Myworld was in Durham for a four game series with the Norfolk Tides. It has been a couple years since we’ve been in Durham. For this trip we noticed some real development and construction happening in the city. Even with the textile and tobacco industry decimated Durham is able to survive. The stadium is probably the best in baseball with its blue wall reminding me of Fenway. No one hit the bull that stands next to the left field foul pole promising steaks to those players who hit the bull and salads to players who strike the grass below the bull. When a Durham player hits a homerun or after a Bull win the bulls eyes turn red and smoke billows from its nose. It is a beautiful ball park worth visiting.
The Norfolk Tides and Durham Bulls split the series. The Tides won the first and last games in routs when the Bull starting pitching faltered. The Bulls won the second and third games. Some of my thoughts on the series:
There was a little bit of rain that fell for all four games. The first game was delayed five minutes while they put on the tarp, only to be removed shortly afterward when the rain stopped after the tarp was put on the field. There was a five minute delay as they rolled the tarp back off the field. There is a covering in the upper decks where fans can go to escape to watch the games, provided there are seats available. In Durham it can get hot and humid so fans are on the ceiling ready to spin to keep you cool.
Brent Honeywell was not effective in his one start. He hit 94 on the radar but he did not last past the third inning giving up six runs.
Willy Adames is a smooth fielding shortstop. He made a number of quantity defensive plays. His one error was on a throw. His bat did not impress in the four games we watched.
Wilson Ramos started all four games, one of them at DH. He went deep once in the last game, the only Bull homerun in the four game series. He may be one of the slowest runners in major league baseball. Expect him to be with the Rays soon.
Johnny Field is another defensive specialist. He makes the diving catch look routine. The big question for him is whether he will have enough bat to play. His legs do not have stolen base speed so his bat needs to hit .270 or plus to be a starter. Myworld did not see a lot of power, but he does have six homeruns. Fields reminded me of Kevin Kiermaier. With the improvements of defensive analytics his glove will play.
Jesus Montero is a big boy that needs to watch his weight. He does not do a lot of running in pregame warmups, but does talk a lot. He is battling to stay over .100. The Braves released him and his bat is not producing with the Orioles. In his two games with the Tides he was 0 for 8 though one of those hits was a diving catch by Johnny Field. If his bat does not play there is not a lot he can offer a major league team.
Chance Sisco is about the only Tide prospect with a chance to make a major impact with the Orioles. The Orioles like to have a bunch of optionable relievers on their AAA staff that they can bring up and down to give the major league team a 10 man bullpen, but none of the arms impressed myworld. What we saw were a bevy of back end or middle relievers.
Ryan Yarbrough pitched well. His fastball doesn’t get past 92 but for a lefty he gets a lot of swings and misses. The Rays acquired him in the Drew Smyly trade from the Mariners. At 6′5″ he does provide a big plane when coming down on the hitters.
Mike Yastrzemski forgot the number of outs after one catch, pausing to run into the dugout as if he had made the third out and allowing a runner to tag and advance to third. His grandfather Carl never would have done that. His lack of tools will make him a fourth outfielder at best in the major leagues.
Blake Snell looked sharp in his outing hitting 95 on the gun and getting lots of swings and misses, especially with his breaking pitch. In his six innings of work the only run he allowed was a solo homerun by Francisco Pena in the sixth.
Brad Boxberger did not look sharp in a rehab relief appearance. He walked four batters in one inning retiring only two hitters.