May 272011
 

Our weekly look at the leaders, trailers, and outliers in the Washington Nationals minor leagues.

SYRACUSE 16-22, 5th place I.L. North, 7 games behind

Good Chris Marrero .294/.362/.365 in May
Bad Ross Detwiler 1-4, 9.38 ERA, 2.17 WHIP in May
Interesting Josh Wilkie 1.75 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 10.89 K/9

HARRISBURG 23-20, 1st place E.L. West Division, 1 game ahead

Good Brad Peacock 7-1, 2.13 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 75K in 55IP
Bad Jimmy Barthmaier 1.90 WHIP, 4HR in 23⅔ IP
Interesting Bill Rhinehart 8HR, 17RBI

POTOMAC 18-27, 3rd place C.L. North Division, 10 games behind

Good Destin Hood .287/.333/.532 in May
Bad Joe Testa 2.04WHIP
Interesting Hector Nelo, spotted throwing 98mph

HAGERSTOWN 28-18, 1st place Sally League Northern Division, 1 game ahead

Good David Freitas .289/.392/.458
Bad Michael Taylor .280 OBP, 39K in 42G
Interesting Christopher Manno 6SV, 0.54WHIP, 33K in 17G
May 272011
 

The Quick Rundown…

Team Yesterday’s Result Today’s Game Pitching Matchup
Syracuse Chiefs Won, 9-1 vs. Charlotte 7:00 p.m. Tom Milone (3-3, 3.53) vs.
Freddy Dolsi (3-3, 7.65)
Harrisburg Senators Won, 7-6; Won, 6-1 vs. Bowie, 7:00 p.m. Tanner Roark (1-1, 5.79) vs.
Rick Zagone (1-3, 5.52)
Potomac Nationals OFF DAY vs. Lynchburg, 7:00 p.m. Trevor Holder (2-5, 5.89) vs.
Zeke Spruill (2-5, 3.76)
Hagerstown Suns Lost, 4-1 (11 inn.) vs. Asheville, 6:35 p.m. Bobby Hansen (5-1, 3.46) vs.
Peter Tago (1-0, 2.57)

Syracuse 9 Charlotte 1
• Meyers (W, 3-0) 6IP 7H 1R 1ER 0BB 3K
• Mattheus 1IP 0H 0R 0BB 2K
• Frazier 3-4, 2R, 2B, HR, BB, RBI
• Fox 3-5, R, 2B, 2RBI
• Valdez 3-5, R, 2B, RBI

The Chiefs broke out the bats, collecting a season-high 14 hits in a 9-1 triumph over Charlotte. Jeff Frazier, Adam Fox, and Jesus Valdez combined for nine hits (each doubling), four runs, and four RBI as the Chiefs score five runs in the 2nd and put up two-spots in the 3rd and 6th innings. Brad Meyers pitched six strong innings, allowing one run on seven hits and no walks. Collin Balester, Josh Wilkie, and Ryan Mattheus each tossed a scoreless inning in relief.

Harrisburg 7 Akron 6 — Comp. Susp. Game
• Perez 1IP 1H 1R 1ER 0BB 1K 1HR
• Peacock (W, 7-1) 6⅔ IP 3H 2R 2ER 1BB 9K
• VanAllen ⅓ IP 3H 3R 3ER 0BB 0K 1HR
• Martinez 1IP 1H 0R 0BB 0K
• Lombardozzi 2-5, R, RBI
• Moore 2-5, 2-2B, RBI

Brad Peacock took over from Oliver Perez as the suspended game was picked up and went six and 2/3rds innings for the win in a 7-6 Harrisburg victory. Derek Norris, Bill Rhinehart, and Alex VAldez each homered while Steve Lombardozzi and Tyler Moore both went 2-for-5. A four-run eighth, lowlighted by a three-run homer by Akron’s Jared Goedert off Cory VanAllen, made this game a lot closer than it should have been. Carlos Martinez got the final three outs in the ninth for his first save of 2011.

Harrisburg 6 Akron 1 (7 inn.)
• Tatusko 4IP 4H 1R 1ER 2B 4K
• Barthmaier (W, 1-2) 3IP 1H 0R 2BB 3K
• Ivany 2-3, 2R, RBI
• Pahuta 1-3, R, HR, 2RBI, SB
• Rahl 1-3, R, 2B, 2RBI

The ‘pen filled in and handled the second game admirably, with Ryan Tatusko going the first four innings, allowing the lone Akron run, and Jimmy Barthmaier going the last three innings to earn the win. The veteran trio of Devin Ivany, Tim Pahuta and Chris Rahl powered the offense, going 4-for-9 with four runs scored, a double (Rahl), a home run (Pahuta), a stolen base (Ivany) and five RBI.

Potomac – OFF DAY
The race to avoid last place is on with a four-game weekend series between the third-place P-Nats and the fourth-place Hillcats, with a doubleheader scheduled on Saturday.

Asheville 4 Hagerstown 1 (11 inn.)
• Ray (ND) 2IP 0H 0R 1BB 1K
• McCatty 3IP 2H 0R 2BB 4K
• Manno 2IP 0H 0R 0BB 3K
• Curran 1-3, BB
• Martinson 2-4, R

Thunderstorms and tornado warnings delayed the game nearly two hours, ending Robbie Ray’s night after two innings, as the Asheville Tourists defeated the Hagerstown Suns 4-1 in 11 innings. Four relievers were used over the last nine innings, with Sam Brown taking the loss by surrendering three in the top of the 11th. The Suns managed just nine hits for the night, with Jason Martinson going 2-for-4 and scoring the lone run.

May 262011
 

The Quick Rundown…

Team Yesterday’s Result Today’s Game Pitching Matchup
Syracuse Chiefs OFF DAY vs. Charlotte 7:00 p.m. Brad Meyers (2-0, 3.63) vs.
Jeff Marquez (3-3, 2.82)
Harrisburg Senators Suspended, 1-1, Top 2 @ Akron, 10:35 a.m.
(completion, 7 inn. gm)
(GameBrad Peacock (6-1, 2.05) vs.
T.J. McFarland (1-2, 5.08)
Potomac Nationals Lost, 13-7 OFF DAY N/A
Hagerstown Suns OFF DAY vs. Asheville, 6:35 p.m. Robbie Ray (1-0, 0.53) vs.
Erik Stavert (1-3, 9.00)

Syracuse Chiefs — OFF DAY
The Chiefs resume play tonight with a four-game homestand against the Charlotte Knights, then hit the road for eight days against Louisville and Indianapolis.

Harrisburg 1 Akron 1, Top 2 (Susp.)
Rain stopped play with the game tied at 1-1 and forced a doubleheader this morning, with the completion of the suspended game followed by a seven-inning contest.

Kinston 13 Potomac 7
• Clegg (L, 2-3) 1⅔ IP 5H 8R 5ER 3BB 1K 1HR
Weaver 1⅔ 5H 4R 4ER 0BB 0K 1HR
• Frias 2IP 0H 0R 1BB 1K
• Lozada 3-4, 3R, 2-2B, 2RBI
• Bloxom 3-5
• Perez 2-2, 2B, 2RBI, SAC, SF

A little editorial to go with the breakdown of this beatdown, Last Night In Woodbridge.

Asheville 4 Hagerstown 1
• Cole (L, 0-3) 4⅔ 7H 4R 2ER 1BB 5K 1HR
• Swynenberg 2⅓ IP 1H 0R 1BB 2K
• Newsome 3-4
• Nicol 2-4
• Sanchez 1-3, R, 2B, 2BB, SB

With single runs in the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th innings the Asheville Tourists wore down the Hagerstown Suns for a 4-1 decision. A.J. Cole took his third loss, allowing all four runs (two earned) over four and 2/3rds innings on seven hits and a walk, while striking out five. Relievers Matt Swynenberg and Wilson Eusebio turned in four and a 1/3rd scoreless innings. The Suns stranded 10 baserunners and only cashed in once in 13 chances with RISP. As noted in the comments, Chris Curran has been sent to Hagerstown, taking the place of Wade Moore, who was placed on the restricted list without explanation from any official source.

May 262011
 

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not easy to write about a blowout like this one (a 13-7 Potomac loss to Kinston, their fourth straight). You can be mean-spirited and lay into the poor pitching, piling on, kicking a man when he’s down (is there a better time?). Or you can cherry-pick the one or two good performances in the losing cause (Jose Lozada, 3-for-4 with two doubles, Justin Bloxom, 3-for-5), glossing over the contradictions (both had throwing errors).

Neither approach really serves you, the reader, all that well.

Potomac’s record is 18-27, a .400 winning percentage. They’ve scored 195 runs, allowed 234, which is fourth-best and dead last in the Carolina League, respectively. Their pythagorean projection has them at .392 or .409, depending on which formula you use. I’m not very good at math, but you can split the difference and see that .4005 is pretty damn close to .400.

As Bill Parcells famously once said “You are what your record says you are.”

Mitchell Clegg started this game with two quick outs and then loaded the bases with walks on either side of a hit batsmen. He then surrendered a bases-clearing triple and finally got out of the inning after pitching to the ninth batter. The second inning saw an error (Lozada’s) followed by a homer, a single (the only one surrendered), a long double to dead center, a flyout to center, a strikeout, then another long double to center.

Clegg was lifted with two outs, and his ledger filled when reliever Joe Testa was treated much the same with a double to… wait for it… center (don’t blame CF J.R. Higley — These balls were launched). The ‘pen may have faltered, but it was 8-0 after two, and it’s hard to pin much on group that has been asked to go one more inning or take one less day off more often than not

As the 13-7 score indicates, the P-Nats were able to muster some offense; unlike football, there’s no prevent defense. Joining Lozada and Bloxom in the hit parade was Eury Perez, who went 2-for-2 with sacrifice hit and a sacrifice fly and two RBI. Only Steve Souza went hitless as the team collected 13 total. On most nights, that would be more than enough.

Today is a badly needed day off for Potomac, the last scheduled off day of the first half. The homestand resumes on Friday with four games against the last-place Lynchburg Hillcats (doubleheader on Saturday).

May 252011
 

The Quick Rundown…

Team Yesterday’s Result Today’s Game Pitching Matchup
Syracuse Chiefs Lost, 10-4 OFF DAY N/A
Harrisburg Senators Won, 11-6 @ Akron, 7:05 p.m. Oliver Perez (1-0, 0.00) vs.
Austin Adams (4-3, 2.45)
Potomac Nationals Lost, 4-3 vs. Kinston, 7:05 p.m. Mitchell Clegg (2-2, 4.66) vs.
Giovanni Soto (3-3, 2.03)
Hagerstown Suns OFF DAY vs. Asheville, 6:35 p.m. A.J. Cole (0-2, 3.86) vs.
Joshua Slaats (0-1, 10.07)

Rochester 10 Syracuse 4
• Detwiler (L, 3-4) 3⅔ IP 10H 8R 6ER 1BB 1K
• Hyde 1IP 1H 0R 1BB 1K
• Valdez 2-3, R, 2B, HR, 2RBI, 2BB
• Solano 2-4, R, RBI
• Antonelli 2-4, 3B

After a seven-game win streak was snapped, the reversion has been mean, with Rochester pounding Syracuse early and often for a 10-5 win, the second straight loss for the Chiefs. Ross Detwiler continues to give up more hits than innings pitched with 10 over three and 2/3rds, leading to eight runs (six earned) with just one walk and one strikeout. Jesus Valdez was one of three Chiefs to get two hits, doubling and homering for two RBI, while Jhonathan Solano knocked in one with two singles and Matt Antonelli singled and tripled.

Harrisburg 11 Akron 6
• Davis (ND) 4⅔ 3H 3R 2ER 4BB 4K
• Arnesen (S, 1) 3IP 0H 0R 2K
• Moore 2-5, 2R, HR, RBI
• Lombardozzi 2-4, 2R, 3B, RBI
• Norris 1-3, 2R, HR, 2RBI, 2BB

Harrisburg broke out the bats for a season-high 11 runs against Akron, with five Senators collecting multiple hits. Matt Chico got the win in relief of recently returned Erik Davis, who allowed three runs on three hits and four walks over four and 2/3rds innings. Erik Arnesen pitched three scoreless innings for the save, his first for the season. The trio of Tyler Moore, Steve Lombardozzi, and Derek Norris combined for a 5-for-12 night with two HRs, four RBIs, two walks (guess who) and six runs scored.

Kinston 4 Potomac 3
• Rosenbaum (L, 2-2) 6⅔ IP 6H 4R 1ER 2BB 3K
• Smoker 1⅓ IP 1H 0R 0BB 2K
• Kobernus 2-4, BB, RBI
• Leon 2-4, 2B, RBI
• Souza 1-3, R, HR, BB, RBI

A little “O” and even less “D” equals an “L,” in Woodbridge last night.

Hagerstown Suns — OFF DAY
It’s a brief four-game homestand for the Suns, who come into Hagerstown still holding onto 1st place with a two-game lead, facing the Southern division’s fourth-place Asheville Tourists.

May 252011
 

Good pitching beats good hitting, but just a couple of errors can make it all for naught.

That was the story, plain and simple for the P-Nats on Tuesday night. Three errors equaled three unearned runs in a 4-3 loss. For a team that’s streaky on offense, a shaky defense is unacceptable.

Let’s fast-forward to the seventh, where things fell apart. Tied at 1-1, starter and losing pitcher Danny Rosenbaum let up a long double to left to lead off the inning. Rosenbaum turned a sacrifice attempt into another baserunner with a throwing error, setting up a single to shallow right and a 2-1 Kinston lead, runners on 1st and 3rd and still nobody out.

Things went from bad to worse when a dropped pickoff attempt plated the third run, enabling the Indians to sacrifice again, moving a slow-footed catcher to third with their #9 batter. A tapper down the line sent in the fourth run, which would prove to be the gamewinner.

Offensively, the P-Nats would get 14 baserunners — six hits, six walks, two errors — but only once in seven tries could they get the clutch hit with runners on 2nd or 3rd. Twice they would have runners thrown out. Steven Souza’s leadoff home run to dead center in the second inning and Sandy Leon’s double to right were the highlights of the night.

With the loss, Potomac falls to 18-28, nine games behind and just a ½ game out of last place in the Carolina League Northern Division.

May 242011
 

A couple of moves that didn’t make it into the notes…

HARRISBURG
• Activated RHP Erik Davis, who will start tonight’s game against the Akron Aeros

POTOMAC
• Activated RHP Cameron Selik, who started last night against the Kinston Indians
• Assigned OF Chris Curran to the Auburn Doubledays (i.e. sent back to XST)

With the DSL set to begin this weekend, I’d expect a whole bunch of procedural moves later this week that won’t be publicized until after the long weekend.

May 242011
 

As expected, the St. Louis Cardinals accepted December 2010 Rule 5 pick Brian Broderick back from the Nationals yesterday, ending his brief stint in the Nationals organization.

Broderick had been a surprise candidate to make the big club, despite his Rule 5 status, but his inexperience as a reliever and/or Jim Riggleman’s misuse of him led to disastrous results, with 16 hits and 9 runs surrendered in 11 appearances for an ERA of 6.57 and a WHIP of 1.541.

St. Louis immediately assigned him to Memphis, but his role with the AAA club remains to be determined, particularly with the coinciding move of sending down reliever Mitchell Boggs to be stretched back out as a reliever.

May 242011
 

The Quick Rundown…

Team Yesterday’s Result Today’s Game Pitching Matchup
Syracuse Chiefs Lost, 5-0 @ Rochester, 11:05 a.m. Ross Detwiler (3-3, 5.04) vs.
Scott Diamond (1-4, 5.70)
Harrisburg Senators Lost, 12-8 @ Akron, 7:05 p.m. TBA vs. Joe Gardner (3-2, 2.70)
Potomac Nationals Lost, 5-3 vs. Kinston, 7:05 p.m. Danny Rosenbaum (2-1, 3.12) vs.
Clayton Cook (3-3, 3.98)
Hagerstown Suns Won, 10-5 OFF DAY N/A

Rochester 5 Syracuse 0
• Maya (L, 1-4) 7⅔ IP 6H 4R 4ER 2BB 7K
• Mandel ⅓ IP 2H 1R 1ER 1BB 0K 1-1 IR-S
• Flores 1-3
• Fox 1-3, 2B

A two-run first and a three-run eighth was more than enough to snap the Syracuse Chiefs’ streak of seven straight for a 5-0 shutout loss. Yunesky Maya pitched into the eighth, but it was for naught at the offense collected just four hits and two walks, going 0-for-5 with RISP.

Akron 12 Harrisburg 8
• Martis 3IP 4H 5R 5ER 3BB 1K 1HR
• Johnson 3-4, R, 3B, RBI, SB
• Moore 3-5, R, 2B, RBI
• Gilbert 2-4, R, 2B,

A four-run seventh inning that included a 96-minute rain delay powered the Akron Aeros past the Harrisburg Senators for a 12-8 win. Starter Shairon Martis took the lost with five runs allowed over three innings, and no reliever was left unscathed. Josh Johnson and Tyler Moore paced the 14-hit offense with three hits apiece while Derek Norris drove in three with a home run.

Kinston 5 Potomac 3
• Selik (L, 0-3) 5IP 3H 3R 3ER 2BB 6K 1HR
• Weaver 1IP 0H 0R 0BB 1K
• Perez 2-3, R, RBI
• Kobernus 2-4, R, 2B, RBI

Check out what happened in greater detail, Last Night In Woodbridge

Hagerstown 10 Greensboro 5
• Grace (W, 4-4) 5IP 7H 1R 1ER 2BB 3K
• Manno (H, 1) 1IP 0H 0R 0BB 1K 3-1 IR-S
• Keyes 2-5, R, HR, 4RBI, E
• Martinson 2-3, R, BB, RBI
• Newsome 3-5, RBI, 2K, E

Kevin Keyes’s three-run homer in a four-run fourth broke open a 3-1 game as the Suns doubled up the Grasshoppers, 10-5, to finish the road trip on a high note and hold onto first place. The win also snapped a four-game losing streak. Starter Matt Grace evened his record at 4-4 with one run allowed on seven hits and two walks over five innings. He also struck out three. Joing Keyes in the hit parade were Jason Martinson (2-for-3) and Brett Newsome (3-for-5) as the trio accounted for seven of Hagerstown’s 11 hits and six of the nine RBIs.

May 242011
 

For any pitcher, a leadoff walk is a bad thing. Two of them to start an inning, deadly. Follow it with a home run, and it’s a recipe for disaster.

That’s what happened in the first inning to Cameron Selik in a 5-3 loss last night. But while it was an “L” in the standings, how Selik responded to the adversity was the proverbial “W.”

After the three-run homer, Selik set down the next seven batters. Just two more runners reached base, both with two outs — neither by a base on balls. Five went down on strikes. His final line: 5IP 3H 3R 3ER 2BB 6K 1HR.

Selik was still leaving his pitches up, so as a convert from catcher, he still is learning the craft. But he was touching 92 on the gun and getting good separation on his breaking pitches.

Defensively, the P-Nats were a wreck last night. On a better night, it’s safe to say that they might have pulled this out. Only one of the four errors didn’t come back to haunt them — a pickoff throw in the first that moved up the first runner to second base before the second walk.

But the second and fourth errors directly led to the last two Kinston runs, with J.P. Ramirez dropping a flyball with two outs in the sixth and Steve Souza unable to make the scoop on grounder to short in the ninth.

Offensively, the P-Nats started slowly, going down in order the first three innings before Eury Perez blooped one over the second baseman’s head and Jeff Kobernus followed with a Texas leaguer to shallow center in the fourth. Kinston escaped the jam with a Destin Hood strikeout, and grounders to first and third with an intentional walk to Steve Souza sandwiched between.

Perez and Kobernus would both get on base and score in the sixth. Perez reached by way of a drag bunt up the first base line and scored on a double off the top of the left field wall by Kobernus, who himself came in when Ramirez redeemed his error with an RBI single to right.

A Jose Lozada infield single, followed by Cutter Dykstra double to right and a Perez sacrifice fly capped the scoring for Potomac. Just as the first nine batters were retired to start, the last eight would make outs to finish, with kudos to Kinston relievers Adam Miller and Preston Guilmet in the eighth and ninth innings.

With the loss, Potomac falls to 18-25 for the season, dropping its second straight decision and falling to eight games behind first-place Wilmington. Opening Day starter Danny Rosenbaum (2-1, 3.12) is scheduled to take the mound tonight against Clayton Cook (3-3, 3.98).