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Clippers Notebook: Davies feels he is over the injury hump

Clippers Notebook: Davies feels he is over the injury hump
August 25, 2014
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The week that was

The Clippers lost two out of three to the Toledo Mud Hens to begin the week. 

An eight run first inning, highlighted by a three run homer by Giovanny Urshela allowed the Clippers to sail through the first game.  That sailing was met with some rough waters by Gabriel Arias, who gave up five runs and did not make out of the fourth inning in an 11-6 win. 

Toledo got a measure of revenge on Tuesday, piling on late in a 9-1 win over Columbus.  James McCann’s single in the sixth broke a 1-1 tie, followed by a two-run double by Mike Hessmanand the Mud Hens didn’t let up from there.  Hessman hit a two run shot in the eighth as well.

The Clippers scratched and clawed their way back into the game on Wednesday after falling behind 3-0 going into the bottom of the seventh.  Luke Carlin hit a two run homer to bring the Clippers within one.  Austin Adamshad a rare bad game, allowing three runs in the ninth to end all hopes of a Clippers comeback in a 6-2 loss.

The Clippers traveled to Louisville for the final time of the 2014 season and swept them in two games to take the season series.

On Thursday, the teams engaged in a back-and-forth battle that saw the Clippers emerge with a five run ninth to take it 9-6.  Trailing 5-4, Francisco Lindor hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game and James Ramsey hit a two-run double to give the Clippers the lead for good.  Jesus Aguilar homered to take the suspense out of it, or so we thought.  Louisville rallied for one in the bottom half and had the tying run at the plate with one out before Bryan Price shut the door, clinching the season series for Columbus.

They ended the week with a pair of games with Indianapolis at Huntington Park, where coming in, they had won just one in eight games this season.

Gabriel Arias gave up six runs in four-plus innings.  Indy put up five runs in the fifth off of Arias and newcomerShawn Armstrong to blow the game open and cruise to a 9-2 win.  Francisco Lindor was the highlight of the Clippers offense with his second consecutive four-hit game.  One of his four hits was a homer.

The Clipper came back on Sunday night to defeat Indy 4-3.  Austin Adams got the big strikeout of the night.  With one out in the eighth inning and a runner on third, he struck out Andrew Lambo, who had homered earlier, to preserve the win.  Jesus Aguilar homered and James Ramsey doubled twice, including one that drove in the go-ahead run.

Davies over the hump

The Clippers have two mainstays in their rotation this season. 

One is Tyler Cloyd, who has been with the team since the beginning of the year and the other is Kyle Davies.  Davies began the year in Akron and made his first start with the Clippers on May 6.  Since then he has made 20 starts, second only to Cloyd on the team.

Both are trying to make it back to the Majors, but have very different paths.  A severe shoulder injury sidelined Davies at the end of 2011, 2012 and the beginning of 2013.  He says that his shoulder is feeling better.

“There was that tough point where I got to where I hadn’t thrown as many innings in three years, I hit that 70 or 80 pitch count, it started to be (like) my shoulder doesn’t know what’s going on,” Davies said.  “I think I’m a bit over that hump.  I’m not getting any younger, but I feel like my velocity is coming back a little bit.  I’m well over that pitch count now.”

The question for Davies is not whether he can pitch in the Majors, but if he will get the opportunity.

“I think that anybody that has pitched there before can pitch there,” Davies said.  “It’s not a question of stuff because I think that’s the question a lot of people think, ‘Is your stuff good enough or do you throw hard enough?’”

Davies feels he’s learned how to pitch rather than throw over the past couple of years. It’s more important for him to locate his pitches because his fastball doesn’t break the radar gun.

“I have to pitch, I can’t throw like I did before,” Davies said.  “I think if I’d known how to pitch before I got hurt, I might not have gotten hurt and I would have been a lot more successful up there than I was.”

Carlin finds his groove

Clippers catcher Luke Carlin had an eight game hit streak snapped on Thursday.  But really, he has been hitting very well since the end of July.  In his last 16 games, dating back to July 30, Carlin is hitting .327 with three homers, six doubles and 11 RBI, including a game-winning three run double at Toledo on August 16.

“I’ve been trying to work on a lot of things that were new to me this year,” Carlin said.  “Right now I’m seeing the fruit of that labor.  (Clippers hitting coach Jim Rickon) has helped me out a lot.  I’m taking better swings, so that’s really what it comes down to, when you start taking better swings, more consistently, you get better results.”

What has he been working on that has led to this recent success?

“(I’m) just trying to have a better path (to the ball),” Carlin said.  “We’ve been working on timing.  I just had some misconceptions earlier in my career about what I should be doing and what actually should happen.  (I’m) just trying not to fight myself as much this year and do what I should be doing as far as the correct path.”

For Carlin, it’s about putting the proper swing on the ball and staying consistent with his approach.

“You have to train your body to repeat the correct movement.  The more times a pitcher repeats his proper mechanics or a hitter takes the proper swing, you give yourself the best chance to succeed.  Really good hitters stay on a plane for a long time and their timing is really good.  If you don’t have a good swing, then your timing has to be better.  So, I’ve been working on those two things in particular just to try to meld those together.  So, it’s working right now.

Playoff Picture

IL West

W

L

Games back

Elimination

Last week

Columbus

74

62

-

-

4-3

Indianapolis

68

68

6

3

4-3

Louisville

66

70

8

1

3-4

Toledo

66

70

8

1

3-4

 

Division Leaders

W

L

Lead

Last week

Syracuse (North)

77

58

3.5

3-5

Durham (South)

70

65

9

3-3

 

Wildcard

W

L

Games back

Elimination

Last week

Buffalo

73

61

-

-

5-1

Pawtucket

74

62

-

-

3-4

Rochester

73

64

1.5

7

5-3

IL Playoff Schedule

First Round (Best of Five):

September 3-4: South Winner at West Winner, North Winner at Wild Card

September 5-7: West Winner at South Winner, Wild Card at North Winner

Governor’s Cup (Best of Five):

September 9-10: South/West Winner at North/Wild Card Winner

September 11-13: North Wild Card Winner at South/West Winner

Triple-A National Championship: September 16 (at Charlotte, NC)

With the Clippers magic number to clinch the IL West down to three after Sunday’s win over Indianapolis, it’s looking more and more like they will face Durham in the first round of the playoffs.  Durham hasn’t quite sewn up their spot in the playoffs, but will with a win on Monday or a Norfolk loss.

Meanwhile, the wild card is most assuredly coming out of the North division.  While Syracuse holds a somewhat comfortable division lead, Buffalo, Pawtucket and Rochester continue to fight it out.  Pawtucket and Buffalo will spend the next two days playing each other. 

Rochester and Syracuse play each other starting on Wednesday and starting Friday, Rochester hosts Buffalo and Syracuse goes to Pawtucket.  Rochester closes at Pawtucket and Syracuse hosts Buffalo. 

Catching Wind

INF Francisco Lindor
Since August 11:  12 G, 21-52, 9 R, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 1 BB, 6 K, .404 BA, .407 OBP, .519 SLG.

Lindor played his 30th game with the Clippers and while he through his initial hot streak and follow-up slump, he has emerged with another hot streak.  He has on Friday and Saturday, he had four hits in each game and made only one out.  He has a hit in 11 of his last 12 games and 14 of his last 16.

INF Jesus Aguilar
Since August 5:  15 G, 22-55, 9 R, 4 2B, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 8 BB, 7 K, .400 BA, .469 OBP, .636 SLG.

The big fella continues to be the model of consistency in the middle of the Columbus batting order.  He had an 11 game hit streak snapped on Wednesday, but has started a new one.  With hits in each of his last three games, including a pair of homers.  He is also an RBI away from being the first Clipper to reach 70 for the season. 

RHP Bryan Price
Since August 14:  4 G, 0-0, 3 SV, 6.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 K, 0.00 ERA, .048 BAA

Price gave up a two run homer in the eighth inning to Russ Canzler of Lehigh Valley.  Since then, he has become the reliable closer, picking up three saves in his last three appearances.  The first one was of the three inning variety on Monday against Toledo, where he kept a low pitch count and kept any hopes of a Mud Hen rally at bay. 

Lost at Sea

RHP Gabriel Arias
Since August 13: 3 G, 3 GS, 0-1, 9.2 IP, 17 H, 15 R, 12 ER, 5 BB, 6 K, 3 HR, 11.17 ERA

Arias has not been able to pitch through five in his last three starts.  It looked possible last time out against Indianapolis on Saturday, but began the inning by giving up a pair of singles and a walk before he was lifted.  This recent string of starts is a reversal of fortune since his return to the rotation on July 11.  In his previous five starts, he was 4-0 with a 2.65 ERA with four quality starts and had pitched at least six innings in each start. 

Looking Forward

Game Times and Starting Pitchers:

8/25 – vs Indianapolis (7:05 PM) – RHP Jake Brigham (3-5, 4.33) vs. RHP Tyler Cloyd (10-8, 3.98)
8/26 – at Toledo (6:30 PM) – RHP Zach McAllister (6-1, 2.18) vs. TBA
8/27 – at Toledo (6:30 PM) – RHP Toru Murata (3-3, 5.52) vs. TBA
8/28 – at Indianapolis (7:05 PM) – RHP Gabriel Arias (6-3, 4.67) vs. TBA
8/29 – at Indianapolis (7:15 PM) – RHP Kyle Davies (9-8, 3.91) vs. TBA
8/30 – at Indianapolis (6:05 PM) – TBA vs. TBA
8/31 – vs Toledo (6:05 PM) – TBA vs. TBA
9/1 – vs Toledo (3:05 PM) – TBA vs. TBA

Transactions

8/19 – OF Tyler Holt recalled by Cleveland from Columbus…RHP Shawn Armstrong transferred from Akron to Columbus

8/23 – OF Ryan Raburn (right wrist soreness) sent on rehab assignment to Columbus from Cleveland

Michael Rich is a senior majoring in Communications at The Ohio State University.

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