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Carlos Moncrief Navigates Clippers Offensive Explosion

Carlos Moncrief Navigates Clippers Offensive Explosion

| On 27, Apr 2015

When I spoke with right fielder Carlos Moncrief before the Columbus Clippers’ home opener on April 18, he was happy to be home and had a feeling the team was ready to explode after a slow start on the road. In nine road contests, the Clippers went 4-5 and owned the IL’s worst batting average at .157.

“It feels good to be home,” said Moncrief. “I think the whole team will be more comfortable and I think we’re ready to explode.”

Moncrief’s prediction was right as the Clippers completed a four game sweep of the Louisville Bats on Sunday afternoon and went 6-2 in their first homestand of the year.

Entering the homestand, the Clippers had just four home runs as a team. Now, they find themselves tied for the league lead with 15 homers. They’ve also raised their team batting average .087 points to .244.

Moncrief was a big part of Columbus’ offensive explosion at home, batting .330 (7-21) with 2 home runs and 7 RBI after hitting just .136 (3-22) on the road. In game one of Sunday’s double header, Moncrief led the offense going 3-3 with a home run, 3 RBI, and 3 runs.

“Hitting, this year I’m really locking it in and taking everything personal,” said Moncrief. “We’ll see how that goes at the end of the season.”

Defensively, Moncrief has always been as good as they come. He tied an IL record with 22 outfield assists last year. With teams now well aware of Moncrief’s arm strength, it could be tough for him to match that number again, but don’t tell Carlos that. He’s topped his career high before and has the confidence to do it again.

“I’ve always had confidence in my throwing ability and my defense,” said Moncrief. “Whether it’s going to get balls or just my routes to balls, I’ve always had confidence on defense. But to throw out 22 people – actually, I threw out 20, I think 21 in Low-A.”

Moncrief had a Class-A leading 21 outfield assists with the Lake County Captions in 2011. After the season, he was rated as having the best outfield arm in the Cleveland Indians system.

So far this season Moncrief has one outfield assist and a perfect 1.000% fielding percentage. He’ll look to add to his assist total and remain perfect in the field when the Clippers kickoff a seven game road trip in Rochester on Monday. After four games with the Red Wings, the Clippers will travel an hour east for three games with the Syracuse Chiefs.

Standings Update: The Clippers are 10-7 and sit atop the West Division with a one game lead over the Indianapolis Indians (9-8).

Francisco Lindor Watch: The Tribe’s top prospect hit .382 (13-34) over the homestand to raise his season average from .207 to .302. He leads the team in hits (19) and stolen bases (6).

#BROlumbus: Nick Swisher began his rehab assignment with Columbus on Friday night. The Ohio State alum started right field and played nine innings, going 3-5 at the plate with a RBI and two runs scored. Swish was back in the lineup for game two of Sunday’s double header, where he went 2-4 with a run scored, bringing his average to .556 (5-9) in two games.

Bruce Chen Continues to Roll: The 37-year-old veteran lefty improved to 2-1 on Sunday, allowing one run on three hits with five strikeouts in seven innings of work. Chen’s 1.08 ERA is fifth best in the IL this year. He has two complete games and has allowed just three runs and 13 hits in 25 innings.

Photo: Lianna Holub/DTTWLN photographer