The Akron offense came to play this past week against Erie, as they scored 37 runs and blasted 16 home runs, taking five of six games from the Seawolves. The RubberDucks have now won 11 of their last 12, vaulting them to the best record in the entire Double-A Northeast at 48-28, a half-game ahead of the Portland SeaDogs. The offensive outburst led to a good run differential for the week, 37-26 which includes an eight-run loss. The team also slugged .500 on the week, as they rapped out 24 extra-base hits and had their first five homer game on Thursday since May 11, 2019 when they hit six against Reading. 

What has been most amazing about this electric run for the RubberDucks, is that it has been at the heels of losing integral parts of their lineup. Oscar Gonzalez was promoted back on July 6th, Richie Palacios got promoted on July 30th, and Tyler Freeman was lost for the season on July 31st. Luckily players like Andruw Monasterio (.838 OPS last 15 days), Steven Kwan (1.056 OPS last 15 days), and even Marcos Gonzalez who has been hot over the last week, have given huge boosts to the lineup. Now, with reinforcements incoming on the offensive end from Lake County with Brayan Rocchio and Bryan Lavastida, the offense should be just as effective as it has been all season. 

The starting rotation only gets stronger as well as Konnor Pilkington (3.48 ERA, 62 IP) and Peyton Battenfield (2.14 ERA, 67.1 IP) will be in Canal Park this week with Cody Morris heading west for Columbus. Logan T. Allen has already provided a strong presence in his Double-A stint and the reliability of Juan Hillman, Tanner Tully, and Thomas Ponticelli has allowed the team to stay in contention through a handful of injuries. Both of the new starters will make their debuts this week and will have many eyes on them after they were the lone returns in the trades with Chicago and Tampa Bay. Akron and Cleveland fans should be very excited as this RubberDuck team continues to grind games out and vies for a Double-A Northeast championship. 

Day-by-Day

7/27: W 5-3 @ Erie; W: Clemmer (3-2); L: Rodriguez (1-2); SV: Krauth (2)

7/28: L 2-10 @ Erie W: Ladwig (4-4); L: Scott (0-2)

7/29: W 6-0 @ Erie; W: Tully (5-3); L: Wentz (0-3)

7/30: W 7-4 @ Erie; W: Ponticelli (4-2); L: Kirby (3-2)

7/31: W 11-5 @ Erie; W: Hillman (8-2); L: Rodriguez (3-3) 

8/1: W 6-4 @ Erie (10 inn.); W: Enright (2-1); L: Martinez (2-2)

Player of the Week

OF Steven Kwan: 9-26, 6 R, 2 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 BB, .346 BA, 1.047 OPS

Steven Kwan had an excellent series against the Seawolves, picking up a hit in each game of the series and scoring at least one run in each win. Since his return to the IL at the end of June, Kwan has been an integral piece of the RubberDuck lineup, batting in the first three spots of the order in each game he has played. Now that he is fully healthy, and playing every game of the week, his impact has not gone unnoticed. The advanced hit tool of the Oregon State product has stayed as strong as it has been in the past, but the power in July is something that he had not accessed before. The outfielder already has matched his professional career high of three home runs and is sporting a slugging percentage over .500. As the season winds down, it will be interesting to see if these power numbers continue, or if there is regression back to career numbers. 

Who’s Hot

IF Marcos Gonzalez: 6-13, 2 R, 2 2B, HR, 4 RBIs, .462 AVG, 1.308 OPS

Marcos Gonzalez was a huge factor for Akron at the plate this week, helping to step up with Tyler Freeman hitting the IL for the rest of the season. After being activated right before the start of the series, Gonzalez began the series with two 0-3 performances. However, the infielder made up for it, collecting three hits and eleven total bases in the games on Friday and Sunday. On Sunday, down to his last strike, he hit a two-run homerun to tie the game, sending the affair into extras. Akron would go on to win the game, giving them a commanding five of six series win. 

C Bryan Lavastida: 5-9, 2 R, HR, 5 RBIs, BB, .556 BA, .1.489 OPS

After getting the promotion to Double-A Akron, Lavastida wasted no time showing it was the right move by Cleveland management. In his first at bat, the catcher singled home a run, giving the RubberDucks a first inning lead. He later homered and finished his first Double-A game 3-5 with four runs driven in. He followed that up with two hits on Sunday, driving in another run and drawing a walk. With the two best backstops in the system now in Akron, expect both players to spend time at the DH spots moving forward. 

SP Tanner Tully: W, 6 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 SO

Tanner Tully had the best start of any Akron starter this past week, firing six innings of scoreless baseball. Despite giving up seven hits, three of which came in the first inning, Tully was able to work around some traffic on the basepaths. Not walking any batters was very helpful in avoiding issues with baserunners, as well as striking out six batters, which included a bases loaded strikeout in the first. Tully now sports a respectable 3.84 ERA in 75 IP between Double-A and Triple-A, which is right in line with his career numbers. With Akron, he has a 3.12 ERA in 60.2 innings of work, as he has been a very dependable arm for the RubberDucks this season. 

RP Nic Enright: 2 G, W, 4.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 8 SO

A fantastic season continued against the Seawolves for Nic Enright, as he threw 4.1 innings of scoreless baseball in two relief outings in the past week. In his first outing following Tanner Tully, Enright was outstanding, blanking Erie, and striking out one. The Akron reliever followed that up with a stronger and more clutch outing on Sunday. Entering the game in the bottom of the eight with the bases loaded and two outs, the Virginia Tech product struck out Andre Lipcius on three pitches keeping the deficit at two. After the RubberDucks tied the game, he tossed a 1-2-3 ninth to push the game to extras and struck out two batters. Following that, after Akron had taken the lead, the right-hander continued where he left off, with another two strikeout, 1-2-3 frame. The reliever has been a breakout stud this season, and his progress should be monitored by all who follow the Cleveland Indians. 

Who’s Not

OF Clark Scolamiero: 0-11, R, BB, 7 SO, .000 BA, .083 OPS

Since his call to join the RubberDucks, Scolamiero has struggled, collecting only one hit with the Double-A squad prior to the series against Erie. Unfortunately, he was not even able to match that total, going hitless in three starts in the Akron outfield. Even worse, he struck out seven times, as he appeared to be clearly outmatched by the opposing pitching. With Will Brennan on his way to Canal Park for the upcoming series, the North Greenville alum will be hard-pressed to find at bats. 

SP Adam Scott: L, 3.2 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 4 SO

After a great debut in Canal Park, Adam Scott struggled against a talented Erie offense. Unable to escape the fourth, Scott wasn’t hit particularly hard, but mixing in four walks made it hard to continue on. The final blow came when Riley Greens double put two runners on with two out in the fourth. Both would come around to score on Ryan Kreidler homerun the next at bat, given up by Skylar Arias. It looked like the southpaw had turned the corner with his strong outing on Richmond, but the lack of control made it difficult to find much success against Erie. The left-hander will get two chances to remedy these outings and help out his team with starts on Tuesday and Saturday. 

Coming Up

8/3: vs. Altoona, 6:35 p.m. (LHP Adam Scott)

8/4: vs. Altoona, 6:35 p.m. (LHP Konnor Pilkington)

8/5: vs. Altoona, 6:35 p.m. (LHP Tanner Tully)

8/6: DH vs. Altoona, 5:00 p.m. (LHP Logan T. Allen and LHP Juan Hillman)

8/7: vs. Altoona, 7:05 p.m. (RHP Peyton Battenfield)

8/8: vs. Altoona, 2:05 p.m. (LHP Adam Scott)

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