Thursday’s loss to Hartford dropped the Akron RubberDucks to seven games in back of first place Altoona for the top spot in the Eastern League’s Western Division. At 58-60, things have not been going as well as hoped in Akron in the second half after some significant changes to the roster. With an 8-19 record since hosting the Eastern League’s Midsummer Classic, it is easy to see the time frame that the season got away from the ‘Ducks and there has been little slowing the losing skid down along the way.
August has been no better for the club. The RubberDucks dropped a three-game set in New Hampshire and followed it with losses in two of three in Portland. Returning home, they did find the win column twice in three games against the Yard Goats to win a series and will welcome in the Sea Dogs to Canal Park for three more this weekend before heading on a six-game road trip through Trenton and Bowie.
In other tales from the Rubber City:
ALLEN ADJUSTING NICELY TO AA
Outfielder Greg Allen has made a smooth transition to the Double-A level since his promotion from High-A Lynchburg at the end of July. He has hit safely in 13 of 15 games played, including an eight-game hitting streak from July 29 to August 7.
While the streak came to an end with an 0-for-5 effort against Hartford on Tuesday, Allen bounced back nicely with a 4-for-4 effort on Wednesday against the Yard Goats with a walk to reach base safely in all five trips to the plate. He scored once and ended the day with four singles and stole his third base at the Double-A level.
In his brief stay in Akron, he is hitting .323 with a .391 on-base percentage and has scored 12 runs, including touches of home plate in nine of his last ten games.
MERRYWEATHER’S ONE-HIT EFFORT
Julian Merryweather took a tough no-decision on August 10 against Hartford, but it was not because he did not pitch well enough to earn the win.
Making his ninth start for Akron since his promotion from High-A Lynchburg, Merryweather allowed two runs (one earned) over eight innings, allowing just one hit in the game while striking out eight. The outing marked a season-high in innings pitched for the Carolina League All-Star star, who also equaled a high for pitches thrown while setting a personal best for fewest walks and hits allowed in a start.
The right-hander is now 3-4 with a 4.33 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in nine starts with Akron after starting his season 8-2 in eleven starts for the Hillcats with a 1.03 ERA and 1.02 WHIP prior to his promotion.
RODRIGUEZ HITS THE 20-PLATEAU
Nellie Rodriguez’s home run on Thursday, one of two hits for the slugging first baseman on the night against Hartford, was the 20th of his season. It marks the third straight season that Rodriguez has hit at least 20 homers in a season and puts him just two blasts shy of tying his professional season-high of 22 set in 2014 at Class-A with Lake County.
Rodriguez is hitting .353 over the course of his last ten games, powered by four sets of multi-hit games in that span with hits in six of his last seven starts.
In 111 games this season in his second year at Akron, Rodriguez has a slash of .252/.348/.466 with 25 doubles, 20 homers, and 67 RBI. He has struck out 158 times on the season, by far leading the Eastern League.
BROWN’S RETURN TO AKRON A GOOD ONE
In his first start since being moved back to Akron after a spot start at Triple-A Columbus on August 3, D.J. Brown pitched one of his better outings for the RubberDucks this season.
In seven innings of work at home against Hartford, Brown allowed just one run (on a solo homer) on four hits. He did not issue any free passes, hit one batter, and struck out one while throwing 83 pitches in the game. He earned the win in the start, his sixth W of the season.
KAMINSKY CONTINUES TO IMPROVE
After a rough start to his 2016 season, lefty Rob Kaminsky continues to build upon repeated strong starts in the second half of his season.
On Friday, August 5, he earned the win behind five scoreless innings at Portland, allowing three hits and a pair of walks while striking out five. It was his second consecutive scoreless start and marked the ninth time in ten starts that he had allowed two runs or less in an outing.
HYNES COMES TO AKRON
Former MLB reliever Colt Hynes was assigned to the RubberDucks, shortly after being re-signed by the Indians as a minor league free agent.
After making 16 appearances for Toronto’s Triple-A affiliate in Buffalo and 13 more for the Double-A New Hampshire club, he made one appearance for Cleveland’s Triple-A squad at Columbus, throwing one and one-third innings and giving up two runs on three hits. The 31-year-old was transferred to Akron, where the southpaw reliever has made three appearances and allowed one run on four hits with three strikeouts in three innings of work.
The Indians previously acquired Hynes from San Diego following the 2013 season and later traded him to the Los Angeles Dodgers early in the 2014 season for right-hander Duke von Schamann.
SMITH’S STREAK ENDS
Twenty-six-year-old veteran outfielder Jordan Smith saw his five-game hitting streak come to an end on Wednesday with an 0-for-4 at the plate against Hartford. He was 7-for-21 (.333) in the stretch with a homer and six RBI.
In 76 games for the RubberDucks this season, he is hitting .247 with 20 doubles, three triples, four homers, and 32 RBI.
Eric Stamets returned to the club after his long stay at Columbus on Monday. He joined the Clippers on July 14 to replace Erik Gonzalez at Triple-A and hit .164 in 22 games for the Clippers with a triple, a homer, seven runs scored, and nine runs batted in.
Photo: David Monseur/MILB.com