Clippers split error-filled doubleheader with Tides
The Clippers made two errors in their 3-0 win, and four in their 7-4 loss on Tuesday.
NORFOLK, VA – Doubleheaders have not been kind to the Columbus Clippers (11-13) this season. They have been swept in two previous twin bills this year and five straight dating back to July 6, 2013. The Clippers ended that streak with a split against the Norfolk Tides (8-17) at Harbor Park on Tuesday.
The Clippers offense was held in check until a three-run seventh gave them the victory in the first game. Ryan Rohlinger got things going with a leadoff single against Norfolk reliever Brad Brach. Matt Carson sacrificed him to second, and a wild pitch advanced him to third. Roberto Perez came through, again, with a big hit, driving in Rohlinger for the first run.
Pinch hitting for Audy Ciriaco, Tim Fedroff singled to right and Perez went first to third. A sacrifice fly from Jose Ramirez made it 2-0, and a RBI double by Justin Sellers gave the Clippers their third run.
Clippers starter T.J. House made working in and out of trouble into an art form. In each of the first three innings, Norfolk had a runner on third base.
The third inning looked particularly bleak after Julio Borbon stole second and advanced to third on Roberto Perez’s throwing error with only one out. Xavier Paul hit a fly ball to right fielder Carlos Moncrief, with his momentum coming towards home, threw a one-hop dart to nail the tagging runner at home for the double play.
House was in danger again in the fifth. Ivan DeJesus led off with a single, which was followed by an Alexi Casilla single one out later. With Pedro Borbon at the plate, Perez threw down to second to pick off DeJesus, but the throw glanced off of his shoulder and went into centerfield advancing both runners 90 feet.
With the infield in, House walked Borbon. House struck out Borbon and coaxed a ground out to second out of Xavier Paul to get out of inning with no damage.
House was lifted three batters into the sixth with runners on first and second and one out for Frank Herrmann, who got out of the inning without any damage. Herrmann got credit for the win.
Mark Lowe finished the abbreviated game to pick up his fifth save of the year.
In the late game, the bullpen blew a late two-run lead allowing five runs to score in the seventh as Columbus fell to Norfolk 7-4 to close out the first month of the season.
The top half of the order paced the offense. Jose Ramirez, who saw his 21 game on-base streak snapped in the first game, collected two hits, drove in a run and scored one. Nyjer Morgan drove him in for the opening run of the game in the first inning.
The Clippers added to their lead in the second on a pair of groundouts by George Kottaras, his first run batted in of the season, and Ramirez.
Kottaras, who snapped a 0-18 streak in Saturday night’s extra inning loss, walked and scored the Clippers fourth run. Justin Sellers drove the run in, and plated a RBI in both games of the double-header and six for the year.
Tyler Cloyd, who started the second game, lasted five innings, while giving up two runs. Cloyd struck out four, walked one and, most importantly, did not give up a long ball.
Columbus reliever Vinnie Pestano (0-2) took over in the sixth, and gave up the Clipper lead. Pestano allowed five runs, four earned, and was credited with the loss.
Kelvin De La Cruz (1-2) pitched a perfect sixth in relief of another former Clipper, T.J. McFarland, to pick up the victory. Preston Guilmet closed out his former team to earn his third save in as many opportunities.
Both teams struggled defensively on a rain-soaked field. The teams combined for nine errors. Columbus committed two in the first game and four more in game two. All three of the Norfolk errors occurred in the early game. Seven different players were charged with errors, including Roberto Perez, who threw two balls into runners on second base in the first contest.
Ryan Rohlinger was charged with two fielding errors. The second of the two errors happened in the five-run sixth inning, and preceded the Phelps triple. The play led to a run after Rohlinger came up too quickly on a ground ball, in an attempt to prevent a Norfolk run. Rohlinger never got a clean handle on the ball. He tried to tag the runner coming to third, but was unsuccessful.
After splitting the four-game series against the Tides, and a scheduled day off on Wednesday, the Clippers turn their attention to Durham for a four game set against the Bulls. Though the Clippers have not announced a scheduled starter, Josh Tomlin’s spot is up next.
Given the news out of Cleveland regarding Carlos Carrasco, one of the Clippers starters is likely to get promoted. It could be either Trevor Bauer (3-0, 1.20), who last pitched on Sunday, or Tomlin (1-1, 2.77). The Indians also announced that Zach McAllister would start on short rest, which leaves both possibilities open for the parent club.
Tomlin pitched last Friday night in the Clippers 7-1 win over Gwinnett that closed out the home stand. The righty pitched eight shutout innings and struck out six to earn his first win of the year.
The Wednesday off day also makes it possible for Travis Banwart (1-0, 4.15) to start on Thursday. Banwart pitched the Saturday night series opener against Norfolk. He tossed 5.2 scoreless innings, but did not factor in the decision because the Clippers would go on to lose the game in eleven.
Whoever starts for the Clippers will face Durham Bulls starter Enny Romero (2-3, 4.44), who will be making his sixth start of the year.
Michael Rich is a senior majoring in Communications at The Ohio State University.