Clippers Win West, Playoffs Start Tonight
Ryan Hohman | On 09, Sep 2015
For the second year in a row, the Columbus Clippers are the International League West Division champs! The Clippers clinched Monday afternoon when Louisville scored three runs in the ninth to defeat Indianapolis 3-2. Columbus and Indianapolis finished the regular season tied atop the West Division at 83-61, but Columbus held the tiebreaker by winning the regular season series 11-10.
Columbus will play the South Division champion Norfolk Tides (Baltimore Orioles) in the first round of the IL playoffs. Below is the schedule for the best-of-five series that opens tonight in Norfolk with Columbus lefty Ryan Merritt (12-7, 3.63) taking on Norfolk righty Terry Doyle (16-2, 2.16):
Game 1 – September 9, Away @ Norfolk, 6:35pm ET
Game 2 – September 10, Away @ Norfolk, 6:35pm ET
Game 3 – September 11, Home @ Huntington Park, 7:05pm ET
Game 4 – September 12, Home @ Huntington Park, 7:05pm ET*
Game 5 – September 13, Home @ Huntington Park, 6:05pm ET*
RBI King Aguilar Named Postseason All-Star
First baseman Jesus Aguilar drove in all six of the team’s runs in a 6-2 victory over Louisville on Friday to win the league RBI title. The last Clipper to lead the league in RBI was 20 years ago in 1995 (Don Sparks, 90). Aguilar was also named to the IL Postseason All-Star team as the DH. In 131 games, Aguilar hit .267 with 19 home runs, 93 RBI, 29 doubles, 57 runs, and a .439 slugging percentage.
Toru Murata Cruises to 15th Win
The 30-year-old right-hander from Osaka, Japan notched his league leading 15th win in Sunday’s 7-1 victory over the Toledo, making him the first 15 game winner for the Clippers since 1990. Murata (15-4, 2.90) scattered four hits over seven innings, struck out six and walked none in the victory. Murata has been on a tear since he was sent down to Columbus after making his major league against Baltimore on June 28th (L, 3.1IP, 4H, 5R, 3ER, 2BB, 0K). In his last 13 starts, he is 10-1 with a 3.01 ERA. Opponents are hitting just .239 against him over that stretch.
Lowest Team ERA Since 1992
The Clippers finished the 2015 regular season with a team ERA of 3.33, posting their fourth sub 4.00 ERA in the last five seasons (zero seasons with an ERA below 4.00 from 1993-2010). The last time the Clippers had an ERA under 3.50 was in 1992 (3.35).
Defense Wins Championships
Entering Monday’s season finale, Columbus owned the second best defense in the IL (.984, 83E). Their defense ranked sixth last year. From Anthony Slosser, Assistant Director of Media Relations for the Columbus Clippers, the interesting thing about this stat is that the left side of the Clippers infield was promoted to Cleveland in June: third basemen Giovanny Urshela (6/8) and shortstop Francisco Lindor (6/13). Since their departures, the Clippers have had 8 errors at third in 84 games (6 errors in first 59 games) and 9 errors at short in 79 games (10 errors in first 64 games).
Playoff Roster Moves
The Clippers made a few moves on Wednesday. Right-handed pitchers Mike Clevenger and Jeff Johnson were added from Akron. To make room, right-handed pitcher Jordan Cooper and outfielder Anthony Gallas have been made inactive for the first round series.
Food and Drink Specials Announced for Home Playoff Games
As if you didn’t need another reason to watch some playoff baseball at one of baseball’s nicest ballparks, this afternoon the Clippers tweeted out food and drink specials for every home playoff game at Huntington Park:
City Barbeque 4 for $5
Roosters ½ Priced Wings
Thirsty Thursday Beer Specials
Need tickets? Call 614-462-2757 or buy tickets here.
Photo credit: Cathryn Wood / Columbus Clippers