Indianapolis cruises into playoffs

As the baseball season winds down, the Indianapolis Indians' offense is just getting warmed up. All season, the Tribe's pitching staff has been given most, if not all, the credit for the success of the team. However, in the second half of the season, the Indians' offense has stepped up to carry its fair share of the weight.

On August 23, the Indians clinched the International League West Division title, earning them their playoff spot in September. On the night of the victory, the Indians waited eagerly for the Toledo Mud Hens to finish up their game against the Columbus Clippers, who were in a close second to the Indians for the title. The Clippers fell to the Mud Hens, granting the division title to Indianapolis.

"It was a bunch of us guys standing around, waiting on our chance to celebrate because Toledo was up pretty big late," said outfielder Alex Presley. So we figured we had it, we just had to sit there and wait for the final out to make sure."

The team celebrated in the clubhouse with a lot of champagne and cheers. According to right fielder Dallas McPherson, who recently joined the team in the middle of August, celebrating with the team was exciting.

"It was real nice," he said. "It was a lot of fun and it's always nice to win and anytime you celebrate going into playoffs, it makes the season worthwhile."

Coming out the night after winning the division title, Presley said that there was no added pressure to win and everyone enjoyed themselves.

"We just came out and had fun. There was no pressure to win," he said. "Everybody just came out and played the game with no added pressure to win at this point, and it showed tonight. We were swinging the bats pretty well and pitching pretty well."

In just the past week, several Indians have excelled in their at bat opportunities. Towards the end of the week, the Tribe finished up a small stint with the Louisville Bats. Overall, the team has been 15-4 against the Bats. Since joining the Indians, Presley has batted .375 in four games against the Bats with a double, two triples, a home run, three RBI and four runs scored. Although his some of his time has been split between Pittsburgh and Indianapolis, Presley said that he has really enjoyed the season up to this point.

"It's been a blast. I haven't had that much time here [in Indianapolis] this season, but when I have been here it's been awesome," Presley said. "You know, you just want to have fun playing baseball and this is a good place to do it. The crowds here are awesome and it's probably the best place to play in the minor leagues."

McPherson has also been a key player this past week. In Saturday's win, he went 3-for-5 with four RBI and two home runs. The home runs marked his second game in a row with a home run and fourth home run with the Tribe. One of his home runs sailed over the leftfield fence, and McPherson said that he has been working on hitting the ball with more muscle and sticking with it.

"That's actually something I've been working a little bit, trying to stay on balls the other way and not trying to pull them," he said. "I've been working on that and trying to grind through it and luckily, I stayed with that one and hit it well."

Another player that has really stepped up in a short time is second baseman Brock Holt. Holt joined the Tribe in early August and in 19 games has a batting average of .384 with four RBI and seven runs scored.

With just a little over a week left until the first playoff game, the Indians are in preparation mode. According to Presley, the team will make the necessary changes and keep playing the way they have been all season.

"I imagine some guys will get a little bit of rest along the way [to the playoffs]," he said. "We'll probably set up our rotation for the playoffs. You know, we'll lose some guys to the system or call ups, but that's just the way it is. But whoever we have to work with, we'll do that and the goal will be to win it."

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