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RubberDucks Notebook: LaHair finding comfort in Akron

RubberDucks Notebook: LaHair finding comfort in Akron
May 20, 2014
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Week in review

The RubberDucks won two series, sweeping the Harrisburg Senators at home and taking two out of three from the Erie SeaWolves on the road before dropping Monday evening’s contest in Altoona. The team has been playing its best baseball this season, winning 18 of their last 22 games. Akron has had dominant pitching (first in the Eastern League with a 3.31 team ERA) and hot bats at the plate during this successful stretch. They now stand at 28-15 and have the best record in the Eastern League overall.

Player Spotlight: Bryan LaHair

The former all-star first baseman has been plagued with injuries ever since his best seasons as a Cub back in 2011 and 2012. LaHair signed a minor league deal with the Tribe in early February after being released by a Japanese baseball team last year.

The 31 year-old is a player viewed strictly as a left-handed power hitter by most teams, which gauged the Indians interest. LaHair started the season out in Columbus where he struggled mightily with just four hits and a .114 batting average through 10 games. He was demoted to Akron soon after.

Since then LaHair has found his swing. In 19 games, he is hitting .347 with 25 hits, including a home run and 17 RBI. This past Friday, he had one of his best performances, going 4-for-6 with a double and five RBI to lead the RubberDucks past the SeaWolves, 12-7.

If LaHair continues this pace, he might find himself back in a Clippers uniform before we know it.

Who's Hot

Tony Wolters, Catcher
6 G, 24 AB, .331 BA, .392 OBP, .397 SLG, .789 OPS, 5 RBI, 8 H, 5 R

Before it ended last Friday, Wolters was on a seven-game hitting streak from May 10th to May 16th where he hit .407 and drove in five runs. This wasn’t the first time he’s done it this season, as he previously had an eight-game hitting streak spanning from late April to early May. The California native has had a great season making contact at the plate and defensively behind the dish as well.

Alex Lavisky, Catcher
4 G, 14 AB, .438 BA, .458 OBP, .625 SLG, 1.084 OPS, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 6 H, 3 R

The northeast Ohio product out of St. Edward’s High School has made his presence known as an every other day catcher. Lavisky has a hitting streak of his own, currently still alive at six games straight. He is coming off of a great game against Altoona on Monday night where he singled twice and drew a walk.

Tyler Sturdevant, Right-handed reliever
3 G, 3.2 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 4 SO, 2 BB, 1 SV

The feisty right-handed reliever is giving Shawn Armstrong a run for his money for the best bullpen arm in Akron. After missing the entire 2013 season with a right shoulder injury, Sturdevant has come out firing this year, posting a 1.45 ERA on the season with 18 strikeouts in 18.2 IP. He has gone eight straight outings without surrendering a run and has struck out 11 during this stretch.

Who's Not

Will Roberts, Right-handed starter
2 G, 2 L, 10 IP, 6.30 ERA, 2 HR, 17 H, 8 R, 7 ER, 9 SO, 4 BB

Roberts had a rough week, allowing seven earned runs on 17 hits to the opposition. He’s dropped two decisions in a row after winning two straight his previous two outings.

Tyler Holt, Outfielder
7 G, 23 AB, .202 BA, .300 OBP, .274 SLG, .574 OPS, 2 RBI, 4 H, 4 BB, 7 K

The center fielder started off quick this season, including a seven-game hitting streak a couple of weeks ago, however, lately this hasn’t been the case. Aside from his game-winning single at Erie last Sunday, Holt has seen his batting average dip to under-.300.

Ronny Rodriguez, Infielder
7 G, 26 AB, .190 BA, .262 OBP, .583 SLG, .845 OPS, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 4 K

As much as it seemed that Ronny Rodriguez was starting to finally turn it around last week, it went downhill in a hurry. The utility man went 0-for-11 in the team’s series at Erie after going 7-for-24 with three doubles and a grand slam in his previous six games.

Promoted/Demoted

Kyle Crockett., Left-handed reliever
2 G, 2.2 IP, 3.38 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 1 HR, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 SO, 1 BB

After a nervous first outing against Oakland last Friday, the young left-handed reliever came in two days later much calmer, allowing no hits and striking out one in 1.1 IP. He looks like he will stick and T.J. House will be sent down to make room for Trevor Bauer on Tuesday.

Duke von Schamann, Right-handed starter
1 G, ND, 4.2 IP, 5.79 ERA, 1 HR, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 SO, 1 BB

Duke von Schamann was promoted to Columbus for a spot start where he pitched a decent game, allowing three runs on six hits in 4.2 IP. He has since been sent back to Akron and is expected to rejoin the RubberDucks rotation this week.

J.C. Ramirez, Right-handed reliever
1 G, 1 W, 2 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0 HR, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER

J.C. Ramirez was added to Akron’s roster last Friday. Ramirez fractured his left thumb in spring training and underwent surgery a few days after. In his first outing of the season, he was dominant allowing no runs in two innings in a win at Erie.

Francisco Valera, Right-handed reliever

After posting a 7.11 ERA on the season, the Indians decided to part ways with Valera and released him. The right-hander really had issues this year, giving up 10 runs on 19 hits in just 12.2 IP.

Injury updates

Giovanni Soto, Left-handed reliever
2 G, 1 L, 1 BS, 1.1 IP, 40.50 ERA, 1 HR, 5 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 SO, 3 BB

Coming off of a 7-day DL stint, Soto has had issues. In 1.1 IP, the lefty reliever has given up five earned runs on five hits, including a home run. On Monday night, he blew a 3-2 Akron lead in the bottom of the ninth and earned a blown save and a loss.

Who's next

After dropping Monday night’s contest late against the Curve 4-3, the RubberDucks will play three more games in Altoona before returning home for a four-game series where they will take on the Reading Phillies.

Spencer Davies is a student at the University of Akron studying Sports Management with a minor concentrating in Mass Communication. He has interned for the Cleveland Indians minor league affiliate Akron RubberDucks, IMG College, and has shadowed Fox Sports Ohio's Sam Amico. He currently is an on-air sports personality at WZIP-FM and works for the Akron Beacon Journal. Follow Spencer on Twitter @SpinDavies.

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