Clippers Staying Consistent Through Ups and Downs
Alex Krempasky | On 05, May 2014
The Columbus Clippers have finished the first month of the 2014 season and the team has seen its fair share of call-ups and downs with the Cleveland Indians, 16 to be exact, including 11 in April and five already in May. However, despite seeing multiple players make appearances with the Clippers and Indians, Columbus has seen consistent play from a handful of core Clipper players.
Jesus Aguilar has been the keystone for the team’s lineup in every game this season, making appearances at DH, first base, and third base. The 24-year old Venezuelan shows promise at the plate with a batting average of .340 in a team-leading 100 at-bats. Aguilar currently leads the Clippers in games (28), plate appearances (113), runs (14), hits (34), home runs (7) and walks (17). He is also tied for first in doubles (6) and RBIs (17). Aguilar was the Indians’ minor league player of the week for April 4-13 by the club after six multi-hit games in that span, including a two-home run, five RBI performance against Louisville on April 8, which was also the Clippers’ first win of the season.
Carlos Moncrief held down the right field position for most of April. He has made 24 starts at right field and two at center while only committing one error. The 25-year old’s bat has picked up the pace since his first multi-hit game of the season on April 21 against Toledo. Since then, Moncrief has six multi-hit games under his belt, including his performance against Norfolk on April 27 that marked his first home run of the season. He’s currently batting .252 with 23 hits in 91 at-bats and 26 games.
Ryan Rohlinger has been splitting his time between third base and second base, with 14 games at third and 12 games at second. His 24 hits is third best for the Clippers and is tied with Aguilar for first in doubles with 6 on the year. The West Bend, Wisconsin-native looks to play more second base following Jose Ramirez’s call-up to Cleveland on May 2 and third baseman Giovanny Urshela’s call-up from Akron on May 3.
Clippers shortstop Justin Sellers has been improving at the plate since his short stint with the Indians when Lonnie Chisenhall went on paternity leave from April 10-13. Like Moncrief, Sellers has five multi-hit games on the season, but with his first coming on April 5, he did not see another until a few days following his return from the majors on April 22 against the Gwinnett Braves. Sellers has three since then, helping his average improve to .227 (.240 in the past week).
Matt Carson, who has split time between left field and center field, has found himself in a slump at the plate on the last road trips between Norfolk and Durham. He’s produced three hits in 18 at-bats against the Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays Triple-A affiliates. Before the road trip, Carson was hitting .278 in the first 18 games of the season with five multi-hit games and five games with no hits. Following the week on the road, his batting average fell to .256, but he will look to recuperate in Columbus where he has hit .283 at Huntington Park this season.
The Clippers pitching staff has seen consistent starts from the starting rotation, but there are a couple players who have the potential to be starting for the Indians in the near future.
Following his start with the Indians, right-hander Trevor Bauer returned to Columbus and won three-straight games. In those three games, he totaled 19.2 innings and 19 strikeouts while allowing one home run, three earned runs, five walks and 16 hits. In his last outing on Saturday at Durham, Bauer threw seven innings with three strikeouts, two walks, six hits and most importantly, no runs allowed.
Right-handed pitcher Josh Tomlin started the season slow, but in his past two starts he has been the most dominant pitcher on the Clippers’ starting rotation. On April 25, Tomlin pitched eight scoreless innings with six strikeouts, allowed six hits and earned the win against Gwinnett. If that didn’t show signs of improvement, he set out to top that in the next start. On May 1, Tomlin started and finished a complete game against Durham on the road that saw him strikeout 10 Bulls batters and give up three hits, two of which were doubles.
The Clippers (13-15) are returning to Columbus this week for an eight game home stand featuring the Rochester Red Wings and Syracuse Chiefs before taking on those two teams on the road the following week.
Photo: Lianna Holub/DTTWLN photographer