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Sailing with the Clippers: 4/23/2012 - 4/29/2012

Sailing with the Clippers: 4/23/2012 - 4/29/2012
April 30, 2012
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This past week was a streaky one for the Columbus Clippers.

The Clippers (13-10), returned home on Tuesday after a 10-game road trip, following back-to-back losses at Toledo on April 22 and April 23. The losing streak increased to four games as Columbus dropped two more games to Toledo at Huntington Park.

The losing streak stopped and a winning streak began when the Pawtucket Red Sox came into town on Friday for a four-game series. The Clippers won the first three games of the series, and now find themselves a game back of IL West Division leader Toledo (14-10).

Game-by-game analysis

April 23, @Toledo, Loss, 3-5: The Clippers fell behind early and couldn’t recover. Toledo got out to a 5-0 lead after six innings, and staved off a rally by Columbus. Left-hander Toru Murata got the start and only lasted four innings, giving up three runs on four hits. The Clippers only had three hits in the game, none of which were more than a single.

April 24, Toledo, Loss, 8-12: Toledo got past a three-run first inning by Columbus to score 12 runs—the most given up by the Clippers this season. The Mud Hens hit five home runs—three from power-hitter Brad Eldred—to outduel Columbus in an offensive showcase that produced 28 combined hits. The Clippers had six extra-base hits in the game, including two triples by center fielder Ezequiel Carrera.

April 25, Toledo, Loss, 4-6: A four-run fourth inning sparked Toledo into their fourth-straight victory over the Clippers.  Left-hander David Huff allowed five runs—four earned—in his first start with Columbus. Shortstop Andy Laroche had a home run, his first of the season.

April 27, Pawtucket, Win, 4-1: Columbus ace, right-hander Zach McAllister, had a solid outing, allowing one run in seven innings on only three hits. LaPorta went 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs. Four Clippers—second baseman Cord Phelps, shortstop Gregorio Petit, third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall, and designated hitter Beau Mills—had doubles.

April 28, Pawtucket, Win, 6-4: The Clippers scored five runs in their last three at bats to rally for their second win in a row. Chisenhall, LaPorta, and first baseman Russ Canzler each had two hits in the game. The Columbus bullpen threw three innings of scoreless relief after starter, right-hander Kevin Slowey, gave up four runs on 10 hits.

April 29, Pawtucket, Win, 3-2: Right-hander Corey Kluber went step-for-step with Red Sox starter, right-hander Justin Germano. The Clippers had three errors, allowing two runs to score on Kluber, but a costly error by the Red Sox defense in the bottom of the seventh inning allowed Phelps to score the game-winning run on a groundball hit by LaPorta.

Three up

Matt LaPorta, .523 BA, 2 HRs, 8 RBIs

LaPorta, who has been producing for Columbus all year at the plate in the cleanup position, had perhaps his best week of the young season. The main knock—and possible reason he isn’t in Cleveland—on LaPorta throughout his career has been his inability to take the ball the other way. This week, LaPorta did just that. He had multiple opposite-field hits, including a shot off the wall in right-center field on Tuesday that probably would have gone out of the park if not for it being a very windy night.

Russ Canzler, .391 BA, RBI

Against Pawtucket, Canzler was perhaps the biggest reason the Clippers were able to win the first three games of the series, posting a 7-for-11 mark in those games. While he only had one RBI and no extra-base hits this week, his production at the plate cannot be overlooked.

Cody Allen, 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 IP, 2 Ks

Rarely will a player that only pitched in two innings appear in the “Three Up” category, but Allen is an exception. The hard-throwing, 23-year-old right hander has gone through the Indians’  farm system—in Single-A at the start of the year—faster than anyone in recent memory. In his first appearance with Columbus, it was pretty evident why. Allen was touching 96 mph - 97 mph on the radar gun, and displayed a sharp breaking ball that froze batters.

Three down

Trevor Crowe, .063 BA, RBI

Along with LaPorta, Crowe has been one of the major contributors to a Columbus offense that is one of the most potent in the International League. He was in a major slump this week, however. Crowe appeared in four of the Clippers’ six games this week, going 1-for-16 and striking out once in each of his four starts.

Chris Seddon, 0-1, 9.82 ERA, 3.2 IP

The left hander fell victim to a Toledo offense that possesses possibly the best hitter (Eldred) in Triple-A. Seddon lasted 3.2 innings in his only start of the week, giving up 10 runs on 10 hits and four home runs. Only four of the 10 runs he gave up were earned, but any time 10 runners cross the plate, and four balls are hit out of the park, it’s not a good outing.

Cord Phelps, .200 BA, HR, 2 RBIs

The second baseman has been around the .300 mark for most of his career in the minor leagues, and is around that this season at .296. This week was a different story. Phelps struggled at the plate, going 5-for-25. He did play a major factor in Columbus’ win against the Red Sox on Sunday, going 2-for-4 with a homer-his first of the year—and a double in the victory.

Stat of the week

Phelps 47-game on-base streak ended Saturday night

The second baseman had reached base safely for 47-straight games, dating all the way back to the 2011 season. The streak started on 4/27/2011, and was the longest on-base streak in the IL since 2009. During those 47 games, Phelps hit .307 and had an on-base percentage of .365

Runner up: Chad Huffman on-base streak

The streak pales greatly in comparison to Phelps’, but Huffman has an on-base streak of his own going. Huffman has reached base in each of the 11 games he has played in this season.

Also notable: Carrera’s two triples

In Tuesday’s contest against Toledo, Carrera smoked two triples into the right-field corner. The two three baggers gave Carrera multiple triples (3) on the season. He has now recorded multiple triples in each of his eight seasons. Carrera’s career high for triples in a season is 12 in 2008.

Transactions

April 23

RHP Kyle Landis assigned from Akron Aeros
RHP C.C. Lee placed on 7-day DL retroactive to April 19 (Right Forearm Tightness)
LHP Nick Hagadone optioned from Cleveland Indians (not yet on active roster)

April 24

RHP Kyle Landis assigned to Akron Aeros
RHP Toru Murata assigned to Carolina Mudcats
LHP David Huff added to active roster
LHP Nick Hagadone added to active roster

April 27

LHP Nick Hagadone recalled to Cleveland Indians

April 28

RHP Cody Allen assigned from Akron Aeros

Up Next

April 30 vs. Pawtucket
May 1 vs. Gwinnett
May 2 vs. Gwinnett
May 3 vs. Gwinnett
May 4 vs. Gwinnett
May 5 at Toledo
May 6 at Toledo

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