Game Notes: Durham Bulls (6-10) at Louisville Bats (8-10)
Game 19, Home 9
Durham Bulls (6-10) at Louisville Bats (8-10)
7:00 PM | Tuesday, April 23, 2019 | Louisville Slugger Field
LISTEN: Nick Curran & Jim Kelch, 790 KRD; iHeartRadio.com; iHeart app
BATS VS. BULLS: The Louisville Bats welcome the Durham Bulls to Louisville Slugger Field for a three-game series, the first half of a six-game homestand for the Bats. Louisville plays 14 of its 26 April games in its home ballpark, which is celebrating its 20th season. Tonight, right-hander Vladimir Gutierrez (1-0, 4.70) will look to continue the Bats' recent dominance displaying by their starting pitchers.
AGAINST DURHAM: Louisville and Durham will meet 6 times this season, for this series at Louisville Slugger Field and a 3-game set at Durham Bulls Athletic Park from May 28-30. Last season, Louisville went 3-7 against the Bulls, 3-4 in 7 home games and 0-3 on the road, being swept from May 15-17 at Durham. The Bats will look to win their first series against the Bulls since August 2017, when they took 2 of 3, and their first at Louisville Slugger Field since taking 3 of 4 from June 15-18, 2014.
SENZEL TO MAKE 2019 DEBUT: The Cincinnati Reds announced that the No. 5 prospect in all of baseball according to MLB.com, Nick Senzel, is set to make his season debut with Louisville on Tuesday. The No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 draft, Senzel played 44 games with the Bats in 2018, batting .310 with 6 home runs and 25 RBI in his debut at the Triple-A level. His season was cut short on June 22 after suffering an injury to his right index finger, which required surgery. He has been sidelined since sustaining a sprained right ankle in a spring game on March 25.
TRANSACTIONS: In addition to adding Senzel to the active roster, the Bats also activated first baseman Brian O'Grady from the injured list (lower back spasms). In 10 games with Louisville this season, O'Grady is batting .333 (11-for-33) with 3 homers and 8 RBI. In corresponding moves, the Reds recalled outfielder Phillip Ervin, who will make his second stint with Cincinnati this season, while the Bats placed outfielder Aristides Aquino on the 7-day injured list with a right shoulder sprain, retroactive to April 22.
STARRING PITCHING: Louisville starting pitchers were the story over the weekend at Indianapolis, allowing just 2 earned runs in 18.2 innings, an ERA of 0.96. Righties Odrisamer Despaigne, Lucas Sims and Keury Mella combined for just one walk and 27 strikeouts as the Bats took 2 of 3 from the Indians.
- Despaigne threw his first quality start in his first victory of the year. Coming into play Tuesday, his walk of Bryan Reynolds in the bottom of the fifth inning is the last walk allowed by a Louisville starting pitcher, a walk-less streak by LOU starting pitchers that has now spanned 14.2 innings.
- Sims struck out a career-high 13 on Saturday, his second straight 10+ strikeout effort, the first Bats pitcher to do that since Edinson Volquez in 2011.
- Mella threw 7.0 scoreless innings in his Sunday start, the longest outing for a Bats pitcher so far this season and the lengthiest scoreless effort since Jose Lopez threw 7.0 scoreless on July 31 last season at Toledo.
LOUISVILLE "SLUGGER" FIELD: Through 8 games at Louisville Slugger Field this season, there have been a combined 27 home runs (12 by the Bats, 15 by opponents), averaging over 3 homers/game. In the early going, the number of homers/game (3.38) in 2019 is over double compared to the 2018 season (1.61 homers/game), with 114 total homers (47 by the Bats, 67 by opponents) hit in 71 games at LSF in 2018.
MORE FREE BASEBALL: Louisville has played in extra innings in each of its last 2 games, winning by a 3-1 score on Saturday and losing 2-1 on Sunday in 11 innings. Louisville has already played more 11-inning games (2) this season than all of last season (1). The Bats have participated in back-to-back extra inning contests for the first time since August 17-18 last season at Charlotte, winning 4-3 and losing 7-6, respectively.
EASTER GOOSE EGGS: The Bats and Indians played 9 innings on Sunday without either team scoring a run, with both clubs scoring a run in the 10th and Indianapolis scoring in the 11th to win by a 2-1 score. It was the first time Louisville went into the 10th inning in a scoreless game since May 21, 2016 vs. Columbus, winning that game on a walk-off 2-run homer by Seth Mejias-Brean, just the second homer the Bats hit at home that season, which was also their second walk-off homer.
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