Durham Notebook: Wrigley Chewing Up Pitchers

Durham beat writer Ben Christoph checks in with his weekly notebook with notes and quotes on the red-hot Henry Wrigley who has been crushing International League pitching as of late, the combined success and failure of the Bulls pitching staff and more.

Wrigley chewing up pitchers

As the weather has heated up, so has Henry Wrigley's game. The 25-year old has gotten a hit every game in the month of June so far, and has gone 11-for-22 over that span with 7 RBI and 2 home runs.

Wrigley, who was called up May 12th from AA Montgomery, has been used all around the diamond by manager Charlie Montoyo, seeing time at first base, left field, right field, as well as serving as the designated hitter. Montoyo hopes his team can ride the hot bat of Wrigley to a revival in the hits department, noting that "he's swinging the bat good, and I'm really happy to see that."

"He's getting his chance to prove he can play at this level, and he's coming through so that's great," said the Bulls skipper. "He's one of those guys who feel the need to prove themselves every year to people—and he didn't make the club out of spring training, for whatever reason— and now he's getting a chance to see what he can do here and he's doing well. I'm really happy for him. He can hit that ball hard."

Speaking on his own development, Wrigley knows that the streak won't last forever and that success like this will come and go. However, he recognizes that he's in a groove with his swing and that things are coming easily.

"I've felt very comfortable at the plate and I'm seeing the ball well. It's where I want to be," said Wrigley. "Obviously it comes and goes, but it feels good to see the ball well and put a good swing on it."

Durham hurlers hung out to dry

It continues to be an interesting situation for the Durham pitching staff. There's no questioning that they've been beat up and tossed around, as they have maintained the highest collective ERA in the International League this season at 4.61 and garnered the second-most losses in the league (35) with only 26 wins. However, when they're locked in on the strike zone they shoot to kill, earning 525 strikeouts on the season (the next highest total in the league is Toledo with 480).

Top prospect RHP Christopher Archer (3-7) perfectly exemplifies the trend of the Bulls' pitchers as a group. While he continues to show that he can burn up batters with a league-leading 76 strikeouts, he also has given up 36 earned runs which is more than anyone else in the league.

Righty Lance Pendleton (2-2), who Montoyo claims has been the team's best pitcher "for the last month," owns the starting rotation's lowest ERA at 2.92 which is good enough to be top 20 among all pitchers in the league.

Bear market for Bulls batters

It's the same old story in Durham as runs remain a rare commodity for the team. They have scored 212 on the season which puts them ahead of only Louisville and Rochester in the International League.

With a team batting average (.243), on-base percentage (.312), and slugging percentage (.345) that are all among the bottom three in the league in their respective categories, the Triangle's team could use a little more yield from their bats.

There's no place like home

The Bulls (26-35) will stay at the DBAP through June 12th with a four-game series against the Scranton-Wilkes Barre Yankees (33-27) followed by a four-game series against the Toledo Mud Hens (27-33). The team looks to make up some ground on their home turf (where they are 15-13 so far this season) on the division-leading Charlotte Knights (35-26) who are nine games ahead in the standings.

Ben Christoph is the Durham beat writer for Rays Digest. You can follow him on Twitter at @btchristoph


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