Game Information: Indianapolis Indians (45-44) at Columbus Clippers (55-34)
The Indians and Clippers meet again tonight for the second game of their four-game series.
LOCATION: Huntington Park
FIRST PITCH: 7:15 p.m. ET
GAME #90 / ROAD #46: Indianapolis Indians (45-44) at Columbus Clippers (55-34)
PROBABLES: RHP Eduardo Vera (5-6, 5.53) vs. RHP Michael Peoples (5-3, 4.41)
RADIO: Fox Sports 97.5 / AM 1260 / iHeart app
TV: MiLB TV
LAST NIGHT: The Indians tied a season high with five runs in the seventh inning to break a 0-0 tie, and the bullpen narrowly preserved the lead in a 5-4 triumph over the Clippers on Thursday night. Christian Kelley and Cole Tucker drew bases-loaded walks in the frame, two of the six walks worked by the Tribe offense in the inning. JB Shuck added a clutch two-out, two-run, pinch-hit single. Former Indian Max Moroff took Montana DuRapau deep for a three-run homer after the stretch, and Yu Chang homered off Dovydas Neverauskas to open the eighth. Both Neverauskas and Jake Brentz pitched in and out of trouble in the final two innings, as each stranded the bases loaded to maintain the one-run victory. Indy improved to 18-13 in one-run ballgames. Mitch Keller (W, 7-3) threw six shutout innings, scattering two hits and three walks with eight strikeouts in his seventh quality start for the Tribe. The 23-year-old lowered his league-best ERA to 3.07 on the season.
ONE-RUN BALLGAMES: The Tribe's 18 wins by one run this season are second most in the International League behind Charlotte (19). Since 2005, the Indians have finished over .500 for overall record and one-run games in the same season four times (2006, 2011, 2013, 2015) but only reached the playoffs twice (2013, 2015) in those occurrences. In their first 14 seasons (2005-18) as Pittsburgh's Triple-A affiliate, Indy has never posted a losing record for the season but a record over .500 in one-run games.
SECOND HALF MITCH: RHP Mitch Keller outdueled Zach Plesac in last night's contest and piled up eight strikeouts, the fifth time he's fanned at least eight batters in a start this season. Over the course of his career, Keller has been a second-half stalwart. In 70 career games (69 starts) before the All-Star break, Keller owns a 23-16 record and 3.43 ERA. In 35 career second-half starts, he is now 13-5 with a 2.76 ERA. Keller ranks among IL leaders in wins (T-2nd, 7), ERA (1st, 3.07), WHIP (3rd, 1.28), average against (4th, .243), innings pitched (10th, 82.0) and strikeouts (T-2nd, 96).
IN A PINCH: JB Shuck's pinch-hit single in the seventh inning last night was his second of the season and first since his first career at-bat with the Indians in the ninth inning on May 14 vs. Scranton/WB. He is now 2-for-4 with two RBI as a pinch hitter this year, making him one of four Tribe players with multiple pinch-hit knocks in 2019 (also: Trayvon Robinson, 4-for-9; Nick Franklin, 2-for-4; Kevin Kramer, 2-for-6). As a team, the Indians are batting .241 (13-for-54) with one homer, one double and seven RBI. Indy's 54 pinch-hit at-bats are most in the IL, easily ahead of Louisville who has the second-highest total of pinch-hit ABs with 40.
JAKE THE SNAKE: Jake Brentz has converted all seven of his save chances with the Indians this season and is tied with teammate Montana DuRapau for the team lead in that category. Brentz has allowed just one earned run over his last 5.1 innings of work, despite having 13 men reach base during that stretch (7 hits, 5 walks, 1 hit batter). Over his last eight appearances since June 13, Brentz has a 12.86 ERA (10er/7.0ip) and 4.14 WHIP (17 hits, 12 walks).
INNINGS EATER: Eduardo Vera will make his team-high 18th start of the season tonight and third overall against Columbus. Indy is 8-9 in Vera's starts this year. The 25-year-old has thrown at least five innings in 15 of his outings and leads the league with 96.0 innings pitched. His 1.34 WHIP is also good for ninth among IL qualifiers.
DEFENSIVELY SPEAKING: Indianapolis leads the IL with a .983 team fielding percentage. Indy hasn't led the IL in fielding percentage since 2006 (.982). The Tribe have committed a league-low 53 errors in 3,169 total defensive chances. Indy's catching corps (Christian Kelley, Steven Baron, Jacob Stallings) have also combined for a league-low four passed balls. Opponents have stolen 74 bases against Indy, however, third most allowed in the league -- only Lehigh Valley (77) and Louisville (80) have surrendered more. The 106 stolen base attempts against the Tribe are second most in the IL, ahead of only Louisville (114).
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