House brilliant in 4-0 shutout of Indians
By Ethan Day
July 9, 2013
COLUMBUS- The last time Clippers' left-hander T.J. House saw his name in the win column was May 13. Going up against the International League West-leading Indianapolis Indians Tuesday, it looked like that statistic wouldn’t change. Wrong.
In undoubtedly his finest performance at the Triple-A level, House cruised through six scoreless innings to steer the Clippers toward a 4-0 victory against the Indians. Over those six frames, the lefty allowed just one hit with five strikeouts and four walks. Not to mention that he did it against one of the best lineups in the International League.
Indianapolis ranks second in the IL in runs (443) and is sixth in batting average (.260).
Columbus manager Chris Tremie was extremely proud of the way House threw the ball against their division rival and said that this game will only help his confidence going forward.
“The fact that he went out and attacked the zone against a pretty good lineup is a good sign,” Tremie said. “He pitched in, kept the ball down, got some ground balls. It’s a huge step for him. It’s a very positive step. If he takes that mentality out and attacks the zone the way he did tonight, he’s capable of doing that a lot.”
House now sits at 2-9 with a 5.42 ERA on the season.
The Clippers played one of their best games of the season from all aspects of the game. They had it all. The pitching was excellent, the defense turned a trio of double plays and the offense came through with timely hits and smart running on the base paths.
“It all started with House going out there and establishing a good tempo and throwing the ball well in those six shutout innings,” Tremie said. “The bullpen also did a great job. We got some big hits by Diaz and Chen and some good base running by Fedroff. Just a lot of good things in that game along with three double play balls. It was just an all-around really good ballgame.”
After House’s exit, the duo of right-handers Matt Langwell and Fernando Nieve combined to pitch the remainder of the game and kept the shutout intact for Columbus. Over the last three innings, Indianapolis collected a single base hit which came off of Langwell in the top of the eighth.
The Clippers tacked on a pair of runs in the bottom of the second and third innings to gain a quick 2-0 edge over the Indians.
Left fielder Jeremy Hermida beat the infield shift and punched a base hit just out of the reach of second baseman Jared Goedert and into the outfield. Right fielder Matt Carson moved Hermida over with a nicely placed bunt down the third base line and shortstop Juan Diaz roped an RBI single up the middle to bring in a run. The following inning, third baseman Nate Spears launched his second home run of the year onto the balcony in right to up the advantage
House cruised through the first four innings of the game, throwing 63 pitches and fanning three Indians. The southpaw also issued three walks during that time but was aided by a pair of twin killings to erase any potential threats by Indianapolis.
Columbus added to their lead in the bottom half of the fifth when first baseman Chun-Hsiu Chen scorched a two-out groundball single into left field to bring designated hitter Tim Fedroff across the plate for the third run of the contest.
After giving up a free pass to leadoff hitter Ivan De Jesus in the top of the sixth, House settled down and recorded back-to-back groundouts. However, De Jesus made it all the way around to third by the time first baseman Matt Hague stepped in the batter’s box. House ended his night in grand fashion, making Hague whiff on a 2-2 fastball high and away to wrap up the inning.
Heavy rain began to fall in the bottom of the seventh and perhaps aided in an additional run scored by the Clippers. After chasing Indianapolis starter Graham Godfrey out of the game with two on and two out in the inning, right-hander Erik Cordier came on in relief. The first pitch he hurled to Hermida sailed over catcher Lucas May’s head and allowed Fedroff and Chen to move into scoring position. After the very next pitch, May errantly tossed a soaring ball over Cordier‘s head which allowed Fedroff to dash home for another run.
Godfrey was charged with the loss and drops to 6-5 on the year with a 4.54 ERA. The Clippers bump their record up to ten games below .500 at 42-52 with the win.
Columbus and Indianapolis are set to conclude their series Wednesday with a 7:05 p.m. affair at Huntington Park. Right-hander Joe Martinez (2-6, 6.23 ERA) will take the mound for the Clippers in his first start since returning from his stint with Cleveland. Indianapolis left-hander Andy Oliver (5-2, 3.12 ERA) will be opposite him.
Ethan can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can follow him on Twitter @ethanjday