Sailing with the Clippers - August 22nd through August 28th
Pitching was the name of the game this week for the Clippers. From Tuesday on, there was nothing but great starts from the rotation. It resulted in a number of close games, including four straight one-run affairs. The offense did not follow suit, however, as the team only scored 18 total runs. Jared Goedert was responsible for exactly half of them, driving in nine. Still, the pitching was strong enough to win four of the seven games. With Tuesday's win and a little assistance, the team punched their ticket to the postseason. Josh Judy, Zach McAllister and Nick Hagadone were all called up to Cleveland and optioned back down within the week. Hagadone, along with Jerad Head, received their very first Major League promotions.
Monday (lost, 6-4): Monday's game played like many from the week before, but it would not be a sign of things to come. The Bisons got to Jeanmar Gomez early in the third game of this four-game series, but both runs were unearned because of a two-out, no one on error. The Clippers responded in the bottom half of that second inning, as Jared Goedert sent a solo home run out. In the next inning, hits from Tim Fedroff and Travis Buck gave Columbus a 3-2 lead. Gomez was not able to sustain that lead, however. Buffalo came right back with a crooked number of their own, three, and took control right back. A Cord Phelps homer in the fifth cut the lead to 5-4. Once again, the Bisons answered a Clippers run immediately, this time matching one with one. Neither team scored again. Columbus put two runners on in three of the final four innings, but were unable to get any of them across. In Gomez' six innings, he surrounded seven hits, walked four and struck out six. Matt Langwell and Chen Lee combined for three scoreless innings in relief, striking out two apiece.
Tuesday (won, 5-0): After pitching out of the bullpen four days prior, Paolo Espino was back to starting in the finale against Buffalo. His performance seemingly set the pace for fellow Clippers starters to come. He was staked to a quick lead when Jared Goedert delivered an early home run for a second consecutive game. The lead was extended to two, when in the fourth inning, Jerad Head came through a solo shot of his own. Espino left after seven innings with a two-run lead in hand, allowing zero runs on two hits, walking zero and striking out seven. If not for his continual transition from starter to reliever and back, he certainly would have surpassed the 79 pitches that he threw. In the bottom of the seventh, a two-run Cord Phelps blast built the lead to 4-0. Nick Hagadone came on to work a clean eighth. Paul Phillips tacked on one more run with a knock in the bottom half. Josh Judy followed Hagadone's perfect inning with one of his own to finish what was a great all-around effort. With this win and an eventual Indianapolis loss later in the night, the Clippers officially clinched a playoff berth.
Wednesday (won, 2-1): Much like Paolo Espino, Mitch Talbot has also been in between pitching roles. His has been more defined lately, as he made his third straight start on Wednesday. The previous two were both ones to forget, but he changed his fortune in this game. Also like Espino, Jared Goedert gave Talbot a one-run lead after one inning, this time with a sacrifice fly. Luis Valbuena followed suit with one of his own in the fifth inning, making it 2-0, Columbus. Though he dealt with slightly more traffic on the bases, Talbot matched Espino's seven scoreless innings. He gave up four hits and two walks, while punching out eight. Zach Putnam spelled Talbot, and ran into trouble. Three straight one-out singles got Indianapolis on the board, but he was able to retire the next two without conflict. Josh Judy, on for save number 22, also put himself in a tight spot. After recording the first out, he walked two straight. A groundout put both the tying and winning runs in scoring position, but Judy collected the final out, lead still in tact. Travis Buck was responsible for three of the team's seven hits, already the second time this week he had done so.
Thursday (lost, 3-2): Game two of this four-game home and home series with Indianapolis was another pitching duel. Joe Martinez took the mound Thursday, and he continued the trend. Scoring kicked off in the fourth inning, and in dramatic fashion. With Chad Huffman on third, Argenis Reyes put down a successful squeeze bunt; 1-0, Clippers. Reyes came through again in the seventh inning, this time in a very different way. He deposited his first home run of the season. Into the eighth inning, Martinez was working on a one-hit shutout. After retiring the first batter of the eighth, he was hit for three straight singles, putting the score at 2-1. Chen Lee came into the game with runners on first and second and one out, but got through the inning unscathed. The Clips threatened in the ninth, but could not scratch. Because Josh Judy had pitched in two straight games, Nick Hagadone was handed closing duties for the day. The inning began with an error by Nick Johnson. Hagadone retired the next two, which should have been outs two and three, but the game went on. The next batter doubled, putting runners on second and third in this one-run game. After a pinch runner was inserted at second, Hagadone gave up the game-winner, a single that scored both Indians. Martinez' final line: 7.1 innings, four hits, one run, one walk and five strikeouts.
Friday (lost, 2-1): As the series traveled to Columbus, the Clippers looked to Corey Kluber to maintain a stretch of incredible starting pitching. This game was another duel. Kluber faced the minimum through four innings, handing out just one hit. In the fifth, he let four straight Indians reach to start the inning, resulting in two runs. He got out of the inning, and went on to work two more scoreless. He left after seven, surrendering two runs on three hits, with two walks and seven strikeouts. Matt Langwell got himself into a bases loaded situation in the eighth, but worked his way out of it. The Clips finally got on the board in the eighth, courtesy of a Nick Johnson double. Josh Judy handled Indianapolis in the top of the ninth. Down 2-1, Columbus needed to piece a rally together, somehow. They did, and it looked like the game was going to be tied on a Tim Fedroff single. With two on by way of walks, Fedroff came up with one out and delivered a base hit into center field. Luke Carlin attempted to score from second, but was canned at the plate. The Clippers still had two on, but were unable to get the tying run across. In all, the team stranded 11 runners.
Saturday (won, 4-3): On just three days rest, Paolo Espino was summoned once again. Short rest was all that stood in his way. He made it through four innings, allowing just one hit, and notching six strikeouts. In the bottom half of the fourth, the Clippers' lineup came alive. Three singles set up a bases loaded, two-out, three-run double from Jared Goedert. Eric Berger came on next for Columbus, and struck out the side in the fifth. The next inning was not as kind to him. After walking the first two Indians, he ordered up a crucial double play. After that, a couple of hits got Indianapolis on the board, and Berger out of the game. Zach Putnam came on with runners at the corners. A single and a wild pitch allowed Indianapolis to tie the game, both runs charged to Berger. Putnam created his own jam in the seventh, but escaped, the score remaining 3-3. It remained that way until the bottom of the ninth. Jared Goedert walked, Jerad Head hit a ground run double, and after Nick Johnson was intentionally walked, a pitcher named Jared Hughes entered the game. With the bases loaded and one out, Beau Mills hit a fly ball to center field, one deep enough for Goedert to score. Chen Lee, who relieved Putnam for the last out of the eighth and stayed on for the ninth, picked up the win.
Sunday (won, 8-5): The final game of the week, game one of a home and home series with the Louisville Bats, was nothing like the six before it, offensively. Zach McAllister did, however, maintain the starting pitching status quo. The difference for him, though, was the six-run lead he was given in the second inning. The frame featured a single, a walk, a run-scoring groundout, two doubles, two home runs (by Argenis Reyes and Jared Goedert) and two wild pitches. The Bats immediately got two runs back in the third. Two innings later, the Clippers put up a two of their own, by way of a Beau Mills bomb. An unearned run in the sixth cut Columbus' lead to 8-3. McAllister's day was done after six. He gave up two earned runs on four hits, walked three and struck out nine, concluding a week of masterful starting pitching. Nick Hagadone replaced him, serving up a two-run homer in the seventh, and pitching a scoreless eighth. Josh Judy came on for the save in this three-run game, and made short work of Louisville. Only Nick Johnson and Luke Carlin (who only had one at-bat before leaving the game) were without hits. Tim Fedroff extended his hit-streak to seven; Luis Valbuena, six.
Jared Goedert: 8-27, 4 runs scored, 2 doubles, 3 home runs, 9 runs batted in, 3 walks
Argenis Reyes: 9-25, 3 runs scored, 2 home runs, 3 runs batted in
Jerad Head: 7-19, 1 run scored, 1 double, 1 triple, 1 home run, 1 run batted in
Luis Valbuena: 7-19, 3 runs scored, 1 double, 1 run batted in, 3 walks
Paolo Espino: 2 starts, 1 win, 11.0 innings, 3 hits, 0 runs, 0 walks, 13 strikeouts
Mitch Talbot: 1 start, 1 win, 7.0 innings, 4 hits, 0 runs, 2 walks, 8 strikeouts
Josh Judy: 4 appearances, 2 saves, 4.0 innings, 1 hit, 0 runs, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts
Joe Martinez: 1 start, 7.1 innings, 4 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts
Corey Kluber: 1 start, 7.0 innings, 3 hits, 2 runs, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts
Zach McAllister: 1 start, 1 win, 6.0 innings, 4 hits, 2 runs, 3 walks, 9 strikeouts
Matt Langwell: 2 appearances, 3.0 innings, 1 hit, 0 runs, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts
Chen Lee: 2 appearances, 1 win, 2.0 innings, 0 hits, 0 runs, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts
August 22: Josh Judy promoted to Cleveland
August 23: Josh Judy optioned from Cleveland; Luis Valbuena optioned from Cleveland; Zach McAllister promoted to Cleveland
August 24: Zach McAllister optioned from Cleveland; Cord Phelps promoted to Cleveland
August 26: Nick Hagadone promoted to Cleveland
August 28: Nick Hagadone optioned from Cleveland, Jerad Head promoted to Cleveland; Ben Copeland promoted from Akron