If there were such a thing as a mercy rule in professional baseball – the Aeros just might have gladly succumbed to it Tuesday night – less than halfway through the night’s action, at that.
That’s because by the time visiting Altoona was done batting in their nine-run fourth inning, the Curve’s advantage over the Aeros had steadily swelled from two to 11 runs, finishing the marathon frame only after sending 13 men to the plate in their eventual 18-hit, 14-6 victory.
A majority of Altoona’s offensive onslaught came against Aeros reliever Fabio Martinez, who ironically enough, had been summoned for the final out of the previous inning to rescue starter Danny Salazar.
Salazar gave up two first-inning runs but the Aeros came back in the bottom of the frame to tie the game on three consecutive base hits. But the aggressive Curve batters got to a wild Salazar again in the third and tacked on another pair of runs before chasing him from the game.
The right-handed team ace whose still making his way back from Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery two years ago, had been lifted after just 2 2/3 innings after giving up four runs on seven hits.
But that was nothing compared to the damaged inflicted by Martinez, who dished up nine runs on five hits in a mere 2/3 of an inning before he needed to be rescued by Aeros 2012 Mid Season All-Star Kyle Landis.
Compared to the first two Aeros hurlers, Landis did his job and then some. But if trailing 14-2 in the fith inning wasn't bad enough, the only run Landis allowed just happened to be a home run by Curve left fielder Andrew Lambo, whose longball completed a natural cycle that came all in just his first four at bats.
Despite the score getting out of hand so early, the Aeros batters rallied against Curve starter Brandon Cumpton for three runs in the fifth, finally chasing him from the game. But the Curve bullpen held the Aeros offense to one more run in the sixth inning the rest of the way.
The following three Aeros batters fininshed the game with multiple hits: center fielder Delvi Cid (2-for-4 with three runs scored), third baseman Giovanny Urshela (2-for-4 with a run scored) and designated hitter Chun Chen (2-for-4, RBI).
As bad as the Aeros pitching was in the early going, it's become crystal clear that left-handed reliever Edward Paredes isn’t going long for Double-A. In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him with the Indians in the near futures.
In his third impressiuve outing of the season, the former Seattle Mariners prospect (whom the Tribe signed as a free agent struck out five in two shutout innings.
By the end of the game, what had first appeared to be a break for Cleveland native Alex Lavisky, seemed more like a cruel joke.
The dire catching situation for the parent club Indians (Lou Marson was placed on the disabled list with a neck strain and Carlos Santana injured his left thumb in Monday’s home opener) had dominoed into the opportunity for the Aeros back up catcher to make his second start of the season.
Aeros starting backstop Roberto Perez was called up to Triple-A Columbus after the Clippers lost two catchers in Yan Gomes and Omir Santos, both being called up to Cleveland.
That left Lavisky as the Aeros main catcher and Chen (a former catcher) as the emergency backup until the team’s gets some reinforcements.