Mudcats Notebook: Clevinger is adjusting to new team
In the midst of a playoff race, the Carolina Mudcats are making a furious late season push to be a representative from the Carolina League’s Southern Division.
The team won six of seven games this week and closed the week with five wins in a row to find themselves just 1.5 games back in the Southern Division with one week left in the regular season.
Carolina closes the season with a six home games, finishing a four-game series with Lynchburg before closing out the season against Winston Salem.
Player Spotlight: Michael Clevinger
One thing that is inevitable in sports is that players will get traded. Michael Clevinger knows just how difficult that can be.
On August 7, the Indians traded former bullpen arm Vinnie Pestano to the Angels for Clevinger, a fourth round pick in the 2011 draft.
“I was just starting my normal routine for the day when the pitching coach came and pulled me out and said our player development guy needed to talk to me,” Clevinger explained. “That’s when they told me they had traded me.”
The Indians were not hesitant to complete the trade despite Clevinger having missed nearly the entire 2013 season after having successful Tommy John surgery.
Luckily for him, the change of scenery has been an easy transition as everyone in the organization has greeted him with open arms.
“I was greeted with open arms on my first day, making it an easy transition,” he said. “I knew a couple of guys already and that made the transition easier. I played college ball with (Todd) Hankins and summer league with (Torsten) Boss and (Logan) Vick. Knowing those guys really helped on my first day.”
Once with the team, it was time for Clevinger to make his first appearance with the Indians organization. Normally a starter, he came out of the bullpen, and things did not go according to plan.
“Coming out of the bullpen, I wasn’t used to it. I hadn’t done that in three years,” Clevinger said. “It was just not my normal routine. Luckily I was just getting my feet wet with the team.”
In three innings, he allowed three runs on four hits with a walk and a strikeout. Good thing for him, things went more according to plan in his second outing with the team.
In his first start, Clevinger allowed just one run on four hits over five innings.
“Things went according to plan in the second outing when I got to start,” he said. “That outing was a lot more me. I had my normal routine and the usual amount of time to warm up.”
When asked what Indians fans were going to get with him on the mound, Clevinger gave a simple answer.
He is going to compete.
“I’m going to compete until they tell take the ball out of my hand and the cleats off my feet,” Clevinger said.
Player of the Week
Torsten Boss (OF): 8-20, 3 R, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 3 BB, 5 K
When he was first acquired by the Indians and assigned to Carolina earlier this season, Boss didn’t show the potential to be a player of the week. But this week was easily one of his best of the season. After hitting two home runs and driving in seven runs throughout the week, he was named the Carolina League Hitter of the Week for his efforts.
Alex Monsalve (C): 8-25, 2 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 0 BB, 3 K
With Jeremy Lucas out with an injury, Monsalve has been getting more playing time than usual at catcher, and luckily his bat is not paying the price. Even though he might not hit for power or drive in a lot of runs, Monsalve certainly knows how to get on base, something this team has needed help with for a majority of the season.
Yandy Diaz (3B): 12-30, 5 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 4 BB, 2 K, 1 SB
Signed for his offensive play, Diaz showed how much potential he really has this week. He hit for average, power, drove in runs, was patient at the plate and made smart decisions on the base paths. At least for this week, Diaz was the total offensive package.
Adam Plutko (RHP): 2 GS, 1-1, 11.2 IP, 14 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 9 K
Starting pitching has easily been the Mudcats strength this season with the success of Ryan Merritt and Shawn Morimando, but an unsung hero of the group has been Plutko. He consistently strikes out a lot of hitters, goes deep into games and doesn’t give up a ton of runs. Plutko has been a solid second or third starter for the team all year in just his first full season of professional baseball.
On the Hook
Cole Sulser (RHP): 1 GS, 3.2 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K
The Ivy-Leaguer reverted back to his old ways this week, giving up a big inning despite having pitched well otherwise. In 3.2 innings, he allowed three runs, all in the same inning.
Luigi Rodriguez (OF): 4-19, 2 R, 2 2B, 1 RBI, 5 BB, 6 K, 2 SB
On the bright side, Rodriguez scored half the time he got a hit, but he did only record four hits on the week. Rodriguez simply had trouble getting on base this week.
Logan Vick (OF): 4-24, 5 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 8 BB, 3 K, 1 SB
Vick continued to struggle at the plate this week, just as he has all season long. Even though he didn’t collect many hits, he spent a lot of time on base after drawing eight walks throughout the week. He also scored five times, including three times in one game.
Fish on the Line
There were no players added to or removed from the disabled list this week.
Fish Swimming Around
No roster transactions affected the Mudcats this week.
Zachary is a senior at NC State where he is majoring in communication-media, with minors in journalism and theatre. You can follow him on Twitter @RealZachFrancis.
Does any of this come to mind when you're present information to what should be relatively "avid" fans of baseball & the Indians?..