Aug 032012
 

Kevin Keyes gets congrats after his three-run HR in the 8th

After dropping the continuation from Wednesday by a 5-3 count in 10 innings, a quartet of Nationals pitchers combined for a five-hit, 8-0 shutout of the Salem Red Sox to claim sole possession of first place in the Carolina League’s Northern Division.

Nathan Karns got the win, his eighth, with five scoreless innings, which lowered his ERA from 1.84 to 1.70. But at the risk of sounding spoiled, this was not his best outing. This is not the Salem squad that finished the first half 41-28 — no Jackie Bradley Jr. (1.002 OPS), no Travis Shaw (.957).

The unofficial pitch count was 81 pitches, 45 for strikes. Three walks and a hit batsmen over five innings meant just one 1-2-3 inning and more than a couple of prolonged at-bats. The six strikeouts were nice, but Karns could have set down eight or nine against this lineup in five frames (he struck out 11 in seven in June).

Offensively, Potomac got started early for the second straight game. Three straight hits to go up 1-0, a sacrifice fly to go up 2-0, then another single to make it 3-0. With a little hesitation from J.P. Ramirez, it might have been 4-0 as the first ended with Stephen King slicing a double to right field. The two would get it done in the fourth with King ripping a double down the left field line, an error helping Ramirez to score.

As the pic above shows, the P-Nats busted the game wide open in the 8th as Adrian Sanchez singled, Ricky Hague walked, and Kevin Keyes deposited a fat fastball to left for home run #16 and RBIs 56, 57, and 58 (both team-best). Jason Martinson singled and scored on Blake Kelso’s RBI double to finish the four-run barrage.

Aaron Barrett followed Karns in the 6th and struck out the first two batters en route to his two goose eggs. Joe Testa worked around a single and a walk in the 8th to put up another zero. Rob Wort gave up a leadoff double to start the ninth then set down the next three, finishing with the strikeout to complete the team shutout.

With the win, Potomac evens its record at 20-20, a frac12; game better than Frederick and Wilmington and a full game better than Lynchburg. Salem did take two-of-three for the first opponent to win a series at the Pfitz since April. Tonight, it’s the start of a six-games-in-seven-nights stretch against the current co-leaders of the Southern Division, the Winston-Salem Dash and the Myrtle Beach. Rob Gilliam (0-0, 1.69) makes his second start.

  11 Responses to “Last Night In Woodbridge”

  1. Didn’t Karns have a different catcher last night? With the type of pitcher he is , a catcher can make it or break it. Catchers differ as much as pitchers….a good match up is key. As a whole, Congrats to the team, now in first place.

    • Yes, but Fernandez is actually a better catcher than Freitas, so if anything it should have been seamless. Karns has done this before, but it’s usually in the 3rd or 4th innings, not the 1st and 2nd.

  2. I know he’s 23 and still in highA, but Martinson is having just an incredible season – a combined 20hrs and 98rbi’s. It’s all the more impressive considering that he’s a shortstop. I’m actually a little surprised that he hasn’t been hyped up more. Is it because his defense is that bad?

    • Not as much as that K rate. He’s particularly vulnerable to changeups. Defensively, he’s actually better at SS than 3B.

  3. Seriously, i dont know how you talk bad about a outing with six strikeouts over five and another shutout he only went five cause his innings are limited. Karns leads or is in top five in every category in the minors!!

    • Because I saw it in person with my own eyes versus reading it in a boxscore and can discern between results and approach. Karns was not as good last night as he was on other nights. How many times have you seen him pitch at the Pfitz?

  4. since you viewed in person, where was the trouble regarding karns? I have been there in person at many of his outings, and know he works the box…just curious where he was last night??? I do not know what you mean by “a good catcher” ,Luke. I was questioning what “kind” of catcher Fernandez was. There are reasons in the majors that they pair up pitchers & catchers. Off night or not, Karns still did better than most in the minors. Pitchers have bad nights… but overall, the PNATS were on their game last night….I guess by looking at the box score, it all worked out! Per Martinson, age really has not much to do with being in High A….depends on the depth of the team, and if that player has learned everything they could while at that level. I think there is more emphasis on age being a factor than needs to be….look at the age gaps in the majors. These young men are still working out the “kinks” . Martinson seems to being doing a fine job,kudos,,I am sure any of the Pnat pitchers could speak for that. the other teams know what pitches to throw to him…he just needs to keep working on hitting…Being in first place speaks volumes, obviously they are doing something right…I am surprised there have not been more write ups regarding this

    • Q1: Missing his spots, mostly. took him awhile to get on track.

      Q2: Fernandez is a catch-and-throw backup. He’s been hitting the ball well lately, which is arguably why Freitas only played in the continuation (well, that and maybe it’d be nice to not grind him into the dirt ;-)

      “Off night or not, Karns still did better than most in the minors” — the great ones can still be effective w/o their best stuff. Karn’s “B” or “C” game is better than a lot of guys’ “A” or “B” game.

      “I am surprised there have not been more write ups regarding this.” — I usually get criticized for making too much of the pennant races, which I find funny because every August/September you’ll get a roughly equal number of “winning is overrated” and “winning is underrated” stories in the minors-oriented press.

  5. Luke, thanks for the response. I have not had my daily ammount of caffeine yet, so the …”be nice not to gind him into the dirt” has not registered…not sure what you meant…be kind, my brain is running slow..lol. Per the more write ups…I meant web wide, not just your write ups. Although yours is one that I navigate towards daily. Thanks for your dedication!

  6. Freitas won’t be catching anymore for the P-Nats. Just saw on facebook(per Washington Nationals) that Freitas has been traded to Oakland for Kurt Suzuki. Anyone else find it interesting that we seem to have traded catchers with the A’s? (Norris and Freitas)

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