The first-place Akron RubberDucks flexed their collective muscles this week by taking five of six games against division foes the Altoona Curve. The series win was highlighted by a scoreless streak of over 30 innings, with RubberDucks pitching looking collectively dominant. During the spell, which stretched over parts of five games, Akron pitchers went 30.1 innings with 14 hits, 10 walks and 36 strikeouts.
The offense led an 11-2 series opening win for Akron and a five-run fourth inning was key in game two of the series, a 9-5 victory for the Canal Park dwellers. The next three matchups between the RubberDucks and Curve were an elite display of pitching, with the home team shutting out their visitors in three straight. The Curve salvaged the final game of the series 7-2, snapping the ‘Ducks five-game undefeated streak.
The RubberDucks had a flurry of rehab assignments this week, including RHP Aaron Civale, C Roberto Perez and 2B Ernie Clement. Civale threw five innings, struck out six, and allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits and a walk. Perez appeared in four games behind the plate. He was 3-for-4 in his first game and was 5-for-11 overall. Clement was a DH in the series finale, where he was hitless in four trips to the plate with two strikeouts.
The top four in the AA-Northeast League standings look like this with two weeks remaining in the regular season:
- Akron RubberDucks – 67-40
- Somerset Patriots – 63-44 (4 GB)
- Bowie BaySox – 61-45 (5.5 GB)
- Portland SeaWolves – 60-45 (6 GB)
8/31: W 11-2 vs Altoona; W: Logan Allen (3-0), L: Trey McGough (4-5)
9/1: W 9-5 vs Altoona; W: Aaron Civale (1-0), L: Osvaldo Bido (4-6)
9/2: W 5-0 vs Altoona; W: Peyton Battenfield (2-0), L: Omar Cruz (2-4)
9/3: W 3-0 vs Altoona; W: Adam Scott (3-2), L: Travis MacGregor (3-9), S: Nic Enright (2)
9/4: W 2-0 vs Altoona; W: Konnor Pilkington (3-0), L: Jeffrey Passantino (1-7), S: Aaron Pinto (4)
9/5: L 7-2 vs Altoona; W: Nathan Kirby (1-0), L: Thomas Ponticelli (6-5)
Player of the Week
LHP Adam Scott: 1-0, 1 GS, 6.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BBs, 8 Ks, .000 BAA, 0.00 ERA
It was a special night in Akron on Friday night when the team was just one pitch away from a combined no-hitter. Though it was broken up, the starter Scott went six innings of no-hit ball in his only appearance of the week. Scott also fanned a team-high eight batters on the week. In the last month, Scott has made six starts and has surrendered two or fewer runs in all of them and has gone six full innings in his three most recent trips to the mound. In the AA-Northeast League, Scott has the second-lowest batting average against (.180) out of qualified players in the last month of action. Since coming off the injured list in mid-July, Scott has secured his spot in the RubberDucks rotation with outstanding play as the push for the postseason continues. Scott was named Double-A Northeast player of the week as well.
LHP Logan Allen: 1-0, 1 GS, 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 Ks, 0.50 WHIP, 0.00 ERA
The young left-hander Allen picked up his third win of the season for the RubberDucks in the series opener and remains without a blemish on his record since making the jump to AA in mid-July. After throwing six shutout innings on Tuesday, he lowered his August ERA to 2.40 and is holding opponents to just a .167 batting average, Just to show how deceptive his stuff has been, six strikeouts was his lowest total since July 30.
RHP Peyton Battenfield: 1-0, 1 GS, 6.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 Ks, 0.00 ERA
Having three outings this impressive shows just how deep this Indians pitching prospect list is at the AA level right now. Battenfield sparked the scoreless streak with six shutout innings as well. Since coming over from Tampa Bay at the trade deadline, Battenfield is 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA in 26.2 innings. He added six more K’s to his ledger, bringing his Akron total up to 27 in his five starts.
SS Ike Freeman: 7-16 (.438), 6 R, 2 2Bs, 1 HR, 3 RBIs, 4 BBs, 1.321 OPS
Freeman had the highest OPS for Akron this week with seven hits and four walks in 22 plate appearances. He came across the score six times and brought a lot of energy to the bottom of the order, which has not shown a ton of life this season. The former UNC Tar Heel drove in three this week, but one thing that held him back just a touch was grounding into a team-high three double plays.
SS Brayan Rocchio: 9-25 (.360), 6 R, 4 2Bs, 1 HR, 8 RBIs, 3 BBs, 1-1 SB, 1.069 OPS
At the other end of the order, Rocchio was producing at a very high level as well. He led the team with nine hits, four doubles, and tied weekly leaders in homeruns and runs scored. The switch-hitting middle infielder recorded a hit in five of six games, including a streak of seven hits in the first three games of the set. Rocchio displayed his ability to get extra base hits this week, a tool he has developed nicely since joining the RubberDucks.
LF Victor Nova: 7-18 (.389), 4 R, 2 2Bs, 3 BBs, .976 OPS
Nova is riding a six-game hitting streak, and was able to reach base on three walks, displaying his eye at the dish. He reached base twice in three of the six games and came across to score four times. In Lake County, Nova batted just .207 in his 241 at-bats, but in the 34 times to bat in Akron, he holds a .294 average. Nova seems to be turning the corner a bit down the stretch in the 2021 season.
LHP Skylar Arias: 2 G, 1.2 IP, 2 H, 5 ER, 1 HBP, 5 BBs, 2 Ks, 4.20 WHIP
In his two appearances on the bump, Arias struggled and got through just 1.2 innings and allowed five runs. The biggest area of concern was the five walks allowed for the left-hander. On Wednesday, Arias had a casual inning of relief and allowed a two-out walk that proved to be futile for the Altoona offense. He also struck out two of the four batters he faced. The second was where the wheels fell off the train, as three walks, a hit by pitch and single allowed three to come across. Arias has shown consistency this season and one can be confident he just had an off-day.
LF Chris Roller: 1-19 (.053), 2 R, 2 BBs, 2-2 SBs
Roller’s return from the injured list has not gone as he would have imagined, but Akron is hoping to have his glove in the field as the race for the playoffs unfold late in the year. Throughout the season, Roller has displayed a fearless nature in the RubberDucks outfield, but his bat has shown inconsistencies. He was able to utilize his speed to steal two bases and score twice when he was able to get on base, however.
9/7: @ Richmond (6:35 pm)
9/8: @ Richmond (6:35 pm)
9/9: @ Richmond (6:35 pm)
9/10: @ Richmond (6:35 pm)
9/11: @ Richmond (6:05 pm)
9/12: @ Richmond (5:05 pm)