Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Week 11: Decent Home Series Against the Bats

 The Durham won 4 games and lost 2 against the Louisville Bats last week. They kept their spot in 5th place in the 10-team IL East. Overall, however, the standings are much tighter among the top five teams. Decent crowds, especially Sunday, at the DBAP.

Team hitting and pitching continue to improve. Team OPS edged up from .774 to .781 (a bunch of home runs helped). The team ERA crept down from 4.52 to 4.34. The Bulls team WHIP, which has been worrisome all year, was down from 1.41 to 1.38, but they are 10th in the 20-team IL. A very low WHIP has been a hallmark of previous Bulls teams. 

This week did see a disturbing trend emerge in one of our home-grown stats:  unEarned Run Average — unearned runs per 9 innings. Over the six games, the Bulls' mistakes led to 8 unearned runs and drove the uERA up quite a bit.

The Bulls are off to Jacksonville, Florida to play the Jumbo Shrimp. Jacksonville is a game ahead of the Bulls in the standings, but the teams are very close to a statistical wash. They have already played each other 12 times this year and they are 6 and 6.

Note that they are on MiLB TV and Kinas is actually traveling with the team for the first time since pre-Covid days. He is at last broadcasting the games from the press box.

Monday, June 13, 2022

Week 10: Bulls Win 2, Lose 4 in Memphis

It seemed to be mostly a quiet time in Memphis last week. The Bulls lost 4 of the 6 games in front of sparse attendance (Memphis has only had 100,000 fans show up at the ballpark this year). 

At the end of the week, the Bulls were still in 5th place in the International League East, just behind Jacksonville (who has a little streak going for them). Up at the top of the league, Rochester has an ugly, 6-game losing streak in progress. At that three-team cluster at the bottom--not much change.
The pitching highlight of the week was Josh Fleming's masterful 8 innings on June 10. It was the best outing by any Bulls pitcher this year. Overall, the team ERA worsened slightly from 4.45 to 4.52. Similarly, the team batting showed a slight falling off from an OPS of .779 to .774. Most worrisome is the trend among relievers. That does not look good.

Matchup Bulls vs Bats

In years gone by the Durham Bulls/Louisville Bats matchup was a lot of fun. As Triple-A eases back into life, maybe we'll see that again. However, the Cincinnati Reds franchise is not having a good year. 


Nice article in the New York Times on my all-time favorite Durham Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo.

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Weeks 8 & 9: Durham Bulls Have a Great Home Stand


Click for larger image

The Durham Bulls went 5-1 against the Charlotte Knights and 4-2 against the Nashville Sounds (a much better team). During the home stand they went from a game below .500 to 4 games above .500, and from a tie for 5th place up to 4th place in the International League East.

We have interesting clusters developing the IL East. The Rochester Red Wings (the Nationals affiliate) have been having a terrific year. Unfortunately for the illusion of competitiveness, the 6-game series approach to scheduling has meant that the Bulls will not play Rochester this year. Nearby is a six-team cluster of Buffalo, Lehigh Valley, Jacksonville, Worcester, Norfolk, and Durham. The Bulls play all of those teams although there won't be a rematch with  Buffalo (the Bulls went 4-2 against them in early May). Lastly is a cluster of three teams, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Charlotte, and Syracuse, who appear to be slipping away. 

This home stand was characterized by much-improved hitting. The Team OPS went from .741 to .779, up to 3rd place in the IL East. The team ERA of 4.45 is nothing to shout about, but improved from earlier in the year. They rank 3rd in the IL East.

The Bulls go up against the Memphis Redbirds (St Louis) tonight in Memphis. They are on an even better run than the Bulls, 8-2 over their last 10 games. Overall, it looks like a decent matchup.