Andy Morrison/Blade

Clips Report: Columbus Loses Their Sixth Straight Game

Despite improved pitching from Adam Plutko and strong showings at the plate from Tyler Naquin and Bradley Zimmer, the Clippers were still handed their sixth straight loss falling to Lehigh Valley 8-5 at Huntington Park. The IBI's Jake Nerone recaps the highlights from Tuesday's contest.

COLUMBUS CLIPPERS - 5, LEHIGH VALLEY IRONPIGS - 8

Plutko Shows Improvement

Adam Plutko, who has struggled in recent games, gave up two early runs against Lehigh Valley in Tuesday night’s game. It appeared it would be another early night for Plutko, who in his previous three starts had yet to get into the sixth inning of a game. However, he settled down after the first and allowed a total of four runs (three earned) through six innings. When asked about Plutkos’ recent struggles at Huntington Park, Manager Chris Tremie didn’t seem too concerned about his pitcher.

“He gave us a chance to win today,” Tremie explained, “he threw the ball pretty well, he made a couple mistakes, but overall getting that kind of outing gives you an opportunity to win in this ballpark and it was a strong step forward for him early in the season.”

Although Plutko kept his team in a position to come away with a win, the bullpen continued to struggle. When the Clippers offense was able to get the game within a run, Shawn Armstrong came into the game in the top of the seventh inning and gave up a three run homer over the right field wall. Louis Head came in to pitch 1.2 innings, giving up one run, and was then followed by Tyler Olsen who entered the game to get the final out.

Plutko: 6 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K 92 pitches (64 strikes), L

While Plutko was able to improve from his previous outing, he had some help from a few big names in the outfield. With Tyler Naquin in center field and Bradley Zimmer in right, a ball was hit off the wall in the top of the fifth inning with one out and a runner on second. While the run did score, Zimmer made a great read on the ball and was able to throw out Jorge Alfaro at second.

“Well I think both of them are very capable of playing probably all three outfield positions,” explained Tremie when asked about Naquin and Zimmer. “Both of them are really good center fielders, really good right fielders, and they can compliment each other when they are out there”

Tremie also likes the approach Naquin has been taking at the plate, who went 3-for-5 with two doubles, two RBIs, and a run on Tuesday night.

“His approach has gotten much better over the years, and he uses the whole field," he said, "If they don’t give him something to, inside to turn on, or something off-speed that he can turn on, he goes with it, and he’s swinging the bat really well tonight, good approach”

Pitch speeds

Louis Head 9th inning: 95, 95, 90, 83, 95, 94, 94, 94, 91, 90, 95, 93, 91, 90, 89, 95, 82, 82, 95, 95

Something you don’t see everyday

The Clippers scored twice because of balks that occurred in separate innings. The first balk scored Naquin in the fifth inning, and the second balk scored Yandy Diaz in the seventh. Both instances occurred when there were two outs.

The losing streak continues

While the loss on Tuesday night is the sixth straight for the Clippers, Tremie didn’t seem too worried about his team’s recent struggles.

“You go through periods when things aren’t going your way," the Columbus skippers explained, "Right now that seems to be the case with us at least for the last five or six games, but you know the way you change that is you continue to play your game and execute your pitches and play defense and have good at bats and things will turn around.”


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