Jake Roth, USA Today

Clips Report: Richie Shaffer gets Columbus offense rolling in the top of the first

Infielder Richie Shaffer set an optimistic tone for the Clippers early on in Game 2 of a doubleheader against the Charlotte Knights by hitting a two-run homer during the top of the first inning. They went on later to sweep the Knights in a 8-1 victory. IBI's Matthew Fout recaps that as well as other key performances from Saturday's contest.

Game 1: COLUMBUS CLIPPERS – 3 CHARLOTTE KNIGHTS – 6

Game 2: COLUMBUS CLIPPERS – 8 CHARLOTTE KNIGHTS – 1

Shaffer kick starts Columbus offense

Columbus split its doubleheader with Charlotte on Saturday with the help of Richie Shaffer’s bat in the second game. Shaffer went 2-4 with a two-run homer in the top of the first that ignited what would be a five-run first inning for the Clippers. He also had a single and recorded his first steal of the season the next inning. 

“Scoring in the first inning is always nice,” manager Chris Tremie said. “Being able to get five runs in the first to start a game is something you hope for every night. You’re not gonna get it, but you’d really like to get that every night and he kind of got us rolling.”

The 26-year-old is now hitting .288 on the year with 15 RBIs and 19 hits in 20 games. He was claimed off waivers from Cincinnati in the offseason as Cleveland marked his fourth organization that he’s been a part of since ending the season with Tampa Bay. Shaffer had an up-and-down season last year starting off by going 7-13 with 5 RBIs over the first weekend of the season with Durham, however, he struggled after the All-Star break going 6-58 in 17 games. He had three brief stints with Tampa Bay in the majors, hitting .250 in 20 games.

Shaffer: 2-for-4, HR, 2 RBI, SB

Pitching staff logs season-high innings 

Left-hander Ryan Merritt started the first game of the doubleheader in what was technically a relief appearance after Mike Clevinger only threw 12 pitches before the game would be postponed due to rain on Friday. Merritt threw 105 pitches (67 strikes) over 6 2/3 innings and recorded eight strikeouts, all of which were season highs for the 25-year-old. 

“He threw the ball well,” Tremie said. “He ended up making a mistake late in the game that added some runs onto the game, but overall a pretty strong outing and he gave us a lot of innings.”

Merritt is now the team leader in innings pitched and holds an ERA of 4.82 with a 2-2 record. He also has 24 strikeouts over those 28 innings. The lefty was selected by Cleveland in the 2011 draft and has been in the organization ever since. He started a playoff game for both the Clippers and Indians last year.

Jeff Johnson made a relief appearance in the second game on Saturday, pitching a season-high of two innings. He didn’t allow a hit while picking up three strikeouts over 27 pitches (16 strikes). Johnson has pitched well so far this season, only allowing three runs in nine relief appearances.  Johnson was also selected in the 2011 draft by Cleveland and pitched all of last season with Columbus. He posted a 2.87 ERA with 57 strikeouts in 53 1/3 innings with the Clippers. 

Merritt: 6.2 IP, 6H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, 105 pitches (67 strikes), L.

Johnson: 2 IP, 0 H, 0R, 1 BB, 3 K, 27 pitches (16 strikes), W.

Pitch Speeds

Ryan Merritt 4th inning: 79 80 87 88 85 81 85 81 87 81 82 87 88 86 86 80

Ryan Merritt 5th inning: 79 88 85 84 86 87 85 86 86 82 86 88 89 84 74 90 74

Jeff Johnson 5th inning: 89 90 81 91 90 91 82 79 90 91 83 81 91 80 90 91 91 91

Jeff Johnson 6th inning: 90 90 92 92 80 83 91 83


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