The Akron RubberDucks opened the 2019 slate with a 5-0 loss to the Altoona Curve on Thursday night.
The ‘Ducks were limited to just two hits in a tough start to the season, with 25-year-old second baseman Tyler Krieger accounting for both hits. He was stranded at third after a first inning one-out single, reached safely in the third on an error, struck out in the sixth, and singled in the ninth before being forced out at second.
Opening Day starter Sam Hentges was charged with all five runs scored by the Curve (four of which were earned). The left-hander allowed six hits and walked four while striking out six over four and one-third innings in his first start since being added to Cleveland’s 40-man roster.
The postseason hangover in Cleveland has extended all the way to Arizona for the Indians organization, as the team’s participants on the shared roster of the Glendale Desert Dogs have taken four straight losses to open the Arizona Fall League schedule.
Seven Indians prospects are members of the Desert Dogs club, joining representatives from the Baltimore Orioles, Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, and New York Yankees. Glendale is winless at 0-4 to start the season, which began Tuesday from the desert. They trail the first place Surprise Saguaros by three games in the AFL West Division.
The Indians have sent four pitchers – Justin Garza, Rob Kaminsky, Jared Robinson, and Dalbert Siri – and three position players – Yu Chang, Li-Jen Chu, and Connor Marabell – to Arizona for offseason work. Joining them in Glendale is Double-A Akron pitching coach Rigo Beltran.
Imagine traveling over 8,000 miles away from home for your career. Beyond the distance, you learn a new language, you must become exceptionally proficient at your job, and when the journey began, you were only 18 years old.
This is the odyssey of High-A Lynchburg Hillcats catcher Li-Jen Chu. A native of Taichung, Taiwan, he has been playing baseball as a professional since signing with the Cleveland Indians organization in 2012. Now 24 years old, Chu shows signs that his performance is catching up with his talent.
It was a great week for Li-Jen Chu, as the 24-year-old catcher of the Lynchburg Hillcats was named the Carolina League’s Player of the Week for games played between June 16 and June 22.
Chu’s big week included appearances in six games – four behind the plate and two at designated hitter. In his six starts, he combined to go 12-for-20 (.600) at the plate with two doubles, two homers, and six RBI while drawing five walks to post a .680 on-base percentage. He used a pair of three-hit games and a four-hit effort to tally his extensive hit total, going hitless in just one game during the week.
The Lake County Captains put to bed a five-game losing streak during the week by ripping off three straight wins to take their series against the Great Lakes Loons before starting their homestand against West Michigan with a 4-3 win. …
With a 1-0 victory on Monday night over the Bowling Green Hot Rods from Classic Park in Eastlake, the Lake County Captains pushed their season record back over the .500 mark at 6-5 and pulled within a game of first place in the Midwest League’s Eastern Division.
The current season-high three-game winning streak for the Class-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians has seen some interesting extremes. After winning a 5-2 decision in Lansing on Friday, the club put up 17 runs in a 17-5 victory in the series finale on Saturday before an off day on Sunday. Back home in northeast Ohio for their second homestand of the season, it was a Logan Ice RBI-single through the right side of the infield in the sixth inning that broke the scoreless tie and proved to be the difference in the ball game.
The Captains will not be home for long, as they will hit the road following Wednesday’s third game with the Hot Rods. From there, Lake County will stop for four games at West Michigan and three with Great Lakes before coming back home to wrap up April with four at Classic Park with the Whitecaps.
In other news and notes from the Captains’ log: