Curve suddenly involved in losing stretch
Baseball is a crazy game sometimes.
One moment you’re sitting on top of your division with a record of 5-0, the next you lose four of five games.
This is also part of what minor league baseball is about: learning how to deal with a string of setbacks that eventually lead to a stretch of success.
Saturday night the Curve were swept in a twinbill at home, falling in game 1, 7-0, and 10-7 in game 2 to the Akron RubberDucks before 5,014 fans at Peoples Natural Gas Field.
“These days, they can be tough, but they can also be good,” Curve manager Michael Ryan said. “It’s a big lesson learned for us that guys might’ve thought that this was going to be easy, and they could just show up and play. You’ve got to be ready everyday. It was just a matter of time. We talked about before the series even started, Akron, wait until they wake up, and they have.”
There was no better example of how quick a baseball game can change than the sixth inning of game 2. That was when Akron scored eight runs during the frame before even recording an out. The RubberDucks went to the plate 14 times during the inning.
It all started with a double from Connor Marabell. Tyler Krieger then belted a two-run homer to right, cutting the deficit in half.
The Ducks took the lead for good on a two-run single from Mitch Longo, scoring both Li-Jen Chu and Alexis Pantoja.
“A lot of things aren’t going our way right now, that’s just a part of baseball,” Curve third baseman Hunter Owen said. “That’s kind of how the game works.”
That put a huge damper on what was a fantastic outing by Curve starter Pedro Vasquez.
“These are the days it was not very good in all three phases,” Ryan said. “The first game we couldn’t get much going offensively. A couple of pitches here or there from guys out of the rotation and our bullpen just didn’t get the job done.”
There’s never a good time to have a stretch like the Curve are going through right now. That point can be emphasized even more now that the Eastern League has gone to two halves when deciding which teams will play in the postseason beginning this September.
“You’re going to go through these kind of stages,” Ryan said. “It’s a long season, sometimes it may seem like it’s not because of the two halves. If you go through it early, I think that they’ll be able to get through it when it happens in the middle of the year or later.”
Luke Eubank (1-1) picked up the victory for the RubberDucks, going 2-plus innings, giving up five runs on five hits while striking out two and walking five.
Tate Scioneaux (1-1) was on the mound for the bulk of the Ducks’ rally in the sixth, allowing six runs on five hits while walking one before taking the loss.
In game 1, the RubberDucks wasted no time getting on the board, with an Andrew Calica two-run double in the first. Akron put the game away with five runs in the fifth.
Zach Plesac (1-0) pitched 6 -plus innings with four strikeouts to earn the victory.
Scooter Hightower (0-1) was also strong before taking the loss. He went 4-plus innings before allowing two runs on two hits with two walks and two strikeouts.
Key players: Akron P Zach Plesac pitched 62/3 innings giving up just four hits and striking out three in game 1. Akron RF Daniel Johnson went 2-for-4 with with four RBIs including a two-run home run in game 2.
Key plays: Akron RF Connor Marabel’s two-run double sparked a five-run rally in the fifth by the RubberDucks in game 1. Akron 3B Tyler Krieger’s two-run homer set off an eight-run rally in the top of the 6th of game 2 which resulted in the RubberDucks batting 14 times.
Key stat: The Curve have dropped four of their last five games after starting the season 5-0.
How they scored
Top 1st: Clement doubled, Tom walked, both scored on Calica double (0-2).
Top 5th: Pantoja walked, Tom reaches on fielders choice, both scored on Marabell double (0-4); Johnson walked, Calica hit-by-pitch, all runners scored on Garcia double (0-7).
Bot 2nd: Owen singles, scores on Glendinning single (1-0).
Top 3rd: Pantoja singles, scores on Johnson homer (1-2).
Bot 4th: Hill walked, scored on Owen homer (3-2).
Bot 5th: Madris doubled, Suiter intentionally walked, both score on Hill double (5-2); Hill scores on Owen single (6-2).
Top 6th: Marabell doubled, scored on Krieger homer (6-4); Calica walked, scored on Tom homer (6-6); Chu singles, Pantoja doubles both score on Longo single (6-8); Monasterio single, scores with Longo on Johnson single (6-10).
Bot 7th: Owen walked, scored on Korinchak wild pitch (7-10).