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Clippers Notebook: Clippers set for start of IL playoffs

Clippers Notebook: Clippers set for start of IL playoffs
September 2, 2014
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The week that was

Monday started with a bang thanks to the first walk-off home run since 2011.  Jesus Aguilar launched the three-run game winner in the tenth inning off of Josh Kinney.  Aguilar had five hits, including the homer, two doubles, four runs batted in and scored three runs.  Not to be outdone, Matt Carson also contributed five hits including a homer in the ninth that sent the game to extras.  He also had a double, drove in three runs and scored three more.

Zach McAllister made what could be his final start of the 2014 season in a 3-1 win over Toledo on Tuesday.  He held the Mud Hens to a run over seven innings on four hits and a walk with eight strikeouts.  Luke Carlin haunted Toledo again by working a bases loaded walk in the seventh to give the Clippers a 2-1 lead.

Justin Sellers came through with a bases-clearing double in the deciding five-run fourth inning that gave the Clippers a two-game sweep in a 9-4 win at Toledo.  Elliot Johnson drove in four runs, including a second inning two-run triple. 

The Clippers began their final road series of the year by dropping a pitcher’s duel in Indy.  Gabriel Arias gave up two runs (one earned) over seven innings, but was handed the loss thanks to quality pitching from Casey Sadlerand the Indianapolis bullpen.  Tony Sanchez hit a two-out single in the first and the Clippers were never able to tie the game in a 2-1 loss.

Columbus put six runs on the board in the first two innings in the second game, but there is no running out the clock in baseball.  Indianapolis countered by scoring runs in each of their first four at-bats and came back to defeat the Clippers 9-7.  A four-run seventh gave was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

For the second straight night, Indianapolis put four runs on the board in a late inning to defeat the Clippers 4-2. Jaff Decker drove in the winning run on single to left.

Audy Ciriaco drove in four of the Clippers five runs, including a three-run homer in the seventh that took the suspense out of the game.  Five Columbus pitchers combined to hold Toledo to one run in a 5-1 victory on Sunday.

Zeros were plentiful in the season finale as the Clippers and the Mud Hens went 11 innings of scoreless baseball.  Danny Worth broke the tie in the 12th with a base hit that scored Wade Gaynor.  But the Clippers came back in the bottom half.  Kevin Whelan never recorded an out after he struck out Francisco Lindor on a wild pitch and Lindor reached base.  Russell Branyan walked in the tying run and Audy Ciriaco came through again against the Mud Hens with a walk-off single.

Faces familiar and new spending September in Cleveland

The Clippers lost pitchers Zach McAllister, Bryan Price and Austin Adams as well as first baseman Jesus Aguilar to Cleveland on Monday.

McAllister started the season in the Cleveland rotation, going 3-0 with a 2.28 ERA in his first four starts.  But he struggled afterwards, pitching past the fifth inning only once in his final six starts before going on the disabled list with a back injury after his May 21 start against Detroit.  He went 0-4 with a 9.51 ERA over that span.

After making a rehab start for Lake County on June 5, McAllister continued in Columbus before being activated and optioned on June 20. He made six starts with the Clippers and went 5-0 with a 2.23 ERA before being recalled on July 12.  He was a part of the rotation roster shuffle in July, being optioned and recalled three times to make four starts for Cleveland. 

He pitched well in his first two starts, but struggled in his next two before being sent back to Columbus for the Clippers playoff run.  He made five starts for Columbus in August, all of which were quality starts, posting a 2-1 record with a 1.93 ERA.

Price spent the first two months of the season on the Clippers disabled list recovering from shoulder surgery.  He was activated on May 31 and sent to Akron. He spent three weeks with the RubberDucks and made eight appearances, pitching ten innings.  He had no record, but recorded one save and finished with a 1.80 ERA.

He was transferred to Columbus on June 26 and made 20 appearances spanning 26.1 innings.  He was 0-1 with four saves and a 2.73 ERA. He was plugged into the closer role in late August, converting four of four save opportunities from August 18-26. He did not allow a run in his final 6 appearances, holding opponents to a .037 batting average over 8.1 innings with 11 stikeouts.

Adams began the season with the Clippers.  He gave up runs in three of his first six appearances, including an outing on April 18 against Toledo where he gave up three runs in 1.1 innings and took the loss.  His ERA was inflated to 7.27 in 8.2 innings.

After that, he had only two appearances in his next 24 with the Clippers; posting an ERA of 0.88.  He picked up two saves along the way and earned himself his first Major League call-up. He made his Major League debut on July 12 against the White Sox and allowed three runs in 0.1 innings.  He allowed a run in 1.2 innings in his next appearance at Detroit on July 20 before being returned to Columbus.

He made three more appearances with the Clippers, going 0-1 with a save and a 2.25 ERA over four innings before being recalled again.  He made only one appearance with Cleveland in his second stint, on August 1 against Texas, but it was a scoreless effort this time around, going 1.1 innings with a hit and a stikeout. He made nine more appearances with the Clippers in August and went 1-0 with a pair of saves and a 3.38 ERA.

Aguilar started the season with the Clippers on an eight game hit streak, batting .448 (13-for-29) with three homers and seven RBI.  He hit two homers in the April 8 game against Louisville.  He was hitting .380 with seven homers and 18 runs batted in through April 26 before hitting his first slump of the season. 

He hit .173 with no homers and three runs batted in until Cleveland called him up on May 15.  He played four games in the big leagues and collected his first Major League hit in the last game of that stint on May 19 against Detroit. He was sent back to Columbus after Cleveland put Carlos Santana (concussion) and Nick Swisher (left knee) on the disabled list.  He played four games in his second stint and collected two hits in nine at-bats and was sent back when Santana was activated.

He was more consistent his third time around with Columbus, batting .314 with 12 homers and 58 RBI in 76 games.  He homered in his first at-bat back with the Clippers and another two home run performance two days later.

August was a really big month for Aguilar.  He hit in 20 of his final 21 games with the Clippers and ended his Triple-A season on a nine-game hit streak.  After August 5, he hit .420 with five homers and 13 RBI over his final 21 games, including a walk-off three run homer against Indianapolis that cut the Clippers magic number to clinch down to one at the time.

Odds and Ends

Playoffs set: The Clippers have known that they’ll play Durham in the first round of the Governor’s Cup Playoffs beginning on Wednesday night.In the other series, the IL North winner, Syracuse will face the Wild Card winner Pawtucket, who locked it up on Sunday night. The Clippers finished this season 2-6 versus Durham, 5-3 against Syracuse and 4-4 against Pawtucket.

Gimme Five: INF Jesus Aguilar’s five hits, including the walk-off three run homer in the tenth, on Monday night is a new career high.  He has had four hits in a game seven times during his professional career, the last time being May 9, 2013 when he was with Akron.  Aguilar’s walk-off home run was the first for the Clippers since Luis Valbuena sent them home happy on August 2, 2011 with a two-run shot in the ninth to defeat Norfolk.  He had four hits in that game. 

Big night: OF Matt Carson also had five on Monday, including a solo home run in the ninth that sent the game into extra innings, is also a new career high.  The last time he had that many hits in a single game was August 5, 2012 as a member of the Rochester Red Wings when he had four hits in nine at-bats in a 19 inning game 10-9 win over Toledo.  He has eight career four-hit games at the Triple-A level. Carson was in a 0-for-12 slump before the five-hit performance on Monday.  His average was at .241 entering the game and was raised to .256.

Movin’ on up (or down)

The Clippers made ten roster moves on the final two days of the season to end their count at 205 roster moves for the 2014 season.  The Clippers sent 41 players to Cleveland throughout the season and received 41 players back.  Nine players on the Cleveland roster started the season with Columbus and Tyler Holt and Kyle Crockettstarted in Akron and made it all the way up. 

After making only 27 moves in April.  They made a season high 58 moves in May and 32 in June, 42 in July, 41 in August and five in September.  They set the team record in 2013 with 227 roster moves.

Looking Forward

Game Times and Starting Pitchers:

9/3 – Game One vs Durham (7:05 PM) – RHP Alex Colome (7-6, 3.77) vs. RHP Kyle Davies (9-8, 4.11)
9/4 – Game Two vs Durham (7:05 PM) – LHP Enny Romero (5-11, 5.40) vs. RHP Tyler Cloyd (10-8, 3.89)
9/5 – Game Three at Durham (7:05 PM) – RHP Shaun Marcum (1-0, 2.35) vs. RHP Matt Andriese (11-8, 3.77)
9/6 – Game Four (if necessary) at Durham (1:05 PM) – TBA vs. TBA
9/7 – Game Five (if necessary) at Durham (5:05 PM) – TBA vs. TBA


8/25 – C Chris Wallace (right quad strain) placed on the 7-Day Disabled List…INF Ryan Rohlinger (left hip flexor strain) activated off the 7-Day Disabled List

8/27 – OF Ryan Raburn (right wrist soreness) transferred from Columbus to Akron…RHP Tyler Cloyd (strained left hamstring) placed on 7-Day Disabled List

8/29 – LHP Josh Outman traded to New York (AL) from Columbus…RHP Jordan Cooper transferred to Columbus from Akron…INF Russell Branyan signed to Columbus from Free Agent

8/31 – RHP Zach McAllister recalled to Cleveland from Columbus…RHP Jordan Cooper transferred to Akron from Columbus…RHP Adam Miller transferred to Columbus from Akron…RHP Enosil Tejada transferred to Columbus from Akron…OF Ryan Raburn transferred to Columbus from Akron

9/1 – INF Jesus Aguilar recalled to Cleveland from Columbus…RHP Austin Adams recalled to Cleveland from Columbus…RHP Bryan Price recalled to Cleveland from Columbus…LHP Nick Moronde transferred from Akron to Columbus…LHP Scott Barnes (left lat strain) activated from 7-Day Disabled List.

Michael Rich is a senior majoring in Communications at The Ohio State University.

User Comments

September 3, 2014 - 4:16 PM EDT
Well, I think the competing starting rotations is a great indicators as to the state of the two organizations' rotations. Columbus starters are 30, 27, and 32. Durham's starters a 25, 23, and 25.

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