Sunday, November 6, 2022


 We saw this system at work in Bulls games with Charlotte and in the Triple-A playoffs. I like it.

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Baseball in November!

 So, here we are on November 1st. The last Durham Bulls baseball game was out in Las Vegas on October 2nd. It was the longest season in AAA history. (I did just renew my tickets for 2023.) 

But what the heck is going on with Major League Baseball? Only two, count 'em, TWO games in the World Series have been played. If the weather were not so freakishly warm in Pennsylvania, they'd be playing (or waiting to play as it happens) in snowsuits. 

I'm all for a much shorter season. I like the playoffs, I just don't like watching baseball in hockey, basketball, and football season.

Saturday, October 22, 2022

October Baseball

 Just for the record. Playing baseball at the end of October does not make sense!

Monday, October 3, 2022

9th Inning Heroics; Durham Bulls Are National Champions


Durham Bulls 10; Reno Aces 6; Box

If you did not get a chance to watch last night's game, you missed a thriller. At first, it looked like the Bulls were going to run away with the game the way they did on Saturday night. But the Aces caught up. After masterful middle innings by both relievers, the Aces got a home run in the bottom of the 8th and it looked like the end. 

But ... top of the 9th ... Aces reliever goes off-script and walks two batters. Double brings in a run, single brings in a run, homer brings in three runs. Bulls reliever slams the door. The Bulls are the national champions!

Very, very pleased to be able to listen to Patrick Kinas & Scott Pose broadcast the final game. They did a spectacular job of creating the illusion that they were at the game. I turned off the MiLB sound, fiddled with the timing to get them in synch with the feed, and thoroughly enjoyed their insights and commentary. They have done a really, really good job this year. We are fortunate to have them in the booth. Note: is it a rumor that Brady Williams won't be back?

This was a good team this year. In particular, was how they stayed with every game, and behaved as a team (at least as far as I could see). This was a group of young men who obviously like playing baseball. And I certainly enjoyed watching them play.

More game stories here and here.

Sunday, October 2, 2022

Matchup: Durham Bulls v Reno Aces; Triple-A National Championship

I would have thought that the Bulls might have trouble adjusting to a desert climate. After last night, I guess not. Here we go against the best team in the Pacific Coast League (with all the caveats I've previously mentioned). 

Keeping in mind all the differences in PCL vs IL, these two teams are very close in performance. There is a big difference in managerial experience, though. Gil Velazquez is in his first year managing at AAA level and only his second year managing at any level. But he did lead his team to the championship. 

TV coverage? We were not happy listening to the Nashville Sounds broadcaster last night and we could not find Kinas on-air anywhere. He did say he was going out to Las Vegas with the team, but 99.9 was more interested in Duke football. Maybe tonight. 

Game time 7:05 according the Bulls website.

Durham Bulls Win International League Championship


Durham Bulls 13; Nashville Sounds 0; Box

The Durham Bulls scored a run in the top of the 2nd inning and never looked back. And they never let the Sounds pitchers get on track. The Sounds went through 9 pitchers. Only a few of them did not let runs in.

Meanwhile, Vidal Brujan had an exceptional night, winning MVP honors for his 4 hits, a walk, 3 RBI, and 3 runs scored.

I guessed so very wrong on who might be pitching. And that's certainly OK. Cooper Criswell, Calvin Faucher, Angel Perdomo, and Jimmy Yacabonis did not let a run score, struck out 12 batters, and got out of any number of difficult situations (the Sounds left 7 on base and were 0 for 9 RISP).

Game stories (with video) here, here, and here.

Now for the Reno Aces.

Friday, September 30, 2022

Triple-A Championship Games Begin

Let us stipulate from the beginning that this whole business of a "Triple A National Championship" is outside the norms of traditional baseball competition. Not exactly a sham, but also not a true test of the teams involved. One game should not decide a baseball championship. 

Of the 30 teams in Triple-A baseball, 10 are in the Pacific Coast League and 20 are in the International League. The PCL has East and West Divisions of 5 teams each. The IL has East and West Divisions of 10 teams each. The Durham Bulls are in the IL East Division.

Nuts and bolts of this weekend.

Everything happens out in Las Vegas, Nevada at the Las Vegas Ballpark

Las Vegas Ballpark

Games are supposed to be streamed for free on MiLB.TV. I think, but am not sure, that the Bulls game is on local radio as well. The easiest way to reach links will probably be at the Bulls' website.

On Friday, September 30th, a championship game for the Triple-A Pacific Coast League will be played between the El Paso Chihuahuas (San Diego Padres), who won the PCL East Division,  and the Reno Aces (Arizona Diamondbacks). End of season standings. The game is scheduled to begin at 10:05 EDT.

Bulls v Sounds

On Saturday night, 9:05 EDT, the Durham Bulls will play the Nashville Sounds for the International League Championship. These two teams have actually seen each other a lot this year. They have played 18 times, 6 in Nashville and 12 in Durham. Overall, the Sounds have won 10 of those 18 games. Probably most relevant is the last series August 23-28. The Bulls won just 2 of 6 games but were outscored just 30 to 39.

On paper, the Sounds have an advantage. But, if you drive down to the details, and the fact that it's just one game, it will surely be the pitching. We don't know who will be starting for the Bulls, but they've got a couple of good choices (Keven Herget and Taj Bradley come to mind) and we can hope that the Rays will not be dictating the rotation. That, in turn, means that the real contest might be between Manager Brady Williams for the Bulls and Rick Sweet of the Sounds. Sweet has a lot more AAA experience under his belt. Will it make a difference? I guess we'll see.

Sunday night?  Let's hope the Bulls will be playing.

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Durham Bulls Win International League East

Decisive pitching and hitting last night clinched it just one day from the end of the season. Bulls play final game this morning then off to Las Vegas to play the Nashville Sounds on Saturday. Good Luck. No info yet on radio/tv coverage. Standings.

It was quite a year. Full of ups and downs.

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Durham Bulls: 2 Games Left; Tonight?

The Bulls prevailed against 9 Charlotte pitchers last night. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders split a doubleheader, slipping to 2 games back. A Bulls win, or a RailRiders loss, and the Bulls win the International League East and head for Las Vegas. Here's hoping we find out if the games will be televised, time, channel, etc. But, it ain't over 'til it's over. Standings.

Monday, September 26, 2022

Durham Bulls: 3 Games Left; Off to Charlotte

The Bulls are 1½ games ahead of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. They have three games in Charlotte to finish the season. The RailRiders have four games, all at home, against the Buffalo Bisons.  Both teams need to keep winning to make it to the playoffs in Las Vegas on October 1st. 

Very, very nice end-of-season run by the Bulls. They need to keep it up for the next couple of days. Standings.

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Durham Bulls: 4 Games Left; Last Home Game Today

The Durham Bulls won; the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders lost. The Bulls have a 1½-game lead. Standings. Nashville has clinched the IL West.

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Durham Bulls: 5 Games Left

 The Bulls lost last night and the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders won. That pulls the RailRiders to within ½ a game. Standings.

Friday, September 23, 2022

Durham Bulls: 6 Games Left

 Bottom of the 10th heroics last night kept the Bulls 1½ game lead intact. Standings.

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Durham Bulls: 7 games Left

 An ugly loss last night, but the RailRiders and the Jumbo Shrimp also lost. Bulls remain 1½ games up. Standings.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Durham Bulls: 8 Games Left

 Thought I'd start posting this chart. Bulls kept their 1½ game lead. Standings.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Week 24: Good Week in Georgia; Now for the Last Hurrah

After a tough two-loss start, the Bulls won four in a row down in Lawrenceville, Georgia. They are now back for their last home games and 1½ games ahead in the IL East. The roster is newish, but they are still playing terrific baseball. Standings.

The Bulls have six home games against the Norfolk Tides and three away games against the Charlotte Knights. That's it. End of season. No more Bulls baseball in 2022. Unless they win the IL East, then at least one game out in Las Vegas.

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (in second place) have six away games against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs followed by three home games against the Buffalo Bisons. Both teams have winning records and could prove a challenge to the RailRiders. The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (in third place) had a tough time last week and they finish out their season with six home games against the Charlotte Knights and three away games against the Norfolk Tides. They could easily come back into the running if the Bulls slip.

Looks like every game is going to count.


Norfolk is on a streak. They've won 8 of their last 10 games and 5 of their last 6. We can expect every game to be interesting and something of a lineup mismash as the two managers juggle chaotic roster moves — the Tide's parent club is making a run at a wild card slot; the Bulls' parent club is trying to hang on to theirs.

American League Wild Card

Speaking of the AL Wild Card, Baltimore has faded recently, falling almost out of contention. Will they be raiding the Tides? Probably. Will the Rays raid the Bulls? Of course they will.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Week 23: Blown Out by RailRiders; Blown Up by Rays

 With the notable exception of the 9th inning heroics on Friday, this was not a good week for the Bulls. They lost 4 out of 6 games against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, the New York Yankees franchise. Their lead in the IL East dropped from 3½ games to 1½ games. Standings. The second-place teams, the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (Miami) and the RailRiders, are in a tie. 

Mostly last week the Bulls were not even close. The RailRiders scored 37 runs, the Bulls just 20. Only one starting pitcher went more than 3 innings. The relievers' ERA grew from 4.34 to 4.63 in one week. 

It would be nice to put the week in the past (usually a good idea in baseball), but we Bulls fans are suddenly faced with an ugly reminder of minor league baseball reality. Their parent, the Tampa Bay Rays, are off to a very tough set of games against the Toronto Blue Jays, including a doubleheader. This allows the Rays, absolute masters of roster manipulation, to shake things up. Throw into that mix the fact that at least one Ray (Brooks Raley) is not vaccinated against Covid and is not allowed into Canada. Then we see that the Bulls who are off to Georgia are not the Bulls who played in Durham last week. Six recent Bulls are in Toronto, Cooper Criswell, Javy Guerra, Keven Herget, Josh Fleming, Jimmy Yacabonis, and Yonny Chirinos. A couple are on the "taxi squad" — I have no idea what that means. But the roster on the Bulls' website isn't even close to being accurate. 

Any help coming? Hard to say. Cooper Criswell is reportedly on his way back after his start last night. Available? Who knows. Pitcher Trevor Brigden is coming up from Montgomery. 

On the positive side in the coming week, the Bulls' main competitors are facing tougher competition than the Bulls this week. The RailRiders are up against the 69-65 Worcester Red Sox, and the Jumbo Shrimp are playing the IL West leader the 81-53 Nashville Sounds.


The Bulls are down in Georgia playing the Atlanta Braves' affiliate, the Gwinnett Braves. As with the Bulls, the Braves' parent team is trying to win its division or at least a wild card spot. Unlike the Bulls, the Braves have had a much tougher year. They are in 8th place in the IL West. Nevertheless, their pitching is pretty good. Much may depend on how well the Bulls pitcher chaos sorts itself out.


Rules that the Bulls have played under for the last couple of years (mostly) are coming to the major leagues. Pitch clock and bigger bases we've seen. What we haven't seen are the limits on positioning of infielders. Interesting that the MLB players union voted against the changes, perhaps because they could not find any internal consensus among the membership. I like the changes, with the possible exception of the freebie runner on 2B in extra innings, but the major leagues are already doing that. Should probably be noted that I'm not a fan of the tie-breaker in tennis either.

Monday, September 5, 2022

Week 22: Bulls Back Home, In First Place, But ...

The Bulls had a terrific week over in Charlotte, winning 5 out of 6 games. None were blowouts (except for the loss). The Bulls return home with a solid 3½-game lead over the second-place teams in the International League East (Jacksonville and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre). Standings.

With just 21 games left in the season (12 at home), the Bulls are in the home stretch.

But ...


The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders are on quite a run since the All-Star break, almost the reverse of their parent club, the New York Yankees. The RailRiders have pulled up into a second-place tie with the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp. They have the potential to make a run for the lead in the IL East.

In fact, the Bulls and RailRiders show very little difference in their aggregate stats. The Bulls have an edge in hitting and run differential. But the RailRiders' pitching looks very good. This should be a week of very challenging ball for both clubs. And Wander Franco will likely be on the field doing a rehab tour. If the Bulls have a lot of trouble with the RailRiders, then the end of the season gets much more competitive.

The Bulls play today at 5 o'clock, take a day off, and then play 5 in a row. Then the Bulls trek down to Gwinnett to play the Braves, come back home to play Norfolk, and wrap up the season with three games in Charlotte. 

We would, of course, prefer for the Bulls to then travel out to Las Vegas for a championship round. We'll see.

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Week 21: Out of and Back into First Place

The Durham Bulls did not do all that well against the team with the best record in the IL, the Nashville Sounds (Milwaukee). They only took 2 games out of the 6. But they did seem to get past the defensive woes that had been troubling them down in Norfolk and at the beginning of the week. Too bad the pitchers didn't get the memo, especially the starters. But Nashville's a good team and they showed it.

Meanwhile, the LeHigh Valley IronPigs have put together a decent run, enough to more than catch up with the Bulls.

The season is wrapping up. The Bulls have only two more home stands and just 27 games (against just 4 teams) left in the season.


The Bulls are off to Charlotte this week. The Knights (White Sox) have had a really tough year. I do have to wonder, though, if those pitching numbers have something to do with them being the guinea pig for baseball's robo-ump experiment. I didn't watch any of the games the last time they were in Charlotte. I'm going to try to do so this week. 

Union for Minor Leaguers?

ESPN and the New York Times have stories about a new effort to break into MLB's control over minor league players. 

Thursday, August 25, 2022


Ugly, ugly baseball at the DBAP.  Errors, wild pitches, unearned runs, and 2-9, 7-10 losses. What's going on?

Recently I mentioned a concern of mine that has been amplified over these days: the Durham Bulls are playing lousy baseball. This is a fairly recent trend, most obvious in the last seven games (the last two nights have been especially awful, though). Take this locally-invented metric, the "UnEarned  Run Average," unearned runs per 9 innings. That's the ugly child of the Earned Run Average. This chart shows the last 7 games and the uERA's growth from .526 to .576. 

Underneath that metric is the 11 errors, 7 wild pitches, 3 hit batsmen, and 10 unearned runs. The pain has been well-distributed among 5 players, but catcher René Pinto with 4 of the 11 errors, and infielder Jim Haley with 3, lead the error-committing group. Nor does the box score capture mistakes such as the pitcher not covering 1st base. 

I had hoped that by digging into the box scores I'd discover some modest redemption in the infield, but only 4 double plays in those 7 games. Then I looked at the players and there are some modest hints there. You see a fair amount of variety at each base. Over the 7 games: 3 different players at 3B, 3 at SS, 2 at 2B, and 3 at 1B. But that's not to say that there wasn't a "regular" at positions: Mostly Aranda at 1B (5 of 7), Mastrobuoni at 2B (5 of 7), and Bruján at SS (5 of 7). Who's on 3rd? Haley, Gray, or Edwards. 

I'm leaving out a more proximate factor. Maybe Nashville has got the Bulls rattled. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Week 20: Durham Bulls Keep First Place

The Durham Bulls won four out of six games in Norfolk last week, but there were a couple of missteps that could be concerning. The hitters are doing just fine. The Bulls scored 42 runs to Norfolk's 31. But here's the worry, six of those runs were unearned. Plus, both of the Bulls' losses were by just one run. 

On balance, though, a good week. We could have wished the starters lasted longer, but the Bulls don't have a lot of control over that. It would have been nice to know that rehabbing Wander Franco saw some playing time, but he did not. Sounds like he just is not healing the way the Rays hoped.

At the end of the week, the Bulls are 2 games up in the International League East and start a 6-game series against Nashville, the leader in the International League West. Standings.


In a major oddity to a very odd schedule, the Durham Bulls play the Nashville Sounds 18 times this year. The Bulls opened the season in Nashville, losing 4 out of six games back in early April. Then the Sounds came to Durham in late May-early June and the Bulls took 4 out of 6. So, 6 & 6 on the season. 

The Milwaukee Brewers franchise has, by far, the best record in the twenty-team International League. For that matter, the best record in Triple-A baseball (only ten teams in the Pacific Coast league). 

What can we expect? Well, certainly the big numbers show the teams to be very closely matched. Durham has a slight edge in power, but there's a big difference in run differentials. Nashville appears to have a slight edge in pitching. The Sounds are 7-5 in their last 12 games (Gwinnett and Jacksonville). The Bulls are 9-3 over their last 12 games (Jacksonville and Norfolk). Overall, it looks to me like the IL West is a slightly less competitive branch of the IL, inflating the difference. But other factors, such as the fact that both parent clubs are looking to play in the post-season, may make a larger difference.

Monday, August 15, 2022

Week 19: A Good Week at the DBAP

The Durham Bulls took 5 of 6 games from Jacksonville, now the second-best team in the IL, East last week. They ended up in first place with 39 games to go in the season. I don't see how a better outcome could have been obtained. Among several notable features, the Bulls were playing with at least four rehabbing major leaguers. That circumstance often comes with problems, but did not this week. Jacksonville is a very good team. Four of the six games were decided by just one run and there were no shutouts by either team.

However, being in first place doesn't mean the season's over. Six teams are within easy reach of each other. Notice the streak that Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (the Yankee AAA team), has had in recent weeks.

Speaking of season's end, the Bulls are at home only three more times this year.  That's it. Six games against Nashville (best team in the West) the last week of August, six against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, and the last six of the season against Norfolk, 18 games and we're done for the year.


Unlike their parent club, the Baltimore Orioles, the Norfolk Tides have had a tough year so far. The Bulls appear to have an advantage in every category. We will have to see about the Rays rehabbers who stick with the team, plus it's being reported that Wander Franco is coming for a visit on his way back to Tampa's roster.

Monday, August 8, 2022

Week 18: Bulls Split with Red Sox, slip to 3rd Place

This was a very odd week up in Worcester, Massachusetts. The Bulls scored 16 runs in the first game and 5 in the second. Then they gave up 17 runs as they lost the next three games (including being no-hit 0-12 in one of them). They wrapped it up with a 9-3 day game yesterday. For the week, the Bulls scored 30 runs and the Red Sox scored 30 runs, which doesn't say much for either team's pitching.

Speaking of pitching, the Bulls had some ugly moments during the week. Young, but well-traveled, Luis Patiño, only made it through ⅔ of the 1st inning on Saturday as he gave up 3 hits, 2 walks, and 4 runs and then tried to wave off manager Brian Williams as he came out to take the ball away from him. A few outs later rehabbing JT Chargois gave up 3 hits, 1 BB, and 2 runs in just ⅓ of an inning (going back-to-back yesterday, he faced two batters in the 4th inning, got two outs, and looked a good bit better). A day earlier, rising star Taj Bradley did make it through 5 innings, but also gave up 4 runs on 6 hits and a walk. Overall, a messy week.

The Red Sox's new home in Worcester looks very nice and they've got a superb camera crew and broadcast team. I only watched a few innings over the week, but it looks like a nice place to watch a ball game. 

The Bulls started the week in a tie for first place in the IL East. Meanwhile, Jacksonville went 5-1 against Memphis. That was enough to take them into 1st place. Lehigh Valley went 4-2 against Syracuse and rose to 2nd place, one game ahead of Durham, now in 3rd place. Standings


As mentioned, Jacksonville, Miami's AAA team, had a good week against Memphis and is coming to town in first place in the IL East. As the chart shows, the Jumbo Shrimp and Bulls have been close to each other much of the year, but today is the largest spread between the two teams in recent weeks. This will be the last time they play this year The series could be decisive for the Bulls in the IL East.

The Jumbo Shrimp have a slight edge in every category, which is worrisome. However, as hard as it must be to believe, they have had even more roster turmoil than the Bulls. Miami has inflicted a total of 23 transactions on Jacksonville in the first week of August. Tampa Bay has "only" run 8 transactions through. And there is the sheer size of the team's pitching rosters. Durham has a huge advantage with their 19 active pitchers, plus 2 rehabbers. Jacksonville only has 14 plus 1 rehabber. And they only have 3 lefties, who have been giving the Bulls fits in recent weeks.

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Week 17: Still Tied for First

The Bulls had a shot at breaking out last week. Instead, they went 3-3 with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (the Phillies franchise) and they are now in a three-way tie with the Jumbo Shrimp and the IronPigs. Standings. That's sort of the tale of this part of the season. Six teams are very much in the running, with Worcester, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, and Buffalo only a couple of games back.

No obvious trends are coming out of the larger measures: Team OPS, ERA, and WHIP  barely moved. Individual moments have counted, such as rehabbing Jon Chargois' blow-up in relief on Sunday —  0 outs, 2 hits, 1 BB, 4 runs. Or phenom Taj Bradley's ugly start in Saturday's loss — 2 innings, 6 hits, 2 BB, 3 earned runs. More than that, Tampa Bay has announced 8 transactions in the last two days and there are likely more coming. Many of them will probably have an effect on the Bulls. The team that comes back to town next week could look very different from the team that is playing in Massachusetts tonight.


The Worcester Red Sox are the re-incarnation of the Pawtucket Red Sox, a frequent and well-liked opponent of the Durham Bulls over the years. They are the AAA franchise of the Boston Red Sox. The WooSox are drawing plenty of fans—362,495 this year—to their new home. 

Meanwhile, we don't see any significant gaps in the overall matchup between the teams. This week is the only time the two teams will meet in 2022.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Week 16: Tied for First; Bull Durham Book Out

The Durham Bulls ended the All-Star week with a three-game sweep of the Norfolk Tides. That took them to a tie for first place. Notable was a very nice come-from-behind victory and the debut of phenom Taj Bradley. The stage is set for this week's head-to-head with the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, the Philadelphia Phillies AAA franchise. 

Geek stuff: No big change in the basic stats for the week. 


This is a big deal. These next six games are the only games the Bulls and the IronPigs will play this year, thanks to this rather bizarre schedule the International League has dictated. The IronPigs are on a 2-game win streak, the Bulls are on a 4-game streak. Someone will end up unhappy tonight.

The Bulls appear to have an edge in most categories except defense. The IronPigs look to be about the best in the League in that category.

Bull Durham

A book about my (our?) favorite movie is out. Ron Shelton's book, The Church of Baseball, is getting solid reviews. And a nice story from my friend Josh Shaffer over at the N&O. I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but it appears to have a ton of nifty trivia. A must-read for me.

Thursday, July 21, 2022

The Durham Bulls at the All-Star Break

 The Durham Bulls arrived at the All-Star break tied for 2nd place in the International League East. They've played 90 games and have 60 games left in the regular season. They wrapped up week 15 with a 3-3 split against the Gwinnett Strippers. 

I have to mention the pitiful attendance at Gwinnett. There were only 1,910 paid (meaning a lot fewer actually there) for a near-perfect game on a Sunday by Durham's pitchers. Those who go far back enough (not me) to lament the Braves holding Richmond, Virginia hostage in the location negotiations way back when have got to be muttering, "I told you so," to both the mayor of Richmond and the Atlanta Braves. 

Geek stuff: The Bulls' .764 OPS is down slightly from the previous week, but they still hold the 2nd best OPS in the IL East. Their team ERA of 4.22 is a slight improvement and they are also 2nd best in that stat. Their WHIP is 1.35 and that is also a slight improvement, but that ranks 5th in the IL East.

Relief pitcher ERA is trending downward, a very good thing to see. 

Tampa Bay Rays

How about their big daddies playing in that bandbox by the bay? Not too bad. The Yankees are, obviously, running away with the division, but the Rays have made a nice run up into second place in the division and to first place in the wild card. The striking thing about the last couple of weeks was the surge by the Baltimore Orioles. The falling off by the Red Sox was, of course, welcome by Rays fans, even if not many of them seem to like going to the games.


The Bulls have a short 3-game visit with the Norfolk Tides starting Friday, July 22. The Bulls appear to have an advantage, but hard to say since we don't have much information on either team's recent transactions. Do have to notice that the Tides' defense could use a lot of work. They are giving away almost an unearned run per game.

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Charlie Montoyo Leaves Toronto


Charlie Montoyo, May 9, 2011, Back to the DAP

Charlie Montoyo, my all-time favorite Durham Bulls manager was dismissed by the bosses in Toronto after what seemed to me to be a fairly short bad spell of games. Probably more to it than that. 
Stories here, here, here.

Charlie Montoyo, May 2013

Who knows what happens now. Working for billionaires and managing a crowd of millionaires has got to be tough. With the Bulls, his job was very different. It was to hone the skills of the youngsters in his care and, secondarily by very successfully, win games. He did a very, very good job of that for plenty of years and championships. A search on this blog will surely turn up a bunch of stories.

Here's hoping Charlie and his family the very best.

Monday, July 11, 2022

Week 14: Bulls Split Series; Roster Turmoil

The Durham Bulls split their series with the Memphis Redbirds and finished in a three-way tie for first place in the International League East (Jacksonville and Lehigh Valley). Given the extraordinary roster turmoil of the week, that 3-3 series is pretty good. 

On just one day four players were called up to the Tampa Bay Rays (Jonathan Aranda, Luke Raley, Josh Fleming, and Phoenix Sanders) and two were "activated" (Diego Infante and Calvin Faucher). Earlier we heard that Brandon Lowe is on his way for a rehab assignment. Vidal Brujan is on his way down from Tampa Bay. New guy Joe Wieland showed up, as did Carlos Garcia

You can't tell the players without a program — which you can't get no more at the DBAP without a cellphone.

Statistics for the week were OK. Starting pitchers are doing just fine, but the relief crew is not. Hitters had a big day on Friday's 13-0 blowout, but overall the OPS grew only a few points (.768 to .774). Nevertheless, the Bulls are one of the best hitting teams in the league (before losing their best hitter in Aranda). 

International League (and Triple-A) Playoffs

I guess I wasn't paying attention earlier in the year, but Patrick Kinas mentioned that playoffs will be going on out in Las Vegas in late September and early October. First, there will be a one-game playoff between the IL East winner and the IL West winner. Then there will be a similar game between the Pacific Coast League division winners. Finally, a national championship game on Oct 2. A few comments just for the record. A single game is no way to decide a "championship" in baseball. What happened to the Governors' Cup? It was proudly displayed in the DBAP trophy case for several years (and on several of my t-shirts). No mention.

Matchup: Bulls v Strippers

For a team that is in 6th place in the IL West, the Strippers/Bulls matchup is much closer statistically than I'd expect. Their pitching numbers and defensive numbers are better than the Bulls. Could be some good games.

After Sunday the 17th, the minor leagues shut down for the All-Star break. The Bulls are back at the DBAP on Friday the 22nd for a three-game set against Norfolk, then a 6-game set against Lehigh Valley.

Monday, July 4, 2022

Weeks 12 & 13: Bulls Have Solid Road Trip

 The Bulls come back home in a 4-way tie for first place in the International League East, with another team only ½ game back. [standings] They were 7-5 on their road trip to Jacksonville and Charlotte. 

Could it have been even better? Yes. A couple of Tampa Bay Rays players are among the ranks of vaccine deniers apparently. They were not allowed to travel to Toronto since Canada has the common sense policy of not letting folks visit who aren't vaccinated. That meant that the Rays cleaned out the Bulls' bullpen during the Charlotte visit. Mostly it didn't seem to matter, but last night's 12-inning marathon stretched them to a breaking point.

The Bulls' stats are looking good, with the notable exception of the relief crew.  Those guys saw a truly ugly rise last week. That will change, I hope, when the folks come back from Canada.

Matchup: Bulls v Redbirds

The Bulls have already played 12 games against the Memphis Redbirds this year. Six games here in Durham back in April and six games in Memphis a month ago. In April the Bulls got their head handed to them winning only one game of the six. In June in Memphis, things went only a little bit better as they won two games and lost four. Not to get too geeky about this, but that means of the 36 games the Bulls have lost this year 25% have been to the Memphis Redbirds. Just sayin'. This week could be a big deal.

Another oddity, in addition to playing an out-of-division team 18 times this year, is the Monday game today. The Bulls were playing ball until 11:00 last night and then traveled home. This is going to be a challenging series.

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Game 75: Bulls in First Place!


click for larger image

All is right with the world! 

The Durham Bulls have ascended to their rightful position as the leading team in the International League East. What a terrific recovery. 

Back on May 11, they were hovering around 8 games below .500 and that was the worst record in the league. Now at mid-season, they are 8 games above .500 and are a half-game ahead of everyone in the East. Well done! 

It has not been easy and this five-team cluster is likely to stay that way for the next several weeks. Not helping were those Tampa Bay relievers who were not vaccinated and unable to travel to Toronto, leading to a severe depletion of the Bulls bullpen (Bulls' relievers have given up 20 runs in the last three games!). 

Nevertheless, this is a remarkable achievement. Congratulations to the Bulls!

Here's hoping for a great 4th of July for all of us!