A successful regular-season doesn't always translate to post-season success. For the second consecutive year, the Indianapolis Indians face elimination.
Down two games to none in their best-of-five International League playoff series against Durham, the Indians host the Bulls Friday at Victory Field. If the Tribe wins tonight, game four, and potentially five, will also take place at home.
Following a pitcher's duel in game one that saw Durham push across two late runs to beat Brandon Crumpton, Thursday's affair went down to the wire. Despite two home runs from Indians outfielder Jerry Sands, the Bulls escaped with a 6-5 victory and commanding advantage in the series. The Bulls jumped on Tribe starter Graham Godfrey (0.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER) for four runs in the first and added another off reliever Brooks Brown to take a quick 5-0 lead.
To compound the Indians woes, reigning IL Pitcher-of-the-Year J. D. Martin limited the Indians through eight innings (8.0 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 SO) to a pair of runs.
The Tribe broke through in the ninth against Durham reliever Steve Geltz. After Jared Goedert led off with a double and Russ Cantzler walked, Sands slammed a pitch over the center field fence to draw Indianapolis within a run at 6-5. With Geltz chased, Bulls reliever Kirby Yates gave up a walk before proceeding to strike out the side to preserve the Durham victory.
With their season on the line, the Indians turn to rehabbing major league veteran Wandy Rodriguez to keep their season alive. He's expected work a couple of innings before giving way to Jameson Taillon. The Bulls will counter with Merrill Kelly.
First pitch at the Vic is slated for 7:05PM.
Smoke Signals: The Indians will kick-off their playoff celebration with a free special edition playoff T-shirt for the first 2,500 fans and a post-game fireworks show to cap off the evening. Fans can also enjoy Monday Dollar Menu pricing of $1 for hot dogs, peanuts, Cracker Jack, popcorn and potato chips during all home playoff contests.....The Tribe were winners at the box office this season as well. Indianapolis concluded the regular season with the highest overall attendance among all 160 Minor League Baseball Clubs. The Tribe welcomed a total of 637,579 fans (average of 8,980 per game) through the turnstiles during the 2013 campaign, the fourth-largest total in Victory Field history and the best single-season attendance since the team's championship campaign in 2000.