Advance Scout: Indianapolis

Following a league-wide off day, the Buffalo Bisons begin a four-game series against the Indianapolis Indians Thursday night. Buffalo lost 3-of-4 in early May when taking on the I-Tribe during the clubs’ first series of the year.

Probables for Bisons & Indians series:
6/17 – 7:05 p.m. RHP Hayden Penn (IND) vs. LHP Pat Misch (BUF)
6/18 – 7:35 p.m. LHP Brian Burres (IND) vs. RHP John Maine (NYM)
6/19 – 7:05 p.m. RHP Charlie Morton (IND) vs. RHP Dillon Gee (BUF)
6/20 – 1:05 p.m. RHP Mike Crotta (IND) vs. RHP Tobi Stoner (BUF)

WELCOME TO THE TEAM: After a RBI double in the contest on Sunday accounted for the first hit and the first RBI in 2B Jim Negrych’s Triple-A career, the Indians’ rookie was at it again on Monday when he hit his first Triple-A home run in the fourth inning against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The home run was the first of three hits on the night for Negrych, who after collecting a single on Tuesday is hitting .385 (5-for-13) with three runs scored, two doubles, one home run, three RBI and two stolen bases in five games for the Tribe. Before being promoted to Triple-A Indianapolis on June 11, Negrych batted .267 (36-for-135) with seven doubles, three triples, one home run and 22 RBI in 49 games for the Double-A Altoona Curve. The Buffalo, N.Y. native was named the Pirates 2008 Minor League Player of the Year after hitting a combined .359 (5th best in MiLB) with 41 doubles, five home runs, 72 RBI and 12 stolen bases in 129 games between High-A Lynchburg and Altoona.

PITCHING PROWESS: The Indianapolis pitching staff continues to be dominant in the month of June as they have combined for an International League best 2.70 ERA (35 ER in 122.0 IP), while posting a 9-6 record over the first 15 contests of the season’s third month. The Tribe bullpen has been particularly effective in June as Indians’ relievers have turned in a 2-0 record, three saves in three opportunities and a miniscule 1.15 ERA (6 ER in 47 IP). Leading the way for the Indianapolis bullpen have been relievers Vinnie Chulk (1-0, 0 ER in 6.0 IP, 6 SO), Anthony Claggett (0 ER in 5.0 IP, 7 SO) and Wil Ledezma (0 ER in 5.2 IP, 10 SO), who have yet to allow a run, while striking out 23 over 16.2 combined innings of reliever during the month of June. Pacing the Tribe’s starting staff has been RHP Daniel McCutchen, who has posted a 2-1 record, 2.79 ERA (6 ER in 19.1 IP) 11 strikeouts and allowed just 11 hits in three starts, and RHP Hayden Penn, who has turned in a 1-1 record, 2.35 ERA (4 ER in 15.1 IP), 14 strikeouts and just one walk over three starts.

BIG LEAGUE BOUND: On Wednesday INF Pedro Alvarez was promoted to the Pittsburgh Pirates, marking the first time he had made it to the Major Leagues in his professional baseball career. Before his promotion, Alvarez hit .277 (67-for-242) with 15 doubles, four triples, 13 home runs, 53 RBI and 42 runs scored over 66 games with the Tribe. At the time of his promotion, the left-handed slugger ranked tied for first in the International League in games, tied for second in runs scored, third in RBI, extra base hits (32) and total bases (129) and tied for fourth in home runs. Alvarez, who was Pittsburgh’s first round selection in the 2008 draft, entered the 2010 season ranked as the club’s top prospect and as the “Best Power Hitter” in the organization according to Baseball America. In his first professional season in 2009, he hit .288 with 32 doubles, 27 home runs and 95 RBI in 126 combined games between Single-A Lynchburg and Double-A Altoona. He also participated in the 2009 All-Star Futures Game, was a member of the gold medal winning Team USA World Cup team and was named the Pirates Minor League Player-of-the-Year after leading all Pittsburgh farmhands in home runs and RBI.

OFFENSIVE EXODUS: The promotion of Alvarez capped what was over a month long mass exodus of offensive talent from the Indians’ roster. Alvarez was batting .277 with 67 hits, 42 runs, 15 doubles, four triples and a team best 13 home runs and 53 RBI. INF/OF Steve Pearce batted .349 with 30 hits, 18 runs, 12 doubles, two triples, two home runs and eight RBI before he was called to Pittsburgh on May 4. INF Neil Walker hit .321 with 54 hits, 25 runs, 18 doubles, two triples, six home runs, 26 RBI and 10 stolen bases before he received the call from the Pirates on May 25. Finally, OF Jose Tabata turned in a .308 batting average with a team best 69 hits, 42 runs and 23 stolen bases as well as 13 doubles, two triples, three home runs and 19 RBI before he earned his first Major League call on June 9. Overall this season, these four offensive stars accounted for 41% of the team’s total runs (127 of 310), 38% of the team’s total hits (220 of 582), 39% of the team’s total doubles (58 of 149), 48% (10 of 21) of the team’s total triples, 44% of the team’s total home runs (24 of 54), 37% (106 of 283) of the team’s total RBI and 64% (42 of 66) of the team’s total stolen bases.

Looking Back at Buffalo & Indy: Series I
5/9/10: IND 5, BUF 4
The Bisons lost their first four-game series of the season on Sunday when they fell to the Indians, 5-4, from Victory Field. The Bisons had their chances to win on Sunday. The team left a season-high 15 men on base and hit just 3-16 with runners in scoring position. Herd had runners on base in every inning. They left the bases loaded in the first inning and two men on in the second, fifth, seventh and ninth frames. Buffalo did have a 2-1 lead in this game following a two-run triple from Josh Thole in the third inning. Thole had three hits on the day and singled home another run in the fifth inning to tie the score at three.
Indy’s Brian Myrow hit a home run off of R.A. Dickey in the bottom of the fifth to give his team the lead. The Indians then added a very important insurance run in the seventh as Neil Walker took Adam Pettyjohn deep. The extra run proved to be the game winner as Chris Carter hit his fifth home run of the season to lead off the ninth inning. Dickey (3-2) suffered the loss as he allowed four runs (three earned) in six innings of work. Chris Carter extended his hit streak to 10 games with a single and a home run in four at-bats. He’s the third Bisons’ hitter to reach 10 games with a hit streak. Fernando Martinez left the game in the bottom of the first inning. He appeared to hurt himself legging out a ground ball.

5/8/10: BUF 4, IND 3
Tobi Stoner put an end to a pair of losing streaks with an impressive showing on Saturday night from Victory Field. The Bisons’ righty fanned eight batters in six solid innings to lead the Herd to a 4-3 win over the Indianapolis Indians. In doing so, Stoner snapped a personal five-game losing streak and helped Buffalo pick up their first win since Tuesday. The 25-year old rebounded nicely on Saturday by allowing just one run on four hits and four walks. Indy threatened for most of the game, but Stoner and two Herd relievers forced the Indians to strand 11 base runners and hit just 3-14 with runners in scoring position.
The Indians almost rallied against the Bisons bullpen. The I-Tribe scored two runs in the seventh inning and came very close to tying the score in the eighth. Jose Tabata singled with a runner on second base and two outs, but Herd right fielder Jesus Feliciano threw out Luke Carlin trying to score on the play. Buffalo closer Elmer Dessens stopped the Indians from threatening any more. He struck out two batters in the ninth to earn his fourth save of the season. The Bisons scored two in the second and two more in the fourth inning to build a 4-0 lead. Josh Thole and Ruben Tejada produced back-to-back RBI-hits with two outs in the second to get the Herd on the board. Mike Hessman added to his league-leading RBI total with a run-scoring double in the fourth. The slugger now has 33RBI on the season. Two batters later, Hessman scored on Russ Adams’ RBI-single. After an intentional walk to Ruben Tejada in with two outs in the fourth inning, Indianapolis pitchers retired the final 16 Bisons hitters they faced. Chris Carter singled in four trips to extend his hit streak to nine games. The 13 combined strikeouts from Tobi Stoner (8), John Lujan (3) and Elmer Dessens (2) set a one-game season-high for the Bisons

5/7/10: IND 8, BUF 5
The Bisons dropped their second straight game 8-5 on Friday night in Indianapolis. The Herd jumped out to a 4-0 lead. A sac fly by Mike Hessman scored the first run of the game in the first, while Chris Carter scored Mike Jacobs on an RBI double. In the third frame Hessman struck again. With Jacobs on base, Hessman blasted his ninth homer of the season off the left field foul pole to put the Bisons up four. The three RBI night for Hessman gives him an IL-best 32 on the year. The Indians combined for seven runs over the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings to go on top 7-4. Bisons starter Dillon Gee walked in a run in the fourth. Then Luke Carlin hit his first long ball of the year, a two run home run, which was part of a four-run fifth inning. Dillon Gee suffered his first loss on the year, going five innings and giving up five runs on six hits. With his RBI double in the first inning, Chris Carter extended his hitting streak to eight games.

5/6/10: IND 9, BUF 2
The Bisons dropped the first of an eight-game road trip in Indianapolis, falling 9-2 to the Indians on Thursday night. The Indians took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning on an RBI single from Brandon Jones.
The Bisons came back to tie the game in the fourth on Chris Carter’s solo home run, his fifth long ball of the year. The game unraveled for the Herd in the sixth. Indianapolis unloaded for seven runs on seven hits and sent 12 men to the plate. The big hit in the inning came on a three-run home run from Pedro Alvarez, Pittsburgh’s top prospect. Bisons starter Bobby Livingston went five innings, giving up just two runs on six hits. Chris Carter extended his hitting streak to seven games with his fourth inning homer. With an RBI double in the ninth, Mike Hessman added to his IL leading RBI total (29), and is now tied for the league lead in extra-base hits (16).

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