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Around The Farm: May 11, 2017 - Merritt and Lugo dominate despite allowing too many baserunners.

Ryan Merritt and Luis Lugo may have allowed a lot of runners on base in yesterday's contests, but they kept them from scoring to help the Tribe's top two affiliates win low-scoring games. Read about their outings and all of the other notable performances from Thursday in the Indians minor league system as the IBI's Arthur Kinney takes you Around The Farm...

Around the Farm takes a quick look at some of yesterday’s performances by Cleveland prospects throughout the system. The positions listed below are where the player was playing in yesterday’s game.

SCOREBOARD

R H E R H E
Columbus 3 9 1 Akron 1 5 0
Durham 1 9 2 Binghamton 0 2 0
BOX BOX
Cancelled (rain) R H E R H E
Carolina  Wisconsin 6 8 0
Lynchburg Lake County  0 8 1
BOX BOX

THE LEAD

Ryan Merritt (Columbus, SP) - W (3-3), 6.1 IP, 7 H, 1 R (earned), 2 BB, 7 K, 1 HR allowed - While Merritt continues to allow too many runners on base (1.49 WHIP), he kept all but one of them from scoring on Thursday. That batter hit a home run, so he didn't allow any runs to baserunners whom he had an opportunity to keep from scoring.  While an effort like yesterday's is good to see, Merritt isn't always this successful in keeping runners from scoring, having allowed four earned runs three times in seven appearances (six starts) with Columbus this season.  Thursday's outing proved that allowing a large number of baserunners doesn't necessarily mean a bad pitching performance, but it's not a recipe for consistent success.

Luis Lugo (Akron, SP) - W (2-1), 6 IP, 1 H, 5 BB, 3 K - The good news:  Lugo is allowing far less hits than he did early in the season, when he allowed 12 hits in 17 IP in his first three starts.  The bad news:  He has walked nine batters in 11.1 IP in his last two outings, more than doubling his total (six) through his first four outings (18 IP).  The outing between these these two stretches saw him allow one hit without getting a batter out.  While he has only allowed two earned runs in 16.2 IP in his last three significant outings, his tendency to allow a large number of baserunners will probably have an inflationary effect on his ERA at some point.

THE REST

  • Bradley Zimmer (Columbus, CF) - 2-4, 1 R, 2 K, 1 SB - Zimmer continues his recent hot stretch, extending his hitting streak to five games with two hits in each of his last three contests played in.  He is batting .421 (8-for-19) during the streak and .462 (6-for-13) in the three two-hit games compared to .282 in his last ten contests and .281 on the season (30 games played).
  • Richie Shaffer (Columbus, 3B-LF) - 1-4, 1 RBI, 1 K, 1 E - Shaffer continued his five-game hitting streak and was the only Clipper to drive in a run on Thursday morning.
  • Giovanny Urshela (Columbus, SS-3B) - 2-4, 1 R, 1 K - Urshela's first two-hit outing in five days has both his season and last ten games batting averages at .270.
  • Joe Colon (Columbus, RP) - H (2), 1.2 IP, 1 H - Colon allowed an earned run in the Clippers 'season opener and hasn't allowed one since.  His ERA now stands at 0.68 (1 ER in 13.1 IP).
  • Shawn Armstrong (Columbus, CP) - S (3), 1 IP, 1 H, 1 K - Armstrong continues his solid season, which has seen him throw six scoreless outings (7.1 IP total) out of seven appearances this season.  Unfortunately, his other outing saw him allow three earned runs in one inning, so his ERA is 3.24.  The difference may seem drastic based on one game, but when a pitcher's sample size is this small, one bad outing can inflate his numbers significantly.
  • Tyler Krieger (Akron, 2B) - 1-4, 2 K, 2 SB - Krieger was one of only four RubberDucks to get a hit in Thursday night's pitchers' duel and stole two bases to increase his season total to eight (in as many attempts) in 26 games.
  • Mike Papi (Akron, RF) - 2-4, 1 R, 1 K - Papi now has an eight game hitting streak as well as hits in 13 of his last 14 games and 14 of his last 16.  Prior to those 16 games, he was batting .225/.373/.300 in 13 games, largely as the result of a seven-game, 5-for-24 slump that would've been even worse without a 4-for-4 effort.  His slash line now stands at .302/.414/.438 with a 22:18 K:BB ratio (one of the walks was intentional).
  • Dorssys Paulino (Akron, LF) - 1-3, 1 RBI - While Paulino has not been hitting well recently (.176 batting average in his last ten games), he did drive in the only run in yesterday's win.
  • Eric Haase (Akron, C) - 1-3 - Normally, this effort would not be notable, but he got a hit on a night when less than half of the lineup did so.
  • Matt Whitehouse (Akron, RP) - H (1), 2.1 IP, 1 H, 1 K - Whitehouse picked up his first Double-A hold with his fifth scoreless outing in nine games this season.
  • Neil Holland (Akron, CP) - S (1), 0.2 IP, perfect - Holland followed up his back-to-back blown save/win combos with his second save of the season and his first as a RubberDuck.
  • Alexis Pantoja (Lake County, 2B) - 2-4 - Pantoja's recent form has been a vast improvement over his start to the season.  He has a .343 batting average in his last ten games, a period during which he has hits in eight games and two hits in four of his last six, compared to a .205 average on the season (26 games).  Before his ten most recent contests, Alexis was batting only .113.
  • Li-Jen Chu (Lake County, DH) - 2-4, 1 2B, 1 K - Chu has struggled in his last ten games, batting .225 compared to .288 on the season (31 games).  Hopefully, this two-hit outing will be the start of a turnaround that gets his batting average back over .300.
  • Jorma Rodriguez (Lake County, 3B) - 1-2, 1 BB - Again, not normally a notable outing, but Jorma-Rod was one of only three Captains to reach base twice on Thursday evening.
  • Justin Garza (Lake County, SP) - L (1-1), 4 IP, 4 H, 5 R (4 earned), 4 BB, 5 K, 1 HR allowed - Garza continues to revert to his early season form (combined 7 ER on 8 H in 6.1 IP in his first two outings) following three solid efforts (combined 1 ER on 4 H in 9 IP) as he has now allowed a combined 7 ER on 8 H in 9 IP in his last two appearances.
  • Ben Krauth (Lake County, RP) - 2.2 IP, 1 H, 3 BB, 3 K - Krauth continues to dominate the Midwest League, having allowed only one earned run in twenty innings (0.45 ERA) in eight outings.
  • Dalbert Siri (Lake County, RP) - 1 IP, 1 H, 2 K, 1 HBP - Siri has not allowed an earned run in his last seven outings (each exactly 1 IP in length).

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