Sailing with the Clippers: 6/18/2012 - 6/24/2012
The Clippers wrapped up another week of their season on Sunday, and for the first time in June, it was a winning one.
Columbus (37-40) defeated the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, 4-0. The win was the Clippers second straight over Lehigh Valley, and with it, Columbus took a 2-1 lead in their four-game series against the Iron Pigs.
Prior to its series at home against Lehigh Valley, Columbus split a four-game set against the Charlotte Knights in North Carolina after taking three out of five games from Gwinnett at the end of last week.
With their win against Lehigh Valley on Sunday, Columbus guaranteed itself of at least a series tie with the IronPigs, with the potential for a series win on Monday night. The last time the Clippers lost a series was at the beginning of the month, when they were defeated in three out of four games at Rochester.
June 18, @Charlotte, Loss, 2-5: Charlotte rallied late to take the first game of the series, scoring five runs over its final three at-bats after Columbus jumped out to a 2-0 lead. Right-hander Dan Wheeler allowed three-earned runs in one inning of relief, taking the loss. The Clippers only managed five hits in the game, and just one Columbus hitter—first baseman Matt LaPorta—had a multi-hit game.
June 19, @Charlotte, Win, 13-2: After struggling at the plate to begin its series in Charlotte, the Clippers bats came alive in a big way in game two. Columbus had 19 hits: 12 singles, four doubles, two homers, and a triple. Third baseman Jason Donald led the way, hitting for the cycle with a 4-for-6 performance.
June 20, @Charlotte, Win, 5-3: It took extra innings, but the Clippers won their second-straight game against the Knights with two runs in the top of the tenth inning. Donald, coming off a historic performance, went 0-for-6 with two strikeouts while leaving eight runners on base. Third baseman Jared Goedert drove in the winning run with an RBI-double in the tenth.
June 21, @Charlotte, Loss, 4-5: Charlotte answered Columbus’ extra-innings win with one of its own, defeating the Clippers, 5-4, in the tenth inning. The Clippers performed well with runners in scoring position, going 4-for-8, but the Knights got hits when it mattered. Second baseman Cord Phelps drove in three of Columbus’ four runs, going 3-for-4 with a three-run homer in the top of the first inning.
June 22, Lehigh Valley, Loss, 4-9: A big inning by Lehigh Valley doomed the Clippers in the opening game of the series, as the IronPigs scored six runs in the top of the fourth to coast by Columbus. Phelps had another solid game, going 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Right fielder Russ Canzler went 2-for-4 as well with a homer.
June 23, Lehigh Valley, Win, 3-2: Playing in their third extra-innings game of the week, the Clippers walked off Huntington Park with a win Saturday night after an error allowed catcher Luke Carlin to score on a groundball to second base by center fielder Ezequiel Carrera. LaPorta went 2-for-3 with a homer, his 16th shot of the season. Right-hander Zach McAllister allowed two-earned runs in six innings of work.
June 24, Lehigh Valley, Win, 4-0: Led by T.J McFarland’s complete-game shutout, the first nine-inning game thrown by a Columbus starter this season, the Clippers secured at least a series tie in their four-game series with the IronPigs. Carrera went 2-for-4 with two RBIs, and third baseman Gregorio Petit had the game-winning RBI with a double in the bottom of the second inning.
Matt LaPorta, .357, 2 HRs, 4 RBIs
The home-run king of Huntington Park regained his title Saturday night, hitting his 29th homer of his career at Columbus after Jared Goedert shortly held the crown with 28 shots. Following a brief stint with Cleveland, it has not taken LaPorta very long to regain his hot-hitting ways at the Triple-A level. LaPorta hit safely in five of seven games this week, four of which were multi-hit games. His strikeout struggles continued, however, as he struck out eight times this week.
Gregorio Petit, .368, 4 2Bs, 4 RBIs
Hitting most of the week at the bottom of the lineup in the No. 9 spot, Petit performed like a capable leadoff hitter in the five games he started. He had three multi-hit games and reached base in each of the games he played in. Petit is hitting just .225 on the season, but he has been hot lately, hitting .297 over the past 10 games. The one thing Petit had problems this week was his strikeout-to-walk ratio, which was 4:1 and 7:1 over the past 10 games.
T.J McFarland, 1-0, 1.20 ERA, 7 Ks, 2 BBs
McFarland made two starts this week, and while his first start—a six-run, two-run performance—was a good one, his final start is what earns him a place on the “Who’s hot?” list. McFarland ended the Clippers week with a complete-game shutout, the first thrown by a Columbus starter this year and the longest outing of McFarland’s season by two innings. He did it by pitching to contact and keeping his pitch count low. McFarland needed just 100 pitches to get through nine frames.
Jason Donald, .184, HR, 4 RBIs
Donald had one good game this week, and it was a historic one, going 4-for-6 and hitting for the cycle. The other five starts he made were not-so-great, going 0-for-21 with seven strikeouts. Donald, who started out hot after being sent down to Columbus, has been struggling lately, hitting .263 on the season and .175 over the past 10 games.
Dan Wheeler, 0-1, 9.00 ERA
Wheeler made three appearances out of the bullpen this week, and while he had two-shutout performances, his outing that started the week on June 18 is what puts him in this category. With Columbus holding a 2-0 lead, Wheeler allowed three-earned runs, blowing a chance at a win. Wheeler has been solid, though, over the past 10 games, allowing just five-earned runs in 14.2 innings of work.
Chad Huffman, .181, 4 Ks
Huffman only made three starts this week, and he didn’t really make them count. The power hitter went 2-for-11 this week. He struck out in every game that he played in, including a two-strikeout game to conclude the week on Sunday. Huffman had been hitting well coming into the week, hitting .275 over the past 10 games.
Stat of the Week
Columbus hitting with runners in scoring position
The Clippers had been struggling for a majority of the season with runners in scoring position, but not this week. Over the past six games, Columbus went 18-for-53 with runners in scoring position, a .340 average.
IF Beau Mills traded from 7-day DL to Cincinnati Reds for cash
June 25, Lehigh Valley, 7:05 p.m.
June 26, Norfolk, 7:05 p.m.
June 27, Norfolk, 7:05 p.m.
June 28, Norfolk, 7:05 p.m.
June 29, Norfolk, 7:05 p.m.
June 30, Toledo, 7:05 p.m.
July 1, Toledo, 6:05 p.m.