by Gavin Potter
Once again, Columbus had a completely full slate of games last week, playing eight games since last Sunday, and going an even 4-4. As it stands, the Clippers are 1.5 games back of Indianapolis in their division.
Ronny Rodriguez had another big week for Columbus, going 11-27 with three home runs. In the process, he’s raised his batting average to .296, although his lack of walks mean that his OBP sits at just .327. Still, 2017 has been a bounce-back season for Ronny-Rod, considering his weak .258/.293/.400 slash line at AAA last season.
Although he may never be a quality MLB pitcher, Ryan Merritt is doing everything he can with Columbus to remind Cleveland that he is an option for the Club. On Tuesday, Merritt held first-place Indianapolis scoreless through six innings of work, allowing just two hits, and no walks. On the season, Merritt now carries a 2.13 ERA.
After concluding their home stand Sunday, the Clippers hit the road for a week, traveling to Rochester for three games, before heading to Pawtucket for a four-game weekend series.
by Jay Alan
The Akron RubberDucks struggled this week, going under .500 again (3-4) for the third time in four weeks. The addition of Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis brought out a lot of fans to Canal Park for a home series against the Hartford Yard Goats, where the RubberDucks were able to pull out a series win. Kipnis was only in town for two games before making his way to Columbus to continue his rehabilitation assignment, but it was still fun as it always is when an All-Star big leaguer comes to town to visit.
After not allowing a run in his first 11 innings in double-A, recent call up Shane Bieber gave up a grand slam in his third game to earn his first decision, a loss, against the Bowie Baysox. Fortunately Bieber was able to bounce back on Thursday when he earned his first win against the Reading Fightin’ Phils as the RubberDucks prevail 14-4. Bieber brought his record at Akron (AA) to 1-1 (3.18 ERA) with 15 strikeouts, and just two walks.
Next week the RubberDucks have two more games against Reading before the New Hampshire Fisher Cats and Binghamton Rumble Ponies come to town. The Ducks (54-56) look to finish their last month of the season strong while they make their final push to the playoffs. Akron is tied with the Erie SeaWolves, and just 3.5 games behind the Altoona Curve for the second playoff spot in the West.
by Justin Lada
To start, Shao-Ching Chiang threw a complete game, no hitter on Saturday of last week. He needed just 106 pitches, 76 were strikes, to finish with just a walk. He had seven strikeouts and 16 ground ball outs. Chiang does have a solid sinking fastball that sits 92-93 and throws a ton of strikes, so while he’s not the biggest name on this pitching staff, he’s certainly got some intriguing upside.
Lynchburg finished an interesting series with Potomac losing two of three. In their Wednesday lost Triston McKenzie pitch on his 20th birthday and didn’t have a ton to celebrate on the field in that individual game. He allowed six runs in five innings of work while walking three and striking out just two. In back to back starts he’s allowed 13 runs in 10 innings. He’s up to 113 innings this year which are way above his previous career high of 83.1 and could be a factor in his recent performance.
In Wednesday’s loss was some carryover from the Hillcats 9-2. Sicnarf Loopstok was 4-4 with six RBI and was intentionally walked in the ninth going for the cycle. Aaron Civale allowed two runs in seven innings for the win. Hillcats manager Tony Mansolino apparently didn’t like the intentional walk to Loopstok in that spot of a 9-2 game according to Wednesday’s radio broadcast. Lynchburg intentionally walked Michael A. Taylor (in Potomac on rehab assignment) potentially as a way to get back at the Potomac tactics according to the radio broadcast and Mansolino and the P-Nats manager had a very heated, face-to-face interaction during the eventful Wednesday game.
Thursday Brock Hartson threw seven shutout innings in a 1-0 win, seven innings of one run ball in a 5-2 Friday win and eight innings of three run ball by Tanner Tully in a loss this Saturday meanwhile Loopstok’s six RBI game was the offensive highlight of the week along with Willi Castro‘s nine hit week. Lynchburg finishes a home stand with a game against Down East Sunday before heading out on a roadtrip to play Carolina and Winston-Salem.
Low-A Lake County
by Justin Lada
Lake County had a rough start to the week by allowing 27 runs in three losses to West Michigan, which has been one of the most dominant teams in the Midwest League this season and the Captains won just one game (5-2) thanks to Luke Wakamatsu‘s three run homer and Sean Brady‘s continuing injury comeback with just one run allowed in four innings. It was Micah Miniard who got the win thanks to five one run innings.
Four straight losses ended the week for the Captains, three to South Bend and another to West Michigan.
Brady Aiken only walked one in his Friday start, the least amount of walks he’s allowed in a game all season. But unfortunately six runs on eight hits and lasted just 2 1/3 innings. Luke Wakamatsu hit his eighth homer of the campaign, giving him five in the second half as he finally starts to look healthy everyday.
Mitch Longo continues to hit no matter the Captains’ record. He’s hitting .381 the last 10 games with five RBI. He’s go a .955 OPS on the year and don’t be surprised to see him get promoted to Lynchburg soon to help them in the playoffs.
The Captains dropped their “Cleveland Sports History Night” game Saturday and host a double-header with West Michigan today and finish up the series with games Monday and Tuesday with Tuesday being a noon game before a offday Wednesday followed by an eight game road trip to Bowling Green and Lansing.
Short-Season Mahoning Valley
by Caitlin Boron
One more week down for the Scrappers, who are currently leading the chase for NYP- Pinckney top spot. They went 3-3 with a rain out through the week, losing last night to State College 9-7, which leaves them with a half game lead for the division.
Thursday night’s game ended in an interesting turn of events for the Scrappers, who took the “W” in ten innings, 15-7. That’s right, in the top of the tenth, Mahoning Valley managed to score eight runs to get the win over Auburn. Outfielder and top prospect Will Benson aided to the cause with his third home run of the season, while going 4 for 5 in the game overall ( 1 walk, 2 runs, and 4 RBI).
Aside from the record, it was an interesting week for the short season team as they ended up playing a part in the Indians trade deadline deals. Cleveland traded away two minor leagues for former (and now current) relief pitcher Joe Smith from Toronto. One minor leaguer being pitching prospect Thomas Pannone from the Akron Rubberducks, and the other, Scrappers 2B Samad Taylor. Taylor has been on a hot streak most of the season for the Scrappers, leading or at the least sitting in a high position across multiple stats. He’s been assigned to Toronto’s Bluefield Blue Jays, their rookie affiliate, in Bluefield, West Virginia.
There’s just over a month left in the season and the Scrappers definitely have a good chance at making the playoffs if they continue playing baseball how they have all season. They’ll finish their series with State College at home, head to Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium to face Aberdeen for a three gamer, and wrap up the week back at Eastwood Field to play Staten Island.
by Joe Coblitz
Despite continuing to struggle overall, losing three of five this week for a 9-22 overall record, the AZL Indians had something to get really excited about this week. On August 3rd, Dylan Baker (rehab), Dace Kime (rehab), Tahnaj Thomas and Maiker Manzanillo combined to throw a no hitter against the AZL Mariners. Not only that, but because the Indians were unable to score, they ended up walking it off in the ninth thanks to hits from Mitch Reeves and Angel Lopez Alvarez.
Making this no hitter even more impressive was the fact that the staff faced the minimum and struck out at least one batter every inning. The only base runner came against Thomas in the form of a walk and the runner was immediately cut down stealing. Henry Pujols also committed an error on a fly ball in foul territory, but the batter eventually struck out.
While both the higher level starters pitched solid single innings to start the game, the real hero of the night was Manzanillo, who pitched the final four without allowing a base runner. While most will be unfamiliar with the right handed reliever, he has an exceptional 2.66 ERA so far this year in 23.2 innings across nine appearances. Most impressively, he’s struck out 24 to just 3 walks on the season, improving on his impressive numbers from his first season of professional ball in the DSL in 2016.
by Joe Coblitz
After a sweep from the Dodgers during a double header on July 31st, the DSL Tribe won two of three mixed between three rain outs. Incredibly, they scored 28 runs in five games, but scored 21 of those runs in two including a 14 spot against the DSL Cubs. In that game, three interesting prospects had three hits each, Marcos Gonzalez, Jean Montero and Henderson De Oleo. I highlighted Gonzalez on our coverage of the Indians top short stops in the organization and he continues to have a solid year, stealing ten bases in 13 tries and batting .281 with a .381 OBP.
On the mound, the best start of the week came from Luis D. Garcia while the worst was from Mike Garcia. Luis D. (there is also a Luis C. Garcia on the DSL squad) pitched in the August 1st win against LA and went five innings, striking out six and allowing just one run to score on two hits and no walks. Aside from Yefferson Yannuzzi, who has been out since early June, Garcia has been the DSL Indians top pitcher, striking out 36 in 47 innings with a 2.49 ERA. The others in the same name rotation haven’t been as lucky as Daritzon and Ignacio Feliz, Mike Garcia and Diarlin Jimenez all have struggled with ERAs above 4.30.