One never knows what to expect from a Triple-A baseball season. The primary function in the minor leagues is to prepare players for Major League Baseball and during their affiliation with Indianapolis, the Pittsburgh Pirates have not hesitated to call players up to the big leagues during the course of the season.
The Indians have lost numerous key players already this season, but they continue to dominate International League competition as we near the halfway point of the season.
“This team has played well. It really started from Day 1 and the pitching has carried us to this point and will probably have to carry us, but the bats are starting to warm up, I think that is with the weather, the team is playing very well,” said Indiana manager Dean Treanor Thursday night prior to a game against the Durham Bulls.
Two games this past week show the Indians they are not just a one-dimensional team. Wednesday afternoon top-prospect Garrit Cole pitched seven scoreless innings against the Bulls, the top team in the IL South Division. Cole allowed just three hits and the Indians bullpen finished the deal clinching a hard-fought 1-0 victory.
However, a few days earlier in Columbus, the Indians showed off those “hot bats” that Treanor was talking about by hitting six home runs in a 13-3 victory over the Clippers.
“If our hitting is not there, our pitching is going to show up. Those four games in Columbus (this past weekend) is where we clicked on all cylinders. We had our pitching, we had our hitting, we had our defense, and we played some good baseball. We’re hoping to bring that back to Indy,” said Indians catcher Tony Sanchez.
The Indians know how to impress the home crowd, having posted a 23-8 record prior to Thursday night’s game against the Bulls.
“It’s our second home. We’re comfortable here, we love it here. We love coming home from a road trip and we’re genuinely excited to come back and play at our own ballpark,” added Sanchez.
Fans should get out and see some of the top prospects on this team when you can, as you never know when they are going to move up to the Major Leagues. Treanor can’t worry about players lost, he simply has to try to win games with the players he has available, something he has done a fantastic job during his time at Indians manager.
“Lately it seems like the phone has been ringing a lot. A lot of guys have gone up there, what is good is the guys have done well when they’ve gone there (Pittsburgh) That is really why we’re here is to make sure that the guys that are here are ready when the phone does ring and then when guys to go, it’s up to somebody else to step in and so far guys have been stepping in and doing a good the job.
Big crowds are expected for the remainder of this home-stand which is highlighted by Ozzie Smith’s appearance and autograph session prior to Saturday night’s game against Norfolk.