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.

  13 Responses to “Playoff Preview: Potomac vs. Frederick”

  1. I’m apparently going to the game tonight courtesy of a P’nats player (this is what my kid tells me). :o) I’ll post up tomorrow what I see…

  2. Let’s not forget that Potomac isn’t especially close to the beltway either. People tend to forget this, but it’s 18 miles from the Mixing Bowl to the Pfitz, in unimaginable backups on 95 and then interminable ‘burbs traffic to get to the stadium, then pay for parking.

    From Arlington, it’s faster to get to Frederick, believe it or not.

    • That’s true if you don’t know your way around the chokepoints and the best side roads of Annandale, Burke, and Springfield.

  3. Total meltdown in the first by the keys. Pnats score 8 runs on three hits and and an error. Wow.

  4. @all
    Anybody listening or following tonight’s games? I’m currently listening to the Harrisburg game. Milone gave up 3 runs in the bottom of the first, only two of which were earned. Senators have come back and scored four in the top of the second. 4-3 Sens.

  5. And now a total meltdown by the pnats…give up 7 in the bottom of the first. Two grand slams in the first inning, 50 minute first inning. At this rate we will be outa here at 2-3 am!

  6. @TBRFan
    Frederick’s a bandbox and it’s a windy day. Hope there’s a ground ball guy in the pen or else it’s going to be a long day. I’m glad they didn’t pull Rosenbaum and I hope that he can get through at least 1 or two more innings. Results stink so far. But hopefully the process is better than the results. You know if Sue’s following this one?

  7. Rosenbaum was pulled after the first. :-( game is now tied 8-8. Don’t know if sue is following. Keys pitching has settled down; Pnats pitching still struggling in bottom of third.

  8. 9-8 top of 8. Relief pitcher for keys Startup has the strangest windup. But he’s striking people out.

  9. He isn’t striking Derek Norris out. OPPPPO BOPPPO NORRIS!!!! 9-9 in the ninth. Mighty clutch for Mr. Norris. His line tonight is sick. And he threw out a guy trying to steal in the bottom of the 8th. Good seats available on the Norris bandwagon.

  10. Yep big HR to almost straight away center. Cleared all walls. We are going to be here all night!

  11. Oh ugh. Three base throwing error wins it for the keys 10-9.

  12. Thanks, guys, for the updates. We’ll have to settle for 1 out of 2 so far.

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