Game Information: Indianapolis Indians (48-39) vs. Toledo Mud Hens (49-39)
The top two teams in the IL West square off tonight in the opener of a four-game series. The Indians are 9-4 against the Mud Hens this season.
Location: Victory Field
First Pitch: 7:05 p.m. ET
Game #88 / Home #45: Indianapolis Indians (48-39) vs. Toledo Mud Hens (49-39)
Probables: RHP Alex McRae (3-7, 4.61) vs. RHP Jacob Turner (1-2, 4.13)
Radio: Fox Sports 97.5 / AM 1260 / iHeart app
TV: MiLB TV / Comcast 90
From the Notes
ALL-STAR OUTCOME: The International League suffered its second straight loss in the Triple-A All-Star Game, falling 12-7 to the Pacific Coast League All-Stars on Wednesday night in Columbus. The two teams combined for a Triple-A All-Star Game record 29 hits, with the IL outhitting the visitors 15-14. Tribe shortstop Kevin Newman started and hit leadoff for the IL, going 1-for-3 with one RBI. He played five innings defensively. Tribe ace Tyler Eppler took the loss for the IL (0.2ip, 4h, 6r/er, 2bb, 0k) and catcher Ryan Lavarnway grounded into a double play in his only plate appearance. Durham's Kean Wong (3-for-4, 2 2B, 2 RBI) took home IL Top Star honors while Albuquerque's Josh Fuentes (2-for-3, HR, 2 RBI) won the PCL Top Star Award.
FAMILIAR TERRITORY: The Indians enter their second-half slate just one-half game back of Toledo for first in the IL West. Indy has sat in either first or second place in the IL West at the All-Star break in each of the last seven seasons and eight of the last nine overall (entered the ASB in third place in 2011). The full breakdown is below:
2018: 2nd place, -0.5 GB
2017: 1st place, +3.5 GA
2016: 2nd place, -1.0 GB
2015: 1st place, +2.0 GA
2014: T-1st place
2013: 1st place, +13.0 GA
2012: 1st place, +11.0 GA
2010: 2nd place, -7.5 GB
HOME SWEET HOME: The Indians are 27-17 at The Vic and have won 13 of their last 17 games in the Circle City. Six of Indy's league-high 10 shutouts have come at Victory Field. Indy's 27 home wins are second most in the league behind Lehigh Valley (29). The Indians are 4-3 against the Hens at home this year and 120-78 (.606) against them all-time at The Vic.
STRONG FINISH: The Indians closed out the first half by winning four of their last five games, including a three-game sweep over Columbus to cap the 48-39 half. The sweep was their fourth of the season; the Tribe have also swept Rochester (6/5-7), Norfolk (6/19-21) and Toledo (6/25-27) in three-game sets. Indy's sweep over the Clippers was its first sweep of three-plus games entering the All-Star break since the Tribe closed out the 1978 first half with a five-game sweep over Oklahoma City at Bush Stadium, a distant 40 years ago.
PUT ME IN COACH: Casey Sadler has worn many hats on the mound for Indy this year, fulfilling basically every role of a pitcher: starting, middle relief, long relief and closing. Since May 22, he has allowed just six earned runs in 34.1 innings pitched (1.57 ERA). That 1.57 ERA is the second-lowest among Triple-A pitchers who have thrown 30-plus innings since that date (CHA's Donny Roach - 1.27 ERA in 42.2 IP). Sadler has gone 3-1 and walked just 2.4 batters per 9.0 innings (9 BB/34.1 IP) since May 22; he walked 5.0 batters per 9.0 innings (14 BB/25 IP) across his first eight 2018 appearances.
HELLO, JOSE: Jose Osuna is batting .341 (56-for-164) with four homers, 20 doubles, 34 RBI and a .937 OPS in 45 games for the Tribe. Since June 3 with Indy (18 games), Osuna has batted .379 (26-for-70) with seven doubles, 15 RBI and nine runs scored. His 163 wRC+ is the second-best mark among International League batters with at least 180 plate appearances (SWB's Clint Frazier - 171 wRC+ in 215 PAs).
OFFENSIVE JUGGERNAUT: Indy's offense is in the top three of eight categories in the International League. They rank first in average (.275), hits (797), doubles (210), OBP (.339) and slugging (.425). They are second in stolen bases (68) and sacrifice bunts (27) and third in total bases (1229). Indy is on pace for 338 doubles as a team; the Victory Field era record for most doubles by a Tribe team is 299, set in both 1998 and 2000.
BIG TEX: Tyler Eppler suffered the loss for the International League in the Triple-A All-Star Game after allowing six earned runs on four hits and two walks in 0.2 innings pitched. He was a late addition to the IL All-Star squad, despite being tied for the league lead in wins (9) and sixth in ERA (3.06) entering the break. The 25-year-old is 12-1 with a 2.29 ERA (32 ER/126.0 IP) in 22 career games (18 starts) all-time at Victory Field.
BY THE NUMBERS - 21: Kevin Newman swiped 21 stolen bases in 30 attempts in the first half, the most by a Tribe player since Alen Hanson stole 27 of 35 first-half attempts in 2016. Newman's 21 stolen bases are a career high (previous: 13 in 2015), doing so in just 78 games. He successfully stole 21 of 28 attempts in the 2016 and 2017 seasons combined (224 games).
Most hits by Tribe player before All-Star break since 2005
1. Matt Hague - 108 (2011)
2. Matt Hague - 107 (2013)
3. Josh Bell - 101 (2016)
4. Andrew McCutchen - 99 (2008)
5. Alex Presley - 98 (2011)
6. Kevin Newman - 96 (2018)
T-6. Starling Marte - 96 (2012)
Most runs scored by Tribe player before All-Star break since 2005
1. Starling Marte - 55 (2012)
T-1. Brian Bixler - 55 (2007)
3. Kevin Newman - 54 (2018)
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