BINGHAMTON RUMBLE PONIES - 4, AKRON RUBBERDUCKS - 1
Pasquale Battles Through Six
While the RubberDucks and their starting pitcher Nick Pasquale were in the hole early in Wednesday night's contest against the Binghamton Rumble Ponies, but even though the right-hander gave up four runs early, he still managed to push through and give his team six innings of work and a chance to make a comeback.
"Yeah, he battled," Akron manager Mark Budzinski said, "He was a little up in the zone tonight. Typically he locates down a little bit better, but he battled and gave us six innings. That's an impressive job of grinding it out in there and giving us an opportunity to come back in the game. We just didn't do it."
Pasquale wasn't looking for small victories, though, as the 'Ducks would go on to lose 4-1 in the rubber match of the three-game set against Binghamton.
"I mean, it sucks losing," said the right-hander, "That was frustrating for me to give up four runs because I felt really good. We just need to do a better job controlling the running game."
The 'Ponies definitely had the run game working early as they were led by right fielder Champ Stuart, who kicked things off on Wednesday with a bunt single followed by a stolen base, which would be his first of three on the evening as he went 2-for-3 with both hits being bunt singles. Overall, Binghamton swiped five bases and laid down three bunts.
"Yeah, you just hope he hits a crappy bunt and one of us can get it," Pasquale explained about facing Stuart, "But he's fast, so it is what it is."
Outside of the four runs he gave up, the 26-year-old hurler put up his best performance of the year in the strikeout department fanning seven in his six innings of work, matching a career-high for a single start. So what was working as far as the strikeouts go for the California native on Wednesday?
"Kind of everything," said Pasquale, "I felt like it was the best my stuff has been all year, other than those four runs. The line didn't look good and we lost."
The right-hander did end up getting saddled with the loss as he is now 1-1 on the year through four starts while his ERA now sits at 4.57.
Pasquale: 6 IP, 4 H, 4 R/ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 1 HR, 92 pitches (59 strikes), L.
Matt Whitehouse 7th inning: 91 91 85 90 89 90 87 83 91 86 85 92 81 86 86 87 92 86 86 91 92 87
Whitehouse pitched two innings of shutout ball in relief of Pasquale allowing only a hit and a walk while fanning a batter. This marks back-to-back scoreless appearances for the southpaw as he has pitched four combined innings with only two hits and the one walk given up to go with four punchouts. On the year, Whitehouse is 1-0 with a save and a 2.77 ERA in his first six appearances for the RubberDucks.
Neil Holland 9th inning: 83 85 71 84 73 85
Holland made quick work of the Rumble Ponies in the ninth inning getting his three outs on just six pitches. The 28-year-old side-armer has been impressive in his first two appearances for Akron pitching three perfect innings with a strikeout. A former 11th round pick by the Nationals, the 28-year-old signed as a minor league free agent with the Indians in the offseason and started the season down in Lynchburg, where he posted a solid 2.08 ERA allowing just one earned run over four appearances with five, hits, a walk and four strikeouts before being promoted to Akron.
Dylan Baker Activated From Disabled List
After three seasons of unfortunate injury occurrences, in which he only pitched in a combined 13 games, Dylan Baker is finally healthy and ready to return to the mound as he was activated and added to the RubberDucks roster (on paper) before Wednesday night's contest.
A former fifth-round draft pick by the Indians, Baker has worked almost exclusively as a starter throughout his minor league career going 11-10 overall with a 3.64 ERA in 48 combined games (46 starts). After sustaining a broken ankle back in 2014, things started to go downhill for the Oregon native health wise as no sooner did he come back and pitch in 13 games at the end of the season and the start of 2015, he was on the shelf again with an elbow injury that would require Tommy John surgery. Unfortunately with all that he's been through, Baker's days as a starter may be behind him.
"He'll be added to the bullpen," Mark Budzinski explained, "He's coming over from the Mahoning Valley roster and he'll be added to the 'pen."
As is the case with post-Tommy John patients, a pitch and innings limit may be imposed on the 25-year-old. However, since he's slated to pitch as a reliever, the exact details of what kind of restrictions will be placed on him have not yet been laid out, especially since Baker has yet to officially join the team.
"We don't have that yet," said the Akron skipper, "I haven't even seen him yet, so that's something we'll talk about, but not sure at this point."
This will be Baker's first taste of Double-A ball as he has never pitched higher than the Carolina League. His last appearance in affiliated game action came over two years ago on April 9th, 2017 for the Lynchburg Hillcats, where he pitched five no-hit innings while allowing just one walk and striking out nine.