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Top prospects struggle in rough day for Indians farm teams

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Cleveland Indians minor league recap for April 24, 2017.

Columbus Clippers 4, Buffalo Bisons 5

Box Score · Clippers fall to 7-10

Despite a late-inning rally led by a Richie Shaffer two-run home run, the Columbus Clippers left the weekend with their heads down and a sweep at the hands of the Buffalo Bisons.

Shaffer’s seventh-inning bomb was his third of the season, tied for third-most in the International League entering play Monday. Tyler Naquin had a huge day for the Clippers, one day before he turned 26 years old. He was 3-for-4 on the day with a solo home run in the eighth inning that tied the game.

Top prospect Bradley Zimmer’s slow start continued with an 0-for-3 day yesterday. In his last 10 games, he’s 8-for-39 with 16 strikeouts and just four walks. While his 29.4 percent strikeout rate is technically lower than the 37.3 percent of strikeouts he had last season, it’s still not where the Indians probably want it to be before he debuts later this year.

On the mound for the Clippers, Ryan Merritt lasted just four innings while giving up four earned runs and striking out two. Merritt allowed three home runs yesterday for the fourth time in his MiLB career and the first time since last September.

Akron RubberDucks 6, Altoona Curve 1

Box Score · RubberDucks improve to 7-9

Close your eyes for a minute and picture a team that finished with three hits and struck out 15 times. And keep in mind that the opposing team did not commit any errors in the box score. How many runs do you imagine them scoring? Zero? One, maybe two? How about six? That’s what the Akron RubberDucks did yesterday in their bizarre win over the Altoona Curve.

For eight-and-a-half innings, the RubberDucks had the same struggles they’ve had all season, offensively. But a five-run fourth inning, which included a grand slam off the bat of Eric Haase, was all they needed with Travis Banwart dominating on the mound.

Haase’s grand salami was made possible by a walk from Tyler Krieger, double from Yu-Cheng Chang and then back-to-back walks from Mike Papi and Dorssys Paulino.

Bobby Bradley accounted for a fourth of Akron’s 16 strikeouts, with a golden sombrero: four at-bats, four strikeouts. Bradley is currently second in the Eastern League with 21 strikeouts. The only player to strikeout more is his teammate, Yu-Cheng Chang.

Lynchburg Hillcats 3, Potomac Patriots 4

Box Score · Hillcats fall to 8-8

Matt Esparza’s fabulous five-inning, nine-strikeout effort was wasted by a shaky bullpen yesterday as the Lynchburg Hillcats fell 3-4 to the Potomac Patriots.

Martin Cevernka attempted to add some offense with three hits, as did Jodd Carter with his two hits and a walk. Unfortunately, no one else got the memo. The top-third of the lineup — Sam Haggerty, Ka’ai Tom, and Sicnarf Loopstok — were a combined 0-for-16 on the day. As a team, the Hillcats stranded seven baserunners.

Lake County Captains 2, West Michigan Whitecaps 5

Box Score · Captains fall to 8-8

Luke Wakamatsu probably needed a game like this. The 20-year-old infielder had a rough start to 2017, going 6-for-42 in his first 12 games. Yesterday he added two more hits and scored one of the Lake County Captains’ two runs.

As a team, the Captains offense struck out 15 times and were 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position.

Aaron Civale, on the other hand, had his first bad outing of the year, allowing five earned runs in seven innings.