The start of the Durham Bulls 2012 season has left many fans and sports watchers anxious about what is to come for the region’s fabled minor league baseball team. As of the middle of April, the team has a disappointing single win and seven losses against their division rivals Gwinnett and Charlotte. But fans of the Bulls should not lose heart: remember that the last time the team endured a 1-7 record was in 2009, the same year they went on to win the championship. Will they repeat their Cinderella magic?
Currently in the middle of a 14-game road trip, the team is hoping to shore up its players who are currently averaging less than four runs per game (for purists, they’ve had 57 runs over 15 games so far). For those looking for a silver lining, they should be cognizant of the fact that Leslie Anderson leads the league in hitting with a .444 average. He is also currently the only player on the team who has broken into the league’s top 50 in on-base plus slugging (OPS).
If the Bulls seem to have an issue this season, it’s that they start off strong and then seem to use up most or all of their moxy by the game’s final innings and then end up losing by a point or two. It would hearten all of the Durham fans to know that the team was working to start off strong and then remain playing at that level throughout the entire duration of the game.
With most of the lineup being left-handed this season, some minor league commentators had expected that the Bulls would be able to raise their batting average. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case as most pitchers in the league are right handed. Some have argued that the team’s main problem this season has been its performance on the road and that the team can be expected to perform better once they return to their home turf. Whether or not this is in fact the case remains to be seen.
The weather has also not been particularly kind to the Durham Bulls 2012 season start. The rain certainly put a damper on their efforts against the Charlotte Knights when they faced off against them at Knights Stadium on April 18. The Knight’s starter Charlie Leesman faced a strong onslaught against the Bulls but in the end his efforts prevented the Durham team from even tying the game. The Knights ended up winning the game 4-3.
Things weren’t much better the following evening when the Bulls forfeited an early lead by giving up four runs at the close of the seventh inning, succumbing yet again to Knights 5-2. Jesus Feliciano managed to get the first point of the evening, working against Knights’ pitcher Terry Doyle at the start of the third inning. If anything, the Durham Bulls 2012 season start games have proven that the team has talent but needs the stamina to match its best efforts.