Monday, April 25, 2022

Week 3: 50-50


The Durham Bulls went 3-3 over in Norfolk last week. They ended the week at 7-11 and tied for 8th place in the 10-team International League East Division. That's a tick upwards from last week.

Key stat changes are dismal but slightly better.

Batting: OPS - .720, 12th in 20 team IL, + .046 from last week.

Pitching: ERA - 5.16, 14th in IL, -0.27 from last week

Pitching: WHIP - 1.534, 16th in IL, -.034 from last week

Pitching: OBA (Opponents Batting Average) - .262, 18th, -.007 from last week

This week begins with an oddity, an 11:00 am day game — Education Day. Busloads of school kids at the park. If you haven't been, try it. Sort of fun listening/watching young folks. 

The Bulls are playing the Memphis Redbirds, the St Louis Cardinals Triple-A team,  They are 9-9 on the year. 

Lastly, Tyler Zambro, the Bulls pitcher who took a line drive to his head last year, is back with the team. Nice to see him on the field.

Monday, April 18, 2022

Two Weeks Into Season — Not Looking Good

The first two weeks

The Durham Bulls' season comes in 6-game chunks, Tuesday thru Sunday. We are two weeks into the season and the Bulls have faced two teams: the Nashville Sounds and the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp. They have played just 12 games. How are they doing? Not good at all.

This is not the sort of team that we are used to seeing here in Durham. 

How grim is it?

The Bulls are in 9th place in the 10-team East Division.

Batting: The team OPS is .674, 14th in the 20-team International League

Pitching: The team ERA is 5.43, 17th; the WHIP is 1.534, also 17th, and the OBA (opponents batting average) is .269, the worst in the entire IL. 

So this team has a long way to go. We can only speculate about the causes. Certainly, the pitching could be much, much better. They have 18 pitchers on the roster, most of them quite young. Plus there has been a lot of roster turmoil in the first two weeks of the season, something like 30+ transactions, many involving pitchers.

Nevertheless, in two short weeks the Bulls have dug themselves a hole that will take some time to get out of. They are off to Norfolk for a six-game stand with the Baltimore franchise, the Norfolk Tides, then come back to town for six games against the Memphis Redbirds. We'll see.

Friday, April 15, 2022

Durham Bulls Basics — Part I

The Bulls are 9 games into the season and doing OK (3-4). More about that in another post. But first: 

The Durham Bulls are the Triple-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays. 

What is Triple-A?

Every major league baseball team (there are 30) has 4 "affiliates" arranged in levels ranging from Triple-A, Double-A, High-A, and Single-A.

During the pandemic year Major League Baseball blew up the minor leagues, and the outcome was 120 teams scattered all around the country (10 of them in North Carolina, by the way). Triple-A accounts for 30 of those teams.

Triple-A baseball is organized into two leagues: 20 teams in the International League and 10 in the Pacific Coast League. There used to be a more even division of teams between the Pacific Coast League and the International League, but that's another (and not very interesting) story.

The Durham Bulls are in the International League's East Division and play most, but not all, of their games against the 10 teams in that division. In general, the teams play 6 games, take a day off for rest or travel, and play 6 games. 

Teams in the East division the Bulls will play this year are:

Jacksonville (Fla) Jumbo Shrimp (Miami Marlins): 12 Home, 12 Away 

Charlotte (NC) Knights (Chicago White Sox): 6 Home, 15 Away

Worcester (Mass) Red Sox (Boston Red Sox): 6 Away

Buffalo (New York) Bisons (Toronto Blue Jays): 6 Away

Norfolk (Virginia) Tides (Baltimore Orioles): 9 Home, 12 Away

Lehigh Valley (Penn) Iron Pigs (Philadelphia Phillies): 6

Rochester (New York) Red Wings (Washington Nationals): 0

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Penn) RailRiders (New York Yankees): 6 Home

Syracuse (New York) Mets (New York Mets): 0

Teams played outside the division are:

Memphis (Tenn) Redbirds (St Louis Cardinals): 12 Home, 6 Away

Louisville (Kentucky) Bats (Cincinnati Reds): 6 home

Nashville (Tenn) Sounds (Milwaukee Brewers): 12 Home, 6 Away

Gwinnett (Georgia) Stripers (Atlanta Braves): 6 Home, 12 Away


75 home games, 75 away games

Nothing has been announced yet about the post-season, assuming that there will be one. No surprise since the International League website doesn't even have the updated division breakout.

How do the Bulls stack up?

Triple-A is the peak of minor league baseball and their players are all in the second tier of their team's rosters. That means that the quality of baseball at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park is superb. Every player on the field wants to play his next game in the major leagues.

The Durham Bulls are the most successful team in recent International League history. Since 2002, the Bulls have won the championship 7 times and came in 2nd place 5 times. The only other team in the league to even come close are the Columbus Clippers (Cleveland Guardians) with 4 wins. 

4/15/22 10:58: edits to schedule — 6 games added since I did the numbers. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Baseball at Last!

 Durham Bulls (Rays) 4; Nashville Sounds (Brewers) 5


Baseball at last! Even if it's in Tennessee! Caught up with Patrick Kinas on 99.3, MiLB-TV was working. All is right with the world.

From the Bulls office:


Proctor & Aranda club two hits each in Triple-A debuts with Durham

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Bulls designated hitter Jim Haley, first baseman Jonathan Aranda, and catcher Ford Proctor all clubbed two hits, however Sounds first baseman Jon Singleton homered while center fielder Corey Ray’s game-winning infield single gave the Sounds a 5-4 victory over Durham on Tuesday evening at First Horizon Park.


Singleton smashed a solo shot in the second, while Turang two innings later crushed an RBI triple to right prior to scoring on a wild pitch to make it a 3-0 game. The Bulls would cut the deficit to one with two tallies in the fifth, as Haley came plateward on 2B Miles Mastrobuoni’s RBI single to right before 3B Vidal Brujan scored on a wild pitch. Nashville, however, would increase the advantage to two courtesy of C Mario Feliciano’s RBI single in the seventh.


The Bulls would erase the deficit, though, with a pair of tallies in the ninth, courtesy of Proctor’s RBI single to right, followed by SS Tristan Gray’s sacrifice fly. Nashville, however, loaded the bases with one out in the last of the ninth to bring up Ray, who smashed an infield single to score 2B Jamie Westbrook and end the contest.


Haley, (2-4, R, BB), Aranda (2-4, R, BB) and Proctor (2-5, RBI) each collected two knocks for the Bulls, while Westbrook (2-3, 2 R) was the lone Sounds hitter to record a multi-hit effort. Nashville reliever Luke Barker (1.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, BB) earned the win, in addition to receiving a blown save, while Durham righty Seth Blair (0.1 IP, 2 H, R, ER, 2 BB, K) suffered the loss.


The Bulls are set to continue their six-game set in Nashville on Wednesday evening, with first pitch scheduled for 7:35pm ET. Durham’s starter has not yet been determined, while the Sounds are anticipated to give the nod to RHP Caleb Boushley.


Following their six-game road series, the Bulls return to Durham Bulls Athletic Park for a six-game series versus the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp on Tuesday, April 12. First pitch for Opening Night at Durham Bulls Athletic Park on April 12 is scheduled for 6:35pm.