Durham Notebook: Anderson Getting it Done

Durham beat writer Ben Christoph checks in with his latest notebook. Inside, Leslie Anderson continues his hot-hitting, infielder Shawn O'Malley gives his assessment of the team, manager Charlie Montoyo implores his pitching staff to improve, plus the latest transactions from the Triangle.

Anderson getting it done

The Bulls' designated hitter is continuing to piece together an all-star caliber season, hitting .310 with 7 homers and 28 RBI, and has a hit total (71) that puts him behind only Gwinnett's Ernesto Mejia in the International League.

While Leslie Anderson's stat line is besting most hitters in the league, his production means even more to his team in Durham who find themselves in the bottom three in virtually every batting category so far this season.

Second baseman/shortstop Shawn O'Malley remains optimistic about his team, and gave a tempered but hopeful post-game exposition on their lackluster production at the plate.

"As a team, we're fine. I don't know how many games in we are, but there's still the second half and we can still turn it around," said O'Malley. "As far as losing goes it's part of the game, and we have a lot of good players on this team, so it's just a matter of time before we start clicking as a team rather than one or two guys every night getting three hits—it's just a matter of time. It's tough, but it's the way the game goes. You just have to battle through and find a way to overcome it."

"The only way we're going to get out of this"

Durham's pitching staff continues to get shelled and tossed around as shown by their league- worst 4.65 ERA and a loss total (39) that is lower only than that of the Louisville Bats with 46, but they continue to blow the league away in total strikeouts with 580.

"They're not giving us a chance. I know we don't hit that much — we haven't yet — but in the games that we're close, most of the time we win," said manager Charlie Montoyo on the struggles of his pitchers, especially the starters. "It's got to be a team thing, that's the only way we're going to get out of this. And it really starts on the mound, of course-- those starters have got to find a way to give us a chance. We have too many guys underachieving; they need to get it going. But it's still early, and it just comes down to improving our starting pitching."

Since being moved back down to Triple-A on May 6th, right-hander Brandon Gomes has proven himself to be a highlight among the Bulls' hurlers. The 27-year old owns a 4-0 record, a microscopic 0.39 ERA, and 6 saves over 23.1 innings in relief this season.

Transactions in the Triangle

Upon the completion of outfielder Desmond Jennings' rehab assignment with the Bulls, Rich Thompson joins the team after being optioned to Durham by Tampa Bay. Thompson hit .307 with 11 RBI and 7 stolen bases in 30 games with the Phillies Triple-A affiliate Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs this season before being traded to the Rays.

Juan Miranda was released from the organization on June 9th after struggling at the plate, as well as the recent success found with Henry Wrigley at first base. Miranda had gone 2-for-17 since the start of June.

Outfielder Brandon Allen (.255 average with 2 HR and 4 RBI at Single-A Charlotte on an extended rehab assignment) has been optioned to Durham after clearing waivers and righty Matt Torra (5-6, 4.77 ERA) is back as well after being reinstated from the DL.

Heading north

The Bulls (28-39) will take off on a road trip starting June 14th with a four-game series against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (37-27) and the Rochester Red Wings (29-36). The team is 11-21 on the road this season, but they will look to reverse that trend and gain ground as they are 11 games back of the IL South division-leading Charlotte Knights (39-28).

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


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