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.
Wow, it looks like the Clippers have picked the right time to get hot again. Part of it is the fact that their AAA brethren have all been a bit more plundered by September call-ups from their big clubs, but the Clippers still had to get it done on the field. And get it done they did, handling Scranton/Wilkes-Barre with relative ease. Let’s take a quick look at the Clippers’ week, and take a more in-depth look at the IL Championship (Governor’s Cup) Series with Durham…
This Week: 3-1
Results: Beat Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in the IL Semi-Finals
9/08 vs. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre – Clippers 6, Yankees 4 (10); WP Putnam (1-0)
9/09 vs. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre – Yankees 5, Clippers 4 (10); LP Rivera (0-1)
9/10 @ Scranton/Wilkes-Barre – Clippers 1, Yankees 0; WP Pino (1-0)
9/11 @ Scranton/Wilkes-Barre – Clippers 11, Yankees 5; WP Espino (1-0)
There were no roster moves this week. [edit, circa 4:30] The organization has announced that INF Drew Sutton will be called up to Cleveland effective today. Taking his place from Akron will be INF Jason Kipnis.
OF: Ezequiel Carrera, Jose Constanza, Jerad Head, Matt McBride
IF: Jared Goedert, Wes Hodges, Jason Kipnis, Cord Phelps, Argenis Reyes, Josh Rodriguez
C: Luke Carlin, Damaso Espino
SP: Paolo Espino, David Huff, Corey Kluber, Zach McAllister, Yohan Pino
RP: Josh Judy (R), Aaron Laffey (L), Vinnie Pestano (R), Zach Putnam (R), Saul Rivera (R), Carlton Smith (R), Jess Todd (R)
Round 1 Review
The Clippers got it done with timely hitting and excellent pitching—far above their season averages on the mound, for sure. After splitting the first two games—both in extra innings—at home, I was convinced it would be tough for Columbus to go on the road and win two of three. But, they never let the Yankees have a chance to take control of the series, as September call-ups definitely took more of a toll on the Yankees’ rotation than that of the Clippers. The 1-0 win Friday was one of the best combined pitching performances one will ever see: Yohan Pino allowed a lead-off single, followed by a walk, in the first inning, and then he, Zach Putnam (working in Josh Judy’s setup spot), and Vinnie Pestano literally sent down the next 27 hitters they faced, including Putnam and Pestano BOTH striking out the side in the 8th and 9th innings to slam the door.
Let’s take a quick look at some of the individual performances in the series:
There is a lot to like on this list, including the number of pitchers with 0.00 ERAs. Some of the “Good” hitters might not be guys you’d expect, but I want to call particular attention to Ezequiel Carrera. He had himself a SERIES batting #2.
The Less Good
These guys have decent numbers, but maybe have one outlier (Hodges’ strikeouts, for example). In the cases of the pitchers, none of them was “horrible,” but their outliers were big ones. In the case of McAllister, it was his three unearned runs which all scored on 2-out home runs. For Pestano, it was the blown save in Game 1. For Rivera, he really did all he was asked, but did take the loss in Game 2 in extra innings.
Not much to be upset about here, though three hitters who at one point were the big cogs in this offense were definitely not on their games this series. Thankfully, though, there is only one pitcher on this list…
Playoff Round 2 Schedule/Starters
(regular season stats)
Tuesday – vs. Durham (David Huff 8-2, 4.36)
Wednesday – vs. Durham (Zach McAllister 9-12, 5.29)
Thursday – @ Durham (Yohan Pino 10-9, 5.75)
Friday – @ Durham (Paolo Espino 3-3, 5.62) – if necessary
Saturday – @ Durham (Corey Kluber 1-1, 3.27) – if necessary
Playoff Preview – Round 2
Columbus Record: 4-4
May 14 – vs. Durham: Bulls 8, Clippers 1
May 15 – vs. Durham: Bulls 7, Clippers 3
May 16 – vs. Durham: Clippers 5, Bulls 0
May 17 – vs. Durham: Clippers 5, Bulls 1
July 19 – @ Durham: Clippers 8, Bulls 3
July 20 – @ Durham: Bulls 7, Clippers 0
July 21 – @ Durham: Clippers 8, Bulls 6
July 22 – @ Durham: Bulls 4, Clippers 2
It’s important to note that Durham is looking to repeat as IL Champs, having won the Governor’s Cup in 2009 as well. The Tampa Bay Rays AAA affiliate is again pretty stacked, though they do have a few big losses due to September call-ups:
Mike Ekstrom – 6-1, 2.79 ERA in 39 appearances (1 start)
Desmond Jennings – .278 and 37 steals in 109 games
Dioner Navarro – .284 in 43 games
Final Stats (League Rankings)
|AVG .285 (1)||AVG .277 (2)|
|R 731 (2)||R 757 (1)|
|2B 304 (3)||2B 288 (5)|
|3B 33 (4)||3B 22 (11)|
|HR 139 (5)||HR 142 (4)|
|BB 526 (3)||BB 542 (2)|
|K 895 (1 – fewest)||K 1056 (7)|
|OBP .356 (1)||OBP .353 (2)|
|SLG .444 (2)||SLG .431 (4)|
|OPS .800 (1)||OPS .784 (2)|
For the season, these are the IL’s two best offenses. Durham has definitely been more consistent throughout the year, as Tampa Bay hasn’t exactly had to raid their AAA cupboards this year. Columbus got some timely hitting—some from sources they probably weren’t expecting it from—in the semis, and that’s going to have to continue. Columbus was stellar at being patient and working counts. They walked 20 times in four games (163 PA), and hit .273 with a .362 OBP. They struck out 36 times, which is still high. If they can keep the patience while improving the Ks, it would certainly help.
|H 1281 (9)||H 1216 (2)|
|R 658 (8)||R 562 (1)|
|ER 601 (9)||ER 502 (1)|
|ERA 4.25 (9)||ERA 3.56 (1)|
|BB 455 (9)||BB 445 (t6)|
|WHIP 1.36 (t5)||WHIP 1.31 (2)|
|K 1051 (t3)||K 1051 (t3)|
|HR 142 (12)||HR 104 (1)|
Durham’s pitching clearly is light-years better than Columbus’s, at least in terms of the regular season stats. In the playoffs, both staffs have been stellar. Both teams kept their opponents in check during the semifinals. Columbus held Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to a paltry .187, and Durham kept Louisville to a .183 mark.
The Durham rotation for this series shapes up like this:
Game 1: Richard De Los Santos 14-5, 3.52
Game 2: Aneury Rodriguez 6-5, 3.80
Game 3: Alex Cobb NR
Game 4: Paul Phillips 1-0, 1.69
Game 5: Bobby Livingston 3-8, 5.31
Clip Show Prediction
I’ve long felt that Durham was clearly the best team in the IL this year, and I can’t see this series shaking out any differently. Unlike Scranton/WB’s roster losses, there hasn’t been enough done to Durham’s roster through September call-ups to even the field for this series. Columbus again gets the first two games at home, which gives them a chance to win this series if they can come out and take the first two games at home.
The wild card is the Clippers’ pitching staff. If they can get the same kind of stellar starting pitching that they got against Scranton/WB, it’s anybody’s guess how the series can shake out. The Clippers are going to continue to need solid hitting from their top of the lineup, and guys like Cord Phelps and Jared Goedert are going to need to pick it back up. Josh Rodriguez had one good game and three bad games, and he needs to step up, too.
For the starting pitchers, walks and home runs killed them in the regular season. Columbus was ninth-worst in walks and 12th-worst in home runs allowed. The staff was able to improve their walks-rate, walking only nine hitters in 38.0 innings in the semi-finals (2.13 BB/9). They also struck out 35 hitters in those innings (8.29 K/9). That needs to continue if the Clippers want to have any shot at winning this series.
In the end, though, I feel that Columbus has to play nearly-perfect baseball, and I just can’t see it happening. I see Durham winning the series in four games. I applaud Columbus for rising up and winning their semi-final series, but I just can’t see them taking the Governor’s Cup.