After winning 17 straight games at their Canal Park home, the Akron RubberDucks have suddenly come back down to earth at home after splitting a series last weekend with the Harrisburg Senators. Akron won the first two, but the club dropped the last two before taking its series opener against Altoona to end the month of May on a positive note. The RubberDucks lost their third game in four days with a 2-0 shutout on Wednesday in the middle game of their three-game set with the Curve.
The RubberDucks (36-16) will play 30 games over the next 30 days, with off days on June 6 and June 20, but a pair of doubleheaders on June 5 and June 25. Their schedule is split perfectly, with 15 games in Akron and 15 on the road. They remain the top club in the Eastern League’s Western Division, six and a half games in front of Altoona in the division prior to Thursday’s action and have a 20-5 record at home this season.
In other RubberDucks news and notes…
Baseball makes its return to Akron on Thursday as the last of the full season minor league affiliates of the Cleveland Indians finally opens the home portion of its schedule.
The RubberDucks will host the Bowie BaySox, the Double-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles, for four games beginning Thursday night at 6:35 PM ET. Gates open at 5 PM.
The RubberDucks are off to a quick start after sweeping the BaySox in their home opening series before taking two of three versus the Altoona Curve, dropping a 9-5 decision on Wednesday. The young lineup for the 5-1 club features several notable top prospect names, including pitcher Rob Kaminsky and position players Bradley Zimmer, Clint Frazier, and Nellie Rodriguez, and turned a triple play in Tuesday night’s win over the Curve.
If that isn’t enough to get you out to the ballpark, Indians one-time All-Star Michael Brantley will continue his rehab assignment with the RubberDucks on Thursday night.
It’s not every day that someone shows up late to a baseball game, and ends up creating one of the greatest moments in their career. For Bryson Myles, that day was August 25, 2015.
Myles didn’t show up to the Double-A Akron RubberDucks game when they were facing the Trenton Thunder until 6:20 for a 7:05 game. He went on later that night to hit for the cycle for the first time in his career.
Last season, we saw a lot of changes come to Canal Park. A rebranding of the team name, renovations throughout the park, and haul of new prospects ready to give their all in effort to someday make their way to The Show. After a hot start to the season, the RubberDucks hit some bumps along the way due to injuries to key players, player promotions, and some end of the season fatigue. They still worked their way into the Eastern League playoffs, but were eventually eliminated in the first round, despite their best efforts. Now in their second season as the RubberDucks, returning manager David Wallace looks to continue to compete with a lineup that seems just as deep as it has been in years past.
To start off the season in 2014, there were plenty of household named prospects like Francisco Lindor, Giovanny Urshela, Joey Wendle, and Tyler Naquin. While Naquin is returning this year, starting on the disabled list, the rest of the players listed have either been promoted, or traded to another team. The squad coming into this season is full of guys that many casual baseball fans may not have ever heard of before. Players like Todd Hankins, Bryson Myles, Erik Gonzalez, or Anthony Gallas.
“They might not be as well known outside the organization, but to us they’re right up there…When I’m making out the lineup, and it’s laughable who I’m putting down in the 7-8-9 hole. We’ve got [Tony] Wolters, Myles and [Alex] Lavisky tonight who could be middle of the order guys. It’s a real balanced lineup, but we feel like we could be a threat to score in any inning, with any outs.” Wallace said following Thursday night’s victory against the Binghamton Mets.
While the Indians have four more weeks to chase their playoff spot, the minor league regular season came to a close yesterday and the Tribe has three teams qualifying for postseason. After a disappointing 2013, where no Indians farm team qualified for postseason, getting three teams into the playoffs is a vast improvement. All three teams will begin the playoff journeys on Wednesday evening.
The Columbus Clippers will begin their pursuit of the Governor’s Cup in the International League’s Triple-A playoffs on Wednesday night at Huntington Park at 7:05 p.m. Winners of the Western Division, Columbus enters the five game series against the Durham Bulls with the lesser record. Columbus will host the first two games on Wednesday and Thursday, before playing the final three necessary games in Durham on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The Akron RubberDucks have certainly gone through their trials and tribulations this season. After starting off the year being one of the best teams in the Eastern League Western Division, they’ve seen their record drop and have had a hard time putting any type of win streak together to try and fight their way back.
They’ve seen their top three offensive producers in Francisco Lindor, Tyler Naquin, and Joe Wendle either leave from an injury or promotion. They’ve also gained players who have taken advantage of their extra playing time in Anthony Gallas and Erik Gonzalez. There’s one guy though that the RubberDucks are certainly excited to have back in Akron, outfielder Bryson Myles.
With the All-Star break closing in this week, it’s time to take a moment to look over what has been nothing less than an awesome first half for the Akron RubberDucks. After changing the name from the Akron Aeros to the RubberDucks prior to this season, owner Ken Babby along with manager Dave Wallace were looking to bring some new life to this Akron team. Aside from all the new renovations that had been added to Canal Park, a team full of young competitors were experiencing their first time in Double-A baseball.
Going into this season, a good portion of the team had never played a game in Double-A baseball as they had spent their previous season with High-A Carolina. These players included Indians top prospect Francisco Lindor, converted catcher Tony Wolters, second basemen Joe Wendle, and outfielders Jordan Smith and Bryson Myles. Along with them came a plethora of fresh pitchers including Joseph Colon, Will Roberts, Gabriel Arias, and Duke von Schamann. Von Schammann did not start the season with the Indians organization, but was received from the Los Angeles Dodgers as part of the Colt Hynes trade. These guys joined the team along with some more promising players who had already spent some time up here including Tyler Naquin, Tyler Holt, Shawn Armstrong, Ronny Rodriguez, and Cody Anderson.
The Columbus Clippers will be represented by two players this year at the 2014 Triple-A All-Star Game. Both first baseman Jesus Aguilar and catcher Roberto Perez were selected to be on the International League roster, and will be taking on …
Three days, that’s all it took for the RubberDucks to lose arguably their three best players.
Wednesday June 25, Indians top prospect and current RubberDuck shortstop Francisco Lindor took a bad hop on the infield directly to his face and suffered a small non-displaced nasal fracture. The good news on Lindor is he should only be out for 7-10 days. Thursday June 26, second baseman Joe Wendle, suffered a right hamate fracture which will most likely require surgery and is a couple month process to return. The hamate bone is a small bone located in the wrist and it is usually fractured while a player is hitting. Friday June 27, Tyler Naquin, the top outfield prospect in the Indians farm system, was hit-by-pitch fracturing his right hand.
To say that Akron RubberDucks centerfielder Tyler Naquin has been hot at the plate lately would be an understatement. Scorching, sizzling, scalding, searing might be a better way to describe his bat of late. Naquin the Indians first pick from the 2012 MLB First Year Player Draft hit .485 for the week with 16 hits in 33 at bats. Naquin scored eight runs, added a double, triple, two homeruns, four runs batted in and two stolen bases. Naquin is currently on a 15-game hitting streak, which he has maintained an unbelievable .453 average with 29 hits in 64 at bats.
Naquin’s hot hitting started before the 15-game streak, however. In his last 48 games Naquin has amassed 72 hits, leading to a .365 batting average while scoring 44 runs and adding 12 stolen bases as the leadoff hitter in the RubberDucks lineup. Interesting enough it took the first 16 games of the season for Naquin’s bat to get started. In his first 16 games he hit only .200 with 22 strikeouts, leading some to wonder if Naquin was indeed ready for the jump to Double-A to start the year. Naquin, sporting a robust .327 average on the season, has put that talk to rest and then some.
Being a threat offensively can come in many varieties.
Whether it’s hitting for contact, being a threat on the base paths, or hitting a ball as far as it can go. When a player can produce one of these tools, then that really makes them an offensive threat. There are players though that can cover all these tools and do so effectively. Bryson Myles is one of those players.
It was an up and down week throughout the Indians minor league system, but the biggest “up,” may have been the promotion of outfielder Clint Frazier to the Lake County Captains. Frazier made his debut Thursday evening. Frazier was the Cleveland Indians 2013 first round draft pick and the fifth pick overall. Frazier was the 2013 National Gatorade High School Player of the Year.
Before Frazier made his debut Thursday evening, the Tribe’s minor league affiliates had lots of action this past week.
The Triple-A Columbus Clippers began the week with a 1-5 record sitting in last place in the International West Division. Columbus was on the road for all eight games between April 10th and 17th. During this period the Clippers went 4-2 with two games at Indianapolis postponed due to inclement weather. The Clippers started the week losing two out of three games to the Louisville Bats. Columbus went on to win three straight road games versus the Indianapolis Indians and the Toledo Mud Hens. The Clippers have moved out of last place and currently sport a 5-7 record. At 23-years old and standing at 6’3 250 lbs. Jesus Aguilar is certainly an imposing figure. Aguilar imposed his will in his first 10 games of the season being named the Cleveland Indians minor league player of the week during this time. Aguilar hit .417 with four doubles, three home runs and eight runs batted in.