Indians Keep it Close, Can’t Come Through

It was another beautiful evening at Victory Field in Indianapolis Saturday night, as more than 6,000 fans hoped they would see the Indians win their first home game of the season. Unfortunately, just as the sun set over White River State Park, so too did the Indianapolis Indians chances of securing their first home victory as they lost 3-2 to the visiting Toledo Mud Hens.

This latest loss is the second in as many days for the Hoosier hardballers, who are now 0-4 against Toledo this season with two more games to go in this opening home series. The loss drops the Indy Indians to a not-so-hot 3-7 record overall, including losses in six of their last seven. The 3-7 mark is good enough for last place in the Independent League’s West Division.

Both starters in last night’s contest figured in the decision. The hometown’s RHP Chris Jakubauskas (5.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 7 SO) had good stuff most of the night, and got off to a great start by recording six of the Mud Hen’s first nine outs by way of strikeout. All was for not though, as Jakubauskas picked up his second loss on the season and holds 0-2 record thus far.

His counterpart for Toledo was Alfredo Figaro (5.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 SO) who picked up his second win on the season, improving to a 2-0 mark on the early season.

The real issue for the Indianapolis Indians last night was their inability to come up with a crucial hit when it counted most. The Tribe went 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position last night which will always make it difficult to pick up a W. Defensively speaking, the Indians turned in a much better performance–no errors–than the home opener in which they hung 4 Es on the scoreboard.

Last night’s game in downtown Indianapolis moved at a relatively brisk pace, especially up until the top of the forth inning when Toledo scored the game’s first two runs on a long double by Mud Hens catcher Mike Rabelo. The two-bagger plated Toledo first basemen Jeff Larish,who lead off the fourth with a walk, and left fielder Jeff Frasier who also doubled to move the two into scoring position.

2-0 is how it stood until the home half of the seventh inning when Indians center fielder Jonathan Van Every doubled to the Victory Field graveyard that is left center, and moved to third on a throwing error by the visitors. While the Indians threatened to tack on more, they were only able to muster the one run.

Toledo’s Larish added an insurance run in the top of the eighth inning with a solo home run in the top of the eighth which is his second chongo of the season.

With the score 3-1, the Tribe threatened to hang a few more on the scoreboard in both their eighth and ninth inning at bats, but could only muster one more run on a moon ball down the left field line by first basemen Steve Pearce that almost interrupted traffic on West Maryland Street. Pearce is flat out raking it in the early stages of the season as his 2-3 performance at the dish last night improved his batting average to an impressive .389.

When asked about his hot start Pearce said,”I’ve been working counts and getting pitches to hit. I’m not trying to be too aggressive at the plate. I’ve been trying to wait out the pitchers and get the pitches I want to hit.”

Extra Game Notes

While the Indianapolis Indians are struggling with small ball scoring, they haven’t had a problem going deep at all this season. In their first 10 games of the season, the Tribe have tattooed 10 home runs, all of which seemed to have been tape-measurer shots. It’s an oldie but goody: chicks dig the long ball…so they’ve got that going for them, right?

Indians left fielder Jose Tabata added to his already career-long hitting streak with a single last night. He has now hit safely in all nine games he has played this season.

One point of possible interest to note is Toledo turned to reliever Daniel Schlereth (1.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO) last night who pitched the Mud Hens out of trouble in the late innings. If you’re an Indianapolis Colts fan, or just a pigskin lover in general, the name–while hard to pronounce–might sound familiar since Daniel is the sun of former NFL offensive linemen Mark Schlereth.

Looking for something to do in Indy? It is going to be another great day for Indianapolis sports, so grab the kids, get up, get out and get down to The Vic and cheer on the hometown boys as they look to win their first home game of this early 2010 season.

Sunday’s game is game three of the four-game series against the Toledo Mud Hens and the first pitch is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. The probable starters for the game are Toledos RHP Ruddy Lugo and Indians RHP Kevin Hart.