Photo credit: TCP Photography/Courtesy Lake County Captains

It was a tough result for the RubberDucks as they lost to the Harrisburg Senators 5-2 on a cloudy humid Wednesday night at Canal Park. Although Oscar Gonzalez got his first hit of his rehab stint and Daniel Schneemann extended his hit streak to seven games (he’s 13-25 in that span), the offense failed to get much going. Chris Roller’s two RBI double in the second would not be enough as lefty reliever Randy Labaut gave up five runs without recording an out in the seventh. 

Despite the loss, a nearly flawless start by Tanner Bibee is reason for RubberDucks and Guardians fans to get excited. The right hander tossed six scoreless innings, painting his fastball up to 97 miles per hour and catching hitters off balance with his offspeed stuff. In just his fourth Double-A start, Bibee was feeling confident.

“The fastball was working, the slider and curveball were working pretty well,” Bibee said. “I didn’t throw that many changeups today but other than that it felt pretty good.”

Bibee Final Line: 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K, 74 pitches (54 strikes)

Bibee, who has pitched on at least five days’ rest in each of his previous starts this season, felt comfortable after just four off-days coming into his start on Wednesday.

“It was kind of nice,” he said. “I liked getting right back to it. Obviously it was a little different but it was pretty good.”

Bibee had been good for the RubberDucks in his first three Double-A starts but his performance on Wednesday was easily his best. He was perfect through 4.1 innings and incredibly efficient as he incited a number of weak contact popouts and groundouts. He did also strike out four.

Even when Bibee had some trouble on the mound on Wednesday, he was able to limit damage. In addition to leaving Jack Dunn stranded after a double to lead off the sixth, Bibee also made a great play to prevent a balk after he took a spill on a fifth inning delivery. 

“I tried to hook the edge of my cleat on the rubber and I put too much heel into it and my foot came off and slipped underneath me,” Bibee said. “It’s not the first time that’s happened to me this year so you can probably pull up some video of that.”

With a 1.25 ERA and 0.75 WHIP through four starts for Akron, Bibee has shown that he fits right in with the RubberDucks’ evolving, but highly talented rotation. He also recognizes the importance of every man in the rotation supporting each other. 

“I’ve thrown with Gavin [Williams] since we got drafted last year,” he said. “I threw with him in Lake County and we really like bouncing stuff off of each other. Cantillo, Burns and I throw a lot of stuff at each other and see how it plays. It’s also great seeing Ovi (Luis Oviedo) and what he’s doing. From the first start that I saw him until now he’s throwing harder and everything is looking better. It’s a great group of guys.”

The RubberDucks look to bounce back from the loss on Thursday at 6:35 PM against Harrisburg. LHP Jaime Arias, who has been an organizational depth arm this year bouncing around between Lake County, Akron and Columbus, will make his first start for Akron since June 15. 

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