Monday’s News & Notes

Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 6-2; Lost, 4-1 OFF DAY N/A
Harrisburg Won, 1-0; Won, 6-2 vs. Bowie,
12:00 p.m.
Karns (6-3) vs.
Wilson (3-1, 2.96)
Potomac Won, 5-2 @ Winston-Salem,
7:05 p.m
Purke (0-0, 1.80) vs.
Blough (7-5, 4.09)
Hagerstown Won, 11-7 OFF DAY N/A
Auburn Postponed @ Williamsport,
5:05 p.m.
D. Williams (0-2, 9.00) and
Voth (SS-A Debut) vs.
Prosinski (0-1, 6.14) and
Anderson (2-1, 3.38)
GCL Nationals OFF DAY @ GCL Cardinals,
12:00 p.m.
TBD vs. TBD
DSL Nationals OFF DAY vs. DSL Pirates2,
10:30 a.m.
Valerio (1-2, 2.22) vs.
Vivas (2-1, 2.60)



Buffalo 6 Syracuse 2 — GAME ONE
• Maya (L, 4-6) 5IP, 9H, 6R, 4ER, 3BB, 2K, HR
• Garcia 1IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 0K
• Rhymes 3-3, R, 2B, HR, 2RBI
• Walters 1-3, 2B

The Bison halted the Chiefs’ win streak at four with a 6-2 win in the opener. Yunesky Maya gave up all six Buffalo runs on nine hits, including a home run, and three walks while striking out two. Will Rhymes accounted for both Syracuse runs with a two-run blast in the 3rd and went 3-for-3 overall.

Buffalo 4 Syracuse 1 — GAME TWO
• Robertson (L, 2-1) 1⅔ IP, 5H, 4R, 4ER, BB, K, HR
• Kimball 1⅓ IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K, 1-0 IR-S
• Kobernus 1-3, R, SB
• Espinosa 1-3, RBI

Buffalo stampeded spot starter Tyler Robertson for four runs in the 2nd and cruised to a 4-1 win in the nightcap, sweeping the doubleheader. Robertson lasted an inning and 2/3rds and gave a walk and five hits, including a three-run home run. Jeff Kobernus singled, stole second, and scored on Danny Espinosa’s RBI single, but the bats were otherwise limp against recently outrighted Chien-Ming Wang. Roster move: Yunesky Maya activated from 3-Day temporary inactive list.

Harrisburg 1 Bowie 0 — GAME ONE
• Gilliam (W, 3-2) 6IP, 1H, 0R, 2BB, 3K
• Barrett (SV, 17) 1IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
• Head 1-3, R, HR, RBI
• Leon 1-2

Rob Gilliam and Aaron Barrett combined on a two-hit shutout as the Senators edged the BaySox, 1-0 in the opener. Gilliam allowed one hit and walked two over the first six to earn the win, his third for the year. Barrett worked around an leadoff single and retired the next three batters for his 17th save. Jerad Head’s leadoff HR in the 4th was the difference as Bowie’s Eduardo Rodriguez gave up just two hits for the complete-game loss.

Harrisburg 6 Bowie 2 — GAME TWO
• Swynenberg 5IP, 7H, 2R, 0ER, BB, 0K, HBP, WP
• Head 2-3, 2R, 2B, HR, 4RBI
• Goodwin 2-2, 2R, 2B, BB,
• Game Time 1:29 (1:22 delay)

Rain shortened the nightcap to just five innings, but a pair of three-run Senator rallies in the first two innings ended it early as Harrisburg completed the doubleheader sweep with a 6-2 win. Spot starter Matt Swynenberg went all five innings and scattered seven hits, giving up two unearned runs while walking one and striking out none. Jerad Head and Brian Goodwin combined for four hits, four runs, and four RBI as the Senators scored six times on just six hits.

Potomac 5 Wilmington 2
• Rauh (W, 1-0) 6IP, 3H, 2R, ER, BB, 4K, HBP
• Benincasa (SV, 5) 1IP, 0H, 0R, BB, K
• Burns 3-5, R, 2B, 2RBI
• Dykstra 2-2, 2BB, SB

Only the rain could slow down Potomac as they scored in each of the first five innings in a 5-2 win over Wilmington. Starter Brian Rauh earned his first win for Potomac with a quality start of two runs given up on three hits and a walk over six innings. He hit a batter and struck out four. Robert Benincasa walked one but got his fifth save in as many opportunities. Adrian Nieto was the sole P-Nat to not march in the 14-hit parade, though he extended his on-base streak to 15 games while Robert Gilmartin pushed his on-base streak to 17 games.

Hagerstown 11 Delmarva 7
• Turnbull 2⅓ IP, 9H, 6R, 5ER, 2BB, 2K, HR
• Harper (W, 5-1) 2⅔ IP, 3H, R, ER, BB, 2K, 2-0 IR-S
• Pena (H, 3) 3IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Martinez 2-3, 4R, HR, 3RBI, BB
• Lippincott 2-5, 3B, RBI
• Miller 1-4, 2R, HR, BB, 4RBI

Hagerstown racked up three big innings in the first five “ups” to outslug Delmarva, 11-7 and take the series, 3-1. Twice-demoted starter Kylin Turnbull gave up six runs in his first start back from the NYPL, knocked from the box with one out in the 3rd with two walks, two strikeouts, and nine hits surrendered. Bryan Harper bailed him out of the third with the Suns clinging to a 7-6 lead. Estarlin Martinez and Brandon Miller both homered, combining for seven of the 11 RBIs the Suns

Williamsport vs. Jamestown — PPD
Make that four rainouts in the past nine days as Auburn and Williamsport will play two tonight with 5th Rd. pick Austin Voth scheduled to make his NYPL debut.

GCL Nationals — OFF DAY
The G-Nats still lead the GCL East by 3½ games and are riding a modest three-game win streak.

DSL Nationals — OFF DAY
Rain shortened the slate to just four games last week, which the D-Nats split. This week, they begin at home against the Pirates2 and finish on the road against the Cubs, with home-and-home series against the Jays and Yankees1 in between.

Last Night In Woodbridge

A three-run 6th broke open a 2-2 game as the P-Nats fell again to Wilmington, 8-3.

It was the first time the same opponent had beaten Potomac consecutively since May 18-19, which was part of a three-game sweep in Winston-Salem. The last time they had lost to back-to-back games was nearly a month ago, when Frederick beat them 7-6 in Woodbridge on June 9 and Carolina won 11-3 in Zebulon.

This, of course, is the problem with such a prolonged streak of winning baseball — especially at the minor-league level in an eight-team league. It’s a wonder that this hasn’t happened sooner with such frequency and familiarity between the seven other teams. It’s hard to dominate the same seven teams, especially when it’s not unusual to play each other on back-to-back weekends.

Blake Schwartz took the loss for this one, giving up five runs (four earned) on eight hits, no walks, while striking out just one over five and a 1/3rd innings. The one K is always a troubling sign, as it’s extremely difficult to succeed with that much contact, especially for a pitcher that relies heavily on the gap in speed between an average fastball and plus changeup.

Suffice it to say, the bullpen wasn’t any better (three runs over three and 2/3rds innings) but neither was the offense. In the aggregate, eight of nine batters hit safely and collected 11 hits total. But it when it mattered most? Not so much — just 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position, resulting in 10 men left base.

Adrian Nieto continues to be as hot as the weather, going 2-for-5 with a run scored to extend his hit streak to six games and on-base streak to 14 games. Perhaps he’s nursing some small injuries, but since Wilson Ramos has come and gone the 23-y.o. Floridian has been the DH, thus one cannot help but wonder if this is to help him maintain this success.

The four-game series (and seven-game homestand) concludes this evening with a matchup between Brian Rauh (0-0, 3.86) and Kellen Moen (1-1, 4.35), with Potomac looking for the series split and stay in first place, as the consecutive losses have shaved the lead over Wilmington to just a ½ game.

Sunday’s News & Notes

Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 4-3 @ Buffalo,
1:05 p.m.
Maya (4-5, 4.35) and Robertson (0-0, 4.91)
vs. Bush (7-6, 4.12) and Wang (4-4, 2.33)
Harrisburg Lost, 3-2 vs. Bowie,
1:00 p.m.
Gilliam (2-2, 4.78) and Swynenberg (2-0, 3.16)
vs. E. Rodriguez (0-0, 9.00) and Bischoff (2-0, 4.39)
Potomac Lost, 8-3 vs. Wilmington,
6:05 p.m
Rauh (0-0, 3.86) vs.
Moen (1-1, 4.35)
Hagerstown Won, 6-3 @ Delmarva,
5:05 p.m.
Encarnacion (6-4, 3.14) vs.
Bridwell (5-7, 5.04)
Auburn Lost, 15-5; Lost, 14-1 @ Williamsport,
5:05 p.m.
TBD vs. TBD
GCL Nationals Won, 4-2 (10 inn.) OFF DAY N/A
DSL Nationals Won, 1-0 OFF DAY N/A



Syracuse 4 Buffalo 3
• Tatusko (W, 2-3) 7IP, 4H, 0R, 2BB, 5K, HBP
• Kimball ⅓ IP, 2H, 3R, 3ER, BB, 0K, HR
• Davis (SV, 10) ⅔ IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 2K, 1-1 IR-S
• Espinosa 3-4, R, 3B, RBI, K
• Rhymes 3-4, 2B, 2RBI

Syracuse took their fourth straight game with a 4-3 triumph over Buffalo. Starter Ryan Tatukso turned in his best outing of the season, tossing seven scoreless innings with four hits and two walks allowed while striking out five for his second win for the Chiefs. The Bisons rallied for three in the 9th against Cole Kimball, who failed to finish the 9th for second time in as many tries this season, giving up a two-run HR to Andy LaRoche (brother of Adam). Erik Davis got the save (No. 10) while giving up two hits to four batters faced. Danny Espinosa and Will Rhymes both went 3-for-4 to lead the Syracuse offense.

Bowie 3 Harrisburg 2
• Hill (L, 1-2) 7IP, 8H, 2R, 2ER, 2BB, 4K
• Frias 2IP, 2H, R, ER, 0BB, K
• Head 2-4, 2B, RBI
• Martinson 1-3, BB

Harrisburg loaded the bases in the 9th, but could only push across one run and fell to Bowie, 3-2. Starter Taylor Hill scattered eight hits over seven innings, allowing two runs and two walks while striking out four, but took the loss. As noted by Mick Reinhard of mayfliesandbigflies.com, it was seventh time in eight games the Senators failed to get six (6) hits. Jerad Head was the sole multihit batter at 2-for-4.

Wilmington 8 Potomac 3
• Schwartz 5⅓ IP, 8H, 5R, 4ER, 0BB, K
• Dupra 1⅔ IP, 3H, R, ER, BB, 0K, 1-1 IR-S
• Nieto 2-5, R
• Taylor 2-5, 2B
• Burns 2-5, SB (40)

Potomac dropped its second straight Last Night In Woodbridge.

Hagerstown 6 Delmarva 3
• Lee (W, 3-2) 5IP, 3H, 3R, 2ER, 3BB, 9K, HR
• Henke (H, 4) 3IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
• Severino 2-5, 2B, 2RBI
• Mesa 2-5, R, RBI

A four-run second erased an early 1-0 deficit as the Suns doubled up the Shorerbirds, 6-3. Starter Nick Lee struck out a season-high nine batters over five innings, though he gave up three runs (two earned) on three hits and three walks. Travis Henke pitched three scoreless for the hold and Gilberto Mendez pitched around a hit in the 9th for the save. Pedro Severino and Narciso Mesa both went 2-for-5 to lead the Hagerstown attack.

Jamestown 15 Auburn 5— COMP.
• Selsor 3IP, 1H, 1R, 0ER, 2BB, 2K
• Medina (L, 0-2) 2⅓ IP, 2H, 3R, 3ER, BB, 3K
• Poole 1-3, R, HR, 3RBI
• Difo 1-3, R, BB

The Jammers scored ten times from the 6th to the 8th innings, pummeling the Doubledays in the completion of Friday night’s game, 15-5. Casey Selsor had given up an unearned run on one hit and two walks as the original starter. Silvio Medina took the loss with three runs allowed on two hits and a walk over two and 1/3rd innings. Jordan Poole’s three-run HR highlighted Auburn’s four-run 7th that briefly pulled the Doubledays to within four at 9-5 before the six-run 8th put the game away.

Jamestown 14 Auburn 1 — GAME TWO
• Orlan (L, 0-1) 1⅔ IP, 9H, 8R, 8ER, 2BB, 0K
• Hollins 3IP, 4H, 2R, 0ER, BB, 2K
• Allen 1-3

Jamestown continued its devastation of Auburn pitchers in the second game, racking up 14 runs on 20 hits in a 14-1 seven-inning game. Starter R.C. Orlan took the brunt of it (and the loss), charged with eight runs on nine hits and two walks over an inning and 2/3rds. He struck out none. Jordan Poole came off the bench to drive in the sole Doubleday run, as Auburn was held to just four hits.

GCL Nationals 4 GCL Mets 2 (10 inn.)
• Meyers 2IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
• Suero (BS, 1) 4IP, 1H, R, ER, 3BB, 4K
• Ramos (W, 2-1) 1⅓ IP, 2H, R, ER, BB, 0K
• Ruiz 3-4, 2B, BB, RBI
• Marmolejos-Diaz 1-2, 2RBI

The G-Nats rallied for three in the top of the 10th and held off the G-Mets for a 4-2 win in extras. Brad Meyers surfaced from the DL and turned in two scoreless innings at the outset, giving way to Wander Suero, who gave up a run on one hit and three walks while striking out four. Adderling Ruiz led the hit column with a 3-for-4 game as he drew a walk and drove in a run.

DSL Nationals 1 DSL Pirates2 0
• Rosario (W, 1-3) 5IP, 5H, 0R, 0BB, 6K
• Reynoso (H, 1) 3IP, 2H, 0R, BB, 2K
• Salazar (SV, 6) 1IP, 0H, 0R, BB, K
• Aguero 1-3, R

Three pitchers combined on a seven-hit shutout as the D-Nats edged the D-Pirates2, 1-0. Ramses Rosario got the win, his first, with five hits given up over five innings. Yorlin Reynoso pitched the next three with a walk and two hits allowed for the hold. Melvi Salazar walked a batter in the 9th but closed out the game for his sixth save. The offense mustered just four hits, with two coming in the 2nd as the D-Pirates2 let in the lone run on a wild pitch.

Transaction Update

Transactions for NPP 2Another afternoon with a lot of roster moves, so here’s a guide to the comings and goings…

SYRACUSE
• C Kelly Shoppach assigned from Washington
• C Kris Watts placed on the 7-Day DL

HAGERSTOWN
• 1B Shawn Pleffner placed on the 7-Day DL
• OF Wander Ramos placed on the 7-Day DL
• C Thor Meeks placed on the 7-Day DL
• IF Bryan Lippincott transferred from Auburn
• IF Matt Foat transferred from Abuurn

AUBURN
• OF Brenton Allen reassigned from the GCL

GCL
• RHP Brad Meyers assigned from Syracuse for minor-league rehab

Now for the commentary…

…A lot of shuffling here, with Watts going on the DL to make room for Shoppach that’s likely the case for Ramos as well.

…Pleffner fouled a ball off his foot on Tuesday and played for an inning afterwards, but was removed from the game.

…Meeks has yet to get into a game, so this appears to be a paper move, as were the removal and reinstatements of Foat and Lippincott, the Nationals taking advantage of the NYPL’s 30-man rosters (of which 25 are active).

…Clearly the powers that be have seen enough from the 20th Rd. pick from UCLA to move him up with the rest of the collegiate picks in Auburn.

…Last but not least, Meyers has been cleared to throw and got the start this morning in Viera, tossing two scoreless innings with one hit allowed, no walks, and one strikeout.

Saturday’s News & Notes

Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 5-0 @ Buffalo,
7:05 p.m.
Tatusko (1-3, 4.10) vs.
Weber (3-2, 1.98)
Harrisburg Won, 4-2;
Won, 5-4
vs. Bowie,
7:00 p.m.
Hill (1-1, 1.29) vs.
Wright (6-2, 4.03)
Potomac Lost, 8-7 (11 inn.) vs. Wilmington,
6:35 p.m
Schwartz (6-2, 2.60) vs.
Smith (4-4, 2.89)
Hagerstown Lost, 4-3 (12 inn.) @ Delmarva,
7:05 p.m.
Lee (2-2, 4.46) vs.
Taylor (4-7, 3.61)
Auburn Losing, 1-0 vs. Jamestown,
4:05 p.m.
D. Williams (0-2, 9.00) vs.
Lodge (1-0, 4.50)
GCL Nationals Won, 7-6 @ GCL Mets,
10:00 a.m.
TBD vs. TBD
DSL Nationals Lost, 5-2 @ DSL Pirates2,
10:30 a.m.
TBD vs. TBD



Syracuse 5 Lehigh Valley 0
• Clay (W, 2-2) 7IP, 5H, 0R, 0BB, 5K
• Garcia 1IP, 0H, 0R, BB, K
• Walters 3-4, 2R, 2B, HR, 3RBI
• Espinosa 2-4, R, 2B, BB
• Jeroloman 2-4, 2B

Caleb Clay tossed seven scoreless innings while Zach Walters connected on his 19th HR as the Chiefs shut out the Iron Pigs, 5-0. Clay gave up five hits, walked none, and struck out five as he evened his won-loss record at 2-2. Walters drove in three and scored twice while going 3-for-4 with a double while Danny Espinosa and Brian Jeroloman each went 2-for-4 with a double as Syracuse won their fifth straight home game.

Harrisburg 4 Bowie 2 — GAME ONE
• Ray (W, 1-0) 5IP, 7H, R, ER, 2BB, 8K
• Grace (H, 3) 1⅔ IP, 2H, R, ER, 0BB, 1K
• Barrett (SV, 16) ⅓ IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 0K, 1-0 IR-S
• Lozada 2-2, 2RBI
• Van Ostrand 1-2, RBI

The Senators packed all of their offense into one inning, scoring four in the 4th to win the opener, 4-2. Robbie Ray won his AA debut, allowing just a run on seven hits and two walks while striking out eight, though he needed 97 pitches to get through five innings. Jose Lozada singled twice and drove in two to account for two of the three Harrisburg hits.

Harrisburg 5 Bowie 4 — GAME TWO
• Herron (W, 3-1) 5⅔ IP, 4H, 4R, 4ER, BB, 8K
• Holland (SV, 1) 1⅓ IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 1K, 3-1 IR-S
• Head 1-3, R, HR, 3RBI
• Bloxom 1-3, R, RBI

Harrisburg got out of the gate fast in the nightcap, scoring four in the 1st and one in the 2nd, and held off a late charge from Bowie for a 5-4 win to sweep the doubleheader. Tyler Herron pitched five and 2/3rds in a spot start, retiring 13 in a row in one stretch while striking out a career-high eight batters. Jerad Head homered and drove in three while Justin Bloxom went 1-for-3 with an RBI to lead the Senators offense. Roster move: OF Destin Hood placed on the 7-Day DL.

Wilmington 8 Potomac 7 (11 inn.)
• Cole 5IP, 11H, 7R, 7ER, 2BB, 4K
• Benincasa (L, 0-1) 2IP, 2H, R, ER, BB, 2K
• Ramsey 2-4, 2R, HR, BB, RBI
• Nieto 2-3, R, BB

Potomac saw its modest three-game win streak halted with an 8-7 loss in 11 innings. A.J. Cole got the start but was not sharp, giving up a season-high seven runs on 11 hits and two walks over five innings. He struck out four. Potomac scored all seven of its runs in the first four innings, but was stifled by the Wilmington ‘pen, which held them to four baserunners over the final seven frames. Adrian Nieto reached base three times going 2-for-3 with a walk to push his batting average to .304 and the lead the Potomac offense.

Delmarva 4 Hagerstown 3 (12 inn.)
• Mooneyham 5IP, 4H, R, ER, 3BB, 5K, WP
• Davis 3⅓ IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 4K, 3-0 IR-S
• Self (L, 0-2) 1⅔ IP, 4H, R, ER, 0BB, 2K
• Severino 3-5, 2B, 2RBI
• Miller 2-5, R, HR, RBI

Three straight two-out singles in the 12th pushed the Shorebird past the Suns, 4-3. Derek Self took the loss, his second in seven appearances, with four hits total coughed up over an inning and 2/3rds. Brett Mooneyham got the start and let in a run on four hits and three walks. Pedro Severino continues to swing a hot bat, going 3-for-5 with a double and two RBI to lead the ten-hit, two-walk Hagerstown attack.

Jamestown 1 Auburn 0 — SUSP.
Persistent rain stopped play in the third after more than an hour’s worth of delays. It will be completed today at 4 p.m. followed by a seven-inning game for a de facto doubleheader.

GCL Nationals 7 GCL Mets 6
• Solis 2IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 3K
• Silvestre (W, 2-0) 5IP, 7H, 4R, 3ER, BB, 5K, 2E
• Bautista 3-4, 3R, BB, SB
• Mejia 3-5, 2R, 3B, RBI

The G-Nats outlasted the G-Mets in a back-and-forth contest, 7-6. Sammy Solis started and tossed two scoreless innings, allowing one hit and striking out three. Hector Silvestre got the win, pitching the next five frames with four runs allowed on seven hits and a walk. Rafael Bautista and Bryan Mejia both had three-hit games for the second straight day, combining for five runs scored as the G-Nats pounded out 13 hits for the game. Roster move: LHP Sammy Solis assigned from Potomac for minor-league rehab.

DSL Cardinals 5 DSL Nationals 2
• Torres 5⅓ IP, 2H, 2R, ER, 0BB, 2K, HR
• Feliz (BS, 1; L, 3-1) 2⅔ IP, 0H, 1R, 0ER, 0BB, 1K, 2HBP, 1-1 IR-S
• Mendoza 2-4
• Mercedes 1-3, BB, CS

The D-Cards took the lead with a two-spot in the 6th and put the game away with another crooked number in the 9th, sending the D-Nats to their 8th loss in the last 10 games by a score of 5-2. 18-y.o. Venezuelan Luis Torres pitched into the 6th, allowing two runs on two hits and no walks with two strikeouts but got the no-decision. The offense squandered multiple scoring chances, going 1-for-12 with RISP and stranding eight baserunners. Pedro Mendoza led the hit column with a 2-for-4 game.

Good, Bad, Interesting – Vol. 12


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

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 36-51, 6th place I.L. North, 16½ games behind

Good Jeff Kobernus .375BA, Chris Marrero .333BA since return from MLB
Bad Jeff Mandel 0-4, 7.45ERA, 1.69 WHIP in last five starts
Interesting Mike Broadway four saves in last four appearances since June 26



HARRISBURG SENATORS 45-40, 1st place E.L. West, 1½ games ahead

Good Jason Martinson .333/.417/.429 in 7G since promotion
Bad Blake Treinen 110H in 97⅓IP
Interesting 50 team HBP, most in E.L.



POTOMAC NATIONALS 9-3, 1st place C.L. North, 2½ games ahead (51-30 overall)

Good Greg Holt 2-0, 2.57ERA in last 10 appearances (14IP)
Bad Adrian Sanchez .143/.216/.147 in last 10 games
Interesting 22 saves, T1st in Carolina League (19 blown saves)


HAGERSTOWN SUNS 10-5, 1st place Sally North, 1 game ahead (48-34 overall)

Good Gilberto Mendez 1-0, 0.68 ERA / 0.68 WHIP in first eight appearances
Bad Pedro Severino 8BB in 52 games (.275 OBP)
Interesting 11 shutouts, 2nd best in Sally League


AUBURN DOUBLEDAYS 6-10, 6th place Pinckney Division, New York-Penn League

Good Jean Valdez .326/.383/.535, 2HR, 8RBI in 16 games
Bad Joel Barrientos 12BB in 11⅔ IP
Interesting James Yezzo .333/.367/.421 in 14 games


GCL NATIONALS 9-3, 1st place East Division, Gulf Coast League

Good Philips Valdez 2-0, 1.13ERA, 0.75WHIP in 8IP
Bad Osvaldo Abreu .293 OPS in 10G
Interesting 1.18 WHIP 2nd best in GCL


DSL NATIONALS 15-12, 2nd place Boca Chica South, 3 games behind

Good 20-y.o. Yermin Mercedes .318/.423/.432 in 16 games
Bad 18-y.o. Yefri Pena 1-1, 5.52 ERA, 1.98 WHIP in 14⅔ IP
Interesting 17-y.o. Israel Mota .264/.406/.340 in 19 games

Last Night In Woodbridge

Ivan Pineyro tossed seven scoreless innings, the bullpen held the lead, and Adrian Nieto smacked a three-run home run to break up a 0-0 game and lead the P-Nats to a 3-1 Independence Day victory over the Blue Rocks.

It’s been a familiar theme, even with the more-than-occasional bullpen implosion, as the P-Nats have been on ’14 Braves-like run since Memorial Day weekend with a 28-8 record, even as they continue to push up players (Taylor Jordan, Robbie Ray, Jason Martinson) to Harrisburg.

Pineyro and Nieto, of course, are examples of how when things are going well, a minor-league team can absorb the “losses” and continue to thrive. Five seasons ago was the most extreme example, with some 70 players passing through while the 2008 edition won both halves and the Carolina League championship.

Pineyro came into the contest with a 9.64 ERA officially, 7.04 if you count his work in the suspended game last week against Myrtle Beach. But that’s just one (two?) starts and in his third outing, Pineyro showed a deft combination of heat and change of pace to keep the Wilmington batters unsettled.

The 21-year-old let up just three hits and walked one over seven frames, retiring the leadoff man six times and keeping the ball down. The latter is particularly important as that was his undoing in his debut against Carolina, leading to hard contact and multiple walks (just one last night).

Nieto, who’s moved into the cleanup spot vacated by Martinson, has been red-hot since the second half began, clubbing five of his eight HRs over the last 10 games along with slow-pitch softball numbers of .515/.579/.970 with 13RBI.

Colin Bates followed Pineyro out of the ‘pen and set ’em down in order in the 8th. Richie Mirowski got the save, his first since May, but gave up his sixth HR in just 40 innings pitched.

The two teams resume their four-game series tonight with A.J. Cole taking the hill for the P-Nats, opposed by the Blue Rocks’ Kyle Smith (4-4, 2.89).

Friday’s News & Notes

Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 7-4;
Won, 6-5
vs. Lehigh Valley,
7:00 p.m.
Clay (1-2, 2.21) vs.
Martin (9-3, 4.57)
Harrisburg Lost, 6-2 vs. Bowie,
5:30 p.m.
Ray (AA debut) and Herron (2-1, 4.91) vs.
Jones (3-3, 6.15) and Gamboa (4-5, 3.48)
Potomac Won, 3-1 vs. Wilmington,
6:35 p.m
Cole (5-3, 4.10) vs.
Sample (1-4, 4.44)
Hagerstown Won, 5-1 @ Delmarva,
7:05 p.m.
Mooneyham (4-2, 2.27) vs.
Guzman (4-0, 4.70)
Auburn Lost, 5-4 vs. Jamestown,
7:05 p.m.
Orlan (0-0, 1.38) vs.
Dickson (0-0, 6.75)
GCL Nationals Won, 7-4 vs. GCL Mets,
12:00 p.m.
Silvestre (1-0, 2.89) vs.
TBD
DSL Nationals Won, 4-1 @ DSL Cardinals,
10:30 a.m.
Torres (0-2, 4.64) vs.
Changarotty (2-1, 1.69)



Syracuse 7 Lehigh Valley 4 — GAME ONE
• Roark (W, 6-3) 6IP, 5H, 2R, 2ER, BB, 4K
• Broadway (SV, 6) ⅔ IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Rahl 2-3, 2R, RBI
• Marrero 2-4, R, 2B

The Chiefs put up five in the bottom of the 6th to snap a 2-2 and held on in the 7th for a 7-4 win in the opener. Starter Tanner Roark won his 6th game with a quality start of two runs on five hits and a walk with four strikeouts. Mike Broadway stranded a runner and got the last two outs of the 7th for his sixth save. The Chrises Marrero and Rahl combined to go 4-for-7 with three runs and an RBI to lead the 11-hit Syracuse attack.

Syracuse 6 Lehigh Valley 5 — GAME TWO
• Mandel 6IP, 8H, 5R, 5ER, 0BB, 4K, HR
• Crotta (W, 4-6) 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Espinosa 3-4, 2R, 2B, RBI
• Watts 2-3

Syracuse rallied for three in their final at-bat to sweep the doubleheader with a 6-5 win in the nightcap. The rally made a winner out of Mike Crotta who pitched a 1-2-3 seventh. Starter Jeff Mandel gave up all five Lehigh Valley runs on eight hits, no walks, and struck out four. Danny Espinosa stroked the game-winning RBI single, as he went 3-for-4 with a double and two runs scored to lead the Chiefs offense. Roster move: RHP Yunesky Maya placed on the 3-Day Temporary Inactive List.

Bowie 6 Harrisburg 2
• Treinen (L, 6-7) 6IP, 10H, 6R, 5ER, BB, 2K
• Perry 2IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 3K
• Goodwin 1-3, R, BB
• Souza 1-4, R, HR, 2RBI

The BaySox matched the runs to the innings through the first three frames to build a 6-0 lead and cruise to a 6-2 win over the Senators. Blake Treinen gutted out six innings, surrendering all six Bowie runs on 10 hits and a walk while setting down two on strikes. Steve Souza homered for the second straight game in the bottom of the 9th to break up the shutout bid.
Roster move: LHP Robbie Ray promoted from Potomac.

Potomac 3 Wilmington 1
• Pineyro (W, 1-0) 7IP, 3H, 0R, BB, 3K
• Bates (H, 3) 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Nieto 1-3, R, HR, 3RBI
• Burns 2-4, R, SB

Good pitching, good defense, and a three-run HR were the keys to the win Last Night In Woodbridge.

Hagerstown 5 Delmarva 1
• Dickson 4IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 4K
• Meza (W, 2-0) 3IP, 2H, R, ER, BB, 4K
• Severino 3-4, R, HR, RBI
• Martinez 2-4, RBI
• Renda 2-5, 2R,

The Suns bullpen pitched in on short notice while the offense made the most of its chances for a 5-1 win over the Shorebirds. Ian Dickson tossed four shutout innings as the spot starter, giving up a hit and a walk while striking out four. Christian Meza got the win with a run let in over the next three on two hits and a walk to go with four K’s. Pedro Severino hit his first professional home run and went 3-for-4 as he, Estarlin Martinez, and Tony Renda accounted for all seven Hagerstown hits.
Roster moves: RHP Dixon Anderson placed on the 7-Day DL; LHP Cory Bafidis reassigned from the GCL.

Jamestown 5 Auburn 4
• Johansen 4IP, 0H, R, 0ER, 2BB, 4K, HBP
• Hudgins (L, 0-1) 4IP, 3H, 4R, 3ER, BB, 6K, HR
• A. Ramirez 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Yezzo 2-5, 2B, 2RBI
• W. Rodriguez 2-3, R, SB

Jamestown erased an early 3-1 deficit with a four-run 5th and sent Auburn to 5-4 defeat. Top 2013 pick Jake Johansen turned his best and longest outing thus far, allowing an unearned run on two walks and a hit batsman over four innings but got the no-decision. Will Hudgins was squeezed for the loss, giving up the aforementiond four runs on three hits and a walk, but went four innings total and struck out six. James Yezzo and Wilman Rodriguez both had multihit games as the Doubledays outhit the Jammers 7-3.

GCL Nationals 7 GCL Cardinals 4
• J. Rodriguez 2⅔ IP, 5H, 4R, 4ER, BB, 4K, WP
• P. Valdez (W, 2-0) 3IP, 0H, 0R, 2BB, 4K
• Mejia 3-5, 3R, 2-3B, RBI
• Bautista 3-5, R, RBI
• Marmolejos-Diaz 2-5, R, 2B, HR, 3RBI

A pair of two-run rallies in the late innings gave the G-Nats the lead and then some insurance as they rebounded from Wednesday’s 18-3 smackdown with a 7-4 win over the G-Cards. Jefry Rodriguez got the start and was lit up for all four Cardinal runs on five hits and a walk over two and 2/3rds innings. Philips Valdez got the win with three scoreless innings, giving up no hits and two walks while setting down four on strikes. Bryan Mejia and Rafael Bautista both went 3-for-5 with an RBI whie Jose “Orange” Marmolejos-Diaz drove in three with a double and a HR in five ABs.

DSL Nationals 4 DSL Cardinals 1
• Yrizarri (W, 2-0) 5IP, 4H, R, 0ER, 2BB, 6K
• Morales (H, 1) 3IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
• Mendoza 2-4, 2B, RBI, SB
• Florentino 1-3, 2R, 2BB, SB

The D-Nats snapped a four-game losing streak by defeating the D-Cards, 4-1. Starter Deibi Yrizarri got the win with an unearned run given up on four hits and two walks and struck out six over five innings. Eight of nine D-Nats batters hit safely with Pedro Mendoza leading the hit column with a 2-for-4 effort, while Darryl Florentino reached base three times, scored twice, and stole base while going 1-for-3 with two walks.

Robbie Ray Promoted To Harrisburg

Moving On Up for NPP
The Potomac Nationals announced today that LHP Robbie Ray has been promoted to the Harrisburg Senators.

This is a bit of surprise, given the hammering (7HR, .245OBA) he took in June (vs 2HR, .184OBA in April/May) but apparently the powers that be are satisfied that he has made enough progress to be challenged with the next level.

Indeed, compared to the pitcher he was a year ago (especially in the second half, when he would get hit early, often, and hard), the 21-year-old southpaw has improved by leaps and bounds, getting more ground balls overall and converting more of the long counts (which are still a little too frequent to not glaze over) into strikeouts.

For the season, Ray is 6-3 with a 3.11 ERA, 3.82 FIP, and a WHIP of 1.20 with 100 strikeouts and 41 walks in 84 innings. That’s 4.39 BB/9 and 10.71 K/9. The walk rate is actually a career high, while the home run rate is only down slightly (0.96 vs. 1.19).

While not officially confirmed yet by the Senators PR folks, it would appear that Ray is the “TBA” listed in yesterday’s media notes for the probable pitcher of first game in tomorrow’s doubleheader in Harrisburg.

Last Night In Woodbridge

With the threat of a suicide squeeze, the Winston-Salem infield had to play in with two outs in the 9th inning against Potomac leadoff man Billy Burns. The extra step or two in gave the speedy outfielder the margin he needed to shoot one past the Dash third baseman for a 2-1 walkoff win last night.
mattpurkedebut
It was the fifth walkoff win, and the 50th win overall for the P-Nats this season, but almost an afterthought considering who the starting pitcher was.

The announced pitcher had been Ivan Pineyro, who had pitched last Thursday in a game suspended by rain. With four pitchers throwing in the interim, it was his turn in the rotation. To your right can see that that is not a righthander warming up but a lefty.

Starting a day earlier than what sources had said, was one Matthew Taylor Purke, the Nationals’ 3rd Round pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft.

It continues the Nationals’ pattern of minimizing the exposure and scrutiny of high-profile prospects (e.g. preventing Stephen Strasburg from starting in MD or VA, skipping Bryce Harper from Low-A to AA in 2011) as today is one of the few times the paid attendance listed in the Potomac box score will be closer to the number of people versus the number of limbs or bones.

With the caveat that you see in the header, here’s my scouting report on Purke’s first High-A start.

There’s an obsession with velocity nowadays. It’s invariably the first question I get asked via Twitter. Perhaps I’m feeding the beast, but the reports of low-to-mid-90s heat are true.

What struck me more was the movement on his pitches. Rare was the fastball that came in straight. More often was the heater that had what Ryan Kelley from Baseball Newshound described here as “spin…with razor-sharp slider movement.” The southpaw also unleashed a handful of both his slurve and the 11-5 curve, but stayed mostly with the fastball in the early going.

The command last night, however, was spotty. Purke ran up long counts to five of 22 batters faced, with 20+ pitch* innings in the 1st and 5th. But let’s not forget who he was facing — Winston-Salem is the cream of the crop offensively in the Carolina League. They get some credit for working the count, too.

The lone run Purke gave up came in the 1st, on sacrifice fly following a triple to right-center that Justin Miller, a utility player, couldn’t track down. Had he gotten the next two out, the narrative might have been “well, with Caleb Ramsey or Randolph Oduber out there, they go scoreless” but he gave up a single and hit a batter so it’s not that simple.

The second inning was perhaps his best, even though most would say the fourth, in which he dispatched the 7-8-9 batters on less than 10 pitches. Winston-Salem got a break on an error by Cutter Dykstra and ambushed Purke on first-pitch fastball to put two runners on. The count went to 3-0 but Purke bore down to get it to 3-2 and got the first out on a grounder to short, then ran the next batter to 0-2 and got the double play on a grounder to second to escape further damage.

The third saw Purke get two quick outs then give up a single and a five-pitch walk before retiring the fifth batter on a flyout to center.

After the aforementioned 1-2-3 4th inning, Purke got the leadoff man in the 5th on three pitches but walked the second batter on six and needed more than seven pitches to put away Dash SS Chris Curley. He got the final batter on routine flyout to right to finish his night, roughly 70 pitches thrown over five innings with one run given up on four hits with two walks, two strikeouts, a wild pitch, and a hit batsmen.

All in all, a decent outing.