Luke Erickson

Luke Erickson is a season-ticket holder for the Potomac Nationals, but makes a point of seeing games in Hagerstown and Harrisburg at least once a summer. When the PNats are away on the weekend, Luke finds a minor-league game somewhere to watch, and generally attends 70-80 baseball games a year up across several states. A former sportswriter with newspapers in Massachusetts and Oregon, Luke lives in Western Fairfax County with his wife and two sons.

May 182012
 

For the second straight night, it’s a walkoff in Woodbridge, with David Freitas driving in two with two down in the 9th for a 10-9 Potomac win over Frederick.

While the outcome was pretty, the game was ugly — ten walks, six unearned runs, four errors, two passed balls over nearly three and a half grueling hours. Never mind the loudmouth lout with a face made for radio heckling the umps and the Keys.

Potomac rallied three times for three runs, with the first two aided by three Frederick errors for five of the six unearned runs. Still, staked to a 6-2 lead, it should have been smooth sailing in the middle innings for Kyle Winters.

Instead, he labored to get through five innings and turned it over to Shane McCatty, who blew the save in the 7th with back-to-back walks, a single, and a would-be sacrifice bunt that he fielded then air-mailed over Justin Bloxom’s head and bounced into the stands. It was the fifth time in six appearances he had been scored upon.

The four-run seventh was the fourth straight inning in which the Keys scored, turning that 6-2 deficit into a 9-7 lead.

Potomac would go in order in the 7th and 8th innings, thus the few that gutted out the 9th were in for an unexpected treat. Randolph Oduber singled to lead off the inning and took second on Blake Kelso’s one-out single. Oduber took third on flyout to right. Bloxom singled for third time to drive in Oduber, sending Kelso to third.

Bloxom took second on defensive indifference, a critical move because despite having first base open, the Keys decided that they might get Freitas for a fourth time versus taking their chances with Michael Taylor (3-for-4, 2B, 3RBI). The big backstop lined one into left to send home Kelso with the tying run and Bloxom with the gamewinner.

With the win, Potomac took the series 3-1 and won their third straight. Tonight, LHP Matt Grace gets the start against Carolina, looking to improve over his last outing last Saturday night in Zebulon.

May 182012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 6-1 @ Columbus,
7:05 p.m.
Duke (4-1, 3.43) vs.
Slowey (2-3, 5.79)
Harrisburg Lost, 1-0
(14 inn.)
vs. Bowie,
7:00 p.m.
Gilliam (1-3, 4.70) vs.
Clark (2-3, 4.12)
Potomac Won, 10-9 vs. Carolina,
7:05 p.m.
Grace (2-4, 6.14) vs.
TBD
Hagerstown Won, 13-11 vs. Delmarva,
7:05 p.m.
Meyer (2-3, 4.32) vs.
Rodriguez (1-0, 2.42)

Syracuse 6 Columbus 1
• Atkins (W, 3-3) 5IP, 3H, 1R, 0ER, BB, 2K
• Roark 3IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 5K
• Brown 3-5, R, 2B, RBI, CS
• Paul 2-4, R, RBI
• Negrych 1-3, R, HR, 2RBI

Jim Negrych’s two-run HR started the five-run 2nd off with a bang, as Syracuse downed Columbus, 6-1. Mitch Atkins evened his record with one run given up over five innings while Tanner Roark struck out five over three in his first relief outing. Corey Brown and Xavier Paul remain red-hot, combining for five of the eight Syracuse hits and both scoring a run.

Richmond 1 Harrisburg 0 (14 inn.)
• Rosenbaum (ND) 7IP, 4H, 0R, 2BB, 4K
• Pucetas 3IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 5K
• Frias (L, 1-3) 1⅓ IP, 0H, R, ER, 5BB, 0K, WP
• Valdez 2-6
• Kobernus 1-5, SB, SH

Richmond quite literally walked off as Marcos Frias issued four free passes (one intentional) in the bottom of the 14th to send Harrisburg to a 1-0 loss, snapping the Sens’ five-game win streak. Starter Danny Rosenbaum lowered his ERA to 0.62 with seven shutout innings, but the Flyinq Squirrels’ Chris Heston — the #2 man in the E.L. ERA race at 0.71 — matched him, then threw an 8th scoreless frame. Harrisburg managed just six hits, with Jesus Valdez the sole multihit Senator.

Potomac 10 Frederick 9
• Winters (ND) 5IP, 7H, 4R, 4ER, 2BB, 3K
• Holland (W, 2-1) 3IP, 2H, 0R, 2BB, 2K, 2-2 IR-S
• Taylor 3-4, R, 2B, 3RBI
• Bloxom 3-5, 3R, RBI

A win is a win, even when it’s ugly like it was Last Night In Woodbridge.
Prior to the game, LHP Bobby Hansen Jr. was activated from the DL, with RHP Wilson Eusebio moved to the temporary inactive list to make room on the 25-man roster.

Hagerstown 13 Delmarva 11
• Dupra 3IP, 4H, 4R, 4ER, BB, 2K, 3HR
• Holt (W, 1-0) 2⅓ IP, 4H, 2R, 2ER, BB, K
• Simko (SV, 1) 2IP, 0H, R, ER, 3BB, 0K
• Ramsey 4-5, 2R, 2B, RBI
• Dykstra 3-5, 3R, HR, 3RBI
• Martinson 2-3, R, 2B, 3B, 3RBI

After blowing leads of 7-4 and 9-8, Hagerstown put another four-spot on the board in the last of the 7th and fended off one last charge from Delmarva for a 13-11 win. Every Hagerstown batter reached base, eight drove in at least one run, and seven had a hit as the Suns piled up 14 hits total. Caleb Ramsey led the hit parade with a 4-for-5 night, while Cutter Dykstra and Jason Martinson both drove in three. Starter Brian Dupra was tagged for four runs on four hits, three of them over the fence. Greg Holt got the win in relief while Todd Simko notched the save. Byron Kerr is reporting that CF Brian Goodwin will be back in action tonight. No word on the corresponding roster move just yet, but look for Billy Burns (29G on-base streak) to shift to LF.

May 172012
 

[Ed. Note:] These are the thoughts of my friend Shawn, a.k.a. one of my “spies in Hagerstown,” on the Suns position players. And again, don’t forget to visit his blog Musings about Sports and other important items

Brian Goodwin
was very impressive offensively in his five games. I was at the game that he injured himself, grabbed the leg immediately and you knew it was trouble. Goodwin showed speed and in power in those five games. Keep in mind that we haven’t seen him struggle, just as the last memory is the best memory.

Matt Skole has done everything you can do with the bat thus far and I really like his patience. Skole is striking out a little more than I would like, but his walk total is high and I think his bat will play higher up the ladder. The real issue is the leather; I do not think Skole plays third in the long run and it might be better to move him sooner than later.

Caleb Ramsey has been better than expected, but thus far something tells me that he will not hit for power as he moves higher — just a gut feeling.

Jason Martinson has played well and has reduced his errors, but for a repeat performer has not torn the Sally League up as you would hope a true prospect would. Martinson is still striking out a lot and that is a red flag to me.

Outside of those, none of the rest show me signs of being true prospects.

I love the way Billy Burns plays, but he reminds me more of a Chris Curran type — a high-energy, slap hitter that plays the game the right way, but lacks true high-end talent.

Steven Souza is killing the ball, but he should: This after all is his fourth Hagerstown stint and he is too skilled for this level. Does this play higher? I doubt it, but he is still young enough to make a move especially considering his tools.

Cutter Dykstra is hitting for a high average as he should, but still lacks the type of pop that you would hope to see, especially when you consider the drop in level. Dykstra turns 23 next month, but he needs to make his move soon.

J.P.Ramirez seems to me to be somewhat dispirited with the demotion and it has shown in his play. I thought Ramirez would rip this league up for eight weeks and move back up, but thus far he has only hit two homers. From a player that will rise and fall with the power potential, that is a huge disappointment.

Adrian Nieto continues to show just enough potential to keep your hopes up. Nieto has some power, but still does not make the type of contact that you would like.

Bryce Ortega broke his thumb and is out of action, but in his 51 at-bats, showed no power at all — not even gap power. Ortega looks to be a organizational type to me.

Brett Newsome is exactly that: an organizational soldier.

Hendry Jimenez has murdered lefties in a small sample size, but has been pathetic against righties.

Cole Leonida looks to be viewed as a backup catcher for the second year in a row. He has not gotten a ton of at-bats, and has not taken advantage of what he has been given.

Justin Miller has hit four homers in a little over a hundred at bats, but also has 35 strikeouts, which is rather high. Considering he turns 24 in the fall, Miller’s chances of making the Potomac roster in ’13 are quite slim.

May 172012
 

After losing seven of eight, the Potomac Nationals took a pair of one-run contests from the Frederick Keys, taking the first game 5-4, and capped by a walkoff in “extra” innings, 4-3.

Robbie Ray took the hill in the first game, coming off a six-run smackdown in Salem in his previous start and a position-player’s ERA of 16.50. The rest-or-rust question was answered rather quickly as Ray set down the Keys in order three times with three quick innings — 20 pitches, 17 for strikes.

But the second time through the lineup is always a big test for any starter, and Frederick drew blood in the 4th — three straight singles, a sharp lineout, then a two-run double, and an RBI single. Ray got the second out on a sac fly and then got out of the inning with a grounder. But it took 24 pitches.

Prior to the big inning, the P-Nats had built a 3-0 lead on a two-run HR by Adrian Sanchez in the first and a two-out RBI double by David Freitas. After the big inning, three straight singles in the bottom of the 4th produced the tying run, with Kevin Keyes atoning for his ill-advised attempt to score from second on a single in the 2nd with an RBI single.

Ricky Hague homered in the bottom of the 5th to put Potomac up 5-4. Ray would bounce back from the four-run fourth with 1-2-3 fifth and worked around a single and a hit batsmen with a inning-ending DP. Cameron Selik flirted with disaster, giving up a pair of two-out singles but bore down to get the save (his 5th) and preserve the win for Ray (his 1st).

In the nightcap, Francisco Soriano produced twice in the clutch — tying the game with a two-out RBI single in the bottom of the 7th, and doubling home the gamewinner with two down in the last of the 9th for a 4-3 win.

Wilson Eusebio was the pitcher of record and got the win, but the pitcher of the night was Rob Wort. After starter Matt Swynenberg tired in the 6th, giving up a single and a double to put runners on second and third, Wort came on and struck out the first batter for the first out, then got the second with a grounder to second that Frederick inexplicably decided to try to score on Soriano’s arm.

While it’s true that an RBI single followed, for which the casual fan may place blame, what’s lost in the quick glance at the box score is that Wort then dispatched the next six batters straight — that’s three innings with nine outs to nine batters faced.

Potomac would actually score all four runs with two out last night. Blake Kelso, who scored three of the four Potomac runs on a 3-for-5 game and a 4-for-8 night, scored the first on a Frederick throwing error. Justin Bloxom followed with an RBI double to tie the game at 2-2 in the 3rd. Kelso would double in the last of the 7th and score on Soriano’s single. Then (guess who?) after reaching base safely on a grounder in the 9th, Kelso came around from first on Soriano’s gamewinner, a double to down the RF line.

With the win, Potomac improves to 15-21, percentage points behind second-place Wilmington, but still 6½ back of first-place Lynchburg. Kyle Winters (1-5, 6.99) toes the slab tonight for the P-Nats, opposed by Scott Copeland (1-3, 5.91).

May 172012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 6-2 @ Columbus,
6:35 p.m.
Atkins (2-3, 4.09) vs.
Espino (0-0, 10.12)
Harrisburg Won, 4-2 @ Richmond,
6:35 p.m.
Rosenbaum (5-0, 0.71) vs.
Heston (3-2, 0.84)
Potomac Won, 5-4;
Won, 4-2
vs. Frederick,
7:05 p.m.
Winters (1-5, 6.99) vs.
Copeland (1-3, 5.91)
Hagerstown Won, 8-6 vs. Delmarva,
7:05 p.m.
Dupra (2-3, 4.82) vs.
Davies (2-1, 3.16)

Columbus 6 Syracuse 2
• Lannan (L, 3-4) 6IP, 11H, 6R, 6ER, 4BB, K, 3HR
• Martin 1IP, 0H, 0R, BB, K
• Rivero 2-4
• Paul 1-2, R, 2B, 2BB

Three home runs, the last being a three-run shot in the 6th, handed the loss to John Lannan as the Chiefs lost for the first time in a week, 6-2 to Columbus. The erstwhile southpaw was tagged for all six Clipper runs, giving up 11 hits and walking four in his 4th loss. Carlos Rivero singled twice while Xavier Paul walked twice and doubled once and to lead the Syracuse offense.

Harrisburg 4 Richmond 2
• Mandel (W, 4-2) 7⅔ IP, 3H, R, ER, 4BB, 3K, BK, HBP; 1-for-3
• Nelo (SV, 3) 1IP, H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Perez 4-5, 2-2B, 2RBI, 2SB
• Pahuta 1-3, BB

Jeff Mandel bounced back to April form, tossing seven and 2/3rds innings of three-hit, one-run ball as the Senators extended their win streak to five with a 4-2 win over Richmond. Eury Perez seems to be shaking his slump, singling, doubling, and driving in a run twice for six total bases out of the Harrisburg total of 13. Hector Nelo worked around a single to pitch a scoreless 9th and register his third save.

Potomac 5 Frederick 4 — GAME ONE
• Ray (W, 1-1) 6IP, 7H, 4R, 4ER, 0BB, 0K
• Selik (SV, 5) 1IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Hague 3-3, 2R, HR, RBI
• Sanchez 1-3, HR, RBI
• Keyes 2-3, 2B, RBI

Potomac 4 Frederick 3 — GAME TWO
• Swynenberg (ND) 5+ IP, 7H, 3R, 3ER, 2BB, 4K, HR
• Wort 3IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 3K, 2-1 IR-S
• Eusebio (W, 1-0) 1IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Kelso 3-5, 3R, 2B, SB
• Soriano 2-5, 2B, 2RBI

Potomac improves to 10-8 at home with doubleheader sweep of the Keys Last Night In Woodbridge
Hagerstown 8 Hickory 6
• Karns (W, 1-0) 6IP, 5H, 2R, 2ER, 0BB, 5K
• Lucas (H, 2) ⅔ IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 0K, 2-0 IR-S
• Souza 3-5. R, HR, 4RBI
• Skole 1-3, 3BB, RBI
• Burns 1-3, R, 2BB, RBI

Steve Souza put another 3-for-5 with a HR into the books as the Hagerstown Suns completed a three-game sweep of Hickory with an 8-6 win. Souza’s HR was his 7th in just 13 games played, and his second in as many games since being activated from the DL. Nathan Karns turned in his longest outing of the season (6IP, 2R) to earn his first win. The Suns return home for a seven-game homestand, beginning with a four-game set against the Delmarva Shorebirds. To make room for Souza on the Suns roster, Wirkin Estevez was placed on the DL, retroactive to May 14.

May 162012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 5-1 @ Columbus,
6:35 p.m.
Lannan (3-3, 5.31) vs.
Seddon (3-2, 4.46)
Harrisburg Won, 4-2 @ Richmond,
6:35 p.m.
Mandel (3-2, 3.89) vs.
Stevenson (1-4, 6.69)
Potomac Lost, 4-1
(5½ inn.)
vs. Frederick,
6:05 p.m.
Ray (0-1, 16.50) and
Swynenberg (3-1, 3.75) vs.
Moore (0-4, 7.62) and
Wilson (A+ debut)
Hagerstown Won, 12-4 @ Hickory,
11:00 a.m.
Karns (0-0, 1.88) vs.
Jackson (2-3, 4.98)

Syracuse 5 Columbus 1
• Maya (W, 3-4) 6⅔ IP, 7H, R, ER, 2BB, 5K
• Lehman 2IP, H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Paul 2-4, R, 2B, HR, 3RBI
• Brown 2-4, 2R, HR, BB, 2RBI, SB, CS

The Chiefs remain red-hot, sinking the Clippers for their 7th straight win, 5-1. Yunesky Maya tossed his third straight quality start to his third win of the season, allowing just a run on seven hits and two walks. Corey Brown and Xavier Paul both homered and went 2-for-4, driving in all five Syracuse runs. The Chiefs pounded out 12 hits with five players collecting multiple hits and were 4-for-8 with RISP.

Harrisburg 4 Richmond 2
• Demny (ND) 6IP, 2H, 2R, ER, BB, 4K
• Frias (W, 1-2) 2IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Garcia (SV, 5) 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Perez 3-4, 2RBI, SB
• Pahuta 2-4, 3B, 2RBI

Tim Pahuta’s two-run triple in the top of the 8th was difference in a 4-2 Harrisburg win, the Sens’ fourth consecutive win. Paul Demny flirted with a no-no for five innings but wound up with a no-decision. He allowed just two hits and two runs (one earned) while walking once and striking out four. Eury Perez (3-for-4) and Pahuta (2-for-4) combined for all four Harrisburg RBIs, as the Sens collected seven hits total.

Frederick 4 Potomac 1 (5½ inn)
• Demmin (L, 0-1) 3IP, 5H, 3R, 3ER, 0BB, 2K, HR
• Holland ⅔ IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K, 1-0 IR-S
• Walters 2-2, BB, RBI
• Sanchez 1-3, R

Potomac was trailing 4-1 but had the tying run at the plate when actual lightning struck close to the Pfitz in the bottom of the sixth, ending the seven-inning game early and raining out the second game. Frederick struck with figurative lightning on the second pitch of the game to take a 1-0 lead off losing pitcher Ryan Demmin, who was touched for two more runs in the third. He would finish with three runs allowed on five hits over three innings. Zach Walters drove in the sole P-Nat run while going 2-for-2 with a walk to lead the Potomac offense.

Hagerstown 12 Hickory 4
• Turnbull (W, 1-2) 5IP, 7H, 3R, 3ER, BB, 4K
• Holt 2IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Skole 4-4, 4R, 2B, 2HR, 5RBI, BB
• Souza 3-5, 2R, 2-2B, HR, 3RBI
• Martinson 2-5, 2R, RBI

Matt Skole baited the Crawdad pitchers four times for five RBI as the Suns captured second place in the Sally North with a 12-4 win over Hickory, their third straight win. Skole singled, doubled, and homered twice and a drew a walk, and remains the Sally League leader in RBIs (40) and BBs (34). Steve Souza was a close second in the Hagerstown hit parade, doubling twice and homering once while driving in three. Kylin Turnbull earned his first professional win with three runs allowed on seven hits and a walk over the first five innings.

May 152012
 

The Nationals have officially recalled C Carlos Maldonado from the Syracuse Chiefs, replacing the recently promoted Sandy Leon, who was injured last night in a collision at the plate with San Diego’s Chase Headly.

To make room on the Washington Roster, C Wilson Ramos was transferred from the 15-day DL to the 60-Day DL, while Leon was placed on the 15-Day DL with what’s being called a “high ankle sprain,” though you can see in Cheryl Nichols‘ shot of the collision that his ankle was everted, as noted last night on Twitter.

Leon struck out in his lone plate appearance before the injury.

As of this writing, the corresponding moves in the Nationals minors have not been made. Syracuse officials are asserting Jhonatan Solano is still ill despite not having played in nearly a month, though he has been sight unseen by at least one of the local beat writers.

Thus, if as Solano is not available, this is the likely chain of events that followed the Maldonado callup:

Devin Ivany James Skelton assigned to Syracuse to replace Maldonado
• Beau Seabury assigned to Harrisburg to replace Ivany Skelton
Sam Palace Erick Fernandez activated from the Potomac DL assigned from the GCL Nationals to replace Seabury

UPDATE: The Harrisburg Senators and Potomac Nationals have announced the corresponding moves, with Skelton getting the call instead of Ivany and Erick Fernandez. As noted in the comments, David Freitas and Adrian Nieto are both staying put at Potomac and Hagerstown while it’s come to light that Solano has reportedly been suffering from a herniated disc, which, of course is a far cry from an illness and more serious than most people realize.

May 152012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 6-4 @ Columbus,
6:35 p.m.
Maya (2-4, 2.98) vs.
Kluber (3-2, 2.58)
Harrisburg OFF DAY @ Richmond,
6:35 p.m.
Demny (2-2, 5.58) vs.
Westcott (3-2, 4.15)
Potomac Postponed vs. Frederick,
6:05 p.m.
Demmin (0-0, 3.77) and
Ray (0-1, 16.50) vs.
Simon (0-6, 5.50) and
Moore (0-4, 7.62)
Hagerstown Won, 5-3 @ Hickory,
6:00 p.m.
Turnbull (0-2, 5.24) vs.
Perez (2-1, 4.66)

Syracuse 6 Rochester 4
• Wang (W, 2-0) 8IP, 11H, 4R, 4ER, BB, K, 0HR
• VanAllen (SV, 1) 1IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 0K; 2-2 IR-S, BK Pickoff at 1B
• Brown 2-4, 2R, 2B, HR, RBI
• Paul 3-4, R, 2B, RBI
• Bynum 1-3, R, HR, RBI

After pleading his case to finish the game, Chien-Ming Wang proved the coaches right for wanting to end his day after eight innings, as the Chiefs survived a 9th-inning scare. They won their 6th straight and completed the four-game sweep of the Rochester Redwings with a 6-4 win. Corey Brown homered to start a three-run 6th that broke a 1-1 tie. Seth Bynum followed suit a solo shot to start the 7th as Syracuse extended the lead from 4-2 to 6-2. Cory VanAllen let in both runs he inherited from Wang (albeit at 2nd and 3rd) on a sac fly and a single but erased the runner at 1st with a nifty balk pickoff move and got the last out on a flyball for his first save.

HARRISBURG — OFF DAY
After taking three of four from 1st-place Akron, Harrisburg finishes its seven-game roadtrip with three games today, tomorrow, and Wednesday against the Richmond Flying Squirrels. Thus far, the Sens have fared much better on the road than at home — 14-6 vs. 6-10.

POTOMAC — PPD
Seems like old times as the Potomac Nationals and Frederick Keys were rained out for the second time in less than a month. It’s doubleheader tonight… weather permitting. A reporter from the Houston Chronicle caught up with Anthony Rendon, who told him "I’m probably not going to come back this year." Naturally, the Nationals’ official response was to deny that conclusion.

Hagerstown 5 Hickory 3
• Estevez (ND) 5IP, 4H, 3R, 2ER, BB, 2K
• Meza (W, 3-1) 2⅓ IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Miller 2-4, R, HR, 2RBI
• Burns 2-5, R, 2B, RBI (26-game on-base streak)
• Nieto 2-4, R, RBI

After a 67-minute rain delay in the 6th, Hagerstown broke a 3-3 deadlock in the 8th with RBI singles from J.P. Ramirez (12-game hit streak) and Justin Miller for a 5-3 win over Hickory. Christian Meza got the win in relief, taking the hill after the rain delay with two and a 1/3rd innings of scoreless relief. Aaron Barrett got the last four outs (two by way of the K) to earn the save, his third. Starter Wirkin “For The Weekend” Estevez allowed all three Crawdad runs (two earned), given up on four hits and a walk over the first five innings.

May 142012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 4-2 vs. Rochester,
12:00 p.m.
Wang (1-0, 2.57) vs.
Vries (0-3, 3.90)
Harrisburg Won, 8-4 OFF DAY N/A
Potomac Lost, 3-2 vs. Frederick,
7:05 p.m.
Ray (0-1, 16.50) vs.
TBD
Hagerstown Canceled @ Hickory,
6:00 p.m.
Estevez (4-1, 6.69) vs.
Perez (2-1, 4.66)

Syracuse 4 Rochester 2
• Duke (W, 4-1) 7IP, 6H, 2R, ER, 0BB, 3K
• Wilkie (SV, 2) 2IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Brown 1-3, R, 2B, BB, RBI
• Teahen 1-3, BB, RBI
• Negrych 1-4, R, HR, RBI

A costly two-run error in the bottom of the 7th was the difference as the Chiefs clipped the Redwings for their 5th straight win. Zach Duke scattered six hits over seven inning to record his 4th “W” of the year. Josh Wilkie pitched the final two frames to earn his second save. Corey Brown, Mark Teahen and Jim Negrych combined for three of the five Syracuse hits and all three Chiefs RBIs.

Harrisburg 8 Akron 4
• Ballard 3IP, 6H, 4R, 4ER, 2BB, 3K, HR
• Davis (W, 4-1) 3IP, 3H, 0R, 0BB, 4K
• McCoy (SV, 1) 3IP, 1H, 0R, 2BB, 3K
• Rahl 3-4, 2R, BB, 2RBI
• Ivany 2-4, R, 2-2B, 2RBI
• Hood 2-5, 2R, 2RBI

Harrisburg doubled up Akron 8-4 for their third straight win and took the four-game series, 3-1. Chris Rahl led the Sens’ 12-hit attack with a 3-for-4 afternoon, scoring twice, walking once, and driving in two. He also swiped three bases. Devin Ivany stepped in for Sandy Leon behind the plate and had two RBI doubles. Mike Ballard gave up all four Aeros runs in the 3rd inning, leaving after three innings after allowing six hits and two walks. Erik Davis and Pat McCoy each threw three scoreless innings to earn the win and save, respectively. No corresponding move for Leon has been made yet. With two catchers already on the roster and an off day today, there is no immediate need.

Carolina 3 Potomac 2
• Applebee (L, 1-1) 4+ IP, 5H, 3R, 3ER, 0BB, 0K, 0HR
• Holder 3IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, K; 1-0 IR-S
• Keyes 1-4, R, 2B
• Oduber 1-2, R
• Kelso 0-2, BB, RBI

The pitching was there for Potomac in the series finale, but the bats remained quiet as Carolina completed the three-game sweep with a 3-2 win. Kevin Keyes doubled and Randolph Oduber singled to account for the two (2) P-Nats hits, with Mudcat errors contributing to both P-Nats runs. Paul Applebee took the loss on this spot start, giving up all three Carolina runs on five hits over 4+ innings. Trevor Holder turned in another stellar relief outing, stringing his scoreless streak to nine innings over his last three appearances with one hit allowed over three frames. Potomac returns home for a seven-game homestand, beginning with four against the Frederick Keys starting tonight, weather permitting.

HAGERSTOWN — CNCLD
Sunday showers canceled the series finale between Lexington and Hagerstown. The Suns head to Hickory, NC for a three-game series against the Crawdads and a chance to take sole possession of second place in the Sally League North.

May 132012
 

The much ballyhooed depth of the Nationals’ catching will be put to the test as Harrisburg’s Sandy Leon gets the call to replace Wilson Ramos on the Washington roster.

Geography was apparently a factor in the decision, with the Harrisburg Senators in Akron Ohio, roughly four hours away by car from Cincinnati. Another factor: the undisclosed injury/illness of Jhonatan Solano, who remains on the DL since April 20. As reported last month, the Syracuse radio team referencing him feeling ill in one of the broadcasts.

Folks have pointed out that Solano’s last appearance was on April 16, a game in in which Solano was hit by a pitch in the 7th, however, he did not leave the game, ran the bases, and struck out in the next inning. There was no mention of his name in the timeframe in between April 16th and April 20th in either the Syracuse or Auburn newspapers that would either confirm or refute that remark.

How long Leon stays on the parent club is another question that remains open to debate and speculation. Defensively, there is little doubt that the 23-year-old Venezuelan is MLB-ready, but while the casual fan will note his hitting prowess this season (.319/.356/.457), this offensive outburst has been long time coming.

Yes, he’ll get the benefit of major-league coaching, though the diminishing offensive returns of the Washington Nationals under Rick Eckstein’s watch begs the question, “Might this do more harm than good?”

The move fills the Nationals 40-man roster to the 40-man limit, with seven players (Mark DeRosa, Brad Lidge, Michael Morse, Ramos, Drew Storen, Chien-Ming Wang, and Jayson Werth) on the 15-day DL and two on the 60-day DL (Chris Marrero, Cole Kimball). It’s worth noting that Wang’s rehab period ends in roughly 15 days, while the 60-day period for Marrero and Kimball is up about week after that.

Predicting the next move is always a fool’s errand, for if there’s one thing that’s certain, the current front office will find a way to exploit this confluence of events if there’s any way possible. (You can go looking for the rules for the 60-Day DL, but I suspect they’re not found on a sign on Jimmie Dimmick’s front lawn).

My personal opinion is that this may be harmful to Leon because it’s going to interrupt his offensive development, while folks I highly respect (e.g. Brian Oliver) feel that with a ceiling of a backup catcher, you can kill two stones with one bird instead of making an impulsive trade or burning an organizational player (e.g. Carlos Maldonado or Devin Ivany).

Congratulations to Sandy nevertheless. Quite a phone call he got to make to su mama esta la noche, no?