Sunday, April 17, 2016

Indianapolis Indians Weekly Update: Glasnow Turns in Another Great Start & Alen Hanson Continues Hot Hitting as Indianapolis Indians Finish Week 3-3

By Peyton Wesner

The Indianapolis Indians, finally back on the field and not inhibited by rain or snow, had a full week of action following Sunday's double-header with the Columbus Clippers. And they showed glimpses of the expectations put upon themselves due to the presence of the "Core Four" (Tyler Glasnow, Josh Bell, Jameson Taillon, and Alen Hanson) in a week they finished 3-3.

April 12
Indianapolis 0, Toledo 3
W - Michael Fulmer (1-0)
L - Steven Brault (0-1)
S - Bruce Rondon (1)

During "Opening Weekend," the Toledo Mud Hens and the Indianapolis Indians both were limited to only one day of baseball. However, even though the road Indians entered more active, considering they played on Sunday while their opponent had three days off, they were quickly belted and found themselves in a 1-0 hole.

Left-hander Steven Brault started off his Triple-A debut rather rocky, for a personal error put MLB veteran Cameron Maybin on first. Furthermore, Dixon Machado displayed great patience at the plate, resulting in a walk, while Casey McGehee had a one-out base knock to load the bases for the dangerous Steven Moya.

Surprisingly, Moya, who entered Tuesday with two home runs in his four season at bats, didn't even have to do anything at the dish for the run to score. Why? Because Machado stole home!

On the other side of the ball, Detroit Tigers' top prospect Michael Fulmer was very dominant in his first start on Fifth Third Field 's bump. More specifically, he sent opposing batters back to the dugout empty handed. In fact, through the first three innings, he had four strikeouts while facing only one over the minimum. 

In the bottom of the 3rd, Toledo continued having their way with Brault. Starting with a Machado double and quickly ending with an RBI-single by the red-hot Moya, the Indianapolis' deficit swiftly grew to two.

Unfortunately on this night, two was more than enough. 

Sure, there were turbulent frames for Fulmer, like the 4th, when a base on balls to Josh Bell and a Jason Rogers' single set up shop with one out, and the 6th, where an error by Thomas Field kept the Indians alive for another rocket from Jason Rogers (this time a double). Nonetheless, MLB's 51st prospect ended the night perfect in terms of runs allowed as he induced a pop up of Danny Ortiz and a Willy Garcia groundout in the first jam while Drake Britton took the ball and saved the day by recording the third out in the 6th.

Aside from threatening in the two aforementioned scenarios, Lloyd McClendon's bullpen was lights out. The trio of Michael Crotta, Bobby Parnell, and Bruce Rondon fanned a total of six in the final three innings. Rondon, who was once thought to be the heir to the Tigers' closer job following Joe Nathan, easily recorded the save in the 9th despite surrendering a single to Jacob Stallings.

The Mud Hens concluded the nine with three runs, for Casey McGehee smacked his second hit, a single, that plated Machado in the 5th. Indians' starter Brault was already chased from the mound at that point and posted a statline of two earned runs in four innings pitched.

Pittsburgh Pirates' top positional prospect Josh Bell was held hitless in three official at bats while Alen Hanson smacked two base hits. Jason Rogers was 2-for-4. 

April 13
Indianapolis 4, Toledo 2
W - Jameson Taillon (1-0)
L - Matt Boyd (1-1)
S - Trey Haley (1)

September 6, 2013. That was the last time 2010 1st round pick Jameson Taillon was making a professional start as Tommy John surgery and a hernia kept the 24-year old out of action. Thus, April 13, 2016, was more than just a start for the righty and instead his long awaited return.

He didn't disappoint.

Throwing only 85 pitches, Taillon went six strong and allowed only one earned run while recording six strikeouts. 

Appearing unpromising immediately, the second Toledo batter of the contest, Dixon Machado, roped a triple to the right field corner, quickly putting the home team in business. Next up was former San Francisco Giant Nate Schierholtz and his bat found good wood in the form of an RBI-double. 

Now, this is where a gut-check moment found the starting pitcher as Casey McGehee and Steven Moya were looming with a runner in scoring position. Nevertheless, Taillon kept his composure by inducing the fourth hitter into a groundout in addition to pumping a fastball past the bat of the  home run hitting outfielder.

With damage limited in the 1st, Indianapolis picked up their starter thanks to a bases-loaded line-drive double from Jason Rogers. Two scored on the third hit of the series by the former Milwaukee Brewer and run support was finally provided. 

After the unideal start, Taillon had his best pitches working. Hence, the results were superb since he faced the minimum over the next four. Though, with the score 3-1 (Danny Ortiz run scoring groundout in the 6th) in favor of Indianapolis, the lanky Texas native ran into more trouble even though the first two were sent back in order. 

It began with a Machado single and was followed by Schierholtz producing a base knock of his own. That brought up Casey McGehee; yet, just like in the 1st, Taillon bested the experienced veteran by presenting an offering that resulted in a flyout. Inning over.

Far succeeding the leave of Toledo starter Matt Boyd (5.0 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, & 5 SO), the Indians' Rogers continued to leave his mark on this one with his third RBI. 

Although the Mud Hens' Machado was able to cut the margin to two in the bottom of the 8th (RBI single), Trey Haley shut the door for the Tribe in the 9th. 

April 14
Columbus 1, Indianapolis 5
W - Wilfredo Boscan (1-0)
L - Will Roberts (0-1)
S - Trey Haley (2)

No rain? Check! 60 degree weather guaranteed? Check! Filled stands as far as the eye can see? Check!

The home opener for 2016 Indianapolis Indians' baseball brought a familiar foe into the friendly confines of Victory Field.

But, unlike the last meeting between the two in the state capital, the home team ended the night on top.

A pitchers' dual early, Columbus' Will Roberts and Indianapolis' Wilfredo Boscan stifled their respective opposition. However, the prior could not sustain the effectiveness, for he "gift-wrapped" a delivery to Gift Ngoepe; one he would smack for a double. Next up was shortstop Alen Hanson and he bunted a slow roller to the Clippers' third baseman Ronny Rodriguez. 

The ball dribbled down the third base line before Rodriguez flipped the ball to the catcher in the hope of gunning Ngoepe. Safe! While Hanson was thrown out attempting to get into scoring position, the most important fact was the Indians' had a one-run advantage.

Make that two.

Seeing the ball better and better as the game went on, Dan Gamache drove home Willy Garcia with an RBI double to move the gap to two. 

While the Indians' offense was clicking on all cylinders, Boscan was continuing to be the Triple-A stud he was a year ago (10-3 record and 3.07 ERA) by sitting down batter after batter.

The 26-year old minor league starter exited the matchup scattering five hits in six shutout innings. Additionally, he possessed a five run lead upon exit as Ngoepe and Hanson caused havoc to start the bottom of 5th (Hanson would triple home Ngoepe) prior to Adam Frazier playing small ball with an sacrifice fly. Furthermore, in the bottom half of the 6th, Ngoepe drilled an RBI double to left.

Granted, late inning drama did ensue following Boscan's departure, such as former Indianapolis Indian Michael Martinez plating a run via an RBI double and two on base for the very capable Adam Moore and Michael Choice. Yet, a former Clipper Trey Haley sank Columbus with a pair of strikeouts, one swinging and one looking, to ring the Victory Bell and send 13,233 fans home with a smile.

As anyone probably could have guessed when reading through the series of events, the middle infield of the Indians' was instrumental in the victory, for they combined for five hits, three runs, and two RBIs (Ngoepe was 3-for-4 with two runs and 1 RBI while Hanson was 2-for-4 with a run and a RBI). Josh Bell was 1-for-3 while Jason Rogers went hitless.

April 15
Columbus 2, Indianapolis 3 (F/11)
W - Jorge Rondon (1-0)
L - Shawn Armstrong (0-1) 
HR - Indianapolis' Josh Bell (1)

We're going streaking!

Riding their first multi-game winning streak of the season, the Indianapolis Indians' looked to keep marching through IL West opponents in the second of a four game series against Columbus. 

Starting the game for the Clippers was the phenomenal Mike Clevinger. Clevinger, who out dueled Tyler Glasnow on April 10, had been untouchable in his past three Triple-A starts dating back to the first round of the Governors' Cup Playoffs. 

On this day, he was not the same pitcher.

Immediately, he flew through turbulence considering he found himself with two runners on and only one gone in the 1st. However, he kept his stature and prevented any runs from being put on the scoreboard.

Chad Kuhl was throwing for Dean Treanor's club. Kuhl has been equally impressive each of the past two seasons as he had recorded double-digit victory totals with Single-A Advanced Bradenton in 2014 and Double-A Altoona in 2015. But, the Clippers could careless with their opponent's accolades considering they struck first on a Ronny Rodriguez base knock that drove home Robbie Grossman (walked) in the 2nd. Moreover, 2015 Governors' Cup Playoffs Most Valuable Player Michael Choice got in on the act by driving home a familiar speedster (Grossman) to improve the lead to 2-0. 

Two runs? Plenty of run support for Mike Clevinger, right? 

Not Friday.

Just as swiftly as he and the Clippers acquire the lead, Pittsburgh Pirates' top positional prospect Josh Bell brought the crowd to their feet with a grown man, fourth inning, two-run round-tripper to straight away center. Indianapolis' shortstop Max Moroff walked to start the frame, setting up shop for the future MLB star and no doubt was the "Bell rung."

With both teams engaged in practically a new ball game, the scoring slowed down drastically. More specifically, no runs were scored for the next six innings! In fact, aside from two runners (one Clipper and one Indian), no player made it past second bases during the aforementioned time span.

Thus, one can imagine how restless the fans that sticked around for all eleven innings were when Alen Hanson began the bottom of the 11th with a strikeout to Shawn Armstrong in addition to Adam Frazier drawing a walk and then being thrown out at second base. 

Hope was not lost though!

Armstrong, now in his second frame of work, was having great trouble finding the strike zone. Moreover, he issued free passes to Moroff and Bell, setting up two on and two out for Danny Ortiz.

Ortiz was 0-for-4 before the plate appearance and 1-for-5 after.

Lofting a fly ball over the head of Columbus' right fielder Robbie Grossman, Ortiz had the most meaningful hit of the night as Moroff rounded third and was safe at home.

April 16
Columbus 2, Indianapolis 1
W - Austin Adams (1-0)
L - John Kuchno (0-1)
HR - Columbus' Jesus Aguilar (2) & Indianapolis' Danny Ortiz

When watching the future of Major League Baseball, there are bound to be nights that the crowd is witnessing greatness.

That was the case Saturday night with Pittsburgh Pirates' top prospect Tyler Glasnow on the hill.

Glasnow, who made his first start of the season in a 1-0 defeat, was on a mission for redemption at Victory Field, displayed by him tip-toeing out of a one-out jam. Former MLB Top 100 prospects Robbie Grossman and Jesus Aguilar had both singled off the lanky right hander, opening up a great opportunity with runners in scoring position for Joey Butler.


After the fanning of the number four hitter, Giovanny Urshela stepped to the plate and suffered the same fate (so did many more).

Hurling for the Clippers was not the same individual that faced off against Glasnow in his first start of 2016 but rather Jarrett Grube.

Nevertheless, he also had a rocky first inning, for a fielding error by Jesus Aguilar permitted Adam Frazier to reach before walking Max Moroff. Immediately the Indianapolis Indians were threatening with no outs in the frame. However, Grube kept his cool by retiring Josh Bell with runners on first and second as well as Jason Rogers and Dan Gamache with two runners in scoring position. If anyone could infer anything from the first inning, it had to be that it was going to be a pitching dual.

Or maybe not.

After Glasnow swiftly picked up his fourth and fifth strikeouts in the forms of Adam Moore and Ronny Rodriguez, Grube was back on the mound attempting to stay consistent.


Danny Ortiz, the hero of Friday night, got a hold of an offering and sent it over the right field wall for his first blast of the season. The mistake would be the only such of Grube's three innings of one run ball.

Glasnow, finally given run support to work with, continued to throw "cannonballs" at ship after ship. Robbie Grossman? He went down swinging. Joey Butler? He had a similar fate. Adam Moore and Ronny Rodriguez? Swinging...swinging! MLB's 8th overall prospect was looking unstoppable!

Until Anthony Recker came up in the top of the 5th. 

Recker, the former catcher of the New York Mets, had avoided a strikeout his first plate appearance and instead flew out to right field. This time he singled to left. 

One batter? So what?

You're right; however, Michael Choice  was next up and he sent a laser grounder past Gamache and down the third baseline. Attempting to cut it off was left fielder Adam Frazier; though, he could only get the ball back into the infield after Recker scored and the scoreboard read: Clippers 1, Indians 1. 

Despite being near 80 pitches for the game, Dean Treanor kept his ace in the ballgame to work out of trouble, which he did with a flyout of Michael Martinez. Nonetheless, damage was already done.

Similar to Opening Night at Victory Field, the Columbus Clippers and Indianapolis Indians' bullpens both assumed their position of dominance in and old fashioned battle of wills. Hence, no runner reached from the bottom of the 5th heading into the 8th inning. Yet, Ohio State product and Indians' long reliever John Kuchno found himself in danger during the third inning of his Triple-A debut.

There were runners on first and second with just one gone in the inning. The hungry Robbie Grossman was at the plate desiring to collect the tie-breaking RBI. 

The ball was a shot off the bat. But, a 'shot' that was right at Gift Ngoepe, who tagged second base before gliding a throw to Jason Rogers to convert the double play. 

In the bottom of the 8th, Toru Murata left quite the pickle for Austin Adams to clean up. There was the speedy Ngoepe on first base and one out in the inning. Scratch that! Make it two on, for Moroff drew a walk. The two batters any Tribe fan could dream of having up with runners on (Josh Bell and Jason Rogers) would have their chance to leave their fingerprint on the first home Saturday of 2016.

Whiff! Whiff! 

The dynamic duo both went down swinging and it was still knotted at 1 heading to the 9th.

First up for the Clippers in possibly their last crack was Jesus Aguilar. Aguilar was the source of the only run from Game 1 of April 10's doubleheader. 

And he left his mark on this game as well, for he blasted (I mean absolutely blasted) a Kuchno offering high into the Indianapolis' skyline before it landed with a thud in the left field lawn section. 2-1 Clippers.

Although Danny Ortiz was able to get on with two outs in the bottom half of the 9th by a double, Indians' catcher Jacob Stallings squared a pitch a little too well as it hung in the air long enough for Columbus' Michael Choice to run in and seize the victory for the Clippers.

On a night that the Indians had only three total hits, Ortiz supplied two on the evening while Willy Garcia had the other. The first five hitters in the order were held hitless and struck out five times in 16 at bats. Aside from surrendering the home run to Aguilar, John Kuchno concluded his first appearance at the Triple-A level with a formidable four innings of one run ball. Tyler Glasnow had nine strikeouts over five innings.

April 17
Columbus 8, Indianapolis 7 (F/11)
W - Jeff Johnson (1-0)
L - Trey Haley (0-1)
S - Nick Maronde (1)
HR - Columbus' Jesus Aguilar (3) and Indianapolis' Max Moroff (1)

Sunday brought the finale of a four game set between the two best teams from the 2015 International League.


On a offensive oriented day that had fans witness one more run being plated than the first three games of the series, the Columbus Clippers salvaged a four game split of the Indians with a victory.

This one began almost identically to the first matchup of the season, for Jesus Aguilar sent his IL leading third home run to straight away center for a one run advantage.

However, the edge did not last long for the Indians' picked up their boomsticks and began teeing off on former Cleveland Indian TJ House. It commenced with a one-out double by Gift Ngoepe, bringing up Josh Bell. And unlike the night before, the top positional prospect of the Pittsburgh Pirates rocketed a single to left field. But, it had too much speed on it to score a run, for outfielder Michael Choice swiftly threw the ball back into the infield. Nevertheless, Jason Rogers added a base knock of his own to supply the first tie of the contest. 

Surprisingly, from the 1-1 score, a miniature pitching dual broke out. That's right, for three innings no runs were added by either side as House and Indianapolis' Steven Brault did an excellent job stranding runners and avoiding back-to-back hits. 

Soon the floodgates were back open for business, for Columbus' Erik Gonzalez had an RBI single that brought home Anthony Recker in the top of the 5th. The Indians one upped their adversary in their portion of the frame through consecutive run plating doubles by Josh Bell and Jason Rogers. Bell presented the initial hole in the hull by bringing home two while the former Brewer chipped in one.

The Clippers came sailing back in large part to small ball. Ronny Rodriguez grounded into a fielder's choice in the 6th while Joey Butler soared a deep sacrifice fly the following inning. Moreover, they seized the lead on a Urshella RBI single with two outs. 

Just as the Indiana Pacers/Toronto Raptors game the day before, back and forth action ensued on offense. To elaborate, Max Moroff showcased a little pop in a two-run home run, which gave the Indians the lead before Columbus' Gonzalez sent home another on a single to right field, ultimately tying it at six. Furthermore, in the 10th, Gonzalez collected his third RBI of the day on a sacrifice fly prior to Indianapolis' Dan Gamache causing the fourth tie of the afternoon.

Yet, there would not be a 5th since Ronny Rodriguez, who had a good day at the dish (2-for-6, 2 RBIs), tripled with two outs, scoring Urshella.

Just kidding?

To lead off the bottom of the 11th, Alen Hanson turned on the after-burners for a triple. The Indians were in business! Next up was Gift Ngoepe. 


He fanned; however, Josh Bell was strolling to the plate in a position where a sacrifice fly would forgo an immediate defeat.


The Jeff Johnson offering darted off the bat of Bell towards now third baseman Jesus Aguilar. Aguilar had just moved to the position earlier in the inning when Michael Choice left due to injury. Despite the previous, he speared the line drive for the second out before running over to third base and doubling off Hanson.


Hanson didn't have a large secondary lead; yet, the quick nature of the Bell liner gave Aguilar an opportunity to end the game by beating the Pirates' shortstop prospect to the bag, which he did.

Unlike the day before, the first five hitters in the Indianapolis Indians' lineup was dynamite Sunday. Jason Rogers had arguably the best day out of his teammates as he was 3-for-5 with 2 RBIs and a run scored. Josh Bell finished the series on a 2-for-5, 2 RBIs, run scored performance while Alen Hanson was 3-for-5. Gift Ngoepe chipped in a pair of runs scored with two hits. All Indians pitchers permitted at least one run to come across the plate.

What's On Tap
April 18 - 7:05 PM EST
TOL - Matt Boyd (1-1, 1.64 ERA)
IND - Jameson Taillon (1-0, 1.50 ERA)

April 19 - 11:05 AM EST
TOL - Thad Weber (1-0, 0.00 ERA)
IND - Wilfredo Boscan (1-0, 0.00 ERA)

April 20 - 1:35 PM EST
IND - Chad Kuhl (0-0, 3.86 ERA)

Who To Watch
---Alen Hanson: .381 BA, 3 R, & RBI.

---Jason Rogers: .333 BA, 2 R, HR, & 7 RBI.

---Josh Bell: .231 BA, 3 R, HR, & 6 RBI.

---Steven Moya: .333 BA, 5 R, 2 HR, & 7 RBI.

---Casey McGehee: .240 BA, 3 R, & 2 RBI.

---Cameron Maybin: .208 BA, 2 R, & 4 RBI.

IL West Standings
1. Toledo 5-2
2. Indianapolis 4-4
3. Columbus 4-5
4. Louisville 3-5

***Indianapolis Indians' photos: Courtesy of David Hague Photo (@DHPhoto11)
***Steven Moya photo: Courtesy of the Toledo Mud Hens and
***Jesus Aguilar photo: Courtesy of Chris Russell and "The Columbus Dispatch"

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Rain and Snow Limits Louisville Bats to One Game in Toledo

By Peyton Wesner

Since 2012,Triple-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds, have been swallowed in the darkness of losses. More specifically, the Bats have failed to finish over .500 in each of the last four seasons. In fact, the last time they had a winning record, current Big Leaguers Todd FrazierDevin MesoracoYonder Alonso, and Zack Cozart were all present on the roster while suiting up for at least 77 contests. But, now is finally the time to exit the darkness and shine in the light as the Bats house MLB Top 100 prospect after MLB Top 100 prospect to begin the 2016 campaign.

However, rain on Friday, which turned into snow on Saturday and Sunday limited what was planned to be a four game series into a one game get-together.

April 7
Louisville 2, Toledo 10
W - Matt Boyd (1-0)
L - A.J. Morris (0-1)
HRs - Toledo's Steven Moya (1, 2)

With the organization's best pitching prospect toeing the rubber for the Cincinnati Reds in his Major League debut at Great American Ballpark, Delino DeShields turned to A.J. Morris for a quality start to kick off the season. It did not go well. Despite squandering a Nate Schierholtz two-out double in the first inning, the former Indianapolis Indians' reliever had smooth sailing through the heart of the Mud Hens order. Or, that was until he permitted Thomas Field to extend the 2nd frame via a two-out bases on balls.

From there, disaster struck, for the next four drove in a total of five runs, including RBI singles from Dixon Machado and Nate Schierholtz as well as a lined Bobby Wilson two RBI double. But that's not all. After a walk to MLB veteran Casey McGehee, the very powerful Steven Moya blasted a three-run bomb to center field, ultimately worsening Louisville's wound to an eight-run deficit just two innings in.

On the mound for Toledo was the promising young southpaw Matt Boyd. Though, on this day he was not invincible either as after three shutout frames, in which he faced just one over the minimum, the Bats' Bryson Smith dribbled a soft grounder and beat first baseman Jordany Valdespan in a race to the bag. Following Smith advancing to second on a fly out and putting himself in scoring position, Brandon Allen sent a laser to Moya in right field, scoring the first Louisville run of the season.

Nevertheless, the Bats soon had their wings clipped as Moya struck again, this time in two-run fashion, to put the Mud Hens ahead by the score of 10-1 after four innings. In the top of the fifth, the Bats' Carlos Triunfel added another tally to the board with an RBI single; however, it was a mood point as Louisville failed to string together back-to-back hits in the final four innings.

To be callous and frank, there is just two facts manager DeShields can take any positive away from, and that is the pitching of Ryan Mattheus, JC Ramirez, and Steve Delabar as well as Jeese Winker's Triple-A debut inside the batter's box. For starters, the pitching trio allowed just one batter to reach (walk) while fanning five total over three innings (Mattheus and Delabar with two respectively and Ramirez with one). These three will be a huge factor in regard to closing the door on opponents for the duration of the season. Focusing on Cincinnati's top prospect, Winker finished 2-for-4 in his first game donning Bats across his chest. The 22-year old will be looked upon to be the club's most powerful and productive hitter. MLB's 70th prospect Jose Peraza went 0-for-3.

What's On Tap
Very fresh and eager to get back on the diamond, the Louisville Bats will attempt to play (barring Mother Nature) Monday evening in Columbus. The Clippers had just as much trouble with rain and snow, for they had their home opener yesterday in the form of a double header. Chris Tremie's club split the twin bill with the Indianapolis Indians and will enter the three-game series 1-1.

Due to take the mound for the Clippers is Ryan Merrit (Monday), T.J. House (Tuesday), and Will Roberts (Wednesday). Out of the upcoming opposing starters, just House has experience in "The Show," for he possessed a 5-7 mark over the last two years. Aside from him , Will Roberts and Ryan Merrit have not offered a single pitch in the Major Leagues. But, that does not mean they are "minced meat." Both captured postseason victories last year in the Clippers' Governors' Cup title run as well as winning at least nine games in the regular season and posting an ERA under 3.75 (Roberts was 9-6 between Double-A Akron and Columbus while Merrit was 12-7).

For the Bats, an aspect of uncertainty looms for the rotation. More specifically, the question currently remains of whether Robert Stephenson will pitch Tuesday evening. As mentioned, Stephenson is coming off his ML debut against the Philadelphia Phillies. In his memorable start, the 23-year old right hander allowed three earned runs over five innings while striking out one and walking two.

On Monday, former Kansas City Royals' farmhand Cody Reed is set to take the hill. Reed, currently MLB's 65th overall prospect, was nearly unstoppable in his time with the Reds' organization as he went 6-2 with a 2.17 ERA in 8 starts with Double-A Pensacola. With the responsibility of closing the series, now three-year Louisville Bat Josh Smith will be looked upon. Even though he was horrific in his time with the big club in 2015 (0-4 record, 6.89 ERA), the Lipscomb product posted an 8-9 record and 3.45 ERA in 25 appearances (22 starts).

Who To Watch
Jeese Winker: .500 BA (2-4).
Ryan Mattheus: 0-0 record, 0.00 ERA, & 2 SO in IP.

Jesus Aguilar: .167 BA (1-6), R, HR, & RBI.
Ryan Merrit: 12-7 record, 3.63 ERA, & 105 SO in 171 IP. (2015 statistics)

IL West Standings
1. Toledo 1-0
2. Indianapolis 1-1
3. Columbus 1-1
4. Louisville 0-1

Indianapolis Indians Split Shortened Series with 2015 IL Champion Columbus

By Peyton Wesner

Not too many times in baseball, will scheduling pin the two teams that met in the previous year's championship for an Opening Day showdown. Though, that was exactly the case in the International League as the Indianapolis Indians made the two and a half hour journey east for retribution against the 2015 IL Champions, the Columbus Clippers.

However, the only schedule that always holds true is mother nature's and in this case extremely cold temperatures and snow (yes, snow) resulted in not one, not two, but three days of no baseball in Columbus, Ohio. So with the hope of avoiding four unsuccessful attempts at Opening Day, the two IL West rivals took the field for a Sunday afternoon doubleheader.

And this time, baseball was played.

April 10 (Doubleheader)
Indianapolis 0, Columbus 1 (Game 1)
W - Steve Clevinger (1-0)
L - Tyler Glasnow (0-1)
SV - Austin Adams (1)
HRs - Columbus' Jesus Aguilar (1)

The pitching match-up could not have been any better since Indianapolis Indians' manager Dean Treanor sent bona fide ace and the Pittsburgh Pirates' top prospect Tyler Glasnow to the mound against the "Hero of Game five" Columbus' Mike Clevinger.

Clevinger, who spent all of the 2015 regular season with Double-A Akron, was by far the most valuable hurler the Clippers had last September. He was 2-0 with 15.1 innings of scoreless baseball. Moreover, he was the pitcher that stifled Josh BellAlen Hanson, and the Indians' bats on September 19 in a winner take all contest. Sunday, he had just as much luck.

Coming of the gates with three strikeouts of the first five batters, Cleveland's 7th prospect picked up right where he left off that chilly fall night. Moreover, he stranded runners, such as Bell in the 1st and Hanson in the 3rd, while also getting help from his defense in the form of Adam Moore throwing out Bell on a steal attempt with one out in the fourth.

On the other side of the ball, Glasnow was also displaying his worth early for he induced Michael Martinez to fly out and former Pittsburgh prospect Robbie Grossman to strike out looking to begin his day. Next up was the 2015 IL RBI leader Jesus Aguilar and this time the prized prospect did not have his blow by fastball as the power hitting first basemen blasted an offering to left field for the first and ONLY run of the contest.

Although MLB's 9th overall prospect settled down and finished the afternoon striking out six over five frames (three walks), Clevinger made one less mistake and turned five innings of scoreless ball over to the Shawn Armstrong, who also hurled a perfect inning.

During the Indians' last chance in the top of the 7th, former Milwaukee Brewer Jason Rogers started the inning by taking an Austin Adams' delivery for a single. Sadly though, a pair of whiffs, one by Danny Ortiz and another by Jacob Stallings with Mel Rojas Jr. at second (he pinch ran for Rogers) sealed the first result of Indianapolis' 2016 campaign as a loss.

Indianapolis 4, Columbus 0 (Game 2)
W - Kelvin Marte (1-0)
L - Toru Murata (0-1)
HRs - Indianapolis' Jason Rogers (1)

What's the best thing about double-headers? If your team lost the first game, they immediately have a chance to salvage the day with a split. That is exactly what the Indianapolis Indians' did about 30 minutes after the conclusion of Game 1.

Sure, they were facing a MLB veteran in Tommy Hunter (rehab start) as well as the best pitcher in all of Triple-A baseball in 2015, Toru Murata. Nevertheless, the Indians rocked Murata's world following Hunter retiring the side 1-2-3 in the 1st. As a matter of fact, Murata had actually started the game nearly perfect considering he set down the first five of six and had two outs recorded in the bottom of the third. Though, at this point, the rough waters of the IL West flipped Murata's boat for four runs on two hits.

That's right, Murata actually walked both Adam Frazier and Max Moroff (both with two outs) before Josh Bell smacked his second hit of the day (he had one in Game 1), a two-RBI single, that supplied Indianapolis' with their first runs of the season. But, the Indians were not done yet.

Only a relied upon home run hitter, Jason Rogers only belted 12 home runs between Triple-A Colorado Springs and the Big Leagues last year after having a combined 40 in two seasons. Looks like power-hitting Jason is back. Absolutely destroying the Murata offering, the 6'1" first baseman touched them all for a two-run shot that increased the lead to 4-0... And on this day, four would be more than enough.

While great concern arrived quickly in the bottom of the 1st as the Pirates' 24th prospect Trevor Williams left after two batters (shoulder discomfort), reliever Kelvin Marte drove the Indians out of early trouble by fanning Joey Butler with runners on first and second. Furthermore, Marte would continue to exhibit his ability to tip-toe out of danger by stranding Erik Gonzalez at first following a lead-off single in the second inning.

From Marte, five Indians' took the mound, each for an inning of work. As most had an easy time posting their zero on the scoreboard, no Columbus' threat had more potential than the bottom of the fifth. Guido Knudson was on the mound, and despite a very appropriate time to warm up prior to his entry, he had trouble spotting the ball, resulting in a walk of Anthony Recker. Throw in a bunt single by Ronny Rodriguez in the succeeding at-bat and the Clippers had the oars rowing for a big inning with the top of the order coming up to bat and no outs.


Michael Martinez sent a deep fly to center field! But, it was just a loud out number one. Next up, was Robbie Grossman and he was only able to chop a grounder to second when meeting a Knudson offering, ultimately placing runners on the corner for Jesus Aguilar.


This time a high flyer was sent to left field. The Huntington Park crowd immediately hopped to their feet as though the score would soon be 4-3 Indianapolis. Unfortunately for the home faithful, the ball did not carry over the left field wall and instead fell into the glove of Adam Frazier for the third out. The Indianapolis Indians were leaving Columbus with a win under their belts.

What's On Tap
Following today's double header, the Indians will enjoy their fourth off-day since the Minor League Baseball season officially started before ending their current road trip with a two-game series in Toledo. The Mud Hens also had their struggles with Mother Nature this past weekend, for Friday through Sunday's games were canceled. Toledo is currently 1-0 as they obliterated the Louisville Bats and former Indianapolis pitcher A.J. Morris 10-2. Former MLB Top 100 prospect Steven Moya showcased his power with two home runs and five RBIs in the contest.

Thad Weber will take the ball on Tuesday for the Mud Hens. Weber possessed a 6-10 record and a 4.19 ERA in 27 starts last year. Scheduled for Wednesday is young stud Josh Turley. Turley has been terrific in the Detroit Tigers' organization since being drafted from Baylor. In 2015, he posted a 13-8 record and a 3.25 ERA in 25 starts. For Indianapolis, Steven Brault will attempt to wash out the bad taste from his last start of 2015 on Tuesday night. Brault, a lefty, shined in his first year within the Pirates' organization as he had an outstanding 13-4 record and 2.43 ERA in 28 starts.

The next day, the much anticipated return of former top prospect Jameson Taillon will transpire. Taillon has not pitched in the regular season since the end of 2013 when he concluded his campaign with six starts and one relief appearance for the Indians.

Who To Watch
Josh Bell: .400 BA (2-5), R, & 2 RBI.
Jameson Taillon: 5-10 record, 3.73 ERA, & 143 SO in 147.1 IP. (2013 statistics)

Steven Moya: .750 BA (3-4), 3 R, 2 HR, & 5 RBI.
Josh Turley: 13-8 record, 3.29 ERA, & 103 SO in 153 IP. (2015 statistics)

IL West Standings
1. Toledo 1-0
2. Indianapolis 1-1
3. Columbus 1-1
4. Louisville 0-1

“Prospect Power” to Lead Indianapolis Indians in Pursuit of Redemption

By Peyton Wesner