Columbus Clippers Advance to Finals
The Cleveland Indians Triple-A affiliate Columbus Clippers advanced to the International League finals after winning Game 5 last night versus the Norfolk Tides (Baltimore Orioles affiliate). They won the win or go home game behind an unbelievable Triple-A debut by starting pitcher Mike Clevinger. Clevinger, originally acquired last year from the Angels for Vinnie Pestano, threw 7.2 no-hit innings before being lifted due to reaching his 100 pitch limit (actually threw 102 last night). He struck out a career-high 10 while also taking a perfect game into the 5th inning before issuing one of his two walks on the night.
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The Clippers were led offensively by pair of two-run home runs from infielders Andy Ciriaco and Erik Gonzalez. The Clippers got their fifth and final run on an RBI single by Yandy Diaz, another Triple-A newcomer. Shaun Marcum, who relieved Clevinger in the 8th inning, nailed down the 5-0 victory, though not before losing the combined no-hitter in the 9th inning. Nevertheless, the victory sent the Clippers to the Governor’s Cup finals versus the Indianapolis Indians (the Pittsburgh Pirates Triple-A affiliate). The series begins tonight in Columbus at 6:35pm. Once again, all tickets to the game are free of charge, a promotion the Clippers ran the last couple playoff games as well. It actually helped the Clippers outdraw the Cleveland Indians last night 10,734 to 10,356.
Lynchburg Hillcats Knocked Out
One other Cleveland Indians minor league affiliate made the playoffs. The Advanced-A Lynchburg Hillcats made the playoffs in the Carolina League but were knocked out in the first round after being swept in a 3-Game series by the Wilmington Blue Rocks. The Hillcats were without three of their biggest sluggers this year as Bradley Zimmer and Nellie Rodriguez were promoted to Double-A Akron before the season’s end, and Luigi Rodriguez was suspended for using a banned substance.
Newcomer Bobby Bradley did get his first base hit since being called up from Single-A Lake County, but it wasn’t enough as the Hillcats lost 4-3 in Game 2. While this is the end to the Hillcats’ fine season, several members of the Hillcats 2015 roster will be playing in the Arizona Fall League. In addition to Zimmer, who was promoted to Akron, Clint Frazier, Antonio Romero, and Grant Sides will also participate in the AFL as Cleveland Indians representatives on the Scottsdale Scorpions.