Thursday, April 19, 2012

Starting Nine: 9 Notable Facts Entering the PawSox-Bulls Series

The PawSox are on the heels of dealing a sweep to the Syracuse Chiefs as they return home Friday night to face the Durham Bulls, who were just the victims of a four-game sweep at the hands of the Charlotte Knights.

Nine slightly deeper informational popups to preview this series, which will run through Monday evening, are as follows:

This is Durham’s third of four stops on a 14-game road trip. The Bulls have gone 1-6 so far to drop their record to 6-8 after kickstarting their 2012 campaign with a sound 5-2 homestand.

First baseman/designated hitter Leslie Anderson, who leads the International League with a .444 batting average, hit at least once in each of his first 11 games for the Bulls this season. That streak came to an end in Thursday night’s 5-2 loss at Charlotte. If you factor in the third game of last year’s division series versus Columbus, Anderson had a carry-over 12-game hitting streak, going 22-for-46 in that span. In terms of regular-season action, he hit safely in 15 straight games with a 24-for-59 transcript.

Anderson and right fielder Brandon Guyer are the only positional players to have played the better part of last season for the Bulls. Catcher and Fall River native Craig Albernaz has seen action in Durham each season since 2009, but spent most of 2010 and 2011 with Double-A Montgomery.

Third baseman Matt Mangini has hit safely for the Bulls in 11 of the first 14 games on their schedule. On the flip side, he also leads the team with 20 strikeouts, including 13 on a swinging third strike.

Lars Anderson led Pawtucket through the 2011 season series with the Bulls, posting a .333 batting average with three home runs, four doubles, 14 RBIs and five runs-scored. Ryan Lavarnway came up from Portland a month before the Bulls visited McCoy Stadium last July and batted .500 (8-for-16) in their four-game bout with three RBIs, two dingers a double.

PawSox pitchers Ross Ohlendorf and Aaron Cook will put their 2-0 records on the line on Saturday and Monday, respectively.

Reliever Ryan Reid is the only Bulls pitcher with multiple winning decisions on the year with a 2-0 record. Both of his wins have come against the Gwinnett Braves, including Durham’s only road win to date, a 5-1 triumph this past Sunday.

Alexander Torres, slated to start Saturday for Durham, has already struck out 18 opposing hitters, but also walked 14, in 12.2 innings pitched on the year.

The Sox went 5-3 in their 2011 season series with Durham and posted a 16-15 log against the IL South. The Bulls went 28-18 last year against the six tenants of the IL North Division and had a winning record against each of those clubs except Pawtucket.