AKRON, Ohio — Rob Portman was slated to toss out the first pitch, but in the words of Credence Clearwater Revival, the Ohio senator had to wonder who'll stop the rain.

Portman, along with 50 volunteers, braved the steady rain, tailgating outside his campaign's RV at his second event of the day, a Sunday doubleheader at Canal Park, the home of the Akron RubberDucks, a minor league baseball team, prepping to toss out the pitch.

"We'll see how it goes," Portman said. "Last time I did this, I was on the mound and I went low [and] left ... I got it over, but my boys were like 'daaaad.'"

As former Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory found out nearly a decade ago (and Portman referenced), it isn't always a rosy experience.

Even at the ballpark, Portman cannot escape Donald Trump, the Republican nominee who has thrown the presidential contest and races across the nation into a tailspin, and whom Portman reluctantly supports.

"It'll be a strange election I think," Portman said while chatting with the team's broadcasters about the race. "A lot of unpredictability this year with the top of the ticket."

Unlike some of his fellow Republicans in other swing states, Portman hasn't been damaged much by the Trump effect. According to the latest RealClearPolitics average, he leads Democratic former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland by nearly 6 points.

Portman supports Trump but makes no bones about why the GOP presidential nominee has slipped in the polls recently, to the detriment of Republicans in battleground states.

"The general advice that I'd said from the start is that if he sticks to the issues, he'll be a lot better," said Portman. "It's when he gets off on topics that are not related to what matters to people and their families ... Maybe he feels like he's being disciplined by attacking the media or attacking a Gold Star family or whatever, but that's not what Ohioans care about."

"What they care about is ... how are you going to improve my wages and get my expenses down, deal with the middle class squeeze that I'm facing. How are you going to protect me from terrorism. How are you going to deal with this overdose of heroin threat that's killing all of our young people. How are you going to actually help my life," he continued. "Don't make it about you. Make it about me."

"I think he has an opportunity if he doesn't, you know, squander it," he said about Trump wooing union voters. "I think Donald Trump has an opportunity if he talks about those issues. If he gets off on Gold Star families or whatever, he's not going to be able to get as much support … If he's talking about the New York Times, I don't think it works."

He made two more stops to cap his day: an office opening in Mayfield, a suburb of Cleveland, as well as a last minute stop at Feast of the Assumption in Little Italy, where he came into contact with an Elvis impersonator and had beer dumped on him by some members of the crowd who had a few too many and were, apparently, excited to see him.

But the Trump issue cropped up again only hours later.

At a Monday breakfast with Ukrainian and Eastern European leaders from the greater Cleveland area, Trump's constant criticism of NATO was a major point of discussion. Making his stance clear, Portman referred to NATO as the "most important military alliance in the world. Period."

Multiple attendees brought up the issue as well, telling him that even though they will likely support Trump due to their disdain for Hillary Clinton, their concern is heightened because of these comments. The night before, the New York Times reported on allegations that Paul Manafort, Trump's campaign chairman, received undisclosed payments of $12.7 million from the pro-Russian political party supporting former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

"He can't say these things," said Irene Morrow, a former president of the American nationalities movement. A column even sat in front of some attendees with the headline reading, "How they see us: Trump undermines the NATO alliance."

"If we lost NATO, the whole [Middle East] is in disarray. With Trump just telling about not supporting NATO, this is really going to affect us negatively and it could affect the whole area," said Pierre Bejjani, who represented the American-Lebanese community at the breakfast and reluctantly supports Trump. "Not only Europe, but the whole area — the Middle East … So we have to reexamine what he's saying. But he really has to understand what is going on before he starts making such statements.

"When you hear him say I am who I am and what I do is what I do, and there is no control…this really concerns us," Bejjani continued. "You see everybody — a lot of people in this room, they were really concerned about this. I'm puzzled."

After appearing at the funeral service for former Ohio Republican Rep. Steve LaTourette in Cleveland, Portman finished his day in Akron, attending a cookout with the local Fraternal Order of Police.

The event took place about three weeks after the state FOP endorsed Portman by a 297-10 margin over Strickland, according to Frank Williams, the head of the Akron chapter. Williams cited past comments by Strickland on Ferguson as a main reason for the show of support. This was Portman's third key union endorsement, which Republicans find tough to come by.

Once again, Trump came up, with many members of the local FOP supporting him over Clinton, which Portman acknowledged afterwards.

"What else did I hear about? Politics," he said with a laugh. "You probably noticed there are a few Trump supporters here in the room."

The differences between Portman and Trump could not be more stark. Compared to the brash and outspoken Trump who parachutes into any given place in his luxury plane, Portman is reserved, trying to keep his head down as he makes his way around the state in an RV his team reserved through election day.

Despite criticisms from some, including the Strickland campaign, Portman appears more than comfortable moving to the beat of his own drum, using his own campaign staff, finances, and army of volunteers rather than relying on the state party, the Trump campaign or outside groups, all the while touting the number of calls or door knocks his volunteers make on any given day. He's playing the long and conventional game hoping that it pays off in the year of the unconventional.

As Portman campaigned with the FOP, Trump descended upon the region to give a speech on terrorism and the Islamic State in Youngstown. Will we someday see them campaigning side by side?

"We'll see," Portman said. "I'll probably continue to do my own thing."