Clip Files for June

Jorge Alfaro

Alfaro

The Clips’ front office can’t come to an agreement on whether the club is underachieving or overachieving. While its 48-32 mark at the season’s midpoint was built somewhat on a favorable early schedule, the Clips have established a 96-win pace without much contribution from slugger Aaron Judge, who has only 25 extra-base hits to this point (8-0-17), on the heels of 79 extra-base hits last year (24-3-52) for the Yankees. … Regardless, Applegate posted a 14-6 June and the Clips outscored their opponents 116-77. … The Clips packed their active roster with limited sluggers Nicky Delmonico and Jorge Alfaro, hoping to rack up wins against teams that were struggling this year. The strategy worked, with Alfaro hitting .367 and driving in a team-high 20 runs. He hit five homers and used up 49 of his limited ABs. For the year, Alfaro is hitting .398 in 93 at-bats. His catching counterpart, Willson Contreras, benefited from the extra rest, but still led the Clips in hitting in June at .458. … Brian Dozier slugged a team-high six homers, including a 10th-inning solo blast in Game Five against Dyersville that enabled the Clips to win that series, 3-2. … Interesting tidbit from Game Three of that series: After Applegate jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first inning (keyed by an Alfaro grand slam), Dyersville began the bottom of the first by pinch-hitting for limited leadoff man Michael Conforto. … The Dyersville series also saw the Clips turn a 5-4-3 triple play in the fourth inning on a lomax roll — one inning after a one-out lomax roll ended Dyersville’s bases-loaded threat in that inning too. The Treblemakers still won the game, 3-1. … Applegate’s 4-1 series win over Tatooine was highlighted by a 7-5 Game Four win in which the Clips were down 5-1 starting the eighth inning. … Applegate likewise went 4-1 at home vs. Bismarck, losing only Game Five, 7-5, leaving 18 runners on base. Applegate hit .324 that series and Judge had his only good series of the year with three homers and six RBIs. Judge does have a league-leading 80 walks in 80 games. …  Matt Chapman, spelling a limited Josh Donaldson at third, hit .412 with two homers and eight RBIs. Delmonico hit .545 and Alfaro .500. … The Clips walked off to victory in Game Two on a 2b (x) roll that went for a 1B** with Chapman up, runners at second and third, one out and the infield in in the 9th to win 4-3. … In its toughest battle of the month, Applegate invaded Margaritaville and reeled off wins in each of the first three games before suffering one-run walkoff losses in Games Four and Five. A seesaw Game Four saw Margaritaville surrender leads of 3-0 after three innings and 4-3 and 7-6 in late innings; Applegate coughed up a 6-4 lead in the eighth and saw the Volcanoes walk off in the ninth on a bases-loaded single by Kris Bryant off ace closer Blake Parker.  Kyle Crick was the victim in the ninth inning of Game Five; after the Clips scored two runs in the top of the ninth on a Billy Hamilton homer to tie the game 3-3, Jarrod Dyson led off the home half of the inning with an equally unexpected long ball to win it 4-3 for Margaritaville. Every game in the series was decided by one or two runs. … Stephen Strasburg had a good month, going 3-0 with a 1.09 ERA that included the club’s only complete-game outing of the year, coming against the Volcanoes. … Fernando Rodney was a bullpen workhorse, pitching 23 2/3 innings and notching a 3-1 record with a 2.28 ERA. … At the 80-game mark, Applegate is 16-3 in games in which the opposition starts a left-handed pitcher. Jose Martinez has 11 of his 13 homers against southpaws. … Applegate trails Superior now by one game in its division and trails only the Titans in best run differential in the league (+96 for Applegate, +104 for Superior)… The Clips have returned to the top of the team ERA standings after their solid June, checking in at 3.94. They have allowed the fewest homers in the league at 89 and trail only Margaritaville in homers hit (135-127)… The Clips also have a healthy lead for most team walks at 379. …

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Clip Files for May

Applegate’s 13-7 May, supports largely by a 5-0 sweep of Boulder, came with ace Stephen Strasburg sitting out the month, as Luis Perdomo continues to take turns giving Applegate starters a one-month rest. The Clips went 2-2 in Perdomo’s starts as he generated a fat 7.94 ERA. … Both Drew Pomeranz (1.96 ERA) and Jimmy Nelson (5.96 ERA) went 3-0 on the month. Applegate had entered the month with the league’s best team ERA, but gave up 111 runs (101 earned) for a 5.03 ERA and pushing the club’s season-to-date ERA above 4 at 4.09. … Fortunately the offense had its best showing, blasting 35 homers while hitting .293 and scoring 139 runs, nearly 7 per game. … The 111 runs allowed included 19 by Savannah in a Game Two rout of Jhoulys Chacin, who surrendered 17 and saw his ERA climb above 7.00. … Rookie catcher Jorge Alfaro saw his first action and responded with a team-high .432 month, collecting 19 hits in 44 at-bats. Josh Donaldson had the team highs in both homers (8) and RBI (18). … Aaron Judge had 5 homers and 16 RBI, pushing his yearly totals to 13 and 38, on pace for just 35 homers. … The heartbreak loss of the month came in Game Five to Satellite Beach. The Clips led 5-3 in the ninth in the rubber game of the series and with one out brought in Ken Giles to relieve Andrew Miller. Anthony Rendon and Eduardo Nunez singled and Edwin Encarnacion doubled both of them in to tie the game. After Cody Bellinger struck out, pinch-hitter Howie Kendrick doubled in Encarnacion for the walk-off win. … Applegate outscored the Tree Huggers 47-17 in their sweep, hitting .363 and holding Boulder to three runs in the first three games. The Clips had a 15-4 edge in homers and four of Judge’s five homers in May came in this series. … Lefty assassin Jose Martinez has 12 homers in 111 at-bats overall. Eleven of the 12 have come vs. southpaws. Applegate is 13-2 in games in which the opponent starts a left-handed pitcher. … Applegate has saves from six different pitchers.

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Clip Files for October

By finishing 82-78, the Clips posted their sixth straight season with a winning record, the longest such active stretch in the league. Applegate’s catastrophic October knocked it from a position in which it was tied for the fifth playoff spot with 20 games left, to a finish 3 1/2 games behind the sixth-place seed. “You can’t expect to make the playoffs when you go 5-15 twice in the same year,” said Manager Gary Kicinski, referencing the matching disaster from July. The Clips had to resort to using long-reliever Jhoulys Chacin as their fifth starter in October, but after getting bombed in his first outing, Chacin came back to allow three earned runs or less in five innings or more in his other three starts, going 2-1 with a 4.66 ERA on the month. No, the problem was normally reliable Kyle Hendricks (0-3, 5.32), Johnny Cueto (0-4, 7.14) and Drew Pomeranz (0-2, 5.33) who gagged big time in October. … Josh Donaldson also was nowhere to be found when the team needed him most, hitting .160 on the month, which included an 0-for-Destin series (17 ABs). … The Clips got saves from eight different players this year. … Applegated ‘maxed out’ its IP limits on nine pitchers — Ryan Buchter, Tyler Chatwood, Johnny Cueto, Tyler Glasnow, Kyle Hendricks, George Kontos, Andrew Miller, Drew Pomeranz and Stephen Strasburg. It also wrung every AB out of Willson Contreras, Greg Garcia, Hunter Pence and Neil Walker. … Kole Calhoun had the most disappointing year among the position players, starting all 160 games but hitting just .229 (.271 in real life) with six homers (18 in real life). … Applegate’s fourth-best league ERA of 3.89 was not enough to offset an offense that progressively weakened over the year, finishing with a 13th-best .249 batting average and 13th-best home run total of 160. … Only three teams drew more walks than the Clips’ 582 though. … Billy Hamilton lead the league in stolen bases at 51 and finished tied for the league lead in sacrifice hits with Bismarck’s Alcides Escobar at 56. … In their final game of the year, with two outs in the ninth, the Clips sent Aaron Judge to the plate for his only AB of 2017, a symbolic gesture the fans recognized as a nod toward future possibilities. Judge, of course, struck out.

Clip Files for September

After bizarre swings of 5-15 in July and 15-5 in August, things evened out at 10-10 in September, giving Applegate 77 wins on the year. With four more wins in October, Applegate will post its sixth consecutive season with a winning record. … After Kyle Hendricks allowed just one hit in six innings en route to a 1-0 win in the series opener over Margaritaville, the Volcanoes proceeded to reel off four straight wins, outscoring the Clips 29-12. That outcome was responsible for the Clips being outscored 79-70 on the month. … Applegate stole 11 bases in September but also was caught 11 times. … Hyun-Soo Kim led the Clips in batting at .433.  Through 140 games he leads Applegate in hitting at .310. … Xander Bogaerts and Josh Donaldson each hit four homers as the Clips socked 22 for the month, holding opponents to 14. … Tyler Chatwood used up his remaining innings and suffered losses in all four starts, dropping to 11-13 on the year. … Andrew Miller went 2-0 with two saves in seven scoreless appearances. In nine innings of work, Miller allowed just two hits while fanning 11. … Reliever George Kontos, whose epic horrendous July (0-5, 11.88 ERA, 16 hits, eight walks in 8 1/3 innings) was a primary factor in the Clips’ 5-15 month, redeemed himself a bit with 10 scoreless innings in September. … The Clips carried an extra reliever in September and against Tatooine, six of the seven pitched scoreless ball, with Ken Giles the only one to allow runs. … Applegate pitchers have allowed just 121 homers, fewest in the league. … The Clips have fallen to 11th in batting average and 12th in homers, but still are fourth in the league in ERA and are are plus-71 in run differential.

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Clip Files for August

Applegate’s Jekyll and Hyde season continued in August. A month after going 5-15, Applegate regrouped for a 15-5 month to thrust itself back into contention for the West Division crown with 40 games to play, sitting two games behind front-runner Boulder. …

Hendricks

Kyle Hendricks took a no-hitter into the ninth against New New York, surrendering a one-out double on a 1-8 roll to ninth-place hitter Tim Anderson to break up his chance at history. Hendricks walked two, struck out eight in raising his record to 12-4. … In the same series, after Applegate won the first four games, New New York’s Sonny Gray was twirling a perfect game against the Clips before being inexplicably pulled with one out and a 2-0 lead in the sixth. Jamie Garcia continued the perfecto through the seventh. But A.J. Ramos came on with six outs to go and walked Hunter Pence to ruin the perfect game, and with five outs to go gave up a single to Kole Calhoun to spoil the no-hit bid. New New York hung on for a 4-1 win to spoil Applegate’s bid for a sweep. … The Clips also went 4-1 vs. Destin and Savannah, plus 3-2 vs. South Grand Prairie. …

Tyler Glasnow took Stephen Strasburg’s No. 2 spot in the rotation for the month and got scorched by Savannah in his first as-played outing, coughing up 13 hits, nine walks and 14 runs. He went on to get three five-inning wins, never allowing more than three runs, to ‘lower’ his ERA for the month — and the season, since he’s used up all 23 of his innings — to 8.22. …  Applegate won all four of Hendricks’ starts, as the ace went 3-0 with a 1.05 ERA. … Six different pitchers recorded saves for a total of nine on the month. … Hard-righty Shawn Kelley appeared in 13 of the 20 August games. … Continue reading

Clip Files for July

Kontos

Revenge of Draft-Alyzer unleashed its fury on the Clips in July, hurtling them into a 5-15 death spiral following a 47-33 start to the season that was good for the second-best record in the league through 80 games. Now the Clips stand at 52-48 amidst a pile of other teams with similar records, pondering which club is the real Applegate. … While the offense stunk up the joint with a .233 average in July, it was reliever George Kontos who felt the wrath of Paperclip fans, as he managed to go 0-5 with an 11.88 ERA, allowing 16 hits (three of them homers) and eight walks in 8 1/3 innings. … Starter Tyler Chatwood fell back to earth and a few hundred yards below it with an 0-4, 6.45 month, after being saluted in this column in June for his 9-4, 3.28 start. … Springfield swept the Clips 5-0, with its studly pitching staff holding Applegate to just six extra-base hits in the entire series, as the Isotopes outhomered Applegate 10-1. … The Clips went 4-6 at home despite hitting .203 there, and 1-9 on the road despite hitting .259 there. … Ninth-place hitter Billy Hamilton hit .321 on the month, raising his season average to .283. … Hamilton leads the league in both sacrifice hits (39) and stolen bases (33) … Johnny Cueto leads the league’s starting pitchers in lowest home run rate, averaging 0.46 homers per nine innings. … Kyle Hendricks (0.76) and Drew Pomeranz (0.79) rank eighth and ninth. … Pomeranz also owns the league’s best opponents-batting-average-against value vs. LHBs at .165. … Applegate pitching has allowed just 89 homers for the year, the league’s best mark in that category. … The Clips have only one hit in 22 hit-and-run attempts.

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Clip Files for June

Chatwood

The Clips’ second 5-0 sweep of Bismarck this year catapulted Applegate to a 13-7 record and a 47-33 mark after 80 games, good for a two-game lead over the Boulder Tree Huggers, who won 13 games themselves. Applegate outscored Bismarck 27-8 in the series after earlier outscoring them 26-4, for a combined 53-12 edge. … At one point during the month the Clips had an 11-game “as-rolled” winning streak, winning the last four games of a series at Dyersville, then sweeping Bismarck, then winning the first two games vs. Tatooine. … In a head-to-head clash with best-record-in-the-league Margaritaville, the clubs split the first four games and dueled into the 12th inning of Game Five, with Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller burning mano-a-mano innings, before a walkoff homer ended it in favor of the Volcanoes. … The Clips have endured 13 extra-inning games, going 5-8. Only West Atlanta (12-6 in 18 games) has played more. … The Clips have climbed to second in the league in ERA, behind just Springfield, at 3.45, as they have held opponents to a .237 batting average and just 70 homers (second-lowest in the league). … No. 5 starter Tyler Chatwood has been the surprise of the pitching staff with a 9-4, 3.28 mark, tying him for second in the league in wins. Ace Kyle Hendricks is 8-2 with a 2.97 ERA, which ranks third-best in ERA. … Bullpen ace Andrew Miller is second in the league in saves at 16. … Josh Donaldson continues to carry the Clips offensively, with 20 homers (tied for fifth in the league), 64 RBIs (third) and 56 runs scored (tied for seventh). … You might say Billy Hamilton’s contributions are “off the charts” as he leads the league in sacrifice hits (36) and stolen bases (27).

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