Game Information: Indianapolis Indians (35-27) vs. Buffalo Bisons (28-34)
The Indians open a three-game set with Buffalo this evening.
Location: Victory Field
First Pitch: 1:35 p.m. ET
Game #63 / Home #31: Indianapolis Indians (35-27) vs. Buffalo Bisons (28-34)
Probables: LHP Cam Vieaux (1-0, 4.80) vs. RHP Sean Reid-Foley (3-3, 5.72)
Radio: FoxSports975.com / iHeart app
TV: MiLB TV / Comcast 90
LAST NIGHT: The Indians tallied just five hits offensively in a 2-0 loss to the Bisons on Tuesday night, their fourth loss in the last five games and third straight defeat at Victory Field. Luis Escobar (L, 1-1) suffered the tough-luck loss, despite throwing 5.1 innings of one-run ball. He scattered two hits and two walks with five strikeouts, lowering his ERA between High-A Bradenton and Indy to 1.42 (6er/38.0ip). Christian Kelley hit a leadoff double in the third inning for his third extra-base hit in the last two games. Kevin Kramer and Will Craig strung together singles to start the bottom of the ninth, but 2018 Tribe reliever Buddy Boshers (S, 2) pitched out of the jam to earn the save.
BLANKED: Indy's shutout loss last night was its third of the season. The other two shutout losses both came at The Vic; 3-0 on April 14 vs. Charlotte and 8-0 vs. Louisville on May 5. Indianapolis had not been blanked by Buffalo since 2016, when it happened three times: 1-0 and 4-0 on June 24 and June 25 at Victory Field and again on Aug. 10, 1-0 at Buffalo.
FIRST THINGS FIRST: The Indians have gone 19 consecutive games without scoring a run in the first inning. During that stretch, the Tribe offense has gone 1-2-3 11 times, put one runner on base six times and two runners on just twice. Indy has had just 10 total baserunners in the first inning during the 19-game drought. The last first inning where Indy put runs on the scoreboard came on May 23 at Louisville in an 8-7 win.
OFF A SHUTOUT: The Indians are 1-1 in games following a shutout loss this season. They won 9-1 vs. Toledo on April 15 and lost 3-1 at Scranton/WB on May 7.
SINCE MAY 9: After falling below .500 at 15-16 following a loss on May 8 at Scranton/WB, the Indians have gone 20-11 to surge eight games over .500 at 35-27. The Tribe have gained three games in the standings during the stretch, going from 3.5 games out to just a half game back of Columbus.
WE THE NORTH: The Indians are 5-4 against IL North opponents this year: 3-3 vs. Scranton/WB, 2-0 vs. Lehigh Valley and 0-1 vs. Buffalo. Since 2005, the year Indy became Pittsburgh's Triple-A affiliate, the Indians have finished over .500 against the North in 11 of 14 seasons. Since rejoining the IL in 1998, the Tribe are 493-481 (.506) against the North.
STRATTON REHAB APPEARANCE: RHP Chris Stratton became the 11th player to appear for the Tribe on a rehab assignment this year with his 2.0 innings of relief last night. He served up a home run to former Indian Patrick Kivlehan in the seventh inning but settled in by retiring six of the last seven batters he faced, including two strikeouts.
KELLER STARTING TODAY FOR PITTSBURGH: RHP Mitch Keller is set to make his second major league start today for Pittsburgh at Atlanta. The Pirates top prospect struck out a career-high 13 batters on Friday at Toledo. He departed after 5.0 innings pitched at 92 pitches, 34 of them coming in the first inning. The Mud Hens put the first three runners on (single, walk, walk) before Keller went on a roll by striking out 12 of the next 13 batters he faced. The 23-year-old is tied for second in the league in wins (5), first in ERA (3.10), sixth in WHIP (1.31) and fifth in average against (.238). He also leads the league with 74 strikeouts. Keller surrendered six earned runs on seven hits with seven strikeouts in 4.0 innings of work in his MLB debut at Cincinnati in late May.
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