Clip Show aims to be your weekly update for all things Columbus Clippers. Check back each Tuesday for team records, roster updates, and performance updates on some of the brightest prospects in the Tribe system.
The Clippers are in the playoffs for the second straight year, and will be looking to defend their IL and AAA Championships. They’ll have to do it with a piece-meal roster, as so many of their core players from earlier in the season are now with Cleveland. The Clippers are heading into the final week of the regular season on a high note, however, winners of three straight. Six games to go, and then the start of the IL playoffs against the IL South winner, who is still yet to be determined.
This Week: 5-2
Season Record: 85-53, clinched International League West
8/23 vs. Buffalo – Clippers 5, Bisons 0; WP Espino (2-1)
8/24 @ Indianapolis – Clippers 2, Indians 1; WP Talbot (2-2)
8/25 @ Indianapolis – Indians 3, Clippers 2; LP Hagadone (4-3)
8/26 vs. Indianapolis – Indians 2, Clippers 1; LP Kluber (7-10)
8/27 vs. Indianapolis – Clippers 4, Indians 3; WP Lee (4-0)
8/28 vs. Louisville – Clippers 8, Bats 5; WP McAllister (11-3)
8/29 vs. Louisville – Clippers 11, Bats 2; WP Talbot (3-2)
8/23 RHP Zach McAllister recalled to Cleveland
8/23 INF Luis Valbuena optioned from Cleveland
8/23 RHP Josh Judy optioned from Cleveland
8/24 INF Cord Phelps recalled to Cleveland
8/26 RHP Zach McAllister optioned from Cleveland
8/26 LHP Nick Hagadone recalled to Cleveland
8/28 LHP Nick Hagadone optioned from Cleveland
8/28 OF Ben Copeland promoted from Akron
8/28 OF Jerad Head, contract purchased by Cleveland
Also of note: RHP Jeanmar Gomez was scratched from his Saturday night start, possibly to move to Cleveland. No official move has been made yet, however. Also, Trevor Crowe is expected in Columbus sometime soon for a rehab assignment, just in time for the playoffs.
OF: Travis Buck, Ben Copeland, Shelley Duncan, Chad Huffman
IF: Jared Goedert, Nick Johnson, Beau Mills, Argenis Reyes, Luis Valbuena
C: Luke Carlin, Paul Phillips
SP: Paolo Espino, Jeanmar Gomez, Corey Kluber, Joe Martinez, Zach McAllister, Mitch Talbot
RP: Eric Berger (L), Nick Hagadone (L), Josh Judy (R), Matt Langwell (R), Chen-Chang Lee (R), Zach Putnam (R)
DL: RHP Hector Ambriz (torn right elbow ligament); RHP Anthony Reyes (torn right elbow ligament); RHP Hector Rondon (torn right elbow ligament), LHP Jeremy Sowers (left shoulder), C Dwight Childs (broken hand), LHP Scott Barnes (knee), OF Thomas Neal (shoulder)
*subject to change
8/30 @ Louisville, Joe Martinez
8/31 @ Louisville, Corey Kluber
9/02 vs. Toledo, Paolo Espino
9/03 vs. Toledo, Zach McAllister
9/04 @ Toledo, Mitch Talbot
9/05 @ Toledo, Joe Martinez
Players to Watch
There isn’t a lot of good to report here, given the way the team’s played over the last week. But I’ll try to find some rays of sunshine.
INF Luis Valbuena – Sweet Luis has earned the Jeremy Sowers Memorial I-71 Award for this season, having moved back and forth more times than I can to count. He took this week’s trip back to Columbus in stride, getting a hit in all six games in which he played. He went 9-for-24 (.375) overall. For the year, he’s now sitting at .304 in 107 games played in Columbus. More on Sweet Luis below…
3B Jared Goedart – This guy looks like a completely different player than we saw through most of the season. He continued to tear it up this week, going 10-for-28 (.357) with two home runs and nine RBI. I don’t know what else to say; I’m running out of superlatives for Goedart’s resurgence of late. In 36 games before the IL All Star Break, he hit .198 with a .612 OPS. .198! Since the break, however, in 37 games Goedart has done nothing but hit, with a .346 clip and a 1.057 OPS. I mean, holy crap. I know the All Star Break gives guys a chance to rest and catch their breath, but seriously? This kind of turn-around is uncanny. His season average is now up to .272, or a 74-point climb since the break.
OF Tim Fedroff – Here is another guy getting a chance to play more now that many players are up in Cleveland, and he’s starting to take more and more advantage of that chance. Fedroff had a great week, going 10-for-28 himself (.357). He’s been hitting at the top of the order, so we’re not seeing a ton of run production, but he’s getting on base at a .370 clip over his last 10 games, and has scored four runs in his last eight. Hitting .278 for the season through 58 games in Columbus, he’s been very good in August, hitting .306 for the month with a .389 OBP.
1B Beau Mills – Mills continued his cool-off, with just four hits in 25 at-bats this week (.160). In 31 games for Columbus now, Mills is mired with a .231 average and isn’t hitting for much power with a .404 slugging percentage.
RHP Paolo Espino – Leading off for the hurlers is Espino, who stepped into the rotation and delivered this week. He made two starts, spanning 11.0 innings. He allowed just three hits, didn’t walk a batter, surrendered no runs, and struck out 13 on his way to earning IL Pitcher of the Week honors. In 14 appearances in Columbus covering 31.1 innings, he’s allowed just one home run and has a 3.45 ERA, and as a starter (four starts) has limited opposing hitters to a paltry .128 batting average.
RHP Josh Judy – It was a crazy week for Judy, who was sent back to Columbus and then promptly pitched in four games. He worked 4.0 innings, earned two saves, and didn’t allow a run. He only surrendered one hit, walked just two, and fanned three. For the season, Judy has been a different pitcher on the road than at home. At Huntington Park, opposing hitters have batted .261 in 28.1 innings while scoring 15 times. On the road, they’re hitting just .195 off of him in 22.2 innings, and have scored only eight runs.
RHP Chen-Chang Lee – He worked twice this week, and was solid along the way. He tallied 2.o innings, didn’t allow a hit, walked just one, and struck out three. Between Akron and Columbus this season, Lee has a combined 97 strikeouts against just 22 walks in 68.1 innings. That’s a beautiful thing.
RHP Zach McAllister – McAllister had a solid but not great start this week, working 6.0 innings in his return to Columbus. He allowed three runs, but one was unearned. He allowed four hits and three walks, but also fanned nine hitters. McAllister’s stat for the year so far is that when runners get on base, he buckles down. With runners on, his batting average against drops from .284 to .217. You might chalk that up to sample size (i.e., far fewer situations with runners on, hence the lower number), but it’s not exactly that simple. He’s worked 77.0 innings with the bases empty against 70.2 with runners on, and surrendered 40 fewer hits with runners on than with the sacks empty. That’s 40 more hits in just 6.1 innings worth of time.
LHP Nick Hagadone – It was a bit of a rocky week for Hagadone, who worked three times. He was solid in one appearance (as you might have read here on WFNY) last Tuesday, but he blew a save on Thursday by allowing two unearned runs in the bottom of the ninth. He also worked two innings on Sunday and surrendered two runs, both earned. Overall, he worked 3.2 innings, and allowed four runs on four hits and a walk. He also struck out three. He’s now worked 47.1 innings in Columbus, and the crazy stat is that of his 27 runs allowed, a whopping nine of them have been unearned.
Let’s take a quick look at the rest of the IL standings. In the IL North, Pawtucket (Red Sox) is at 77-59, and is clinging to a 2.0 game lead over Lehigh Valley (Phillies) at 76-62. In the South, it’s still Durham (Rays) leading the way at 77-58, and Gwinnett (Braves) have closed back to 2.5 games behind at 75-61. Lehigh Valley and Gwinnett are currently deadlocked for the Wild Card, though Lehigh Valley has one more win AND one more loss.
If the season ended today…
09/07 Columbus @ Durham
09/08 Columbus @ Durham
09/09 Durham @ Columbus
09/10 Durham @ Columbus*
09/11 Durham @ Columbus*
If Columbus then advanced…
09/13 Pawtucket/WC winner @ Columbus
09/14 Pawtucket/WC winner @ Columbus
09/15 Columbus @ Pawtucket/WC winner
09/16 Columbus @ Pawtucket/WC winner*
09/17 Columbus @ Pawtucket/WC winner*
…three members of the Clippers have been named to the IL Post-Season All Star Team. Two players–infielders Jason Kipnis and Luis Valbuena–join manager Mike Sarbaugh on the team. From the press release:
Sarbaugh piloted the Clippers to the 2010 Governors Cup and the National Championship in his first season at the Columbus helm. He was named the Baseball America 2010 Minor League Manager of the Year. This season the Clippers were the first team to clinch a playoff berth as the team goes into tonight’s game with an 85-53 record. This is Sarbaugh’s eighth season managing in the Cleveland Indians farm system. He has won championships in 2004, 2006 2009 and 2010.
Kipnis started the season as the Clippers second baseman and was called up by the Indians on July 22. In 92 games with Columbus, Kipnis hit .280 with sixteen doubles, nine triples, and twelve home runs with 55 RBIs. The 24-year-old left-handed hitter still leads the International League in triples despite having spent the last six weeks with the Indians.
A versatile athlete, Valbuena has started 66 games at shortstop, fourteen games at second base, eleven games in left field and seven games at third base for the Clippers this season. The 25-year-old is hitting .304 with 21 doubles, six home runs and a team high 73 RBIs in 107 games with Columbus this season. The left handed hitter also has a team high 19 game hitting streak (5/22-6/9) and two walk-off home runs this season. Valbuena has split the last three seasons between Cleveland and Columbus and has been called up by the Indians three times this season.