Game Notes: Louisville Bats (7-9) at Indianapolis Indians (9-5)
Game 17, Away 9
Louisville Bats (7-9) at Indianapolis Indians (9-5)
7:05 PM | Saturday, April 20, 2019 | Victory Field
LISTEN: Nick Curran, 790 KRD; iHeartRadio.com; iHeart app
BATS GO FOR SERIES WIN: The Louisville Bats and Indianapolis Indians play the middle game of a three-game series Saturday night at Victory Field. Louisville won Friday night's opener by a 3-2 score, off a 3-run top of the first inning and a strong starting pitching performance from Odrisamer Despaigne in his first win of 2019. Tonight, right-hander Lucas Sims (1-0, 3.77) looks to help the Bats clinch the series against Indianapolis starter and former Bat, right-hander Rookie Davis (0-1, 6.48).
AGAINST INDIANAPOLIS: The Bats and Indians met 20 times last season, with each team winning 10 games. Louisville went 6-4 at home, and 4-6 at Victory Field, bringing matchup total to 765 games heading into 2019. Last year, the IL West Division rivals did not meet until May 7, and did not meet at Victory Field until May 21. This season, the clubs meet for 7 games at Victory Field before playing each other at Louisville Slugger Field for the first time on May 21.
FLIP THE SCRIPT: After an eight-game homestand which saw their opponents score first in 7 of 8 games, and score in the first inning in 6 of 8, Louisville reciprocated in Friday night's win, attacking Indianapolis starting pitcher Eduardo Vera for 3 runs in the top of the first inning, the only runs Louisville needed to win a tight 3-2 ballgame. The Bats improved to 3-4 on the season when scoring first, and it was the second time this season that they have scored 3 runs in the first inning (also occurred on 4/10 at Columbus in an 8-0 win).
HIT KING(S):Coming into play Saturday, Louisville and Indianapolis share the league lead with 136 hits as a team. The Bats out-hit the Indians 8-6 in the 3-2 win, the first time LOU out-hit an opponent since April 10 at Columbus. The Bats are not only tied for first in the IL in hits as a team, but they also rank in the top 5 in runs scored (78, T-5th), doubles (26, T-5th), RBI (74, 5th) and total bases (225, 5th).
A GOOD STREAK TO SNAP: Louisville relievers Cody Reed, Sal Romano and Anthony Bass combined for 3.0 scoreless innings in relief of Despaigne, keeping the Indians off the board to secure the 3-2 win. It snapped an 8-game streak of Louisville's bullpen allowing at least a run, which spanned the entirety of the recent homestand. In 8 road games this season, Louisville relievers have yielded an earned run in just 3 of the games, while surrendering at least one earned run in all 8 of the Bats' 8 home games.
ROAD OPENER WIN: Yesterday marked Louisville's first win in a series opener on the road this season, improving to 1-2. Before Friday, its last victory in a road series opener was also at Indianapolis, on August 31 last season to begin the team's final road series of 2018. So far this season, the Bats own a 2-3 record overall in series openers, also winning their home opener on April 11 vs. Gwinnett in a 7-6 game.
PHIL UP THE STAT SHEET:After batting just .148 (4-for-27) in his first 7 games with Louisville this season, Phillip Ervin has been on a tear since returning from serving as Cincinnati's 26th man for MLB's Mexico Series 2019. In 3 games with the Bats since his return, he's batting .538 (7-for-13) with 3 straight multi-hit games, the only Louisville player to accomplish that so far this season. He's the first Bat with 3 consecutive 2+ hit games since Gabriel Guerrero did it from August 26-28 last season.
THE BEST COMPETITION:The Bats are locked in to play 17 of their first 18 games to begin the season against an above-.500 club. In 2018, Louisville played 80 of its 137 games against teams above .500 (58%; 33-47), 9 games against .500 teams (7%, 4-5) and 48 games against teams below .500 (35%; 24-24).
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