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Akron Air Raid: Aeros Pitchers Looking for Support

Akron Air Raid: Aeros Pitchers Looking for Support
April 19, 2011
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(Photo Credit - Lianna Holub)
The Aeros were able to finish off their home stand with a big series win over Altoona early in the week. However their first road trip started out in disaster.

The Aeros hit the road to face Reading in a four game weekend series. After winning the first, they dropped the final three, including a double-header on Sunday.

Akron finishes off their trip in Bowie this week before heading back home to face Reading once again.

Latest Landings: Altoona (2-1), Reading (1-3)
Future Itinerary: @Bowie (3), Reading (3), Bowie (4), Binghamton (3)
As it Stands: Akron is currently in second place in the Eastern League Western Division and .5 games back of first place.

On the Mound

Scott Barnes put in the longest game by a starter this season on Thursday. Barnes was stellar, going seven shutout innings and giving up just two hits. He struck out a Aeros season high 10 hitters and picked up his first win of the year. It's the first time since Eric Berger struck out 10 hitters against Harrisburg back in June of 2010.

Kelvin De La Cruz was good yet again against Altoona in his second start. Unfortunately both runs he gave up were unearned the Aeros couldn't score. The DLC made sure things went right against Bowie on Monday though. De La Cruz went five innings yet again, but this time put forth probably his most controlled effort. De La Cruz struck out a season high nine hitters and walked just one. It was enough for his first win of the season.

Austin Adams had a rough second outing after the brilliant Double-A debut. He gave up four runs off seven hits and three walks. Matt Packer also had a difficult outing, going five innings and giving up five runs, but just three earned. He gave up a pair of home runs, but didn't walk a hitter.

The Aeros pitcher that is 2-0 would be Joe Gardner, who won his second game, going five innings and giving up just a run off three hits. However he walked four hitters for the seconds straight game.

From the 'Pen

Two of Akron's best relievers, Nick Hagadone and Cory Burns haven't pitched since last Wednesday against Altoona. Hagadone pitched two scoreless frames, striking out three and Burns struck out the side yet again for his fourth save. Both got action on Monday against Bowie, with Hagadone going 2.2 innings, striking out four and giving up three hits. Cory Burns struck out two in his first inning-plus save of the season. He did however give up a solo shot. Chalk it up to rust?

Eric Berger worked some overtime, not only pitching two solid innings in relief of Scott Barnes, but starting the second game of Sunday's double header. Berger went three innings and gave up three runs, but didn't walk a hitter over the weekend. He also struck out five hitters in both games.

Swinging Sticks

Johnnie Drennen has caught fire. Against Reading he was 5-for-13 with a home run and five RBI. He also hit two doubles and struck out just once. It all started on Wednesday when he hit his first home run against Altoona in the final game of the series. Drennen has a six-game hit streak in progress after a 2-for-4 night against Bowie.

Jordan Henry and Tim Fedroff have continued to hit as well. They combined for eight hits in 26 at-bats against Reading. Fedroff knocked his first home run of the season and Jordan Henry is off to a great start on the base-paths. He's now stolen four bases, in four attempts.

Juan Diaz has had an interesting week. He hit a home run in the first game against Altoona and then went in a 2-for-21 slump with a pair of RBI and eight strikeouts. He then had a multi-hit game on Monday against Bowie.

Chun Chen's five game hit-streak came to an end on Sunday. Most concerning though is the fact that he has yet to garner a walk on the season compared to ten strikeouts. Chen was able to compile a .404 on-base percentage last year on the strength of 55 walks to 74 strikeouts.

Matt Lawson hit his first home run against Reading, and Matt McBride joined the club on Monday against Bowie.

Additional Notes

Scott Barnes is not scheduled to start the game he was originally slated for on Tuesday. Instead the Aeros have TBA listed in his place. This could indicate a roster move for Barnes that would put him in Columbus, taking the place of Jeanmar Gomez. Drew Pomeranz's place in Kinston's rotation is up on Tuesday as well. Just something to remember.

Yohan Pino was traded to Toronto this week and Paolo Espino made his return to Akron. Aeros fans will be familiar with Espino, who has joined the bullpen. He made 15 starts for the Aeros last year, was 9-4 with a 4.00 ERA in 101 innings. Espino was selected in the 10th round of the 2006 draft.

Akron has not scored more than six runs in a game on the young season.

Nick Hagadone has yet to surrender a walk in 8.2 innings this season. He's also struck out 10 hitters, an incredible looking number right now.

Under Maintenance

The Aeros have remained fairly healthy in the early going. Still no update on the status of Connor Graham, who is no longer on the roster.

Transaction Report
April 14: IF Jason Donald removed from Akron
OF Grady Sizemore removed from Akron
April 17: RHP Yohan Pino removed from Akron (Traded to Toronto)
RHP Paolo Espino received from Columbus


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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