September 14, 2015 Columbus Clippers

This date back in 2015 marked the one of the most impressive feats in Indians minor league history. Mike Clevinger had joined the Indians late in the 2014 from the Angels in exchange for Vinnie Pestano and put together an incredible run in AA in his first full season. Following a 2.73 ERA and 145 K’s to 40 walks in 158 innings, Clevinger was promoted to AAA for the Clippers play-off run. This game was his debut with Columbus as a 24 year old.

This game was game five in the semi-finals as the Tides and Clippers traded wins over the previous four. This was really throwing the youngster into the fire and he could not have been better. While he would increase his strike out rate in the future, particularly once hitting the big leagues, Clevinger wasn’t particularly strike out heavy in 2015. He pitched a perfect first without one, then struck out the side in order in the second and had a perfect third without a K. Continuing on smoothly, Clevinger ended his perfect fourth with a strikeout and began the fifth with two more before he walked David Lough, the first batter to reach in the game.

As Clevinger was dominating in his AAA debut, the Clip Show gave him some back-up in the fourth. Yandy Diaz singled with two outs before Audy Ciriaco hit a homer on the next pitch to give the Clippers a two run lead. The next inning was similar as Tyler Holt singled, then Erik Gonzalez went deep to double up on the lead. This time, however, they didn’t stop immediately after as Jesus Aguilar, Adam Moore and Yandy Diaz all singled to bring home one more.

Armed with a five run lead, Clevinger struck out two more in a perfect sixth and another in the seventh. On a strict pitch count due to his extensive use in AA already in the season, Clevinger forced his own exit in the eighth by walking Junior Lake and striking out one more batter before Shaun Marcum came in to finish the inning. Following the youngster’s 7.2 no hit innings, the Major League veteran Marcum immediately allowed a single to Michael Almanzar, but he was able to keep the shut out despite losing the no hitter.

Marcum came back out for the ninth and allowed the second Norfolk hit of the game, a Rey Navarro double, before striking out the final two batters to win the game and the series for Columbus. They would continue on to face the Indianapolis Indians in the Governors’ Cup and Clevinger would get one more start on September 19th. Make sure to come back to Indians Baseball Insider to find out what happened, because there’s absolutely no other way to discover something that occurred five years ago.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.