Photo credit: David Monseur/Accent Images/Courtesy Akron RubberDucks
Akron’s lack of depth in their bullpen came back to hurt them on Sunday after it helped the team to close wins on Friday and Saturday. Seven pitchers took the mound for the ‘Ducks with varying results as Harrisburg’s run total reached double digits by the ninth inning.
Starter Luis Oviedo had another rough performance allowing two solo shots including one to Harrisburg DH Israel Pineda who finished the series with five roundtrippers. Oviedo also walked five and ran up his pitch count to 58 in two innings of work. His ERA sits at 6.65 in 42 innings for Akron this year as he has not looked like someone that pitched in 22 MLB games just a year ago.
After Oviedo exited, three relievers did their job and three did not. RHP’s Kyle Marman, Jerson Ramirez and Cade Smith combined for 3.1 innings allowing no hits, one walk and striking out four.
LHP Randy Labaut continued a tough start to his Double-A career allowing three runs while LHP Brett Daniels got tagged with the loss after allowing three of his own. RHP Robert Broom, who has been solid during his time with Akron this year, put the game to bed with a two-run ninth.
Velo: Oviedo – 95; Cade Smith: 90-93; Jerson Ramirez: 91-95
Despite the loss, the fans at Canal Park on Sunday were treated to a classic George Valera homer and bat flip. The outfielder, who has seemed Triple-A ready for a while, launched a 3-2 pitch deep into the porch in right field to tie the game at three in the third. If you couldn’t tell the ball was headed out of the park by the sound, Valera’s staredown of the ball and disposal of his bat towards the Akron dugout certainly gave it away.
First baseman Micah Pries had been struggling a bit recently after he won Eastern League Player of the Month in June but had a nice day collecting two hits. The biggest one was a two-run double off the wall in center that tied the game at five in the fifth.
Catcher Eric Rodriguez also had two hits and an RBI but the RubberDucks offense wasn’t able to get enough going to fight back in the late innings. Oscar Gonzalez was 0-5 with a pair of strikeouts in his fifth rehab game as he finished the week 2-15 with three walks. A decision is expected to be made about his next step in his rehab process or a potential return to the Guardians on Monday.
The loss gave Akron a series split and dropped their second half record to 10-15 and overall record to 50-44. The ‘Ducks will look to get on a roll as the calendar flips to August with six 6:00 PM games at Altoona starting on Tuesday.
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