Posts By Ryan Hohman
Holy, Ciriaco! Columbus Clippers infielder Audy Ciriaco hit a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth to break a 5-5 tie and lift the Clippers to a 6-5 victory over the Indianapolis Indians on Tuesday in game one of the International League Governors’ Cup Finals.
Trailing 5-1 in the seventh, Columbus plated four runs to tie it before Ciriaco’s game deciding bomb. Ciriaco also singled in the seventh to finish the night 2-4. Erik Gonzalez, who is batting .423 (11-for-26) in the postseason, went 1-4 with a RBI single while Zach Walters (1-4) hit a two-run single in the seventh.
Starter Ryan Merritt pitched 6.1 innings (6.1IP, 9H, 4R/ER, 2BB, 4SO, 102 pitches/65 strikes) before Joe Colon came on in relief. Colon pitched two scoreless innings (2.0IP, 0H, 0R 4SO) to pick up the win.
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):
Adam Moore‘s walk-off single in the 11th gave Columbus a big 7-6 victory over Indianapolis on Sunday night as the race for the IL West Division title heats up. The Clippers lost a 5-4 lead in the ninth, but tied it back up with a two-out RBI single by Michael Choice to push the game into extra innings. Jesus Aguilar, who doubled with two outs, scored the winning run.
The win moves Columbus (78-58) within one game of Indy (79-57) in the West. They’ll meet again Monday and Tuesday at Huntington Park (both 7:05pm ET starts) before traveling to Indy for two games on Wednesday and Thursday.
Almonte Assigned to Columbus
There’s a new face in Columbus. The Indians traded Marc Rzepczynski to San Diego minutes before the Friday 4pm deadline for versatile, switch-hitting outfielder Abraham Almonte and immediately assigned him Columbus. The 26-year-old split the season between San Diego and Triple-A El Paso. In 31 games with the Padres, Almonte hit .204 (11-54) with four RBI, six runs, three doubles, and one stolen base. In 61 games with El Paso, he hit .275 with four home runs, 35 RBI, 18 doubles, two triples, and 11 stolen bases. At 5’9″, 210 pounds, Almonte has power, good speed and can play all three outfield positions. Almonte has also spent time with the Yankees and Mariners organizations. In 2014, he opened the regular season as Seattle’s starting center fielder and leadoff hitter, but was demoted to Triple-A after struggling to produce at the plate. He was later traded to San Diego.
Tomlin Has Longest Outing Since Shoulder Surgery
Josh Tomlin was charged with the loss in his third rehab start with Columbus. The righty pitched into the seventh inning in Thursday’s 7-1 loss to Indianapolis, his longest outing since undergoing shoulder surgery in March. Here’s his stat line for the game: 6.1IP, 6H, 2R/ER, 1HR, 4BB, 1SO, 90 pitches/61 strikes.
Outfielder Jerry Sands is quietly having one of the best seasons in the Indians organization. How is he doing it? Hard work, consistency, and sweet potatoes?
Sands grew up in Smithfield, North Carolina, a small town in Johnston County, which is the #1 producer of sweet potatoes in the United States. Each spring, the community puts on the Ham & Yam Festival, a celebration of the best ham and yams in the area.
“I think I went just a few times when I was younger,” Sands said with a laugh. “They shut down a small section of one of the streets in Smithfield and had vendors from everywhere. Live music and different things. It was a good time and is definitely a big thing around there.”
The Columbus Clippers are sending three players to the 2015 Triple-A All-Star Game. First basemen Jesus Aguilar, outfielder Tyler Holt, and reliever Shawn Armstrong will represent Columbus on the International League team that faces the Pacific League All-Stars on July 15 at Werner Park in Omaha, Nebraska.
Aguilar, who has hit 30 home runs over the last two seasons, is an All-Star for the second year in a row. He’ll also be back in the home run derby, where he bashed four homers last year.
James Ramsey has been one of the Indians’ most consistent players since being acquired from the Cardinals for Justin Masterson last year. His steady contributions at the plate and in the outfield make the former first round pick a prime candidate for a promotion to the majors.
Ramsey’s 2014 was his best offensive season. In 95 games – split between farm systems in St. Louis and Cleveland – he hit .295, tied a career high in homers (16), and set a new best in RBIs (52).
Defensively, he was perfect, not committing a single error all season. Flawlessness in the outfield is nothing new to Ramsey, though. Up until a few weeks ago, he had not committed an error since 2013.
“The error this year was a tough play, but I expect myself to make it,” said Ramsey.
Cleveland announced Sunday that catcher Yan Gomes and pitcher T.J. House will join the Columbus Clippers to continue their rehab assignments on Monday. House is scheduled to start for the Clippers on Wednesday against Buffalo.
Gomes and House started their rehab assignments with Class-A Lake County, where both looked sharp. In two games with Lake County, Gomes went 2-4 at the plate and scored a run. House struck out five over three scoreless innings in a start against the Dayton Dragons on May 15. Gomes caught all three of House’s innings on the hill.
Bruce Chen has a chance to make history Saturday afternoon at Progressive Field.
No, he’s not the first 37-year-old to pitch in a major league baseball game. And no, he’s not the first player to have pitched for 11 teams.
The veteran lefty’s 82 career victories has him tied him with Mariano Rivera for the most by a Panamanian-born pitcher.
The Indians’ decision to send Crockett to Columbus was not based on performance. The 23-year-old had tossed 2 1/3 scoreless innings in three appearances. According to his dad, Gary, the Indians explained it to Kyle as a “business decision.” He was the only lefty on the team with options.
“It’s not frustrating to me,” said Crockett on being optioned to Columbus. “I’m still young so I’ve got some time. They had to do what they had to do and they’ve been playing better lately. Whenever they need me back up there I’ll be ready.”
Did the Tribe Win Last Night? Yes!
8-9-1 hitters (Roberto Perez, Michael Bourn, Jason Kipnis) drove in all seven Cleveland runs to snap a four-game losing streak with a 7-5 win over the Royals on Wednesday night. Danny Salazar pitched six strong innings and struck out seven to improve to 3-0 on the year.
After the Royals plated two runs in the first, Kipnis brought the Indians back in the third with his first home run of the season – a three-run shot off Yordano Ventura.
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.