After his midseason promotion to Durham, Merrill Kelly essentially turned into a different pitcher. While he was 8-4 with a 3.19 ERA to help the Bulls win the International League South Division, he also increased his strikeout rate while keeping his walks at the same level. In fact, Kelly had his best strikeout rate since being converted to a full time starter. A solid performance in the playoffs for Durham may help to get Kelly a look during Spring Training for the Rays.
Durham Bulls 2, Indianapolis Indians (Pirates) 1 – Game Three, Governor’s Cup Semi-Finals
With a chance to sweep the Indians and move on to the Governor’s Cup Finals, the Bulls sent Merrill Kelly to the mound to oppose rehabbing starter Wandy Rodriguez. Durham got to Rodriguez in the third, putting runners on first and third with one out. Cole Figueroa drove in the first run of the game with base hit to right, and Jason Bourgeois drove in the second run of the inning with an RBI groundout From that point, the Bulls offense was silent, managing only a seventh inning infield single by Tim Beckham and a trio of walks. However, Kelly was up to the challenge, holding the Indians off the board. Indianapolis made it interesting in the bottom of the ninth against closer Juan Sandoval. Lucas May hit a soft groundball to third for a base hit, and reached second on Figueroa’s throwing error. Ivan De Jesus followed with a base hit to plate May, and pinch runner Darren Ford stole second before moving to third on a groundout. Sandoval managed to preserve the victory, getting Robert Andino to groundout to third as the Bulls swept the Indians to move on to the Governor’s Cup Finals. Kelly earned the clinching win, pitching around seven hits and a walk as he threw 5.2 shutout innings. Shelley Duncan had the only extra base hit for the Bulls, a second inning double, as he went 1-4 on the night.
Charlotte Stone Crabs v. Daytona Cubs – Game Two, Florida State League Championship Series – Postponed
Due to heavy rains in the area, Game Two between the Stone Crabs and the Cubs was postponed. The game will be made up today, and scheduled to begin at 7:05 pm. All subsequent games will be moved back a day.