Sep 092010
 

With the 2-3 format that’s prevalent in the minors and independent baseball, winning Game One is crucial for the visiting team.

Why?

Because it instantly negates the chance of the first-half team, the home team for Games 1 and 2, either sweeping or going on the road only needing to win one game.

Harrisburg was up to the task, responding to a three-run 1st with a five-run 2nd and putting away Altoona with another five-run rally in the 8th en route to a 10-5 victory.

Potomac refused the hospitality of five walks and a two-out error that built an 8-0 lead after its half of the 1st and let the Keys back into the game with a seven-run rally. Instead, the bats napped for the next eight innings until Derek Norris went deep on an opposite-field blast to tie it in the top of the 9th at 9-9. A three-base error by Tyler Moore on a sacrifice gave the Keys the Little-League-esque win at 10-9.

Tom Milone started for Harrisburg and bore down after the first to go 5⅔ innings, with three runs allowed (two earned) on four hits and two walks. He allowed one home run, but struck out seven.

Danny Rosenbaum started for Potomac and lasted just one inning, giving up seven earned runs on four hits and two walks, the big hurt coming on a two-out grand slam by Brian Ward, his fourth professional home run.

For the rest of the highlights…

Team Pitching Star Hitting Star #1 Hitting Star #2
Harrisburg Senators
W, 10-5
Hassan Pena
2IP 0H 0R 0BB 1K
Jesus Valdez
2-5, R, 3RBI
Ofilio Castro
3-5, R
Potomac Nationals
L, 10-9
Pat Lehman
3⅓ IP 5H 2R 0ER 0BB 6K
Jamar Walton
1-4, R, HR, 4RBI
Derek Norris
2-3, 2R, 2BB, HR, RBI
Sep 082010
 

For the second time in three seasons, Potomac will be taking part in the Carolina League playoffs. For the first time since 2007, the Frederick Keys are returning. It’s being dubbed as the Battle of the Beltways — though Frederick is nearly 30 miles away from 495 — by the Keys for Games 1 and 2, while Potomac will host Game 3, and Games 4 and/or 5, if necessary.

In the overall standings, the two teams are separated by just a game and a half, but it’s a nearly a ten-game swing in each half. In the first, Frederick won 41 games to Potomac’s 31, while in the second, Potomac won 39 to Frederick’s 31. Advantage, Potomac, right?

Yes and no.

It may sound trite, but clichés are what they are because they’re true just often enough: In a short series, anything can happen, and the last two times Frederick appeared in the playoffs, they limped in with second halves not unlike this one… and then went on to win the Mills Cup.

Frederick holds the season-series edge at 11-9, but broken down by halves it’s 8-2 in favor of Frederick in the first, 7-3 in favor of Potomac in the second. The visiting team has won 13 of the 20 matchups. Both teams have had big bats bumped up — Steve Lombardozzi and Mike Burgess for Potomac, Joe Mahoney and Xavier Avery for Frederick. But fortifications have come from opposite directions: demoted AA players have been the primary replacements for Potomac (e.g. Bill Rhinehart, Sean Rooney) while Frederick has promoted (Jonathan Schoop from Bluefield, Mychal Givens from Aberdeen).

On paper, this playoff series figures to be a slugfest, as the 38 combined runs scored in a late-season series suggests. Frederick, despite losing the likes Avery and Mahoney, still boasts the second-best offense in the Carolina League with 691 runs scored. Potomac, fueled by the hottest player in the Carolina League, if not the minor leagues (Tyler Moore), comes in at 3rd by that measure (665 runs) but is second in HRs and slugging percentage. Harry Grove field isn’t exactly Petco field when it comes to keeping the ball in the yard (third most homer-friendly in all affiliated minors, according the most recent three-year average conducted by the Baseball Think Factory).

But strange things happen in the playoffs, so about the only thing that could possibly surprise would be three or more games with 1-0, 2-1 or 3-2 scores.
Without further ado, here’s the breakdown, starting with the schedule…

Game 1 at Frederick, Sept. 8 at 7 p.m.
Game 2 at Frederick, Sept. 9 at 7 p.m.
Game 3 at Potomac, Sept. 10 at 7:03 p.m.
Game 4 at Potomac (if necessary), Sept. 11 at 6:35 p.m.
Game 5 at Potomac (if necessary), Sept. 12 at 1:05 p.m.

And here are the announced matchups, per MiLB.com…
Game 1 Danny Rosenbaum (3-2, 2.09) vs. Oliver Drake (6-6, 4.36)
Game 2 Trevor Holder (3-3, 4.09) vs. Ryan O’Shea (7-8, 3.84)
Game 3 Jimmy Barthmaier (4-1, 3.62) vs. Zach Clark (2-3, 5.25)
Game 4 Marcos Frias (7-5, 5.69) vs. Luis Noel (3-2, 6.18)
Game 5 TBD vs. TBD

And — don’t underestimate this, it matters big-time — the weather forecasts…
Game 1 – 78° and clear
Game 2 – 76° and clear
Game 3 – 76° and clear
Game 4 – 76° and clear
Game 5 – 81° scattered t-storms (40%)

Projected Starting Lineups
POTOMAC
3B Dan Lyons (.221/.352/.306 , 1HR, 13RBI)
C Derek Norris (.235/.419/.419, 12HR, 49RBI)
RF Bill Rhinehart (.254/.328/.466, 14HR, 51RBI)
1B Tyler Moore (.269/.321/.552, 31HR, 111RBI)
DH Sean Rooney (.258/.320/.400, 3HR, 22RBI)
LF Jamar Walton (.302/.309/.453, 1HR, 11RBI)
SS Jose Lozada (.256/.307/.390, 6HR, 34RBI)
CF Nick Moresi (.236/.283/.342, 1HR, 24RBI)
2B Francisco Soriano (.198/.319/.302, 1HR, 10RBI)

FREDERICK
CF Kyle Hudson (.260/.348/.304, 40SB, 83R)
LF Bobby Stevens (.256/.354/.350, 4HR, 39RBI)

CF Xavier Avery (.280/.349/.389, 28SB, 73R)
LF Kyle Hudson (.260/.348/.304, 40SB, 83R)
RF Ronnie Welty (.282/.349/.464, 18HR, 82RBI)
3B Billy Rowell (.275/.348/.408, 11HR, 61RBI)
2B L.J. Hoes (.278/.375/.368, 3HR, 44RBI)
1B Tyler Townsend (.284/.385/.552, 3HR, 14RBI)
SS Pedro Florimon Jr. (.288/.361/.423, 4HR, 33RBI)
C Brian Ward (.199/.322/.254, 2HR, 30RBI)
DH Jonathan Schoop (.238/.273/.381, 0HR, 3RBI)

Update: Potomac’s radio broadcaster, Will Flemming, is reporting via Twitter that Xavier Avery has been reassigned from Bowie to Frederick

Obligatory Prediction
Potomac in four games.

Sep 072010
 

The expected recall of Yunesky Maya and Ross Detwiler was widely reported over the weekend, and took place this afternoon, but there was also a surprise in the bunch: soon-to-be 28-year-old Joe Bisenius.

Bisenius, who was cut from spring training by the Philadelphia Phillies, was signed in May as he was gearing up for a stint as a reliever for the Sioux City Explorers of the independent American Association of Professional Baseball.

His next appearance will be his third as a major-leaguer, having appeared in two games in April 2007 for the Philadelphia Phillies. He was also recalled during the summer of 2008 for eight days with making an appearance.

Injuries to his back limited his ’09 campaign to just 20 games. He had previously suffered rotator-cuff injuries in ’08.

Bisenius has been reported to have (or be capable of) high-90s velocity, but it was not seen at Potomac during his stint in June. Overall, Bisenius has posted a 3.05ERA in 34 appearances with a 4-0 record and one save.

Sep 072010
 

Our final 2010 look at the leaders, trailers, and outliers in the Washington Nationals minor leagues, with a focus on the level where the prospects shone the brightest, not counting some guy who made a tour for service-time reasons (*ahem*).

SYRACUSE 76-67, 2nd place IL North, 11 games back

Good Bat: Danny Espinosa .295/.349/.463 in 24G
Arm: Josh Wilkie 2.45ERA, 1.13WHIP, 2HR in 69⅔ IP
Bad Bat: Chris Duncan .191/.274/.302 in 82G
Arm: Collin Balester as a starter: 11.57ERA, .385OBA
Interesting Bat: Boomer Whiting .372OBP, 36/48 SB
Arm: Erik Arnesen 1.29WHIP, 3.95ERA in 107IP

HARRISBURG 77-65, 2nd place, 5 games back, E.L. West Division Wild Card

Good Bat: Chris Marrero .294/.350/.450 in 141G
Arm: Tom Milone 12-5, 2.85ERA ( in ’09, 12-5, 2.91ERA), 155K in 158IP
Bad Bat: Sean Rooney .165BA in 31G
Arm: Aaron Thompson 4-13, 5.80ERA, 1.59WHIP
Interesting Bat: Steve Lombardozzi .295/.373/.524 in 27G
Arm: Tanner Roark 1.22WHIP, 2.50ERA in 6 starts since acquisition

POTOMAC
39-30 in 2nd Half, 70-69 overall — 2nd-Half CrL North Division winner by 2½ games

Good Bat: Tyler Moore 31HR, 111RBI, .552SLG
Arm: Dan Leatherman 0.92WHIP, 57K in 46⅔ IP in 31G w/ 11SV
Bad Bat: Chris Curran .226/.293/.305 in 74G
Arm: Justin Phillabaum 0-6, 6.87ERA (13.17 at home), 1.77WHIP in 29 appearances
Interesting Bat: Derek Norris .300/.535/.575 with RISP; .210/.359/.347 bases empty
Arm: Brad Peacock 5.1K/9 at A+ in ’09; 10.27K/9 in ’10

HAGERSTOWN
29-41 in 2nd Half, 65-75 overall

Good Bat: J.P. Ramirez .296/.341/.470 in 132G
Arm: Danny Rosenbaum 2.32ERA, 1.22WHIP in 18G
Bad Bat: Adrian Nieto .195/.291/.253, 13E in 60G
Arm: Josh Smoker 7.38ERA, .319OBA as starter
Interesting Bat: Justin Bloxom .309/.355/.476 in ’10; .228/.346/.303 in ’09 at Vermont
Arm: Rob Wort 2.08ERA, 185OBA; 3.91ERA, .247OBA in ’09 at GCL

VERMONT
36-38, 3rd Place Stedler Division of NY-Penn League, 2 games back

Good Bat: David Freitas .307/.408/.450 in 62G
Arm: Neil Holland 1.04WHIP, 37K in 32⅔ IP in 19G
Bad Bat: Hendry Jimenez .218/.291/.279 in 51G
Arm: Chris McKenzie 1.97WHIP, 8.54ERA in 26⅓ IP over 8G (6GS)
Interesting Bat: Wade Moore .287/.394/.392, ’10 D-2 draftee
Arm: Mark Herrera 1.18WHIP, .220OBA, ’10 Juco draftee

GCL NATIONALS
24-32, 4th place GCL East Division, 13 games back

Good Bat: Randolph Oduber .366/.434/.569 in 39G
Arm: Nick Serino 1.01WHIP, 3.16ERA in 25⅔ IP
Bad Bat: Rashad Hatcher .200/.241/.218 in 32G
Arm: Mike Gallo 8.38ERA, .291OBA in 19⅓ IP
Interesting Bat: Angel Montilla .285/.350/.383 in 51G
Arm: NDFA Billy Ott 0.83WHIP, 1.17ERA in 23IP

DSL NATIONALS
36-35, 5th Place, Boca Chica East, 10 games back

Good Bat: Victor Chavez .309/.420/.412 in 46G
Arm: Wirkin Estevez 1.04WHIP, .233OBA in 82⅔ IP
Bad Bat: Yamaicol Tejeda .042BA in 48AB over 32G
Arm: Jorge De La Cruz 9.88ERA in 11G
Interesting Bat: 18-y.o. Paul Chacin .281/.355/.336 in 50G
Arm: Adalberto Mieses 1.42WHIP, 33BB, 5HR, 2.98ERA
Sep 072010
 

The Quick Rundown…

Team Yesterday’s Result
Syracuse Chiefs Lost, 4-3
Harrisburg Senators Won, 6-5
Potomac Nationals Won, 7-6
Hagerstown Suns Lost, 7-3

Syracuse Chiefs L, 4-3 @ Pawtucket Box | Gamer
Starting Pitcher: Arnesen (L, 6-8) 8IP 7H 4R 4ER 3BB 3K 1HR
Pitching Star: None
Hitting Star #1: Orr 2-4, R, HR, RBI
Hitting Star #2: Burke 1-3, R, HR, RBI
Notes: Erik Arnesen went the distance, two veterans went deep, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Pawtucket as the Syracuse Chiefs lost 4-3. The PawSox touched Arnesen for the four runs with three in the second, and one in the fourth before Arenesen would retire 13 straight before a one-out walk in the eighth. Pete Orr and Jamie Burke both hit solo HRs in the top of the fifth to cut the Pawtucket lead in half. A bunt single by Brian Bixler and two errant pickoff throws set up the third Syracuse run in the sixth before the PawSox pitchers would bear down, allowing just a walk and a hit batsmen over the final three innings. With the loss, Syracuse finished 76-67, 11 games behind Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Harrisburg Senators W, 6-5 @ Binghamton Box | Gamer
Starting Pitcher: Roark 5⅔ IP 8H 4R 2ER 1BB 10K 1HR
Pitching Star: Pena 1⅓ IP 1H 0R 0BB 0K
Hitting Star #1: Johnson 2-3, 2R, 2BB, HR, 3RBI
Hitting Star #2: Burgess 2-4, 2B, RBI
Notes: A loss by Bowie clinched Harrisburg’s playoff spot, but the Senators made it a moot point with a 6-5 win over Binghamton. Josh Johnson delivered the knockout punch in the top of the ninth with a three-run home run to complete the comeback that had begun in the seventh as the Senators overcame deficits of 4-0 and 5-3 to beat the B-Mets. Starting pitcher Tanner Roark went the first 5⅔ innings and allowed four runs (two earned) on eight hits and a walk while striking out ten. Cole Kimball shook off a solo HR surrendered in the eighth to pitch a scoreless ninth and got the win, his fifth for Harrisburg this season. The Senators travel to Altoona tomorrow for Games 1 and 2 of the best-of-five series for the opening round of the Eastern League playoffs.

Potomac Nationals W, 7-6 vs. Kinston Box | Gamer
Starter/Pitching Star: Frias (ND) 6⅔ IP 6H 0R 0BB 8K
Hitting Star #1: Jacobsen 1-4, 3RBI
Hitting Star #2: Moresi 2-4, R, HR, 2RBI
Notes: See what happened on the final Monday Afternoon In Woodbridge

Hagerstown Suns L, 7-3 @ West Virginia Box | Gamer
Starting Pitcher: Solis 2IP 2H 0R 0BB 2K
Pitching Star: None
Hitting Star #1: Hague 2-4, 3B, HR, 2RBI
Hitting Star #2: Perez 2-4, R, 2SB (63, 64)
Notes: Sammy Solis made his second professional appearance and maintained his 0.00ERA with two scoreless innings pitched, two hits allowed, and two batters set down on strikes. Relievers Paul Applebee and Wanel Vasquez were slightly less effective, surrendering seven runs on 14 hits and two walks over the next six innings as the Hagerstown Suns ended 2010 with a 7-3 loss, its third straight defeat. The top of the order, Eury Perez and Rick Hague, combined for four of the nine Suns hits, with Perez stealing his 63rd and 64th bases and Hague tripling and homering for 2RBI. Hagerstown finished the second half in sixth place with a 29-41 mark and went 65-75 overall.

Sep 062010
 

In another so-called meaningless game, the Potomac Nationals took their fans on a roller-coaster of emotion with a 7-6 win to close out the second half of the 2010 season.

Ahead 5-1 in the ninth, and a rested A.J. Morris on the mound, the game looked like it was in the bag. Except someone forgot to tell Kinston, who got an infield single to third and two singles to center pull within three at 5-2.

Morris would get the next five batters to hit the ball on the ground, none would leave the infield by virtue of the bat, but Kinston would emerge with the lead.

Doug Pickens would be safe on an error by Tyler Moore that the scorekeeper saw otherwise (if at all) to load the bases. The next batter, Donnie Webb, would reach base by virtue of Nicol’s unsuccessful attempt to put out Pickens, the throw sailing past Francisco Soriano into foul territory for a two-base error that saw Webb take third, and three runs come in to score for a 5-5.

The next three grounders to short would result in outs, but Webb was able to score on the second to get the go-ahead run and give Kinston a 6-5 lead.

But this is a veteran Potomac team, an adjective that’s somewhat pejorative with minor-league fan(boy)s, but in this case it simply means they carried themselves like they’ve seen this before.

Derek Norris flew out to right to open the inning, but Bill Rhinhart singled to put the tying run on base, speedster Chris Curran taking his place at first base to score on a long hit that stayed in the park. Tyler Moore, who had homered to open the scoring way back in the second, struck out. Jose Lozada fell behind 0-2 but plunked a single to shallow center to push Curran to second.

Both managers went to their reserves for a better matchup, Potomac summoning Jamar Walton to bat from the left side and Kinston calling for Matt Langwell to replace a tiring Tyler Sturdevant. Like Lozada, Walton fell behind quickly, but battled back to work the count full and then draw the walk to load the bases.

Next came up 26-year-old Robbie Jacobsen, backup catcher, corner infielder, left fielder, and twice this season, bullpen-saving reliever. Again, Langwell got the drop, getting ahead 0-2, but couldn’t get the swinging strike as Jacobsen fouled off the nibbles, and wouldn’t chase the pitcher’s pitches to work the count to 2-2.

The battle ended with a two-out drive to left field that brought in Curran and Lozada, gave the P-Nats a 7-6 win, and secured a winning overall record at 70-69. But perhaps more importantly, the veteran delivered that perceptible-but-immeasurable momentum going into the Mills Cup playoffs against the Frederick Keys, beginning on Wednesday.

Sep 062010
 

The Quick Rundown…

Team Yesterday’s Result Today’s Game Pitching Matchup
Syracuse Chiefs Won, 5-4 @ Pawtucket, 1:05 p.m. Erik Arnesen (6-7, 3.91) vs.
Ramon Ramirez (4-5, 3.03)
Harrisburg Senators Won, 13-3 @ Binghamton, 1:05 p.m. Tanner Roark (1-1, 2.37) vs.
Dylan Owen (4-4, 4.23)
Potomac Nationals Lost, 1-0 (10 inn.) vs. Kinston, 1:05 p.m. Marcos Frias (7-5, 6.14) vs.
T.J. McFarland (11-5, 3.13)
Hagerstown Suns Lost, 4-3 (10 inn.) @ West Virginia, 1:05 p.m. Paul Applebee (6-5, 3.82) vs.
Brett Lorin (2-3, 5.73)
Vermont Lake Monsters Won, 7-4 SEASON OVER N/A

Syracuse Chiefs W, 5-4 @ Pawtucket Box | Gamer
Starting Pitcher: Martis 5IP 4H 3R 3ER 4BB 4K
Pitching Star: Carr (SV, 9) 2IP 0H 0R 0BB 2K; 1-3 IR-S
Hitting Star #1: Lambin 2-3, 2R, HR, BB, SB, 2RBI
Hitting Star #2: Burke 2-4, R, 2B, RBI
Notes: A two-run rally in the top of the 8th broke a 3-3 tie and some clutch pitching by Adam Carr led the Chiefs to a 5-4 victory over the Pawtucket Red Sox. Seth Bynum hit a sacrifice fly to get the go-ahead run and hitting star Chase Lambin’s solo HR provided the insurance run. The PawSox loaded the bases in the bottom of the 8th with no outs to chase Atahualpa Severino. Carr came on and and got two groundouts (and an assist) and a called third strike to end the threat, then set down the side in the ninth for his ninth AAA save. Severino got the win, while starter Shairon Martis got the no-decision with five innings pitched, and three runs allowed on four hits and four walks.

Harrisburg Senators W, 13-3 @ Binghamton Box | Gamer
Starter/Pitching Star: Tatusko (W, 3-1) 7IP 6H 1R 1ER 0BB 6K
Hitting Star #1: Coon 5-5, R, HR, 3RBI
Hitting Star #2: Burgess 2-4, R, 2BB, 2RBI
Hitting Star #3: Johnson 2-4, 4R, 3B, 2BB, 2RBI
Notes: The Senators are now in the driver’s seat for the E.L. West wildcard, thanks to 13-3 win over the Binghamton Mets and a 1-0 loss by Bowie. An eight-run third inning put this game away early, as Harrisburg pounded out 18 hits, with Brad Coon leading all hitters with a 5-for-5 effort. Starter Ryan Tatusko went seven strong innings, allowing just one run on six hits while striking out six. A Senator win or Bowie loss this afternoon in Richmond will seal the deal.

Potomac Nationals L, 1-0 (10 inn.) Box | Gamer
Starting Pitcher: Barthmaier 5IP 4H 0R 0BB 4K
Pitching Star: Testa 3IP 0H 0R 1BB 4K
Hitting Star: None
Notes: See what happened Sunday Afternoon in Woodbridge

Hagerstown Suns L, 4-3 @ West Virginia (10 inn.) Box | Gamer
Starting Pitcher: Hicks 6IP 2H 1R 1ER 4BB 5K
Pitching Star: Weaver 1IP 1H 0R 0BB 1K
Pitching Un-Star: Garcia (BS, 2) 2IP 3H 2R 2ER 0BB 2K
Hitting Star #1: Rogers 2-4, HR, RBI
Hitting Star #2: Taylor 2-4, 2B, RBI
Notes: A leadoff HR in the bottom of the 10th downed the Suns by a 4-3 tally. The Suns bullpen was unable to hold a 3-1 lead, ruining a strong start by Graham Hicks, who gave up just one run on two hits and four walks over the first six innings. The Suns left eight runners on base and went 1-for-6 with RISP, with Mills Rogers and Michael Taylor pacing the offense as each went 2-for-4 with an RBI.

Vermont Lake Monster W, 7-4 @ Staten Island Box | Gamer
Starting Pitcher: Mattheus 2IP 2H 1R 0ER 0BB 3K
Pitching Star: Ott 3IP 1H 1R 1ER 1BB 2K
Hitting Star #1: Rowe 2-4, 3B, 4RBI
Hitting Star #2: Moldenhauer 2-5, R, 2-2B, RBI
Notes: Two three-run rallies led the Lake Monsters past the Staten Island Yankees for a 7-4 win, just their 15th in the past 45 games. Ryan Mattheus led the parade of pitchers, going the first two innings with an unearned run allowed on two hits. Billy Ott followed for the next three, giving up one run on one hit and one walk and Christian Meza got the rulebook win as the first of four relievers to pitch a single inning. Connor Rowe led the Lake Monster offense with two hits and four RBI.

Sep 052010
 

It’s odd that sometimes the games that are supposed to mean the least can end up being the best.

Last night, Potomac clinched a playoff spot. The night before, Kinston clinched by virtue of Potomac’s win over Salem. With playoff seeding largely predetermined, very little was at stake except for pride and professionalism.

But it was those two things that were on display in spades on Sunday afternoon in Woodbridge, as the Kinston Indians no-hit the Potomac Nationals for a 10-inning 1-0 win.

Marty Popham, Chris Jones, and Cory Burns combined on the no-no, with Popham tossing the first seven innings, Jones pitching the eighth and ninth, and Burns closing out the tenth for his league-leading 30th save.

Zach Dials was the loser, allowing one run over two innings with a single, sacrifice, and another single in plating the Kinston run.

Potomac’s sole scoring threat came in the seventh, as Francisco Soriano drew a walk to end the perfect game, then took second on a wild pitch. Nick Moresi grounded to second to push Soriano to third with one out. Jamar Walton would line out to a drawn-in first baseman for out number two. Derek Norris would draw the second walk of the inning and Sean Rooney would be the second groundout to second for the third and final out.

The loss would drop Potomac to 69-69 overall on the season and shave the margin over Wilmington to 1½ games. The divisional round of the Carolina League playoffs is slated to begin on Wednesday in Frederick.

Sep 052010
 

The Quick Rundown…

Team Yesterday’s Result Today’s Game Pitching Matchup
Syracuse Chiefs Lost, 8-2 @ Pawtucket, 6:05 p.m. Shairon Martis (8-7, 4.04) vs.
Fabio Castro (7-9, 4.76)
Harrisburg Senators Lost, 3-2 @ Binghamton, 6:35 p.m. Ryan Tatusko (2-1, 1.82) vs. TBD
Potomac Nationals Won, 2-0; Lost, 7-5 vs. Kinston, 1:00 p.m. Jimmy Barthmaier (4-1, 4.15) vs.
Marty Popham (4-4, 4.28)
Hagerstown Suns Lost, 7-0 @ West Virginia, 2:05 p.m. Graham Hicks (1-6, 5.64) vs.
Eliecer Navarro (1-2, 3.32)
Vermont Lake Monsters Lost, 3-1; Won, 7-2 @ Staten Island, 4:00 p.m. Ryan Mattheus (1-0, 0.00) vs. TBD

Syracuse Chiefs L, 8-2 @ Rochester Box | Gamer
Starting Pitcher: Kown 5IP 3H 1R 0ER 1BB 6K
Pitching Star: 1IP 1H 0R 1BB 2K
Pyrotechnician: Wilkie (BS, 5)(L, 4-4) ⅓ IP 4H 6R 6ER 0BB 0K 1HR
Hitting Star #1: Martinez 2-3, BB, SB
Hitting Star #2: Burke 2-4
Notes: A six-run seventh put the brakes on a 12-game skid for Rochester and ran the Syracuse playoff bus off the road as the Red Wings flew past the Chiefs 8-2. Josh Wilkie was torched for six runs, including a three-run home run (just his second this season) during the inning. Starter Andrew Kown went the first five innings, giving up an unearned run on three hits and a walk while striking out six.

Harrisburg Senators L, 3-2 @ Binghamton Box | Gamer
Starting Pitcher: Peacock (L, 2-2) 4⅔ IP 3H 3R 3ER 4BB 7K 1HR
Pitching Star: Pena 2IP 1H 0R 0BB 4K
Hitting Star: Johnson 2-3, R, 2B
Notes: With both Bowie and Harrisburg losing by a single run, the odds of a one-game playoff just got a little higher. Brad Peacock gave up all three of Binghamton’s runs in a 3-2 loss, going 4⅔ innings and giving up three hits (one a home run) while walking four and striking out seven. Four Binghamton pitchers combined to stifle the Senators, who managed just four hits and couldn’t take advantage of five walks, hitting into three double plays.

Potomac Nationals W, 2-0; L, 7-5 Gamer
GAME ONE | Box
Starting Pitcher: Holder (W, 3-3) 6IP 3H 0R 0BB 6K
Pitching Star: McCoy (SV, 6) 1IP 0H 0R 0BB 0K
Hitting Star #1: Moore 1-3, RBI (110)
Hitting Star #2: Norris 1-2, R, BB, RBI
Notes: See how Potomac clinched Last Night In Woodbridge

GAME TWO | Box
Starting Pitcher: Martinez 4IP 5H 1R 0ER 1BB 2K
Midgame BP: Phillabaum 1⅓ IP 4H 6R 6ER 3BB 0K 1HR
Pitching Star: Lehman 1⅔ IP 1H 0R 0BB 1K
Hitting Star #1: Lyon 2-3, R, 2B, BB
Hitting Star #2: Moresi 2-3, 2B, 2RBI
Notes: See how Potomac clinched Last Night In Woodbridge

Hagerstown Suns L, 7-0 @ West Virginia Box | Gamer
Starting Pitcher: Demny (L, 6-10) 4⅔ IP 3H 3R 2ER 0BB 3K
Pitching Un-Star: Erb 1⅓ 3H 4R 4ER 2BB 2K
Pitching Star: Graham 2IP 2H 0R 0BB 1K
Hitting Star: Cuevas 3-4
Notes: The West Virginia Power pulled the plug on the Hagerstown Suns with a 7-0 shutout of the Hagerstown Suns. Starter Paul Demny was touched for the first three runs on three hits and no walks over 4⅔ innings. Relever Shane Erb coughed up the next four on three hits and two walks over the next 1⅓ innings. Justino Cuevas paced the Suns offense with three of their six hits.

Vermont Lake Monsters L, 3-1; W, 7-2 Gamer
GAME ONE | Box
Starting Pitcher: Jordan (L, 2-3) 5⅓ 5H 3R 2ER 0BB 8K
Pitching Star: None
Hitting Star #1: Labrie 2-2, BB
Hitting Star #2: Freitas 2-3
Notes: The clutch hit escaped the Lake Monsters in game one, as the fell to the Staten Island Yankees by a 3-1 tally. Hitters of the game Ronnie Labire and David Freitas accounted for four of the five hits for Vermont, which left seven runners on base. Starter Taylor Jordan allowed all three SI-Yank runs on five hits and no walks while striking out eight.

GAME TWO | Box
Starting Pitcher: Swynenberg (W, 5-2) 5IP 4H 1R 1ER 2BB 2K
Pitching Star: None
Hitting Star #1: Martinson 2-2, 2R, 2B, BB, 2RBI
Hitting Star #2: Mozingo 3-4, R, RBI
Notes: A five-run third pushed Vermont towards the doubleheader split as the Lake Monsters would go on to a 7-2 victory. Jason Martinson would single, double, and walk while driving in two and scoring twice to join Chad Mozingo (3-for-4) for hitting-star honors. Matt Swynenberg won his 5th game with one run allowed on four hits and two walks over five innings.

Sep 052010
 

For the second time in three seasons, the Potomac Nationals are playoff-bound. They clinched with a 2-0 shutout of the Kinston Indians in the opening game of a doubleheader, the second shutout in as many games.

Perhaps more satisfying is that it came against Kinston ace Joe Gardner, who had beaten the P-Nat nine that past two times they had faced him. Or maybe that Trevor Holder kept the ball down and in the yard for six scoreless innings, just the second time a zero had appeared in the run column of his pitching line all season long.

Early on, it looked like it might be a rout. Derek Norris and Bill Rhinehart drew back-to-back walks with one out to bring up Tyler Moore, who scorched a grounder that third-baseman Kyle Bellows couldn’t handle and left-fielder Donnie Webb nearly misplayed (yes, it was hit that hard) for an early 1-0 lead. Webb recovered in more than enough time to throw out Rhinehart attempting to go from first to third.

After another walk, this one to Sean Rooney, Gardner got Jerome Walton to ground out to end the threat. It would be the first of 13 batters in a row he would retire.

Indian catcher Chun Chen would smack a double to left field to lead off the second and the feeling of a rout came back, but in the opposite direction. But then a funny thing happened: Holder struck out the side, en route to retiring nine straight.

After a brief threat in the fifth, which Holder escaped with a nicely turned 5-4-3 double play, Potomac would get an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth, as Francisco Soriano led off with a walk, stole second, and took third on an error before Norris drove him in with a single to left.

Holder would finish with three hits allowed and six strikeouts against no runs and no walks to give way to Pat McCoy, who retired the Indians 1-2-3 for save no. 6, clinching the second-half Carolina League North Division title for Potomac.

GAME TWO
With the playoff bid secured, Rhinehart, Norris and Moore were given the rest of night off and swingman Carlos Martinez got the nod to start. The veteran swingman would put in four innings of work, leaving with a 1-1 tie before giving way to Justin Phillabaum.

For the 15th time in 29 appearances, Phillabaum was scored upon, coughing up three runs in the fifth with a bases-clearing, two-out triple by Abner Abreu. Inexplicably, Phillabaum was asked to throw again in the sixth. Predictably, the Indians torched him for another three runs, a no-doubt-about-it blast to right by Bo Greenwell.

Down 7-1 in the sixth, the P-Nats showed some heart to rally for three runs in the sixth and one more in the seventh, but the damage had been done as the Potomac would fall in the nightcap by a count of 7-5.