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 gone exactly as he has needed it to go. After splitting last season between Columbus and the parent Cleveland roster in both its rotation and bullpen, he is the first in line at the Triple-A level in the event of an emergency to the Indians’ starting five.
The 26-year-old right-hander made a pair of starts during the award period, bringing home a pair of wins.
He got the starting nod on April 11 in Indianapolis as the Clippers took on the Triple-A Indians. He worked seven scoreless innings on the night, giving up four hits and a pair of walks while striking out nine to drop his season ERA to 0.69. He had good command of the strike zone throughout the ball game, throwing 68 of 99 pitches for strikes at Victory Field to earn his first victory of the year.
He struck out the first two batters of the game and worked out of a jam in the third after Indianapolis singled and doubled to lead off the inning. He came back to strike out the next three batters and would strike out single batters in each of his final four innings of work after.
He was aided by a big play in left field by Richie Shaffer in a 1-0 game in the bottom of the sixth. Indianapolis started the inning with a single and the next batter doubled, but Shaffer threw out the leadoff man at the plate on a relay to Giovanny Urshela, who threw to catcher Adam Moore for the out with what would be the last significant scoring opportunity for Indy on the night. The Clippers would tack on another run in the eighth and went on to win, 2-0.
Clevinger made his first home start of the season on April 16 and was just as dominant on the mound. He worked six shutout innings in his second start of the year against the Louisville Bats, giving up three hits and a walk while striking out eight. The quality start lowered his ERA through three starts to 0.47. He was nearly equal to his previous outing in regards to his command of the zone as he threw 66 of 98 pitches for strikes. He was aided by the first of two Columbus double plays on the day in the fifth and was the recipient of plenty of support by his teammates in the 8-0 shutout.
He struck out the first batter of the game and added another K in the second. He struck out the final two in the third and the first in the fourth before getting the double play grounder around the horn in the fifth. In his final inning of work in the sixth, he struck out the first two batters swinging before a pair of singles, but came back to strike out a third batter swinging in the inning to conclude his start, just as his offense tacked on five runs to blow open the game.
The fourth round pick of the 2011 draft by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim is 2-0 in three starts this season with a 0.74 WHIP. He has struck out 25 batters and walked five in 19 innings of work and the only run he allowed came on a solo home run in his season opener against Louisville. Opposing hitters are batting just .145 against him.
Dating back to his debut with the Clippers in the 2015 Triple-A postseason, Clevinger is 15-1 with a 2.26 ERA while working as part of the Columbus staff.
Clevinger is scheduled to make his next start on Saturday afternoon when Columbus takes on the Buffalo Bisons from Coca-Cola Field.
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