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.

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