Sunday, August 14, 2016

Blown Save

Game 121, 13 August, Durham Bulls Athletic Park
Charlotte Knights (White Sox): 5
Durham Bulls (Rays): 1
Season: 54-67; Home Stand: 1-1; Home Games Remaining: 12
Wrap, Box, Herald-Sun

Game Score: Schultz 89; Season Avg 55 (24 starts, 122 innings)
Tm OPS: Game .406; Season .672; Diff -.266

Jamie Schultz pitched his best game of the season and added to his league-leading strikeout totals by 11. He left the game with a shutout in hand.

At first, I wondered why Tyler Sturdevant was called in for the 9th. However, the facts were that he had only allowed 1 run in 9 appearances since the All-Star break. So, it seemed to make sense. But things got ugly in a hurry when two infield singles and a sacrifice put runners on second and third with one out. Former Bull Jerry Sands came to bat.

The broadcasters mentioned that an intentional walk was the obvious call, setting up a possible double play. What were they thinking? Manager Jared Sandberg has only called for an intentional walk 5 times this year. It is simply not what he does as a manager (he only called for 8 all of last season). He is not alone in his thinking. The best team in the league, the RailRiders, has only called for 4. Still, Sandberg is the same guy who has said that hitting is contagious on both a team and individual level and Sands had gotten two of the three hits allowed by Schultz. Just sayin'.

All of which became moot when Sands hit a three-run home run. A couple more hits and a couple more runs later Parker Markel came in to get the last out. But not before Sturdevant had earned his 4th blown save and a loss, his ERA had ballooned from 1.14 to 2.51 and the Bulls had slipped out of first place .

Moving on to another topic: Unless local reporters, that would be the Herald-Sun, ask the question, or we happen to tune in to the broadcast early, we fans never get injury updates from the Bulls. Jaff Decker played last night for the first time since August 5. Injured? Probably.


Since the All-Star break the relief crew has been doing a terrific job. By last Thursday, they'd brought their running ERA down from 3.79 to 3.43, even better than the starters. In just two games, two of them, Kyle Stanek up in Pawtucket and Sturdevant here in Durham, have added enough runs to push the entire relief crew's ERA back to being well above the team average.

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