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Aeros lose fourth straight, fall 9-1

Whitenack walks eight batters as Aeros lose for eighth time in past 10 games

Aeros lose fourth straight, fall 9-1
May 28, 2013
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Akron, OH – Looking to put a stop to their three-game skid, the Akron Aeros were unable to and dropped a difficult 9-1 contest to the Harrisburg Senators on Tuesday night at Canal Park.

The Aeros have now lost four straight games and have lost eight of their last ten.

Weak pitching performances from both newcomer Rob Whitenack and reliever Cole Cook combined with a lack of decent hitting were factors in Akron’s all around disappointing loss.

One day after being promoted to Akron from the High-A Carolina, Rob Whitenack received a harsh welcome from the Senators, who scored four quick runs in the second inning off of a passed ball to score left fielder Destin Hood.  The next batter, Ricky Hague hit a deep three-run home run, which was Hague’s fifth home run of the season.

Steven Souza Jr. of the Senators scored on an RBI from Jimmy Van Ostrand in the third inning as the troubles continued for Whitenack and the rest of the Aeros as well.

Overall, it was a very tough night for Whitenack who gave up seven earned runs and four hits. He also walked eight batters and threw two wild pitches in four-plus innings pitched for the loss. Whitenack’s eight walks in a single game was one short of the Aeros’ pitching record of nine, which was set by Dave Mlicki in 1992.

Manager Edwin Rodriguez believes that Whitenack’s tough outing Tuesday night is a learning experience.

“He needs to work on his fastball coming in.  But then again, we’ll see.  He’s young, and we’ll see what happens.”

Whitenack himself thought his first day on the job in Akron could have been better.

“It was rough, not the way I wanted it to go, it’s (his rehab process) been up and down.  I’m just trying to battle through it.  It’s about getting repetition, back to the way I was.”

Whitenack is recovering from Tommy John ligament replacement surgery, which occurred in the summer of 2011.

He believes his recovery has gone well and he is working his way back up, but he also sees challenges in his recovery, which he says is mainly self-control and mental issues.

“The whole mental part and the inconsistency has been up and down.  I have a good game, and then the next I walk five or six guys, and staying positive throughout the whole thing is the hardest part.  I’m a control guy; usually I throw strikes and then I walk guys.  I don’t like to walk people.”

When asked about specific aspects of the Aeros’ pitching that can be improved, Rodriguez believes that a good start is the key.

“We have to get ahead; we cannot be fishing behind in the count.  But we have so many young guys, that when you are facing good hitters, you start trying to hit the corners instead of attacking the strike zone.  But it’s a process, that’s why it’s called the Minor Leagues.”

Overall, the three Aeros pitchers walked ten batters during the course of the game.

When Whitenack was taken out in the fifth inning, the Aeros’ misfortunes only increased.

Cole Cook replaced Whitenack in the fifth inning and the first batter he faced was Senators catcher Sandy Leon, who hit a two-run triple off of the reliever.  The next batter, Jose Lozada hit a sacrifice fly to score Leon, extending the Harrisburg lead to 8-0.

In the sixth inning, Souza hit a double and scored when Van Ostrand hit another to extend the lead to 9-0.  Van Ostrand was Harrisburg’s strongest hitter of the game, going three-for-four with two doubles, a single, a walk, and two RBI’s.  He now has eight RBI’s for the season.

Taylor Jordan pitched for the Senators and fared much better than Whitenack, pitching seven excellent innings, giving up only one run and eight hits and earning the win. He is now 2-0 for Harrisburg in 2013.  

Jordan’s ERA for Harrisburg this year is a solid 1.00, and Edwin Rodriguez sees major potential for the young pitcher.

“He’s outstanding.  He is the boss, the greatest I’ve seen (Rodriguez also mentions Kevin Gausman of Bowie as another great Eastern League pitcher).  He is going to be in the Big Leagues pretty soon, and he’s going to be there for many, many years.”

The Senators are now 27-25, and have won eight of their last eleven games, including their last three.

The Aeros’ hitting was of little help, not contributing much to the team effort.  Managing eight hits, they managed a single run.  This is considered a setback from the night before, when Akron had a season-high 16 hits in their 9-8 loss at Erie.

The first signs of life for Akron’s hitting came in the bottom of the seventh inning, when Jake Lowry hit an RBI double off of Jordan for the Aeros’ one and only run.  It was Lowry’s third RBI of the season.

A small rally for the Aeros fell short in the ninth inning as the Aeros could not score again.

Akron’s other newcomer was Adam Abraham, who joined the Aeros from Columbus just the day before.  He went 0-4, striking out twice.

Interestingly enough, the Aeros had more hits than the Senators, hitting eight times against Harrisburg’s seven, despite the fact that the Senators scored nine times and completely controlled the game.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, Tyler Holt of the Aeros was struck in the knee off of a foul ball and was replaced byGiovanny Urshela and by Carlos Moncrief in center field.  Holt did not return to the game but Edwin Rodriguez expects him to be ready for Wednesday night’s game.

“I think he should be alright for tomorrow” Rodriguez said.

The Aeros are now 22-30 and have lost four of their last five, but are looking to reverse their fortunes on Wednesday night as the series continues against Harrisburg at Canal Park.  Will Roberts is scheduled to start for Akron against Rob Gilliam of the Senators.

The first pitch is set for 7:05 pm.

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