The Clippers have rattled off 7 straight wins to push their division lead to 8 games over the Louisville Bats in the West. The roll comes on the heels of a stretch in which the Clippers had played under .500 ball (6-9) over a 2-week span after their 13-game winning streak was snapped on May 5th. At their current pace, the Clippers would finish with a 102-42 record this season, no pressure.
Columbus is in the midst of their longest road trip of the season, a 10-gamer through Norfolk, Durham and Louisville. The Tides have the worst record in the IL and one of the worst in pro baseball. The Bulls are a 1st place team, but the Clippers just finished sweeping them at Huntington Park and the Bats have struggled, dropping 8 of their last 12 games. On paper, the Clippers should be able to feast on this trip.
One of the reasons for the resurgence is the fact that the bullpen has settled down nicely and their have been some roster additions to the relief corps that should help as well. David Huff is set to rejoin the rotation, which pushes Joe Martinez back into the pen, Josh Judy is back from Cleveland and Justin Germano has been added to the roster after accepting his assignment after clearing waivers.
Things are not quite as settled with the position players as the short bench has forced Mike Sarbaugh to use both catchers in the line-up for the past few days. Josh Rodriguez is still down with a groin injury and Chad Huffman’s balky back has kept him out of the lineup for the last 2 days. No word on whether a DL stint is in the future for either player, but the Clippers could sure use a body or 2 to give a rest to the rest. Kyle Smith is on the roster, but if he starts and there is an injury, only a catcher would be available on the bench.
In case you were wondering, Jared Goedert has been playing with Akron on an injury rehab assignment. He is currently on the Cleveland 60-day DL. He’s hitting .276 with a 1.044 OPS for the Aeros over 8 games. He is eligible to come off of the DL tomorrow. He could be optioned to the minors after that. With Lonnie Chisenhall firmly entrenched at 3B, Goedert would likely see time at 1B and in the outfield. A power bat would be very welcome in the Clippers batting order. UPDATE- Goedert was assigned to Columbus today to continue his rehab assignment.
Speaking of power bats, there has not been much word from Cleveland about the status of Nick Weglarz. Mt. Logan went down with a torn meniscus in spring and was expected to miss the first 2 months of the season, well here we are on March 28th, so something should be forthcoming soon. Had Weglarz been healthy, he would have opened with Columbus and that could have pushed Jerad Head down to Akron. Funny how this game works.
When Alex White went down with an injured middle finger on his pitching hand, many thoughts drifted to Adam Miller, the can’t-miss SP prospect who had Tribe fans drooling. Miller’s finger injury derailed his ascent to the bigs, but he’s working his way back onto the tracks. He was recently promoted to Double-A Akron to continue his laborious march on the comeback trail. He will never be a starter again, but his turn to the bullpen could put him in a position to more easily manage his workload and give him a shot to one day pitch in the Majors in what would be a true feel-good story.
With the Indy 500 running at noon on Sunday, the Clipper broadcast will be preempted on WMNI. We will join in progress if possible.
Sorry for my major blogging drought (if I we’re a player this would have surely resulted in my demotion to the New-York Penn League roster), but I’m here and ready to talk baseball!
While I was away, my wife and I celebrated the birth of our daughter Joslyn. She is 7 pound, 3 ounce addition to our family that we have been glowing about for a couple of weeks now. She suffered from some breathing problems and spent an extra week in the hospital, but is home now and doing well. A special thanks is owed to all those who reached out to my family with their thoughts and prayers.
Meanwhile, the Clippers managed to roar to the front of the International League West Division, rattling of 13 straight wins at one point. Tonight the hometown heroes open an eight game home stand against Pawtucket (Red Sox) and Durham (Rays). The showdown with Durham is a re-match of last year’s Governors’ Cup Championship Series.
I hope you see you at Huntington Park this week!
* OF Jerad Head has been the biggest surprise of the 2011 season. He leads the league in batting with a .354 average. He is 16-for-43 (.372) in the month of May.
* OF Ezequiel Carrera is off and running again! He is second in the league in stolen bases (15-for-17).
* CA Luke Carlin (.431) and INF Cord Phelps (.418) are second and third, respectively, in on-base percentage.
* The Clippers still lead the league in batting, but over the last four games, have hit just .214 (28×131) to lower their team average from .299 to .290. Those 28 hits include just eight extra-base hits, as they have slugged only .305 in the last four. They have scored just 15 runs in those games, failing to score more than five runs each time (longest stretch of the season). (special thanks to Clippers PR stud Joey Slosser for this note)
I’ve collected photos from my phone and I’ll be back to post them soon!
By Andrew Green / IndyIndians.com
Columbus Clippers starter Corey Kluber surrendered just a pair of runs on four hits in his seven innings of work, while relievers Carlton Smith and Josh Judy did not allow a hit in two innings of relief, to avoid a four game series sweep by defeating the Indianapolis Indians 5-2 in front of a season high crowd of 12,168 Monday afternoon at Victory Field.
The loss snaps the Tribe’s season-high four game winning streak and lowers their record to 15-24, while the Clippers improved to 26-12 with the victory. Columbus with the win also avoids a sweep at the hands of the Indians, who clinched a series victory with a win in Sunday’s contest.
Corey Kluber (7.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO) pitched past the fifth inning for the first time this season and also earned his first victory of 2011 after scattering just four hits, to earn the victory and bump his record to 1-3. Smith (1.0 IP) followed Kluber with a perfect eighth inning, while Judy (1.0 IP, 1 BB) shut the door in the ninth, with a two-out walk the lone blemish on his resume, to notch his sixth save of the year.
The Indians opened the scoring in the bottom of the first, when SS Chase d’Arnaud led off with a single and stole second before LF Alex Presley walked. Then after Presley and d’Arnaud pulled off a double steal, RF John Bowker tapped an RBI groundout in front of the plate to score d’Arnaud and give the Tribe an early 1-0 lead.
Columbus, however, answered with a single score of their own in the top of the third to even the game at 1-1 thanks to a clutch two out single. SS Luis Valbuena began the rally when he walked and moved to second on a groundout before 2B Cord Phelps drove in Valbuena with a single to right.
The Clippers then took over the lead with two more runs in the fifth courtesy of a pair of clutch two-out base knocks. After Valbuena singled to center, CF Ezequiel Carrera deposited the third pitch of his at-bat over the right field wall for his second home run of the season to give Columbus a lead they would not relinquish.
Valbuena (2-for-3, 3 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB) scored three of Columbus’ five runs and along with Phelps (2-for-4, 2 RBI) posted multi-hit efforts for the Clippers, while only d’Arnaud (2-for-4, 1 R, 2 SB) managed multiple hits for the Tribe. With his two-hit effort, d’Arnaud has now collected a base knock in six straight games, during which time he is hitting .524 (11-for-21) with five runs, five RBI and four stolen bases.
Indians LHP Brian Burres (6.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 SO) suffered the loss to fall to 1-6 on the year after relinquishing three earned runs on five hits, in addition to fanning five batters. Out of the Tribe bullpen, left handers Tony Watson (1.1 IP, 1 H) and Dan Meyer (1.0 IP) combined for 2.1 frames of one-hit ball.
By Andrew Green/IndyIndians.com
Indians left fielder John Bowker accounted for each of the Tribe’s three early runs, while third baseman Brian Friday collected a team-high three hits and shortstop Pedro Ciriaco connected on a late three-run blast to power Indianapolis over the Columbus Clippers 7-3 on Sunday afternoon at Victory Field.
Indianapolis has now won four straight contests to accumulate a 15-23 mark on the year, while Columbus dropped to 25-12 with the loss. The Tribe’s victory also clinched at least a series victory over the Clippers, who had defeated the Indians in seven straight contests entering the series.
After a one hour and 35 minute rain delay at the outset of the game, both teams wasted little time to get on the scoreboard as Columbus jumped ahead with two runs in the top of the first before the Tribe answered with single tally in the bottom of the frame.
Columbus CF Ezequiel Carrera started the scoring when he singled on the second pitch of the game, moved to second when 3B Lonnie Chisenhall was hit by a pitch and came home on DH Chad Huffman’s RBI single to give the Clippers a 1-0 lead. Chisenhall would later score in the frame on a sacrifice fly to center by 2B Jason Kipnis to push the Columbus advantage to 2-0.
Indianapolis responded with a run in their half of the first despite collecting just one hit. Ciriaco reached on a fielding miscue, and went from first to third on CF Alex Presley’s single before coming home on an RBI groundout by Bowker to cut the deficit in half at 2-1.
The Tribe then evened the score in the fifth sparked by Friday, who doubled to left and was moved to third on a sacrifice bunt from SS Chase d’Arnaud. Then following a pop out for the second out, Presley walked to set the stage for a clutch RBI single up the middle from Bowker to even the score at 2-2.
The Indians broke the game open in the eighth by tacking on four additional insurance runs, including Ciriaco’s three run home run. DH Andy Marte started the rally with a hit by a pitch and moved to second on Friday’s third base knock before scoring on SS Chase d’Arnaud’s RBI single up the chute to make it 4-2. Ciriaco then launched his second home run of the year two pitches later to left to put the issue no longer in doubt.
Columbus scored in the final frame but failed to complete a comeback for the second straight night despite a pair of two-out base knocks. Kipnis singled to center and then took second on defensive indifference before he was brought home on 1B Wes Hodges’ base hit up the middle.
LHP Rudy Owens (6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 SO) settled down after allowing two first inning runs and scattered just three hits the rest of the way while also walking none in his six innings of work but did not factor in the decision. The Indians’ bullpen followed Owens with some dominating performances as three relievers came one out short of being perfect in their three innings of work.
LHP Justin Thomas (1.0 IP, 1 SO) earned the win after striking out one in his spotless inning of relief, while RHP Evan Meek (1.0 IP, 1 SO), who is with Indianapolis on a Major League Rehab Assignment, picked up a hold for his perfect frame. RHP Cesar Valdez’s (1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 SO) 19.1 inning scoreless streak spanning 12 appearances came to an end after he surrendered a run on back-to-back two out singles.
Columbus starter Zach McAllister (6.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 6 SO) received a no-decision after allowing just two runs, one of which was earned, on four hits in addition to six punchouts in six innings pitched. Clippers’ reliever Zach Putnam (1.2 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 1 SO) suffered the loss to fall to 2-1 on the 2011 campaign after surrendering four earned runs on five hits in 1.2 frames.
The Indians complete their four-game series against Columbus on Monday at 11:05 a.m. for the third Baseball in Education Day of the year. LHP Brian Burres is scheduled to get the nod for the Tribe, while the Clippers are expected to counter with RHP Corey Kluber.
By Andrew Green/IndyIndians.com
Five Indianapolis pitchers, including starter Garrett Olson as well as relievers Sean Gallagher, Cesar Valdez, Tony Watson and Tim Wood combined to hold the International League’s top offense to just two runs on five hits, while right fielder Andrew Lambo blasted a solo home run and drove in two to lead the Indians past the Columbus Clippers 4-2 Saturday at Victory Field.
The five Tribe hurlers shut down the Clippers’ offense, who came into tonight’s contest at or near the top in of the International League in nearly all offensive categories, scattering five hits and allowing only two runs. Olson (2.0 IP, 1 BB, 2 SO) did not allow a hit and allowed just one walk in his two innings of work, while Gallagher (4.0 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 5 SO) earned his first victory of the year to improve to 1-5 after surrendering just three hits while striking out five in four innings of relief.
Valdez (1.0 IP, 1 BB, 1 SO) and Wood (0.1 IP) later combined for 1.1 no-hit innings of relief, with Valdez allowing a lone walk. Valdez earned his second hold the year, while Wood notched his seventh save of the year. Watson (1.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO) struck out two of the first three batters he faced, but went on to surrender the only two Columbus tallies.
The Tribe picked up their first run of the contest in the opening frame when SS Chase d’Arnaud doubled and moved to third on SS Pedro Ciriaco’s single before coming home on a double play groundout to give the Indians the early 1-0 advantage. Indianapolis then doubled their lead to two in the third inning thanks to Lambo’s solo home run to right field, which was the left handed slugger’s third of the year.
The final two Indians runs came in the seventh inning thanks to three straight two-out hits from C Jason Jaramillo, DH Andy Marte and Lambo. Jaramillo began the two-out rally with a single, immediately followed by an RBI double to left center by Marte, before Lambo singled to drive home Marte and increase the margin to 4-0.
Ciriaco led all batters with three hits, while Lambo posted the only other multi-hit effort of the contest with his two base knocks. Eight of the Indians’ nine batters in the lineup tallied a hit, with OF Alex Presley, the only one excluded. Despite not picking a hit, Presley continues to lead the International League in hits with 48.
RHP Mitch Talbot (5.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 SO), who was with the Clippers on a Major League Rehab Assignment, suffered the loss after surrendering two earned runs on six hits in his five frames. LHP Scott Barnes (3.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO) pitched the final three innings, giving up two earned runs on five hits while fanning three.
The Indians continue their four-game series against Columbus on Sunday at 2:05 p.m. LHP Rudy Owens is expected to get the ball for the Tribe, while the Clippers are scheduled to send out RHP Zach McAllister.
By Andrew Green/IndyIndians.com
Indianapolis starting pitcher Brad Lincoln surrendered just two earned runs on six hits in seven frames, while the Tribe’s offense scored a run in five straight innings to total nine runs on a season-high 16 hits in the Indians’ 9-5 victory over the Columbus Clippers on Friday night at Victory Field.
Lincoln (7.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 B, 4 SO) earned his third straight victory to improve to 3-3 after matching an Indians’ season best by going seven innings, while giving up just two earned runs on six hits along with two walks and four strikeouts. The right hander also continued the trend of excellent starting pitching for the Indians as Tribe starters have now gone 3-2 with a 1.85 ERA (8 ER in 39.0 IP) 28 strikeouts and just 14 walks over the team’s last seven contests.
The Indianapolis offense provided plenty of run support, scoring nine consecutive runs and tallying a season best 16 hits. Leading the way at the plate was the Indians’ trio of 1B Matt Hague, (3-for-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 3 RBI) SS Chase d’Arnaud (3-for-4, 1 R, 1 3B, 3 RBI) and C Jason Jaramillo (2-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI), who combined to go 8-for-13 with three runs and eight of the team’s nine RBI.
Columbus opened up the scoring in the second inning with a pair of runs thanks to 3B Luis Valbuena’s two-run double. RF Travis Buck led off the frame with a single and moved to second on a walk by C Luke Carlin before both came across on Valbuena’s double to deep left center.
The Tribe however answered back with a run in the bottom of the second after Jaramillo singled, advanced to second on a throwing error and third on RF Andrew Lambo’s base knock before coming home on d’Arnaud’s fielder’s choice. The run was the first of five straight innings in which the Indians plated a tally.
Indianapolis then scored three runs in the following frame to take over the lead for good at 4-2. 2B Pedro Ciriaco began the frame with a single, stole second and third and then came home on Hague’s RBI single. Following Hague’s base hit, 3B Josh Harrison reached on a Columbus fielding miscue, before Jaramillo brought in both with an RBI double to left.
The Indians then plated two more in the fourth inning as after a lead-off single from Lambo, d’Arnaud ripped an RBI triple off the left field wall to push the advantage to 5-1. d’Arnaud would later score when DH Corey Wimberly slapped an RBI single to center to increase the margin to five.
Yet another Tribe tally would come home in the fifth after Harrison began the frame with a triple and scored on d’Arnaud’s RBI single. The run-scoring single gave the shortstop an RBI in each of his first three at bats of the contest.
Indianapolis capped their scoring in the sixth frame as Presley singled and stole second before LF John Bowker walked to set the stage for Hague, who lifted a two-run double to left to give the Indians a 9-2 advantage. The two-run base knock for Hague gave him three RBI for the second consecutive contest, increasing his team lead to 23 so fart this season.
Columbus raised comeback hopes with three runs in the final frame, but ultimately came up short. Cord Phelps drew a base on balls and then took second on a single by 1B Chad Huffman before Buck left the yard with a three run blast to right to make it 9-5.
All nine starters in the Indians’ lineup notched at least one hit, while eight different Tribe players scored at least one run. For the Clippers, DH Lonnie Chisenhall (2-for-4, 1 2B) along with Huffman (2-for-5, 1 R) and Buck (2-for-5, 2 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI) each tallied two hits.
Clippers LHP David Huff (4.2 IP, 12 H, 7 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO) suffered the loss to lower his record to 3-2 after giving up four earned runs on 12 hits in 4.2 frames. Columbus reliever Josh Judy (2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 SO) fired two scoreless frames of relief, allowing just two hits while striking out a batter.
The Indians continue their four-game series against Columbus on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. LHP Garrett Olson is scheduled to take to the mound for the Tribe, while the Clippers have yet to name a starter.
The Charlotte Knights jumped to an eight run lead and won 10-7 over the Clippers on Thursday afternoon at Huntington Park.
Gaby Hernandez earned the win, allowing four earned runs over six innings. The Knights righty did not allow a run in the first four innings. CLippers starter Joe Martinez suffered the loss.
Columbus’ bullpen struggles continued as Eric Berger was hit for six runs (five earned) in one frame.
Jerad Head was 3-for-5 for the Clippers, while Luis Valbuena and Josh Rodrigez each picked up two RBI.
The Clippers open a four-game series in Indianapolis at 7:15pm Friday. David Huff will start for Columbus.
A two out power show would then take place in the bottom of the third inning when Jason Kipnis crushed a two-run bomb that landed in the Wendy’s hamburger right field balcony. Just like that, Columbus had a 5-0 lead after 3 innings.
That lead would become 6-0 when Cord Phelps knocked in Ezequiel Carrera on an RBI single in the bottom of the fourth.
Things got a lot tighter in the top of the sixth. After Sean Gallagher and Tyler Flowers singled and Lastings Milledge walked, Jordan Danks hit a grand slam to deep left center to make it 6-4 Clippers.
It would become a one run advantage for the Clippers as Dayan Viciedo, a thorn in the side of Columbus pitching, knocked in Eduardo Escobar with a two out RBI single in the top of the seventh to make it 6-5 Clippers.
With their big lead nearly evaporated, the Clippers got to work to try to cushion their one run lead. Carrera led off the bottom of the seventh with a single to left field. The next batter, Cord Phelps would wallop a pitch out of the ball park onto Nationwide Boulevard to give the Clippers an 8-5 lead.
The Knights would not back down. The next inning, Gookie Dawkins knocked in McPherson on a single to right field to make it 8-6. Immediately following the Dawkins RBI single, Escobar knocked in Danks to again make a one run Clippers advantage. Clippers relief pitcher Josh Judy struck out Alejandro De Aza swinging and got Jim Gallagher to fly out to left field to end the inning.
More runs would cross the plate for the Clippers. Hodges singled to being the inning. Carlin bunted him over to second. A wild pitch while Jered Head was batting allowed Hodges to advance to third. Another wild pitch to the backstop allowed Hodges to score from third to make it 9-7 Clippers.
The Clippers will send Joe Martinez to hill for Thursday’s business special at Huntington Park. He will face Gaby Hernandez, who will be making the start for Charlotte. First pitch is 11:35 AM.
A good start didn’t result in a good outcome for the Clippers Tuesday night. Columbus had a 6-0 lead after three innings but were outscored 13-1 the rest of the way as the Charlotte Knights outslugged the Clippers 13-7. Eric Berger (0-1) suffered his first loss of the season. Miguel Socolovich (2-0) got the win for the Knights.The Clippers got on the board quickly in the bottom of the first. Columbus centerfielder Ezequiel Carrera stroked a lead-off home run that just cleared the 16 ft tall right center field wall to give the Clippers an early 1-0 lead. Another solo home run would be clubbed by the Clippers in the next inning. Cord Phelps blasted a 2nd inning solo dinger into the left field bleachers to double the Clippers lead to 2-0.
In the third inning, the Clippers decided to use speed to their advantage. Luis Valbuena led off the inning with a single to left field. Carrera then got on when he laid down a perfect bunt down the 1st base line. Knights starter Freddy Dolsi gave chase to Carrera’s bunted ball, but fumbled the ball as he attempted to throw out the speedy Carrera. Jason Donald would walk to load the bases. Lonnie Chisenhall came to bat and he delivered with ducks on the pond, smoking a 3 run RBI double down the left field line to augment the Clippers advantage 5-0. After a deep Chad Huffman fly out to centerfield, Travis Buck knocked in Chisenhall from third base with an RBI single to make it 6-0 Columbus.
The Knights would finally get on the board in the top of the fourth when Jordan Danks hit two out solo blast of his own to the right field porch to make it 6-1 Clippers. They would draw closer to Columbus when Alejandro De Aza came in on a Jim Gallagher RBI single to right field to cut it to 6-2. The next batter, Dayan Viciedo, would then make it a two run affair when he clobbered a two run shot off of Clippers starter Corey Kluber to left centerfield.
At the end of the inning, the game had gone from a comfortable 6-1 clippers lead to a much tighter 6-4 affair.
The very next inning, Travis Buck crushed a solo long ball over the right field and onto Nationwide Boulevard to give the Clippers a 7-4 lead.
In the top of the sixth, Kluber ran into some trouble. The first three batters of the inning reached via double, double, and single to make it a one run ball game. Kluber was then pulled and in came Eric Berger. Berger was able to get out of a bases loaded jam when he got Tyler Flowers to ground out to third to preserve the slim Columbus lead. Berger would be bested by Charlotte in the seventh as he continued to work on the bum for Columbus Dallas McPherson led off with a double to left centerfield. The next batter, Lastings Milledge, laced a base hit up the middle.
It looked as though that McPherson would hold at third after a strong throw from Carrera, but the throw went through the cut-off , the catcher and Berger who was backing u Carlin on the play all the way to the backstop, allowing McPherson to score and tie the ballgame at 7-7. Milledge would advance to second on the throw home and to third on a Danks sacrifice bunt.
Berger was then pulled by Clippers manager Mike Sarbaugh. He would bring in Carlton Smith to try get the Clippers out of a jam. Unfortunately, Gookie Dawkins knocked in Milledge on an RBI single. After a broken bat single by Eduardo Escobar to put runners on the corner with one out, De Aza hit a grounder to the right side. Clippers first baseman Travis Buck gloved it by diving to his right and threw to home to get Dawkins at the late for out # 2. A walk to Sean Gallagher loaded the bases with two out. The game was broken open when Viciedo hit a bases clearing double that bounced off the right centerfield wall to give Charlotte an 11-7 advantage. The Knights kept it going at the plate with a Tyler Flowers RBI single that made it 12-7 in favor of the Knights. Smith struck out McPherson to end the frame, but the damage was done as the Knights exited the frame with their first lead of the ball game.
Lastings Milledge came in on an Eduardo Escobar RBI sacrifice fly in the top of the eighth to make it 13-7.
On Wednesday, Jeanmar Gomez (1-0) will get the start for Columbus. He will oppose Charlotte right hander Brandon Hynick (1-1). First pitch is at 6:35 pm
The Clippers jumped on the Charlotte Knights early and held on for a 5-2 victory Monday night.
In the first inning, a Travis Buck single scored Ezequiel Carrera and then Cord Phelps followed with a sacrifice fly to drive in Jason Donald.
Buck got his second RBI of the game with a sacrifice fly in the third. Two innings later, a Donald solo shot to right field added the fourth run. The Clippers got one more in the eighth inning with a Jerad Head sac fly.
Donald went 2-3 on the game, scoring three times.
Zach McAllister improved to 6-0 on the year after going seven innings, striking out eight and allowing only two earned runs. Zach Putnam came on in the ninth and recorded his fourth save of the year.
The two teams continue their four game set Tuesday night at 6:35 P.M.