The Akron Aeros' offense has received a boost from the debut of highly touted prospect Francisco Lindor, who is hitting .414 overall and .458 (11 for 24) in the past week with four runs scored and seven walks.
THE PAST WEEK: When their pitching has been good, the Aeros have won. When their starters and bullpen have struggled, life has been miserable for manager Edwin Rodriguez's squad. Akron has won 4 of 6 in the past week, with all four wins coming in games where the pitching staff allowed two runs or fewer. In the team's two losses, Aeros pitchers yielded 20 runs and 27 hits. The offense has received a boost from the debut of highly touted prospect Francisco Lindor, who is hitting .414 overall and .458 (11 for 24) in the past week with four runs scored and seven walks.
WHERE THEY STAND: Their record remains just below .500 at 51-53, but the Aeros have gained ground on the division-leading Harrisburg Senators since the All-Star break. At 5.5 games back, Akron is the last of a quartet of teams within 5.5 games of one another, also trailing Erie and Bowie. Erie currently holds the second and final playoff spot in the division and leads the Aeros by 2.5 games. The Aeros continue to play better on the road than at Canal Park and are the only Eastern League team with a winning record on the road with a losing record at home.
WHO'S HOT: Lindor has delivered in his first nine games at the AA level, reaching base at least twice in eight. The Puerto Rican native has shown good discipline at the plate with 10 walks and has posted an impressive .575 on-base percentage from the leadoff spot. Right fielder Carlos Moncrief continues to be the Aeros' best power source, hitting two home runs in the past week to increase his team-leading total to 13. Toru Murata delivered a solid start in a 3-1 win at Harrisburg, pitching seven innings and allowing just one run on three hits. He also pitched well in a no-decision Wednesday, going six innings and allowing three hits and two runs. The bullpen played a big role in a four-game winning streak spanning series in Harrisburg and Bowie, pitching 10 1/3 scoreless innings as Trey Haley recorded two saves.
WHAT'S AHEAD: The Aeros will return to the road as part of a stretch in which they will play 19 of 26 games away from Canal Park. Three-game series in New Britain and Altoona are up next. Both series are against teams at or near the bottom of their divisions in the EL, making them opportunities for Akron to gain ground in the tightly bunched Western Division while the teams above them play one another.
NEXT HOME GAME: Friday, July 26 vs. Richmond (7:05 p.m.)
Reach Andy at 330-899-2872 or andy.harris@TheSuburbanite.com.
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