READING FIGHTIN’ PHILS – 4, AKRON RUBBERDUCKS – 3
Pannone shines on the mound in career-best performance
3rd Inning: 87, 91, 73, 89, 74, 89, 89, 88, 89, 89
Just a day after a career-best outing from southpaw Matt Whitehouse, Akron lefty Thomas Pannone followed up with a career-best outing of his own. The ‘Ducks southpaw tossed 6.2 innings of shutout ball and put the RubberDucks in a great position to win the rubber match against the Reading Fightin’ Phils.
Unfortunately, once he left the game, the bats came alive for Reading. The Akron bullpen was hurt by several defensive miscues and surrendered four unanswered runs in 1.1 innings and Akron lost the rubber match to the Fightin’ Phils by a score of 4-3.
Everything was working for Pannone on Sunday. He commanded all of his pitches and kept the Reading hitters off balance all game. The Fightin’ Phils simply could not make hard contact against the Akron lefty and had no answers throughout the 6.2 innings of work he threw.
“He had great command of his fastball, change-up and breaking ball,” noted Akron skipper Mark Budzinski. “He located his fastball down in the zone and threw a great game.”
His greatest challenge came in the top of the sixth inning when runners were at second and third base and two outs. Reading left fielder Osmel Aguila had a chance to take the lead for Reading. After working the count full, Pannone was able to knuckle up and get him to chase at a breaking pitch in the dirt for the final out and end the rally.
“I didn’t want to try and do too much when I had those two guys on there,” explained Pannone. “I still had first base open and I knew I had an aggressive hitter at the plate. I pretty much went all offspeed that whole at-bat. I went curveball-change-up-change-up-curveball, fastball and then I ended up K’ing him with a curveball on the 3-2. I have very rarely ever gone 3-2 breaking balls and I did it twice today.”
Pannone may not have thrown hard, but he located his stuff brilliantly. He was able to work around both sides of the strike zone and keep the ball down in the zone. His fastball touched 91 MPH on the radar gun while he was able to drop his breaking stuff all the way down to 74 MPH.
“If I can get ahead of guys I can expand my game and I can do different things and I’m able to do that right now,” notes Pannone.
He did pretty much the same thing he’s done all year. He’s worked through batter-by-batter and kept the game in front of him, not letting it pass him by. He just gets stronger with each outing and has embraced the new challenge of pitching at the Double-A level for the first time in his career.
Bradley helps put runs on the board
The most productive hitter of the day was slugger Bobby Bradley. He got Akron on the board early in the fourth inning when he connected perfectly with a ball over the plate and sent it flying over the right field wall for a solo home run. The ball literally landed on top of the slide next to the Tiki Bar on the right field porch.
After the damage he did to the ball in the fourth inning, the Reading pitcher wanted no part of him in his next at-bat and pitched around him, giving him really nothing to hit and allowing him to reach base on a walk. The slugger continued his strong day as he helped play part in an Akron rally in the bottom of the eighth.
“He’s worked very hard on his pre-game routine and everything’s coming around for him,” praised Budzinski.
With a runner in scoring position with two outs, the RubberDucks first baseman put up a great at-bat. Despite falling into a two-strike count, he was able put a nice swing on the ball and smash a hot grounder up the middle for an RBI-single. He finished the day going 2-3 with a walk and 2 RBIs. While he may not always make contact with the ball consistently, he is able to make the most of his opportunities when he connects with the ball.
Chisenhall makes another Akron appearance
Cleveland Indians outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall made another stop by Akron in as many days to play in another rehab game. He continues to progress in his recovery from a concussion after spending about a week in concussion protocol.
“It’s nice to just be in the batter’s box and get four at-bats,” reflects Chisenhall. “I feel unrestricted and I felt like I put some good swings on balls today.”
He went 0-4 on the day with one strikeout. He was plenty aggressive in his first two at-bats as he sent some hard-hit balls into the outfield, but unfortunately they dropped right into the Reading outfielders’ gloves. His third at-bat saw him strikeout on a breaking pitch in the dirt and he ended the day by hitting a sharp line drive into the glove of Reading right fielder Angelo Mora.