Columbus’ hot month of June continued during its first-ever series against the St. Paul Saints last week. Formerly based in Rochester, New York, the Minnesota Twins’ Triple-A affiliate rounded out the Clippers’ 12-game homestand. Three big-leaguers were assigned to Columbus on rehab assignments in right-hander Cam Hill (wrist fracture), catcher Roberto Perez (right ring finger fracture) and outfielder Franmil Reyes (left abdominal strain). Outfielder Daniel Johnson brought his hitting streak back home and topped it at seven games while infielder Gabriel Arias hit in all five of his contests and will hit the road with an active seven-game hitting streak. The Clippers’ bullpen shined all week, highlighted by a one-hitter in a shutout victory on Thursday. Columbus’ record now stands at 23-24, good for fourth place in the Triple-A East Midwest Division, as it has gone 15-9 so far this month.
6/22: 8-3 L vs. St. Paul W: Shepherd (3-2) L: Herget (1-3)
6/23: 7-6 W vs. St. Paul W: Young (2-1) L: Whalen (0-4) S: Johnson (4)
6/24: 3-0 W vs. St. Paul W: Gose (3-0) L: Albers (2-3) S: Stephens (2)
6/25: 7-2 W vs. St. Paul W: Perez (1-0) L: Barnes (3-2)
6/26: 6-4 L vs. St. Paul W: Vazquez (3-0) L: Johnson (1-2) S: Vincent (1)
6/27: 8-6 W vs. St. Paul W: Herget (2-3) L: Shepherd (3-3) S: Stephens (3)
Player of the Week
INF Gabriel Arias: 8-for-18, 7 R, 2 RBI, HR, 2B, 2 BB
Arias’ first month in Triple-A was a learning curve, which is to be expected for any player who skipped an entire level of minor-league ball. However, Arias has turned it on in June, hitting over .300 in 76 at-bats — the same number he saw last month. The 21-year-old hit in all five games against the Saints, extending his hitting streak to a season-best seven games. He’s also scored seven runs over his last four games, mashing his third home run of the season Saturday and capping his series with a 3-for-4 performance Sunday.
OF Daniel Johnson: 6-for-23, 3 HR, 5 RBI, BB
This selection should come as no surprise; Daniel Johnson has BEEN hot. He hit in five of six games against Toledo, and punctuated his hot homestand with a seven-game hitting streak. Johnson hit home runs in three of the first four games against St. Paul and played both center and right fields. His .453 slugging percentage is currently second-best among Clippers.
RHP Jordan Stephens: 2 SV, 3 IP, 0 R, 6 K, H
Columbus has an issue that can be deemed either positive or negative: it’s bullpen had 10 arms on its roster, and that’s not counting the rehabbing Hill who joined the team last week. With right-hander Justin Garza’s promotion to Cleveland on Thursday, the Clippers needed someone for late-game situations. Enter 28-year-old Jordan Stephens, former White Sox fifth-round pick back in 2015. Stephens did more than hold his own and was lights out in both save opportunities, including two perfect frames Thursday in which he punched out four batters.
OF Oscar Mercado: 1-for-15, 5 BB, 3 RBI, R, K, CS
It’s been a tough seven days for 26-year-old Oscar Mercado. He missed Tuesday’s game after getting hit in the head with a pitch June 20 against Toledo, and struggled to find a hit against St. Paul. Mercado had only one hit in the series, but contributed in other ways. He poked two sacrifice flies and drew walks across his final four contests, including twice in the finale, but was the only starter without a hit on Sunday.
INF Owen Miller: 4-for-19, 2 R, 2 BB, RBI, 5 K
The return to Columbus hasn’t been all too kind to Owen Miller. Since coming back to the Clippers on June 15, Miller has gone 8-for-40 with only two extra-base hits. His week against the Saints was so-so, carrying a mini four-game hitting streak but tallying only four total bases while doing so. The 24-year-old was out of the starting lineup on Sunday albeit he made a pinch-hit appearance, but his mini-slump is discouraging after he torched Triple-A pitching to a .406 batting average through 64 at-bats in May.
RHP Cam Hill: 1 IP, 2 K, BB
C Roberto Perez: 4 G, 2-for-9, 2 R, 2 RBI, 3 BB, 3 K
OF Franmil Reyes: 4 G, 4-for-12, HR, 2 RBI, R, 2 K
6/22 – OF Franmil Reyes assigned to Triple-A Columbus (MLB rehab assignment)
6/23 – C Roberto Perez assigned to Triple-A Columbus (MLB rehab assignment)
6/23 – C Angel Lopez Alvarez sent to Double-A Akron from Triple-A Columbus
6/23 – C Mike Rivera to Triple-A Columbus from Double-A Akron
6/24 – RHP Justin Garza promoted to Cleveland from Triple-A Columbus
6/25 – RHP Cam Hill assigned to Triple-A Columbus (MLB rehab assignment)
6/29 – ROAD at Toledo 7:05
6/30 – ROAD at Toledo 7:05
7/1 – ROAD at Toledo 7:05
7/2 – ROAD at Toledo 7:05
7/3 – ROAD at Toledo 7:05
7/4 – ROAD at Toledo 7:05