Case in point: not long after I went all Heisenberg in yesterday’s playoff preview of the series between the Durham Bulls and the Louisville Bats—cautioning readers about the transitory and frankly inscrutable nature of Triple-A rosters—the Tampa Bay Rays read what I wrote and decided to have a little more fun with us and/or do something to shore up their collapsing bullpen, which wilted again and let down David Price last night. They recalled Dale Thayer (pictured, pre-mustache), and as I was already wondering aloud here the other day, what took them so long? Can Thayer be much worse than what they’re getting from their relief corps lately?
Also, after his great debut on Sunday, Wade Davis has been asked to repeat the performance this coming Saturday at Fenway Park against the Boston Red Sox. I don’t think he’s likely to come back to Durham, either this season or any other. Andy Sonnanstine has been relegated to the bullpen, where he can ply Thayer for mustache grooming tips—even if he doesn’t decide to grow one. A mustache.
A glance at the Durham Bulls’ web site suggests that Travis Wood, not Ben Jukich, is Louisville’s starter tonight. If that’s the case, it means that a pair of 22-year-olds who were both pitching in the Double-A Southern League less than two months ago will be spearheading their respective Triple-A clubs’ playoff runs tonight. With Hellickson and Wood on the mound, you may be seeing two of the new young guns of the big leagues in action this evening.
Finally, for those looking for a little sports crossover, here’s yet another good reason to come to the games tonight and tomorrow: Carolina Hurricanes Erik Cole and Chad LaRose will throw the ceremonial first pitches on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. Unless they’re called up to Tampa.