Results tagged ‘ Durham Bulls ’
Matt Torra, the starting pitcher for Durham in last night’s 4-2 win over the Bulls, pitched seven innings. In the first, second, third, fourth, and sixth, he retired the Tides in order; in the seventh, he got two outs, hit Ryan Adams with a pitch, and then struck out Steve Tolleson. Unfortunately, he gave up four hits and an error in the fifth, which led to the four Tides’ runs and the Bulls’ defeat.
For each of the twelve batters he faced through the fourth inning, Torra’s first pitch was a strike — ten called strikes, one foul, and one ball put in play. The first pitch to the first batter of the fifth inning — Joe Mahoney — was a ball. While it’s amusing to point out that as soon as Torra didn’t throw the first pitch to a batter over the plate, he fell apart — giving up the four runs — that’s really too far a stretch.
But what isn’t a stretch is to notice Torra’s performance. He faced 27 batters in his seven innings. The first pitch to 22 of them was a strike, and exactly two of those 22 batters reached base. The first pitch was a ball to the other five, and three of those five batters reached base. Color commentators are fond of noting the importance of first-pitch strikes — although I really doubt the difference is as great as Torra’s performance last night would suggest.
While the game of September 3 was mostly unusual from the 2011 Tides perspective, the game of September 5 was unusual in general.
- Durham starting pitcher Brian Baker struck out 7 and walked only 1 in his five innings. Unfortunately for him, he gave up ten hits and eight runs, leading to a final pitching line of
5 10 8 8 1 7. In addition, he gave up hits — including back-to-back home runs — to the first six batters he faced, then retired eleven of the next twelve (with the one who reached base being eliminated on a double play.)
- The Bulls used five singles and three home runs in four innings off Tides’ starter Ryohei Tanaka to produce three runs. Tanaka was pulled after four innings, not getting a chance for a win despite a 6-3 Tides lead.
- The Tides scored all eight runs without leaving a man on base. As soon as I mentioned that in the press box, the Tides hit two singles and left them on base.
- As a direct result of the point above, the Tides scored eight runs in a game in which Carlos Rojas, the #9 batter, only had three plate appearances. The Tides scored the eight runs and left three men on base, and didn’t bat in the bottom of the ninth, so the fourth plate appearance by #8 batter Adam Donachie was the last Tides plate appearance of the game (and season.)
- Durham’s Russ Canzler got credit for a base hit on a ball which fell out of Brendan Harris’ glove. Canzler hit a soft pop fly into shallow right field. Harris raced after hit, but the wind blowing out to left field pushed the ball toward center. Harris twisted his body and his wrist to get his glove on the ball, but couldn’t hang on. After agonizing and watching the replay, the official scorer decided that he couldn’t charge Harris with an error, despite the later pleading of Tides’ personnel (who wanted the run charged to Wynn Pelzer to be unearned.)
Norfolk is hosting Durham for a five-game series, ending this afternoon (as I enter this.) I worked the Thursday and Sunday games for BAM from the press box, and the Friday game for BIS from the seats. Friday’s game was notable for some dominating pitching, and Sunday’s game was just plain fun.
Both Friday starting pitchers, Old Ramon Ortiz for the Bulls and Young Zach Britton for the Tides, were sharp. Relief pitchers Jake McGee for the Bulls and Jim Hoey for the Tides were dominant. McGee pitched 1 2/3 innings, striking out four. Hoey was even more dominant, also pitching 1 2/3 innings, striking out all five batters he faced. Even more interestingly, in the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings — covering a total of eighteen outs — there were eleven total strikeouts and eight balls hit into play. Of the eight balls hit into play, four did not reach the infield dirt; and three of those would not have reached the infield dirt even if the fielders did not interfere.
Unfortunately for Hoey, he unleashed a wild pitch during one of his strikeouts that allowed the eventual game-winning run to score. This run was abetted by an egregiously bad call on a stolen base attempt by an out-of-position umpire. There are only three umpires in an AAA game, and with runners on first and second, the third umpire takes a position near second base. J.J. Furmaniak broke for third base, and the Tides catcher Adam Donachie delivered an ugly throw toward third. Despite that, Scott Moore corraled the throw and clearly applied a tag while the diving Furmaniak was still a foot from the bag. But the umpire, apparently overly influenced by the lack of aesthetics on Donachie’s throw and hindered by his position, hesitatingly called Furmaniak safe. It was Furmaniak who scored on the wild pitch.
Sunday’s game — well, let’s look at the linescore to start:
DUR 0 0 0 2 2 4 0 0 1 9
NOR 0 0 0 2 4 2 0 0 0 8
It was a pitcher’s duel at the beginning, and at the end, and a slugfest in the middle. Pat Egan pitched the sixth inning and was done in by back-to-back errors, leading to another unusual pitching line — 1 4 4 0 0 0.