July 14, 2017

Lake County Captains

There have been a few fun games in recent seasons on July 14th including a double header sweep by the Hillcats in 2016 and a 1-0 Akron win in 12 innings in 2018, but the focus today is on one good performance by one particular player. That’s because on this date in 2017, Brady Aiken threw the only scoreless outing of  at least three innings in his career.

Originally the first overall draft pick in 2014 by the Astros, Aiken became one of the rare first round draft picks that didn’t sign after the Astros became aware of irregularities in his left elbow. The Indians took him the following year in the first round, although he fell to 17th overall. It turned out the Astros were right to be concerned as Aiken had Tommy John surgery earlier in the year and he wouldn’t pitch professionally until 2016. While across his first two appearances, he allowed zero runs while pitching two innings in each, he didn’t  ramp it up to five innings per game until August and, after his first two, didn’t have another scoreless outing until next July.

Brady Aiken22
Aiken makes a start for the AZL Indians during his rookie season in 2016. – Joseph Coblitz, IBI

All of 2017 ended up being really rough for Aiken, but on this day and this day alone, things were different. Starting things off right, Luke Wakamatsu began the top of the first with a one out single against the Peoria Chiefs, then scored on a two out Li-Jen Chu double. Aiken looked a little shaky in the bottom half with a single to begin the inning, but Chu helped him out by catching him stealing second. After two walks, Aiken managed to escape without score.

In the second, Aiken flirted with disaster again, walking one then allowing a double to Dylan Carlson, but Waka snared a line drive and Aiken induced a fly to end the inning again unscathed. Both teams appeared ready to score again in the third as Waka doubled in the top half, but was stranded after a double play, then Aiken allowed two singles in the bottom half and this time Waka turned the double play to end the inning.

Constantly flirting with danger, Aiken allowed a double and Chu a passed ball in the fourth, but again the Chiefs couldn’t score. Aiken gave up two more singles in the fifth, but this time he turned the inning ending double play himself to keep things clean. In the sixth, Aiken finally had his first perfect inning, although this pushed his pitch count to 94, so he was pulled from the game before the seventh. His final line was seven hits and three walks with just two strike outs.

Luke Wakamatsu1
Wakamatsu takes a lead off first during 2016 extended spring training in Goodyear, AZ. – Joseph Coblitz, IBI

In the seventh, the rest of the Captains got around to getting him some run support so he could be sure to add the win to those stats. Logan Ice and Jose Medina singled to start the inning and Conner Capel tripled to bring them both home. Henry Martinez then came into relief and managed to strike out four in two innings without allowing a base runner. After earning the hold, the Captains offense got things going one more time to put things away. This time, Alexis Pantoja and Elvis Perez singled prior to a Mitch Longo three run home run.

To finish things off, Dalbert Siri came in with the six run lead and couldn’t continue Aiken’s juggling act from earlier in this game. After allowing a single, the runner went to second on indifference and took third on a ground ball. Dylan Carlson then doubled him home for the Chiefs’ only run and Siri finished off the 6-1 Captains win.

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