Thursday, May 26, 2022

Durham Bulls Reach .500!

 


The Durham Bulls got their record up to 22-22 (standings) with a win over the Charlotte Knights last night. This is the first time they've been at .500 since the 4th game of the season, April 8th. That's a big deal. 

What changed? How did they manage to crawl out of that hole they were in back on  May 11th? A baseball truism holds—it was the pitching. A look at the box score for April 8 and the box score for last night shows that the position players were almost exactly the same. The exceptions were Ruben Cardenas who played April 8th was on the bench last night and Ford Proctor, on the bench back in April, was at 3rd base. Pitchers? That was different. But, to be honest, I was surprised that there were any similarities at all. Both games saw 6 pitchers and two of them, Phoenix Sanders and Joel Peguero, pitched in relief in both games. 

Maybe it's just learning to play together. This is a very young team with not a lot of experience at Triple-A.

Here's hoping they can keep it up.


Monday, May 23, 2022

Week 7: Mo' Betta

click for a larger image

The Durham Bulls had another winning series down in Jacksonville, although they did not move up out of 5th place. Nevertheless, their overall play is much better and they took 4 out of 6 games from a good team in that team's home park.

Another nice trend is getting more innings out of the starting pitchers and improvement in their ERAs. 



The Charlotte Knights are coming to town and they are not having a good year, so far. The White Sox franchise is in 8th place and they have some obvious pitching problems.


Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Week 6: More Light

 

The Durham Bulls moved up into 5th place in the International League East. They won their last four games here at home, the first at-home winning series of the year. Rochester (the Nationals franchise), however, is on a terrific run and is well ahead of everyone in the league, including the Bulls next opponent, the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp.

Stats

Not much change from last week. The most significant uptick was in team OPS which went from .722 to .742, from 14th to 9th in the overall International League. 

A trend that started the prior week, but continued this last week, was getting more innings out of starting pitchers. 

A trend that has not improved was roster turmoil. In the last week (since May 10th) the Bulls have seen 15 roster changes. 

Overall, it was fun watching the Bulls this week, the most fun we've had this year. Here's hoping they keep it up.


Monday, May 9, 2022

Week 5: A Glimmer of Light?

 


The Durham Bulls went 4-2 while on the road in Buffalo against the Bisons, their first winning series of this season. They are coming home in a 7th place tie with Charlotte in the International League East. 

On the week, modest improvements across the board. The team OPS was up a tiny fraction to .722 from .700. The team ERA improved by -.34, down to 4.86.

I don't know if this is a trend, but two of the Bulls' starting pitchers went 5 innings and one pitcher went 4⅔. The other three went just 2 innings each. I think it's the first time this season that any starting pitchers have gone for 5 innings. Will have to track that for a while.

The Bulls are back in town for a 6-game stand against the Gwinnett Strippers. They are, for some odd reason, in the International League West and in 5th place (tied with the Memphis Redbirds who beat up the Bulls the week before last).

Monday, May 2, 2022

Week 4: Not Getting Better, In Fact ...

 

The Durham Bulls only won one game in this last 6-game homestand. That was last Thursday. Ryan Boldt hit three home runs in that game. 

The Bulls are dead last in their division and are tied with the Louisville Bats for the worst record in the International League. This year is the ugliest start since I've been writing about the Bulls, and possibly the worst start in Durham Bulls history. I don't know how to find the numbers for season starts, but the Bulls have only finished below .500 in 4 seasons in their history. At their worst, they never finished at their current .333.

Why? Hard to say just yet. We can point out that they don't seem to have any legitimate starting pitchers and they only have a couple of position players on the Rays' 40-man.

They are off the Buffalo to play the Bisons, the Triple-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays. Will a change of scenery help? We can only hope.