (20 starts, 97 innings)
Tm wOBA: Game .358; Season .298; Diff +.060

Game 102, July 23, PNC Field
Durham Bulls: 4
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders: 5
Wrap, Box, Scranton Times-Tribune
Game Score: Pruitt 38; Season Avg 56 (20 starts, 114.1 innings)
Tm wOBA: Game .363; Season .299; Diff +.064

Game 103, July 24, PNC Field
Durham Bull: 3
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders: 4
Season: 45-58; Trip: 5-6
Wrap, Box
Game Score: Gamboa 38; Season Avg 52 (8 starts, 30.2 innings)
Tm wOBA: Game .270; Season .299; Diff -.029

After starting the post-All-Star trip with two losses in Syracuse, the Bulls then pulled off four wins in a row, wins that started with a spectacular no-hitter by Justin Marks and continued with decent hitting. The wins included two in extra innings. Two Durham Bulls, Marks and J.P. Arencibia, were named as IL Players of the Week.

Then we have these three one-run losses where three usually reliable starters aren't so reliable.

Oddly enough, for a day or so the Bulls were in first place in the IL South, tied with the Charlotte Knights. Today the Bulls are still tied with the Charlotte Knights but they are both in second place. The Gwinnett Braves have ridden a five-game winning streak into first place.

This has to have been the toughest road trip of the year for the Bulls and we can guess that they are looking forward to being back in Durham and Thursday's day off.

I have to mention my annoyance with one of the Bulls newest members, Hank Conger, a catcher who appears to bring nothing to the team (unless he is particularly good at handling pitchers). In his 6 games as a Bull he's had just 3 hits (.230/.167/.217), although he is fitting right in with his 8 strikeouts. Why would he DH with those kinds of stats? By the way, the Bulls lead the International League in K's with  887.

On the positive side, switch-hitting first baseman Casey Gillaspie is looking awfully good, as is J.P. Arencibia

If we aggregate the stats over the 11 games, we see a few ticks upward in hitting stats, a small improvement in the relief crew's work, and a worrisome drop in starting pitcher performance.

Lastly, continuing our look at a Bulls' "Road to .500" possibilities — steep road. The Bulls need to win 27 out of their next 41 games to get to .500 on the season.

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