The first place Akron RubberDucks are getting a much deserved day off on Thursday after completing a stretch of 20 straight scheduled games. Only a rainout on Wednesday, May 4, provided the club with a temporary break in the nearly three week span.
Even with the heavy schedule, the RubberDucks have not stopped their winning ways, carrying a strong first month of the season (14-8 record) into May. They have gone 14-3 this month, losing both Friday games on the road and the series finale this week in Hartford against the Yard Goats.
Prior to Thursday’s games around the league, Akron was in first place in the Eastern League’s Western Division with a 28-11 record, tops among all Double-A teams. They hold a six-game lead over the second place Altoona Curve (Philadelphia affiliate). Their mark is good for both the most wins (28) and the best winning percentage (.718) in Double-A, and their lead in the division is best across the Eastern, Southern, and Texas Leagues.
In other RubberDucks news and notes…
MORIMANDO MAKING WAVES
Left-hander Shawn Morimando (7-0, 1.69 ERA) continued his perfect start to his season with his seventh win of the year on Sunday. In Harrisburg, the 23-year-old threw six and two-thirds innings of scoreless baseball, giving up four hits and issuing four walks while striking out five. It was his fifth quality start of the season and his third in a row.
He has allowed no more than two earned runs in any of his eight starts this year and has thrown as many as eight innings on the mound. His seven wins lead the Eastern League.
PLUTKO PERFECT IN MAY
Right-hander Adam Plutko (3-2, 2.35) has tossed back-to-back gems for the RubberDucks.
Last Thursday, he limited the Harrisburg Senators to a walk and two hits over six scoreless innings in notching his second win of the season. He followed it up with another scoreless effort on Tuesday, throwing seven innings of five-hit ball, giving up no walks and striking out seven.
Plutko has allowed no more than six hits and two walks in any one game this season. He has made four quality starts for Akron this season. He is 2-0 in May with a 0.76 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, and has limited opponents to a .212 batting average. He has logged 15 straight scoreless innings for the ‘Ducks.
CAN’T KEEP FRAZIER OFF BASES
Top prospect Clint Frazier is having a hard time staying off of the bases for the RubberDucks so far in May.
The 21-year-old has reached base safely via hit or walk in 14 consecutive games and 16 of 17 games in the month. He has hits in each of his last four games and seven straight before that. His batting average has climbed from .258 on May 1 to .300 at day’s end on Wednesday.
In 37 games this season, he has a .384 on-base percentage, 14 doubles, one triple, five homers, and 19 RBI while scoring 35 runs. His hits, doubles, and run production are the top marks in the Eastern League, while his OBP is good for seventh overall.
The RubberDucks have several players exhibiting good patience at the plate this season.
Yandy Diaz, who was recently promoted to Triple-A Columbus with the injury to Giovanny Urshela, remains third in the Eastern League with 24 walks. Outfielder Bradley Zimmer has tied him, and Frazier is just on their tails with 21 free passes this season. First baseman Nellie Rodriguez is not too far behind the trio; he has 18 walks on the year.
Struggling right-handed reliever Antonio Romero has been transferred to High-A Lynchburg. The 25-year-old Cuban native had allowed runs in seven straight appearances and nine of 12 on the season.
Joining the RubberDucks in his place will be righty Cole Sulser from the Hillcats. The 26-year-old right-hander was a 25th round pick by the Indians in 2013. He is 1-1 on the year in 12 outings with a 4.12 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, and a pair of saves.
Photo: Tim Phillis/TCP Photography