Friday, June 17, 2011

6/17/11 Durham Bulls 8, Gwinnett Braves 5

Coolray Field, Lawrenceville, GA
Game 2 of 4

The Garfoose himself in action…ladies and gentlemen, Dirk Hayhurst!!

Having missed some of his previous outings (and having missed the Bulls altogether in their only visit to Louisville this season) I made it a point to set aside my Friday night plans and check out this contest on 620 “the Buzz” via MiLB Gameday Audio. The game was called by Neil Solondz, who is better on the radio than he is on camera (sorry, Neil…I do aim for honesty, not all butt-kissing all the time here at “The Baseball Enthusiast”).

But…I digress…

You are probably following Dirk on Twitter (@TheGarfoose), and if you aren’t, what’s wrong with you? Dirk is one of the best “tweeters,” baseball or otherwise, that you can hope to find. I’ll be reading his book The Bullpen Gospels as soon as I’m finished with my current reading assignment. In order to convince you to check out this book, here’s a damn good review that should do the trick.

Following a brief rain delay, the game gets underway and the Bulls start hacking away –literally- at Braves starting pitcher Yohan Flande, scoring 3 runs on 3 hits before a single out is even recorded. Hayhurst masterfully keeps the Braves handcuffed with only a single run scored (on a solo HR by Ed Lucas) for 5 innings before allowing back-to-back singles, a strikeout, and a walk to load the bases. Former MLB trade sponsor Julio Lugo hits a bases clearing double, Hayhurst leaves the game having done excellent work with the Bulls still up by 2 runs.

The Bulls are one of the best teams in the International League, their offense as of late being adequately bolstered by this guy…Brandon Guyer.

Of course, my memory of Guyer as a Tennessee Smokie in the Cubs organization (most recently in this game from the BIL Tour of last year) isn’t tainted by his success with the Rays after the Matt Garza trade. Losing him, as well as Chris Archer, was (and still is) a little bit painful…but that’s baseball. And this game truly showcased Guyer’s maturing prowess…3-for-5 with a 3-run HR as well as an RBI double. With guys like him backing up great pitchers like Hayhurst, you can see why the Rays organization is getting the notice they deserve.

On the other hand, the Bulls and the Braves have been IL South division first-place rivals for most of this season so far, and will probably continue to be for many months to come. If you have a chance to catch MiLB baseball and these two are on your list to choose from, you won’t be disappointed.

Like Solondz, I too disagreed with an error charged to Jaye Chapman (no hit for Guyer) that was later reversed. Great minds do think alike. Neil, you are still better on the radio than you are on camera.

Hats off to the Garfoose, who gets the W, and also to Brandon Guyer…I think we’ll see you both in bigger stadiums pretty damn soon!!

You can also follow Brandon Guyer on Twitter (@BrandonGuyer).

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