Indians Can’t Keep Above the Surface Against Clippers
Columbus Clippers 5, Indianapolis Indians 3
Clippers’ starter TJ McFarland has not had a good season against the Indianapolis Indians. In his three previous starts against the Indians, McFarland got beat around. On July 7th, the Indians scored 8 runs on 10 hits and 4 walks against McFarland in just 2.1 innings. The following week, on the 15th, the Tribe smacked 9 hits for 4 runs in 5 innings, and on August 11th, McFarland gave up 4 runs on 6 hits, including 3 home runs in 7 innings. That adds up to 25 hits and 16 runs in 14.1 innings (10.05 ERA). So, the Indians might have been feeling a little confident to see McFarland taking the mound at Victory Field this afternoon.
This time, McFarland turned the tables on the Tribe. He let the Indians put runners on base, but did not let them come around to score. CF Alex Presley and 1B Matt Hague hit back-to-back two out singles in the 1st inning. Presley got as far as third base, but neither scored. RF Brandon Boggs socked a big bouncing single into left-center field to lead off the second. He moved to second base when LF Drew Sutton, getting a rare start, was hit on the leg by a pitch. McFarland got C Eric Fryer to bounce into a double play, ending the inning again without a run scoring. Over the next three innings, only SS Chase d’Arnaud reached base safely. D’Arnaud dropped down a bunt that landed right in front of the plate. Clippers’ C (and former Indy Indian) Luke Carlin picked up the ball and fired to first, but his throw sailed past the bag and into right field. D’Arnaud rounded first and headed for second base, as Columbus’ RF Anthony Gallas, chased down the ball. Gallas fired to second base as d’Arnaud slid in ahead of the tag. But d’Arnaud overslid the bag, and in the split second when he did not have his hand on the bag, 2B Cord Phelps alertly tagged him again for the out.
Rick VandenHurk made the start for the Indians. He was a little shakier than in his past two outings, allowing 2 runs on 5 hits and a walk in 5 innings, though he did strike out 5 batters. The first Columbus run came in the top of the 1st. VandenHurk struck out the first batter of the game, then gave up a single into left field to 3B Gregorio Petit and walked Phelps. Clean-up hitter 1B Russ Canzler followed with a single grounded up the middle and just out of reach of both SS d’Arnaud and 2B Brock Holt. Petit raced around to score from second base, giving the Clippers a 1-0 lead. VandenHurk got out of the inning when LF Vinny Rottino bounced into a double play.
VandenHurk retired the side in the 2nd inning, including 2 strikeouts. The 3rd inning began with a single lined into right field by Gallas (his first AAA hit). CF Tim Fedroff also singled, pushing Gallas to third base, for runners on the corners. Petit drove in Gallas with a sacrifice fly, and the Clippers had a 2-0 lead. VandenHurk put the Clippers down in order in the 4th and worked around Gallas’ second AAA hit, which sailed just over the leaping Holt, in the 5th. That was all for VandenHurk, even though he’d only thrown 75 pitches (56 strikes). He was eventually charged with the loss, his 5th for the season with the Indians.
Bryan Morris relieved VandenHurk to begin the 6th inning. The Clippers got to him quickly with back-to-back doubles. After one out, Canzler drove a liner down to the left field corner for the first double, then Rottino doubled off the center field wall, scoring Canzler. DH Jared Goedert lifted a fly ball into the right field corner, where Boggs had trouble making the play, dropping the ball at least once. Rottino was off and running, and he scored easily from second base, giving the Clippers a 4-0 lead.
The Tribe answered in the bottom of the 6th, finally getting to McFarland. Chase d’Arnaud led off with a fly ball down the left field line, which hit the foul pole for a home run. Moments later, Presley looped a single into left field, then took second when Hague lined a single into left. Last evening’s hero, DH Dallas McPherson, came through again with a single into the right field corner. The Clippers’ right fielder, Gallas, also had trouble fielding the ball, and his error allowed both Presley and Hague to score, while McPherson landed on second base. The Tribe could not get any further runs, though, as two grounders to short ended the inning. The Indians had stepped to within one run of the Clippers, 4-3.
Justin Wilson took over from Morris to pitch the 7th and 8th innings. Wilson surrendered 2 hits, while striking out 3 batters, but one of the hits was a solo home run by Canzler — who missed hitting for the cycle by a triple. Jo-Jo Reyes pitched the top of the 9th for the Tribe, and set the Clippers down 1-2-3.
The Indians had 2 runs to make up… and just couldn’t get there. They put only one runner on base over the final three innings. That was a two-out single by 3B Anderson Hernandez in the 9th inning. A fly out by Sutton ended the game.
Each team posted 9 hits in the game. Chase d’Arnaud, Alex Presley, and Matt Hague each hit two. D’Arnaud and Dallas McPherson each picked up an RBI.
The loss drops the Indians’ lead over the Clippers in the IL Western Division to 13 games — clearly moot for the Indians. This gives the two teams a 1-1 tie in this 3-game series, with the rubber game tomorrow. After this series, the Tribe goes to Toledo for 3 games.
Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game: Chase d’Arnaud’s solo home run in the 6th, which sparked the Indians’ 3-run rally. It was d’Arnaud’s 6th home run of the season and 37th RBI.
Indians’ Defensive Gem of the Game: In the top of the 4th, Juan Diaz grounded sharply to third base, near the line. Anderson Hernandez went to his right to come up with the ball, going to his knees. He hopped up and turned to make the long throw across the diamond for the out at first base.
Jeff Larish came off the disabled list today, while Jose Morales was placed onto the disabled list.
While on the DL, Larish was fond of showing up at all kinds of different places, in uniform, during the national anthem — by the Max Schumacher bell, on the parking structure across the street, in the party suite, in the radio broadcast booth. Today, even though he was off the DL, he tried his hand at the job of camera man.