Image: TCP Photography/Courtesy Lake County Captains 2021
It was another tough night for Akron as they lost 6-0 to the Richmond Flying Squirrels Saturday night in front of over 5,000 fans at Canal Park. The starting pitching combination of Tanner Burns and Xzavion Curry did more than enough to give the team a chance to win but lackluster offense sank the ‘Ducks to give them a series loss.
The big story of the night for people more interested in Guardians top 30 prospects than the RubberDucks’ wins and losses was #20 GBI prospect Tanner Burns’ return from injury. In his first start since May 5 in which he picked up a shoulder strain, he tossed two innings allowing no baserunners while his fastball consistently hit 94 on the gun. Burns had been itching to get back to playing after a month on the injured list.
“It was good to get back out there,” he said. “Those four weeks seemed like a year.”
Burns believes his time rehabbing his injury helped him develop habits that will better set him up for success on the mound.
“It wasn’t my first time being hurt so I’ve learned a lot,” he said. “It was a blessing in disguise because I’m on a better routine now. I want to give thanks to Jacob Legan, our trainer. He helped me a lot.”
Part of Burns’ routine is having two days set aside for hard throwing while giving himself time to recover the rest of the week.
“Recovery is huge for me,” he said. “Eating right, drinking a lot of water and just staying on top of my pre-throw routine.”
Burns final line: 2 IP 0 H 0 R 0 BB 2 K
1st: 94, 94, 95, 94, 94, 88, 87, 94, 95, 88, 94, 89, 94, 88, 89, 88, 86
2nd: 91, 85, 87, 92, 87, 93
Because Burns was on a short pitch count, Xzavion Curry replaced him in the third and tossed five solid innings. However, the fact that he gave up any runs would mean a loss for the ‘Ducks. Despite the three runs — two of them earned — Curry located his fastball well and got some swings and misses on breaking balls after he settled into the game.
Curry final line: 5 IP 5 H 3 R 2 ER 1 BB 8 K
Curry velo: 91-93
After allowing one of Curry’s baserunners to score, RHP Kyle Marman gave up three runs of his own to put the game to bed in the eighth.
The ‘Ducks offense has seen some unfortunate results against teams with winning records this year. The team amassed just four hits against Richmond while second baseman Brayan Rocchio continued his struggles going 0-4 to bring his OPS down to .673 on the season.
The good news about the Akron offense on the night was that George Valera continued his hot play by picking up two hits including a double smashed down the right field line. Valera is batting .377 over his last 15 games and is making a strong argument for a call up to Triple-A despite the logjam of outfielders in Columbus.
The RubberDucks look to salvage the series Sunday at 2:05 PM behind lefthander Jaime Arias before they go on the road for two weeks for series at Somerset and Hartford.
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