Around the Farm: September 9--The Columbus clinches edition
the player was playing in yesterday's game.
Tyler Holt: CF, Kinston: 3-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 4 RBI, 2 K:
Have I mention the havoc that Holt can create? Holt had his third consecutive multi-hit game last night, and is now hitting a robust .538 for the series (7-for-13). Last night, Holt got the ball rolling for the K-Tribe by leading off with a single, and moving to second on Bo Greenwell's walk. A three-run homer later, which I'll get into in a second, and Kinston was already up 3-0. In the second inning, with Casey Frawley on third, and the fleet-footed Delvi Cid on first, Holt lined a double down the right-field line, scoring both runners, making the score 5-0. In the sixth inning, with Tyler Cannon on third, and Cid on first, Holt tripled to score both runners, ending the scoring at 7-0. Holt saved his best performance as a professional for the playoffs. Can he top it tonight to help Kinston clinch the series and send them to the championship game?
Joe Martinez: SP, Columbus: W (1-0), 8 IP, 9 H, 2 R/ER, 4 K:
Talk about starting pitchers stepping up at the right time. Martinez had been a fringe starter for most of the season, and didn't really become a full-time starter until the shuttle started shuffling off the top-end guys like Alex White, David Huff and Jeanmar Gomez to Cleveland. As a reliever, Martinez had been one of their best, going 4-2, with a 2.84 ERA. He wasn't nearly as good as a starter, going 4-7, with a 4.48 ERA, but would manage to throw a solid start in the middle of bad performances. Things began to change on August 15, when Martinez threw six innings of seven-hit, shutout baseball. Then two starts later, he went 7 1/3 innings, giving up only four-hits and one run, and backed that up with a seven inning, two run performance. Last night's start was clearly his best of the season, as Martinez seems to be warming up to the starting role. While he struggled in his last start of the season, last night's series clinching gem gives the righty three quality starts out of his last four outings, and four out of his last six. Perhaps there's something to this kid as a starter, after all.
Nick Johnson: DH, Columbus: 3-4, 1 R, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 1 K:
If only the playoff version of Nick Johnson had shown up sometime in July. Johnson absolutely mashed Durham Bulls pitching over the three-game series. Last night's three hits gave Johnson a .556 average for the series, and really showed what the Indians were hoping that he could bring to the table when they signed him prior to the season. Johnson got the scoring going in the second inning last night after he roped a double, plating a run. He later scored on an Argenis Reyes single. In the third, after Durham had scored a run, Johnson singled, driving in Jerad Head for a 3-1 lead. Clinging to a 3-2 lead in the eighth, Johnson hit a two-out double this time. Ben Copeland pinch ran for Johnson, and scored on a Luke Carlin single, giving the ClipShow the insurance that they needed. It was an all-around solid performance for the Clippers' veteran DH.
- Jerad Head: LF, Columbus: 2-4, 1 2B, 1 K: Head made his return to Columbus after clearing waivers from the Indians, and was showed no rust whatsoever with his two-hits. It was clear that Head wasn't a long-term answer for the Tribe, but he absolutely deserved the shot that they gave him. He showed what kind of pro he really is with his two-hit performance last night.
- Luke Carlin: C, Columbus: 2-3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K: Carlin is really an unsung player with the Clippers. The 31-year old isn't an offensive wunderkind of any kind, hitting .213 on the year, but he is a solid backstop. In this playoff series, Carlin has stepped up his game, going 2-3, with a run and an RBI. He's hitting .375 overall.
- Zach Putnam: Closer, Columbus: S (2), 1 IP, 1 H: With Josh Judy toiling in Cleveland, Putnam has taken over the closer role in Columbus, and is beginning to run with it. In his second save opportunity of the first three games, Putnam shut down Durham, holding them to only one hit. He needed 21 pitches to work through his four batters, but threw 15 strikes.
- Adam Abraham: 3B, Kinston: 2-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K: Abraham continued with the hot bat, blasting a three-run, first inning homer, to give the K-Tribe an early lead they wouldn't relinquish. Abraham is hitting .429 for the series, and is once again riding an extra-base hit streak.
- Michael Goodnight: SP, Kinston: W (1-0), 5 IP, 4 H, 2 BB, 6 K: Goodnight picked up right where he left off after moving up to Kinston and making his start during the September 4th doubleheader. Goodnight got the win then, clinching the second half title for the Indians. Last night he was even better. In his two starts with the K-Tribe, he's gone 11 1/3 innings, giving up seven hits, an earned run and two walks, while striking out 12.
- Chris Jones: RP, Kinston: 2 IP, 1 BB: Jones is having a bit of a renaissance late in the 2011 season, after a dip to start the year off in 2011. Jones had a solid 2010 campaign, and was looking to cement his name into the mind of management with another one in 2011. Things didn't work out all that well with a horrible month of April in which his ERA was a bloated 7.62. Since then, Jones has slowly lowered his ERA back down to 3.36, and he showed why last night with two innings of near perfect baseball.
- Trey Haley: RP, Kinston: 1 IP, 2 BB, 1 K: Haley struggled a bit with control, walking two of the four batters that he faced, but thanks to a strikeout and a double play, Haley managed to get out of his mini-jam to continue his solid performances over the last month.
- Preston Guilmet: Closer, Kinston: 1 IP, 1 BB: In a bit of a strange move, Guilmet came on to pitch the final inning with his club up seven runs. He got through the inning easy enough, but you have to wonder if he'll be available tonight should Kinston need him to help clinch the series. I'm sure Guilmet will go out there, but is pitching your closer three nights in a row the smart move?
Jim is currently the senior editor and Columnist, as well as the host of IBI's weekly online radio shows, Smoke Signals and Cleveland Sports Insiders. You can follow Jim on Twitter @Jim_IBI, or contact him via e-mail at email@example.com.