The Akron RubberDucks had one of their best weeks of the year this past week, taking down the first-place Bowie Baysox four times, outscoring them 31-19 in six games played. The pitching staff, led by Thomas Ponticelli did an excellent job keeping the Akron offense in each game, as they were within striking distance and had the tying run on base in the final inning in each loss. While there were three blown saves by the bullpen, the overall pitching was very good, holding the second-best offense in terms of runs scored in the Double-A Northeast to a .196 BAA. The staff held former number one overall pick Adely Rutschman to just six hits, all of which were singles, limiting the damage of the highly touted prospect. On the offensive side, the big three of Tyler Freeman, Oscar Gonzalez, and Richard Palacios carried the Akron offense, driving in 11 runs altogether. What was most impressive for the RubberDucks this week was winning three consecutive extra-inning games. After winning back-to-back 12 inning affairs, the team pulled out another win, this time in 10 innings, in the final game of the week to win the series. Extra-innings do play a bit to the Akron strength of a strong bullpen and a solid offense, so this turn of events was not too surprising. The RubberDucks face another strong test this week as they will face the Erie SeaWolves, who they are 4-7 against, and are now reinforced by Dillon Dangler and last year’s first overall pick in the MLB Draft, Spencer Torkelson.
6/15: W 3-2 @ Bowie; W: M. Alvarez (1-0); L: Joyner (3-1); SV: Perez (2)
6/16: L 0-1 @ Bowie; W: Peralta (3-0); L: McCarthy (0-2); SV: Naughton (2)
6/17: L 3-4 @ Bowie; W: Knight (2-0); L: Draper (0-1)
6/18: W 5-1 @ Bowie (12 inn.); W: Perez (3-0); L: Joyner (3-2)
6/19: W 17-9 @ Bowie (12 inn.); W: Clemmer (1-1); L: Klimek (1-2)
6/20: W 3-2 @ Bowie (10 inn.); W: Marman (2-0); L Barreda (0-1); SV: Mikolajchak (5)
Player of the Week
OF/DH Oscar Gonzalez: 9-23, 3 2B, HR, 6 RBI, 1.092 OPS
Oscar Gonzalez continued an excellent season this past week, as he led the team with nine hits and three doubles against the Baysox. Gonzalez did most of his damage this past Saturday, June 19th, in the 17-9, twelve-inning win, when he went 4-6 with two runs scored and four RBI’s. The Dominican native collected all four of his RBIs with a grand slam in the top of the twelfth inning, putting the game out of reach for Bowie. Gonzalez now sits at a tie for sixth in the Double-A Northeast with nine HRs and is ninth in the league in OPS (.903) and batting average (.312).
SS Tyler Freeman: 8-23, 2 2B, 3B, HR, 3 RBI, 1.027 OPS
Tyler Freeman continues to show why he was the top-rated prospect by IBI coming into the season, as he had another tremendous week, recording eight hits, half of which were for extra bases. The fleet-footed infielder finished up the week with an excellent weekend, as he collected six hits in eleven at bats on Saturday and Sunday. Like most of the Akron offense, Saturday was a big day for Freeman as he drove in three runs, scored four times, collected four hits, and homered for the second time this season. Cleveland fans should continue to be excited by the shortstop who is currently fifth in the Double-A Northeast in batting average.
2B/OF Richie Palacios: 7-21, 2 2B, HR, 2 RBI, 3 BB, 1.011 OPS
Richie Palacios had an awesome week for Akron offensively as well, rivaling the play of Freeman and Gonzalez. Bouncing around at the second and third spot in the order, the 5’10” infielder displayed his offensive prowess this week in a bit of a homecoming, as he was able to play very close to Towson University, where he played for three seasons. As most of the team did, Palacios showed out in the Saturday matchup against Bowie, producing three hits, walking twice, scoring twice, and driving in two with a two-run shot in the eleventh inning. Palacios ranks tenth in the entire league in batting average but more impressively is currently third in the Double-A Northeast in on-base percentage.
SP Thomas Ponticelli: 2 GS, 11.1 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 6 BB, 11 K, .158 BAA
Thomas Ponticelli emerged as the de-facto ace for Akron this week with a solid start, followed by the best start from a RubberDuck starter this season. In the series opener, Ponticelli came within two outs of collecting a win, as he went 4.1 IP, allowing only four hits and two earned runs before exiting the game. Ponticelli struggled with his control, walking five batters but was able to limit the damage from the Baysox. On Sunday, the California native and San Francisco alum was nearly unhittable, as he went 7 scoreless innings, allowing only two hits and walking just one. Most impressively, the right-hander struck out a career high eight batters, inducing a lot of swing and miss from the Bowie offense. He presently has the lowest ERA of all Akron starters, sitting at 2.81 in 32 IP.
RP Francisco Perez: 2 G, W, SV, 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K
Francisco Perez was outstanding for the RubberDucks against Bowie, earning him a call up to Triple-A Columbus this past weekend. He began the week by tossing a scoreless ninth in a one run game to pick up the save, walking and striking out one. This past Friday, 6/18, the left-hander turned in one of his best outings of the season. Entering the ninth inning with in a 1-1 tie, Perez fired four consecutive scoreless innings, three of which began with a runner starting on second base, and also struck out six. He allowed only two to reach by way of one hit and one walk in the outing, as he picked up the win to move to 3-0. Despite pitching only 27 innings, the Santo Domingo native is tied for eighth in the Double-A Northeast with 46 strikeouts, which gives him an absurd 15.33 K/9.
RP Zach Draper: 1 G, L, BS, 1.2 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, HR, BB, 2 K
Zach Draper struggled in his only outing of the week, squandering a one-run Akron lead as he allowed three earned runs to the Bowie offense. The first batter the left-hander faced smacked a homerun to tie the game, and after getting out the frame, a walk and a double put two runs in scoring position for Robert Neustrom, who singled to center, giving Bowie the lead. Draper now carries a 7.56 combined ERA on the season with Akron and Columbus in six games of play.
IF Jose Fermin: 2-15, 2 RBI, 2 BB, .369 OPS
Jose Fermin had a tough week in Bowie, only playing in three games. In the first two games, Fermin was given the chance to lead off but could not make anything of it, going hitless in ten at-bats. The Akron infielder was able to finish the week with a 2-5 effort, driving in two runs, but the struggles early in the week really brought down his overall numbers. The Puerto Plata native’s season average fell to .255, but he still holds a strong on-base percentage of .361. A real struggle so far this year has been the lack of any sort of power, as only four of his 26 hits have gone for extra bases, giving him a .304 slugging percentage. After 28 stolen bases in 2019, it also has been very curious that the versatile infielder has only attempted three steals this year and has yet to be successful.
6/22: vs. Erie, 6:35 p.m.
6/23: vs. Erie, 5:00 p.m. DH
6/24: vs. Erie, 6:35 p.m.
6/25: vs. Erie, 7:05 p.m.
6/26: vs. Erie, 7:05 p.m.
6/27: vs. Erie, 2:05 p.m.
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