Sailing with the Clippers: 7/2/2012 - 7/8/2012
The de facto first half of the Triple-A season concluded Sunday night, with teams playing their last game before the brief All-Star break. Columbus ended its first half on a high note, beating Indianapolis, 11-5, in the rubber match of the three-game series. With the victory, the Clippers ended their week by taking two of three games from the first-place Indians.
Victory was more common than defeat for the Clippers for another week as well. Columbus, in its last week of the first half of the season, went 4-3.
The Clippers started the week off by splitting a four-game series in Toledo before returning home to take a three game set against Indianapolis.
At the All-Star break, Columbus is a .500 team. The Clippers, at 45-45, trail Indianapolis by 11 games and are five games back of the Wild Card spot.
July 2, @Toledo, Win, 4-1: Columbus and the Mud Hens were in a pitcher’s duel for the majority of this one, but the Clippers finally broke out in the sixth inning to take control. Columbus had a three-run sixth frame after being tied with Toledo, 1-1. Ezequiel Carrera, Matt LaPorta and Jared Goedert had three hits a piece. Tim Fedroff and Gregorio Petit added RBIs, while left-hander T.J McFarland went seven-strong innings, giving up one-earned run.
July 3, @Toledo, Loss, 2-4: The Mud Hens jumped out to an early 2-0 lead and with a two-run sixth inning held off any Clippers’ rallies. LaPorta homered, his 17th shot of the season, and Vinny Rottino added a 1-for-3 day with a RBI. Left-hander David Huff took the loss, allowing four-earned runs in six innings of work.
July 4, @Toledo, Win, 13-3: The Columbus bats came alive in a big way in game three of the series, as the Clippers had a three-run first inning and never looked back. Columbus had 17 hits, seven of which were home runs, and eight of the nine Clippers in the lineup reached base safely.
July 5, @Toledo, Loss, 1-6: The Columbus offense cooled in the final game of the series, as the Clippers managed just four hits, letting Toledo split the four-game set. The Mud Hens had a two-run second inning and a two-run sixth, with Jeanmar Gomez taking the loss. The right-hander allowed four runs in six innings of work, his first loss with Columbus.
July 6, Indianapolis, Win, 10-6: Against the first-place Indians, the Clippers were the ones pushing the other team around, as Columbus scored four runs in the second inning and added one run in each of its next six at-bats. The Clippers had 15 hits, with two players, Rottino and Fedroff, falling one hit short of the cycle.
July 7, Indianapolis, Loss, 5-10: Showing why they’re in first place by more than 10 games, the Indians had little trouble getting by Columbus in game two of the series. A four-run first inning put Indianapolis well in the lead, and by the end of the fourth frame, the Indians had a six-run lead. Goedert homered for Columbus with Jason Donald and Gregorio Petit doubling.
July 8, Indianapolis, Win, 11-5: For the third-straight game, one team had a big day offensively, and for the second time this series, it was Columbus. The Clippers were out-hit by the Indians, 10-9, but Columbus was better when it mattered. Columbus had a five-run fifth and a three-run sixth to jump out to a 10-3 lead. Luke Carlin hit a home run with four different Clippers having a multi-hit game.
Vinny Rottino, .364, 2 2Bs, 3B, 6 RBIs
The 32-year old first baseman impressed in each of the six games he played in this week. After being claimed off waivers by Cleveland at the end of June, the Indians assigned Rottino to Columbus. Rottino had a hit in four of the six games he saw action in, and reached base in five. In the July 6 victory against Indianapolis, Rottino almost hit for the cycle. He singled, doubled, and tripled, in order, in his first three at-bats of the game. He fell short of becoming the second Clipper of the season to achieve the feat, failing to homer, or get a hit, in his last two at-bats of the game.
Luke Carlin, .412, HR, 6 RBIs
The Clippers have been splitting time between their two catchers, but Luke Carlin played this week like he deserves the full-time job. In the four games he played in, Carlin reached base in all of them. He had three multi-hit games, including a 2-for-5 line in the final game of the week on Sunday. Carlin went 2-for-5 with a HR and four RBIs, helping Columbus take its final series of the first half of the season.
Trevor Crowe, .083, 2 Rs, 6 BBs
The Clippers’ outfielder had been rumored to be close to a call up to Cleveland, but his performance over the past week certainly did not do anything to help. Crowe went 1-for-12 in four starts, with his lone hit coming in a loss to Indianapolis on July 7. Crowe struck out in each of his final three games of the week, but still managed to reach base in each of his four starts. Crowe walked twice on July 4 and July 5, and got a base on balls in the final game of the week on Sunday. His base-running ability is still a plus, as Crowe scored close to 30 percent of the time he was on base this week.
Ezequiel Carrera, .200, 2 2Bs, 3 RBIs
Getting hits was a bit of a problem for the Clippers’ leadoff hitter this week, as Carrera went a lowly 5-for-25 in six starts this week. After coming into the week on a three-game hitting streak, Carrera struggled with consistency over the past seven days. He started the week on a 3-for-15 skid and did not get much better as the week went on. A positive was his base running, as Carrera stole four bases this week and scored four runs. Like a good leadoff hitter, he only struck out twice in 28 plate appearances.
Stat of the Week
Clippers’ run differential
Columbus has one of Triple-A’s best run differentials, as the Clippers have outscored their opponents by 43 runs. With power hitters like LaPorta, Canzler and now, Rottino, a high-powered offense is expected. What is troubling for Columbus, is that even with one of the league’s best run differentials, they remain a .500 ballclub and middle-of-the-pack team in the International League.
DH Travis Hafner recalled from Major League Rehab Assignment
C Dwight Childs assigned to Carolina Mudcats from 7-day DL
IF Jason Donald optioned from Cleveland Indians (not yet on active roster)
LHP Nick Hagadone assigned to Disqualified List from Cleveland Indians
RHP Chris Ray released
IF Jason Donald added to active roster
RHP Toru Murata assigned to Akron Aeros from 7-day DL
LHP Scott Barnes recalled to Cleveland Indians
July 11, Triple-A All-Star Game, 7:00 p.m.
July 12, @Indianapolis, 6:05 p.m.
July 12, @Indianapolis, makeup of 4/20 game, following 6:05 p.m. game
July 13, @Indianapolis, 7:15 p.m.
July 14, @Indianapolis, 7:05 p.m.
July 15, @Indianapolis, 1:15 p.m.