Mejia Streaking, Chang’s Good Start, and More In this Week’s ‘Duck Tales

It has been a tough start in the Rubber City for the Akron RubberDucks, even after receiving two professional bats in the rehabbing Lonnie Chisenhall and Jason Kipnis in the early going.

Weather played some havoc in the opening week of the season, forcing an early doubleheader. They won the first game of the double dip on April 9 and won the next day in the opener against the Trenton Thunder, but have struggled to find the win column since, dropping the final two against Trenton before hitting the road for three in Altoona. The first road trip of the season has started off on the wrong foot, as the club has lost one-run decisions in each of the first two games of the three-game set with the Curve.

The RubberDucks will finish their stay in Altoona on Saturday before taking Sunday off. They will play three in Reading against the Fightin Phils before coming home to host Altoona for three next Friday and Binghamton for three more before closing out April on the road.

In other news and notes from Canal Park:

KID STREAK

Francisco Mejia, the 21-year-old catching prospect, has shown no adjustment period is needed as he begins the Double-A portion of his professional career after splitting last season with the Class-A Lake County Captains and the High-A Lynchburg Hillcats.

After garnering plenty of deserved attention last season while putting together a 50-game hitting streak, he is off to a hot start with Akron. He has hits in all seven games that he has played this season, putting together a .440/.483/.720 line at the plate with seven doubles and five RBI. He has four multi-hit games during the streak and has doubled in four straight games.

CHANG’S BIG DEBUT

Shortstop Yu-Cheng Chang, one of the new faces in Akron for the 2017 season, got his Double-A career off to a hot start on a chilly season and home opening night in Akron on April 6. He doubled in the third inning for his first hit at the level and drilled a three-run homer in the eighth inning to give him five RBI in his first game with the ‘Ducks. He would homer in the club’s next game on April 8 after the Friday postponement to break up a no-hit bid in the fifth inning by the Bowie starter John Means.

As if two homers in his first two games was not impressive enough, Chang did it again in game one of a Sunday doubleheader, going deep in a 7-6 win over the Baysox.

Chang would come up big again on Thursday night as he tripled to right field in the sixth inning in the opener against the Curve from Altoona to tie the game at 2-2, one the club eventually lost late, 3-2.

LUGO WINS DEBUT

Luis Lugo made his first Double-A start against Trenton following his promotion to the ‘Ducks roster for the start of the season. The left-hander had spent the previous two seasons at the High-A level with the Hillcats.

Lugo worked five and two-thirds innings of two-run baseball, giving up four hits while striking out four. His line could have been a little bit worse as he got the hook with two on and two out in the sixth, but D.J. Brown worked out of the jam with a fly out and pitched three more innings after, giving up a run in the ninth before finishing up the game for his first save of the season.

BRADLEY HITS FIRST BOMB

After going hitless in his first three regular season games with the ‘Ducks, first base prospect Bobby Bradley notched a multi-hit game in game two of the Sunday doubleheader while driving in his first run of the season.

He contributed to the offense again in the opener with Trenton on Monday, hitting his first Double-A home run, but has not notched another hit since, with his season average falling to .107.

MERRYWEATHER BETTER IN ROUND TWO

After a rough opening day start, Julian Merryweather had a much better outing in game number two of the season for the 25-year-old right-hander.

Making the start in the second game of the series against the Thunder, Merryweather threw five shutout innings with five hits allowed and eight strikeouts on the night. He was in line to earn his first win of the campaign, but a four-run ninth inning by Trenton off of the Akron bullpen, aided by an error by Chang, spoiled the start for Merryweather and the win for the RubberDucks as they fell 6-4.

Photo: David Monseur/MiLB.com

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