Friday, August 26, 2016

Blown Out in Charlotte

Game 131, Tuesday, 23 August, BB&T Ballpark, Charlotte, NC
Durham Bulls (Rays): 2
Charlotte Knights (White Sox): 3
10 innings
Wrap, Box
Game Score: Faria 63; Season Avg 54 (11 starts, 56.1 innings)
Tm OPS: Game .680; Season .674; Diff .006

Game 132, Wednesday, 24 August, BB&T Ballpark, Charlotte
Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay Rays): 5
Charlotte Knights (Chicago White Sox): 6
Wrap, Box
Game Score: Marks 48; Season 52 (21 starts, 121.1 innings)
Tm OPS: Game .773; Season .674; Diff .099

Game 133, Thursday, 25 August, BB&T Ballpark, Charlotte, NC
Durham Bulls: 7
Charlotte Knights: 12
Wrap, Box
Game Score: Schultz 19; Season Avg 53 (26 starts, 126.2 innings)
Tm OPS: Game .819; Season .676; Diff .143

In this visit to Charlotte, the Durham Bulls managed to play themselves out of contention for the South Division championship.[standings] Could they play themselves back in? Only if the Knights and Gwinnett really stumble. The Bulls have six games with second place Gwinnett (currently on the three-game winning streak), two with Norfolk, and three with one of the best teams in the IL, the Columbus Clippers. Simply not very likely.

This visit to Charlotte was their big chance but the pitching crew, which had been a strength of this team, blew it. Neil Wagner could not hold on to a lead on Tuesday. The decision to move Ryan Stanek to a reliever role looks ever more questionable as on Wednesday he recorded his third blown save and 4th loss in relief since the All-Star break. And last night it was starter Jamie Schultz' turn as he gave up a grand slam in the second inning and left the game before the inning was out.

The hitters, for a change, did just fine. Just not enough to hold up the pitching crew.

Why then go to any of the eight remaining home games?

As a Bulls fan, not many reasons at all. As a baseball fan, however, all the usual reasons are still there: a chance to see a well-turned double play; a perfectly executed throw from under the Monster to second base; a stolen base; a home run; a nasty curve ball; a diving catch in center field; a cup of beer; a hot dog.

Outside the game —
  • Patrick Kinas in back from Rio and in the booth. Doesn't seem to have lost a step.
  • Ryan Garton is back from Tampa Bay.
  • Tyler Sturdevant went back up.
  • Richie Shaffer coming back. He got a grand total of 7 ABs while there. 2 hits, 1 walk, 3 K's, and scored a run.
  • Manager Jared Sandberg was ejected for the 6th time this year, in Wednesday's game.
  • The Charlotte Observer, which used to cover the Knights very nicely, is not any more.
  • Not that different from Raleigh's N&O which has foregone next morning coverage altogether in the last few weeks.
Gee, I sound awfully grumpy, don't I?

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