September 2, 2011 Akron Aeros So kids, a long time ago when Akron was more famous for working with the space program than for Ernie’s bath toy, there was a […]
September 2, 2011 Akron Aeros
So kids, a long time ago when Akron was more famous for working with the space program than for Ernie’s bath toy, there was a team called the Akron Aeros and, on this day in 2011, that team was pretty good even though you’ve almost certainly never heard of any of these players.
Playing against the Nationals affiliate Harrisburg Senators, future Indians reliever (of three games in 2014) Bryan Price (pictured at top) made the start. While he had been a starter until 2010, Price didn’t make a single start in 2010 or 2011 until this game and this would be one of just two for the rest of his career. Because of this, it isn’t surprising that he only lasted three innings, but they were good ones. He allowed singles in the first and third, but didn’t walk a batter and struck out two while keeping the Senators off the board. This was big, as despite two singles in the first and base runners in the second and third, the Aeros also remained scoreless through three.
In the fourth, John Drennan (who I would argue was the top prospect outside of Price in this game) went deep to lead off the inning. That rally ended seconds after it started, however, and Rob Bryson came in for the bottom of four in relief. The next inning, the Aeros managed a slightly more extended rally.
Donnie Webb lead the inning off with a double and moved up on a John Henry single. One scored on a Karexon Sanchez single, then two more on a Chun Chen double. Chen himself then scored when Drennan came up with his second RBI in as many innings on a one out single. In the bottom half, Bryson had a repeat of his first inning as he walked a batter, but didn’t allow a hit or run.
The Aeros would tack on another single run in the fifth thanks to the same cast of characters. Henry singled and came home on a Sanchez triple. Chen and Michel Hernandez then walked, but the bases ended up loaded to end the inning.
Continuing on with pitchers who had unnecessary “y”s in their name, Bryce Stowell then came in to relieve and K’s two in a perfect inning. He struck out another two the next inning, but allowed a single. After Donnie Webb tripled and scored in the eighth, the Aeros went to a different “Y” reliever, Kyle Petter. Fellow Kyle, Bellows, committed an error at third to begin the inning, but despite a wild pitch and walk, Petter managed to work around this for a shut out inning.
With the seven run lead, Chris Tremie got a little too confident and brought in a reliever without a “Y”, Dale Dickerson. He immediately loaded the bases on a walk, hit and HBP before an out was recorded and the only Senators run of the game came home on a Stephen King ground out. One has to wonder if he had been named Dyle Dyckerson if things would have turned out dyfferently. In any event, he managed to finish the inning without further score and preserve the 7-1 win.
In 2011, the Aeros ended up finishing in fourth in the division, seven games behind the first place Senators. This game was the first of three straight wins against the division champs, but it was a case of too little too late.
While earlier in the season this team did have some future superstars including Grady Sizemore, Travis Hafner and Stephen Wright, this particular line-up had just Price reach the big leagues. Michel Hernandez had previously played five games with the Yankees, but would never reach the bigs again. In this particular game, Chen, Sanchez and Drennan each knocked in a pair of runs and those three plus Webb and Henry had two hits. Of these, Chen was particularly interesting to me at the time as a catcher with power. He ended up hitting 16 home runs in 2011 and batting .262/.330/.451, but despite improving that in 2012 with Akron and again in 2013 with Akron and Columbus, he was released following 2014 spring training without ever getting a shot with Cleveland.