News & Notes: Game 19 & 20
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TODAY’S GAME: Tonight, the Buffalo Bisons host the Louisville Bats (Cincinnati Reds) in the first two games of a four-game series from Coca-Cola Field (Game 1 – 5:30 p.m.). The teams will play a doubleheader tonight because of last night’s postponement due to rain. Today’s games are the first of a stretch that will see the Herd play 20 of their next 28 games at home.
VS. LOUISVILLE: The Bats beat Buffalo in the 2008 season series, 5-3. It was the first time the Herd had lost a season series to Louisville since the 2003 season. Buffalo is hoping to snap last year’s trend as the road team won seven of the eight games between the two clubs. The Bisons were swept at Coca-Cola Field, July 10-13. It was the only home series the Herd has lost to the Bats since returning to the International League in 1998.
K-MAN: RHP Brandon Knight will get the start in Game 1 tonight. Knight has given the Bisons back-to-back quality starts in his last two outings. He allowed just three runs in six innings on April 18 in Syracuse and held the Chiefs to three runs in seven innings last Friday. Knight has averaged better than a strikeout per inning with 20 punchouts in only 18 innings of work. He has fanned at least five in all three of his starts this year.
SOLID DEBUT: The Bisons offense looks to get a huge boost from OF Wily Mo Pena. The free agent signed on April 20 and made his Herd debut Wednesday in Rochester with a two-hit performance. Pena hit 26 homeruns with Cincinnati in 2004 and has 77 career major league homers in 560 games.
GLOVE WORK: The Bisons have played three consecutive errorless games in the field. The Herd’s .984 fielding percentage as a team is tied for the 2nd best mark in the International League. Buffalo has just 11 errors in 18 games. Last season, the Bisons made an IL-worst 153 miscues in the field.
SPEED LIMIT: The good defense includes the work behind done behind the plate. Bisons’ catchers lead the International League in both times caught stealing (11) and percentage (46%). The Herd has allowed just 13 stolen bases in 24 attempts by its opponents. Newcomer C Michael Nickeas threw out his first baserunner in his Bisons debut on Wednesday in Rochester.