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Five takeaways from another impressive Bisons homestand

The Buffalo Bisons wrapped up their homestand going 5-1 with a series sweep of the Charlotte Knights and two out of three wins against the Toledo Mud Hens.

As the Herd heads to Allentown, Pa., to take on International League North Division leader Lehigh Valley, here's what we've learned about the Bisons:

1. The Bisons are really good at home. With the sweep of Charlotte, the Bisons improved to 22-9 at home. By contrast, they are 9-14 on the road.

"I don't know. I don't think about it," Bisons manager Bobby Meacham said of the disparity in home-road records. "I've just been hearing lately that's what it is. 'You're record at home is amazing.' But I just feel like we battle out there every day. We're going on the road now, so hopefully we can put it together on the road but it feels like every day these guys go out and battle hard and get a chance to win every time. We'll just keep trying to get better on the road."

2. Hot hitters stay hot. Three Bisons entered Sunday's games ranked in the top 10 in the International League in batting.

Jason Leblebijian took over the team lead, hitting .318. In his last six games, Leblebijian is hitting .472 with two doubles, a triple and 10 RBIs.

"It felt good the last week or so," Leblebijian said of his recent production at the plate. "Hitting is contagious and the way this team has gone so far it just takes one guy to just get it going and it domino effects through the lineup."

Dwight Smith Jr., who missed two games this homestand after crashing into the rightfield wall on Wednesday, is hitting .308.

Ian Parmley was 10th in the IL heading into Sunday's schedule. He is batting .298 and has hits in 14 of his last 19 games, hitting .338, with 10 RBIs.

"I know it sounds cliché but it's team baseball," Mecham said. "When you're driving in runs, you're helping your team win ball games, not just getting hits for yourself."

3. Herd is aggressive on the bases. Bisons entered Sunday's game with the second most stolen bases in the IL with 52. Christian Lopes made it 53 with a stolen base in the sixth inning of the Herd's 10-5 win over Charlotte on Sunday.

"A couple different managers have discussed how aggressive we are on the bases," Meacham said. "I don't think we do anything extraordinary other than we run balls out. We look for a chance to take advantage of mistakes. That's what guys end up doing through this organization. They do well with it and I think we pull out a few extra wins because of it."

But it's not just steals. The Bisons have been good at taking advantage of both official errors and general fielding miscues with their aggressive base-running style.

"It's tough to get across to some guys but we have a good group," Meacham said. "They've learned over the last few years, or probably their whole careers. If they're doing it now they probably did it in college and it just reinforces how important it is not to assume stuff. If you just run hard and make the other team make the plays, usually things are going to come out in  your favor."

4. The trend continues. The key for the Bisons has been scoring runs. Lots of runs. When the Herd scores four or more runs they are 27-9. Conversely they are just 4-14 when scoring three or fewer. Sunday's 10-5 win was the third time this season the Bisons have scored double-digit runs.

5. All-Star voting is open. Online fan voting is open for the Triple-A All-Star Game. Fans can vote through June 23. The game will be held July 12 in Tacoma, Washington pitting the International League All-Stars against the Pacific Coast League All-Stars.

Bisons on the ballot are: Rowdy Tellez (first base), Jake Elmore (second base), Shane Optiz (shortstop), Jason Leblebijian (third base), Raffy Lopez (catcher), Christian Lopes (designated hitter), Roemon Fields (outfield), Ian Parmley (outfield), Dwight Smith Jr. (outfield), Jarrett Grube (starting pitcher), T.J. House (starting pitcher), Brett Oberholtzer (starting pitcher), Matt Dermody (relief pitcher), Chad Girodo (relief pitcher), Murphy Smith (relief pitcher) and John Stilson (relief pitcher).

 

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