Clippers Held Hitless In Triple-A All-Star Game
By Christian Petrila
Three Columbus Clippers made it to Buffalo to play for the International League All Stars in the Triple-A All Star Game: Matt LaPorta, Cord Phelps and Russ Canzler. The three leftBuffaloleaving much to be desired.
Matt LaPorta started in left field and would play the entire game. His first at bat was against Graham Godfrey (OAK) with two outs and a runner on first in the bottom of the first. On a 1-1 pitch, LaPorta grounded to third base. It would have been a tailor-made double play, but the throw to first from Jake Elmore (ARI) short-hopped first baseman Mike Hessman (NYM). LaPorta would be stranded there as the next batter flew out to left.
LaPorta’s next at bat came in the bottom of the third. After falling behind 1-2 against Ryan Verdugo (KC), LaPorta showed great patience by working the count full before ultimately drawing a two-out walk. He would once again be stranded at first as the next batter was called out on strikes.
His next at bat was in the fifth inning against Tom Koehler (MIA). With two outs and a runner on second, LaPorta lofted a 2-2 pitch into right, but Kole Calhoun (LAA) had plenty of time to drift under the ball and retire LaPorta for the third out.
LaPorta’s fourth and final at bat came in the bottom of the eighth against Tommy Hottovy (KC). He swung at a 2-1 pitch and flew out to Kole Calhoun once again, this time in left field. LaPorta finished the game 0-3 with a walk.
The other starter for the Clippers was Cord Phelps. Unlike Laporta, Phelps did not play the entire game. He was pulled for a defensive replacement in the sixth inning. His first at bat came in the second inning with runners on second and third with one out. He grounded to third and Ryan Lavarnway (BOS) was tagged out after a long rundown. The official score was your everyday, 5-2-5-1-6 fielder’s choice.
His only other at bat came in the fourth against John Ely (LAD). After fouling off three consecutive pitches, Phelps made solid contact, but got under it just a little too much as Clipper-out-magnet Kole Calhoun made the easy catch in right. Phelps’ final line was 0-2 with three runners left on base.
The third and final Clipper to enter the game was Russ Canzler. He entered the game in the eighth as a defensive replacement. In the bottom of the eighth, he did not get the bat off of his shoulders against Jim Henderson (MIL). He saw four pitches – three strikes and one ball – all without swinging the lumber. He finished an uneventful 0-1 with a backwards K.
In the end, the Pacific Coast League completed the second All Star Game shutout in as many nights. Tuesday, it was the National League shutting out the American League. Wednesday, the PCL defeated the IL 3-0.
The Clippers will open the second half of the season 45-45 and 11 games behind the division leading Indianapolis Indians (Pittsburgh’s Triple-A affiliate). They play a doubleheader Thursday against those very Indians. The first game starts at 6:05 p.m.
Photo: Columbus Dispatch