Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Week 9: Coulda Been Better


The Bulls did OK over in Norfolk last week, but to win the International League, they needed to have done much better. They lost 4 out of 6 games. They are alone in 2nd place in the International League, but several teams are close on their heels, including the team that’s coming to town today. And that’s a slip of a full game from the week before.

How bad was it? Bulls pitching allowed 36 runs over the 6 games; they scored 27.  Their team ERA crept upward during most of the week.

While the team OPS and Run Differential was creeping downward

The Bulls continue to lead the league in strikeouts (1283! 25% of all plate appearances) and being caught stealing.

The roster saw a few more changes, notably new catcher Logan Driscoll and infielder Ronny Simon.  Other changes? Well, Curtis Mead is back (for a while) and Jonathan Aranda is up with the Rays. Still on the roster is Rays catcher Francisco Mejia who was with the Bulls on a rehab assignment and then got dumped.  The only position player left who’s on the 40-man is  Greg Jones, but he has not played in quite a while (his last appearance was July 22). As is usual, no information on his status is available. Several pitchers (5) are on the 40-man, but I’ve no idea how the Rays may treat them.

What happens in September? Haven’t a clue. A good idea is to listen to Patrick Kinas’ analyses during the games since he is very good at digging through the pitching situations.


This week is going to be tricky. Here’s what I do. I check the camera to see if the tarp’s on the field. If I’ve got a ticket I still wait for them to pull the tarp since I live about 30 minutes from the DBAP. If I’m feeling lazy, I just wait and watch the game on TV. You all do know that WRAL broadcasts every home game, don’t you?

The Next Couple of Weeks

As mentioned, this is the next-to-last home series. Then the Bulls go to Charlotte  (11-40) for 6 games; come back to play Louisville (25-26) for 6 games; and then go to Gwinnett (24-25) for 6 games.

The Worcester Red Sox, currently in first place in the IL, are off on a southern swing to end their season. They play Norfolk (28-23), Gwinnett (24-25), come home to Syracuse (19-30), and off to Lehigh Valley (29-22). So they have a fairly challenging month ahead of them and only one series at home. 

Rays Stuff

Since late July the Rays have been playing very good baseball. Unfortunately, Baltimore has been better. And they show no sign of slowing down as September comes. 

A thoughtful update is here.  And here. If you are into geek stuff then here’s a look at how “lucky” they have been. 

The status of former Bull Wander Franco is a mystery.


Matchup: Bulls vs Sounds, August 29, 2023

As of August 27








Durham Bulls (Rays)








Nashville Sounds (Brewers)








RDiff-Run differential;  Rk - Rank in International League; WHIP - Walks/Hits per Inning; uERA-unearned runs per 9 innings

This will be games 13 thru 18 for the Bulls and Sounds. They split 3-3 at the DBAP in May, but early in the month, the Bulls went 4-2 in Nashville. On paper, the Brewers’ franchise has terrific pitching and just OK hitting and fielding. My guess the Bulls are going to have to depend on how well the Rays treat them on callups (up to Tampa Bay; up from Montgomery). 

Robot Umpires

Lastly, here’s a very good article on the prospect of ABS moving up into MLB baseball. Spoiler alert: the “challenge” approach seems OK; the umpires union will have a say. My own view is that the challenge approach works. It doesn’t seem to slow the game down very much. Let me big guys argue about how many. 

I was never a big fan of “pitch framing” being a valued catcher’s skill and roboump simply takes that off the table.  

We had a couple of games where we had a rehabbing major league umpire behind the plate, so ABS wasn’t in use. I didn’t notice any difference, but the players did argue more.

No comments:

Post a Comment