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Sailing with the Clippers: 8/1/13 to 8/7/13

Sailing with the Clippers: 8/1/13 to 8/7/13
August 8, 2013
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Any hopes of the Clippers reaching the playoffs in 2013 are fading fast. After another mediocre 3-4 week, Columbus finds themselves 6.5 games out of a Wild Card spot and 11 games out of first place in the International League West.

Although not dead, the chances for the Clippers to make a last minute surge are dwindling with a little under a month to go in the season. They’re either going to have to get hot or pray that the front-runners start slumping late in the year if they have any hopes of reaching the postseason. As inconsistent as the entire team has been in 2013, it’s hard to see that happening though.

Columbus split a pair with Buffalo to even the four-games series that began on July 30. They then seized a 2-1 series advantage over Toledo before dropping the next pair of contests to the Mud Hens at the conclusion of the week.

The first week of August has been a series of peaks and valleys on both sides of the ball.

The offense has been either hit or miss. They’ve had three games of scoring three runs or fewer - all which resulted in losses. On the flipside, they’ve cranked out four games with 5 runs or more in the same period and have gone 3-1 in those contests.

The starting pitching has been a similar story. Every win and loss in August has been accredited to Columbus’ starting rotation. Fantastic outings by Danny Salazar and Daisuke Matsuzaka and T.J. House lead to the three wins this month. However, right-handers Trevor Bauer  and Joe Martinez have performed poorly thus far in month and Carlos Carrascowas handed his first loss of the season on Aug. 4.

With Salazar likely to stay in Cleveland for the foreseeable future and the potential of another starter leaving the Clippers’ rotation to fill in for the injured Corey Kluber, it’s going to be difficult to make up loss ground this late in the season, especially with a 56-64 record.

Catching Wind:

Daisuke Matsuzaka, SP
1 G, 1-0, 7.0 IP, 1.29 ERA, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 7 K, 1 BB

Matsuzaka is certainly turning heads with his most recent outburst of dynamic starts. In his previous start on Aug. 3, the right-hander tossed seven frames, fanned seven batters and surrendered one run on three hits. “Dice-K” has now won two consecutive starts and will go for his third in-a-row Thursday. His seven-straight games of lasting six innings or more is quite impressive considering his injury-plagued start to the season. Now that Cleveland is short-handed with Kluber’s injury and with Bauer struggling, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to think that Matsuzaka may finally complete his road back to the big leagues.

Tim Fedroff, OF
7 G, .385 BA (10-for-26), .515 OBP, 5 R, 1 2B, 0 HR, 5 RBI, 6 K, 7 BB

Here we go again! Fedroff’s hot and cold streak continues. After a dismal performance last week, the outfielder turned things around and collected three multi-hit games to raise his batting average from .252 to .260. He netted an astounding .515 on-base percentage while also knocking in and scoring five runs each. When Cleveland is able to expand their roster come September and with a limited pool of major league-ready talent to choose from, look for Fedroff or fellow outfielder Ezequiel Carrera to get the call up.

Vinnie Pestano, RP
2 G, 1-0, 2.1 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 K, 0 BB

Yes, Pestano has only appeared in three games for Columbus but so far so good. In his 3.3 innings of work, Pestano has not allowed a hit and has struck out four batters against one walk. How long the Indians plan to keep the reliever down in Triple-A is still unknown to everyone outside of the organization but it’s hard to imagine it will be much longer if Pestano continues to pitch well and the bullpen continues to scuffle. The Tribe needs the Pestano of old back desperately. 

Stranded at Sea:

Trevor Bauer, SP
2 G, 0-2, 11.1 IP, 6.49 ERA, 11 H, 3 HR, 8 R, 6 ER, 8 K, 10 BB

Just when Bauer looked to regain his control in the month of July, the right-hander has been wild in August. Now with a 5-5 on the year, Bauer went 0-2 in his first two starts this month, posted a 6.49 ERA and walked more batters (10) than he struck out (8). His inconsistent command also lead to three home runs in those outings. On the bright side, Bauer still holds a respectable 3.84 ERA. There’s also a fairly good chance that either he or Carrasco will be promoted for the September call-ups. It definitely wouldn’t hurt for Bauer to return to his mid-season form where he was lights out though.

Joe Martinez, SP
1 G, 0-1, 4.2 IP, 11.57 ERA, 10 H, 1 HR, 6 R, 6 ER, 6 K, 0 BB

It’s been a rough season for Martinez. The starter fell to 2-7 with a 6.14 ERA on the year after getting rocked for six runs in 4.2 innings on Aug. 7 against Toledo. His last victory came on June 10 when he hurled 6.1 innings of one-run ball against the Gwinnett Braves. With a few more starts left, hopefully Martinez can find a groove to end the season on a high note.

Important Numbers:

192:  Reliever Matt Langwell’s promotion to Cleveland on Aug. 6 was the 189th roster move for the Clippers this season, surpassing their previous record of 188 in 2008. The additional three moves the following days puts Columbus at 192 for 2013 and sets them on pace for 232.

108: With 12 punch outs Wednesday, the Columbus pitching staff now has 1,034 strike outs on the year and are now just 108 swings and misses away from breaking the franchise record of 1, 142 set in 2011.

14: The Clippers have the fewest amount of home runs in the IL since June 1. During that time, they have slugged just 14 long balls.

On The Move:

August 1

RHP Boof Bonser activated from 7 day DL and granted release

August 3

RHP Fernando Nieve traded to Oakland
INF Luis Hernandez sent to 7 day DL (left hamstring strain)
INF Matt LaPorta added from 7 day DL
RHP Joe Martinez accepted outright assignment from Cleveland

August 4

Lou Marson added on Major League injury rehab assignment

August 6

RHP Matt Langwell recalled to Cleveland

August 7

RHP Danny Salazar recalled to Cleveland
RHP Matt Langwell optioned from Cleveland
INF Justin Toole transferred from Carolina


8/8- vs. Louisville Bats 7:05 p.m.
8/9- vs. Louisville Bats 7:15 p.m.
8/10- @ Louisville Bats 6:05 p.m.
8/11- @ Louisville Bats 6:05 p.m.
8/12- OFF DAY
8/13- @ Indianapolis Indians 7:05 p.m.
8/14- @Indianapolis Indians 1:35 p.m.

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