The success continues for the Herd in Durham. The Bisons haven’t lost a season series since ’99 and a win tonight would guarantee that streak continuing with anther game left in the tank. The Bisons dropped 3-of-4 at Dunn Tire Park but the Bisons have pounded out double digit hit totals the last two nights to help the winning efforts.
David Huff will get the start tonight but as we’ve mentioned, his innings are capped at five each time out. Bryan Bullington had a clean ball in his locker this afternoon too and that means your classic “you start it, I’ll finish it” scenario. Torey Lovullo told me today he’d like to use this combination to complete the game tonight and hammer down a series victory. Bullington is ready for the task, five innings his last time out and extended relief in the two previous outings since coming to Buffalo.
TODAY’S GAME: Tonight, the Buffalo Bisons take on the Durham Bulls in the third game of a four-game series from Durham Bulls Athletic Park (7:05 p.m.). The Herd has jumped put to a 2-0 series lead, winning last night’s game, 8-5. The Bisons are currently 4-2 on an eight-game roadtrip that began with a four-game split in Charlotte. On the mound today for the Herd is LHP David Huff. The lefty last pitched on Saturday in Charlotte, where he allowed just one hit and no runs to earn his second win as a Bison. Durham will counter with LHP Heath Phillips.
TODAY’S STARTER: David Huff
-Last Game: 7/26 @CHA: (W, 5.0IP, H, BB, 4K), Bisons’ 4-0 win.
-2008 w/ Bisons: (3-3, 2.89)(10GS, 53.0IP, 45H, 20R, 17ER, 6BB, 54K).
-2008 w/ Akron (AA): (5-1, 1.92)(11G, 10GS, 65.2IP, 44H, 17R, 14ER, 14BB, 62K)
-2007 w/ Kinston (A): (4-1, 2.72)(11GS, 59.2IP, 57H, 23R, 18ER, 15BB, 46K).
-2007 Carolina League All-Star, missed second half of season (left elbow strain).
-2006 w/ Mahoning Valley (A): (0-1, 5.87)(4GS, 7.2IP, 9H, 5R, 5ER, 8K).
-Drafted by Cleveland in the 1st round (39th overall) of the 2006 MLB Draft
STAYING HOT: OF Brad Snyder is a key reason for the Bisons’ 4-2 record on the team’s current roadtrip. Since leaving Buffalo on July 23, the centerfielder is 11 for 23 (.478) with two runs, five doubles, two triples, a homerun and eight RBI. Snyder had another stellar performance Wednesday night, going 3 for 5 with two runs, a double, a triple, a home run and four RBI. So far in July, Snyder is hitting .306 (26-85) with four home runs and 16RBI.
STREAKIN: INF Michael Aubrey has stretched his hitting streak to four games after going 3 for 5 with a run scored, a home run and two RBI in Wednesday night’s 8-5 victory in Durham. What’s equally impressive is that he has hit in 13 of his last 14 games, going 22 for 61 (.361), with five doubles, three home runs, fifteen RBI and five walks.
NEW TO THE PEN: RHP Brendan Donnelly has had great success with the Bisons as he returns from off-season Tommy John surgery. In his time with the Herd bullpen, the veteran has been a solid bridge to the closer, having picked up a hold in three of his four appearances. In four games with Buffalo (4.0IP), Donnelly has struck out three batters and owns a 2.25ERA.
BISONS BITS: OF Trevor Crowe has reached base safely in each of his first six Triple-A games. His five-game hitting streak is currently tops on the team…OF Todd Linden has reached base safely in 20 of his last 21 games. Since July 7, Linden is 25 for 77 (.325, 8 2B, 2HR, 12RBI)… INF Morgan Ensberg has hit safely in his last four games (5-13, .385, 4R, 2B, 2 HR, 8RBI, 3BB).
Anthony Reyes debuted last night, earning his first win in a Bisons uniform. After a touchy start the 26-year old settled down and showed more control to lead the way against Durham. The Bisons’ righty pitched five-innings, allowing five hits and only three earned runs.
Morgan Ensberg has been white hot following an 0-for-6 start to the trip. Out of the sixth slot he’s 4-for his last-9 with a double, two home runs and 8RBI.
TODAY’S GAME: Tonight, the Buffalo Bisons take on the Durham Bulls in the second game of a four-game series from Durham Bulls Athletic Park (7:05 p.m.). The Herd struck first in the series, winning last night’s opener, 8-7. The Bisons are currently 3-2 on an eight-game roadtrip that began with a four-game split in Charlotte. On the mound today for the Herd is RHP Jeff Weaver. The veteran fell to 1-2 last Wednesday after allowing seven runs in six innings of work to Norfolk. The Bulls will counter with RHP Wade Davis.
TONIGHT’S STARTER: Jeff Weaver-Last Game: 7/23 vNOR: (L, 6.0IP, 12H, 7R, 7ER, BB, 4K), Tides’ 8-5 Win
-2008 w/ Bisons: (1-2, 7.71) (3GS, 14.0IP, 22H, 13R, 12ER, 5BB, 8K)
-2008 w/Nashville: (2-4, 6.22)(9GS, 55.0IP, 64H, 43R, 38ER, 20BB, 37K).
-2007 w/ Seattle: (7-13, 6.20)(27GS, 146.2IP, 190H, 105, 101ER, 35BB, 80K).
-2007: threw 3CG and finished 4th on Mariners with 146.2IP.
-2006 w/ STL: Won World Series Clinching Game (Game 5) vs. Detroit.
-Signed as a Free Agent on July 5, 2008.
FOUR OF A KIND: INF Morgan Ensberg has three four-RBI performances in his last seven games. He knocked in four on July 21 against Norfolk and then hit a grand slam on Sunday in Charlotte. Last night, Ensberg doubled, homered and drove in four more of his teammates. Twelve of his 16RBI as a Bison have come in the last 11 games.
CROWE FLYING: OF Trevor Crowe has reached base in each of his first five Triple-A games, but last night’s performance was his best. The 24-year old tripled, doubled and stole a base as part of a 3-5 night at the plate. He also walked and scored three runs. Crowe began the season by hitting .323 with four home runs, 28RBI and 13 stolen bases with Double-A Akron.
RECENT DEBUTS: RHP John Meloan pitched a scoreless inning Monday and RHP Brendan Donnelly has posted a 3.00ERA in his first three games.
BISONS BITS: Last night, OF Trevor Crowe became just the fifth Bison to score three runs in a game this year…OF Todd Linden has reached base safely in 19 of his last 20 games. From July 7-28, the outfielder hit .329 (23-70) with 8 doubles, 2 home runs and 11RBI… INF Michael Aubrey has hit safely in 12 of his last 13 games (.339,19-59, 5 2B, 2HR, 13RBI).
While Jeff Weaver was scheduled to get the start tonight at Durham, the newest Bisons pitcher, Anthony Reyes will get the call for the series opener against the Bulls.
Having him inserted into the rotation is not a surprise at all but the timing is a little sped up versus the norm. Generally, a player will toss a bullpen or light side session for the new club’s pitching coach or manager and then have a day or two off. Reyes threw for pitching coach Scott Radinsky yesterday after arriving to the Bisons clubhouse for the first time Monday prior to the series finale in Charlotte.
The last time the 26-year old threw in game competition was July 20, so it is possible that there were others observing his bullpen or a simulated game and signed off on starting him soon after arriving with the Bisons.
The Indians received very strong reports on Reyes and expect him to be part of their Big League makeup prior to the end of the season.
With the addition of Reyes and Aaron Laffey in the past few days, the rotation will have to be tweaked again. Laffey told me he’ll throw in game action on Monday at Dunn Tire Park. As it looks right now: Reyes, Jeff Weaver, David Huff and Zach Jackson will start each game of the series against Durham.
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Rarely do you get a chance during the season to watch other teams play. Most of the time you’re checking into the hotel in the middle of the night long after the ballpark lights have shutdown. But with the 12:15, getaway day, start time in Charlotte Monday afternoon and short travel to Durham we arrived before the sun went down.
Duke and I dropped our bags and hustled down to the ballpark to watch Durham face Louisville. The game turned into the Joel Guzman show, he SMASHED one ball off the second floor of the building behind left-center and the other, a big fly that landed on the walk-way behind the vintage “Blue Monster” helping the Bulls win 4-2 over the Bats.
Yes, as seen in the movie Bull Durham, there is a bull that sits on top of the big blue wall. If you recall from the movie, a player hits a homer that smacks the bull he wins a steak. What you may not know, if you hit the green grass the player will take home a salad. Guess what? Louisville’s Michael Griffin WON A SALAD last night with his solo shot! What a parting gift as the Bats leave for Charlotte and for Duke and I, an enjoyable night “off” after arriving before opening a four game series.
The Bisons have faired well against the Bulls in recent years. Buffalo has not lost a season series against Durham since 1999 and hasn’t dropped a set at Durham Bulls Athletic Park since being swept June 22-25, 2002.
However, the Bulls won three of four games when these teams met earlier this year, June 14-17 at Dunn Tire Park.
By the way, Durham’s Mitch Talbot started last night and was impressive in front of some very important scouts. I’m sniffing something big before the trading deadling by the Rays.
TODAY’S GAME: Tonight, the Buffalo Bisons take on the Durham Bulls in the first game of a four-game series from Durham Bulls Athletic Park (7:05 p.m.). The Herd is coming off a four-game split with the Charlotte Knight to begin this eight-game roadtrip. Scheduled to take the mound today for the Herd is RHP Jeff Weaver. The veteran fell to 1-2 last Wednesday after allowing seven runs in six innings of work to Norfolk. The Bulls will counter with RHP Jeff Neimann.
RECENT DEBUTS: Some of the newest Bisons have gotten off to a good start. RHP John Meloan pitched a scoreless inning yesterday and RHP Brendan Donnelly has posted a 3.00ERA in his first three games. INF Walter Diaz got his first Triple-A hit yesterday in only his 21st career professional game. OF Trevor Crowe has reached base in each of his first four games with the Herd, including his first Triple-A home run on Saturday night in Charlotte.
SHUTOUTS: The Bisons have been involved in three straight shutouts for the first time since May 12-14, 2002 in Norfolk. After beating Norfolk 11-0, the Bisons lost the next two games 2-0 (6 innings) and 10-0. The Herd collected 4-0 and 5-0 wins over Charlotte this weekend before losing 3-0 on Monday afternoon.
HOT HITTER: INF Michael Aubrey had two more singles last night and has now has hit safely in 11 of his last 12 games. Since July 9, Aubrey has averaged .353 (18-51) with four doubles, two home runs, 12RBI and nine runs scored.
BISONS BITS: OF Todd Linden saw his 18-game on-base streak come to an end yesterday. From July 7-28, the outfielder hit .338 (23-68) with 8 doubles, 2 home runs and 11RBI…C Chris Gimenez moved to third base for the bottom of the eighth inning yesterday. He made one start at third base (6/1) for Double-A Akron earlier this year.
The 12:15 p.m. getaway start for Buffalo gives the Herd a head start to Durham but you have deal with the heat. And it is HOT. Good thing the humidity isn’t as high as what had been in the past but the heat will be something to keep an eye on if either pitcher starts to labor today. Catcher Chris Gemenez was already slamming Gatorade in the lobby this morning too.
Historically, Charlotte has not been kind to Buffalo. The two wins in the series are the most by the Bisons since taking 3-of-4 in 2005, a feat they hope to match today.
TODAY’S GAME: This afternoon, the Buffalo Bisons take on the Charlotte Knights in the final game of a four-game series from Knights Stadium (12:15 p.m.). The Herd is looking for the series win after taking a 2-1 advantage with last night’s 5-0 win. The Bisons are now 2-1 on an eight-game roadtrip that will take them to Durham, July 29- August 1. On the mound today for the Herd is LHP John Halama. The southpaw has thrown back-to-back complete games since the All-Star break. Charlotte will send out LHP Wes Whisler.
TODAY’S STARTER: John Halama-
Last Game: 7/22 vNOR: (W, 9.0IP, CG, 9H, 2R, 0ER, 4K), Bisons’ 4-2 win.
-2008 w/ Bisons: (7-2, 4.15)(9GS, 2CG, 60.2IP, 64H, 30R, 28ER, 10BB, 21K).
-2008 w/ So. Maryland (IND): (4-1, 1.88)(8GS, 56.2IP, 47H, 13R, 12ER, 8BB, 48K).
-2007 w/ Long Island (IND): (8-10, 4.14)(26GS, 167.1IP, 201H, 94R, 77ER, 44BB, 93K).
-Career 56-48 with a 4.65ERA in 262 Major League Games (911.0IP, 492K).
-Originally a 23rd round pick (640th overall) of Houston in 1994 amateur draft.
-Signed as a free agent on June 7, 2008.
COMPLETE PITCHER: LHP John Halama has thrown nine-inning complete games in each of his last two starts. He started the second half by allowing just two runs in a 10-2 victory over Richmond on July 17. Last Tuesday, Halama gave up just two unearned runs in nine innings to beat Norfolk, 4-2. The southpaw did not walk a batter in either game. In his last seven starts, Halama is 6-1 with a 3.62ERA (49.2IP, 20ER, 6BB, 15K). He leads the Bisons with seven wins.
SHUTOUT WEEKEND: With victories of 4-0 and 5-0 over the weekend, the Bisons have posted back-to-back shutouts for the first time in over two years. Herd pitchers allowed just eight singles and five walks to the Knights over the weekend. The last time the Bisons had two straight shutouts was a doubleheader sweep in Durham, June 15-2006 (3-0, 4-0).
BIG GAME TODD: OF Todd Linden has now reached base in 18 consecutive games, hitting .338 (23-68) since July 7. Over the span the outfielder has eight doubles, two home runs, 11RBI, 10 walks and 11 runs scored. The stretch has raised his average 30 points from .246 – .276.
BISONS BITS: INF Morgan Ensberg hit the Bisons first grand slam since INF Andy Marte hit one on July 28, 2007 in Syracuse…OF Brad Snyder is 8 for his last 17 (.471) with 3 doubles, 1 home run and 4RBI…C Chris Gimenez has reached base safely in 7 straight games, hitting .400 (10-25) with 8 walks.