In the standings, Sunday was the same as Saturday with two more losses for Potomac to Lynchburg, 3-2 and 5-2. Offensively, it was just 12 hits in 14 innings. But the pitching and defense was markedly better — just one crooked number and one error versus five and three the night before.
Maybe those are the little things that might not add up to a hill of beans. But this is our hill. And these are our beans. (Sorry, couldn’t resist).
With the first half a lost cause, it’s time to start looking for the things that have improved.
Take Cameron Selik, for example. In his first home start, he got knocked around for nine runs and ten hits. The pitches were up in the zone, hard, flat and fast. Yesterday afternoon, the pitches were down and he’s begun to command his slider, pounding it inside under the right-handed batters hands. Few hitters can handle that pitch in that spot, fewer can do much with it.
Jeff Kobernus had a breakout day, going 5-for-7 on the afternoon with a double and two stolen bases, including third bases. With the assault of flyballs of late, it’s sometimes hard to notice how good he is on defense… until someone else plays second. Maybe it was just one day, but we’ll take it.
Steve Souza drew four walks. Yes, one of them was intentional, but for a guy that has struck out 62 times in 47 games, that kind of patience is good to see. He’s still a project on defense, particularly on when to defer on popups, but has leveraged his size and athleticism very quickly. You have to see him nightly to notice the faults because on some nights he looks like he’s been there all along.
Unfortunately, Souza’s presence at first has forced Justin Bloxom to play out of position at third. The positive that can be drawn from this is that his troubles on defense have not followed him on offense, as so often happens. Bloxom went 2-for-4 in the first game to raise his average to .231 in 22 games, with a .270 mark in the last 10 games.
In the second game, Evan Bronson survived a tough second inning (three runs, three hits, a walk) retiring seven of eight after a two-out single in the third before surrendering a long home run to turn what might have been a quality start into something more mediocre. But it just might have been good enough to earn another start, as the P-Nats are going to need a sixth man in the rotation this week with the back-to-back doubleheaders this weekend.
For today, it’s back to the top of the rotation with Danny Rosenbaum on the bump in Winston-Salem, attempting to stop an eight-game slide as the P-Nats take their final road trip of the first half to North Carolina four days and Delaware for three before returning for the long-anticipated 14-game homestand from June 6 to June 19.