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Akron Air Raid: Don't Call it a Winning Streak

May 17, 2011
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Photo Credit - Lianna Holub
For the first time this season, the Aeros won three games in a series. They've yet to be swept or sweep a series, but the three wins against Bowie marks the first legitimate win streak of more than two games.

After a struggle in the pitching department against Erie (18 runs given up in the first two games), the Aeros battled back to avoid the sweep before making the trip to Bowie. In their three wins over the Baysox, the Aeros showed off some of the fabulous pitching with three very quality starts by the rotation.

By the end of this week, you may be sick of seeing Altoona. The good news is the Aeros are second in the division and just a game behind Altoona, the lone above .500 team in the Western Division of the Eastern League. The Aeros have three games at home with the Curve before hitting the road for four games, with a double header included on Saturday.

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

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

On the Mound

Matt Packer and Austin Adams showed just what the Aeros rotation is capable of in a single series. Add in T.J. McFarland's effort that went unrewarded, and Akron's rotation was very good against Bowie. Both Adams and Packer picked up wins, with Adams going five innings and giving up no runs off one hit, but he did walk five hitters. It was his fourth win on the season.

Packer meanwhile went seven innings, matching not only his season high, but the Aeros' season high. Packer would end up picking up his much anticipated first win of the season, giving up just a run off five hits and a walk with eight strikeouts. Packer has gone at least five innings in all but one of his seven starts this season. 

McFarland and Packer were both coming off some bad starts. McFarland had the set-back on Monday against Erie, then bounced back for the six solid innings. Packer meanwhile did go six innings, but gave up seven runs, five of those earned, off eight hits and a walk. You have to love Packer's control, as he has not walked more than two hitters in a game this year.

Other starters this past week:

Joe Gardner
L, 2.2 IP, 2 H, 5 R (1 ER), 4 BB, 1 K

Kelvin De La Cruz
W(2), 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 7 K

From the 'Pen

Look who's back on track. After some shaky outings, the Aeros closer seems to be righting himself. Cory Burns struggled the week before last, looking uncharacteristic. Then this week, he notched three saves to get himself back in the thick of it. Burns made three appearances, and even his save against Erie was the two inning variety. He followed that up against Bowie by going two days straight. Although he did walk two hitters on Sunday, he struck out five this week and gave up just two hits in four innings.

CC Lee should just strike everyone out. He's allowed three runs in the past week, but only one was earned. Perhaps this is why he doesn't like using the defense. Lee gave up five hits and strike out four. He must have given away the superhman powers that Nick Hagadone gave him. If that's the case, Hagadone hasn't recieved them back as, he gave up a run in three innings of work and only struck out one hitter.

Hats off to Paolo Espino once again for yet another odd, but successful relief appearance. Espino went four innings on Saturday, not walking a hitter and striking out six. Espino is accustomed to this though, having pitching five innings of relief and striking out nine just a few weeks ago.

Other relievers for this past week:

Paolo Espino
6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 9 K, SV (1)

Matt Langwell
3 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 3 K, W (1), BS

Kyle Landis
3.2 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K

Marty Popham
4.1 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 5 K

Swinging Sticks

Tim Fedroff and Jordan Henry must have some sort of competition going on right now. The outfield duo have dueling nine-game hit streaks going on currently. Henry has been on fire, notching seven hits and getting on base six times via the walk. He then makes the most of it, having stolen four bases in the past week. Henry struck out just once since last Monday and has scored six runs.

Fedroff has cooled off a bit, but still swinging a productive stick. He, Henry, and John Drennen have really carried things as of late. Drennen has a pair of doubles and 3 RBI over the past week.

The other two guys who've really started to hit and perhaps other reasons for the success in the past few days. Juan Diaz has eight hits, half of them doubles over the past week. Matt McBride also has eight hits, six of them for extra-bases, two of them home runs. Diaz and McBride have been extra-base machines in general this year, not just this past week.

Other hitters this past week:

Kyle Bellows
4-15, 2B, R, 4 BB, 2 K

Chun Chen
6-14, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 3 R, 2 BB, 6 K

Jared Goedert
4-16, HR, 2B, 4 RBI, 2 R, 2 BB, 4 K

Karexon Sanchez
3-13, HR, 2B, 2 R, 6 K

Donnie Webb
2-15, 2B, 2 R, 4 BB, 4 K

Additional Notes

Matt McBride has been on one of his homer binges the past few weeks. The home run he hit against Erie last Wednesday was actually an inside the park version. 

The loss to Erie was perhaps the biggest beat down the team received all year. The 10 runs the Sea Wolves scored matched the season high the Aeros have given up, but a six-run second was the most given up in an inning. 

A big part of Akron's win on Wednesday against Erie was their running game. Donnie Webb stole a pair, while Jordan Henry and Karexon Sanchez also stole bases. 
Henry is second in the Eastern League in steals.

Jared Goedert was added to the club for his Rehab Assignment. Goedert played for the Aeros last year and after an explosive start to the season, was promoted to Triple-A Columbus where he spent the rest of the season. Goedert will likely only be with the Aeros for the rehab assignment, but the added offensive punch can't hurt. He hit .325 with seven home runs for the Aeros last year.

Transaction Report
May 10: IF Jared Goedert 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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