August 31, 2018 Akron and Lynchburg

On this date just two years ago, seven different Indians pitchers combined to shut out their opponents for 18 innings across two levels.

Looking at Lynchburg first with the Hillcats against the Salem Red Sox, Justin Garza made the start. He allowed a hit in the second and committed his own error when he attempted to pick off the runner. Two strike outs helped quell the potential rally, then he struck out three in a row in the third. He was pulled after five shut out innings and replaced in the sixth by Ben Krauth who copied Garza when he struck out two, then struck out all three batters faced in his second inning. He continued on with one more hit allowed in the eighth and retired one more batter in the ninth before Dalbert Siri finished out the final two outs.

Garza makes a start for the 2018 Glendale Desert Dogs at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, AZ. – Joseph Coblitz, IBI

The Hillcats scored eight to back up their three pitchers, starting with two runs in the fourth thanks to three consecutive hits. Nolan Jones singled, then Trenton Brooks and Anthony Miller doubled to open the scoring. Dillon Persinger and Mitch Longo added doubles in the next inning and Miller homered to score five more. Miller added a second home run in the seventh to finish the scoring. This was the only multi-home run game in Miller’s five year Indians career.

Starting at the exact same time (7:07 PM) on August 31, 2018, the Akron Rubberducks were taking on the Erie Seawolves. Kyle Dowdy made the start for Akron on the road in Pennsylvania. He allowed a walk in the first and a single in the second, but kept the Seawolves from any serious offensive attack until the fourth. After a strike out to start that inning, he allowed a pair of singles, then walked a batter after two were out to load the bases. A ground out saved the shut out and allowed the Rubberducks to keep their one run lead earned in the top half of the inning.

In the fifth, the Rubberducks added to their score with singles from Sam Haggerty and Alexis Pantoja followed by doubles from Ernie Clement and Andrew Calica. Added to Nellie Rodriguez’s RBI triple the inning before, this gave Akron the 4-0 lead that they would ride though the end.

Karinchak stands by the autograph fence during 2019 Indians MLB spring training practice in Goodyear, AZ. – Joseph Coblitz, IBI

Dowdy continued on strong with only a walk allowed in the fifth, then three straight K’s in the sixth. Nick Sandlin replaced him in the seventh and also struck out the side, but allowed a hit and a walk in between. Current rookie of the year contender James Karinchak replaced him in the eighth and added another K to the tally in a perfect inning. Argenis Angulo then came on to close things out and did so very effectively, walking a batter before striking out the last two men to end the game.

Overall, the seven Indians minor league pitchers pitched 18 shut out innings, allowed just seven hits (three being off Dowdy), struck out 27 (nine belonging to Dowdy) and walked seven. While this is a very recent date, it sticks out as different from many of the other games we have covered in Indians minor league history as nearly all of these pitchers remain top prospects for the Indians bullpen with the exceptions of Karinchak, because he’s already in the big leauges, and Garza, who ended 2019 in Lynchburg. Particularly, Dowdy, Sandlin and Angulo are essentially as ready as they’ll ever be while Siri and Krauth still have high potential. The first trio ended 2019 in Columbus while the final pair finished in Akron.

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