April 18, 2014

Clippers Shut Down Bulls 3-0 Behind Solid Pitching from McAllister, Bullpen

IL Playoffs Round 1 – Game 1
Clippers 3, Bulls 0 (box)
COL leads series 1-0

Often in a baseball playoff series, Game 1 is all about “strength versus strength” – the teams usually each send their best pitchers to the mound, and the offenses are feeling each other out. Bulls’ starter Matt Moore hadn’t lost a start since being promoted from AA in July, so it looked like the Clippers–even with their best starter in Zach McAllister toeing the rubber–would have their work cut out for them.

Well, Moore was good; the difference is that McAllister was great, at least for six innings. And, the Clippers’ bullpen was exceptional. Columbus got enough offense from the middle of the order, and pushed past the Bulls for a 1-0 series lead. OF Chad Huffman led the bats with a home run, a double, and two of the three RBI on the night. Beau Mills drove in the third run, and that was more than enough for the Columbus pitchers.

Columbus didn’t waste any time, jumping on Moore in the top of the first. Tim Fedroff and Travis Buck led off with back-to-back singles to put runners on first and second for the middle of the lineup. Jared Goedart grounded into a fielder’s choice to erase Fedroff at third, but Beau Mills bailed him out with a double to score Buck and move Goedart to third. But, Moore buckled down and managed to get Huffman and Nick Johnson to pop out without any further damage.

McAllister was solid early, working around a 1-out double in the first to retire 12 of the first 13 he faced; he did give up a lead-off single in the third, but immediately got a double-play ball to erase the base runner. When Huffman led off the top of the fourth with his solo homer, McAllister had all the cushion he would need. He worked out of trouble in the fifth, as with one out Durham loaded the bases with two singles and a bunt. But, Zach Attack came back to strike out J.J. Furmaniak and then got Tim Beckham to foul out to right field to end the threat.

The Clippers added their final run in the top of the sixth, as Goedart and Mills led off with singles, and Huffman delivered a double to score Goedart. But, Moore was again able to wriggle out of further damage by walking the bases loaded, getting a ground-out force at home, a pop-up to second, and a strikeout. Moore went 6.2 innings, gave up three runs on nine hits, walked one, and struck out three.

Overall, McAllister went 6.0 innings, gave up just five hits, walked one, and struck out three. His bullpen then came in to slam the door. Chen-Change Lee worked 2.0 perfect innings for the hold, and Zach Putnam finished it off for the save with a perfect ninth in which he struck out the side.

Game 2 is at 7:05 tonight, again in Durham. The Fury Mitch Talbot takes the hill for Columbus, and Chris Archer will get the ball for the Bulls.

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Photo Credit: Columbus Clippers

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Scott

    What are the odds/hopes that McAllister can become a serviceable back-of-the-rotation arm? Kids young and has shown flashes at all minor league levels – can he pull a David Huff and make the leap?

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com DP

    Absolutely. He’s still very young (23), and he’s got the size and the sinker–when it’s on–to be effective in the majors. His development from last year to this has been nothing short of excellent, which is certainly an encouraging sign.

  • 5KMD

    Dp,

    Is that THE Chris Archer that we traded to the Cubs for DeRosa a couple years ago?

  • Pale Dragon

    Most people seemed to dismiss Beau Mills as a prospect prior to his joining the Clippers. Does he have any chance of replacing LaPorta as the Cleveland first baseman next year?

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com DP

    @5KMD – it is, indeed. 2006 5th round pick Chris Archer.

    @Pale Dragon – Mills is still lagging a bit as a prospect; he just turned 25, and as a first round pick from 2007 I think it was expected that he’d be further along then he is. The biggest issue is that, since hitting 21 homers in his first full year at Kinston, his power numbers steadily dropped: 14 in 2009 (AA), 10 in 2010 (AA). He’s rallying this year, with 11 HRs at Akron in 61 games, and now 7 in 35 games in Columbus. His career minor-league OPS, though, is still just .782 in 530 games. In other words, he hasn’t really done enough to make you think he’s suddenly going to “turn it on” and be a legitimate ML first baseman from a hitting stand point. It also doesn’t help him–in this organization, at least–that he’s a left-handed hitter.

  • Anthony

    @1

    Scott, I’m not even sure David Huff has pulled a David Huff yet. Sure he has shown some very good things this year, but that is over 6 starts. If he had started the season with us we would just call that a good April.

    I do like what I have seen though and I think he has a great shot at making the rotation out of spring training next year.