Myers' rough start sets stage for 7-5 loss to Baysox
Aeros struggle early on the mound, later in the field in loss
AKRON, OH -- The Bowie Baysox (22-21) struck early against right-hander Brett Myers and the Akron Aeros (20-26) Wednesday night, coming away with a 7-5 victory and a chance at a four-game sweep Thursday morning at Canal Park.
Pitching for the second time during his major league rehab assignment, Myers (0-1, 3.68 ERA, 6.88 FIP) managed to rebound after a rough first inning. All three of Myers' runs came in that first inning -- including a two-run home run by designated hitter Caleb Joseph -- though the veteran managed to calm down after that.
Manager Edwin Rodriguez felt that Myers did a great job of adjusting throughout the game.
"I liked the way he made adjustments," Rodriguez said. "The main thing on him is that he didn't feel any pain. He was trying to repeat his delivery and get a feel for his pitches and I think that in the first inning he was struggling with that but then he settled down."
Myers' fastball command was not great and he topped out around 87 MPH, but he managed to get things back together and make it through 4.1 innings after a potentially disastrous 33-pitch first inning.
"It is normal when guys are trying to get back," Rodriguez said of Myers' lack of fastball command. "But then as the game progressed, he was getting better and better and commanding his secondary pitches. I think it was outstanding."
Myers allowed three runs on two hits, four walks, a hit batter, and two strikeouts in his 4.1 innings.
Coming into Wednesday night, Myers' counterpart, Bowie right-hander Zach Clark, looked quite vulnerable. The knuckleballer had allowed 10 earned runs in his first 6.2 innings this year, though he managed to calm down against the Aeros.
Clark (1-2, 9.26 ERA, 6.19 FIP) made it through five innings with two runs, five hits, two walks, and four strikeouts. Rodriguez thought that overall it was a good experience for his team to face a knuckleball pitcher, even if they did not fare too well.
"We have a very young team," Rodriguez said. "When you say 'knuckleball pitcher,' they kind of panic. There's a way that you can hit those kind of pitchers, but then again, even in the big leagues, they struggle."
Clark was helped in his outing by a few questionable calls in the second inning. With runners on first and second and one out, catcher Roberto Perez hit what seemed to be a groundball single to right field.
First base umpire Billy Cunha, however, ruled that the ball hit the runner coming from first base, designated hitter Quincy Latimore, and called him out. Manager Edwin Rodriguez came over from his spot coaching third base to argue the call but the umpires were not swayed.
The rally fizzled out when shortstop Ronny Rodriguez was called out at first base on a bang-bang play, eliciting another failed argument from E. Rodriguez.
"It's a tough job that they have," E. Rodriguez said of the umpires. "They were saying that the ball hit the runner, which I don't think so, but then again, they have to make the calls... I went down [to first base] because [the umpire] was arguing with Ronny [Rodriguez]. I wanted to know what was going on.
Another call went against the Aeros in the seventh as Akron attempted to rally. Down 6-4 but threatening with runners at the corners and two outs, left fielder Cedric Hunter hit what appeared to be a foul ball off of his foot. Hunter stayed at home plate, but the umpires called it fair, allowing Bowie first baseman Aaron Baker to step on first base for the final out of the inning.
After seeming under control in the postgame interview about the two calls in the second inning, Rodriguez was a little agitated about the Hunter groundout in the seventh.
"They have to have a feel for the game," Rodriguez said of the umpires. "The first reaction of the hitter if the ball doesn't hit them in the foot is to run, at least one or two steps. The hitter knows that the ball doesn't hit him."
The Aeros could have had a smaller deficit to surmount in the late innings if not for a costly error by R. Rodriguez. With the score 3-2 in the sixth inning and right-hander Blake Wood on the mound for his third major league rehab appearance (his second with the Aeros), Rodriguez rushed a throw on what would have been the final out of the inning.
Instead, Rodriguez threw the ball away and the runner at third scored. Bowie shortstop Niuman Romero followed with an RBI triple and scored on a wild pitch to stretch Bowie's lead to 6-2. E. Rodriguez sounded a little frustrated with R. Rodriguez and how far he still has to go.
"He has a lot of work to do still," E. Rodriguez said. "Those kind of plays, you have to make those plays."
The Aeros will look to avoid a four-game sweep tomorrow morning at 10:35 a.m. as right-hander Will Roberts (2-2, 4.30 ERA, 4.90 FIP) faces off against left-hander Jacob Pettit (2-0, 3.86 ERA, 4.29 FIP).
Attendance: 1,804... Time of Game: 2:53... First pitch was at 7:05... Game time temperature: 79 degrees... First baseman Jesus Aguilar hit his fifth home run of the season to deep center field in the fourth inning off of Clark... Perez went 1-for-3 with a walk, extending his on-base streak to 13 games. The catcher continues to just get on the basepaths as he raised his on-base percentage to .400.
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