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.

Aug 142012

It was first whispered on Twitter, then mentioned here in the comments, and now it’s been confirmed by the likes of MASN’s Byron Kerr — Anthony Rendon has been promoted from Potomac to Harrisburg.

One has to wonder if there is a timeline for Rendon that’s divorced from the usual developmental path. In other words, he was only going to be in Potomac for the month of April anyway and may have even been a three-level guy this year. The promotions of Bryce Harper and Brian Goodwin also lend credence to the theory that the usual rule of a level per year below AA doesn’t apply to certain guys.

No sense in me parroting Rendon’s bona fides or brief prospect history; Kerr does a fine job here. I liked what I saw over the four (4) games I got to see him, both offensively and defensively. And clearly the folks that know better (or have the power other than this virtual press) appear to agree.

Meanwhile, the champing at the bit for Matt Skole to join the P-Nats resumes. Perhaps today will be a good day all around for prospect watchers if indeed the Hagerstown third baseman is promoted to take Rendon’s place on the Potomac roster. The corresponding move to make room for Rendon in Harrisburg has not yet been announced. When it is, look for this space to be updated.

We still don’t know the corresponding move for Harrisburg yet, but as SpringfieldFan notes, the Senators have been carrying three catchers and it’s been the pattern to plug & play the backstops all season long. We do, however, know that 3B Matt Skole has been freed from Hagerstown and will replace Rendon on the Potomac roster. Replacing Skole for the Suns will be IF Khayyan Norfork from Auburn.

Longtime Nationals farmhand Devin Ivany was released to make room for Rendon on the Harrisburg Senators 25-man roster.

Aug 142012

For eight innings, the Potomac lumber was in a slumber but awoke in the ninth for two runs. They needed three, and lost 4-3 to the first-place Wilmington Blue Rocks.

Nathan Karns was tagged with his second straight loss, giving up three runs on eight hits and three walks over six innings. And it could have been worse. Twice Wilmington ran into outs at home plate, the first coming in the 2nd inning when Nick Van Stratten attempted to score from second on groundout to short, the second when Van Stratten attempted to score from first on a one-out double to right-center in the 4th.

Karns had but one clean inning, and it didn’t come until the 5th. Much will be made of the 10 strikeouts, but more should be made of how hittable Karns was. Command and control are not the same thing, but poor command will often lead to fat fastballs and that’s what the Blue Rocks were feasting on last night.

Like too many pink drinks on Ladies Night, the Potomac offense made a big ugly look good. For seven innings, the aptly surnamed Brooks Pounders (6’4″, 270, 5.43ERA) held the P-Nats to just four hits and one unearned run, walking none and striking out five. The portly starboarder retired the last nine batters he faced, but did not appear to have overpowering stuff.

Matt Swynenberg followed Karns from the bullpen and turned in three solid innings of relief, with one run on two hits, no walks and three strikeouts. The lone mistake was a dropped third strike to lead off the 8th. A steal and a two-out single plated the extra runner for Wilmington’s fourth run and it turned out to be the difference.

Anthony Rendon started the 9th-inning rally with one out with a grounder steered between first and second with two strikes. Kevin Keyes followed suit with Rendon going to third. Ricky Hague sent Rendon in with a single to left. After a Jason Martinson strikeout, Jeff Howell drove in Keyes with a single to center and snuck into second on the relay throw trying to get Hague at third.

Stephen King, however, couldn’t cash in either runner and struck out to end the game.

The loss drops Potomac to 3½ games back in the Carolina League North. The P-Nats and Blue Rocks are scheduled to play tonight with Rob Gilliam (0-1, 7.04) facing off against Leondy Perez (3-4, 4.26).

Aug 142012
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 6-4 vs. Toledo,
7:00 p.m.
Mandel (3-4, 3.40) vs.
Crosby (7-5, 3.91)
Harrisburg OFF DAY vs. Akron,
7:00 p.m.
Pucetas (7-5, 3.64) vs.
Espino (7-2, 3.03)
Potomac Lost, 4-3 vs. Wilmington,
7:05 p.m.
Gilliam (0-1, 7.04) vs.
L. Perez (3-4, 4.26)
Hagerstown Won, 5-1 vs. Hickory,
7:05 p.m.
Hill (10-6, 4.75)vs.
Lamb (4-8, 4.79)
GCL Nationals Won, 7-2 vs. GCL Marlins,
12:00 p.m.
Giolito (pro debut)
vs. TBD
DSL Nationals Won, 4-3
(11 inn.)
@ DSL Giants,
10:30 a.m.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre 6 Syracuse 4
• Lannan (L, 7-11) 6⅓ IP, 3H, 3R, 3ER, 4BB, 3K
• Pena 1⅓ IP, 3H, 2R, 2ER, BB, 2K, 2-2 IR-S
• Carroll 2-3, R, 2B, BB, CS
• Leon 2-4, 2R, HR, RBI

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre rallied for five runs in the 7th and 8th innings and held off a late charge from Syracuse to win the rubber game of the series, 6-4. John Lannan dropped his 11th game with three runs allowed on three hits and four walks over six and a 1/3rd innings. The Chiefs ‘pen surrendered all four inherited runners, two by Hassan Pena and two by Erik Davis. Jim Negrych homered in the 9th to drive in two of three Syracuse runs scored. Sandy Leon homered in the 5th off former Nats farmhand Michael O’Connor for the Venezuelan backstop’s first AAA longball.

The Senators six-game homestand continues with three against the first-place Akron Aeros before Harrisburg heads out for three games over the weekend to Erie, PA.

Wilmington 4 Potomac 3
• Karns 6IP, 8H, 3R, 3ER, 2BB, 10K
• Swynenberg 3IP, 2H, R, ER, 0BB, 3K
• Soriano 3-4, R, CS, OF assist at HP
• Rendon 2-4, R

A ninth-inning rally fell short Last Night In Woodbridge.
As noted in the comments, and elsewhere online, 3B Anthony Rendon has reportedly been promoted to Harrisburg.

Hagerstown 5 Hickory 1
• Jordan (W, 1-2) 5IP, 2H, 0R, 2BB, 6K
• Holt (H, 4) 3IP, H, R, ER, BB, 3K, HR
• Ortega 2-4, R, 3B, 2RBI
• Newsome 2-4, R, 2B
• Skole 1-2, 2BB, RBI, E(19)

Taylor Jordan earned his first Sally League win in more than a year as Hagerstown downed Hickory, 5-1. Jordan tossed five shutout frames, giving up just two hits and two walk while striking out six. Bryce Ortega powered the Suns attack with a 2-for-4 effort, including a two-run triple. The win gave Hagerstown sole possession of second place in the Sally League North, as they kept pace with first-place West Virginia.

Five Doubledays will represent Auburn in the 8th annual New York-Penn League All-Star Game in Mahoning Valley: OFs Wander Ramos and Estarlin Martinez, 1B Shawn Pleffner, SS Wes Schill and C Craig Manuel.

GCL Nationals 7 GCL Marlins 2
• Turnbull 2IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Vasquez (W, 3-6) 5IP, 5H, 2R, 1ER, 3BB, K
• Mendez 2IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Lippincott 4-5, R, 2-2B, 2RBI
• Nix 3-5, 2R, 2B, HR, 2RBI

The G-Nats rapped out 16 hits en route to a 7-2 win over the G-Marlins. Bryan Lippincott singled twice and doubled twice to lead the attack, followed by Tony Nix, who was a triple shy of the cycle with a 3-for-5 afternoon. Kylin Turnbull made the start in rehab, allowing just hit over two scoreless innings. Daury Vasquez got the win with both Marlins runs allowed on five hits and two walks over five innings.

DSL Nationals 4 DSL Giants 3
• Silvestre 5IP, 6H, 2R, 2ER, 0BB, 4K
• K. Rodriguez (W, 4-2) 1IP, 1H, 0R, BB, K
• Bautista 3-5, R, 3B, RBI
• A. Martinez 2-4, 2RBI
• Novas 2-5

Wester Suarez’s two-out RBI single gave the D-Nats a 4-3 win in 11 innings. Starter Hector Silvestre gave up two runs on six hits with no walks and four strikeouts over five inning. Kelvin Rodriguez got the win with a scoreless top of the 11th. Rafael Bautista led the hit column with a 3-for-5 afternoon as the D-Nats rapped out 10 hits total. Andres Martinez (2-for-4) and Randy Novas (2-for-5) also had multi-hit games.

Aug 132012

Zach DukeZach Duke’s complete-game shutout late in the week cinched the International League’s Pitcher of the Week honors for the period of August 6 to 12.

Duke went the distance in Syracuse’s 6-0 shutout of the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, allowing three hits, no walks and striking out seven. A week ago, the I.L. Leader in pitching wins (13) struck out eight over six frames in a 5-4 win over Buffalo.

Combined, he went 2-0 with 15 innings pitched, three runs allowed on eight hits and a walk while striking out 15.

Duke was signed as a free agent at the end of spring training following his release from the Arizona Diamondbacks. He was originally drafted by Pittsburgh in the 20th round of the 2001 Draft, making his major-league debut in July of 2005 and representing the Pirates in the 2009 All-Star game.

He is the third Syracuse Chief to win weekly honors, following Tanner Roark (July 23-29) and Corey Brown (May 21-27).

Aug 132012

It’s the post you’ve been nagging asking for — a look at who might get sent to the Arizona Fall League.

One of the things I’ve noticed is that as the parent club improves, this kind of information becomes pushed to the periphery by the mainstream media. In other words, there’s going to be a lot more written about who might get called up in September than who’s going to play in the greater Scottsdale area in October. It’s already happening in the comments here, a niche site devoted to the future Nats, not the present Nats, as much as some folks want to bridge that gap like Evel Knievel with the Snake River Canyon.

Like last year, there is one clear choice: Brian Goodwin. Leapfrogging him from Hagerstown to Harrisburg has to have an AFL angle to it, which is not to say the only reason why the move was made. The next choice with little doubt is Anthony Rendon, assuming he doesn’t get hurt between now and then. A little less certain is Jeff Kobernus, though there is some question as to whether he’ll be healed by then (fractured rib).

As discussed previously, Zach Walters seems like a candidate to go back after being added to the taxi squad last fall, but repeats in the AFL aren’t very common. Likewise for Chris Marrero, who’s the right age and could use the playing time, especially since it’s unlikely he’ll be playing winter ball this year.

Less clear is whether Destin Hood or Justin Bloxom gets the call. Hood has been beset by injuries for a good chunk of this season, leaving some doubt as to whether his struggles at AA have been a matter of health or having hit a bump in the road developmentally. That kind of uncertainty is precisely what GMs want when it comes to the Rule 5 draft, which Hood will be eligible for in December. Bloxom might not get sent simply because the other teams responsible for filling out the roster of the Salt River Rafters have more attractive candidates (e.g. Matt Davidson, Toronto) at first base.

If Rendon is indeed the Single-A exception, then it might be safe to say that Nathan Karns and Alex Meyer might be held back, especially in the name of limiting innings with both in their first full professional season. I’ve heard whispers that Ricky Hague might be this year’s Zach Walters (taxi squad player), though that was when Hague was on a hot streak and has since cooled some.

With the new CBA, there just aren’t the late-sign, high-profile pitchers that would make obvious choices (e.g. Stephen Strasburg, Matt Purke). Folks suggesting Lucas Giolito need to share what they’re ingesting (tomorrow is his first outing, and I suspect it’ll be limited to one inning or 20 pitches, whichever comes first). We were surprised last year at the selections of Rafael Martin and Pat Lehman, neither of whom was on the verge of Rule 5 eligibility, but there just aren’t any pitchers that fit that mold at AA or AAA.

Perhaps we’ll see one or two out of the trio of Trevor Holder, Pat McCoy, and Paul Demny. That’s the safest guess at this point (and to be clear, without knowing which pitchers the other five organizations are likely to send, it’s a guess). Like last year, the only thing I’m sure of is that somebody, somewhere is going to be disappointed with the selections.

Aug 132012
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 3-1;
Lost, 1-0
vs. Scranton/WB,
7:00 p.m.
Lannan (7-10, 5.03) vs.
O’Connor (2-6, 3.76)
Harrisburg Lost, 7-2 OFF DAY N/A
Potomac Lost, 7-0 vs. Wilmington,
7:05 p.m.
Karns (8-3, 2.06) vs.
Pounders (4-4, 5.43)
Hagerstown OFF DAY vs. Hickory,
7:05 p.m.
Rauh (1-2, 5.49) or
Jordan (0-2, 5.63) vs.
Martinez (6-6, 4.75)
Auburn Won, 8-4 ALL-STAR BREAK N/A
GCL Nationals OFF DAY @ GCL Marlins,
12:00 p.m.
DSL Nationals OFF DAY vs. DSL Giants,
10:30 a.m.

Syracuse 3 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre 1 — GAME ONE
• Maya (W, 11-8) 5IP, 3H, R, ER, 0BB, K, HR
• Garcia (SV, 9) 2IP, H, 0R, BB, 2K
• Rivero 2-3
• Hoffpauir 2-3, RBI
• Teahen 1-3, R, 2RBI

Yunesky Maya continues to give up solo shots, but also continues to win as Syracuse took the first game against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, 3-1. Maya gave up a first-inning HR then threw four scoreless innings to get the win (#11), finishing with one run on three hits and no walks. Jarrett Hoffpauir’s RBI single tied it in the 2nd while Mark Teahen plated the winning runs with a two-run single in the 3rd. Christian Garcia went the final two frames to earn his 9th save and lower his ERA to 0.36.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre 1 Syracuse 0 — GAME TWO
• Atkins (L, 6-9) 3IP, 4H, R, ER, BB, 3K, HR
• Lehman 2IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Perez 2-3, OF assist at HP
• Leon 1-2, BB

Mitch Atkins also surrendered a solo shot, but the Yankees’ pitchers were able to keep the Chiefs off the board for a 1-0 shutout. Atkins allowed four of the five Scranton/Wlikes-Barre hits, walking one and striking out three over three innings. Eury Perez was the sole Syracuse batter to collect multiple hits, going 2-for-3 and gunning down a runner at the plate. Roster move: RHP Austin Bibens-Dirkx released.

Binghamton 7 Harrisburg 2
• Demny (L, 6-7) 2⅔ IP, 8H, 4R, 4ER, 3BB, 2K
• Broderick 3⅓ IP, 6H, 2R, 2ER, 0BB, K, HR, 3-0 IR-S
• Nicol 3-4
• Bloxom 2-4, BB, RBI

A four-run third chased starter Paul Demny as Harrisburg fell for the sixth time in seven games, 7-2. Demny was buffeted with eight hits while walking three and left the bases loaded with two out in the 3rd. Brian Broderick was able to strand them but eventually gave up two runs of his own. Harrisburg racked up 10 hits but continues to struggle with getting runners in, leaving 10 runners on and going 2-for-9 with RISP. Sean Nicol led the hit parade with a 3-for-4 afternoon, followed by Justin Bloxom’s 2-for-4 effort. Roster moves: RHP Erik Davis was promoted to Syracuse with RHP Zech Zinicola activated from the DL to take his place on the 25-man roster.

Winston-Salem 7 Potomac 0
• Meyers (L, 2-1) 6IP, 4H, R, ER, 0BB, 7K
• Olbrychowski 1IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Kelso 1-2
• Keyes 1-3, BB
• Rendon 0-2, 2K (ejected after 2nd AB)

In case you missed it: Sunday Afternoon In Woodbridge.

With a game lost to the rains, the focus is on the loss column in the Sally League North, as the Suns, Crawdads, and Power each have 22. It’s the last series between Hickory and Hagerstown this week as the two teams match up for three this week before the Suns head out to the shore to face Delmarva while the Crawdads head home for a seven-game homestand. As of now, the schedule favors Hickory as they still have four games left against West Virginia while the Suns will be done with both after this week.

Auburn 8 Mahoning Valley 4
• Fischer (W, 2-3) 5IP, 5H, 2R, 1ER, 0BB, 5K
• Henke 1IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
• Pleffner 3-4, R, RBI
• C. Lopez 1-4, R, HR, 4RBI
• Marrero 1-3, 2R, 2B, BB, RBI

Carlos Lopez’s grand slam highlighted a five-run first as the Doubledays doubled up the Scrappers, 8-4. David Fischer got the win with two runs over five innings on five hits with no walks and five strikeouts. Shawn Pleffner led the hit column with a 3-for-4 night, scoring a run and driving in a run. Chris Marrero walked, doubled, scored twice, and drove in a run in what could be his final rehab appearance before rejoining Syracuse.

An 8-2 run thus far in August has put the G-Nats in a position to climb out of the GCL East cellar, and perhaps even make a run at .500.

After a 3-3 week, the D-Nats play the Giants, the “Redbacks,” and Pirates2 squads with home games on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday.

Aug 122012

It would be tempting to pin this one entirely on the bullpen, but it would be letting the offense off the hook.

For the second time in three games, Winston-Salem shut out Potomac, this time by a 7-0 count. The P-Nats managed just five hits and drew just one (1) walk to put three (3) baserunners into scoring position. They stranded five baserunners.

Perhaps that’s not so bad, considering that for five and 2/3rds innings, Dash pitcher Erik Johnson had a no-hitter, which was broken up when veteran utilityman Francisco Soriano served up a clean, line-drive single to center.

But after back-to-back singles to open the 7th, Potomac couldn’t do any more damage against the White Sox 2011 2nd round draft pick, who wriggled out of the 1st-and-2nd-no-out jam with a strikeout and a double-play ball.

Alex Meyer suffered his first Carolina League loss, giving up a single run over six innings on four hits and no walks with seven strikeouts. His lone mistake: A leadoff triple by Michael Earley that Meyer couldn’t strand at third, getting the first out to a drawn-in infield but giving up the run on a sacrifice fly to medium right field.

As aforementioned, the firemen came out of the ‘pen with gas instead of water, as Adam Carr gave up back-to-back HRs to open the 7th and five straight hits total before being lifted for Joe Testa, who stranded one of two inherited runners then gave up two of his own on three hits in the 8th. Within the space of roughly 20 minutes, a 1-0 pitcher’s duel was transformed into another rout.

With the loss, Potomac finished 5-15 against the leading contender for the 2012 Mills Cup, which includes 0-10 at BB&T stadium. They are now 2½ games behind first-place Wilmington, which comes to town for three games starting tomorrow night and finishing on Wednesday afternoon.

Aug 122012

What a difference a day makes.

The P-Nats bats came to life last night. The defense made the game closer than it should have been. But the pitching carried the game.

It took a couple of innings, but once the hitters figured out the soft-tossing Winston-Salem righthander, the offense came to life. The P-Nats struck for a pair of runs in third, highlighted by singles by Blake Kelso and Francisco Soriano and an Adrian Sanchez double that the Dash defense misplayed into a triple with both poor route running and a missed cutoff man.

Potomac hounded Chris Bassitt for another pair of runs in the fourth on four hits, as J.P. Ramirez fisted a one-out single over the shortstop to start the rally, took third on an errant pickoff throw, and scored as Kelso, Erick Fernandez, and Soriano connected for consecutive two-out singles.

Meanwhile, southpaw Matt Grace retired the first nine batter he faced, getting a little help from the defense as Jason Martinson erased a hit batsman in the 2nd with a 6-3 DP. On the second pass through the lineup, though, it was a tougher go — self-inflicted with a pair of walks in the 4th with a single sandwiched in between, but Grace erased the first free pass with a pickoff and Martinson helped again with a nifty 6-5 force at third on a grounder to his right.

Grace wasn’t so fortunate in the 5th as a leadoff walk and a double to left after a strikeout put two runners in scoring position. Grace got another strikeout and was on the verge of stranding another pair of runners when Stephen King botched the would-be groundout to let in two runs. He would put on another pair of runners in the 6th but worked out of the jam with another couple of K’s, for a season-high of eight strikeouts.

Potomac would score single runs in the 6th and 7th innings, with an error on a Fernandez grounder to third after a Kelso double in the 6th and a triple to right by Anthony Rendon that was hit so hard that the Dash outfielder, Brandon Short, a triple-A guy on rehab, got spun around and fell trying to track ti down.

Winston-Salem would make this a ballgame again with a two-run blast to right-center by veteran 1B/DH Dan Black off reliever Neil Holland in the 8th inning.

In the 9th, Rob Wort did his best imitation of Chad Cordero by loading the bases on a pair of doubles and a walk, but this 23-year-old can get the K when he needs it and struck out the side, including the final batter on a 3-2 count with two outs to bring his team-leading total to 81.

With the win, Potomac keeps pace with the rest of the Carolina League’s North Division as all four teams won on Saturday night. They remain 1½ games back.

The Dash and P-Nats conclude the series and the regular-season slate — Winston-Salem has won 14 of 19, and all 10 in North Carolina — with a matchup between Alex Meyer (2-0, 0.78) and Erik Johnson (1-2, 2.13).

Aug 122012
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 6-0 vs. Scranton/WB,
4:00 p.m. (DH)
Maya (10-8, 3.58) and
Atkins (6-8, 4.78) vs.
Warren (6-7, 4.74) and
Whitley (8-5, 3.96)
Harrisburg Won, 5-4 vs. Binghamton,
2:00 p.m.
Demny (6-6, 5,29) vs.
Mazzoni (4-3, 3.60)
Potomac Won, 6-4 vs. Winston-Salem,
1:05 p.m.
Meyer (2-0, 0.78) vs.
Johnson (1-2, 2.13)
Hagerstown Won, 2-0;
Auburn Lost, 9-2 vs. Mahoning Valley,
6:05 p.m.
Fischer (1-3, 5.28) vs.
Sisco (1-3, 3.93)
GCL Nationals Won, 5-2 OFF DAY N/A
DSL Nationals Won, 8-5 OFF DAY N/A

Syracuse 6 Lehigh Valley 0
• Duke (W, 13-5) 9IP, 3H, 0R, 0BB, 7K
• Leon 2-3, BB
• Hoffpauir 2-4, 2R, BB, HR, 2RBI
• Perez 2-5, R, SB

Zach Duke tossed a three-hit shutout as the Chiefs split the two-game series with a 6-0 win over Lehigh Valley. Duke struck out seven and walked nine and turned in first complete game since April of 2009. The Chiefs would tally 11 hits but didn’t break through until a two-run 6th followed by a three-run 7th. Carlos Rivero and Jarrett Hoffpauir both homered as all eight position players hit safely.

Harrisburg 5 Binghamton 4
• Rosenbaum 5IP, 8H, 4R, 4ER, 3BB, 5K
• Tatukso 2IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 3K
• McCoy (W, 7-1) 1⅓ IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Goodwin 3-4, BB, OF assist at HP
• Lozada 2-4, R

Harrisburg snapped a five-game skid with a five unanswered runs with a 5-4 win over Binghamton. Jose Lozada (2-for-4) came around to score on an error as Brian Goodwin (3-for-4) beat out an infield single for his third hit. Pat McCoy got the win in relief of starter Danny Rosenbaum, who remains winless since June 2. Rosenbaum gave up all four B-Mets runs on eight hits and three walks while striking out eight over five innings. Ryan Tatusko and Marcos Frias combined with McCoy for four scoreless innings.

Potomac 6 Winston-Salem 4
• Grace (W, 7-11) 6IP, 3H, 2R, 0ER, 4BB, 8K
• Wort (SV, 8) 1IP, 2H, 0R, BB, K, HR
• Kelso 3-4, 2R, 2B, RBI
• Soriano 2-4, R, RBI

The P-Nats came back to life Last Night In Woodbridge.

Hagerstown 2 Charleston 0 (5½ inn.)
• Hansen (W, 3-4) 4+IP, 5H, 0R, 3BB, 2K
• Meza (SV, 2) 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Miller 2-2, 2R, BB
• Higley 1-2, 2B, RBI

Rain cut this one short and canceled the second game of the doubleheader, but Hagerstown got the win, 2-0. Bobby Hansen and Christian Meza combined on the shutout to earn win #3 and save #2 respectively. Justin Miller reached base three times and scored both Suns runs. With the win, Hagerstown edges to a ½ game of first place in the Sally League North.

Mahoning Valley 9 Auburn 2
• Mooneyham (L, 1-2) 5IP, 6H, 5R, 3ER, 2BB, 4K
• Harper 1IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 2K
• Marrero 2-3, R, BB, RBI
• Mesa 2-3, BB
• Renda 2-4, R

Sloppy fielding continues to plague the Doubledays as they committed four errors for the second straight night in a 9-2 loss to Mahoning Valley. Starter Brett Mooneyham took the loss with five runs (three earned) on six hits and two walks over five innings. Tony Renda, Narciso Mesa, and Chris Marrero each had a pair of singles as Auburn totaled eight hits but also left on eight runners. The loss sliced the Doubledays lead over the Spikes to 2½ games in the Pinckney Division.

GCL Astros 5 GCL Nationals 2
• Estevez 4IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 3K
• Santana (L, 1-4) 3+ IP, 3H, 3R, 3ER, 0BB, 4K
• Lucas (BS, 1) 1IP, 2H, 2R, 2ER, 2BB, K, 2-2 IR-S
• Brooks 2-4, BB, RBI
• Difo 1-3, 2B, 2BB, 2SB

The G-Astros did all their damage in the 8th, blasting the G-Nats for five runs for a 5-2 win. Bobby Lucas blew the save and hung the loss on Andy Santana, letting in two inherited runner and two of his own with two hits and two walks. Starter Wirkin “For The Weekend” Estevez went the first four frames, giving up just a hit and a walk while striking out four. The one-two batters in the lineup, Wilmer Difo and James Brooks, combined for three hits and three walks to pace the G-Nats offense.

DSL Nationals 8 DSL Yankees1 5
• Ruiz 5⅓ IP, 8H, 3R, 2ER, BB, 4K
• Lopez (W, 1-0) 1⅔ IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 3K, 2-0 IR-S
• Read 3-4, R, 2B, 2RBI
• Mejia 2-4, 3B, RBI, CS

A five-run 8th snapped a 3-3 tie as the D-Nats held off the D-Yankees1 for an 8-5 win. Starter Raul Ruiz gave up three runs on eight hits and a walk over five and a 1/3rd innings but the win went to Reynaldo Lopez in relief. Raudy Read led the D-Nats offense with a 3-for-4 game, including a double and two RBI as the D-Nats had no trouble plating runners from scoring position with a 7-for-11 team mark.

Aug 112012

Sometimes the box score doesn’t tell the full story, but for this one, it did.

The Potomac Nationals were one-hit last night by three Winston-Salem Dash pitchers in a 6-0 shutout. The one hit? A no-doubt-about-it double to the right-center gap by Kevin Keyes to lead off the second inning.

That may be some consolation to Scott Snodgress, who won’t wonder if he could have had a no-hitter, but for the P-Nats the lack of offense against a 23-year-old southpaw with mediocre stuff is something to worry about.

More troubling: Robbie Ray continues to struggle in the second half. Since the All-Star break, the 20-year-old has gone 1-5 with a 6.75 ERA and a 1.77 WHIP. He avoided the usual pattern of getting hit hard early then settling in, in favor of the the more worrisome: success early, then a series of diminishing returns (single runs in the 2nd and 3rd, followed by a four-run 4th) that ended his night after just four innings.

The final line: 4IP, 6R, 4ER, BB, 5K, HR (a moonshot to dead center by the Dash backstop, not-Silent-Bob Kevan Smith).

Ryan Demmin turned in three and 2/3rds scoreless innings of relief with two walks and three strikeouts followed by four outs by Aaron Barrett to lower his ERA with Potomac to 1.04 in five appearances.

Anthony Rendon’s home debut was also a disappointment: a weak grounder to 1st, a popup to shallow RF that was dropped for an error, a lineout to short (albeit a laser), and caught looking on strikes. In the field, he made a couple of decent plays but also bounced one to first for an error, that perhaps a more experienced 1B would have caught.

Despite the loss, Potomac remains in the playoff hunt at 1½ games behind both Wilmington and Frederick and a ½ game behind first-half winner Lynchburg. Matt Grace (6-11, 5.93) and Chris Bassitt (3-2, 3.41) are slated to rematch last Sunday’s contest.