It was a challenging week for the Columbus Clippers, winning only two of six games in its series with the Toledo Mud Hens, Detroit’s Triple-A affiliate. After a promising win to start the series on Tuesday, Logan Allen pitched a stinker on Wednesday, giving up eight earned runs over six innings and taking the loss. On Thursday, LHP Scott Moss left his start with an apparent arm injury in the third inning. Friday saw third baseman Nolan Jones hit his first Triple-A home run to tie the game at 2-2 in the top of the ninth. Reliever DJ Johnson then took the loss in the bottom of the ninth when he gave up a game winning single to Toledo’s Brady Policelli. After a strong start by Kirk McCarty to get the Saturday night win, on Sunday, the bullpen completely imploded after relievers Matt Koch and Justin Garza pitched six strong innings to put Columbus in position for the win. Up 5-1 after scoring four runs in the top of the seventh, Columbus’ bullpen proceeded to give up nine runs in the bottom of the inning and two more in the ninth to lose the game 12-5 and go 2-4 on the week.
The was good news too, as several Columbus hitters started to break out of their early season slumps. Jones, Bradley Zimmer and Oscar Mercado all hit throughout the series, Bobby Bradley had a two-homer game on Saturday night, and Daniel Johnson homered in Friday, Saturday and Sunday’s games. SS Andres Gimenez also put together two multi-hit games over the weekend after Cleveland optioned him to Triple-A. The Clippers will need their bats to continue their awakening, as early season MVP Owen Miller was called up to Cleveland in the wake of Franmil Reyes injury.
Week in Review
5/18 – W – Columbus 6, Toledo 1 – W: Matt Koch, L: Scott Hutchison, S: Kyle Nelson
5/19 – L – Toledo 8, Columbus 2 – W: Robert Ross Jr., L: Logan Allen
5/20 – L – Toledo 9, Columbus 5 – W: Logan Shore, L: Scott Moss
5/21 – L – Toledo 3, Columbus 2 – W: Ian Krol, L: DJ Johnson
5/22 – W – Columbus 5, Toledo 3 – W: Kirk McCarty; L: Matthew Manning, S: Blake Parker
5/23 – L – Toledo 12, Columbus 5 – W: Beau Burrows; L: Manuel Alvarez
Player of the Week
OF Bradley Zimmer:
After an underwhelming start to the season, Zimmer caught fire this week, going 8-19 and putting together three multi-hit games against the Mud Hens. Zimmer hit two doubles this week and scored three runs. Zimmer only struck out five times and walked four times over the course of the series. During this tear, Zimmer has raised his slash line to .259/.403/.315, which is encouraging since he was hitting under .200 for much of the first two weeks of the season. In addition, Zimmer continues to play excellent defense as his strong arm and excellent range play all over the outfield. This week Zimmer started two games in left, one in center, one in right and two at DH.
3B/OF Nolan Jones:
IBI’s #2 prospect has had a slow start to the season, but things started looking up in a major way this week. Jones hit in every game of the Mud Hens series, and also hit his first home run of the season on Friday night to tie the game late. On Sunday, Jones started a seventh inning, four-run rally when he doubled to left field and scored on catcher Ryan Lavarnway’s double one batter later. For the series, Jones went 7-19. He is now hitting .182, which sounds bad until you realize he was barely hitting .100 to start the week. Jones also worked five walks to go with eight strikeouts this week.
LHP Kirk McCarty:
McCarty had an excellent start on Saturday night, pitching seven strong innings, giving up five hits, two earned runs, striking out seven and walking only one to earn the win. McCarty is not an overpowering pitcher, his fastball sits at about 92-93. But but he throws strikes, works batters and as a result is finding success early this season. McCarty is currently 3-0 and has been the Clippers’ best and most consistent starter this season.
RHP Eli Morgan:
Morgan made a brilliant start on Friday night, pitching six innings of shutout baseball. Morgan gave up only two hits, struck out six and walked two in taking the no-decision. Morgan was dealing with an injury during spring training, and his first two starts of the season were ho-hum at best. This is a good sign that Morgan is fully healthy and ready to contribute to a starting rotation who could use some help.
LHP Logan Allen:
Allen had his third lousy start in a row for the Clippers on Wednesday. Over 6.0 IP, Allen gave up 11 hits eight earned runs, hit three batters, walked two and struck out three. Despite that performance, he lowered his ERA to 14.66 over three starts and his record sits at 0-2. It is not clear what is wrong with Allen at this point, but after a really promising spring training with the Indians, he has had no success for Cleveland or Columbus so far this season.
LHP Scott Moss:
Moss left Thursday’s start in the third inning after suffering an apparent left arm injury. Before departing, Moss gave up two hits and two runs, while walking one and striking out one and taking the loss. The lefty dealt with an injury during spring training, so this is bad news for a pitcher who, if healthy, has a chance to help Cleveland at some point this season.
INF Ernie Clement:
Clement has not played since May 13, when he suffered an apparent injury while running the bases. The Clippers have yet to move Clement to the 7-day IL, but his continued absence is troubling. Clement was hitting .345 with six doubles and a triple at the time he went out. The Clippers could really use him in a lineup that is suddenly missing Owen Miller with his Sunday call-up to Cleveland.
5/18 – SS Andres Gimenez optioned to Columbus
5/18 – RHP Jean Carlos Mejia promoted to Cleveland
5/22 – RHP Triston McKenzie optioned to Columbus
5/22- LHP Kyle Nelson promoted to Cleveland
5/23 – RHP Jordan Stephens activated from 7-day injured list.
5/23 – LHP Zach Draper transferred from Arizona to Columbus.
5/23 – INF Owen Miller promoted to Cleveland
5/25 vs. Nashville Sounds, 7:05 p.m. at Huntington Park, Columbus
5/26 vs. Nashville, 7:05 p.m. at Huntington Park
5/27 vs. Nashville, 7:05 p.m. at Huntington Park
5/28 vs. Nashville, 7:05 p.m. at Huntington Park
5/29 vs. Nashville, 7:05 p.m. at Huntington Park
5/30 vs. Nashville, 2:05 p.m. at Huntington Park
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