If there were such a thing as a mercy rule in professional baseball, the Aeros just might have gladly succumbed to it Tuesday night at Canal Park.
By the time the Curve was done batting in a nine-run fourth inning, the Aeros were behind by 11 runs.
The Curve sent 13 men to the plate in the fourth inning and finished with 18 hits in a 14-6 victory.
A majority of the Curve’s offensive onslaught came against Aeros reliever Fabio Martinez, who had been summoned for the final out of the previous inning to rescue starter Danny Salazar.
Salazar, the right-handed ace who is coming back from Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery two years ago, lasted just 2⅔ innings, giving up four runs on seven hits.
“That third inning he threw 33 [of his 72] pitches,” Aeros manager Edwin Rodriguez said. “That’s way too many pitches for any pitcher — Tommy John or not. The surgery isn’t so much the issue as much as 33 pitches at this level are, it’s just way too many. He was pitching from behind in the count and lacked any command on his fastball and his breaking ball wasn’t working either. He was all over the place.”
But that was nothing compared to the damaged inflicted on Martinez, who allowed nine runs on five hits in two-thirds of an inning before giving way to Kyle Landis.
“I had him last year [at high Class-A Carolina] and after the first two hitters, you can tell if he’s going to have a good or bad night,” Rodriguez said. “But we needed innings because we’d just pulled the starter. We were hoping he could give us innings, but it didn’t happen. He definitely needs to make an adjustment in his delivery.”
Compared to the first two Aeros pitchers, Landis did his job and then some. But if trailing 14-2 in the fifth inning wasn’t bad enough, the only run Landis allowed was a home run by Curve left fielder Andrew Lambo, who completed a cycle that came in his first four at-bats.
“It’s a big accomplishment to hit for the cycle,” Rodriguez said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re playing in Little League. And he went in order, single, double, triple, home run. There’s a reason he’s [batting] fourth for them.”
As bad as the Aeros pitching was in the early going, it’s become clear that left-handed reliever Edward Paredes isn’t long for Double-A. In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him with the Indians in the near future.
“The first night I pitched it was pretty cold,” Paredes said. “Tonight was pretty warm and I felt even better.”
In his third impressive 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 backup catcher to make his second start of the season.
Aeros starting catcher Roberto Perez was called up to Triple-A Columbus after the Clippers lost catchers Yan Gomes and Omir Santos, who were both called up by the Indians.
That left Lavisky as the Aeros main catcher and designated hitter Chun Chen (a former catcher) as the emergency backup.
“We’re trying to get another catcher,” Rodriguez said. “We’re going to need one.”
Stephanie Storm can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Aeros blog at http://www.ohio.com/aeros. Follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SStormABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.