After a 3-8 start, the RubberDucks have gone 5-2 in their last seven games to pull their record up to 8-11. The Ducks have started slowly at the plate but the pitching staff has been relatively consistent. Akron has also had to deal with an injury bug lately that has claimed three starters. Ernie Clement, Andruw Monasterio and Andrew Calica are all currently on the 7-day disabled list. The three make up the middle of the Ducks defense as Clement and Monasterio have been Akron’s double play combo and Calica had been starting in center field. They are also a major part of the Akron offense. Clement and Monasterio have hit at the top of the lineup and Calica has been a middle of the order hitter.
Despite the injuries and the slow start at the plate, Akron is starting to play better. The pitching staff has had shutouts in three of the last five games. Two of those shutouts came last Saturday during a double header against the Bowie Baysox. They won the first game.e 1-0 behind five shutout innings by Zack Pleasac. Through three starts Pleasac is 1-0 with a 1.04 ERA. In game 2 Tanner Tully had his best start of the season, pitching six shutout innings and picking up his first win of the season. James Karinchak finished the game off with a perfect seventh inning, earning his third save of the year.
After two blowout losses to the Binghamton Rumble Ponies on Monday (16-3) and Tuesday (11-6), the Ducks came back with another shutout on Wednesday. They won 2-0 behind seven shutout innings from Matt Solter. Despite his strong work Solter did not pick up the victory. Through 3 starts Solter has pitched 16 innings. He has 18 strikeouts, 0.56 ERA and a 0.75 WHIP. The free agent acquisition has been Akron’s best starter so far this season. David Speer picked up the victory with a scoreless eighth inning and once again James Karinchak finished the game with a perfect ninth inning to earn his fourth save. Karinchak has not allowed a hit or a run in eight innings of work. In eight appearances he has a 19-2 strikeout to walk ratio. He has been completely dominant thus far. Not only has he been Akron’s best pitcher, he has been the Indians best minor league pitcher so far this season.
At the plate Daniel Johnson has easily been the standout. He leads the team in hits, RBI, home runs, total bases, walks, stolen bases, slugging percentage, on base percentage and OPS. He is second in runs, doubles, triples and batting average. His slash line so far is .278/.384/.525. Johnson has been outstanding. Akron just needs a couple more players to heat up and give Johnson some more help. Getting everyone healthy will give the lineup a boost as well.
This weekend Akron has a four game series on the road at Bowie followed up by two more road games at Binghamton. They wrap up the six game road trip next Tuesday before meeting Altoona at home starting next Thursday.