Results tagged ‘ Boston Red Sox ’
The 2016 MLB *postseason kicks off tonight, as the Orioles and Blue Jays square off in the AL Wild Card Game.
*We say postseason because we don’t consider the Wild Card games the ‘playoffs.’ Sure you’ve made it farther than 20 other teams, but come on, it’s not really the playoffs yet. It’s just a play-in game.
With the start of the postseason, we take a look at all the former Durham Bulls who you might see throughout the month of October
Baltimore Orioles: None
Of note, OF Joey Rickard played in 29 games for the Bulls in 2015 before Baltimore selected him in the Rule V draft. He’s currently on the DL.
Boston Red Sox: LHP David Price
For all the success Price has had at the big league level, he actually wasn’t all that impressive in Durham at the end of 2008 and beginning of 2009. He went 2-5 with a 4.13 ERA in 12 starts for the Bulls, while striking out a batter an inning.
Chicago Cubs: RHP Jason Hammel, LHP Mike Montgomery, UTL Ben Zobrist
Hammel, a member of the Bulls in 2005, 2006 and 2007 went 12-16 in 47 starts in his time in the Bull City. Across 30 starts for the Cubbies this year, the 34-year-old went 15-10 with a 3.83 in 30 starts.
Montgomery pitched for the Bulls in 2013 and 2014, and was named an IL Midseason All-Star in 2014. After he was traded to the Mariners and subsequently the Cubs, the 27-year-old posted a 2.82 ERA in 17 games (five starts) for the best team in baseball in the regular season.
Zobrist, who spent parts of 2006, 2007 and 2008 in Durham, hit .301 in 99 career games for the Bulls. This year the utility player, reunited with Joe Maddon, hit .272 with 18 homers while playing primarily second base and the outfield.
Cleveland Indians: C Chris Gimenez, OF Brandon Guyer
Gimenez is in the postseason for the second straight year after going with the Rangers a season ago. This year he played in 67 games for the Indians, and he combined to appear in 166 games for Durham in 2012 and 2013.
Guyer was traded to the Indians at the trade deadline this season and went on to hit .333 in 38 games. The outfielder spent parts of three seasons with the Bulls (2011-2013), while also making a five-game rehab stint in 2014.
LA Dodgers: LHP JP Howell, LHP Scott Kazmir
Howell made 31 starts for the Bulls between 2006 and 2007, and returned for a four-game rehab appearance in 2011. The southpaw made 64 relief appearances for the Dodgers this season.
It is unclear if Kazmir will pitch in the postseason after his last start came on Sept. 23. The 32-year-old only ever played for the Bulls on rehab stints, making one appearance each in 2008 and 2009.
Southpaw Adam Liberatore will not pitch for the Dodgers in the postseason, as he will undergo season-ending elbow surgery. Earlier this year the lefty set a franchise record with 28 straight scoreless outings. Liberatore appeared in 113 games for the Bulls from 2012-2014, including a 2014 campaign in which he struck out 86 batters in 65 innings.
NY Mets: None
OF Justin Ruggiano – a member of the All-DBAP team – appeared in eight games for the Mets this year, but hasn’t played in a game since Aug. 26 after undergoing shoulder surgery.
San Francisco Giants: LHP Matt Moore
The Giants picked up Moore at the trade deadline, as the lefty went 6-5 with a 4.08 ERA in 12 starts since. Moore has an interesting history in Durham, making 17 starts across the 2011, 2013 and 2015 seasons. He dominated in 2011 (4-0, 1.37), made one rehab start in 2013, then played as both a rostered player and rehab player in 2015.
Texas Rangers: C Robinson Chirinos
Chirinos hit .259 with six homers across 78 games for the Bulls in 2011, before he was traded to Texas at the start of the 2013 campaign. The 32-year-old batted .224 for the AL West Division winners this season.
Toronto Blue Jays: C Dioner Navarro, OF Melvin Upton, Jr.
Navarro split 2016 between the White Sox and Blue Jays, joining Toronto for the stretch run. The 32-year-old hit .284 in 43 games for the Bulls in 2010.
The artist formerly known as BJ opened 2016 with San Diego, but was traded to the Blue Jays in July. Upton debuted with Durham in 2004 at the age of 19, and proceeded to play in 314 games with the Bulls from 2004-2006, while also appearing in two rehab games in 2007.
Washington Nationals: C Jose Lobaton
Traded by the Rays to the Nationals in February of 2014, Lobaton played for the Bulls in both 2010 and 2011, combining to appear in 126 games. The Venezuelan also appeared in four rehab games in 2012.
So by now you know the Bulls have advanced to the 2014 Governors’ Cup Final (for the sixth time in eight years, no less), and they’ll be taking on the Wild Card winner Pawtucket Red Sox, who swept the Syracuse Chiefs in the first round. This year’s best-of-Five Final is a rematch of last season’s championship round, which Durham won 3-1 over the PawSox. To get you ready for this year’s showdown, we’ll break down the teams to tell you all you need to know about this year’s Governors’ Cup Final.
Durham’s starting pitching has all the talent in the world. On any given night, any pitcher can shut down the opposing team and nobody would be surprised. That being said, the starters have been inconsistent this season, posting stretches where they’re nearly unhittable, and stretches where the whole rotation has struggled. However, the rotation was strong in the First Round against Columbus, allowing just six earned runs over the final three games.
Pawtucket’s rotation is in flux, as the team has had a handful of starters plucked by the Red Sox over the past few weeks (IL Most Valuable Pitcher RHP Anthony Ranaudo, RHP Steven Wright). The PawSox will be relying on newcomer LHP Edwin Escobar and recent call-up and top prospect LHP Henry Owens to lead the charge against Durham’s offense.
Durham’s bullpen has been lights out all season, and recently has been superb. Led by a pair of southpaws in LHP Adam Liberatore and LHP C.J. Riefenhauser, and aided by 2014 IL All-Star Merrill Kelly, the unit struck out 16 and walked just three in the First Round against Columbus.
Similar to their rotation, Pawtucket’s bullpen has also been dealt setbacks as LHP Drake Britton and LHP Tommy Layne have been called up to Boston. The unit allowed just three earned runs against Syracuse in the first round, and will rely on 2014 PCL All-Star Heath Hembree, who was traded by the San Francisco Giants to the Red Sox in the Jake Peavy deal in July.
Behind the dish the Bulls feature Ali Solis and Luke Maile. Solis spent the season with the Bulls, save for a two-week period in early June that saw him get called up while Ryan Hanigan was on the DL. Maile on the other hand, just 23 years old, spent the whole season with Double-A Montgomery where he was a Midseason All-Star. He caught two games for Durham against Columbus, his first two appearances at the Triple-A level.
Pawtucket’s Blake Swihart (.262-1-9 in 18 G) and Ryan Lavarnway (.283-3-20 in 62 G) each had solid seasons for the PawSox. That carried into the First Round of the playoffs, as Swihart went 4-for-7 and drove in a run.
All season long Durham’s offense has held the team back, finishing last in the IL with a .248 team average in the regular season. The Durham infield has struggled at the dish this season, as the eight infielders on the roster for the postseason combined to hit just .239 in the regular season. However, Vince Belnome (.358), Mike Fontenot (.350) and Cole Figueroa (.371) all posted OBPs of .350 or higher, while All-Star Wilson Betemit led the team with 18 home runs.
Pawtucket’s infield, similarly to Durham, did not produce much over the course of the regular season. Against Syracuse though they produced at the dish, led by Travis Shaw (5-for-10, HR, 3 RBI) and former Bull Ryan Roberts (3-for-9, 3 RBI).
The combination of Mikie Mahtook, Jeremy Moore and Justin Christian has been strong for Durham, especially with the addition of Moore from Double-A Montgomery in late June. Mahtook, the Bulls’ 2014 MVP, was among lead leaders in doubles and extra-base hits while cracking a career-best 12 homers. Christian hit a solid .271 with 10 dingers, while Moore hit 12 homers in just 55 games since his promotion.
The PawSox lost top prospect Jackie Bradley Jr. to the Red Sox just a few days ago, but have replaced him with Rusney Castillo, a 27-year-old Cuban defector who signed a seven-year, $72.5 million deal with Boston a month ago. He went 5-for-15 for Double-A Portland in the playoffs, and will join an outfield corps that combined to hit 45 homers in the regular season.
Durham’s Charlie Montoyo is the man. Simple as that. Eight seasons in Durham, seven division titles, sixth Governors’ Cup Final berth, two Governors’ Cup titles and a Triple-A National Championship.
Pawtucket’s Kevin Boles is in his first season as a Triple-A manager. To get your team this far in a rookie campaign is pretty good. But…
Wool E. Bull is the best mascot in Minor League Baseball, and probably all of sports. To read more about why Wool E. rules, click here. And honestly, we love Paws, we really do. But it’s sort of like the manager debate: no matter how good you are, you just simply won’t have the advantage.