September 12, 2015 Columbus Clippers We all know the #1 goal for the Indians franchise is to win the Governors’ Cup every year and back in 2015, they pulled out […]
September 12, 2015 Columbus Clippers
We all know the #1 goal for the Indians franchise is to win the Governors’ Cup every year and back in 2015, they pulled out all the stops for the Clippers. On this day, they played the Norfolk Tides in the first round of the play-offs following a win and a loss in the first two games of the series.
Game three featured many of the top prospects of the day (some who made it, some who didn’t) as well as others who were on the way back down. Will Roberts made the start for the Clip Show against Elih Villanuenva. While Roberts never made it to the big leagues, this was his fifth of six seasons with the Cleveland franchise and he pitched over 750 innings during that span. While he wasn’t a particularly dominating pitcher over his career, in this game he really stood out with five shut out innings.
The offense, which featured some of the biggest names in recent Indians history, backed Roberts up strongly from the start. In the first, Erik Gonzalez doubled and scored on a Jesus Aguilar single. Aguilar then came home himself on a Zach Walters home run (he’s the guy at the top of the page). Walters (the return from the Asdrubal Cabrera trade the year before) had spent some time with the Indians in 2016, going back and forth, but never really took off. In September, he finally started looking as promised with a hit in all six regular season games including one two homer game. He slugged .696 during this span then had two hits in game one of the play-offs and a double in game two. This home run in game three then moved his hit streak to seven games with four home runs and three doubles.
In the third, the Clippers put up another three pointer with the same cast and crew. Gonzalez singled to start the inning, then Aguilar was hit by a pitch. Walters hit into a fielder’s choice before Adam Moore brought home Gonzalez with a single. After a wild pitch, a Yandy Diaz single brought home Walters, then super utility man Audy Ciriaco singled home Moore for the third run. This would be the Clippers last run of the game.
Roberts continued to keep the Tides from rolling in, although he did have a rough fourth. He gave up two of his five hits and one of his two walks in that inning, but left the bases loaded to end the inning. He would give up the other three of his five hits allowed before an out was recorded in the fifth, but again left the bases full using a foul out and double play.
Michael Roth replaced Roberts in the sixth and allowed a walk and double and was quickly replaced by C.C. Lee, who stranded both runners while recording the final two outs. The Clippers made an attempt to score in the bottom half when James Ramsey singled and Michael Choice doubled, but both were stranded.
Lee stayed on for the eighth and struck out two more, giving him three for the game. He allowed a single as well and was replaced by Joseph Colon. Colon walked a hitter, but otherwise remained unscathed. Walters added a double in the bottom half, but was stranded.
Colon stayed in for the eighth and, for the first and only time in the game, the Tides started scoring. After a single and two K’s, Michael Almonzar singled and Sharlon Schoop doubled to score a pair. Shaun Marcum came in for relief, walked a hitter and gave up an infield single, but was still able to get out of the inning without another run scoring. The 32 year old former Cubs closer (117 career saves) Carlos Marmol then came into the game and closed out the ninth in order with two K’s.
Ahead 2-1 in the series, the Clippers would lose 6-5 the next day, but shut out the Tides 5-0 to win the series in game five. They moved on to face Indianapolis in the Governors’ Cup, which you can learn more about in future installments of “This day in Indians minor league history.”
Despite his late season success, this would be the final season with Cleveland for Walters. He was purchased by the Dodgers during the off-season and played just three more games in the big leagues with LA before moving on to independent ball. James Ramsey, who always seemed locked with Walters as he was acquired for Justin Masterson in the same trade deadline, went with him to LA and would never play in the big leagues. As for the old folks Marmol and Marcum, both would retire from baseball for good at the end of the AAA season.