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 122011
 

Last week, Myrtle Beach’s Miguel De Los Santos and Erik Davis squared off in a 3-0 near no-hitter, looking like two AA pitchers pitching against High-A hitters.

Last night, they looked like two Low-A pitchers making their High-A debuts as the Myrtle Beach Pelicans flew past the Potomac Nationals 12-5 to take the first game of the four-game series.

Maybe that’s a little cruel, because both men showed flashes of what had gotten them past this level — through four innings, the two combined for 15 strikeouts — but games like last week are what you should expect when veteran pitchers throw against less experienced lineups.

Instead, both men walked three batters and got into deep counts on seemingly every batter. De Los Santos was a little better, giving up no extra-base hits — Davis gave up a long double and a longer triple despite the speedy Eury Perez and Archie Gilbert in center and right to chase them down — but was so slow to the plate that he gave up six stolen bases.

Davis did himself no favors with two hit batsman and a bases-loaded walk, his third, and was victimized by Zach Walters’s first error as a P-Nat when Neil Holland came in to relieve Davis with the bases loaded and one out. Instead of an inning-ending double play and a manageable 5-3 deficit going into the bottom of the 5th, it was 7-3 and the momentum shifted.

The Pelicans put the game away with a five-run seventh, as Rob Wort’s struggles continued with three walks and two extra-base hits. Joe Testa would also give up a hit before settling down to finish the game with two scoreless innings, working around leadoff triple in the 9th. If you’ve lost count, that’s three triples and three doubles for Myrtle Beach.

Offensively, the P-Nats were led by Destin Hood and Brian Peacock, who each went 2-for-4. Hood was one of the six base thieves, even taking third base on the stolen-base attempt. While his knee may be aching from a scrape suffered last week in Myrtle Beach, it appears to be healing — a problem that P-Nats media man Will Flemming said via Twitter is getting better every day.

The loss knocks Potomac back to four games behind Frederick, four ahead of Lynchburg in the Carolina League’s Northern Division.

Tonight’s game is a sellout, with Stephen Strasburg set to make a rehab outing of 50 pitches or three innings. Evan Bronson (3-3, 3.67) gets the unenviable task of trying to follow that act, while Wilfredo Boscan (4-9, 4.15) will toe the slab for Myrtle Beach.

Aug 112011
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitcher
Syracuse Won, 6-1 @ Buffalo,
1:05 p.m.
Brad Meyers (4-4, 4.06) vs.
Miguel Batista (1-0, 5.00)
Harrisburg Lost, 3-1 vs. Richmond,
7:00 p.m.
Tanner Roark (6-8, 5.73) vs.
Ryan Verdugo (7-4, 4.07)
Potomac Won, 6-5 vs.
Myrtle Beach,
7:05 p.m.
Erik Davis (0-1, 3.38)
vs. Miguel De Los Santos
(3-3, 2.95)
Hagerstown Lost, 6-4 @ Delmarva,
7:05 p.m.
Paul Applebee (5-2, 3.77)
vs. Matt Bywater (0-1, 3.00)
Auburn Won, 9-5;
Won, 7-1
vs. Vermont,
7:05 p.m.
Manny Rodriguez (2-2, 4.15)
vs. Drew Granier (0-1, 1.80)
GCL Nationals Postponed
vs. GCL Marlins
OFF DAY N/A
DSL Nationals Lost, 9-2
vs. DSL Phillies
@/vs.
DSL Rangers,
10:30 a.m. (DH)
TBD vs. TBD

Syracuse 6 Buffalo 1
• Stammen (W, 9-6) 7IP, 6H, 1R, 1ER, 3BB, 6K, HR
• Hyde 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
• Zinicola 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
• Bernadina 3-3, 2-2B
• Lombardozzi 3-5, R, 3RBI

Steve Lombardozzi’s two-run single highlighted a five-run 6th as the Syracuse Chiefs took their third straight against Buffalo, 6-1. Craig Stammen got with win with seven solid innings, allowing one run on six hits and three walks and six strikeouts. Lee Hyde and Zech Zinicola both turned in a scoreless inning of relief to seal the deal. Roger Bernadina and Lombaradozzi both had three hits in an 11-hit attack. The Chiefs improve to 52-64, 13½ games off the pace in the I.L. North.

Richmond 3 Harrisburg 1
• Martis 7IP, 6H, 1R, 1ER, 0BB, 10K
• Pena 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
• Johnson 2-3, R, 2B
• Fox 1-1, 2B, RBI

Roger Kieschnick’s two-run HR in the top of the 9th off Pat Lehman broke a 1-1 tie as Harrisburg fell into second place with a 3-1 loss. Shairon Martis struck out 10 for third time this season, giving up a run on six hits but no walks. The Flying Squirrels moundsmen kept the Senators in committee with just five hits allowed, with Josh Johnson leading the way with a 2-for-3 night. Harrisburg now trails Bowie by a ½ game but leads Richmond by 1½ games with tonight’s matchup the final meeting between the Squirrels and Sens.

Potomac 6 Salem 5
• Olbrychowski (ND) 5⅓ IP, 11H, 3R, 2ER, BB, 5K
• Smoker (W, 4-2) 1IP, 0H, 0R, 2BB, 0K
• Hood 2-4, R, 2RBI
• Gilbert 1-3, R, RBI

The P-Nats pulled this one out of their [hats] Last Night In Woodbridge

Delmarva 6 Hagerstown 4
• Swynenberg (ND) 6IP, 6H, 2R, 2ER, BB, 3K
• Brown ⅔ IP, 2H, 1R, 1ER, 0BB, 1K, 2-2 IR-S
• W Moore 1-3, 2B
• Martinson 1-4, 3B, 3RBI

The Suns bullpen imploded in the bottom 8th, giving up four runs to turn what might have been an improbable 4-2 win into a 6-4 loss. Hagerstown scored its four runs on just four hits, manufacturing a run in the 1st and plating two of the three walks issued with Jason Martinson’s bases-clearing triple in the 6th. Matt Swynenberg got the no-decision despite his third straight quality start, with two runs issued in six hits and a walk. The loss sets the Suns at .500 with a 22-22 mark, four games behind Kannapolis in the Sally North.

Auburn 9 Vermont 5 — GAME ONE
• Meza, C 3⅔ IP, 2H, 3R, 2ER, 3BB, 5K
• Rivera, M (W, 2-0) 1⅓ IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Ramsey 3-4, R, 2-2B, RBI
• Ortega 3-4, 2R, 2B
• Burns 2-3, R, 2B, 2RBI

The Doubledays put away game one early, scoring six in the 1st en route to a 9-5 win over Vermont. Caleb Ramsey and Bryce Ortega both went 3-for-4 to highlight the 15-hit onslaught, which also included a two-run homer from Bowden’s Folly. Christian Meza couldn’t get out of the 4th, charged with three runs (two earned) on two hits and two walks while striking out five. Manny Rivera got the win by finishing the inning and pitching a scoreless 5th.

Auburn 7 Vermont 1 — GAME TWO
• Estevez (W, 4-2) 6IP, 3H, 1R, 1ER, 3BB, 6K
• Mirowski 1IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 1K
• J Miller 3-4, R, 2B, HR, 2RBI
• Skole 2-4, R, 2RBI

Wirkin “For The Weekend” Estevez got his team-leading fourth win with six strong innings as the Doubledays took the doubleheader with a 7-1 win in the nightcap. Estevez allowed just a run on three hits and three walks but set down six on strikes (also team leader, T8th in the NYPL with 46). Five Auburn batters collected multiple hits, with Justin Miller leading the charge with a 3-for-4 night. The sweep extends the Doubledays’ first-place lead over second-place Mahoning Valley to a full game, 1½ games over third-place Jamestown.

GCL Nationals — PPD
Rain postponed yesterday’s contest in Viera. It will be made up with a pair of seven-inning games on Monday, August 15.

DSL Phillies 9 DSL Nationals 2
• Guzman (L, 0-2) 6⅓ IP, 6H, 4R, 4ER, 2BB, 5K
• Hernandez Jr (BS, 3) ⅔ IP, H, R, ER, 0BB, 0K, 3-3 IR-S
• W Rodriguez 2-3, R, 2B
• Ruiz 1-4, 2SB

A five-run 7th erased a 2-0 lead and a four-run 9th erased all doubt as the D-Nats fell below .500 with 9-2 loss to the D-Phillies. Jesus Guzman was charged with four runs on six hits and two walks over six and a 1/3rd innings and took the loss. J.J. Hernandez let in all three runners he inherited for the blown save. Wilman Rodriguez led the batters with a 2-for-3 effort, including a double and a run scored. The loss drops the D-Nats to 29-30, eight games behind in the B.C. South, and reduces the elimination number to six.

Aug 112011
 

Destin Hood’s RBI single in the bottom of the 9th gave Potomac a 6-5 win, salvaging the series (and regular-season) finale between the Salem Red Sox and Potomac Nationals.

Like Monday night, as Salem learned that you can’t give your opponent chance after chance and expect to win. With eight walks and three hit batsmen, the P-Nats got 11 “extra” baserunners.

To Potomac’s credit, aside from the patience necessary to draw those walks, they made their four (4) hits count. All of them came with an RBI attached, with Zach Walters hitting a sac fly and Jose Lozada hitting a too-slow grounder for the other two RBIs.

Still, the bipolar (well, seemingly more polar, as in ice-cold) nature of the team’s offense leaves much to be desired. Tonight they got a gift, but absent the long ball and/or some luck, this should have been something like a 7-2 loss.

Adam Olbrychowski got the start and lasted into the sixth, giving up 11 hits and a walk, and leaving with two runners on and one out. Marcos Frias stranded them both with a strikeout and a baserunning blunder as former National farmhand Alex Valdez tried to score from third with two outs after a ball skipped about 20 feet past Sandy Leon, who threw to Frias for the 2-1 play at the plate to end the inning.

Frias, however, would surrender a solo shot to right in the 7th while Trevor Holder would give up the game-tying run on a blast to left in the 8th. Josh Smoker would pitch the 9th and work around two walks, getting credit for the efforts of the P-Nat bats in the ninth.

Lozada led off with a walk, two pitches after pulling a 400-foot foul down the RF line. Eury Perez popped up his sacrifice attempt for the first out. Francisco Soriano drew the 8th and final walk to push Lozada to second base. Jeff Kobernus made the second out on a deep fly ball to right-center, Lozada playing it safe by drifting about a third of the way down the basepath and retreating when it was caught.

Hood got the two-out walkoff when he scorched a grounder off the glove of Salem third-baseman Valdez into shallow left as Lozada scampered home with the gamewinner, well ahead of the too-late throw.

The win kept pace with Frederick and improves Potomac to 24-21, five games ahead of third-place Lynchburg and lowering their magic number to 21 with 24 games left to play in the second half.

Tonight, Erik Davis (0-1, 3.38) and Miguel De Los Santos (3-3, 2.95) take the hill in a rematch of last week’s near no-hitter in Myrtle Beach.

Aug 102011
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitcher
Syracuse Won, 3-2
(11 inn.)
@ Buffalo,
7:05 p.m.
Craig Stammen (8-6, 4.82) vs.
Dylan Owen (5-5, 4.72)
Harrisburg Won, 5-4 vs. Richmond,
7:00 p.m.
Shairon Martis (7-4, 3.17) vs.
Eric Surkamp (8-4, 2.09)
Potomac Lost, 7-4 vs. Salem,
7:05 p.m.
Adam Olbrychowski (4-6, 4.58)
vs. Ryan Pressly (6-9, 4.25)
Hagerstown OFF DAY @ Delmarva,
7:05 p.m.
Robbie Ray (2-2. 2.29) vs.
Jacob Cowan (0-0, 1.50)
Auburn Postponed vs. Vermont,
6:05 p.m.
Wirkin Estevez (3-2, 4.19) and
Christian Meza (1-1, 7.71) vs.
Tyler Vail (1-3, 2.96) and
J.C. Menna (2-4, 5.09)
GCL Nationals Postponed
vs. GCL Mets
vs. GCL Marlins,
12:00 p.m.
Gregory Baez (1-1, 3.68) vs.
Austin Brice (3-0, 3.86)
DSL Nationals Lost, 8-5
vs. DSL Mets1
vs. DSL Phillies,
10:30 a.m.
Felix Moscat (3-5, 4.69) vs.
Ranfi Casimiro (2-1, 1.29)

Syracuse 3 Buffalo 2 (11 inn.)
• Maya 6IP, 7H, 2R, 2ER, 0BB, 8K
• Wilkie (W, 3-4) 2IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, K
• J Valdez 3-5, BB
• C Brown 2-4
• Solano 1-1, RBI

Jhonatan Solano’s pinch-hit RBI single ended this one after 11 innings as Syracuse edged Buffalo, 3-2. The two teams combined for 24 hits and 26 runners left on, with neither team scoring from the 4th to the 10th. Yunesky Maya turned in his first quality start since July 4, tossing six innings and allowing two runs on seven hits and no walks (first no-walk start since 7/9). Josh Wilkie was the winner in relief, pitching the 10th and 11th with two hits allowed for his third win. Corey Brown was one of four Cheifs to collect multiple hits; his two singles extended his hit streak to seven games. The win improved Syracuse to 51-64, 14½ games behind Lehigh Valley and Pawtucket in the I.L. North.

Harrisburg 5 Richmond 4
• Arnesen (W, 7-3) 7IP, 7H, 4R, 2ER, 2BB, 7K, HR
• Martin (S, 9) 2IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 4K
• Komatsu 2-3, 2R, 2B, BB, 2SB
• Davis 2-4, 3RBI

It was a veteran effort for Harrisburg as Erik Arnesen threw seven strong innings, Leonard Davis drove in three runs, and Rafael Martin nailed down the 8th and 9th as the Senators defeated the Flying Squirrels, 5-4. The first four batters in the Harrisburg lineup combined for seven of the eight hits and all five RBI. Davis drove in the first two runs of the decisive three-run 7th that saw the Senators come back from a 4-2 deficit while Tyler Moore’s sac fly proved to be the gamewinner. The win kept pace with Bowie, the third straight for both the Sens and Baysox, and knocked Richmond back to 2½ games behind in the E.L. West.

Salem 7 Potomac 4
• Selik (L, 4-8) 1⅓ IP, 3H, 4R, 2ER, 2BB, 0K
• Holland 2⅓ IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 2K
• Hood 3-4, 2R, 2HR, 2RBI
• Walters 2-4

Potomac fell behind early (again) and the offense couldn’t get it going (again), losing (7-4) to the Salem Red Sox for the second straight game and the fifth straight meeting between the two teams. Cameron Selik took the loss, getting knocked from the box after facing just 10 batters, but giving up three hits, two walks, and hitting a batter. Destin Hood cranked two solo HRs in a 3-for-4 afternoon, while Zach Walters went 2-for-4. The rest of the lineup was 2-for-23. The loss drops Potomac to 23-21, three games behind Frederick, while Lynchburg crept to within four games behind in third place, increasing the importance of the Aug. 30-Sept. 2 ‘Cats-’Nats series in Lynchburg.

Auburn Doubledays — PPD
Rain struck in upstate New York, forcing a doubleheader tonight at 6:05 against the Vermont Lake Monsters.

Hagerstown Suns — OFF DAY
The Suns start the first of four four-game series this month, alternating road then home, with a trip across the state of Maryland to Delmarva before retuning to the Muni to face Lexington. Seventeen of their last 26 games are against divisional foes, thirteen against the three teams they’re chasing for the second-half title in the Sally League North.

GCL Nationals — PPD
Rain postponed yesterday’s contest in Viera. It will be made up with a pair of seven-inning games on Sunday, August 14.

DSL Mets1 8 DSL Nationals 5
• Silvestre (ND) 5IP, 4H, 3R, 3ER, 3BB, 4K
• Suero, W (BS, 2; L, 3-2) 2IP, 3H, 3R, 3ER, 2BB, 4K
• Eusebio 2-5, R, 2B, RBI, SB
• Ruiz 2-5, 2R, 2B, RBI

A three-run rally in the 6th erased a 4-3 D-Nats lead as the DSL Mets1 squad would beat them 8-5. Wander Suero took the loss, allowing those three runs on three hits, two walks, and a hit batsmen. Hector Silvestre got the no-decision for his three runs on five innings pitched. Three D-Nats had multiple hits, with Diomedes Eusebio and Adderling Ruix both doubling and driving in a run. The loss drops the D-Nats back to .500 at 29-29, seven games behind and reduces their elimination number to eight.

Aug 092011
 


[Ed. Note: Another guest column for frequent commenter BinM]

As we cross the 3/4 mark for the full-season franchises, I offer another opinionated view of the progress of each team to date…

Syracuse Chiefs (AAA) — 50-64 W-L
This team has confounded me all season. They’ve held what looked to be solid talent all year, but have never put together a run. This has surely been a disapointment for the Syracuse faithful, and for those of us who root for them from afar as well. Everything I’ve said before is still in effect, as the offense struggles and the pitching staff suffers from the constant shifts due to callups / returns from the big club.

From the hitters’ side, Chris Marrero (.308/.380/.467) and Matt Antonelli (.297/.384/.451) have been consistent, while Jhonatan Solano (.273/.322/.393) has turned it up a notch and Steve Lombardozzi (.318/.359/.436) has been a solid addition to the team. Some of the others aren’t slouches at the plate either, but either lack the ‘prospect’ cachet, or are just plain “old.”

For the pitching staff, the roster shuttle between D.C. and New York has disrupted any consistency in who manager Randy Knorr can count on. Syracuse has seen 29 different pitchers on the mound this year. Only Tom Milone (19GP, 117IP, 10.9:1 K-W, 1.03WHIP) has been dominant for the year among the starters. Craig Stammen has been steady, but unimpressive (20GP, 117⅔ IP, 3.75:1 K-BB, 1.41WHIP), as has Yunesky Maya
(17GP, 99⅓ IP, 2.83:1 K-BB, 1.30 WHIP). The latter two have both seen callups to DC this season, primarily due to their 40-man roster status. The bullpen has been a grab bag of late, but individually look to be AAA level or worse, as no one is stepping up as a real candidate for promotion.

Harrisburg Senators (AA) — 61-49 W-L
The team has stumbled since my last summary, dropping from a 3½ game lead, into second place, and are now back to a ½ game lead over Bowie in their division. Overall, the hitting has either slumped or fallen to injury, and the starters have been spotty, as the promotion of Brad Peacock left the staff without their stopper. In the bullpen, the backend is still solid, but the bridge has collapsed.

From the hitters’ side of things, the promotion of Lombardozzi (.309/.366/.454, 40RS), the trade of Bill Rhinehart (.283/.376/.587, 59RBI) and the injury to Gilbert (.298/.377/.472, 46RS), has stymied the offense of late, with no one stepping up to fill those gaps. Both Chris Rahl (.293/.343/.420, 44RS) and Tyler Moore (.273/.311/.532, 75RBI) continue to do their parts, and Norris is chipping in as well (.212/.373/.435, 56RS), but it hasn’t been enough.

The pitching is showing signs of wear as well, with Davis being demoted to Potomac after a series of bad outings; Only Arnesen (92⅔ IP, 2.53ERA, 1.09WHIP, 4.37:1 K-BB), and Shairon Martis (102⅓ IP, 3.17ERA, 1.27WHIP, 3.55:1 K-BB) have shown any stability for the starting five. Perhaps the recently promoted Danny Rosenbaum (132IP, 2.59ERA, 1.17WHIP, 2.25:1 K-BB in Potomac) will give them a boost.

From the bullpen, the combination of Cory VanAllen / Rafael Martin / Pat Lehman / Hassan Pena have been both stable and effective all year, but the bridge combo of Carlos Martinez / Jimmy Barthmaier / Pat McCoy has been high-risk, low-reward for most of the year.

Potomac Nationals (A+) — 23-20 [2nd half], 52-60 W-L overall
While the P-Nats are challenging for a playoff spot, I’m slowly coming to the conclusion that this years’ team is just a bad mix of real prospects and probable OG’s. The backend of the bullpen has been the only thing that is close to consistent all year, staffed by a couple of old-for-level arms; The starting arms (with a couple of exceptions) have been yo-yos, and the lineup (again, with exceptions) is cluttered with 2-3 tool players who will likely struggle at higher levels.

Starting with the hitters, Destin Hood (.285/.371/.467, 67RBI) and Jeff Kobernus (.281/.313/.386, 49RS, 39SB) have been getting it done all season. Sandy Leon could be a decent defensive catcher in the making. The rest of the roster, as much as I like them, is flawed. Justin Bloxom can hit, but has no glove skill; Souza plays a reasonably sound 1B, has shown both some power and patience at the plate, but has a very long swing; Perez is proving to be a one-tool player (speed), and J.P. Ramirez may have topped out at this level. The rest of the lineup and bench looks to be a collection of utility players and OG’s to me.

The starting staff will suffer from the loss of staff ace Rosenbaum (20GA, 132.0IP, 2.59ERA, 1.17WHIP, 2.25:1K-W), but still holds the lefty Sammy Solis and Cameron Selik, who both still hold promise. The bullpen has been a BB-prone minefield all season, save for the steadying influences of middle relievers Marcos Frias (22yo RH) and Joe Testa (25yo LH), setup man Josh Smoker (22yo LH), and closer Hector Nelo (24 yo RH).

Hagerstown Suns (A) — 22-21 [2nd half], 62-51 W-L overall
Slightly off the pace for a postseason appearance, the Suns are still in the hunt. They’ve maintained their offense, despite the loss of Harper (via transfer to Harrisburg) and Randolph Oduber (to injury). The starting staff remains solid as well, but the bullpen has taken a hit with some recent moves.

Offensively, they are mid-pack in most team categories, but are getting great seasons from David Freitas (.288/.416/.464, 53RS, 63RBI) and Blake Kelso (.292/.361/.357, 62RS, 43RBI), and good production out of Adrian Sanchez, Jason Martinson, Micahel Taylor, as well as Kevin Keyes, and OGs Sean Nicol and Brett Newsome.

The starting staff has been this teams’ cornerstone all season, with solid performances from 2010 draft picks Matt Grace (LH, 10-game winner to date), Robbie Ray (LH, 16GS, 2.29ERA, 1.18WHIP, 2.46:1 K-BB), and A.J. Cole (RH, 13GS, 3.82ERA, 1.24WHIP, 4.29:1 K-BB), as well as the injured Bobby Hansen, Taylor Jordan, and the since transferred Sammy Solis. On the other hand, the bullpen that looked so good through the 1st half of the season has fallen on hard times. The long relief corps of Paul Applebee and Matt Swynenberg have held steady, but the backend has fallen apart — Neil Holland (16GA, 1.13ERA, 0.92WHIP, 3.6:1K-W) was promoted to Potomac, Ben Graham (29GA, 2.95ERA, 1.21WHIP, 6Sv) just came off the DL, and Chris Manno (33GA, 0.85ERA, 0.80WHIP, 3.2:1K-W, 12Sv) was traded. No one has truly stepped in to fill that gap, but some help might be available in Auburn, depending on their late-season playoff chances.

Aug 092011
 

Bunch a moves that past couple of days. Without further ado…

SYRACUSE
• Activated LHP Tom Milone from 7-Day DL

HARRISBURG
• Activated OF Archie Gilbert from 7-Day DL, assigned to Potomac
• Received C Miguel Perez in trade with Pittsburgh Pirates
• Assigned C Brian Peacock to Potomac

POTOMAC
• Placed J.P. Ramirez on 7-Day DL
• Assigned C Andruth Ramirez to GCL
• Placed IF Justin Bloxom on 7-Day DL
• Assigned IF Sean Nicol from Hagerstown

HAGERSTOWN
• Activated RHP Ben Graham from 7-Day DL

AUBURN
• Assigned RHP Tyler Hanks from Hagerstown

GCL
• Assigned IF Roberto Perez from Auburn

I’ve been told that Gilbert’s stay will be just a few days. Byron Kerr has also passed along word in his latest column that LHP Sammy Solis has been experiencing elbow inflammation, so it might be another turn or two before he’s back on the mound.

UPDATE
A few more moves today, August 10, in red.

Aug 092011
 

Last night, the rosters for the 2011 New York-Penn League were announced and four Auburn Doubledays got the nod:

• Hendry Jimenez .292/.366/.479, 29RBI in 36G — starting at 2B

• Matt Skole .288/.368/.440, 32RBI in 49G — starting at DH

• Bryce Ortega .358/.454/.431, 15SB in 34G — backup SS

• Ben Grisz 1-0, 4SV, 1.35 ERA, 0.85 WHIP in 11G

The Lowell Spinners are the host of the 2011 New York-Penn League All-Star Game at LaLacheur Park in Lowell, MA a week from today.

Aug 092011
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitcher
Syracuse Won, 8-2 vs. Buffalo,
7:00 p.m.
Yunesky Maya (1-8, 5.44) vs.
Mark Cohoon (3-7, 6.71)
Harrisburg OFF DAY vs. Richmond,
7:00 p.m.
Erik Arnesen (6-3, 2.53) vs.
Chuck Lofgren (2-0, 0.92)
Potomac Lost, 2-1 vs. Salem,
12:05 p.m.
Cameron Selik (4-7, 4.18) vs.
Stolmy Pimentel (1-3, 4.96)
Hagerstown Lost, 9-3 OFF DAY N/A
Auburn Lost, 7-2 vs. Vermont,
7:05 p.m.
Christian Meza (1-1, 7.71) vs.
J.C. Menna (2-4, 5.09)
GCL Nationals Won, 9-2
@ GCL Astros
vs. GCL Mets,
12:00 p.m.
Gregory Baez (1-1, 3.68) vs.
Alejandro Sanabia (0-0, 0.00)
DSL Nationals Won, 15-10
vs. DSL Angels
vs. DSL Mets,
10:30 a.m.
Hector Silvestre (2-1, 2.25) vs.
TBD

Syracuse 8 Buffalo 2
• Milone (W, 9-6) 5⅔ IP, 6H, 2R, 1ER, 3BB, 5K
• Martin (S, 1) 3IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 2K
• Antonelli 3-5, 2R, HR, 2RBI
• Marrero 2-4, R, 2B, HR, 2RBI, BB
• Brown 2-3, BB

The bats broke out to stop a four-game losing streak as the Chiefs tanned the Bisons, 8-2. Jhonatan Solano was the lone position player to go hitless as Syracuse collected 13 hits, with four batters getting two, and Matt Antonelli leading the way with a 3-for-5 night. Tom Milone got his ninth win with five and 2/3rds innings pitched and two runs allowed, though he walked a season-high three batters. The SoCal southpaw also went 1-for-3 at the plate, lowering his batting average to .409. The win improves Syracuse to 50-64, and extends the gap between fourth and fifth place in the I.L. north to 2½ games.

Harrisburg Senators — OFF DAY
Harrisburg starts a crucial three-game set against third-place Richmond tonight with veteran Erik Arnesen on the hill. The Flying Squirrels have been the Senators nemesis this season, taking 12 of the first 18 meetings and this is the final regular-season series between the two teams.

Salem 2 Potomac 1
• Demny 5+ IP, 4H, 1R, 1ER, 6BB, 1K, 3HBP, 1WP
• Holder 2IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 3K
• Soriano 1-4, RBI
• Perez 1-3

Potomac pitchers simply gave the Red Sox too many chances Last Night In Woodbridge

Greensboro 9 Hagerstown 3
• Demmin (L, 2-2) 6IP, 5H, 5R, 2ER, 0BB, 4K
• Keyes 1-3, R, BB
• Martinson 1-3, R, 2B, BB

Greensboro opened up a 2-1 game with two in the 5th, one in the 6th, and two more in the 7th as they, um, hopped past the Suns 9-3. Ryan Demmin took the loss with five runs (two earned) given up on five hits and no walks over six innings but the bullpen was battered for four over the last three. Jason Martinson and Kevin Keyes both went 1-for-3 with a run scored and walk to lead the offense, which was held to just four hits and four walks total. The loss drops Hagerstown to 22-21, four games behind Hickory in the Sally North.

Mahoning Valley 7 Auburn 2
• Hill (L, 0-2) 5IP, 5H, 3R, 3ER, 0BB, 5K
• Kreis 1⅔ IP, 1H, 0R, 3BB, 1K
• Skole 2-5
• Alvarez 2-4, 2B, RBI
• J Miller 0-5, 5K

Mahoning Valley got the series split with a 7-2 win over Auburn. Dave Hill took the loss in his second start for the Doubledays, allowing three runs over five innings with five hits allowed, no walks and five strikeouts. Auburn was held to just eight hits, with Matt Skole and Bowden’s folly each getting two, as the team was a woeful 1-for-12 with RISP, stranding 11 baserunners. The loss puts Auburn and Mahoning Valley back into a first-place tie, 1½ games ahead of Williamsport and three games ahead of Jamestown.

GCL Nationals 9 GCL Astros 2
• McGeary 3IP, 2H, 1R, 0ER, 0BB, 2K
• Encarnacion (W, 1-2) 5IP, 4H, 1R, 0ER, BB, 3K
• JC Valdez 4-5, R, 2RBI
• W Ramos 2-4, 2R, RBI
• Mozingo 2-5, R, 2B, 2RBI

Jack McGeary continues to improve with each outing, tossing three innings with no walks today in a 9-2 win over the GCL Astros. McGeary allowed one unearned run on two hits while striking out two. Pedro Encarnacion followed him on the mound and pitched the next five for the win, allowing the second G-Astro run (also unearned) on four hits and a walk. Jean-Carlos Valdez led the 11-hit attack with four singles and two RBI. The win improves the G-Nats to 14-27, just their second win in the last 10 games.

DSL Nationals 15 DSL Angels 10
• Mendez 6IP, 8H, 4R, 1ER, 0BB, 3K
• W Rodriguez 3-5, 2R, 2B, 2SB
• Ruiz 3-3, 2R, 2B, 2RBI, BB
• Geraldo 1-4, R, 5RBI

A grand slam highlighted an eight-run 7th as the DSL Nationals piled on late for 15-10 win over the DSL Angels, despite getting outhit 18-11. Gilberto Mendez started and went the first six innings, allowing four runs (one earned) on eight hits and no walks. Kelvin Rodriguez got the win despite giving up three runs over an inning and a 1/3rd. The win puts the D-Nats at 29-28, six games off the pace in the B.C. South.

Aug 092011
 

You can only dodge the bullet so many times.

That’s the lesson that Potomac should have learned as the Salem Red Sox finally cashed in on the numerous chances the pitchers gave them for a 2-1 win.

Salem got its first run in the top of the 1st — another troubling trend that needs to stop if Potomac is to defend its Mills Cup title — but it could have been a lot worse. Two hit batsmen and a wild pitch then a walk loaded the bases. A swinging bunt drove in the run but starter Paul Demny escaped the jam with a flyout to right fielder Archie Gilbert (rehabbing from Harrisburg).

Demny would have baserunners in every inning he pitched. He walked two in the 2nd, giving up a single and double in the 3rd; got the trifecta in the 4th with another hit batsmen, a base hit, and a walk; and gave up walks in the 5th and 6th, the last chasing him in the 6th. To his credit, Demny kept the ball down and on the ground, getting two key double plays and allowing just four flyballs. For a pitcher that’s struggled with the longball, that’s bigger than Oprah.

Of course, what’s nearly always true is that good pitching gets scrutinized further when the offense is struggling, as the P-Nats have been over the past couple of weeks. It was sixth time in the past 10 games they’ve failed to score at least three runs.

It would be easy to chalk this up to the opposing pitcher, Chris Hernandez, who blanked them last week in Salem. But Hernandez was far from dominant, walking three and getting several long counts. During his five innings, it felt like he was one pitch away from getting smacked and having this game tied up.

Potomac would break through in the 7th as newly acquired Zach Walters drilled a grounder off the heel of Salem reliever Chris Martin to lead off the inning. A Steven Souza walk sandwiched between flyouts by Sandy Leon and Eury Perez (Walters taking third on the latter), brought up Francisco Soriano. The strong-armed infielder ripped a line drive into right to plate Walters and tie the game.

It would be the last Potomac baserunner.

Trevor Holder, Joe Testa and Rob Wort followed Demny on the mound. It was Holder’s first appearance in a Potomac uniform since June 24 and he tossed two solid innings of relief, allowing a hit and striking out three. Joe Testa pitched a scoreless 8th and appeared to be working around a leadoff bunt single but a two-out walk chased him from the game.

Wort gave up a single to right that Gilbert charged and threw a one-hop bullet to Leon, but on a night like this, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the bounce was higher than usual and Leon couldn’t make the snap-tag that would have been a bang-bang play. A flyout ended the threat, but like I said at the beginning, you can only give a team so many chances before they cash one in.

The P-Nats went down in order and on strikes to end the game. The loss was a missed chance to gain ground on Frederick, which lost to Myrtle Beach. Lynchburg edged a game closer with a win over Kinston, trailing Potomac by five games while the Keys still lead the division by three.

Cameron Selik (4-7, 4.18) takes the hill this afternoon in the final midweek daygame (no gamer tomorrow), opposed by Salem’s Stolmy Pimentel (1-3, 4.96).

Aug 082011
 

For the tenth time this season a Nationals farmhand has been named the Player (or Pitcher) of the Week, as Corey Brown snagged the honor for the period of August 1st to the 7th.

Acquired in the offseason as part of a multiplayer trade for Josh Willingham, Brown hit .526 with four home runs, seven RBI and six runs scored last week, with slugging percentage of 1.211. He currently has a five-game hit streak.

It’s also the fourth time that a Syracuse Chief has won the weekly award, following Tom Milone, Michael Aubrey and Cole Kimball.