Clippers fall flat to Red Wings in 7-2 loss
COLUMBUS – The Columbus Clippers (59-52) struggled on both offense and defense on Monday night, and that resulted in a 7-2 loss to the Rochester Red Wings (54-56). It was the Clippers’ second loss in a row; marking the first time they’ve fallen in consecutive games in more than two weeks.
There was nothing but trouble early on for Clippers starter T.J. McFarland (4-5, 5.68 ERA), who allowed base hits to each of the first four batters he faced in the game. This culminated with a two-run single by Red Wings first baseman Chris Parmelee. The inning was salvaged by an impressive Clippers double play and a diving catch by center fielder Ezequiel Carrera, and McFarland was able to escape the first inning down only 2-0.
That deficit would be cut in half in the third inning. After Clippers catcher Matt Pagnozzi reached on a bloop single to left, third baseman Gregorio Petit lined a ball into left that lined square on the foul line. He would get a double, and Pagnozzi came all the way around to score; just beating the tag of Rochester catcher Rene Rivera.
However, it wouldn’t be much longer before McFarland’s night became downright nightmarish. The fourth inning began with an infield single as Petit failed to play a tough ground ball. McFarland walked the next batter, and then left fielder Brian Dinkelman loaded the bases with a bunt single. This set the tables for Rivera, who launched a grand slam to the opposite field and gave the Red Wings a 6-1 lead.
McFarland was able to last five innings, but it felt like a struggle to get every last out. He ultimately have up six runs on 12 hits and two walks while striking out two. He had some solid streaks throughout the night, but he made far too many mistakes to get the win.
Clippers manager Sarbaugh said that McFarland’s struggles were atypical, and even in the loss he could see flashes of the pitcher he was used to seeing.
“He wasn’t getting ahead of hitters early and they took advantage of it,” Sarbaugh said after the game. “He did get some ground balls that he usually does but they were able to find holes.”
Things initially didn’t get much easier once the Clippers went to their bullpen. The Red Wings once again loaded the bases in the sixth inning on Columbus reliever Matt Langwell, and were able to bring in a run on a sacrifice fly by third baseman Eduardo Escobar that made it 7-1.
Meanwhile, the Columbus offense couldn’t get much of anything going against Rochester starter Esmerling Vasquez (5-5, 3.62 ERA). The only signs of command loss came in the sixth inning, in which he allowed Carrera to score from third on a wild pitch. Carrera was injured on the play, and Sarbaugh said after the game that Carrera sustained a hit to the head. He was able to stand up and walk into the clubhouse, but Sarbaugh still wasn’t sure of Carrera’s status going forward.
“I’m going to go and check on (Carrera) in one second,” Sarbaugh said. “He was hit in the helmet, but hopefully he’ll be okay.”
Vasquez got the win on the night, and he allowed two runs on four hits and a walk in six innings while also striking out six. The only pitcher to come out of the Rochester bullpen was Kyle Waldrop, who tossed three perfect innings to close out the game. Columbus could never find an answer to everything Rochester threw at them.
The Clippers will conclude their home series against Rochester on Tuesday with an afternoon contest that will begin at 12:05 p.m.