The Columbus Clippers’ most recent road trip did not go as planned as the club dropped a pair of series in Lehigh Valley and Buffalo and is marred in a five-game losing streak. The skid is their second streak of three games lost or more already this season.
A rough and heavy road schedule to start the year has put the Clippers (7-10) in the loss column much more frequently than the win one. Already 17 games into the season, they have hosted just one four-game home series this season and they dropped that series in the middle of the month three games to one to Louisville. After going 5-2 in a seven-game trip to start the season, their most recent roadie was far less productive as the club won its opener against the IronPigs last Tuesday before dropping the next two in Lehigh Valley and all three in Buffalo as the Bisons outscored the Clippers by a 19-7 tally in the sweep.
Columbus starter Mike Clevinger was named the International League’s Pitcher of the Week on Monday for his work from April 10 to April 16.
While the award specifically covered his two starts last week, Clevinger’s season as a whole has …
The Columbus Clippers ended a three-game losing streak on Sunday with their best complete team outing of the season in an 8-0 victory over the Louisville Bats.
Mike Clevinger is keeping himself primed and ready in the Columbus rotation with back-to-back wins to start his season. His last pushed the team back over the .500 mark and ended Columbus’ longest losing skid of the young season. The Clippers (6-5) have won all three of his starts this season, but when anyone else has taken the mound, they are just 3-5.
The early season schedule has not provided a lot of variety for the Clippers, who have played the Louisville Bats eight times and the Indianapolis Indians three times. The first seven games of the season came on the road before hosting for the first time this season, but they will be back on the road for another week, heading to Lehigh Valley for three beginning Tuesday night and to Buffalo on Friday night for a three-game weekend set before returning home for the final six games of the month.
In other Clippers news and notes:
Columbus is going to be at the center of the excitement in the International League this season as the Triple-A Clippers return an experienced roster to the field before hosting both the Triple-A All-Star Game on July 11 and the Triple-A National Championship Game between the International League and the Pacific Coast League on September 18.
The Clippers raced to an 82-62 record in 2016, capturing the West Division with the third best record in the IL overall while earning a first round playoff series against the Gwinnett Braves. The series ended in a disappointing 3-1 series loss to the 65-78 Braves, spelling a quick postseason end for the young Columbus team.
The Cleveland Indians announced on Friday afternoon that the guest list for Spring Training at their Goodyear, Arizona, complex beginning in February has grown by eight.
The Tribe will welcome minor league pitchers Josh Martin and Tyler Olson, infielders Nellie Rodriguez, Ronny Rodriguez, and Eric Stamets, outfielders Greg Allen and Bradley Zimmer, and utility man Yandy Diaz to their spring camp on non-roster invites.
The eight will audition for jobs with the Indians while getting a good opportunity to warm up for the 2017 season against other Major League caliber competition.
There was a certain amount of faith that the Cleveland Indians were placing in outfielder Bradley Zimmer when they were willing to move top prospect Clint Frazier to the New York Yankees as part of the four player package used to acquire reliever Andrew Miller prior to the non-waivers trade deadline during the season.
Zimmer has rewarded that belief in him by putting together a good showing thus far during Arizona Fall League play.
While the focus right now may be on the Cleveland Indians’ Major League roster, things are going well throughout the Tribe’s farm system as well.
The importance on drafting strong and developing stronger is no more apparent than at the Major League level for the Indians. The current playoff roster is well-balanced between guys drafted/signed internationally and developed solely by the club (Jason Kipnis, Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez, Lonnie Chisenhall, and Cody Allen to name a few), others acquired via trades and developed on the farm (Corey Kluber, Carlos Santana, and other absentee names like Carlos Carrasco, Michael Brantley, and Yan Gomes), and other veterans still who were added via big trades or free agent moves (Andrew Miller, Mike Napoli, Rajai Davis, Brandon Guyer, and Coco Crisp).
The names that compose the roster now all worked their way up through the minor league system, whether in the Indians organization or elsewhere. The names of the future are doing the same and some standout performers were recognized this week when MILB.com announced its picks for Cleveland’s organizational All-Stars.
Baseball America released its minor league All-Star teams across all minor league levels on Monday and four prospects from the Cleveland Indians farm system claimed spots on the annual rosters.
The biggest winner was 19-year-old right-hander Triston McKenzie, who was not only named as one of the five starting pitchers selected to the roster, but was announced as the Baseball America Short-Season Pitcher of the Year for his 4-3 record in nine starts while with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers.
Despite finishing the regular season 13 games below the .500 mark, the Gwinnett Braves have proven that anything can happen if you can get to the playoffs. The Columbus Clippers, 82-62 in the regular season, were victims of a Braves club on a mission as they were eliminated from the postseason with a 5-4 loss on Saturday night.
The Clippers season came to an end after losing three of four games in the International League semifinals. The Braves will now advance to the Governors’ Cup Finals against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, which swept Lehigh Valley in three games.
Columbus actually held a 3-0 lead, but gave up four runs in the middle innings. They were able to tie it up late, but Gwinnett responded with the go-ahead run in their final at bats.
Gwinnett jumped on Columbus starter Shawn Morimando early and often as the Braves rolled to an easy 11-1 victory over the Clippers from Georgia on Friday night to take a two-games-to-one lead in the best-of-five International League’s Governors’ Cup Semifinals.
The G-Braves gave starter Chris Ellis an early cushion on the mound, striking for two runs in the bottom of the first against Columbus’ Morimando. With one down, Mel Rojas Jr. singled and stole second before a walk by Ronnier Mustelier. Blake Lalli singled to right to load the bases and Sean Kazmar lifted a sacrifice fly to right to score Rojas Jr. with the first run. A wild pitch from Morimando let a second run score before a fly ball ended the inning.
A seventh inning grand slam by top prospect Bradley Zimmer broke a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the seventh and the Clippers held on as Columbus defeated the Gwinnett Braves, 6-4, on Thursday night from Huntington Park.
Gwinnett’s Rob Wooten took over for starter Aaron Blair in the bottom of the seventh and promptly walked Yandy Diaz. A single by Guillermo Quiroz put Diaz into scoring position, but Giovanny Urshela lined out to center and Jesus Aguilar struck out. Michael Choice walked, loading the bases for the young Clippers outfielder, who delivered the clutch two-out bases-clearing bomb to right to give Columbus a 6-2 lead.
A two-run homer in the top of the eighth by Reid Brignac broke a 2-2 tie as the Gwinnett Braves held off a Columbus rally in the bottom of the ninth and the Clippers fell in the International League semi-final opener, 6-5, at Huntington Park.
The Braves’ Triple-A affiliate and IL South champions took a 2-0 lead in the second against Columbus starter Adam Plutko. Blake Lalli singled with one out and scored on a two-out, two-run homer from Daniel Castro to give the Braves the lead.