RubberDucks wimper into playoffs with 4-2 loss
(Akron, Ohio) – Turning the calendar over to September didn’t help the Akron RubberDucks in the irregular-season wrap-up Monday afternoon. Hopefully, it will make a difference come Wednesday night.
Dean Green’s two-run homer in the sixth inning off Cole Sulser lifted the Erie SeaWolves to a 4-2 victory, and completed a four-game series sweep over the RubberDucks on Fan Appreciation Day at Canal Park.
The RubberDucks not only lost all four against the SeaWolves (71-71), but dropped seven of the eight games during the homestand. Despite clinching a playoff berth, the RubberDucks have lost 10 of their last 11 during an unfavorable, lateseason swoon. The team hopes to change its fortunes on Wednesday evening when they host Richmond in the playoff opener at 6:35.
Green’s homer, part of a three-RBI day, proved costly for the RubberDucks in more ways than one. Not only did it snap a 2-2 tie and lead the SeaWolves to the win, but Sulser also sustained an injury on that very pitch and left the game with what was described right elbow discomfort.
Sulser (0-1) was added to the RubberDucks roster on Monday from Class-A Carolina when scheduled starter Nick Maronde was called up to Triple-A Columbus. Making his second start of the season for Akron, Sulser recovered from two first-inning runs, and pitched well through five, but gave up a lead-off single to Jason Krizan in the sixth just prior to Green’s homer to center. Susler’s status for the upcoming EL playoffs is now uncertain.
The RubberDucks (73-69) tied the game, 2-2, in the fifth on Ollie Linton’s RBI double off Erie starter Warwick Saupold (8-11). Saupold worked the first six innings, scattering three hits and two runs. He walked three and struck out five. Relief help came from Guido Knudson, Angel Nesbitt and Jose Valdez, all of whom tossed one scoreless inning. Valdez posted his 18th save, six of which came against Akron.
Notes: Righthander Josh Martin came in after Sulser and retired all six batters he faced in his AA debut. Martin fanned his first three hitters. Attendance was 5,668, giving the RubberDucks a season total of 350,704 fans, which ranks fourth in the EL. Playoff tickets are available for games on Wednesday and Thursday. Fireworks will follow both games.
The RubberDucks will open the best-of-five Eastern League Western Division Series against Richmond on Wednesday evening at 6:35. LHP Adalberto Mejia (7-9, 4.67) is the expected starter for Richmond, while the RubberDucks are expected to go with RHP Duke von Schamann (8-8, 4.20).