Clip Show aims to be your weekly update for all things Columbus Clippers. Check back each Tuesday afternoon for team records, roster updates, and performance updates on some of the brightest prospects in the Tribe system.
The Clippers’ backs were against the wall: they were coming home from an atrocious road trip where they went 1-7; Louisville had taken the division lead away from them after winning eight in a row and 19-of-20; the white-hot Bats were waiting for three games over the weekend at Huntington Park. Things looked bleak. And then the Clippers showed these men of will what will really was, and SWEPT THE BATS OUT OF COLUMBUS to take the division lead back! Let’s take a closer look at the Clippers’ week, and check the Playoffs and And Finally section for a playoff update…
This Week: 4-3
Current Record: 71-52, 1st place (of four) in ILW (International League West)
8/10 @ Syracuse – Chiefs 1, Clippers 0; LP Pino (8-7)
8/10 @ Syracuse – Clippers 6, Chiefs 3; WP Stowell (1-0)
8/11 @ Syracuse – Chiefs 7, Clippers 3; LP Berger (0-1)
8/12 @ Syracuse – Chiefs 4, Clippers 3 (13); LP Lewis (2-1)
8/13 vs. Louisville – Clippers 12, Bats 4; WP Huff (7-0)
8/14 vs. Louisville – Clippers 1, Bats 0; WP Espino (1-1)
8/15 vs. Louisville – Clippers 7, Bats 3; WP Pino (9-7)
Not quite as crazy as weeks-past, but at any rate here’s another week’s litany of roster moves since our last publication:
8/11 – RHP Jess Todd recalled by Cleveland
8/11 – CA Luke Carlin acquired by trade from Pittsburgh
8/13 – LHP David Huff optioned from Cleveland
8/13 – CA Richard Martinez transferred to Mahoning Valley
8/14 – RHP Jess Todd optioned from Cleveland
8/14 – LHP Jeremy Sowers placed on disabled list
There was also a misprint in this space last week, where I misinterpreted the move made with INF Wes Hodges. He was DFA’d on 7/27 and was removed from the 40-man roster to make room for Josh Tomlin’s major league debut. On 8/3, the Rockies claimed Hodges off of waivers, and sent him to their AAA Colorado Springs team. However, they, too, needed to take him off of their 40-man to make a move, and the Tribe re-claimed him on 8/6 and sent him back to Columbus. My apologies for misinterpreting all of that. Hodges is back on the Clippers’ roster, and was playing first base on Sunday when I was there.
Finally, the Clippers’ media department reported today via e-mail that Jordan Brown will be coming back to Columbus for the stretch run, sending OF Jerad Head back to Akron. Brown will add a nice stabilizing force to the middle of this lineup.
OF: Jordan Brown, Ezequiel Carrera, Jose Constanza, Matt McBride
IF: Jared Goedert, Wes Hodges, Cord Phelps, Argenis Reyes, Josh Rodriguez, Drew Sutton
C: Luke Carlin, Damaso Espino
SP: Eric Berger, Carlos Carrasco, Paolo Espino, David Huff, Yohan Pino
RP: Josh Judy (R), Jensen Lewis (R), Vinnie Pestano (R), Zach Putnam (R), Carlton Smith (R), Bryce Stowell (R), Jess Todd (R)
8/17 vs. Scranton/WB, Carlos Carrasco
8/18 vs. Scranton/WB, David Huff
8/19 vs. Scranton/WB, Paolo Espino
8/20 vs. Scranton/WB, Yohan Pino
8/21 vs. Toledo, Eric Burger
8/22 vs. Toledo, Carlos Carrasco
8/23 vs. Toledo, David Huff
Players to Watch:
Let’s lead off with a pitcher this week. After an up-and-down week last week, RHP Paolo Espino came back with an excellent start this week, earning himself IL Pitcher of the Week honors. Espino worked 7.0 scoreless innings on Saturday to win an important game against Louisville. He allowed just three hits, walked two, and whiffed eight hitters to earn his first AAA win. Espino has now made three starts for Columbus, and is 1-1. He’s worked 19.2 innings and allowed six earned runs (ERA: 2.75). He’s walked just five and struck out 14. Nice way to start off his AAA career!
If you’re wondering about a guy that has to be on the Tribe’s near-term radar for second base, look no further than 2B Cord Phelps. We’re officially to the point at which he’s been up at AAA long enough that his numbers aren’t flukey. In fact, on Sunday when I went, he was hitting in the #3 spot, so he’s also not doing it down in the bottom of the lineup anymore. Phelps played in all seven games this week, and went 9-for-28 at the plate (.321). He had a double, two homers, and eight RBI in those seven games, and also scored four runs. Having now played in 52 games in Columbus, Phelps is still hitting at a nice .333 clip, and has 24 extra base hits (15/3/6) for a .530 slugging percentage; he also has 20 walks (OBP: .405) as well. This has been a big year for the 23-year-old Phelps; between Akron and Columbus, he’s played a combined 105 games and is hitting a combined .315/.376/.463. The best part is that all of his numbers have improved across the board from Akron to Columbus, which is certainly encouraging as well. And he’s still 23!
OF Matt McBride is continuing to hit, though his PT has been a bit less of late. In four games this week, he hit 6-for-13 (.462) with a double, a homer, and two RBI. Through his first 14 games in Columbus, McBride has hit in 13-of-14 games, and is 21-for-55 (.382) with three doubles, two home runs, five RBI, and nine runs scored. The 25-year-old McBride was originally a second round supplemental pick of the Tribe in 2006 out of Lehigh University. In 94 games in Akron this year, he was hitting .285 with 17 homers and 64 RBI as well as an .852 OPS.
It was good to see RHP Carlos Carrasco back on the bump again making his regularly scheduled start. It was ever better to see the results. He worked 6.0 innings on Thursday and, despite not earning a decision in a game the Clippers ultimately lost in 13 innings, he was fairly solid. The best news was that he allowed just one run on three hits, didn’t give up any homers (one of his weaknesses this year), and didn’t walk anyone. He also struck out eight along the way. He’s currently 9-5 with a 3.92 ERA in 22 starts spanning 128.2 innings.
A great bounce-back week for RHP Yohan Pino. He made two starts, and worked a combined 12.0 innings surrendering just one earned run (ERA: 0.75). He allowed 12 hits, walked three, and struck out nine combined, and despite giving up just one run in the first start unfortunately took the loss as his offense got shut out. On Sunday, he tossed six solid innings, dancing out of trouble several times along the way to keep Louisville off the board and allow his offense to jump out to a huge lead in a much-needed win. For the year, Pino is now 9-7 with a 5.37 ERA in 22 starts spanning 124.0 innings.
Another quality start for the Tweetmeister LHP David Huff himself. Back in Columbus, the south-paw tossed 7.2 innings and allowed just three earned runs (ERA: 3.52). He allowed five hits and three walks while striking out three. For the year with Columbus, Huff is 7-0 with a 3.75 ERA in eight starts spanning 50.1 innings.
Our boy is back! RHP Vinnie Pestano was back to his old self this week, working three times spanning 3.0 perfect innings in total. Not a single runner reached base against Pestano, and he notched two saves in very important wins. Pestano also fanned five of the nine hitters he faced. Bravo!
This week was a struggle for INF Josh Rodriguez. He has seen his PT drop a bit with the addition of Argenis Reyes and JRod’s own continued struggles. He played in all four games, and took a big 0-fer in 13 at-bats. He did walk four times, and scored a run, but no hits coupled with six strikeouts equals a bummer of a week for JRod.
Back to expectations… INF Argenis Reyes is settling back to what we would probably expect from him. He played in five games this week, and went 2-for-15 (.133). I saw him on Sunday against Aaron Harang (making a rehab start for Louisville), and Reyes looked completely overmatched. And, while Harang is a major league starter, as we know, he was making a rehab start and the other Clippers hitters touched him for five runs in his first two innings. Reyes whiffed twice, and looked bad doing it.
Back from the DL, OF Ezequiel Carrera is struggling a bit to get his game going in Columbus. In nine games since coming back, he’s hitting 7-for-38 (.184) with three doubles, four RBI, and four runs scored. Overall, since coming over to Columbus, he’s hitting 21-for-82 (.256) in 22 games for the Clippers.
It was rough this time out for LHP Eric Berger. The 24-year-old made his fourth start, and was knocked around a bit, surrendering seven earned runs in 5.0 innings (ERA: 12.60) in taking the loss. Berger allowed 11 hits and walked two while striking out five, but overall it was a forgettable start.
Well, sometimes you have to crawl before you can walk. 3B Jared Goedert hasn’t been able to return to the crazy batting average he was sporting after his callup, but perhaps he’s leveling off to about where one should expect: lower average, but still slugging and hitting with some pop. He went 7-for-26 this week (.269) with three doubles, a triple, and a homer. He drove in four and scored four (seven games) as well. In 29 games since the All Star break, Goedert is hitting just 26-for-113 (.230) with only three homers and 12 RBI. His slugging percentage was .724 before the ASB, and is only .434 since. Not good times, though this week was better in the slugging category for sure.
Apparently, there was something to reclaiming INF Wes Hodges. Hard to hate on the guy, as after coming back to Columbus after roughly 10 days off, he’s hit 11-for-39 in his 10 games back (.282). He’s notched two doubles and a homer, and has scored six runs. Sadly, all of this is general improvement for Hodges over the numbers he was putting up before his DFA.
Newcomer INF Drew Sutton arrived from Louisville last week (if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em? Something like that…) and has fit in moderately well. Sutton is 27, and is similar to Hodges in that he doesn’t hit for high average, and has seen his power drop off from 20 homers in 2008 to five homers last year to just four so far this year. So, he’s right about what you’d expect plus a tiny bit extra from him so far, going 7-for-28 (.250) in eight games with two doubles, a homer, and five RBI. He’s scored four runs, walked three times, and only whiffed five times. With Jordan Brown returning, it will be interesting to see where Sutton finds playing time, if anywhere.
RHP Josh Judy continues to be a solid option out of the pen, and it was hard to give him a thumbs-sideways this week. He made three appearances covering 2.1 innings, and allowed one run (ERA: 3.86) on three hits and a walk. He struck out three as well.
…Columbus can breathe a little bit after sweeping away the Louisville Bats over this weekend to reclaim their division lead. Here’s how the various playoff chases/scenarios shake out as of right now:
So, the Clippers took care of their first order of business, which was to hold off the Bats (who are currently still the Wild Card leaders) for the time being, and they continue their home stand throughout the week. Guess who’s coming to dinner next? The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, of course. Columbus opens up a four-game set tonight against the Yanks, with a 1.5 game difference separating the two teams for the second home-field slot in the first round of the playoffs.
And Finally, If The Season Ended Today…
…the playoffs would shape up as follows:
Round 1 (five game series):
Louisville at Durham
Columbus at Scranton/WB