The Akron RubberDucks roster received a big blow this week when the club placed outfielder Greg Allen and catcher Francisco Mejia on the 7-day disabled list with injuries. The moves will deprive the Akron lineup of a pair of its two more exciting players to watch.
The RubberDucks sat in the middle of the Eastern League Western Division pack heading into action on Saturday, winners of three straight to post a 15-17 record on the year, five games in back of the first place Altoona Curve while sitting in the fourth spot in the division.
The Akron RubberDucks are the 2016 Eastern League champions after sweeping the Trenton Thunder for a third straight game on Friday, claiming a 2-1 victory on the road to bring home the title.
The RubberDucks had one-out walks in the first two innings off of Sheffield, but could not score. A third walk on the night, this one leading off by Ivan Castillo, had much better results for Akron. Greg Allen bunted him over to second on a sacrifice and Castillo moved to third on a single by Eric Stamets. Jordan Smith put the ‘Ducks on the board with an RBI grounder to short, scoring Castillo to make it 1-0. With another runner standing at third and two outs, Nellie Rodriguez struck out looking to end the threat.
Eric Haase’s one-out RBI-single in the tenth inning ended a dominating pitching performance by both Akron and Altoona as the RubberDucks defeated the Curve 1-0 to win the Eastern League Western Division Championship on Sunday night.
An incredible pitcher’s duel between Altoona’s Brandon Waddell and Akron’s Nick Pasquale took place on the mound in Akron as the pitchers matched pitch for pitch, out for out, with the RubberDucks’ righty coming away with the slightly longer outing in the impressive display from both young arms.
The Columbus Clippers have continued to play good baseball in the second half of their season to hold on to a four-game lead in the International League’s West Division as teams enter the weekend. At 55-46, the Clippers hold that lead over the Indianapolis Indians and a four and a half game lead over the third place Louisville Bats.
With Friday’s win over the PawSox, the Clippers have taken the first two of their four-game set with Pawtucket this weekend. Since their All-Star break, the Clippers have taken three of four in Toledo from the Mud Hens before dropping two of three to Louisville earlier in the week. The Clippers’ seven-game homestand will come to an end after Sunday afternoon’s game before the club hits the road for six straight road games in Norfolk and Charlotte starting Tuesday to wrap up the month of July.
In other Clipnotes from the state capital:
On the third day of May, Nick Pasquale was assigned to the High-A Lynchburg Hillcats. That day would be the first of three games cancelled over the next week as heavy rains swept through the Central Virginia area. This forced a doubleheader against the Carolina Mudcats and the loss of an off day in order to make up a game against division rival Potomac.
More importantly, it would produce an opportunity for Pasquale to move out of the bullpen and get an opportunity as a starting pitcher.
A tough 2-1 loss to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans in a battle of All-Star pitchers at City Stadium in Lynchburg ended the Hillcats’ five-game home winning streak, but kept them in prime position to capture the Carolina League North Division first half crown. Their magic number to clinch dropped to just one as the Potomac Nationals were shut out in both games of their doubleheader on Saturday.
Lynchburg fell to 6-4 in the month, following each loss with a pair of wins, so the odds may be in their favor heading into their series finale against Myrtle Beach on Sunday afternoon. They took the first two games on Thursday and Friday before Saturday’s narrow defeat. Despite the results, the club has already eliminated Wilmington, with both Frederick (31-31) and Potomac (30-30) in second place, eight and a half games behind Lynchburg and just one loss or Hillcats win away from their own elimination.
After Sunday’s contest, the Hillcats will host the Carolina Mudcats for three straight before heading to Frederick for four with the Keys to close out the first half.
In other Hillcats chatter:
The Hillcats (35-20) have cooled off some after their hot start, but they are still staying on top of things in the Carolina League, sitting in first place with a five-game lead in the Northern Division over the Potomac Nationals. They have the second-best record in the Carolina League, trailing only Salem’s 37-19 start.
Last weekend, they wrapped up a split against Salem, a team that has had their number this season. They finally had their lone scheduled off-day of May on the 31st before jumping back on the road for three against Wilmington. The trip was successful as the Hillcats took two of three, but another series with those pesky Red Sox has started this weekend.
The Sox took game one in Salem on Saturday on a bizarre and lucky walk-off. The series moves back to Lynchburg for Sunday and Monday before the clubs head back to Salem to wrap up the unique four-gamer on Tuesday night. Lynchburg will then return home, playing four games at the end of the week against Myrtle Beach and three at the beginning of next week against Carolina as the All-Star break is just over two weeks away.
In other Hillcats chatter from Virginia:
The season did not start well for the Nick Pasquale or the Carolina Mudcats. As a pitcher with losses with a 1-6 record hurling for a team with one of the worst marks in minor league baseball, the struggles of …