The Clippers have lost eight of the last ten games and continue to struggle offensively. Mike Sarbaugh held a closed-door team meeting after Thursday’s 6-5 loss in Syracuse.
Getting a quick exit…
Sarbaugh and Shelley Duncan were both ejected form Friday’s game in the first inning after Duncan disputed a called third strike from umpire Kelvin Bultron. The Clippers dropped that game 3-0.
The home run (that wasn’t, maybe, I think)…
Duncan crushed a ball down the left field line on Thursday that seemed to slice left of the foul pole. Plate umpire Fran Burke called it a foul ball, but after being questioned by Sarbaugh, he asked his fellow umpires for their opnions and the call was overturned. That led to the ejection of Chiefs pitcher Tom Milone and manager Randy Knorr. Knorr put on an animated demonstration after being tossed. He took two baseballs, one of which he threw into foul territory and one over the wall in fair play. I think it’s safe to say Knorr made his point on the difference between a homer and a foul ball.
Tonight the Clippers open a four-game set against Norfolk at 7:05pm.
* The Tides were scheduled to pitch Chris Tillman, but he’s been summoned to Baltimore to face the Yankees as part of a doubleheader today. Instead, lefty Chris George will face Corey Kluber.
* The Clippers are now batting just .215 in the month of July, carrying a record of 10-16.
* On the flip side, the pitching staff has improved its’ ERA to 3.40 for the month.
* Former Clippers speedster Jose Constanza was called up to the majors with Atlanta. He was 1-for-4 with one RBi in his debut.
* Clippers historian Joe Santry has compiled a list of every no-hitter in Columbus baseball history:
Cannonball Morris * May 29, 1884 Pittsburgh 5-0
Frank Mountain * June 5, 1884 Washington 10-0
Hank Gastright *& October 12, 1890 Toledo 6-0
Bumpus Jones June 5, 1898 Kansas City 3-2
George Upps August 18, 1908 Kansas City 3-0
Dixie Davis July 2, 1913 Indianapolis 4-0
King Cole July 15, 1913 Milwaukee 3-1
Marty O’Toole July 2, 1915 Cleveland 2-1
Bob Clark June 18, 1921 Louisville 3-0
Paul Dean August 30, 1932 Kansas City 3-0
Pete Mazar June 3, 1945 Kansas City 4-0
Dick Hoover + August 14, 1955 Richmond 10-0
Rod Scurry + July 25, 1977 (G2) Richmond 2-0
Scott Nielsen June 8, 1988 Maine 3-0
Kevin Mmahat July 5, 1991 Louisville 6-0
Mariano Rivera # June 26, 1995 (G2) Rochester 3-0
Adrian Hernandez-Kevin Lovinger-Bob Scanlon June 10, 2002 Indianapolis 15-1
Justin Germano @ July 26, 2011 Syracuse 3-0
@ Perfect Game
* Major League no-hitter
+ Seven inning game
& Eight inning game
# Five inning game
* Justin Germano’s perfect game on Tuesday is the first in Columbus history.
* The Cleveland Indians acquired Kosuke Fukudome from the Cubs this week and one Clippers player was involved in the trade. Right-hander reliever Carlton Smith has reported to the Cubs Triple-A team in Iowa. Smith was 2-3 with a 4.50 ERA in 34 games this year.
* Ted Dibiase “The Million Dollar Man” will be at Huntington Park tonight. It’s fitting that he’s appearing one day before the trading deadline because his famous slogn is “Everybody’s got a price”.
Justin Germano stood in the Clippers dugout talking to the media Tuesday night when someone from the first row of seats yelled down, “Hey Justin, this was pretty special”. That may be the understatement of the year.
Germano has had a roller coaster year. Heck, he’s had a roller coaster career for that matter, but on a cozy summer night in Syracuse, he was magical.
I’ve been broadcasting professional baseball for almost a decade and I’ve attended more than one thousand games. Believe me when I say that I’ve never seen ANYTHING like Germano’s performance.
Germano was brilliant for 95 pitches, 65 strikes, and seven strikeouts. The Chiefs managed to only make solid contact on a handful of occasions. Germano diced up the Chiefs lineup in a cool two hours and 14 minutes.
When the game ended, Germano was mobbed by his teammates just to the left of the pitcher’s mound. Justin, a very mild-mannered individual, couldn’t help but crack a smile. Catcher Paul Phillips handed Germano the game ball as a keepsake, manager Mike Sarbaugh carefully removed the lineup card from the dugout wall for him, and a Syracuse bat boy tracked down a ticket stub to add to Justin’s artifacts.
The Clippers players waited inside the clubhouse doors for Justin to enter from the dugout tunnel. Mike Sarbaugh and his players were grinning from ear to ear as they anticipated his arrival for an off-field celebration.
It’s the second time one of Sarbaugh’s pitchers has accomplished such history, Jeanmar Gomez threw a Double-A perfect game in 2009 with Akron.
Germano has always seen himself as a starter, it fits him better because of the routine involved between outings. He’s been mostly in a long relief roll with the Indians organization and was designated for assignment (removed from 40-man roster) twice this year. In the offseason, the Tribe bumped him because they needed roster space, forcing Germano to re-earn a big league spot in spring training. He did. Then he was sent packing in May and returned to Columbus, but originally as a reliever.
When Scott Barnes went down with injury and the rotation shuffling began resulted in David Huff going to the majors, Germano was given his change to start again. Mike Sarbaugh moved him into the rotation. In only his third start as a “regular” in the rotation, he was perfect. Twenty-seven batters up and twenty-seven batters down, truly remarkable.
Germano will make his next start this Sunday at Huntington Park against Norfolk. The odds are pretty good that this won’t happen again for Germano, not Sunday or ever. However, he’ll always have July 26, 2011 to remember. Everyone in the Clippers clubhouse and in Alliance Bank Stadium will too.
Only the fifth person since 1884 to throw a 9-inning perfect game in the International League, that’s more than “pretty special”.
Tuesday night in Syracuse…
Clippers celebrate Germano’s perfect game
It is only the fifth 9-inning perfect game in International League history:
8/9/1910 – Chester Carmichael – Buffalo
8/15/1952 – Dick Marlowe – Buffalo
6/1/2000 – Tomo Ohka – Pawtucket
8/10/2003 – Bronson Arroyo – Pawtucket
7/26/2011 – Justin Germano – Columbus
Here’s what a perfect game looks like on a (digital) scorecard
Here is a list of all the Clippers no-hitters:
7/25/1977 – Rod Scurry vs. Richmond (7 innings)
6/8/1988 – Scott Nielsen vs. Maine
7/5/1991 – Kevin Mmahat vs. Louisville
6/26/1995 – Mariano Rivera vs. Rochester (5 innings)
6/10/2002 – Adrian Hernandez, Bob Scanlan, Kevin Lovingier vs. Indianapolis
7/26/2011 – Justin Germano vs. Syracuse
* Germano threw 95 pitches (65 strikes) and recorded seven strikeouts.
* It’s Germano’s first no-hitter in professional baseball
The Clippers have lost their offense and can’t seem to find it anywhere. It definitely was wasn’t at Lehigh Valley, where Columbus managed just four runs in the final three games of the series. Hopefully, it will be recovered at Alliance Bank Stadium where Mike Sarbaugh’s club begins a four-game series with Syracuse tonight.
* The Clippers have fallen to 6th (tied) in the league in batting (.262). Columbus is batting .193 over its’ last five games.
* Individually, the lineup has hit a difficult stretch:
Shelley Duncan is 5 for his last 33 (.152)
Tim Fedroff is 3 for his last 18 (.167)
Jerad Head is 6 for his last 29 (.207)
Chad Huffman is for his last 17 (.118)
Cord Phelps is 4 for his last 19 (.211)
* On the bright side, Nick Johnson has five hits in his last five games, batting .357 and Jason Donald continues to turn in good results, batting .320 through 42 games with Columbus.
* Luis Valbuena had a bad defensive series in Allentown, making a couple of crucial mistakes. However, he continues to shine offensively, batting .311 (7th in the league).
* Beau Mills connected on his first career Triple-A homer at Lehigh Valley on Monday. An angry fan in right field threw the ball back onto the field so Mills got to keep it.
* Tonight in Syracuse, the Clippers will face right-hander Craig Stammen. Stammen played at the University of Dayton and hails from Versailles, Ohio. He was with Columbus in 2008.
* Ezequiel Carrera continues to lead the International league in stolen bases (35), despite having not played for the Clippers since his July 14th promotion to Cleveland.
* My interview with Clippers President/General Manager Ken Schnacke will air tonight on STO’s ”Indians Minor League Magazine” Show at 6:00pm.
* Do you have your tickets for the first-ever “Huntington Park Hoedown” on August 12? If not, what are you waiting for? Click here for details.
I’m off to tackle the day… or nap.
See you at the park!
Here are more photos I’ve collected during the season… Enjoy!
July 4th fireworks in Louisville, during the Clippers-Bats game at Slugger Field.
Krash joins the broadcast at Huntington Park!
The view from the broadcast booth in Scranton.
Paying homage to “The Captain” in his Clippers uniform, circa 1995 (21 years old).
Progressive Field’s version of the Sugardale Hot Dogs make an appearance in Columbus!
Here’s a look at the upcoming home series with Norfolk (graphic courtesy of Yoshi Ando).
The Clippers roster continues to shuffle:
* Highly touted prospect Jason Kipnis will officially join the Indians today: Here’s the story from Jordan Bastian of MLB.com
* INF Jared Goedert was designated for assignment. Goedert led the Indians minor leaguers with 27 homers last year, but was batting just .199 in 41 Triple-A games this year. The Indians now have ten days to trade of release him. He can be re-assigned to the minors if he clears waivers,
* INF Beau Mills joins the Clippers today. Mille, the Tribe’s 1st round draft pick in 2007, has been stuck in Double-A for the last three seasons. He seems to have found a groove lately though, batting .300 with 11 HR and 49 RBI in 61 games this year. He was just named the Eastern league and Indians Minor League Player of the Week.
* INF Cristo Arnal also joins the club from Akron. He was batting just .178 for the Aeros.
That’s all for now…
See you at the park!
The city of Columbus is scorched with temperatures in the mid 90′s (with humidity it feels over 100) and the defending Triple-A National champs are heating up too…
The Clippers have won five straight, including two over the always tough Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees. It hasn’t been a picture-perfect five game stretch, but wins are all that matter.
Columbus blew a 6-2 lead in the 9th inning Monday, only to see Jerad Head play the role of hero (again) with a walk-off blast right around the time the clock struck midnight (the game had been rain-delayed an hour and 55 minutes).
On Tuesday, Paolo Espino (sporting an ERA over 30.00) stepped into the spotlight and delivered five scoreless frames to get a victory. The Columbus bullpen was in shambles, so right-hander Tyler Sturdevant was summoned from Double-A. He proceeded to give Mike Sarbaugh three solid innings, allowing the bullpen to get back on track. Sturdevant was sent back to Akron after the game.
Now the Clippers have a chance to again showcase their talents in front of the cameras. Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon’s games can both be seen live on SportsTime Ohio.
Bruce Drennan will host “All Best Are Off” from Huntington Park after Thursday’s game.
* Shelley Duncan’s homer against the Yankees are Tuesday means that he has now homered against all 14 International league teams. Duncan played in the Yankees organization from 2001 to 2009. He played parts of three seasons with Scranton Wilkes-Barre and won the IL MVP Award in 2009.
* Jerad Head is now officially the Clippers “Captain Clutch” (sorry Jeter). He has played a pivotal role in seven of the Clippers 15 last at bats wins this year, including three of the last four. He’s scored the winning run twice and driven in the winning tally four times. He was also unconscious in the 2010 post-season, grabbing the MVP in the Triple-A National Championship.
* Jason Donald has multi-hit games in six of his last eight starts. He’s batting .519 during that stretch.
* First baseman Beau Mills was named the Eastern League Player of the Week and Indians Minor Leaguer of the Week. The 24-year-old has been stuck at Double-A for the last couple years, but may not be far away from his Clippers debut.
* Chad Huffman is 0 for his last 28. His batting average is down to .221.
* Nick Johnson continues to struggle. He’s sitting at .190 in 18 games with Columbus.
* Jeanmar Gomez has re-joined the Clippers. He’ll slot into the rotation in the next few days. Gomez, optioned back from Cleveland, allowed three homers and suffered the loss at Baltimore on Sunday. He was bumped by David Huff, who fired seven scoreless frames at Minnesota on Monday.
* Gomez will likely join Zach McAllister, Corey Kluber, Justin Germano, and Joe Martinez as the Clippers all right-handed rotation. Paolo Espino looks to be headed back to the bullpen despite his solid effort on Tuesday.
* Thursday’s business day special at Huntington Park will feature an appearance from Snoopy! Bring the kids for some afternoon baseball and enter for a chance to win four tickets to Cedar Point.
That’s all for now. See you at the park!
It’s time for a Preferred Wireless, Sprint ”Call to the Bullpen”…
Preferred Wireless is the Official Wireless Communications Provider of the Columbus Clippers
* Ruben Niebla’s relief corp is back to full strength (sort of) after the latest round of roster moves.
* Right-hander Tyler Sturdevant was called up from Akron because the Clippers were in desperate need of an arm. Sturdevant pitched three innings last night and was returned to Double-A today.
* Mitch Talbot has joined the club on a rehab assignment and is expected to pitch out of the Clippers bullpen. The 27 year-old righty went on the shelf with a strained back on Wednesday. Talbot started the season the Cleveland’s fifth starter, but has struggled. He is just 1-6 with a 7.63 ERA since his late May return from an elbow strain.
* Chen Lee has been a nice addition to the staff. Lee features a fastball, slider, and split change-up from a lower that usual arm slot. The Taiwanese right-hander has not allowed an earned run with the Clippers after posting a 2-1 record and a 2.50 ERA in 23 games in Double-A.
* Big left-hander Nick Hagadone seems to have found his groove. One of the top pitching prospects in the Cleveland organization, Hagadone’s velocity has climbed to 95-97 mph in his last few outings. He is very much on the Indians radar and has all the tools to be in the bigs.
The bullpen trio of Zach Putnam, Josh Judy, and Vinnie Pestano was instrumental in the Clippers championship run last year. The relievers will undoubtably play a huge role this fall, the only question is, who will step up? Stay tuned.
See you at the park!
The Clippers are sitting pretty at 61-34 (.642), the best record in the minors. The lead in the West Division is 11.5 games over second place (Louisville). Mike Sarbaugh’s team has rattled off three straight wins, getting back on track after losing seven of eight prior.
So the question is, can we relax and wait for the Clippers return to the Governors’ Cup playoffs?
Unfortunatley, the answer is no for several reasons:
* Last year the Clippers saw a double-digit lead evaporate in July/August and Columbus had to sneak into the playoffs as the wild card.
* The once dominating offense of the Clippers has fallen off a bit. Columbus currently sits tied (Durham and Indianapolis) for third in the league in batting (.266) behind Charlotte and Scranton Wilkes-Barre. The Clippers have batted just .218 in the last ten games.
* Chad Huffman continues to struggle. He has been dropped in the lineup due to a 3-for-32 slump.
* Jared Goedert still hasn’t found his stroke. He’s batting just .185 in 37 Triple-A games.
* The Clippers starting staff has been great, but it’s being dismantled. Scott Barnes is out for the season with a knee injury, Jeanmar Gomez is now in the majors (replacing Mitch Talbot), and both David Huff and Zach McAllister are bouncing back-and-forth from Cleveland.
That’s enough doom and gloom for now. Here’s the good news:
* The top three hitters in the Columbus lineup (mostly Jason Kipnis, Jason Donald, and Cord Phelps) have combined to hit .328 (19-for-58) in the last five games.
* Lefty Nick Hagadone has started to find his groove. He’s holding left-handed batters to a .174 average and has not allowed an earned run in his last 7.1 innings.
* Jerad Head continues to love Huntington Park. He ‘s a .357 hitter with a .679 slugging percentage over 49 career games. This year he’s batting over 100 points higher at home than on the road (.351 to .245).
Other items of note:
* This Wednesday (7:05pm) and Thursday (12:05pm) against Scranton Wilkes-Barre will be carried live on SportsTime Ohio. STO’s “All Bets Are Off” show will broadcast live from the ballpark after Thursday’s game.
* Monday is the July edition of Dime-A-Dog Night. Sugardale will have the “weiner cart” setup outside the left field gate, so stop by and get some free samples!
* Don’t forget to follow the entire band on Twitter: @CLBClippers, @Scott_Leo, @ryanmitchell75, @Clippers_DJ, @ClippersLouSeal.
See you at the park!