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.

Apr 282012
 

The first five runs in the game were earned, the last four weren’t. The Pelicans got three of those four on three P-Nats errors to overcome a 3-2 deficit and hold on for a 5-4 win on a cold Friday night.

The miscues also masked a gutsy outing by Adam Olbrychowski, who got hit (again) early with two runs in the 2nd inning but then settled in and settled down. After an RBI groundout for the second inning’s second out, the 25-year-old retired 13 of 15 batters.

The two that he didn’t get were walks, and were erased on two nifty double plays by Zach Walters and Franciso Soriano. A single to left followed, ending Olbrychowski’s night with just four hits and three walks allowed. More importantly, by pitching into the 7th he gave the bullpen the task of getting just seven outs, a little relief for the ‘pen that had worked three or more innings the past four games.

Before describing what happened next, it’s important to note that while Olbrychowski was setting them down in order inning after inning, so were the Pelican pitchers. Starter Wilmer Font gave up the first three runs, including a two-run shot to right-center by Wade Moore, but struck out six in his three innings of work. Middle reliever Randol Rojas was easily the true star of the game with five no-hit innings of relief, with just a walk in the sixth.

So while it’s natural to think “those three errors killed us,” the real culprit was the lack of hitting.

Back to the top of the 7th… runner on 1st, two outs, Rob Wort pitching. Josh Richmond lifts a flyball to medium right-center. Michael Taylor and Randolph Oduber converge but neither can get to it. And neither could pick it up cleanly, the error charged to Oduber as the runner came around all the way to score. Game is tied, 3-3.

In the 8th, an errant pickoff by Wort throw sets up a sacrifice fly. Myrtle Beach goes up 4-3.

In the 9th, Wilson Eusebio butchers a grounder with one out. Walters makes a sensational throw after going deep into the 5/6 hole, but the runner moves up and Richmond strikes again with an RBI single. The Pelicans now lead 5-3.

David Freitas, who singled in the first Potomac run way back in the first, strikes out to lead off the ninth. Michael Taylor follows suit. For those without a scorecard, that’s 22 of 25 batters retired since Moore’s homer in the 2nd.

Myrtle Beach commits its sole error as Justin Bloxom reaches on his counterpart’s mistake. After taking second on defensive indifference, Moore collects his third RBI of the night to pull the P-Nats within one at 5-4.

Despite the offensive drought, Potomac had a chance to win or tie. Brian Rupp rolled the dice by sending up big man Kevin Keyes, an all-or-nothing hitter, and giving Wade Moore the green light to steal second.

Moore succeeded, but Keyes didn’t, striking out to end the game.

The loss extends Potomac’s losing streak to six games. Chien-Mien Wang is slated to pitch tonight in a rehab start, with a pitch count of approximately 65 pitches. Matt Swynenberg is likely to be the first man out of the ‘pen as it’s his turn in the rotation. They’ll be opposed by 19-year-old Cody Buckel, the Rangers’ 2nd-round pick of the 2010 draft.

Apr 282012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Postponed vs. Charlotte,
1:00 p.m.
Atkins (1-2, 3.18) and
Roark (1-3, 4.64) vs.
Shirek (3-1, 3.38) and
Zaleski (0-1, 4.09 @ AA)
Harrisburg Lost, 6-2 vs. Bowie,
7:00 p.m.
Demny (1-1, 4.00) vs.
B. Bundy (1-3, 5.31)
Potomac Lost, 5-4 vs. Myrtle Beach,
7:05 p.m.
Wang (rehab) vs.
Buckel (2-0, 0.84)
Hagerstown Won, 9-3 @ Augusta,
7:05 p.m.
Dupra (1-3, 4.15) vs.
Bandilla (1-0, 1.29)

SYRACUSE — PPD
Lost in the excitement over Ryan Perry being recalled to Washington to replace Brad Lidge in the bullpen (what? there was another move?), was the postponement due to cold weather for the second time this week. The two teams will play a pair of seven-inning games this afternoon at 1 p.m.

Bowie 6 Harrisburg 2
• Ballard 5⅔ IP, 4H, 1R, 1ER, 2BB, 6K, HR
• Frias (L, 0-1) 2⅓ IP, 5H, 4R, 4ER, BB, K, 1-1 IR-S
• Pahuta 3-3, 2-2B, BB, RBI
• Hood 2-4, R, OF assist (2B)
• Leon 2-4, R, 2B

With four runs in the 9th, Bowie knifed the Senators for a 6-2 loss in Harrisburg. Marcos Frias took the loss, giving up four hits in the frame, and five hits total. Harrisburg notched eight hits total, but just four batters hit safely with Tim Pahuta leading the foursome with a single, walk, and a pair of doubles. Starter Mike Ballard went the first five and 1/3rd innings, allowing a run on four hits and two walks while striking out six.

Myrtle Beach 5 Potomac 4
• Olbrychowski (ND) 6⅔ IP, 4H, 3R, 2ER, 3BB, 6K
• Wort (BS, 1; L, 0-1) 1⅓ IP, 2H, 1R, 0ER, 0BB, 0K, E(1, pickoff)
• Moore 2-4, R, HR, 3RBI
• Freitas 1-3, BB, RBI

Errors will be the excuse, but hitlessness was the reason for the loss Last Night In Woodbridge

Hagerstown 9 Rome 3
• Turnbull (ND) 5IP, 5H, R, ER, 0BB, 3K
• Barrett (W, 2-0) 2IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 4K
• Burns 2-3, 2R, 2B, 2BB
• Souza 2-5, R, 2-2B, RBI
• Miller 1-5, R, HR, 5RBI

Justin Miller’s grand slam highlighted a six-run ninth as the Hagerstown Suns took the third of three games from the Braves with a 9-3 win. Kylin Turnbull came off the DL to toss five innings, giving up a run on five hits, with no walks and three strikeouts, leaving with a 2-1 lead. Christian Meza and Alex Kreis each gave up a run in relief before Aaron Barrett shut down the Braves over the last two innings to earn the win. The Suns took advantage of the seven walks and two hit batsmen to score their nine runs on just six hits, though four of them were for extra bases. Hagerstown finishes its Georgia swing with three against the Augusta GreenJackets.

Apr 272012
 

It’s the news you’ve been whining waiting to see: Bryce Harper will be recalled from Syracuse and make his major-league debut tomorrow in Dodger Stadium.

The move will come in conjunction with Ryan Zimmerman’s placement on the 15-Day DL for an inflammation of the AC joint. The move will be retroactive to April 21.

“We thought that we needed to bring in an impactful[sic] left-handed bat,” Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo told reporters at a press conference this afternoon. Rizzo also noted that Harper will initially play left field, and admitted the move was out of need due to injuries to Zimmerman and Michael Morse.

“This wasn’t the coming out party for Bryce we had in mind,” Rizzo said.

With the retroactive placement on the DL, Ryan Zimmerman could be activated on May 6th, which could also mean that Harper will return to AAA. In the meantime, Rizzo said that Harper will likely be the everyday left fielder, the position he played yesterday in the first game of the doubleheader.

While previously Rizzo had remarked that once Harper was recalled he would stay, this afternoon he backpedaled from that assertion, citing OF Mike Trout, who was recalled from AA to the Los Angeles Angels for 40 games last summer.

“(There’s) a possibility that this might not be his breakout moment. This could be a step sideways to take a leap forward,” Rizzo said.

Perhaps coincidentally, Stephen Strasburg will be the starting pitcher tomorrow in Los Angeles. Perhaps not coincidentally, Harper’s 20+ days of AAA service ensures that the 19-year-old phenom will not become a free agent until after the 2018 season.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Quotes were taken from Nationals beat writers on Twitter as this was written in real time to meet a personal deadline of filing something before leaving to attend tonight’s Potomac Nationals game. I mention this in the spirit of professionalism and disclosure.

Apr 272012
 

Mick Reinhard of the Central PA-based The Sports Burger is reporting that RHP Pat Lehman has been promoted from Harrisburg to Syracuse, a move that has also been tweeted on Twitter with some, um, enthusiasm.

Taking his place on the Harrisburg roster will be RHP Ryan Tatusko, who has been in Extended Spring Training (subject of his latest blog post), which has been confirmed. The corresponding move for the Syracuse roster has not yet been made public, but as always, when that information comes to light, this post will be updated.

As reported this morning in the News & Notes, Hagerstown LHP Kyln Turnbull is expected to be activated from the 7-Day DL, which will require a player to be taken off the roster to make room. Like the Chiefs, neither move has yet been reported officially via MiLB.com or other media.

UPDATE: As you already know, Bryce Harper will be recalled, which appears to be the move that will make room for Lehman. As expected, Turnbull was activated from the Suns’ 7-Day DL, with Wirkin “For The Weekend” Estevez assigned to the Auburn Doubledays to make room for him on the Hagerstown roster.

Apr 272012
 


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

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 7-13, 6th place I.L. North, 7½ games behind

Good Bryce Harper .290/.421/.419 in last 10G
Bad Bryce Harper vs. LHPs .190/.261/.238
Interesting Erik Arnesen 0.64ERA, 0.93WHIP in 14IP

HARRISBURG SENATORS 13-7, 1st place E.L. West, ½ game ahead

Good Chris Rahl .339/.379/.629, 7SB in 19G
Bad Kevin Pucetas 2.21WHIP, 5.68ERA in 5 appearances
Interesting Jeff Mandel 1.09ERA, 1.05 WHIP in 4 starts

POTOMAC NATIONALS 6-11, 4th place C.L. North Division, 3½ games behind

Good Rob Wort 14K in 8⅔ IP over 6 appearances
Bad Starting Pitchers: 1.78WHIP, 6.59ERA, 12HBP, 11HR in 83⅓ IP
Interesting Blake Kelso 8SB, 0CS in 16G

HAGERSTOWN SUNS 10-9, 4th place Sally League North Divison, 3½ games behind

Good Nathan Karns 1.93ERA, 1.21WHIP, 19K in 14IP
Bad Justin Miller .172/.194/.219, 20K in 17G
Interesting 30 for 35 SB attempts as a team (85.7% leads Sally League; total is 3rd)
Apr 272012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 5-4;
Won, 3-2
vs. Charlotte,
7:00 p.m.
Atkins (1-2, 3.18) vs.
Shirek (3-1, 3.38)
Harrisburg Lost, 6-4 vs. Bowie,
7:00 p.m.
Ballard (1-1, 3.18) vs.
Bascom (2-1, 3.75)
Potomac Lost, 7-6 vs. Myrtle Beach,
7:05 p.m.
Olbrychowski (0-3, 9.42) vs.
Font (0-2, 9.00)
Hagerstown Lost, 6-2 @ Rome,
7:00 p.m.
Turnbull (0-1, 6.28) vs.
Filak (1-1, 2.14)

Syracuse 5 Rochester 4 (8 inn.) — GAME ONE
• Duke (ND) 6IP, 8H, 2R, 2ER, BB, 4K
• Perry (BS, 1; W, 1-0) 1IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 2K, 2-1 IR-S
• Michaels 3-4, 2B, HR, 3RBI
• Harper 1-3, 2R, BB, E(4)
• Brown 1-4, R, HR, RBI

Jason Michaels’s two-out, two-strike, three-run HR in the first “extra” inning was the difference in a 5-4 win over the Rochester Red Wings in the front end of the double header. The Chiefs had just six hits for the game, with Corey Brown homering in the 1st to give Syracuse a 1-0 lead and Jarrett Hoffpauir singling in Bryce Harper in the 4th for a 2-1 lead. The Chiefs ‘pen benefited from Michaels’ clutch hit, as Ryan Perry let in one of two inherited runners to tie the game but got the blown-save-win. Atahualpa Severino coughed up a two-run homer in the last of the 8th but was still credited with a save, his 1st of the season.

Syracuse 3 Rochester 2 — GAME TWO
• Arnesen (W, 1-0) 5IP, 2H, 1R, 1ER, 0BB, 4K, HR
• VanAllen ⅔ IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 0K, 2-0 IR-S
• Wilkie ⅔ IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
• Teahen 2-3, R, 2RBI
• Harper 1-2, BB, RBI

Mark Teahen’s two-RBI single in the 5th broke a 1-1 tie as the Chiefs would take the game, 3-2 to sweep both the doubleheader and the three-game series against Rochester. Erik Arnesen threw five innings and allowed just one run (a solo shot in the 1st) on two hits and no walks to earn the win. Cory VanAllen and Josh Wilkie got the last four outs to earn the hold and save, respectively. Syracuse takes its four-game win streak back home to Alliance Bank Park for a four-game series against the Charlotte Knights.

Altoona 6 Harrisburg 4
• Gilliam (L, 1-3) 6IP, 6H, 4R, 4ER, BB, 8K
• Lehman 1IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Rahl 2-4, 2R, RBI, SB
• Pahuta 2-4, R, 2B
• Negrych 1-2, 2B, 2BB

It was two little, too late as the Senators fell to the Curve, 6-4 in Altoona. Starter Rob Gilliam was touched for four runs on six hits over six innings but took the loss. First man out of the ‘pen Erik Davis got roughed up two runs to put Harrisburg in a 6-1 hole after seven innings. Jeff Kobernus delivered a two-out RBI single in the 8th, while veterans Tim Pahuta (double), Chris Rahl (RBI single, stolen base), and Chris McConnell (RBI single), drove in two and got the tying runs on, but neither Jesus Valdez (strikeout) nor Eury Perez (groundout) could keep the rally going. The Sens return home after the 4-2 road trip to host the Bowie BaySox.

Winston-Salem 7 Potomac 6
• Hansen (ND) 3⅓ IP, 7H, 4R, 4ER, BB, 0K, HR
• Holland (L, 0-1) 1⅔ IP, 1H, 1R, 1ER, BB, K
• Demmin 3BF, 2H, BB, 1-1 IR-S
• Oduber 3-4, 2R, BB, HR, 2RBI
• Taylor 3-3, R, 3-2B, BB, RBI, CS
• Bloxom 2-4, 2B, RBI

The P-Nats blew leads of 4-1 and 5-2 before falling behind 6-5 in just the first five innings. They would tie it on Michael Taylor’s third double in the 7th, but lost in the 9th on a single-double-walk-single sequence with one out for the 7-6 loss and the four-game sweep. Starter Bobby Hansen was chased in the 4th, giving up four runs on seven hits, including a home run, the first of three the Dash would hit. Paul Applebee gave up the other two, both solo shots in the 5th that tied then put Winston-Salem ahead. Potomac would bang out 12 hits of their own with Taylor (3-for-3) and Randolph Oduber (3-for-4, HR) leading the way, but stranded seven runners and had a runner thrown out at the plate. Potomac returns home tonight for a 10-game homestand that begins with a three-game series against Myrtle Beach.

Rome 6 Hagerstown 2
• Estevez (L, 2-1) 3#8532; IP, 8H, 6R, 6ER, 3BB, 4K
• Holt 2#8531; IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 2K
• Dykstra 2-5, 2B, RBI
• Skole 1-3, RBI

With too many pitches left up, the Rome Braves made Wirkin “For The Weekend” Estevez pay for those mistakes, knocking him around for all six runs on eight hits as the Suns lost, 6-2. The 20-year-old Dominican also gave up three walks, though he struck out four despite his difficulty locating his pitches. Cutter Dykstra was the only multiple-hit batter with a 2-for-5 night. He and Matt Skole drove in the two Hagerstown runs. Kylin Turnbull is slated to come off the DL to start tonight, so a pitcher “going to Auburn” today is likely. Adam Kilgore’s dispatch yesterday revealed that Brian Goodwin is in Viera to rehab his quadriceps injury, but (naturally) no estimate for his return was given by Bill Belichek Doug Harris.

Apr 262012
 

EDITOR’S NOTE: I’m re-running this from last year with some edits.

As longtime readers know, I have a soft spot for the independent brand of the game. That’s in part because I was a season-ticket holder to an indy team for the three years prior to my moving to Northern Virginia, but also because it’s a throwback to the way the minors were nearly a hundred years ago. In the days before radio and TV, conservative estimates had more than 400 pro and semipro teams across the U.S., each built to win but also willing to sell its best players to the major leagues to stay afloat, which of course created bidding wars. Thus, the NAPBL was formed to kill the competition and save the owners from themselves organize and professionalize the minors.

Today, the independent teams are still built to win, but the players are no longer sold — though organizations have been known to send (badly needed) equipment as a thank-you. In many ways, the indys have become a thing of chance. For the younger and/or undrafted guys (typically, collegiate ballplayers), it’s a last chance to get noticed. For the older guys, it’s a second chance to get back into the minors. And for the rest, it’s simply a chance to keep playing for the love of the game (Hagerstown folks might remember a MI named Vic Davilla who became the Albert Pujols of the Can-Am League, retiring in 2008 at the age of 35 after 12 seasons in indy ball with a line of .313/.373/.502).

Tonight, the Atlantic League starts up. It’s widely considered the best of the bunch because it has the highest payroll and operates in the larger markets on the East Coast. It’s also the only one without any rules regarding age or service time. Consequently, it attracts AA/AAA talent and sends players back and forth to the majors with the greatest frequency (which it touts) though it’s commonly as a stopgap (which it doesn’t) to keep prospects at the desired level.

Unfortunately, it requires eyeballing the rosters of each and every team to see familiar names, so this feature will be sporadic and will undoubtedly be a bit incomplete. But here’s the players I spotted today, answering for some “Hey, where’d _____ end up?”

Jason Bergmann, Camden Riversharks
Jason Botts, Sugarland Skeeters
Freddie Bynum, Somerset Patriots
Ofilio Castro, Sugarland Skeeters
Ramon Castro, York Revolution
Alex Cintron, Sugarland Skeeters
Mike Daniel, Southern Maryland Blue Crabs
Steve Doetsch, Camden Riversharks
Jesse English, Bridgeport Bluefish
John Halama, Lancaster Barnstormers
Pedro Lopez, Bridgeport Bluefish
Dan Lyons, Long Island Ducks
Gary Majewski, Sugarland Skeeters
Charlie Manning, Southern Maryland Blue Crabs
Yunior Novoa, York Revolution
Wilberto Ortiz, Long Island Ducks
Rich Rundles, Lancaster Barnstormers
Jonathan Tucker, Somerset Patriots
Jim Ed Warden, Southern Maryland Blue Crabs

Apr 262012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 10-5 @ Rochester,
11:35 a.m.
Duke (1-1, 6.60) and
Arnesen (0-0, 0.00) vs.
Deduno (0-1, 3.94) and
Walters (2-1, 3.38)
Harrisburg Won, 8-0 @ Altoona,
6:30 p.m.
Gilliam (1-2, 6.00) vs.
Cumpton (1-2, 4.15)
Potomac Lost, 14-0 @ Winston-Salem,
7:00 p.m.
Hansen (1-1, 6.23) vs.
Heidenreich (1-1, 3.79)
Hagerstown Won, 24-2 @ Rome,
7:00 p.m.
Estevez (2-0, 6.64) vs.
Briceno (1-1, 4.08)

Syracuse 10 Rochester 5
• Lannan (W, 1-2) 7IP, 8H, 5R, 4ER, 4BB, 3K
• Wilkie 1IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 2K
• Teahen 2-4, 2R, HR (GS), 6RBI
• Brown 2-4, 2R, BB, OF Assist (2B)
• Moore 2-5, R
• Harper 1-3, R, BB, CS

Mark Teahen and Jason Michaels both connected for grand slams as the Chiefs hit double-digits for the first time this season in a 10-5 win over the Red Wings. John Lannan was awarded the win despite giving up all five runs (four earned) on eight hits and four walks. Syracuse pounded out 12 hits total, with Carlos Maldonado the beer man as the sole oh-fer in the lineup, and the first four men in the order collecting two hits apiece. Josh Wilkie and Ryan Perry each tossed a scoreless inning in relief to close out the game.

Harrisburg 8 Altoona 0
• Rosenbaum (W, 3-0) 7IP, 3H, 0R, 2BB, 2K; 0-2, SF, RBI
• Nelo 1IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Leon 3-4, 2R, 2B, RBI
• King 2-4, 2R, 3B, RBI
• Rahl 2-5, 2R, 2-2B, 2RBI

Danny Rosenbaum continues to dazzle, throwing seven shutout innings to lower his ERA to 0.94 and driving in a run with a sac fly as the Senators blanked the Curve, 8-0. The 24-y.o. walked two (raising his FIP from 2.32 to 2.61; the E.L. average is 3.59) and gave up three hits while claiming his third win of the season. The trio of Chris Rahl, Stephen King, and Sandy Leon combined for seven of the 12 Harrisburg hits, including a three-pitch sequence of double (Rahl), triple (King), and single (Leon) as part of Sens’ five-run 6th. Pat McCoy and Hector Nelo both allowed a hit in their inning of work but kept Altoona off the board to preserve the shutout.

Winston-Salem 14 Potomac 0
• Grace (L, 1-2) 5⅓ IP, 6H, 6R, 5ER, 3BB, K
• Eusebio ⅔ IP, 1H, 2R, 2ER, BB, 0K, HR, 2-2 IR-S
• Walters 1-4, 2K, E(2)
• Nicol 1-4, 2K

BB&T continues to be a house of horrors for the P-Nats, as they lost for the 16th time in 23 regular-season games by a 14-0 count. The offense managed just two hits and three walks, with Zach Walters and Sean Nicol both going 1-for-4 with two strikeouts. Thanks to an error, a wild pitch, and four hit batsmen, Potomac had 11 baserunners total and they were all stranded, including seven with two out. Winston-Salem scored 12 of its 14 runners in its final three turns at bat, blowing open a 2-0 lead to 8-0 with a six-run 6th, then tacking on two in the 7th, and four in the bottom of the 8th, as every Potomac pitcher was charged with at least two runs.

Hagerstown 24 Rome 2
• Hill (W, 3-0) 5IP, 5H, 2IP, 2R, 1ER, 0BB, 0K
• Karns (SV, 1) 4IP, 2H, 0R, 2BB, 5K
• Souza 4-6, 3B, HR, BB, 9RBI
• Martinson 3-6, 3R, 2B, BB, 5RBI
• Skole 1-3, 4R, 5BB, 2RBI

It may have been April 2012, but for the Braves pitchers, it was more like November 1864, as the Suns batters marched to a 24-2 win in Georgia. Steven Souza fell a double short of the cycle and one RBI short of the Sally League record for a single game as the 23-year-old knocked in nine runs while going 4-for-6.
Hagerstown rapped out 24 hits and drew 14 walks (five by Matt Skole, a league-leading 18 for the season). Taylor Hill got the win with two runs allowed on five hits over five innings, while Nathan Karns struck out five over the last four innings to earn the rulebook save.

Apr 252012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Postponed @ Rochester,
7:05 p.m.
Lannan (0-2, 7.50) vs.
Thompson (1-2, 3.21)
Harrisburg Won, 5-1 @ Altoona,
6:30 p.m.
Rosenbaum (2-0, 1.25) vs.
Baker (2-1, 3.29)
Potomac Lost, 6-4 @ Winston-Salem,
12:00 p.m.
Grace (1-1, 7.00) vs.
Buch (0-1, 6.75)
Hagerstown Won, 9-2 @ Rome,
7:00 p.m.
Hill (2-0, 2.45) vs.
Perez (0-2, 12.27)

SYRACUSE — PPD
With snow/sleet in the forecast, and sub-40 degree temperatures, the game between the Rochester Red Wings was postponed on Tuesday night, to be replayed on Thursday morning as part of a doubleheader. Tonight’s game is scheduled for a 7:05 p.m. but rain is forecast for parts of this afternoon though it is significantly warmer.

Harrisburg 5 Altoona 1
• Mandel (W, 2-1) 6IP, 6H, 1R, 1ER, 3BB, 3K
• Frias 2IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
• Ivany 2-4, 3B, HR, RBI
• Kobernus 2-4, 2R, 4SB (15)

Speed, defense, and good pitching were all on display in Altoona as Harrisburg used strong doses of all three elements in a 5-1 win over the Curve. Jeff Kobernus stole four of the seven bases the Sens swiped, including teaming up with Chris Rahl on a double steal of home and second base in the third. His 15 steals is second to Billy Hamilton’s 18 in affiliated baseball. Harrisburg turned three double plays on the night to help Jeff Mandel scatter his nine baserunners allowed over six innings, as the veteran allowed just one run to raise his ERA to 1.09 for the season.

Winston-Salem 6 Potomac 4
• Winters (L, 1-2) 5⅓ IP, 9H, 6R, 6ER, 3BB, 4K
• Wort 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 3K
• Freitas 2-4, 2-2B, RBI
• Keyes 1-2, R, 2BB, HR, RBI, CS
• Oduber 1-3, 2R, 2BB, SB

Despite the wind blowing out at a hitter’s park, the two teams traded zeros early before the P-Nats exploded for three runs in the 5th, highlighted by Kevin Keyes’ 3rd HR of the season. Winston-Salem, however, answered with two in the 5th and four in the sixth en route to a 6-4 win, the 15th defeat in the regular season for Potomac since the ballpark opened in 2010. Kyle Winters took the loss, giving up nine hits and three walks over five and a 1/3rd innings. He was charged with six runs as Neil Holland couldn’t prevent either of the two runners he inherited from scoring. Rob Wort struck out the side in the 8th, the second time in three outings he’s achieved the feat.

Hagerstown 9 Rome 2
• Meyer 4IP, 2H, 2R, 2ER, 4BB, 6K
• Dupra (W, 1-3) 3IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Nieto 4-5, R, 2B, RBI
• Dykstra 2-4, RBI
• Skole 1-2, 2R, HR, RBI, 2BB, SF

A pair of four-run innings pushed the Suns past the Rome Braves en route to a 9-2 win. Adrian Nieto led the 12-hit parade with a 4-for-5 night, while Matt Skole smacked his 4th HR of the season, a solo shot in the 3rd that broke a 0-0 tie. Brian Dupra got the win in relief with three scoreless innings. Alex Meyer started but labored through four innings — four walks, six strikeouts — as he continually got into long counts and struggled with his command. (At least that’s what I saw on MiLB.tv last night. Once Mike Newman of ScoutingTheSally.com files his story, I’ll link to it). Notes: Steven Souza made his first start of the season, going 0-for-5 with two strikeouts, but played right field, indicating that his listing on the Suns roster as an OF may not be a mistake. On a similar note, Dupra’s usage in relief last night and Hill’s start tonight may not necessarily be a flip-flop. Dupra had not pitched in eight days and Hill has not pitched since a week ago.

Apr 242012
 

Editor’s Note: These were moved from today’s News & Notes to make a post unto itself.
A couple of transactions that were missed (or backdated) since the last “Catching Up” post:
• LHP Kylin Turnbull placed on the 7-Day DL for Hagerstown (effective 4/19)
• C Jhonatan Solano placed on the 7-Day DL for Syracuse (effective 4/20)
• LHP Christian Meza reassigned to Hagerstown Suns (effective 4/22)

Still no official word on when OF Brian Goodwin will be activated from the DL, timeframe for Anthony Rendon’s return, or the status of LHP Matthew Purke.

OF Brett Carroll has cleared waivers and has been outrighted to Syracuse. This may explain why Solano’s placement on the DL was backdated. Syracuse announcers had said during one the broadcasts that Solano had been feeling ill, though one cannot rule out the Hellenic Flu, either.

Per an official team release, IF Jim Negrych has been assigned to the Harrisburg Senators, with LHP Joe Testa placed on the 7-Day DL to make room for him on the 25-man roster. As reported last week, Negrych was a 6th Round pick in the 2006 draft for the Pittsburgh Pirates, who spent last season in the Marlins organization, posting a .304/.370/.402 line for Miami’s AA affiliate.

UPDATE: The Potomac Nationals have announced that 2B Adrian Sanchez has been placed on the 7-Day DL, with OF Chris Curran replacing him on the 25-man roster.