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Clip & Dirty: 7/17

July 18, 2010
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Cord PhelpsAfter starting the month of July on a 5-game win streak, the Clippers have hit a little bit of a rough patch and have only won 3 of their past 8 games. Last night continued the trend as the Clippers were blanked 4-0 by Zach Britton and the Norfolk Tides. Josh Tomlin posted a quality start but the offense could never get it going.

Team Offense: 6H, 1XBH, 1BB, 5SO, 3 GIDP

Not too much to analyze here. It was a pretty bad day at the plate all the way around. However, tonight’s game did afford the opportunity for the Indians organization to flaunt their sudden wealth of talent at Second Base. Cord Phelps and Josh Rodriguez (your State Farm “Down on the Farm” player from Friday’s STO broadcast) each had a pair of hits and where as Josh added a double to his tally, Cord added the Clippers only base on balls.

Currently, Josh’s OPS stands at 896 which is even more impressive when you consider he’s not getting the lofty OPS through an outsized SLG component. His OBP is 407 and while his BABIP stands at an unsustainable 406, his batted ball profile suggests a relatively high xBABIP (expected BABIP) and his regression will eventually come to bear, but it might not be as severe as one would expect. His bat seems to be able to play in Columbus and though he is striking out in almost 20% of his PA’s, he is drawing a fair number of walks and driving the ball as can be seen by his 14 XBH’s out of 47 total hits.

Cord (Robert) Phelps has an even shorter AAA track record than Josh Rodriguez with only 95 AB’s, but he has made the most of him. Cord’s triple slash is a monster 376/437/624. He has 10 2Bs, 2 3Bs and 3 HRs paired with a 10:12 BB:K ratio and his 410 BABIP is high, but not that high considering his career BABIP of 341. Even with regression, his bat seems to be handling AAA very well.

Josh’s defense has gotten better reviews from the limited exposure he has in the minors and while he is below average at SS, his numbers indicate he is slightly above average to well above average at 2B. If he keeps hitting, he is more than a depth option at second, he could be a bona fide starting candidate. Cord’s defense has never been seen as spectacular, but rather he is known as a technically sound and proficient defender. His numbers bear this out as he has a neutral TotalRuns score of 0 indicating that he is right at the league average for second basemen. Sprinkle in some Jason Kipnis at AA, a 24-yr old Luis Valbuena and a better-suited for 2B prospect in Jason Donald and all of a sudden the Indians organization is flush with viable options at the keystone.

Team Pitching: 4(3) R(ER), 7H, 3HR, 0BB, 6K, 63.9% strikes, 41.7% GB

Anytime a pitcher only gives up 6 base runner’s in 7 innings and yields 4 runs, you can assume that bad luck on fly balls and/or some sloppy fielding were the result. Josh Tomlin was the victim of both as he pitched well enough last night to earn the win on a normal Columbus offensive night and on a luck-neutral night on the mound. But, things go wrong sometimes and Tomlin was the victim. He yielded only 3 singles, 2 of the infield variety, outside of the three long balls.

Former Tribe farmhand, Michael Aubrey, abused his old organization by going long twice in back to back at bats to leadoff the 2nd and 4th innings. Jess Todd struck out two in his inning of relief work. Todd has quietly put together a great stretch in Columbus by posting a 3.44 FIP and 3.1 xFIP. Which indicates that his 2.75 ERA isn’t too far off from his real performance level. He is striking guys out at a monster 10.24 K/9 rate and looks like a good prospect return as the 2nd part of the Mark DeRosa deal.

The Clippers finish up their set at Norfolk tonight at 6:15pm and will look to avoid the sweep and get back on track to maintaining their healthy 7.5 game lead in the IL West. [Ed. Note: Say goodbye to Jeanmar Gomez for the time being as he is in Cleveland making a spot start. Good Luck Gomez!]

*TotalRuns and park-adjusted numbers taken from www.minorleaguesplits.com

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