Columbus caught a flare for the dramatics as the second half of the season got underway this week against the Iowa Cubs. There were 15 lead changes and six in-game ties over the six-game series between the two clubs, with the Clippers blowing two saves and the Cubs one. Home runs carried significant weight last week, as Nolan Jones crushed long balls in each of the first three games of the series and Trenton Brooks hit the first walk-off dinger of his baseball career — professionally or amateur — during Thursday’s 4-3 win. Columbus’ pitching staff continued to struggle, and has allowed 125 runs over the last 15 games — most of any team in Triple-A by a double-digit margin. Aside from the outcomes, it was an important week for several Clippers. Infielder Andrés Giménez returned Tuesday after missing 12 games since July 3 due to a leg injury, playing five times and notching a pair of multi-games. Outfielder Jordan Luplow rejoined the team as he continued his major-league rehab assignment, and hit over .300 with two home runs over five games. Several firsts took place for several Clippers, as outfielder Oscar Gonzalez connected on his first Triple-A home run Wednesday and right-hander Zack Godley pitched into the fifth frame for the first time since signing with Cleveland in late June. Columbus is now 31-39, sitting in fifth place in the Triple-A East Midwest Division.

Day-by-day

7/20: L 15-7 vs. Iowa W: Rucker (3-0) L: Godley (3-4)

7/21: W 7-4 vs. Iowa W: Herget (5-3) L: Abbott (1-5) S: Johnson (5)

7/22: W 4-3 vs. Iowa W: Dowdy (4-4) L: Leeper (1-1)

7/23: L 9-4 vs. Iowa W: Effross (3-2) L: Fillmyer (1-3)

7/24: L 9-5 (10) vs. Iowa W: Leeper (2-1) L Garza (1-1)

7/25: W 6-5 vs. Iowa W: Broom (1-1) L: Mekkes (0-2) S: Johnson (6)

Player of the Week

INF/OF Nolan Jones: 5-for-21, 4 HR, 8 RBI, 5 R, 4 BB, SB

Gone is the Triple-A adjusting period and here is the Triple-A crushing period for Nolan Jones. The 23-year-old rocked many of the pitches he saw against Iowa’s staff last week, sending four of his five hits over the outfield wall. Jones homered in three-straight games from Tuesday to Thursday, setting a career-long. His eight RBIs were a team-high and so were his five runs scored and four walks, as Triple-A pitching staffs may be reconsidering their approaches to Cleveland’s No. 2 prospect.

Who’s Hot

INF Gabriel Arias: 8-for-22, 2 2B, 2 BB, R

If anyone was finding the holes against a tough Iowa Cubs pitching staff, it was Gabriel Arias. The 21-year-old led the Clippers with eight hits and reached base twice in four of the six contests. He also played clean defense, not committing an error while playing two games at shortstop and two at third base. Arias is currently riding a seven-game hitting streak, his second of such length this season, and hitting .362 over his last 12 games.

LHP Francisco Perez: 2 G, 4 IP, 1 ER, 5 H, 9 K, 2 BB

The dominant 2021 season continued for southpaw Francisco Perez against the Cubs last week. He threw four more innings after doing the same against St. Paul the week prior, and added an exclamation point in his first appearance of the week. The 24-year-old fired six strikeouts for the most he’s recorded in any Triple-A outing, doing so for the fourth time this year as well. Perez picked up three more punch outs while allowing a run in the 10th inning Saturday. His nine strikeouts led Columbus’ staff against the Cubs, and Perez has now allowed just six earned runs across 41 1/3 innings this season.

Who’s Not

OF Alex Call: 3-for-18, 4 R, HR, 2B, 5 K

This one might be a result of tough luck or the law of averages, and both could apply. Alex Call carried his hot bat since his promotion from Double-A Akron at the end of June, recording five hits and two home runs over his first five games with Triple-A Columbus. Call played well two weeks ago in St. Paul, but his series against Iowa was much different. His three hits were fewest among Clippers hitters who played in all six games, but his four runs were tied for second-most. Call doubled and made a leaping catch in Sunday’s finale.

RHP Cam Hill: 2 G, 1 IP, BS, 6 ER, 5 H, 3 BB

Two rough outings that didn’t last longer than 2/3 innings did Cam Hill in for this week’s Who’s Not list. He entered the eighth inning of the ballgame Tuesday down 10-7, but allowed the four four hitters he faced to reach and threw a wild pitch that plated a run, ultimately giving up three runs on two hits and as many walks. Then, Hill blew a 5-2 lead in the eighth inning of Saturday’s game, allowing three of the first four hitters to score. Hill was reinstated from the 60-day injured list and optioned to Triple-A Columbus Sunday.

Transactions

7/20 – OF Jordan Luplow assigned to Triple-A Columbus (major-league rehab assignment)

7/20 – RHP DJ Johnson optioned to Triple-A Columbus from Cleveland

7/21 – INF Yu Chang recalled to Cleveland from Triple-A Columbus

7/21 – RHP Justin Garza optioned to Triple-A Columbus from Cleveland

7/22 – LHP Sam Hentges recalled to Cleveland from Triple-A Columbus

7/22 – RHP Eli Morgan optioned to Triple-A Columbus from Cleveland

Coming Up

7/27 – ROAD at Nashville 8:05 p.m.

7/28 – ROAD at Nashville 8:05 p.m.

7/29 – ROAD at Nashville 8:05 p.m.

7/30 – ROAD at Nashville 8:05 p.m.

7/31 – ROAD at Nashville 8:05 p.m.

8/1 – ROAD at Nashville 7:15 p.m.

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