New Aeros manager Edwin Rodriguez has been around professional baseball long enough to know a thing or two about the game.
So when the former major league player, scout and manager and recent skipper of Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic politely preaches patience, it’s best to listen.
The young kids would hit as the weather warmed up, Perez said. And they would soon settle down in the field, too. Just be patient, he suggested.
Aeros fans only to wait three games before they finally got a glimpse of the offensive potential of this year’s team. Sunday, the host Aeros pounded out 13 runs on 15 hits in a 15-3 rout of Binghamton, avoiding a season-opening series sweep by the Mets and snapping a 0-3 skid to start.
“It’s a good thing we got the win,” Rodriguez joked afterward, “we were running out of jerseys.”
Like any good superstitious athlete would do, the Aeros players kept switching jersey colors and tops/bottoms combinations during the first four-game series against the Mets in an effort to find a winning combination.
The popular black tops and white pants proved to be a winner Sunday, meaning fans will likely see that look more moving forward as the Aeros continue this homestand tonight with a three-game series against Altoona.
On the sun-splashed 71-degree afternoon Sunday at Canal Park, the jerseys began to work their magic in the sixth inning as the Aeros bats finally thawed out from the deep freeze they’d been in the previous three games.
Mets starter Tyler Pill (the younger brother of San Francisco Giants first baseman Brett Pill) had limited Akron’s batsmen to a fourth-inning run aided by an error through the first five innings. But come the sixth inning, the Aeros offense battered him for four runs on six hits, halting the mastery of the New York Mets 25th-ranked prospect according to Baseball America.
That was only the beginning, as the Aeros touched the B-Mets pitching staff for five more runs in the seventh inning and three more for good measure in the eighth.
Five Binghamton errors didn’t help the visitor’s cause, as they began to throw the ball around (perhaps in frustration) as the beat down continued for three consecutive innings against every pitcher the Mets threw out on the mound.
Only one Aeros starter finished the game without a hit, five collecting multiple hits. First baseman Jesus Aguilar led the way in going 3-for-4 with five RBI and two runs scored, followed by shortstop Jose Ramirez, who went 3-for-4 with four runs scored.
In addition to the black jerseys, the Aeros did their best to halt the losing streak in handing the ball to right-handed pitcher Paolo Espino, the guy to turn to whenever a win is necessary.
Last year in Game One of the Eastern League finals, it was Espino who held Trenton to two hits over seven scoreless innings to record the Aeros first win en route their fourth league title.
This season, the Aeros were again in desperate need of a win, being off to their first 0-3 start since 1997 - the first year they moved into Canal Park. But once it was obvious that the seven-year pro that entered the game with 22 career wins with the Aeros (the team record is 23, held by Jamie Brown) didn’t have his best stuff, the Aeros were in jeopardy of being of good luck charms.
In just four innings, Espino spotted the B-Mets two runs on five hits and two walks while striking out five.
After getting through the first two innings unscathed, Espino ran into trouble when the B-Mets plated the first two runs of the game, aided by a hit batter and balk and driven in on a pair of run-scoring doubles by left fielder Daniel Ceciliani and catcher Blake Forsythe.
But theAeros cut the deficit in half in the fouth thanks to back-to-back singles by Ramirez and designated hitter Chun Chen, Aguilar following with a sacrifice fly finally that got the host on the board.