The first-place Altoona Curve maintained their position atop the Eastern League Western division despite losing two-of-three from the Binghamton Rumble Ponies this week.
The Altoona Curve ventured to Binghamton, NY for a three-game set against the Binghamton Rumble Ponies and mustered up only a singular victory in those three games. The Rumble Ponies offense exploded against Altoona pitching scoring a combined 24 runs in those three games.
Tanner Anderson was on the hook for the loss in game-one as he gave up six earned runs in five innings of work to get his third loss of the season. Binghamton torched the Curve pitching staff for thirteen hits and 10 runs in the series opening game.
Game-two went to Altoona, but the Rumble Ponies made it increasingly interesting late in the game. Curve starter Austin Coley went six strong innings giving up 3 earned runs while striking out four and walking three before yielding the game to the team’s bullpen which is normally solid. Jared Lakind took the ball in the seventh inning and promptly gave up three runs, two of them earned in his one inning of work.
After two solid starts from Yeudy Garcia, the right-hander lapsed back into his early season struggles in game-three failing to last four innings while giving up four earned runs on seven hits and three strikeouts. The Rumple Ponies rattled off a single run in five straight innings to put the nail in the Curve coffin Thursday night. It wasn’t a typical night for the usually steady Tate Scioneaux as the shut down set-up man gave up two earned runs in his first loss of the season.
Season has not been very kind to Lakind so far
Wednesday’s up-and-down game gave a snapshot into the struggles of Altoona reliever Jared Lakind so far this season. Lakind carried a 1.00 ERA into his appearance April 29th, however, after failing to last an inning, his last four appearances have not been kind to the southpaw.
The sophomore slump has hit Lakind hard of late after the Texas-native went 5-1 in 47 appearances for the Curve in 2016. Lakind boasted a 2.59 ERA in those 66 innings of work last season as opponents hit against him at a .216 clip.
The lefty relievers ERA has blown up to 8.04 following his last four outings as he’s given up a total of 10 runs in those games. Opponents are hitting Lakind at a .357 clip in 2017 while his WHIP is at 2.17 on the season.
Altoona will not be able to rely on DuRapau and Scioneaux at the back end of the bullpen for the entirety of the season even with their successes so far this season. The Curve will need to spread the wealth among their staff if they’d like to return to Eastern League glory. Getting Lakind to return to 2016 form or even 2017 form would allow Michael Ryan’s team the ability to lessen the load on DuRapau and Scioneaux in hopes of going deep into the post-season.
Home Field Advantage
With their victory over New Hampshire May 14th, Altoona’s record at home grew to 12-3 good for the best home record in all of professional baseball. The Curve have enjoyed playing in their newly improved home digs, PNG Field as they’ve been scoring 6.4 runs per game in front of the home faithful compared to 3.45 runs per game on the road.
Luckily for Altoona, they return for a seven-game homestand beginning Friday evening as Erie comes to town.
The Altoona Curve return home to face the Erie Seawolves in a three-game series this weekend before hosting Akron for a four-game series starting Monday. The weekend series against the Seawolves will see a heavy dose of Star Wars themed action with Star Wars nights both Friday and Saturday with the game Saturday featuring former MLB All Star who is in town for an appearance and home run derby with local celebrities.