Aeros struggle again on offense in 2-1 loss to Mets
Aeros lose first two games of season because of quiet bats
AKRON, OH -- The Akron Aeros experienced déjà vu Thursday, falling to the Binghamton Mets 2-1 for the second consecutive night at Canal Park.
Once again, Akron's bats were quiet, combining to go 6-for-31 with four walks and 11 strikeouts. The team is now 11-for-63 with 21 strikeouts on the year, but manager Edwin Rodriguez is not worried just yet with the slow start.
"We're going to work," Rodriguez said. "We're going to talk, and they have to make adjustments. But this is no concern. And I don't want them to be concerned."
The lack of offense spoiled another strong outing from an Akron starting pitcher. This time it was left-hander T.J. House not getting any run support after going five innings with five hits, one run, no walks, and five strikeouts. The game time temperature was a brisk 38 degrees, so House tried to use the weather to his advantage.
"With it being cold, those guys are going to go out there and they want to get a hit as early as possible," House said. "So my job is to give them what they want. That's the whole thing, just attacking them. [I got] a lot of first pitch swings, that's what I was looking for."
Still, both sides had to play through the cold, and House found that it did affect him a bit.
"Earlier on, it wasn't too bad," House said of the cold. "But I'll tell you, around the third or fourth inning, it got cold. It was tough to stay loose. It was tough to feel the grip on the ball."
House came out of the gates dealing, throwing two perfect innings to start the game and only allowed three batters to reach base in his first five innings. The left-hander allowed two straight singles to start the sixth inning, however, before being pulled for right-hander Fabio Martinez.
Martinez immediately threw a wild pitch to let both runners move up 90 feet. An RBI groundout for second baseman Daniel Muno tied the game at 1-1 before a strike 'em out, throw 'em out double play got him out of the inning.
The right-hander immediately ran into more trouble in the seventh inning, walking the leadoff guy and hitting the next batter. Martinez was tagged with the loss after allowing one run and two walks in his only inning and Rodriguez thought he was simply off Thursday night.
"He has a very good arm," Rodriguez said. "But you don't know who is going to show up on a specific night... One night he's a big leaguer, and the next night, you never know."
Right-hander Kyle Landis relieved Martinez and intentionally walked the designated hitter Francisco Pena following a sacrifice bunt from catcher Juan Centeno. The intentional walk left the bases loaded with one out -- setting up a potential inning-ending double play.
The move backfired, though, when second baseman Jose Ramirez dropped a soft flair from shortstop Wilfredo Tovar down the right-field line. The miscue allowed the go-ahead run to score and ended up being the difference in the game.
Akron's middle infield has struggled so far in the young season, with shortstop Ronny Rodriguez adding to Ramirez's struggles by committing his second error in as many nights. Their manager thinks the problem is fixable, however, and has a diagnosis for the troubles.
"They're rushing everything," Rodriguez said of his young middle infielders. "I think it's a combination of their first time in Double-A, cold weather, [and] they're trying to do too much."
Landis finished the night with no hits, no runs, one walk, and one strikeout in 1.2 innings pitched. Left-hander Edward Paredes relieved him and threw 1.1 scoreless innings with two strikeouts.
Despite only allowing two runs, Akron pitchers could not hold a candle to Binghamton's pitching on this night. Mets starter Cory Mazzoni -- like his fellow starter Rafael Montero the night before -- overpowered the Aeros throughout his outing.
Mazzoni, a Baseball America Top 10 prospect for New York at the start of the offseason, struck out seven Akron hitters while only allowing four hits, one walk, and one unearned run.
"He was moving around," Rodriguez said of Mazzoni's pitches. "There's nothing overpowering about him, but I think that even his fastball had a little cut. So it moved. Everything moved on him."
The relief pitching for the Mets was not as sharp, but left-handers Mark Cohoon, Chase Huchingson, and Jack Leathersich combined for four scoreless innings to preserve the win.
Akron's only offense of the night came in one of the strangest ways possible. Catcher Roberto Perez started a two-out the rally with a double into the right-center gap. After an infield single for Rodriguez and a walk to third baseman Giovanny Urshela, left fielder Delvi Cid struck out on a pitch in the dirt.
That strikeout should have ended the inning, but Mets catcher Juan Centeno completely froze behind the plate. Centeno panicked while trying to collect the ball and was unable to get an out anywhere. Perez ran across home plate from third base and gave the Aeros their lone run of the game.
Akron tried to mount a rally in the bottom of the ninth, but center fielder Tyler Holt struck out with runners on first and second to end the game.
The Aeros (0-2) play the Mets (2-0) again tomorrow afternoon at 2:05. Left-hander Matt Packer will start for the Akron with right-hander Logan Verrett going for Binghamton.
Attendance: 2,495... Time of Game: 2:57... First pitch was at 6:39... Wind gusts were at 21 MPH at game time
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