The Columbus Clippers offense is alive and well after putting up 26 runs in the last two games, including a matchup at home with Indianapolis on Thursday and the series opener in Louisville on Friday.
Columbus is just 4-3 over their last seven games heading into action on Saturday night. After winning 11-2 last Saturday in Charlotte, they lost 3-2 on Sunday to miss out on a chance to sweep the Knights at home. The Clippers returned home to Columbus for a four-game set with the rival Indianapolis Indians and won a 1-0 contest on a combined six-hitter on Monday before dropping back-to-back 5-4 decisions on Tuesday and Wednesday. They earned the series split on Thursday with a 9-7 victory before a 17-4 shellacking of the Bats in Louisville on Friday.
The Clippers sit in the top spot in the International League’s West Division with a 63-51 record heading into Saturday’s games, leading Indianapolis by five games. The Bats are eight games back while the Toledo Mud Hens sit in the cellar a dozen games out of first. Columbus will finish its four-game series in Louisville before heading to Toledo for three during the week.
In other Clippers news and notes from the Ohio state capital:
DIAZ PUSHES STREAK TO 24
Yandy Diaz remains an everyday component of the Clippers lineup and is contributing night in and night out. He has pushed his batting average to a season high .344 with a .418 on-base percentage and .495 slugging mark over the course of a 24-game hitting streak that he brought into Saturday’s action.
He used a lot of singles during the week to maintain the streak, but doubled on back-to-back days against Indianapolis on Tuesday and Wednesday. He added a homer and four RBI in the offensive eruption on Friday night against Louisville.
URSHELA’S STREAK REACHES 19 IN A BIG WAY
Giovanny Urshela pushed his hitting streak to 19 on Friday with a four-hit effort against Louisville.
He appeared in six of the last seven Clippers games and had four multi-hit games throughout the week. He had back-to-back two-hit games against Indianapolis to begin the month, then hit a homer and drove in three in the third game of the series. He had a pair of doubles and two RBI in a three-hit game in the finale and started the series with the Louisville Bats with a four-hit game, supplying the Clippers with three singles and a double while driving in two.
He entered play on Saturday with at least two runs batted in over each of his last four games. His batting average has climbed from .238 to .272 over the course of his hitting streak.
ZIMMER ADJUSTING WELL TO LIFE IN AAA
Bradley Zimmer had his second career four-hit game on Friday in Columbus’ rout of Louisville.
Zimmer has hit safely in eight of his first eleven games at the Triple-A level since his promotion, hitting .357 during that stretch with a homer, two doubles, and three RBI.
The two doubles came in that four-hit outburst on Friday, when he was 4-for-6 against the Bats with three runs scored and one run batted in.
AGUILAR WITH SEASON-HIGH RBI OUTPUT
On Friday, Jesus Aguilar went 3-for-5 with two runs scored. He had a pair of doubles, a home run, and drove in five as the Clippers routed the Bats, 17-4.
The five RBI exceeded his previous season-high of four, done twice this season on June 9 and June 11. The 26-year-old right-handed hitter is hitting .224 for the year with 18 doubles, 21 homers, and 70 RBI.
CLIPPERS RECEIVE HAVILAND
Right-hander Shawn Haviland was signed on Friday to a minor league contract by the Indians and assigned to Columbus.
Released prior to the season by the Charlotte Knights, Haviland has yet to pitch this season. The 30-year-old split last season between Pawtucket and Charlotte, posting a 5-10 record with a 4.18 ERA in 25 games, including 19 starts.
PITCHING ON THE MOVE
Over the course of the last week, the Indians have called up Shawn Armstrong, Mike Clevinger, Ryan Merritt, Shawn Morimando, and T.J. House from the Clippers. They have also optioned Austin Adams, Cody Anderson, Armstrong, Merritt, and Morimando back to Columbus during that stretch, as the team seeks to work through short outings from the starting rotation.
Clevinger aided the club by starting in Thursday’s win over the Minnesota Twins and has remained in the rotation while the team awaits the return of Danny Salazar from the 15-day disabled list.
Cortland Cox was assigned to the Clippers on Saturday morning from the Lake County Captains to help out in the Columbus bullpen. Lefty Craig Stammen moved up from Akron on Tuesday.
Argenis Angulo was assigned back to Lake County on Friday after his promotion on Thursday. The same occurred for D.J. Brown, who was shifted back to Akron on Thursday after his brief promotion on Wednesday for a start. Matt Whitehouse joined the club from the Lynchburg Hillcats on Thursday but was returned on Saturday.
COLON ON ASSIGNMENT
Joseph Colon has returned to the Clippers as well, albeit this trip may just be temporary as he began his rehab assignment for the Indians on Saturday.
Erik Gonzalez was optioned to Columbus on Friday when the Indians added former Clipper Michael Martinez off of waivers from Boston. The club designated left-hander Tyler Olson for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster for the addition of Martinez.
The Indians retained outfielder Joey Butler, who had been designated for assignment on Sunday to make room for reliever Andrew Miller. He returned to the Clippers.
Photo: Chris Russell/The Columbus Dispatch