Sunday, August 7, 2016

Bulls' Bats Come Back

Game 115, August 6, DBAP
Gwinnett Braves: 0
Durham Bulls: 10
Wrap, Box, Herald-Sun

Game Score: Marks 77; Season Avg 54 (18 starts, 104.2 innings)
Tm wOBA: Game .470; Season .301; Diff +.169

Just last Wednesday the Bulls had their worst game at bat of the entire season (Tm wOBA of only .031). Last night they had one of their best: home runs, triples, doubles, singles adding up to 25 total bases. Leading the band was Johnny Field who hit a home run on the second pitch of the game. Also hitting home runs were two of the three Bulls catchers — Curt Casali who was actually catching, and Hank Conger, who was DHing. The third catcher, J.P. Arencibia, had the night off. In fact, everyone reached base (Motter on a fielder's choice) except new guy Alec Sole.

Meanwhile, Justin Marks had another good start.

About those catchers —

The Bulls are carrying three and something will have to give. At the moment the Bulls have 12 pitchers and 13 position players on the roster, the reverse from the usual 13 pitchers/12 position players. Both Hank Conger and Curt Casali are on the 40-man, and they both started the season with the Rays. I think that means that they are both drawing full major league salaries. They are with the Bulls because they weren't having very good seasons and then the Rays claimed a catcher, Bobby Wilson, off waivers. That gives the Rays five catchers with significant major league time (J.P. Arencibia has almost 500 major league games under his belt, many more than Conger, Casali, Maile, or Bobby Wilson). Given my track record for bad guesses, I'm not going to try. But the Bulls need a reliever to replace Danny Farquhar.

Outside the game--
  • My local newspaper, the Raleigh News & Observer, appears to have given up on covering the Bulls in print. Not even reprinting the press release of previous day's game now. 
  • Mikie Mahtook is reported as coming off the disabled list and should start playing for the Rays soon.

Here is a chart displaying the Bulls' erratic hitting performance. This is the game-by-game team wOBA since the All-Star break (July 14th). Nice to see slight upward trend since hitting has been the Bulls' problem all year. Obviously, an above-average night at bat doesn't guarantee a win, but it sure doesn't hurt. Similarly, a poor night at bat (for example, July 16th's wOBA of just .191), doesn't always mean a loss — June 16th was the night Justin Marks threw a no-hitter.

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