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Akron Air Raid: Adams Leads Rotation, Fedroff Heats Up

May 10, 2011
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(Photo Credit Lianna Holub)
As inconsistent this team is, the entire Western Division in the Eastern League seems to be just as inconsistent. As of Tuesday morning, only Harrisburg, leaders of the division, is at .500 at 15-15. The Akron Aeros can take that as an opening to turn things around anytime soon.

Not that the Aeros are playing bad, but there are games that leave you absolutely puzzled, such as Monday's contest against Erie. The pitching failed them for once, against of all teams, Erie. Right now, the entire Eastern League is a big cluster of teams. There's only three really good teams (all in the Eastern) and two really bad teams (both in the Eastern). The rest of the teams, Trenton and the entire Western, are middle of the pack.

Maybe that is a reason why as bad a things have looked sometimes, the Aeros have never been swept. Maybe that is a reason as to why as good as they have looked sometimes, the Aeros have never swept a series. At least there are not prolonged losing streaks.

But there are no prolonged winning streaks.

A big reason for this has been the double-headers the team has been forced to play. The Aeros lost another game to rain this week, but instead of playing a double header, the game was moved to later this month. Akron had a particularly bad week, winning just two games, one from each series they played and they are off to a bad start against Erie, a team they beat up on last year.

Latest Landings: @ Altoona (1-2), Trenton (1-2)
Future Itinerary: @ Erie (3), @ Bowie (4), Altoona (3), @ Altoona (4)
As it Stands: Akron is currently in last place in the Eastern League Western Division and 1.5 game back of first place.

Scheduled Rotation: Matt Packer (TUE), Kelvin De La Cruz (WED), Joe Gardner (THUR), Austin Adams (FRI), T.J. McFarland (SAT), Matt Packer (SUN, Off Day (MON)

On the Mound

So far, Austin Adams has been one of the two pitchers the Aeros can count on. Adams won his third game this past week, giving up one earned over six innings. Adams is now 3-2 on the year with a 2.76 ERA in six starts, the most of any Aero. He's given up just one home run this season and walked just 14. He leads the team in innings pitched as well.

The other is Kelvin De La Cruz, who didn't receive a start last week. Carlos Carrasco's rehab start had something to do with that, but so did the rain. De La Cruz made an appearance as a reliever, but he isn't moving there. De La Cruz is scheduled to start Wednesday against Erie.

The one pitcher who hasn't had the best of luck with the Akron offense is Matt Packer, who has done what he's had to do for wins, but has yet to get on the board. Packer is 0-4, but put another win-worthy start on the board against Altoona. Packer went into the seventh inning, giving up three earned off six hits and two walks. Packer has gone 5 innings in all but one start and has given up no more than four earned.

Other starters this past week:

Joe Gardner
ND, 4.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 4 BB, 4 K

TJ McFarland
ND, 4.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R (2 ER), 3 BB, 4 K
L, 2.1 IP, 9 H, 8 R, 3 BB, 0 K

From the 'Pen

Cory Burns and Nick Hagadone have some company in the bullpen. The CC Lee that the Akron Aeros are used to is not only back to a state were are used to, but perhaps looks a lot better than ever. Lee was dominant this past week, striking out an incredible 13 hitters in three appearances, and not putting a single runner on base. Lee has been untouchable as of late and is striking out everyone that steps to the plate. If anything, based off his work in 2010 and how he's handling Double-A hitting, he may be in line for a call-up before Hagadone.

And Hagadone didn't have a bad week himself, but he did show some signs of being actually human. Hagadone factored into several decisions, winning and losing a game over the past week. He gave up three earned runs against Trenton to suffer his first loss of the season.

Meanwhile, Closer Cory Burns has some issues himself. He notched a pair of saves, but also blew one and took the loss in the other loss to Trenton. Burns did still manage to strike some hitters out and is second in the Eastern League in saves.

Other relievers for this past week:

Paolo Espino
3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K

Matt Langwell
3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K

Kyle Landis
5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 5 K

Swinging Sticks

The story right now for Akron's up and down offense is the guy who's far from up and down, Tim Fedroff. The former Tar Heel has ascended into the two spot and now the leadoff spot as he just continues hit. Fedroff collected 12 hits over the week, catapulting him up the league leader list in average. He knocked in six runs and he's hit so much he only walked once and struck out three times. Monday's game against Erie snapped a streak of four consecutive multi-hit games for Fedroff.

Unfortunately for Fedroff, the heavy hitters behind him have decided to cool off. Chun Chen has fallen into a funk at the plate after a hot week. He did collect three doubles, but Chen didn't knock in a run this past week. One middle of the order hitter who has been having a good week is Juan Diaz. The shortstop collected four hits and before Monday's game against Erie, had only struck out three times since Monday. Diaz added another pair of doubles.

Picking up the slack though has been Matt McBride, who went on one of his home run rips. McBride hit three home runs and has knocked in six runs and scored five in the past week. It's good to see McBride heat up for the Aeros.

Other hitters this past week:

Kyle Bellows
4-23, 2B, 1 RBI, 4 R, 2 BB, 4 K

John Drennen
4-24, 3 BB, 2 K

Jordan Henry
9-27, 3B, 4 RBI, 9 R, BB, 3 K, 3 SB

Additional Notes

Tim Fedroff is fifth in the Eastern League in batting average at .333.

Jordan Henry is fifth in the Eastern League in stolen bases with 11. He also owns exactly half of the Aeros entire total of stolen bases.

Even in the lack of time lately, Kelvin De La Cruz ranks fourth among pitchers in strikeouts with 35.

Nick Hagadone and Matt Langwell share the team and Eastern League lead in holds with four.

Akron is 9th in the Eastern League in offense (runs scored), ahead of just three teams. The good news is that only two teams have struck out less than them. The bad news, only three teams have walked less than them.

Pitching wise, they carry a middle of the road ERA, but have struck out more hitters than any team in the Eastern League. But again, they've walked more than any other team in the Eastern League.

Transaction Report
May 6: RHP Carlos Carrasco received on Rehab Assignment

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Nino covers the Akron Aeros season-long here at the IPI. He has his own blog at The Tribe Daily and you can follow him on Twitter @TheTribeDaily.

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