Early Run Proves Costly, Aeros Lose 1-0
Lack of offense wastes Roberts' gem
Akron, OH – The New Britain Rock Cats scored once, but it was all that was needed for the victory as they defeated the Akron Aeros 1-0 in a pitcher's duel on Thursday night at Canal Park.
New Britain held this 1-0 lead throughout the remainder of the game as neither team threatened to score until the final inning.
Ronny Rodriguez smacked a double into the right-field corner to lead off the bottom of the ninth inning and reached third base with two outs, but would not score as the Rock Cats secured their shutout win.
Roberts delivered a strong outing despite the Aeros' loss. After allowing a solitary run in the top of the first, he quieted down and pitched five straight hitless innings and retired 18 of his next 20 opponents, striking out five in the process.
However, Roberts got the loss, which sets his record to 7-9. Despite pitching in a losing effort, he proved to be a worthy opponent against the older and much more experienced Davies, and it was still one of his strongest outings of the season.
The Rock Cats were given a boost from starting pitcher Davies, who pitched six very solid shutout innings. The former major league pitcher only allowed four hits, and no baserunner advanced past first base. Having last played for the Kansas City Royals in 2011, he hopes to once again play in the majors since he signed with the Twins in February.
When asked about Davies, Roberts mentioned that facing a former major leaguer is a new challenge.
"He (Davies) is a really good pitcher. It's no fluke to get to the major leagues and stay there for that long. He looked really good tonight, he kept us in check. I wasn't good enough in the first, and it was a tough one to lose."
Manager Edwin Rodriguez said that a pitcher like Davies is good experience for a younger lineup to face.
"It's good for them to face those kinds of pitchers. We ran into good pitching, but it would've been nice to score off of him. But then again, you have to tip your hat to Kyle."
Davies is now 3-0 and he has recorded a win in his past three games.
The hitting on both sides was subdued, especially compared to the first two games of the series. The Aeros had six hits that they did not convert into any runs while New Britain had four, but accounted for the only run of the game.
The Aeros' frustration to score came to a breaking point in the bottom of the seventh inning, when Jesus Aguilar was called out on strikes and was subsequently ejected for arguing with the umpire. Jake Lowery took his place and ground out in his only at-bat.
"He (Aguilar) needs to control his emotions," explained Rodriguez when asked about the confrontation.
"He's the league leader in RBI, in that last inning we needed him, but he was here (in the clubhouse) watching the game. He has to show a little more control, he's been thrown out four times now, that's unacceptable."
The usual dominant hitting duo of Aguilar and Carlos Moncrief was silenced on Thursday. Aguilar went 0-for-3 before his ejection in the seventh, and his 11-game hitting streak was broken. Similarly, Moncrief went 0-for-4, but is still hitting a very strong .296 this season.
Jose Ramirez went 1-for-4 and was caught stealing second base in the bottom of the third, but still leads the league with 33 stolen bases this season.
With zero runs scored on Thursday night, the Aeros' record when scoring three runs or less is 9-37.
As the 2013 season winds down with just over three weeks left in the regular season, the Aeros hold on to their chances of making the Eastern League playoffs. Currently in fifth place in the Western Division, the Aeros need to reach at least second place by winning the majority of their schedule, especially against division rivals Richmond and Erie.
Edwin Rodriguez also commented that with such a young team as the Aeros are, it is unknown how they will perform day-to-day, especially with little time left in the season.
"You really don't know who's going to show up. Sometimes they look like big leaguers, then the next day you wonder if they know how to play baseball. With a young team, that's why you have to be patient."
The Aeros take to the road for a six-game road trip which begins on Friday night in Trenton, New Jersey against the Eastern Division's Trenton Thunder. Paolo Espino takes the mound for the Aeros once again as he faces off against the Thunder's Fred Lewis.
On this important road trip, Edwin Rodriguez mentioned that once again, consistency is the key.
"We've been doing fairly well pretty much this whole season. We're among the league leaders in hitting. But then again we have to be consistent, we have to come back tomorrow and play well."
The first pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.