Down in Durham

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.

Here are today’s News & Notes

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.

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