The Akron RubberDucks (59-36) struggled a bit against the last-place Harrisburg Senators (36-59) this week at Canal Park, as the ‘Ducks were only able to tie the six-game series at three wins apiece. Akron suffered a one-run loss in both the series opening and closing games, with both times a member of the RubberDucks bullpen getting charged with a blown save. Cleveland’s AA-affiliate still has a 1.5-game advantage over the Bowie BaySox (57-37) at the top of the league table, with a big series coming up against the Somerset Patriots (55-39), who currently hold the final playoff spot in the AA-Northeast.
In five of six games, Akron was held to four or fewer runs offensively. Just one week after being near the top of the league in homeruns for the week, the RubberDucks had a league-low three balls leave the yard this week. Part of this can be attributed to the mid-week call up of Will Benson, who was the clubhouse leader with 14 homeruns in 2021. But Akron will now have the benefit of George Valera patrolling the outfield and bringing his bat to the middle of the lineup starting tonight.
The ‘Ducks started the week 0-2 with a combined four runs and a combined nine hits, but exploded in an 11-2 victory on Thursday. That game sparked a modest three-game winning streak, but the team dropped the series finale where Indians pitcher Aaron Civale made a rehab appearance. Civale threw two innings of no-hit baseball, but walked two. He was able to strikeout two batters to end the first inning and got out of the frame with a runner stranded in scoring position.
8/17: L 4-3 vs Harrisburg (F/7 – rain delay); W: Carson Teel (2-5) L: Skylar Arias (7-2) S: Andrew Lee (1)
8/18: L 7-1 vs Harrisburg; W: Jackson Tetriault (3-1) L: Juan Hillman (10-3)
8/19: W 11-2 vs Harrisburg; W: Logan Allen (2-0) L: Tim Cate (2-8)
8/20: W 4-2 vs Harrisburg; W: Peyton Battenfield (1-0) L: Gerardo Carrillo (0-1) S: Tanner Tully (1)
8/21: W 2-1 vs Harrisburg; W: Adam Scott (2-2) L: Seth Romero (0-2) S: Nick Mikolajchak (8)
8/22: L 2-1 vs Harrisburg (F/10); W: Andrew Lee (3-5) L: Thomas Ponticelli (5-4) S: Bryan Dobzanski (1)
Player of the Week
RHP Peyton Battenfield: 1-0, 1 GS, 6.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 7 Ks, .100 BAA
Battenfield picked up his first win as a member of the Indians organization on Friday after a masterful six-inning performance. The Oklahoma native had been in a position to get the win in both of his previous starts, and the bullpen was able to hang on in the 4-2 victory. The game started with two first inning strikeouts, but a leadoff double in the second resulted in a run later in the inning. Following an RBI single by Gage Canning, Battenfield retired 10 in a row as he rolled through the middle innings. The former Rays prospect is taking nicely to being in northeast Ohio thus far, look for him to continue his climb towards the big leagues.
RHP Nick Mikolajchak: 2 G, 2.0 IP, 1 SV, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 Ks
Mikolajchak got some extra work in a blow out game Thursday, but retired the Senators 1-2-3 in the ninth with two strikeouts, both of which came without a swing. The Sam Houston State alum preserved a 2-1 victory on Saturday, allowing just a single baserunner. Mikolajchak worked around a hit by recording a strikeout, flyout and popout to secure the save. After getting touched up a little in the middle of the summer, Mikolajchak seems to be hitting his stride once again by converting the save opportunity.
LHP Adam Scott: 1-0, 1 GS, 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 7 Ks
The southpaw Adam Scott had a quality start Saturday en route to a second consecutive win as an Akron player. Through eight starts, Scott has thrown 34.1 innings and struck out 42. Scott nearly went through the order in his start without allowing a baserunner, but a solo homerun allowed Harrisburg to tie the game in the fourth. Scott scattered a few more hits and one got away from him for a hit by pitch, but aside from a few pitches, Scott has been very impressive in the month of August.
CF Will Brennan: 7-20 (.350), 4 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBIs, 1 BB, .959 OPS
Brennan joined the Akron roster at the beginning of the month, and has taken to AA pitching nicely. The former Kansas State Wildcat recorded a hit in five of the six games he competed in, highlighted by a 3-for-5 outing in the 11-2 thrashing of the Senators. Brennan was just a triple away from hitting for the cycle on Thursday on a night where the ‘Ducks recorded 11 team extra base hits. After Will Benson was promoted to Columbus, Brennan took over the role of the Akron lead-off hitter from Thursday on, so we’ll see how he continues to transition in that role.
CF Steven Kwan: 6-19 (.316), 1 R, 1 RBI, 5 BBs, 2 SBs
Kwan was riding a seven-game hitting streak before it was broken in Sunday’s game, however he reached base twice via the walk and stole a base. Nonetheless, Kwan has been a staple in the Akron lineup and continued to produce at a high level. He is hitting .347 in the month of August and is showing a little bit of pop with three homeruns and six on the season, more than any other year in his professional career.
LF Chris Roller: 4-8 (.500), 2 R, 2 2Bs, 1 3B, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1.556 OPS
Despite playing in just three games after coming off the injured list, the bat of Roller hasn’t missed a beat in the two weeks he was absent. In his first appearance on Tuesday, the Texas native showed off the wheels with a triple. After an off day, Roller made the start in centerfield and hit an RBI single in the bottom of the first inning. He later came around to score when he reached on a walk in the fifth. Saturday’s game saw Roller collect two doubles and he scored what would be the go-ahead run in the bottom of the fourth.
LHP Skylar Arias: 0-1, 2 G, 2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 0 Ks
Unfortunately, Arias was saddled with a loss and a blown save in the series opener after surrendering two runs in the sixth inning of a seven-inning affair. Arias was put in a tough spot, the starter Konnor Pilkington had just given up three straight hits and a run, resulting in Arias entering with two-on and zero outs. Arias induced a double play, but the Senators continued to work quality at-bats and brought four total home in the inning, two of which charged to the lefty. He bounced back after entering Sunday’s game following Civale’s rehab appearance and got out of the inning with another double play.
3B Marcos Gonzalez: 0-10 (.000), 7 Ks
Gonzalez has found himself on the notebook a lot recently, but he has flirted with the hot and not list back and forth. This week was not a good one for Gonzalez, after going hitless in 10 at-bats with seven strikeouts. Even if you make outs, you’d like them to be productive and these were anything but. If trends have anything to do with it, next week might be a good one for Gonzalez in a key series at Somerset.
8/24: @ Somerset (7:05 pm)
8/25: @ Somerset (7:05 pm)
8/26: @ Somerset (7:05 pm)
8/27: @ Somerset (7:05 pm)
8/28: @ Somerset (7:05 pm)
8/29: @ Somerset (5:05 pm)
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