This Day in Indians Minor League History – April 26
April 26, 2006…and 2013
It is said that lightning never strikes in the same place twice. Whoever said that was clearly unfamiliar with the history of the Akron baseball club’s pitching staff’s history at Binghamton, New York’s NYSEG Stadium, because the thunderstorm that is the Summit nine’s den of hurlers hit the Mets’ Double-A park twice, in stunningly identical fashion…exactly seven years apart.
(cue organ spookily playing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame”)
On April 26, 2006, the Akron Aeros were in Binghamton seeking to end the season’s second roadtrip with a three-game sweep of the Mets (this was before mythical CamelCased creatures like RubberDucks and RumblePonies roamed the EasternLeague). On the mound to start this game for the Aeros was Rafael Perez (yes, kids, he was a starter once), who had impressed in his stint at the corner of State and Main the preceding season, posting a 1.76 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, and .215 opponents’ batting average in eight starts and seven relief appearances). While he didn’t pitch enough innings to earn the individual victory, he did pitch four shutout frames, allowing only three hits and striking out seven. Relievers Juan Lara, Travis Foley, and Victor Kleine combined to allow two hits and strike out nine in five innings of scoreless relief. The staff combined to allow five hits and strike out 16 batters in the 4-0 victory. Remember these numbers.
April 26, 2013 found the Aeros at the Mets once again, this time to start a three-game weekend set. On the mound was another phenom, Danny Salazar He had struggled to start the season, with a tough-luck loss followed by a pair of seven-hot, four-run efforts saddling him with an 0-3 record to start his first full season above Single-A after also impressing in an abbreviated Double-A debut the prior season (1.85 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, and .203 opponents’ batting average in six starts). This time, the starter would pick up the win as Danny threw five shutout innings, allowing three hits and striking out nine, Austin Adams and Bryce Stowell combined to allow two hits and strike out seven in four shutout frames to bring the totals to…five hits and 16 strikeouts in, you guessed it, a 4-0 win.
(For those wondering, the walk totals were different – three in 2006, two in 2013), but the Aeros hit one Met batter in each game for yet another similarity.)