Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Bulls at Mid-Season

 The Bulls are roughly halfway through their season (a bunch of games has been tacked on in September). They are doing very, very well. They lead their division by 4½ games and have the best record in the Triple-A East. For that matter, the best record in Triple-A baseball. Their hitting (OPS) is the best in the league, as is their pitching (ERA, WHIP, and OBA). So there's a lot to like. And I do, I do.

I just don't much like the Triple-A East and its schedule. So far the Bulls have only played 5 teams in a 20-team league. I get that there are only 7 teams in their division. But what's the point if the Bulls never play one of them (the Nashville Sounds, who are in second place)? And another they only play one home and one away set (Memphis, 12 games)? 

The Bulls have played 6 games against Memphis, 24 against Jacksonville, 12 against Charlotte, 16 against Norfolk, and 6 against Gwinnett. These 6-game stands (and the limited number of opponents) mean that the same guys match up over the year—a lot. I don't think I like that. 

I'll restate my old objection, what are these teams playing for? I guess that we geeks can make charts like this to show won/loss differences, but unlike the majors, the mask is off Triple-A, the players are going for individual glory, not for the team. Except that's not true either, if their behavior at a win is any indication. These guys do care about winning as a team. But Major League Baseball has conspired to make their efforts somewhat pointless.

Meanwhile, the Bulls' parent club is doing very well. They are only 1 1/2 games behind the Red Sox. Not that folks down there are noticing. Some nights the Bulls have drawn more fans than the Rays (who only drew 9,900 last night). 

But at least they have decent coverage. So we can go to the St Pete Times to read about the two Durham Bulls who will be pitching in the Olympics, Shane Baz and Joe Ryan. We wish them well.

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