The Clippers lost five of six to the Toledo Mud Hens this week, as their pitching let them down all week and the offense could not muster enough to steal […]
The Clippers lost five of six to the Toledo Mud Hens this week, as their pitching let them down all week and the offense could not muster enough to steal more than a game from Detroit’s Triple-A affiliate. It was another week of musical chairs for the roster, as Cleveland came calling again trying to tape together a pitching staff amidst injury after injury. Indians right fielder Josh Naylor also suffered a horrific leg injury when he collided in the outfield with Ernie Clement. This resulted in Oscar Mercado being recalled to the big league club. Outfielder Alex Call, who has been on fire for the Double-A Akron Rubber Ducks all season, has joined the Clippers, and he hit a home run during his first week with the team.
Nolan Jones was the story of the week, as IBI’s #2 prospect is really starting to heat up against Triple-A pitching. He leads the Triple-A East with 19 doubles, notching three more this week and also hitting his first triple of the season. Some thought he would get the call-up over Mercado, but the Indians are smart to let him continue to develop against Triple-A pitching, as he is really starting to hit his stride. Nevertheless, with all of the injuries in Cleveland, he may get his shot at some point after the all-star break.
Keep an eye on the infield, as the Clippers have too many infielders on their roster at the moment. Minor league rosters are likely to change after the MLB draft next week, but for now it will be interesting to see who gets the at-bats in the Clippers’ infield. Trenton Brooks has been playing nearly every game at 1B since Bobby Bradley was called up. Jones has played most of his games at 3B, although he has seen some time in RF, including two games against the Mud Hens this past week. That still leaves Gabriel Arias, Andres Gimenez, Owen Miller and Tyler Krieger, along with the freshly optioned Yu Chang battling for at-bats in the center of the infield. It will be interesting to see how manager Andy Tracy balances at-bats over the next few series. Some may see OF at-bats along with Jones, as the team currently only has three on the roster – Daniel Jones, Connor Marabell and Call.
Day by Day
6/29: 7-3 L – W: Paredes, L: McKenzie
6/30: 5-2 L – W: Leiter, Jr., L: Peacock, S: Pinto
7/1: 4-2 L – W: Pinto, L: Gose, S: De Jesus
7/2: 7-1 W – W: McCarty, L: Ross
7/3: 4-2 L – W: Hutchison, L: Hill, S: Kroll
7/4: 5-4 L – W: De Jesus, L: Young
Player of the Week
3B/RF Nolan Jones – 8-21, 3 2B, 3B, 3 RBI, 4 R, 4 BB, 5 SO
Nolan Jones had a heck of a week for the Clippers, and is demonstrating why he is IBI’s #2 overall prospect and why the Indians could come calling for him in the near future. The 23-year old Jones, who never played above Double-A before this season, struggled against Triple-A pitching to start the year. Well, he has adjusted, and he is thriving in the heart of the Clippers’ lineup. Jones hit in every game of the series, and is currently riding a seven-game hitting streak. He is leading the Triple-A East in doubles with 19 (Indianapolis CF Chris Sharpe is second with 16) and hit his first triple of the season on Tuesday night. There is no reason to think that Jones’ extra base extravaganza this season won’t translate to legitimate power at the next level. The 6’4″ lefty is hitting the ball hard and to the gaps. Moreover, this week Jones played two games in right field. Watch for where he plays in games to come, as it could indicate the Indians are considering calling him up at some point, especially with the likely season ending injury to Josh Naylor.
SS Gabriel Arias – 6-23, 2 2B, 2 RBI, SB
Arias has quietly been heating up at the plate over the last few weeks, and this week he went 6-23, hitting in five of six games in the series. Arias has now hit in 12 of his last 13 games. Arias’ pitch selection and patience at the plate is key to his success so this streak is a very encouraging sign for the young shortstop.
SP Kirk McCarty – 1 G, 7.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 SO
McCarty earned the Clippers’ only win of the series, pitching seven strong innings on Friday night. McCarty has been the Clippers’ most consistent starter this season, and this outing puts his record at 6-1 over his 11 games started. Unlike other Clippers’ starters who have struggled with command, McCarty throws strikes. The Indians, whose starting rotation has been ravaged by injuries, could soon look to McCarty because of his ability to command the strike zone. The big league club may resist calling him up even in this time of desperation because he is not currently on the 40-man roster. But do not be surprised if they find a way to add him to the 40-man sometime soon. He looks like the next best option as Triston McKenzie and Logan Allen continue to work on their command issues at Triple-A.
SP Triston McKenzie – 2 G, 9.0 IP, 11 H, 6 ER, 4 HR, 2 BB, 12 SO, 4 HR
The bad news is McKenzie made two less than impressive starts this past week. The good news is the second start was better than the first. On Tuesday McKenzie gave up seven hits and three earned runs over 4.0 IP. He walked one and struck out five. On Sunday, McKenzie pitched five innings, gave up four hits and three earned runs. He struck out seven and walked one. McKenzie gave up two home runs in each start. What is encouraging is the two total walks he gave up over both starts. Keep an eye on this because McKenzie’s command is the big issue with him. He struggled with it in Cleveland and had not faced Triple-A hitting before this season. This is the time for McKenzie to focus on commanding the strike zone before the Indians come calling for him again.
RP Cam Hill – 3 G, 1.1 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 1 SO
The Indians assigned Hill to a rehab assignment with the Clippers as he works his way back from injury. He could use more time to knock the rust off before rejoining the big league club, as he was knocked around in three games, spanning only 1.1 IP this week against the Clippers. Hopefully it is just rust and Hill is fully healthy, because the Indians are going to need all the arms they can get over the second half of the season.
INF Andres Gimenez – 3-19, 3B, 0 BB, 5 SO, SB
Gimenez has been on fire over the past few weeks for the Clippers, so his cooling off stands out because he has been hitting so well. After going on a home run frenzy over the past two series, he failed to knock one out of the park against Toledo this past week. Gimenez garnered only one extra base hit all series, a triple, and mustered only three hits in 19 at-bats for the week. Gimenez has been impressive since joining the Clippers earlier this season, so do not expect this cold streak to continue for long.
C Ryan Lavarnway was designated for assignment on June 24 after stepping in for Austin Hedges after he suffered a concussion. On June 28 Cleveland sent him outright to Columbus.
OF Oscar Mercado was recalled to Cleveland on June 28.
RP Kyle Nelson was optioned to Columbus from Cleveland on June 28.
SP Logan Allen was recalled to Cleveland on June 28.
OF Alex call was promoted to the Clippers from Double-A Akron on June 29.
P Zack Godley signed with Cleveland on June 29 and the team assigned him to Columbus on the same date, activating him on June 30.
C Mike Rivera was assigned to Double-A Akron on July 1 after Lavarnway rejoined the Clippers.
INF Yu Chang was optioned to Columbus from Cleveland on July 2.
The Clippers start a six-game series at home against the Indianapolis Indians starting on July 6. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m. at Huntington Park each night from Tuesday through Saturday. On Sunday, July 11, first pitch is at 2:05 p.m.