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 ‘Ducks will continue their five-game series in Binghamton over the weekend with a doubleheader on Saturday to make up for a rainout on May 1. They will return home to Canal Park in Akron on Monday for a short three-game series against Richmond before getting right back out on the road for series in Hartford and Altoona.
In other tales from the RubberDucks organization:
THE WALKING WOUNDED
The ‘Ducks will miss the bats of Allen and Mejia from their lineup during their 7-day disabled list stints.
Allen has appeared in 26 games this season, putting up a .267/.362/.356 slash with five doubles, a homer, and ten RBI. He is a perfect 9-for-9 on the base paths. He had been out of the lineup since appearing in both games of last Sunday’s doubleheader with Altoona. He hit his first homer of the season in the first game and was removed after grounding out to short in the first inning of the second game with what was described at the time as a right wrist sprain.
Just two days later, he underwent hamate surgery on his right hand. He is expected to miss anywhere from four to six weeks of action.
The switch-hitting Mejia had played in 21 contests before his trip to the DL. He had hit .293 with a .333 on-base percentage and .451 slugging with eight doubles, a triple, one homer, and eight RBI on the season. He had not played since going 2-for-3 with a double and a walk against Trenton on May 8.
His trip to the disabled list is due to groin soreness.
Thomas Pannone has made the most of his starts this season down on the farm. He did not allow an earned run in his first five starts with the High-A Lynchburg Hillcats, earning him a promotion to the Double-A level for the first time in his professional career. His numbers also earned him the Carolina League’s Pitcher of the Month award for April.
The 23-year-old left-hander extended that scoreless streak to 33 1/3 innings this season and 51 1/3 innings overall dating back to his final appearances of last season with five and two-thirds innings of shutout ball in his Akron debut on May 8 against the Trenton Thunder. He walked a season-high three batters, but allowed just three hits and struck out six in the no-decision.
He is now 2-0 combined on the season between Lynchburg and Akron with a 0.00 ERA and a 0.69 WHIP with 45 strikeouts, 10 walks, and 13 hits allowed in those 33 1/3 innings.
Make it nine straight games with a hit for outfielder Mike Papi, who extended his long stretch of success at the plate with a pair of singles in Friday’s win in Binghamton.
The 24-year-old outfielder in his second season with the ‘Ducks, was coming off a solid five-game stretch at the plate and has now hit safely in 14 of his last 15 games. He is 12-for-31 (.387) in his most recent hitting streak with three doubles, three runs batted in, and a pair of stolen bases. The streak has included three two-hit games for Akron. He had pushed his batting average from .275 to .310.
Tyler Krieger will carry another lengthy hitting streak into play on Saturday afternoon as he has reached safely with a base knock in six straight games and with a hit or a walk in eight straight for the Captains in the last night days.
The second baseman ended a season-long tying 0-for-9 stretch by getting one hit over the last six days. He had singles on May 7 and May 8, driving in a run in the first game of the series with Trenton on Monday. He doubled in the middle game and hit a solo homer in the series final on Wednesday. He singled and stole two bases but struck out twice in Binghamton on Thursday before hitting his second homer in three days on Friday.
Krieger, in his first season at Double-A, is hitting .265 with a .342 OBP, nine doubles, three homers, ten RBI, and eight stolen bases in as many attempts.
Eric Stamets has hits in all seven games that he has played in the month of May. It has pushed the struggling infielder’s average from .063 to .289 with his 10-for-22 (.455) effort in those games with three doubles and a triple.
BIG K DAY FOR MERRYWEATHER
Right-hander Julian Merryweather’s good start to the 2017 season, which has included a Pitcher of the Week honor from the Eastern League on April 30, continued on Friday when he struck out ten Rumble Ponies batters over six scoreless innings of two-hit baseball to earn his third win of the season.
The fifth rounder in the 2014 draft has now made four quality starts for Akron with a 3-2 record, a 2.89 ERA, and a 0.94 WHIP with 40 strikeouts and eight walks in 37 1/3 innings of work. He is now 2-0 against Binghamton with one run allowed on five hits and two walks with 16 strikeouts in 12 2/3 innings of work.
PASQUALE ALLOWS JUST ONE HIT
Right-hander Nick Pasquale made his best start of the season on Wednesday in his sixth nod for Akron this season. Starting the series finale with Trenton, he limited the Thunder to just one run on one hit over seven innings for his second straight quality start and third of the season. He matched a season-high with four walks, but kept the Yankees farm club from putting up much else while earning his second win of the season.
Akron received some reinforcements on Friday in a slew of transactions.
While Allen and Mejia both landed on the disabled list, left-handed starter Luis Lugo was placed on the temporarily inactive list by the organization, one day after allowing just one hit in six innings in a victory over the Rumble Ponies on Thursday. He walked a season-high five batters in earning his second win with the RubberDucks.
The ‘Ducks also activated outfielder Luigi Rodriguez from the 7-day disabled list. He made his debut on Friday, going 0-for-3. He appeared in 42 games for the RubberDucks last season, hitting .222 with five doubles, two triples, three homers, and 18 RBI in his first season of work at the Double-A level. He also saw 24 games of action at High-A Lynchburg, hitting .330 there.
Two players moved up from lower levels of the farm system to help fill out the roster as right-handed pitcher Argenis Angulo was tranfsferred from High-A Lynchburg and catcher/first baseman Juan De La Cruz continued to bounce all around the minor league ranks with his placement in Akron from Class-A Lake County.
Angulo spent a pair of games with the ‘Ducks last season and was off to a good start with the Hillcats this season. In eleven games there, he was 1-0 with three saves in five opportunities and posted a 1.50 ERA in 12 innings. De La Cruz has spent time with Lynchburg and Lake County so far this season, hitting a combined .250 between the two stops. The switch-hitter has appeared in a pair of games for the Hillcats and eight for the Captains.
Photo: David Monseur/Akron RubberDucks/MiLB.com