It was a week of change for the Clippers, as the roster continues to adjust to major league call-ups by the Indians. First baseman Bobby Bradley finally got the call from Cleveland, after Jake Bauers was designated for assignment late last week. Bradley had been struggling with the Clippers, hitting only .196/.266/.485. But he leaves a power vacuum in the middle of the Clippers line-up, as he leaves the club with seven home runs and 17 RBI. Blake Parker also got the call-up, which is good for the Indians, but tough on the Clippers. He has been the team’s most reliable and successful reliver this season. His 15 strikeouts over 11 IP and .64 WHIP will be tough to replace by a very up and down Clippers bullpen. On the plus side for the Clippers, Triston McKenzie joined the Clippers rotation and pitched very well over the weekend against Indianapolis, earning the win in the series finale on Sunday. And Ernie Clement has returned to the eveyryday lineup. While he struggled at the plate this week, his return is a welcome site after he sat out the latter half of the month after injuring his leg apparently running the bases on May 13. Overall, the Clippers could only muster two wins against Indianapolis, behind strong pitching performances from McKenzie and Kirk McCarty. The constant roster fluctuations, as well as a rainout on Wednesday which was made up in a doubleheader on Friday, made it difficult for the team to find consistency throughout the week.
Week in Review
6/1 – L 5-3 @ Indianapolis – W: Keller, L: Dowdy, S: Bashlor
6/2: Postponed @ Indianapolis (Made up in doubleheader on 6/4)
6/3: W 3-2 @ Indianapolis – W: McCarty, L: Marvel, S: Stephens
6/4: L 5-2 @ Indianapolis – W: Weiman, L: Fillmmyer, S: Bashlor
6/4: L 10-3 @ Indianapolis – W: Wright, L: Koch,
6/5: L 3-2 @ Indianapolis – W: Hartlieb, L: Tully, S: Gustave
6/6: W 4-1 @Indianapolis – W: McKenzie, L: Kranick
Player of the Week
Oscar Mercado – 8-20, 2 HR, 2 2B, 3B, 4 RBI, 5 R
After getting off to a very slow start to the season, Mercado has started to turn it on in recent weeks. Even when struggling at the plate, Mercado hustles on every play and is a threat defensively and on the base paths. This week Mercado caught fire – going 8-20 with two home runs, a triple and two doubles. He plays every position in the outfield and plays them well. After showing so much promise for the Indians in 2019, it would be great if this is the beginning of Mercado getting back on track. His five runs scored and four RBI helped the Clippers in a week where they had a hard time keeping up with Indianapolis
SP Triston McKenzie – 5.1 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO, W
McKenzie did not disappoint in his first start for the Clippers since being optioned by Cleveland. McKenzie has battled injuries for much of his professional career and has not played Triple-A ball before this season. He had control issues with Cleveland, which were not a problem for him throughout his career in the lower levels of minor league baseball. He should be able to use his time with the Clippers to sort out these issues, while providing the team with some consistency in its starting rotation.
SP Kirk McCarty – 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 SO, W
Speaking of consistency in the starting rotation, McCarty has been the lone starter to offer any consistency for the Clippers this season. He had another stellar outing this past Thursday, going seven strong innings with seven strikeouts and two walks to earn the win. McCarty is now 4-0 on the season. He is not an overpowering pitcher, but he throws strikes and commands the strike zone, and has been one of the few bright spots on a struggling pitching staff so far this season.
SS Andres Gimenez – 7-22, HR, 3 R, 2 RBI
Since being optioned to Columbus by the Indians, Gimenez has hit well for the Clippers. He had two multi-hit games this week and hit his first Triple-A home run. Additionally, he plays stellar defense at shortstop. Offensively, Gimenez struggled with the Tribe and looked to be lacking confidence in his month or so with the big league club. For the Clippers, he has looked confident at the plate, has put together good at-bats, and seems to be able to handle Triple-A pitching. Gimenez played no higher than Double-A for the Mets, and played only 49 big league games before being traded to the Indians. It seems Gimenez could really benefit from his time with the Clippers, while also giving the team an offensive spark.
Ernie Clement – 4-20, R, RBI, BB, 5 SO, SB
The most important thing to know about Clement is that he is back in the lineup every day after suffering an apparent leg injury in the middle of May. Clement, a natural hitter, was cold most of this week, going notching only four base hits against Indianapolis. Hopefully he will heat up as he gets more at-bats under his belt after the time off. He did start to heat up at the end of the week, going 2-5 on Sunday with a run scored, a RBI and a stolen base. The Clippers could really use his steady bat in the lineup, especially after similarly steay Owen Miller was called up to the Indians.
Tanner Tully – 4.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 2 SO, L
After struggling against the Nashville Sounds last week, Tully had another rough outing this week, pitching 4.2 IP in relief on Saturday, after Scott Moss “opened” the game and pitched the first three innings. Tully gave up five hits and two earned runs during his outing, walking three and striking out two. He is now 0-2 and his ERA sits at 6.91 with the Clippers. Tully is a finesse pitcher, whose success depends on throwing strikes and keeping hitters off balance with his off-speed pitches. One has to wonder if he is overmatched by Triple-A hitters, as he has struggled with the Clippers since being promoted from Double-A earlier this season.
The Clippers begin a six game series at the Iowa Cubs on Tuesday, June 8. The Saints are the Triple-A affiliate of, you guessed it, the Chicago Cubs.
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