Akron RubberDucks playoff preview; host games tonight, Thursday

Western Division Title Up for Grabs as Akron Meets Richmond

Published:

Akron, OH —The Akron RubberDucks are back in the Eastern League playoffs for the first time since winning the league championship in 2012, and the 15th time overall in the 26 se asons that the team has played in Northeast Ohio.

The RubberDucks qualified for the post-season by finishing second in the Western Division with a 73-69 record, and will take on the Richmond Flying Squirrels (Giants) in a best-of-five, first-round match-up. The winner of the RubberDucks-Flying Squirrels series will face either Portland or Binghamton in the EL Championship Series beginning Tuesday, September 9th in the home ballpark of the Western Division champs.

Akron will host the first two games of the series, Wednesday and Thursday, September 3 and 4. Both games will begin at 6:35 p.m. EST, and feature post-game fireworks. The venue will shift to The Diamond in Richmond, Virginia, for game
three on Friday evening, September 5th, at 7:05 p.m.

Games four and five, if necessary, would also be played at The Diamond on Saturday, September 6 at 6:05 p.m., and Sunday, September 7 at 1:35 p.m. 

The RubberDucks occupied either first or second place in the Western Division from April 27 through the end of the regular season. At one point, Akron led the division by five games. Richmond caught fire in June, going 19-10 for the month, and assumed first place on June 25. The RubberDucks held onto second place, and, despite going 25-34 the final two months of the season, clinched the EL West Wild Card on August 30th over Bowie.

The RubberDucks were 3-4 in head-to-head competition against the Flying Squirrels, with all of the games being played in July. Akron took three out of four in a series at The Diamond, July 7-10. Richmond responded by sweeping a three-game set at Canal Park, July 21-23.

This series will mark the first time Akron and Richmond have met in the post-season. While the RubberDucks are making the 15th playoff appearance in franchise history, the Flying Squirrels are appearing for just the second time since joining the EL in 2009. In 2011, Richmond made the post-season field as the Western Division wild card team and swept Harrisburg before falling to New Hampshire, three games to one, in the league finals.

All playoff games will be carried live on radio on Fox Sports 1350 AM in Akron, and online at www.akronrubberducks.com via minor league baseball’s partnership with TuneIn Radio.

RubberDucks Post-Season Notes:
• The Akron franchise (Canton-Akron Indians, Akron Aeros, and Akron RubberDucks) has made the EL Playoffs 15 times since entering the league in 1989. Of the previous 14 playoff appearances, Akron has advanced to the league finals nine times, including an unprecedented five straight trips from 2005-09. The team has won four EL
championships—2003, 2005, 2009, and 2012.

• The RubberDucks are managed by David Wallace. This is Wallace’s first season in Akron and fourth season overall as a manager in the Indians minor league system. He led Class-A Lake County to the Midwest League playoffs in 2012. Wallace spent parts of three seasons as a player in Akron between 2004 and 2007.

• Hitting coach Rouglas Odor has appeared in the post-season as a player or coach with all three incarnations of Akron baseball (C-A Indians, Aeros, and RubberDucks).

• 53 different players suited up for the RubberDucks during the regular season. Of those 53, 27 were pitchers.

• Among the 25 players on Akron’s playoff roster, 10 were with the team on Opening Day.

• Akron’s Game One starter, RHP Duke von Schamann, was acquired in a trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers on 4/9, and went 8-8, 4.20 in 24 games for Akron.

• The RubberDucks finished with a record of 73-69. Their best record of the year was 57-41 on 7/17, and their worst record was 10-11 on 4/25.

• The RubberDucks crafted a 32-39 record at home, which ranks third worst in the EL. On the road, the RubberDuckswere 41-30, which is second only to Portland, who won 42 road games.

• The RubberDucks rank sixth in the EL in hitting (.261), and seventh in the league in team pitching (3.98).

• Akron and Richmond are tied for last in the league with 74 home runs apiece. They join Trenton (99) as the only EL teams not to amass at least 100 dingers.

• Defensively, Akron is tied with Portland for first in the league with a .982 collective fielding percentage. In 142 games, the RubberDucks committed only 95 errors. That total was even more impressive until the RubberDucks committed 10 errors in the last seven regular season games.

• The team’s leading hitter is OF Anthony Gallas, who is hitting .293, with 16 home runs and 49 RBI’s in 73 games. Gallas was a Carolina League all-star before a promotion to Akron on 6/11.

• 1B Bryan LaHair leads the team with 60 RBI.

• 2B Joe Wendle missed seven weeks due to a broken hamate bone in his right hand, but returned to the lineup on 8/19. Despite missing significant time, Wendle still managed to hit eight homers, 20 doubles and drive in 50 runs.

• RHP Will Roberts was the top pitcher on the staff during the regular season, going 12-12, with a 4.08 ERA in 27 starts. Roberts lead the league with 161 innings pitched, and ranked second in the EL in both wins and losses. Roberts was 1-1, 6.57, in two starts against Richmond (12.1 IP/9 ER).

• LHP Elvis Araujo is the active leader in saves with three.

• Aeros pitching averaged seven strikeouts and three walks per nine innings.

• Three Akron players from this season have moved up to the major leagues with the Indians (excluding rehab players). They are RHP Bryan Price, OF Tyler Holt and LHP Kyle Crockett. All three are still with the big club.

• Additionally, 11 Akron players from this year’s edition of the RubberDucks will be appearing in the AAA International League playoffs for the Columbus Clippers, including top prospect Francisco Lindor, who hit .278-6-48 in 88 games
with Akron prior to his promotion to Columbus on 7/22.

• The RubberDucks attracted 350,704 fans this season, a 15.7% increase over 2013. The team ranked fourth in the EL with 5,157 fans per game.

For more information, go to www.AkronRubberDucks.com or call 330-253-5151.

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