Game 12, Home 5
Columbus Clippers (6-4) at Louisville Bats (5-6)
7:00 PM | Monday, April 15, 2019 | Louisville Slugger Field
LISTEN: Nick Curran & Jim Kelch, 790 KRD; iHeartRadio.com; iHeart app
WELCOME THE CLIP SHOW: The Louisville Bats and division rival Columbus Clippers will begin a four-game series Monday night, continuing an 8-game homestand for the Bats as they celebrate their 20th season playing at Louisville Slugger Field. It's the second home series and first one against a divisional opponent this season, after opening the home schedule against an out-of-division team (Gwinnett) for the first time since 2008 (Pawtucket). Tonight, right-hander Lucas Sims will make his second straight start against Columbus.
AGAINST COLUMBUS: Coming into play Monday, the all-time series between the clubs is in a deadlock through 414 total games since 1988. Each club owns a 207-207 record after Louisville took 2 of 3 from Columbus last week, in each team's second series of 2019 from April 8-10. In the most recent matchup of the series, Louisville dominated in an 8-0 win, which was Louisville's largest shutout win by run differential since April 24, 2016 in a 9-0 win at Norfolk.
I'M SO HAPPY TO SEE YOU: Bats second baseman Josh VanMeter obliterated Columbus pitching in last week's series at Huntington Park, batting .454 (5-for-11) with 4 home runs in the 3 games. He became the first Louisville player with 4+ homers in a 3-game span since all-time minor league home run king Mike Hessman did it for the 2013 Bats, hitting 4 in a 2-game span.
BALL, HAWK: Louisville outfielder Courtney Hawkins has hit safely in all 3 games with the Bats since making his Triple-A debut on April 12, including hitting his first home run in the ninth inning of Sunday's 7-4 loss. Hawkins, along with fellow outfielders Aristides Aquino and Nick Longhi, have all hit their first Triple-A homers for the Bats in 2019.
CAN'T SPELL 'LONG HIT' WITHOUT 'LONGHI': Nick Longhi went 2-for-4 with a triple and home run on Sunday, smacking the Bats' first triple of the season off Gwinnett starter Kolby Allard in the fourth, and hammering an opposite field go-ahead two-run blast in the sixth. Longhi became the first Bat with a triple and homer in the same game since Brandon Dixon hit for the cycle last season on August 17 at Rochester.
RAIN, RAIN, GO AWAY: Sunday's rain delay, which lasted 2 hours and one minute, was the longest rain delay in a Bats game since June 15, 2017 at Charlotte, which was one minute longer than yesterday's, at 2:02. It was the longest delay at Louisville Slugger Field since August 20, 2016 vs. Indianapolis, a 2:40 delay.
TRANSACTIONS: Louisville activated catcher Juan Graterol from the 7-day IL, who injured his left heel on April 4 in the Bats' first game of the season. The 30-year-old reached base 4 times in his lone game of the season, going 2-for-3 with 2 walks and a run scored. In a corresponding move, the Bats removed catcher Valentin Martinez from their roster. The youngest player on the team went 2-for-7 with 2 doubles in 2 starts with Louisville.
STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE: Through 11 games this season, the Bats' opponent has been above .500 for 10 of the 11, and technically every possible game, with the lone exception being when a record-less Louisville and Toledo squared off in the first game of the season. In 2018, Louisville played 80 of its 137 games against teams above .500 (58%; 33-47), 9 games against .500 teams (7%, 4-5) and 48 games against teams below .500 (35%; 24-24).
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.