Carrasco dazzles as Clippers win 1-0
Carrasco strikes out 10 to lead Columbus
The Columbus Clippers snapped a four-game losing streak by blanking the Toledo Mud Hens 1-0 Saturday.
Behind the spectacular performance by right-hander Carlos Carrasco, the Clippers were able to squeeze out the victory despite the recent struggles by the offense.
Manger Chris Tremie said that the weather has had an affect on his hitters’ performances.
"You know, it’s early,” Tremie said. “Not to make excuses for them but both teams are playing in the same conditions. It’s cold right now. It’s early in the season, and I know some of these guys are going to perform a whole lot better than they are right now. The ones right now that are having a pretty good start to the season are going to continue that. I have a lot of confidence in these guys. Right now we’re doing a pretty good job on defense and pitching so it’s key.”
Columbus continued their first inning woes by stranding a pair of runners on first and second base. With one out, catcher Lou Marson popped a fly ball to shallow right. Second baseman Brandon Douglas attempted to make a running catch with his back turned to the infield but the ball bounced of his glove for an error.
After right fielder Jeremy Hermida struck out swinging, designated hitter Matt Carson tapped a soft single to left to move Marson to second. Second baseman Luis Hernandez flew out to left field to end the threat.
Through 15 games this season, the Clippers have yet to put any runs on the board in the first inning.
Carrasco ran into a bit of a scare in the top half of the fifth, but buckled down to prevent any runs from scoring. He walked first baseman Jordan Lennerton to begin the inning and then surrendered a missile-like single up the middle to designated hitter John Lindsey.
However, he pitched his way out of the jam by striking out the next three batters to end the inning.
The righty had a limited pitch count, forcing him to exit the game after the sixth after throwing only 78 pitches. Carrasco allowed just two hits on the night and struck out 10 Mud Hens.
“He sat mid-90’s,” Tremie said. “He located his fastball, did a nice job with it. He threw some good sliders, some for strikes, some starting in the zone and the getting out of the zone. It was just a very good, very positive night for him.”
Although the Clipper offense was sluggish all game, a timely homerun by shortstop Juan Diaz would be all they needed to come away victorious.
In the bottom half of the seventh, the shortstop launched a 2-2 fastball to center that smacked off the yellow line and gave Columbus the 1-0 lead.
Relievers Scott Barnes, Matt Capps and Preston Guilmet pitched the seventh, eighth and ninth innings to secure the shutout for the Clippers. Barnes picked up the win, his second of the season, while Capps earned his second hold and Guilmet notched his fourth save of the year.
Overshadowed by Carrasco’s outing, Toledo starter Pat Misch (0-3) was equally as impressive but came up on the short end of the stick. He tossed seven solid innings of one run baseball, fanned seven batters and allowed just six hits. Unfortunately for the left-hander, that one run cost him the game.
Marson, making a rehab assignment for Cleveland, went 0-3 in the game with two strikeouts. He sustained a cervical neck strain during a home plate collision with Tampa Bay’s Desmond Jennings back on April 6. The catcher is hitless in 5 at bats with the Clippers this year.
Defensively, he’s right where he left off with the Tribe.
“He looked good tonight, caught seven innings,” Tremie said. “You know, he hadn’t got a chance to play a whole lot because of that (the injury) and it’s good to get him out there and get his legs underneath him. I thought he did great job tonight”
The Clippers improve to (8-8) with the win while the Mud Hens sink to (5-12).
Ethan can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can follow him on Twitter @ethanjday