The Columbus Clippers (Cleveland's Triple-A affiliate) were 3-0 winners Saturday night over the Indianapolis Indians in the deciding game of the Governor's Cup Finals, becoming International League champions for the third time in six years (having previously won in 2010 an 2011).
Starting pitcher Mike Clevinger, making only the second Triple-A appearance of his young career, was the star of the night, throwing 7.2 shutout innings, with seven strikeouts. Clevinger, a 24-year-old righty, had a great season with Double-A Akron, posting a 2.73 ERA and 1.06 WHIP in 158 innings for the RubberDucks, before being promoted to the Clippers for the postseason. He also tossed 7.2 shutout frames in his other appearance with the Clippers (last Monday), striking out ten and not allowing a single hit, so it's fair to say his early Triple-A returns have been impressive.
Said Clevinger after the game: "I felt like everything was working tonight. Changeup was definitely clutch. That was my big pitch tonight, the changeup."
He'll likely begin next season with the Clippers, but could also be given the opportunity to compete for the #5 spot in the Tribe's rotation.
After C.C. Lee retired the final batter of the 8th, Carlos Marmol, a former MLB All-Star whose career was derailed by control problems, pitched a scoreless 9th inning to lock down the championship. Adam Moore singled in a run in the 1st, and doubled in a run in the 4th. Erik Gonzalez capped the scoring with a solo home run in the 5th. Michael Choice was named series MVP, after going 9 for 14 with 3 home runs during the five games.
While the International League crown is a major accomplishment, Columbus' season isn't through yet. The IL is not the only Triple-A league, and on Tuesday in El Paso, Texas the Clippers will face the winner of the Pacific Coast League in the Triple-A National Championship Game. Their opponent will be determined Sunday afternoon, by Game 5 of the PCL Finals between the Round Rock Express (Rangers) and Fresno Grizzlies (Astros).