By Branson Wright, Courtesy of The Plain Dealer
Pitching prospect Mike Clevinger’s transition from Class AA Akron to Class AAA Columbus was smooth enough when he allowed only two earned runs and five hits in his first 10 innings.
Things changed quickly in Clevinger’s last start as he gave up five earned runs and six hits in 4 1/3 innings pitched in a loss to Louisville on Wednesday.
Clevinger faced his biggest critic after the game.
“That’s myself,” Clevinger said. “I try to find some positives. Some of my stuff was working but my strike percentage could’ve been better. That and some good timely hitting … It was just one of those days.”
Clevinger expects better days in Columbus with the Clippers.
“I just need more quality strikes,” said Clevinger, who is on a 90-pitch count. “I’m getting the movement [on his fastball] and the stuff is there, but it’s about getting quality misses and quality strikes.”
In January, Clevinger was awarded the Bob Feller Award as the top pitcher in the Cleveland Indians system. The righthander had a 2.73 ERA and 145 strikeouts in 158 innings last season in Akron.
He was impressive in spring training and looks to be the first pitcher called up if the Indians have a need.
Who’s hot: 2B Michael Martinez has hit safely in 11 of 12 games. He’s hitting .308 (12-for-39). Last season, he got off to an extremely slow start, batting an IL-worst .148 (13-for-88) with zero multi-hit games through May 13.
Who’s not: Catchers Adam Moore, Anthony Recker and Guillermo Quiroz had combined to hit .135 (7-for-52) with one extra base hit and no RBI through Wednesday. Then Moore slugged a solo homer in Thursday’s victory. Catcher Alex Lavisky (St. Edward) is on the seven-day disabled list. … 3B Giovanny Urshela and Ronny Rodriguez have combined to hit .196.
Notable: 1B Jesus Aguilar has struck out only four times in 45 plate appearances. He ranks sixth in the IL with 11.3 AB/K. … The Clippers added netting to protect fans at Huntington Park.
Clippers update: The Clippers are 6-7 and they allowed their most runs of the season on Wednesday in a 16-5 loss to Louisville. … The Clippers began an eight-game homestand on Thursday. … Indians LF Michael Brantley is scheduled to make a rehab start with the Clippers on Friday.