Clippers, Indians

Da Clip Show: Back to Back Champs And Mike Sarbaugh Is AWESOME Edition – 9/20/11

Clip Show aims to be your weekly update for all things Columbus Clippers. Check back each Tuesday for team records, roster updates, and performance updates on some of the brightest prospects in the Tribe system.

Yeah, so… how ’bout those Columbus Clippers? I’ve picked against them five straight times (both series last season, AAA National Championship last season, both series this season) and they’ve proven me wrong five straight times. Now, I’m a superstitious sports fan who believes in the all-swaying power of mojo, so you have to know I don’t view this as a coincidence. At any rate, after dropping Game 1 to Lehigh Valley, Columbus roared back to take the next three–including the final two on the road–to capture a second straight Governor’s Cup. They square off tonight against PCL Champ Omaha in the AAA National Championship in Albuquerque, NM.

This Week: 3-1
Playoff Results: Beat Lehigh Valley 3-1 to win the Governor’s Cup (IL Champions)


9/13 vs. Lehigh Valley – Iron Pigs 5, Clippers 2; LP McAllister (1-1)
9/14 vs. Lehigh Valley – Clippers 4, Iron Pigs 1; WP Talbot (2-0)
9/15 @ Lehigh Valley  – Clippers 6, Iron Pigs 2; WP Martinez (2-0)
9/16 @ Lehigh Valley – Clippers 4, Iron Pigs 1; WP Espino (1-0)

AAA National Championship Schedule/Probables

9/20 vs. Omaha, Joe Martinez vs. Sean O’Sullivan

New Segment: Mike Sarbaugh is a Straight-Pimp

I know I’ve been semi-beating this drum for awhile, but it’s time to expound a bit on just how GOOD Mike Sarbaugh is and has been as a minor league manager. I do this for two reasons: 1) I want the Tribe not to lose him, and 2) I think he should be the full-time hitting coach in Cleveland next year, and be groomed as manager-of-the-future. I don’t overtly dislike Manny Acta; I just think that when you look at Sarbaugh’s resume, consider how he’s been able to do what he’s done, and look at how some of the Tribe’s young players have done under his tutelage, you have to consider doing whatever it takes to keep him in your organization for as long as possible. You know, otherwise, someone else will come calling.

This line deserves its own paragraph: Sarbaugh has never had a losing season in eight years as manager in the Cleveland Indians farm system, and has FIVE league championship titles in those eight seasons.

Beyond that, let’s take a look at his coaching resume:

1995: Kinston Hitting Coach – team won league championship
1996-1997: Columbus RedStixx Hitting Coach
1998-1999: Kinston Hitting Coach
2000-2003: Akron Hitting Coach
2004: Mahoning Valley Manager – League Champions
2005: Lake County Manager
2006-2007: Kinston Manager – first place finish twice, League Champions in 2006, Carolina League Manager of the Year in 2007, managed Carolina League All Star Team in 2007
2008-2009: Akron Manager – League Runners-up in 2008, League Champions in 2009, Eastern League Manager of the Year in 2009
2010-2011: Columbus Manager – League Champions in both season, Baseball America Minor League Manager of the Year in 2010, Managed International League All Star Team in 2011, International League Manager of the Year in 2011

Wow. Right? That’s a guy you want to keep. Especially considering that EACH of his IL titles has come after the Tribe plundered his regular-season roster. He gets the most out of all of his players. He wins. He wins THE BIG GAMES. His players always look ready for the moment in those big games.

I went all the way back for a reason. The Tribe needs a full-time hitting coach in 2012. Mike Sarbaugh has eight seasons of experience as a hitting coach. The Tribe needs someone who can work with their nucleus of young players. Mike Sarbaugh has worked with almost every young player of consequence on the Tribe’s roster: Brantley, LaPorta (young?), Kipnis, Phelps, Chisenhall, Carrera. He’s worked with Lou Marson and Carlos Santana. He’s worked with Shelley Duncan for pete’s sake. Other than Choo, Sizemore, Hafner, and Cabrerra, Mike Sarbaugh has experience working with all of the guys from whom a lot is expected.

And, those guys have ALL hit under Sarbaugh. Columbus led the IL in hitting each of the past two years.

So, Chris Antonetti and Manny Acta: I’m begging with you. Pleading. HIRE THIS GUY AS YOUR HITTING COACH. He’ll do more than be a hitting coach. He’ll be another ear and teacher for all of these young kids. He knows how to win. And, by God, you’re going to lose him to someone else if you don’t.

AAA National Championship Preview

This game is essentially meaningless; one game to decide an arbitrary title for bragging rights, and maybe another banner to hang in your home park. The Clippers certainly milked the 2010 AAA National Champions title all over their tickets and park this year. So, there’s that. Really, though, at this time of the year both the Indians’ and Royals’ (Omaha’s parent club) are probably looking ahead to 2012 and expanding their rosters.

At any rate, here’s a little bit about the PCL Champion Omaha Storm Chasers and this matchup. Like the Clippers, the Chasers are coming off of a 6-1 league post-season, and swept Sacramento to take the PCL title. And, in addition to sweeping them, they flat-out bludgeoned them. They outscored Sacramento 29-12 in the three games. So, while their pitching was a bit loose (four runs allowed per), their bats more than made up for it.

Sean O’Sullivan gets the starting nod for Omaha tonight, and he is coming off of a solid start in the first round. He pitched the Chasers’ first-round clinching game, going 8.0 innings and allowing two runs–one earned–on just two hits and a walk. He struck out seven.

Joe Martinez, who has pitched well in the post-season, will take the hill for Columbus. Martinez is 2-0 in the playoffs with a 1.80 ERA spanning 15.0 innings. Martinez is coming off a win in Game  against Lehigh Valley in which he went 7.0 innings and allowed just one run on three hits while walking two. More importantly? He fanned 13 Iron Pigs in that outing.

Omaha finished the AAA season with a team batting average of .289, though it should be pointed out the PCL is more of a hitters’ league; that mark was only good enough for fifth-best in the PCL (the league leading team–Las Vegas–hit .307 as a team this season). However, some of their best hitters, Johnny Giavotella and Eric Hosmer for example, are up in Kansas City. In the post-season, they’re paced by Lorenzo Cain (.438), Lance Zawadzki (.400), Clint Robinson (.385), and Manny Pina (.368).

Here’s the prediction. Based on what I said in the opener, you know where I’m going. I think it’s a well-pitched game considering how the Storm Chasers have been hitting and Joe Martinez has been pitching, but I see the Chasers continuing to stay hot at the plate and pushing two more runs across.

Clip Show Says: Omaha, 5-3 score

Prove me wrong, again, boys. 🙂