Photo credit: Lincoln Horsley
The Clippers claimed the final three games against Toledo last week, then stormed to four-consecutive victories in Omaha to total seven-straight and earn their first series win since July 6-10. Catcher Ryan Lavarnway pounded three homers while bringing his season-high hitting streak to 12 games in a Columbus uniform. Former 2016 first-round pick outfielder Will Benson made the drive east from Double-A Akron to play his first Triple-A contests, knocking his first hit with the Clippers with a two-bagger on Sunday. 24-year-old infielder Andruw Monasterio joined Benson and hit .294, collecting four RBIs and three doubles over five games. The latest chapter in the ascension of 24-year-old right-hander Cody Morris saw lesser results for his standards, as he allowed his first Triple-A run over four innings and struck out two while giving up five hits. While the Clippers outscored the Storm Chasers 34-15 over the first four games, they were shut out Saturday and blown out Sunday to end the series on a less-than-ideal note. Nonetheless, Columbus will travel to Memphis standing at 44-50 on the year, placing fifth in the Triple-A East Midwest Division.
8/17: W 7-4 at Omaha W: Gose (5-1) L: Martinez (2-5)
8/18: W 7-5 (10) at Omaha W: Stephens (2-0) L: Vines (5-4)
8/19: W 8-3 at Omaha W: Koch (2-2) L: Zimmer (1-1)
8/20: W 12-3 at Omaha W: Herget (7-3) L: Kalish (2-4)
8/21: L 3-0 at Omaha W: Kowar (8-4) L: Peacock (0-3) S: Zuber (6)
8/22: L 14-4 at Omaha W: Blewett (4-3) L: Mejia (0-3)
Player of the Week
C Ryan Lavarnway: 9-for-26, 8 RBI, 5 R 3 HR, 2 BB
Ryan Lavarnway has had a pretty good last four weeks. He was a member of Israel’s first-ever Olympic team in Tokyo and returned to the United States without a hitch. The 34-year-old hit in each of his first nine games upon returning to Columbus, ultimately snapping a 12-game hitting streak Sunday. Lavarnway brought his big stick to Omaha, smashing three homers and going deep in a five-of-six game stretch. He paced the Clippers with eight RBIs, adding three insurance runs Tuesday and scoring the go-ahead run Thursday.
OF Oscar Gonzalez: 11-for-29, 5 R, 4 RBI, 2 HR, 2 2B, BB
It took Oscar Gonzalez 12 games into his Triple-A tenure to mash his first homer since a promotion from Double-A Akron at the start of July, but the Dominican Republic-native has sprung free over the last month. Gonzalez leads Columbus with 34 hits over the last 30 days, including team-highs in the home run and RBI departments. The 23-year-old collected 11 hits against Omaha, driving in a pair of doubles and long balls to boot. He’s slugged .557 and hit .329 in the month of August.
RHP Jordan Stephens: 2 G, W, 3 IP, 6 K, 1 R, 1 H
The Triple-A bullpen has been a mess at points in 2021, but a quietly steady campaign is brewing in 28-year-old right-hander Jordan Stephens. He’s yet to allow an earned run in August — albeit Omaha’s extra-innings ‘ghost runner’ scored against him Wednesday — and that streak floats back to July 25. That’s 12-straight scoreless innings for Stephens. Meanwhile, he punched out a team-best six Storm Chasers and didn’t allow a walk over three one-hit innings last week.
INF Gabriel Arias: 5-for-23, 8 K, 2 RBI, 2 R, HR, 2B
It’s difficult to say a player is ‘not hot’ after hitting in 15 of his 18 games in August, but simply put, Gabriel Arias hasn’t produced for Columbus. He drilled his first homer of the month Tuesday — and 10th of the season — but it represented 25% of his runs scored total for the last three weeks. Even more staggering, Arias struck out eight times versus no free passes. The Venezuelan has nearly identical home-road splits, and perhaps another week on the road will see a tilt for Arias. But he must do more than reach base once a game or score two or fewer times a series.
RHP J.C. Mejia: 2 GS, L, 4.1 IP, 7 ER, 7 H, 4 BB, 3 K
Suffice to say, the month August has been a disaster for right-hander J.C. Mejia. It’s a continued trend dating back to June 24, his last start of allowing one run over at least three innings. Since then, Mejia has allowed at least three runs in nine of his last 10 outings, and his start Sunday was no different. Mejia failed to make it out of the second inning and gave up six runs over five hits, walking four and seeing a goose egg in the punch out column. The 24-year-old didn’t escape the third inning during his start Tuesday, and has cleared five innings only once since July 24.
8/16 – OF Daniel Johnson recalled by Cleveland from Triple-A Columbus
8/16 – LHP Logan Allen optioned to Triple-A Columbus by Cleveland
8/16 – INF Andruw Monasterio assigned to Triple-A Columbus from Double-A Akron
8/20 – OF Will Benson assigned to Triple-A Columbus from Double-A Akron
8/24 – ROAD at Memphis 8:10
8/25 – ROAD at Memphis 8:10
8/26 – ROAD at Memphis 8:10
8/27 – ROAD at Memphis 8:10
8/28 – ROAD at Memphis 7:35
8/29 – ROAD at Memphis 3:05