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Monday, April 26, 2010

Durham Bulls pound Gwinnett Braves: Not kidding

Posted By on Mon, Apr 26, 2010 at 7:00 AM

Aneury RodriguezDBAP/DURHAM—"The Bulls are not kidding around right now," a dad explained to his very young son during the top of the seventh inning of Durham's 9-1 trouncing of the Gwinnett Braves. Braves' designated hitter Barbaro Canizares had just hit a ball to rather deep right field, where Justin Ruggiano hauled it in without much trouble. Canizares is a pretty familiar face to Bulls' pitchers over the last year-plus; he had 70 at-bats against Durham in 2009 (22 hits). Speaking of familiar, how about Justin Ruggiano vis a vis Braves' starter Todd Redmond? The Roodge had a pair of homers...

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Johnson's bat, Rodriguez' arm spark Durham Bulls in another rout

Posted By on Tue, Apr 20, 2010 at 3:12 PM

File photo by D.L. AndersonManager Charlie Montoyo carries Dan Johnson's helmet. Dan Johnson gave the Durham Bulls a jump start in the fourth inning as the International League’s hottest team routed the host Charlotte Knights for the second straight day. Johnson’s three-run homer broke a scoreless tie, sparking the Bulls to an 11-0 victory at Knights Stadium in the second of a four-game, two-city series. Johnson, who finished with three hits and four RBI, leads the IL with six homers. Ryan Shealy doubled and singled for four RBI for the Bulls, while Joe Dillon added a double and two singles...

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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Alonso hits one out yonder, and Mudcats come back for an emotional win

Posted By on Sun, Apr 18, 2010 at 7:00 PM

FIVE COUNTY STADIUM/ZEBULON The Carolina Mudcats continue their opening homestand looking for some success against the Montgomery Biscuits, who are currently atop for Southern League’s South Division. Photo by Nikolaus © 2010 Carolina MudcatsEric EymannIt’s the finale of the five-game series against the Biscuits, Double-A affiliates of the Tampa Bay Rays, who are 3-1 so far in the set. The Mudcats are two games behind the Tennessee Smokies, who will arrive in Zebulon on Monday, in the North Division race. Today Carolina will send the Dutch lefty Alexander Smit to the mound against Jeremy Hall. It’s sunny, windy and cool...

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Mudcats start slow, drop third straight game

Posted By on Thu, Apr 15, 2010 at 11:38 PM

John Matulia homered and doubled for four RBI, leading the Montgomery Biscuits to an 8-4 win over the Carolina Mudcats at Five County Stadium.Montgomery had 13 hits to six for the Mudcats, who lost their second straight in their home-opening series and third straight game overall. Drew Anderson had four hits while Greg Sexton was 3-for-4 with two doubles for Montgomery. The Mudcats managed six hits in the game, including two from Kris Negron (pictured) and two from Jake Kahaulelio. Aneury Rodriguez was the winning pitcher while Dallas Buck took the loss....

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Sunday, April 4, 2010

Durham Bulls lose to parent-club Tampa Bay Rays at DBAP: Notes from an Exhibition

Posted By on Sun, Apr 4, 2010 at 9:50 AM

DBAP/DURHAM—-Before we get into what happened on Saturday, hey—-baseball's back! I'll have a season preview of your International League and Triple-A National Champion Durham Bulls in the April 14 print edition of the Triangle Offense mothership, the Independent Weekly. A few passing notes on the team will pop up in the description of yesterday's sun- and celebrity-drenched afternoon fun. There were 10,374 (VERY QUIET) people on hand—-a great step up from the last exhibition like this, in 2002, which drew, by Bulls' General Manager Mike Birling's estimate, only about 6,500 fans. Tampa only averages around 23,000 spectators per game in...

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Durham Bulls Beat Memphis Redbirds in extra innings, win Triple-A Championship

Posted By on Wed, Sep 23, 2009 at 5:00 AM

ESPN 2---And that's that: the Durham Bulls took a 4-0 lead early, squandered it in the middle, and got help at the end to beat the Memphis Redbirds, 5-4, in 11 innings and claim the Triple-A Championship. It's kind of amazing, really. (What's really great is that the Bulls' own Web site has the winning run in Memphis's row in the linescore.) The Bulls, who are the first International League team to win the crown, are officially the best Triple-A baseball team in America, which by extension makes them the best team in the entire minor leagues. They could probably...

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Durham Bulls throttle Scranton/ Wilkes-Barre Yankees, take 2-0 lead in Governor's Cup series

Posted By on Thu, Sep 17, 2009 at 4:00 AM

DBAP/ DURHAM---Fans who came out to see the last home game of the Durham Bulls' 2009 season---2,480 of you, officially---got a bit of a bonus. Last night's 4-1 Durham win was basically two separate games: first, a three-inning tune-up for a pair of recuperating starting pitchers, followed by the real deal, when the two teams' tenured players faced off for six taut innings of playoff baseball. With the win, the Bulls put themselves on the brink of a championship they haven't won since 2003. The entire game was played in a steady mizzle, and it seemed appropriate that the last...

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Louisville Bats even International League playoff series with Durham Bulls, 1-1

Posted By on Fri, Sep 11, 2009 at 4:00 AM

DBAP/ DURHAM---The luck bubbles were still blowing for the Durham Bulls in the first inning of last night's 5-2 loss to the Louisville Bats. They had gotten a healthy spray of good fortune in Game One: four errors by the Bats, which helped score three Durham runs (plus, the Bulls' three errors didn't figure in any of Louisville's four runs); and some well-placed, softly struck hits. The Bulls' eight runs on Wednesday were somehow rather bubble-like---transparent, hollow, unmemorable---but they still won the game. And in the first inning last night, the Bulls were lucky before anyone came to the plate:...

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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Bulls on the Move: Dale Thayer to Tampa; Wade Davis staying there

Posted By on Wed, Sep 9, 2009 at 8:48 AM

Case in point: not long after I went all Heisenberg in yesterday's playoff preview of the series between the Durham Bulls and the Louisville Bats---cautioning readers about the transitory and frankly inscrutable nature of Triple-A rosters---the Tampa Bay Rays read what I wrote and decided to have a little more fun with us and/or do something to shore up their collapsing bullpen, which wilted again and let down David Price last night. They recalled Dale Thayer (pictured, pre-mustache), and as I was already wondering aloud here the other day, what took them so long? Can Thayer be much worse than...

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Monday, September 7, 2009

Durham Bulls fall to Norfolk Tides, finish record-tying season; playoffs ahead; Chris Richard called up to big leagues

Posted By on Mon, Sep 7, 2009 at 8:00 PM

DBAP/ DURHAM---I thought it was cute that second baseman Henry Mateo was penciled in at first base in this afternoon's season finale, a 4-3, 10-inning loss to Norfolk. Mateo had played there once before, on August 23, although he moved back to his natural position at second base when rehabbing Akinori Iwamura left the game early, as scheduled. It seemed like it was just for kicks that Mateo was playing there again today, like a way for Charlie Montoyo to say thanks for filling the hole for us this season. Mateo was signed out of the independent Atlantic League in...

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Durham Bulls edge Norfolk Tides, coast toward regular-season finish line

Posted By on Mon, Sep 7, 2009 at 5:00 AM

DBAP/ DURHAM---There's a tacit understanding among ballplayers regarding season-ending series. If the postseason is all settled, the deal is this: the pitchers throw strikes, the hitters swing at them; you avoid long at-bats; you avoid injuries, too, by staying out of collisions on the basepaths; you try to decide games quickly and painlessly---and with a bonhomie that revolves around mutual good sportsmanship. Cut to last night at the DBAP, home of the IL South Division Champion Durham Bulls. After three innings, the game was on a brisk 90-minute pace. The two starting pitchers had combined to throw just 57 pitches....

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Sunday, September 6, 2009

Durham Bulls down Norfolk Tides, win third straight division title

Posted By on Sun, Sep 6, 2009 at 5:00 AM

DBAP/ DURHAM---Shortly before game time last night, a debate broke out in the press box about the Bulls' "magic number" for clinching the International League South Division title. The Bulls were two games ahead of Gwinnett going into the game, so it seemed initially that, with three games to play, it would take any combination of Durham wins and Gwinnett losses totaling two to seal the deal. But others pointed out that, in case of a regular-season tie, the Bulls would, for the purpose of the playoffs, be named the winner by virtue of their better record within the division....

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Friday, September 4, 2009

Durham Bulls clobber Charlotte Knights, clinch playoff spot: Desmond Jennings goes 7-7!

Posted By on Fri, Sep 4, 2009 at 5:00 AM

It has happened twice in the history of major-league baseball. Rennie Stennett of the Pittsburgh Pirates did it in 1975---with someone else's bat, no less---and Wilbert Robinson did it, too, way back in 1892, when balls were made out of the hides of woolly mammoths and bats from the tusks. Seven hits in a nine-inning game. You probably won't see this happen again in your lifetime. And you probably aren't even very old. Who knows about the International League, which has been around for 126 years? But I'd be willing to bet that Desmond Jennings etched his name into its...

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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Durham Bulls blank Charlotte Knights, retake division lead

Posted By on Thu, Sep 3, 2009 at 5:00 AM

And just like that, right after a pair of ugly losses at home to their division rivals, the Bulls got healthy last night against the desperately depleted Charlotte Knights, 9-0. I didn't recognize any of the last four names in the Knights' lineup; they were all callups and patches on a roster that has been gutted by the parent club and Team USA. Gone are Joshes Fields and Kroeger, Tyler Flowers, Ehren Wassermann and especially Carlos Torres. Goodbye, fields, goodbye flowers and towers. We shall run roughshod over your abandoned realm (or something like that). Doubt and resentment recently set...

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Durham Bulls lose to Gwinnett Braves, split series: together now, very minor

Posted By on Wed, Sep 2, 2009 at 3:00 AM

DBAP/ DURHAM---First things first: the "mystery" fifth Bull promoted to Tampa was none other than last night's starter, Wade Davis, Charlie Montoyo said after the Durham Bulls' 10-2 loss to Gwinnett. You can finally get some sleep! You can also rest assured that Davis's promotion had nothing to do with his performance last night, probably his worst of the season. Davis had trouble finding the strike zone for the first three innings, throwing just half of his pitches for strikes. Then, when he did find it, his strikes got hit in the fourth inning, culminating in a disputed grand slam...

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Gwinnett Braves sink Durham Bulls: Meteorology

Posted By on Tue, Sep 1, 2009 at 5:00 AM

DBAP/ DURHAM---The weather changed abruptly yesterday. At game time Sunday we were still in the sweaty languor of late summer, but the heat and sun fell out of the sky overnight. The season that replaced them on Monday wasn't so much autumnal as alien---as if the primer-gray clouds, the unsettled breeze and the melancholy dampness had been imported from a British Isle, or Soviet-bloc Europe. And the Bulls' meteorology changed, too, with the same suddenness. Not only did their seven-game winning-streak come to an ugly end in a sluggish, poorly-played (by both teams) 8-6 loss to Gwinnett, but the date,...

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Monday, August 31, 2009

Jeremy Hellickson, Durham Bulls blank Gwinnett Braves, extend division lead

Posted By on Mon, Aug 31, 2009 at 5:00 AM

DBAP/ DURHAM---Yesterday I threatened to need an infinite number of words to describe Durham's surreal, 10-9, 14-inning win over Gwinnett. Today, I could do it in two: Jeremy Hellickson. The 22-year-old Iowan, who has been excellent since his callup from Double-A Montgomery in July, had his best start of the season and led the Bulls to a 4-0 win over the Braves, extending the Bulls' division lead to two games. In eight sterling innings, Hellickson (pictured) allowed just one hit---a sixth-inning single by Brian Barton---walked Gregor Blanco twice, and struck out 12. On a night when the entire Durham bullpen...

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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Durham Bulls rally for amazing, 14-inning win over Gwinnett Braves: infinite monkeys, infinite improbability

Posted By on Sun, Aug 30, 2009 at 6:00 AM

DBAP/ DURHAM---You've probably heard of the Infinite Monkey Theorem, which "states that a monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard for an infinite amount of time will almost surely type a given text, such as the complete works of William Shakespeare." If you apply the Infinite Monkey Theorem to baseball, you'll get something like the Durham Bulls' 10-9, 14-inning win over Gwinnett last night. It's unlikely that a monkey will type Hamlet, but it's also inevitable, in infinite time. And it's also unlikely that last night's game should ever happen, but last night's game did happen. You could...

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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Durham Bulls extend affiliation with Tampa Bay Rays, release 2010 schedule (with goodies!)

Posted By on Sat, Aug 29, 2009 at 3:46 PM

DBAP/ DURHAM---Old-school friends of mine will sometimes show their age by betraying surprise at discovering that the Durham Bulls are no longer an affiliate of the Atlanta Braves. I can sort of forgive them that outdated conception; after all, the Bulls-Braves partnership lasted 18 years. But this afternoon at the DBAP, right under the "Hit Bull Win Steak/Hit Grass Win Salad" Bull, a beaming General Manager Mike Birling announced that the Bulls and the Tampa Bay Rays have extended their working agreement, which was set to expire after 2010. The four-year extension will take them through 2014, for a 17-year...

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Durham Bulls mop, sweep Norfolk Tides; also, Rays cede Kazmir to Pakistanaheim

Posted By on Sat, Aug 29, 2009 at 5:00 AM

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="250" caption="Maybe we misspelled his name when we Googled him"][/caption]There's often not too much to say about 11-2 routs like last night's. The Bulls took an early lead and then systematically enlarged it, unimpeded by a 54-minute rain delay that ended starter Wade Davis's night early. One night after tying the Bulls' Triple-A franchise record for career homers, Chris Richard broke it. Matt Joyce and Elliot Johnson added round-trippers of their own (the Tides have been out-homered 39-6 in their last 30 games!), the Bulls racked up 16 hits off of five Norfolk pitchers, the last of...

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

It ends how it began: Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees pound Durham Bulls (also: Fernando's back!)

Posted By on Tue, Aug 18, 2009 at 5:00 AM

DBAP/ DURHAM---A few days ago, Bulls right fielder Matt Joyce lost a fly ball in the lights, but finally spotted it just in time to make the catch. After the game, he talked about the helpless feeling that overcomes an outfielder when that happens, and he recalled a similar play in the majors last year, when he lost a ball hit by the Twins' Joe Mauer in the notorious Bermuda Triangle of the Minneapolis Metrodome's lights and ceiling. He happened to spot it at the very last moment and leaped to spear it for an out. Fortunately, it seems like...

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Monday, August 17, 2009

You can't spell 'bullpen' without B-U-L-L: Durham Bulls' relief staff throttles Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees

Posted By on Mon, Aug 17, 2009 at 5:00 AM

DBAP/ DURHAM---Bulls' manager Charlie Montoyo occasionally bemoans how much he's forced to use his bullpen. It comes with the territory of managing a minor-league team, of course. Every parent club tends to be very, well, parental about its starting pitchers: limiting pitch counts, controlling innings pitched every year, giving extra rest to youngsters, etc. There is already chatter about how many more starts David Price will be permitted to make for Tampa before his workload is reduced; and in New York, Joba Chamberlain is getting extra days off between outings. Starting pitchers are the child prodigies of baseball: rare and...

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Durham Bulls hang on against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre: loose ends

Posted By on Sun, Aug 16, 2009 at 5:00 AM

DBAP/ DURHAM---This was one of those games that seemed like it was over early. In the third inning, down 1-0 on Juan Miranda's second homer in as many nights (and hit to nearly the same place), five consecutive Bulls reached base against Scranton's Kei Igawa before Igawa recorded an out. All five scored. No one scored again until the eighth, and in the mean time, the Bulls' 5-1 lead seemed like 15-1. That was because of Jeremy Hellickson (pictured). The young right-hander, who had beaten the Yankees at Scranton just over two weeks ago with six three-hit, shutout innings, was...

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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Bulls on the Move: Brignac to Tampa, Hughes to... Baltimore?

Posted By on Sat, Aug 15, 2009 at 5:33 PM

The callup of Reid Brignac to Tampa was expected. Rays' designated hitter Pat Burrell hurt his neck again, which means more time at DH for Jason Bartlett and Ben Zobrist, both of whom play a lot of middle infield. Chances are good that Brignac won't be back this year, as he was likely to be promoted anyway when rosters expand on September 1. And as I wrote yesterday, the Bulls were about to have too many infielders with the arrival of Joe Dillon, who was outrighted to Durham and should be in uniform (and perhaps on the field) tonight. Much...

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Friday, August 14, 2009

Durham Bulls beat Gwinnett Braves, salvage last game of series

Posted By on Fri, Aug 14, 2009 at 5:00 AM

Leave it to the Bulls to get their only win of this grim series against the Braves by overcoming a two-time major-league All-Star. Rehabbing Atlanta pitcher Tim Hudson wasn't anything like the victim in last night's 9-5 Durham win, but he didn't shut the Bulls down either, permitting five hits and two runs in four innings before departing after reaching what I assume was a predetermined pitch-count limit. The Bulls then sloshed around for a while before finally deciding to unload on Gwinnett closer Luis Valdez, whom they bombarded for six runs in the ninth inning and handed his eighth...

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