Leo: Are we there yet?
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!