Early Season Themes
Today marks the Bulls’ first off day of the 2015 season, as after the first 25 games the team sits at a solid 14-11, 1.0 game behind Charlotte for the IL South Division lead. Durham opened the season 3-6, which incredibly, was the team’s worst nine-game start in the franchise’s 18-year Triple-A history. Since then the team has been one of the best in the IL though, going 11-5 over its last 16 games. Since we have no baseball to watch today, let’s take a look at some of the prevailing themes of the first month of the 2015 campaign.
Thanks in large part to the Tampa Bay Rays putting a major-league leading 14 players on the disabled list so far this season, the Bulls have undergone 35 roster moves already this year. Durham has used 34 different players in just 25 games, and to put it in perspective, used 45 players in 2014 and 43 players in 2013. Seven of the 24 players on Durham’s active roster were not on the team’s roster on Opening Day, and eight players have already been promoted to the Rays this year.
Entering today, Durham ranks fourth in the IL with a 2.98 ERA. That number has received a boost over the team’s last 16 games, as the Bulls have held their opponents to three runs or fewer 13 times in that span. Of the four pitchers who have been in Durham’s rotation since the start of the season, three have a sub-3.00 ERA, led by southpaw Scott Diamond, who ranks 5th in the league with a 1.67 ERA to accompany his 3-0 record.
Despite posting just the 9th-best team batting average in the league (.253), the Bulls rank 5th in the IL with a .337 on-base percentage. Durham’s 101 walks at the plate are the 2nd-most on the circuit, trailing only Indianapolis (102), while Vince Belnome is tied for the minor league-lead with 22 walks drawn this season.
The Bulls have played 15 road games so far this season, the 2nd-most of any International League team. After Durham’s three-game home series this week against Buffalo, the team hits the road for another six games, meaning 21 of its first 34 contests will come away from the DBAP. Still, over the Bulls are 9-6 in away games this season, highlighted by a 5-2 road trip this past week.
North and South
After opening the season with 18 straight contests against the South Division, the Bulls are in the midst of a 34-game stretch against North Division foes. Of the 41 games Durham will play against the IL North this season, 34 of those contests will be played over a 35-day span from April 27 to May 31st. So far, the Bulls are 9-9 against in-division rivals, and 5-2 against the North.