By Josh Cook
It seems the only thing that can slow down the Louisville Bats right now is Mother Nature.
For just the third time this season, and the first since April 24, the Bats had a game postponed by rain Monday night at Gwinnett in Lawrenceville, Ga. It brought a premature end to what was a very successful swing away from Louisville Slugger Field. Since it was the last scheduled meeting between the two teams this season it likely will not be made up...unless there is a postseason berth on the line for one of them.
And at this rate it might just be Louisville, which went 6-1 on its eight-day road trip. The Bats (53-50) have won four in a row, seven of their last eight games and 17 of their last 22. They have gone 9-2 since the Triple-A All-Star break led by Juan Francisco (.317 batting average and seven home runs since the break), Chris Valaika (.361), Zack Cozart (.366), Gary Matthews Jr. (.303) and Chris Dickerson (.400).
The Bats are three games above .500 for the first time all season and in sole possession of second place in the International League West, 10 1/2 games behind Columbus. However Louisville is only 1 1/2 games behind Syracuse (54-49) for the IL wildcard playoff spot.
Louisville returns home at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday night to face Charlotte in the first of a six-game homestand by the Bats, who will play 10 of their next 12 games at Slugger Field. Louisville's Ben Jukich (3-4, 4.01 earned run average) is slated to take on Matt Zaleski (6-6, 3.87 ERA).
Also on Tuesday night there will be $1 hot dogs and Pepsi products available during the game. It is also Kraft Singles Tuesday Night, so if you buy one field reserved ticket you can get one free if you bring a Kraft Singles package wrapper to Slugger Field (visit www.kraftsingles.com for more details). The first 1,000 fans in attendance also receive a free copy of Baseball America magazine.