It was an historic night at Canal Park Monday evening as Carlos Santana and the Akron Aeros dominated the Erie SeaWolves by the final count of 9-0. LHP Ryan Edell was sensational yet again, but the main story was the slugging of Santana and the offensive outburst by the suddenly mediocre Aeros. Entering the contest last night, Akron was exactly 33-33 in their past 66 games, as their lead in the Southern Division had dwindled down only three games above Erie. To add insult to injury, the Aeros were just 3-12 against the SeaWolves entering play Monday evening, making it an absolutely must-win contest for the two-time defending representative of the Southern Division in the Eastern League Championship Series.
Win they did, as they slugged four jacks and Santana collected a solo shot in the seventh, homering for the fourth consecutive ball game. The switch-hitting 23-year-old tied an Akron franchise record by doing so, matching current San Diego Padre 3B Kevin Kouzmanoff’s streak in July 2006. The home run also moved Santana into a tie for second in the Eastern League with 19 blasts on the season, and keeps him on pace for the most by an Aero since OF Jonathan van Every collected 27 back in 2005.
Home runs are not the only thing that the top prospect in the Indians organization has done well this season, and just take a look at this list of accomplishments and their possible standing in the Akron/Canton-Akron record book:
Santana now has 69 RBI = on pace for 95 on the season
1st place Wes Hodges (97, 2008), 2nd place Chan Perry (96, 1997) while 3rd place is a tie between Tony Mitchell (89, 1994) and Scott Morgan (89, 1998)
Santana now has 63 walks = on pace for 87 on the season
1st place Ken Ramos (82, 1992) and 2nd place Josh Rodriguez (77, 2008). Meanwhile, Santana’s 87 walks would be the most in the Eastern League since current Indianapolis Indian Brian Myrow had 107 back in 2004 for Portland.
Santana’s 19 home runs now = on pace for 25 on the season
Most since Jonathan van Every tied franchise-record with 27 in 2005, and would be tie for fourth all-time in becoming second Aero this decade to hit 25+ home runs.
Santana now has a .396 on-base percentage
Would rank fifth in Aeros history behind Jordan Brown (.421 in 2007), Victor Martinez (.417 in 2002), Brian Barton (.416 in 2007) and Todd Betts (.397 in 1998)
Back to the playing field and the game last night, where lefty Edell held Erie to four hits and just two walks in seven scoreless innings. The 26-year-old native of Boston, MA now is second in the Eastern League with a 2.48 ERA while his 87 strikeouts are tied for fifth despite spending a month in the Columbus bullpen. He is just 3-1 in 16 games (15 starts) for Akron but the numbers have been pretty impressive especially recently.
Beau Mills slugged a pair of home runs last night, giving him three in a span of two games while Nick Weglarz hit one in the seventh right before Santana tied the record. Akron continues their series with Erie tonight as Jeanmar Gomez (7-3, 3.54 ERA) takes the mound on another Two for Tuesday while Connor Graham makes his Double-A debut Wednesday night. Right-hander Josh Tomlin (9-8, 4.16 ERA) then starts the closing game Thursday of this crucial series against thesecond-place Wolves.
Jacob Rosen is a long-time contributor to WaitingForNextYear. He's also a writer online at SportsAnalyticsBlog and Nylon Calculus . An Akron native, Jacob is a current MBA student at the University of Oregon's Warsaw Sports Marketing Center. You can follow him on Twitter @WFNYJacob or e-mail him at udjrosen(at)gmail(dot)com.