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 052011
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitcher
Syracuse Lost, 5-2 @ Columbus,
7:05 p.m.
Craig Stammen (8-5, 4.40) vs.
Corey Kluber (5-7, 5.90)
Harrisburg Lost, 2-1
(10 inn.);
Won, 2-1
@ Erie,
7:05 p.m.
Tanner Roark (6-7, 5.47) vs.
Drew Smyly (1-0, 0.00)
Potomac Lost, 4-3 @ Myrtle Beach,
7:05 p.m.
Adam Olbrychowski (3-6, 5.03)
vs. TBD
Hagerstown Lost, 8-1 vs. Greensboro,
7:05 p.m.
Matt Swynenberg (4-1, 3.48) vs.
Kyle Winters (7-3, 4.62
Auburn Won, 6-5;
Won, 6-3
@
Mahoning
Valley, 7:05 p.m.
TBD vs.
Dan Jimenez (1-2, 2.79)
GCL Nationals Lost, 2-1
@ GCL Mets
(11 inn.)
@ GCL Marlins,
12:00 p.m.
Brandon King (1-3, 5.93) vs.
TBD
DSL Nationals Postponed
vs. DSL Giants
@ DSL Cubs2,
10:30 a.m.
TBD vs. TBD

Columbus 5 Syracuse 2
• Maya (L, 1-8) 6⅓ IP, 8H, 5R, 5ER, BB, 4K, 3HR
• Zinicola 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Lombardozzi 2-4, R
• Hulett 2-4

Yunesky Maya coughed up three home runs to account for all five runs scored by the Clippers in a 5-2 loss to Columbus. He gave up eight hits total and walked one while striking out four in his eighth loss for Syracuse. Offensively, the Chiefs were held to just six hits, with Steve Lombardozzi and Tug Hulett (both 2-for-4) accounting for four of them as just three baserunners got into scoring position. The two Syracuse runs came via a double by Roger Bernadina in the top of the 5th. The loss drops the Chiefs to 49-61, 13½ games behind Lehigh Valley in the I.L. North.

Reading 2 Harrisburg 1 (10 inn.)(Comp.)
• Arnesen 7IP, 3H, 1R, 1ER, 2BB, 6K
• Lehman (L, 0-1) 1⅓ IP, 2H, 1R, 1ER, 0BB, 1K
• Rahl 3-4, 2B
• Jo. Johnson 1-4, R, 2B, SB

In the completion of Wednesday night’s game, Reading needed just two tries to get the gamewinner for the 2-1 win in 10 innings. Harrisburg was held to just four hits, three coming from Chris Rahl, who also drove in the lone Senators run. Erik Arnesen got the no-decision with seven strong innings of one-run ball, allowing just three hits and two hits while striking out six. Pat Lehman took the loss in relief, his first for Harrisburg.

Harrisburg 2 Reading 1 (Reg. Gm.)
• Martis 6IP, 1H, 0R, 3BB, 5K
• McCoy 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• T Moore 2-3, R, 2B, BB
• Harper 2-4, R, 2B

Tyler Moore led off the 9th with a walk and Bryce Harper’s double was muffed and followed by an error to plate both Harrisburg runs as the Senators edged the Reading Phillies 2-1 in the regularly scheduled game. Jimmy Barthmaier got the win in relief of starter Shairon Martis, who went the first six innings and allowed just one hit and three walks with five set down on strikes. Moore and Harper combined for four hits and two doubles as the Sens had just six hits total. The doubleheader split leaves Harrisburg a ½ game ahead of Bowie with a 62-50 mark in the E.L. West.

Salem 4 Potomac 3
• Selik (ND) 5⅓ IP, 5H, 3R, 3ER, 3BB, K
• Frias 2IP, H, 0R, 2BB, K
• Leon 3-4, R, 2B, HR, BB, 2RBI
• Perez 2-4, R, 2B
• Kobernus SB #40

A walkoff walk in the bottom of the 10th gave Salem a 4-3 win and a series sweep of the Potomac Nationals. Josh Smoker started the 10th giving up a single, a wild pitch, an intentional walk (to set up the DP and face a lefty) and another single before issuing the free pass to former Nat farmhand Alex Valdez to take the loss. Sandy Leon drove in two of the three P-Nats runs with a solo HR in the 2nd and an RBI double in the 6th to lead the offense, which struggled once again with RISP with an 1-for-10 mark. The loss, the third straight, puts Potomac at 21-18, four behind Frederick but six ahead of both Lynchburg and Wilmington. Prior to the game, Evan Bronson was returned to Potomac from Syracuse. To make room on the roster, J.R. Higley was shifted to the 7-Day D.L.

Hickory 8 Hagerstown 1
• Ray (L, 2-2) 4IP, 7H, 4R, 4ER, 3BB, 2K
• McCatty 3IP, 5H, 3R, 3ER, 0BB, 2K
• Taylor 1-3, 2B, RBI
• Curran 1-3, BB

Hickory paid back Wednesday night’s beatdown with an 8-1 win on Thursday. The Suns were limited to just five hits and four walks with just one batter achieving both (Curran). Robbie Ray was touched for four runs on seven hits and three walks over the first four innings. Shane McCatty was no better, giving up three runs over three innings. The loss drops Hagerstown back to 3½ games behind Hickory in fourth place in the Sally North with a 20-19 mark. The Suns return home tonight for four games against Greensboro, featuring a rehab appearance by Stephen Strasburg on Sunday.

Auburn 6 Connecticut 5 — GAME ONE
• Estevez 5IP, 8H, 4R, 4ER, 3BB, 3K
• C Garcia 2IP, 2H, 1R, 1ER, 0BB, 4K
• M Rivera 1⅔ IP, 1H, 0R, BB, K
• Montilla 2-3, R, BB, RBI
• Burns 2-4, R, 3B, 3RBI

A three-run rally in the bottom of the 7th sent Game One of the doubleheader into “extra” innings, tied at 5-5. Bryce Ortega doubled with two outs in the 9th and Matt Skole sent him home with a single to right to complete the comeback win. Christian Garcia made his Doubledays debut with a run allowed on two hits over two innings, while Ben Hawkins got the win as the last man on the mound for Auburn.

Auburn 6 Connecticut 3 — GAME TWO
• Meza 4IP, 5H, 3R, 3ER, 2BB, 4K 0 7.71
• Henke (W, 3-1) 2IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Ramsey 2-3, R, 3B, 2RBI
• Burns 1-3

Auburn scored three in the 1st, two in the 2nd, and one in 3rd and cruised to a 6-3 victory in the nightcap. Christian Meza went the first four innings and was roughed up for all three Tigers runs in the 3rd, allowing five hits and two walks but striking out four. Travis Henke got the win with two scoreless innings of relief. Caleb Ramsey led the offense with 2-for-3 game, including an RBI triple. The wins keep pace with Mahoning Valley, their opponents for the next four games in a home-and-home series, and extend their winning streak to six games. Khayyan Norfork has been recently activated from the 7-Day D.L.

GCL Mets 2 GCL Nationals 1 (11 inn.)
• McGeary 3IP, 1H, 0R, 4BB, 3K
• Medina 5IP, 3H, 1R, 1ER, 0BB, 3K
• Hughes 2-2, BB, CS
• P Severino 2-3, R, BB

Jack McGeary’s second outing was a little bit better: no runs on one hit over three innings, but did give up four walks. Silvio Medina turned in five solid innings, with one run allowed on three hits. Both pitchers struck out three. The defense turned in its second error-free game in a row, but the offense remained equally feeble with one scored on eight hits and nine men left on. The loss, the eighth straight, drops the elimination number to three with a 12-26 mark that’s 16½ games worse than the G-Marlins.

DSL Nationals — PPD
Rain washed away the entire DSL yesterday, setting up doubleheaders for the D-Nats next Thursday and Friday.

Aug 042011
 

Some of you may have noticed how we’ve keeping tabs on where the affiliates are in the standings with each recap. This, of course, has led to some snarkiness in certain lower levels (OK, the GCL) but the more holistic view is that for the second straight summer, we’re looking at the possibility of multiple teams making the playoffs.

Obviously, player development is the first and foremost goal of the farm, but there is something to be said about playing in the postseason, no matter what the level. Harrisburg, for example, has several players from the 2010 Carolina League championship team and we’d like to think that they’ve learned what it takes to grind out a pennant race. Potomac and Hagerstown have younger, more age-appropriate squads and making the playoffs can only help to instill a winning attitude that many accuse the organization of lacking.

In any case, here’s a look at each affiliates chances down the stretch…

SYRACUSE
On paper, this team should have done better via its pitching, with the likes of Yunesky Maya, Craig Stammen, J.D. Martin, and Ross Detwiler — all touted as possible #5 starters coming out of spring training. The lack of offensive prowess is not as surprising, as this system is indeed lacking with position player prospects at the upper levels. Last year’s roster-filling 4As (e.g. Jason Botts, Chase Lambin, Pete Orr) were simply a little better than this year’s. Maybe we’d be singing a different tune if there were a half system and we thought that Brad Peacock and Tom Milone would be sticking around, but neither seems to be the case.

HARRISBURG
Yes, they’re currently tied for first place, and have been there for all but one day since May 24. But the question is whether or not they can withstand the loss of their leadoff man (Steve Lombardozzi) their ace pitcher (Brad Peacock) and their cleanup hitter (Bill Rhinehart). They’ve gotten some decent replacements by way of buying Leonard Davis from the Can-Am League and taking Tim Pahuta off the taxi squad disabled list, along with two new prospects (Erik Komatsu, Danny Rosenbaum). Tanner Roark has been pitching better of late, and Shairon Martis may very well be pitching below his true level, but Senators fans have to be holding their breath because further losses seem not only possible, but maybe even inevitable. I’ve heard their current left fielder’s pretty good.

POTOMAC
It may be a bold statement in the midst of all this team’s problems, but this team will make the playoffs. That’s more because of the format than anything else. As long as they hold onto second place in the second half, they’re in. With a six-game lead and only three games left against the third-place team (Wilmington, at home 8/23-25), and a seven-game lead over the fourth-place team with four games left (in Lynchburg, 8/30-9/2), that seems like a decent chance. Whether or not they’ll do anything in the playoffs is another story entirely. Frederick would be their first-round opponent, and the two teams meet once more on August 26-28. They’ve split the six games played in the second half, both teams taking two-of-three on the road.

HAGERSTOWN
Something to consider is that a lot of these guys were on the 2010 Vermont squad that nosedived. Will they learn from that experience or repeat it? Another problem is that it’s questionable that Robbie Ray and A.J. Cole are going to be allowed to pitch for very much longer. If that’s the case, then this team is going to have to make like the 2002 Angels and mash their way to a title. It’s also a very tight race in the Sally League North, with four teams within three games of first place. Fortunately, the Suns still have five games apiece left against Hickory (tonight in NC, 8/22-25 in MD) and Lakewood (9/1-5 in MD) and four against Kannapolis (in NC, 8/18-21) and, thus, some control over their own destiny.

AUBURN
Like the Sally North, the Pinckney Division of the New York-Penn League is tightly bunched with four teams within two games of first. Unlike the Sally, there’s a wild card option, but five teams are within three games in that race. The good news is that they have 12 games against last or next-to-last place teams. The bad news is that they have no more games against Williamsport but seven against Mahoning Valley and four against Jamestown, which means the Crosscutters could ease past the Doubledays and let the other divisional foes beat up on each other. The Williamsport schedule is also quite favorable, with 19 games against sub-.500 foes still left to play.

GCL Nationals
Could be eliminated by the end of the weekend. Even with 28-year-olds pitching in middle relief. Just sayin’…

DSL Nationals
Like last year, they’ve been hovering near .500 for most of the season. They’re 5½ games behind with 17 games left, so mathematically they’re alive, but they’re 7½ games back in the wild-card race so unless they rip off a long winning streak against the teams in their own division, it’s over.

Aug 032011
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitcher
Syracuse Won, 17-2 OFF DAY N/A
Harrisburg Lost, 8-4 @ Reading,
7:05 p.m.
Erik Arnesen (6-3, 2.63) vs.
Austin Hyatt (10-5, 3.88)
Potomac Lost, 3-0 @ Salem,
7:05 p.m.
Paul Demny (7-9, 4.86) vs.
Ryan Pressly (6-9, 4.28)
Hagerstown Won, 3-2 @ Hickory,
7:05 p.m.
Ryan Demmin (1-1, 2.87) vs.
Joe Van Meter (5-3, 2.98)
Auburn Won, 13-3 vs. Connecticut,
7:05 p.m.
Wirkin Estevez (3-2, 3.79) vs.
Brennan Smith (1-3, 2.11)
GCL Nationals Lost, 5-3
@ GCL Cardinals
vs. GCL Astros,
12:00 p.m.
Pedro Encarnacion (0-2, 6.23)
vs. Francis Ramirez (0-2, 7.11)
DSL Nationals Lost, 8-0
@ DSL Phillies
@ DSL Rangers,
10:30 a.m.
Ivan Pineyro (3-4, 2.01) vs.
Pedro Tirado (4-2, 3.56)

Syracuse 17 Toledo 2
• Peacock 4IP, 1H, 0R, 5BB, 4K
• Tatusko (W, 3-1) 3⅔ IP, 2H, 0R, 2BB, 2K
• Brown 4-5, 2R, 2B, 2HR, 4RBI
• Antonelli 3-5, 2R, 2B, HR, BB, 4RBI
• Marrero 3-5, 2R, 2B, HR, BB, 2RBI

The circle clout accounted for six of the 20 Syracuse hits in a 17-2 roast of the Toledo Mud Hens. Just three batters failed to collect two hits, and only four failed to hit for extra bases, with Corey Brown leading the charge with a 4-for-5 game including a double and two HRs. Brad Peacock struggled with his control, allowing just one hit but five walks and was lifted after four innings and 91 pitches. Ryan Tatusko and long relief have become a good match as the 26-year-old went three and 2/3rds scoreless innings for the the win, the second three-plus inning, no-run outing in his last five appearances. The win improves the Chiefs to 49-60, 12½ behind first-place Lehigh Valley in the I.L. North.

Reading 8 Harrisburg 4
• O Perez (ND) 5IP, 3H, 1R, 1ER, 3BB, 5K, HR
• C Martinez(BS, 1; L, 2-4) ⅔ IP, 5H, 6R, 6ER, BB, K, HR (GS)
• T Moore 3-4, R, HR, RBI
• Komatsu 2-4, SB
• O Perez 1-2, SB

Carlos Martinez got hammered on a Tuesday night. To make matters worse, it was before a crowd of 8,217 as the 27-year-old reliever surrendered six runs in the 6th as the Reading Phillies went on to beat the Senators 8-4. The big inning, which featured a grand slam, spoiled a decent outing by starter Oliver Perez, who gave up a run (also on a homer) over five innings and singled and stole a base in two at-bats. Erik Komatsu had a strong debut going 2-for-4 while stalwart Tyler Moore smacked his league-leading 25th home run. The loss dropped the Senators into second place, a ½ game behind Bowie in the E.L. West.

Salem 3 Potomac 0
• Solis (L, 4-2) 7IP, 8H, 3R, 3ER, BB, 5K, 2HR
• Frias 1IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 3K
• Walters 1-3, K
• Perez 1-4, OF Assist

Chris Hernandez became the Carolina League’s fourth 10-game winner with seven scoreless innings, as the Salem Red Sox shut out the Potomac Nationals, 3-0. Hernandez and relievers Mitch Herold and Will Latimer combined on a two-hit shutout while Sammy Solis dropped his second straight decision, giving up all three Sox runs on eight hits (two solo HRs) and a walk over seven innings. Zach Walters singled in the 2nd inning of his Potomac debut, while Eury Perez singled in the 9th for the two P-Nats hits. The loss drops Potomac to 21-16, four games behind Frederick in the Carolina League North. J.P. Ramirez and Brian Peacock were both activated off the 7-Day DL, with Sean Nicol returning to Hagerstown, joining Adrian Nieto, which we hope concludes this flurry of transactions.

Hagerstown 3 Hickory 2
• Cole (W, 3-6) 5IP, 5H, 2R, 2ER, 3BB, 2K
• Applebee (S, 1) 4IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
• Nicol 3-4, R, 2B, 3B, 2RBI
• Curran 0-2, SH, SF, RBI

In a battle of the bullpens, Paul Applebee’s four scoreless innings sealed the deal as Hagerstown edged Hickory, 3-2. Neither team scored after the 4th, with Sean Nicol’s RBI triple and Chris Curran’s sac fly giving the Suns their second and third runs respectively. A.J. Cole got the win with five innings pitched, two runs allowed on five hits and three walks and two strikeouts. Applebee got the save with just one hit allowed and one strikeout. Nicol went 3-for-4 to lead the offense, which was held to seven hits. The win puts the Suns back over .500 at 19-18, cutting the Crawdads’ leave to 3½ games in the Sally North.

Auburn 13 Connecticut 3
• Hill 4IP, 3H, 1R, 1ER, 0BB, 3K, HR
• Jenkins (W, 2-0) 4IP, 5H, 2R, 2ER, BB, 6K
• Mayo 4-4, 3R, 2B, 2HR, 4RBI
• Skole 2-5, R, HR, 2RBI
• Montilla 1-3, R, HR, 3RBI

The Auburn Doubledays went deep four times in a 13-3 rout of the Connecticut Tigers. Jeremy Mayo was a perfect 4-for-4 with 4RBI, singling, doubling, and homering twice to lead the 15-hit attack. Matt Skole (2-for-5) and Angel Montilla (1-for-3) accounted for the other two home runs and combined for five RBI. David Hill allowed a run over the first four innings in his first start, while Chad Jenkins went the next four, giving up two runs, to get the win. The victory puts Auburn into a tie with Mahoning Valley at 26-19, one game ahead of both Jamestown and Williamsport in the Pinckney Division of the New York-Penn League.

GCL Cardinals 5 GCL Nationals 3
• Baez (ND) 5IP, 6H, 1R, 1ER, 3BB, 2K
• Hatcher 2-3, CS
• Difo 2-4, R, 2B, SB
• Schill 2-5, RBI

With a three-run homer in the bottom of the 6th, the G-Cards overcame a 2-1 deficit to send the G-Nats a sixth straight loss by a 5-3 count. Gregory Baez left with the lead after giving up a run on three walks and six hits over the first five innings. Ken Ferrer served up the tater into get the blown save and the loss. Rashad Hatcher, Wilmer Difo and Wes Schill each had two hits, as the offense colleted nine hits and stranded eight baserunners. With a 12-24 mark, the G-Nats’ elimination number is down to six, 15 games behind the division-leading G-Marlins and just a game out of the cellar, currently inhabited by today’s opponent, the G-Astros.

DSL Phillies 8 DSL Nationals 0
• Moscat (L, 3-5) 7IP, 8H, 5R, 5ER, BB, 6K, 2HR
• Mercedes 1-4

Yermin Mercedes singled with two outs in the top of the 9th to break up a combined no-hit bid by the D-Phillies, who shut out the D-Nats by an 8-0 count. Felix Moscat fell victim to the longball, accounting for four of the five runs he surrendered over seven innings pitched. He gave up eight hits and walked one while striking out six. The loss drops the D-Nats to 28-27, five games off the pace in the B.C. South.

Aug 022011
 

The Nationals have signed free-agent RHP Christian Garcia and assigned him to Auburn. Garcia appeared in one game for AA Trenton in 2010, five games in 2009. A third-round pick for the Yankees in 2004, Garcia has had Tommy John surgery twice and missed the entire 2007 season, but prior to his injuries he was considered to have three plus pitches (FB, CV, CU) and was placed on the 40-man roster in 2008. He turns 26 in three weeks, so this is clearly another case of the Nats trying to catch lightning in a bottle.

Aug 022011
 

As alluded in the comments and writeups yesterday, today LHP Danny Rosenbaum has been officially moved from the Potomac roster to the Harrisburg roster. Taking his place on the Potomac roster — and presumably his slot in the rotation — is RHP Erik Davis.

Both pitchers last pitched on Sunday and will likely start again on Saturday.

Rosenbaum had been 6-5 with a 2.59 ERA, a 3.05 FIP, a 1.17 WHIP and 108 K’s in 132 IP with Potomac. His ERA and FIP were both third-best in the Carolina League, his strikeout tally second, and he led the league in innings pitched.

Davis had been 5-7 with a 4.79 ERA, a 3.87 FIP, a 1.61 WHIP and 93K in 94 IP with Harrisburg. After a strong April (2R allowed in 15⅔ IP), Davis has struggled, particularly in the month of July where he’s lost five of six decisions and allowed a .329 OBA.

The Senators also formally announced that recently acquired OF Erik Komatsu, profiled over the weekend, has been assigned to Harrisburg. He is likely to make his debut tonight in Reading.

Aug 012011
 

Still waiting for the official word on Danny Rosenbaum’s promotion, ahem, reassignment, but noticed the following moves in the meantime…

SYRACUSE
• OF Michael Aubrey placed on 7-Day DL
• LHP Tom Milone placed on 7-Day DL
• Activated OF Roger Bernadina
• Activated RHP Brad Meyers from 7-Day DL
• Assigned Evan Bronson from Potomac
Optioned Atahualpa Severino from Washington
Recalled Collin Balester to Washington

HAGERSTOWN
• Assigned C Adrian Nieto from Potomac

These are all dated today on MiLB.com, and I strongly suspect that at least one, if not both, of the two players put on the DL have been placed there retroactively.

Just to recap, the following moves were made over the weekend…

• RHP Yunesky Maya recalled to Washington, optioned back
• LHP Atahualpa Severino recalled to Washington
• IF/OF Brian Bixler recalled to Washington
• Roger Bernadina optioned to Syracuse
• Garrett Mock assigned from Harrisburg
• RHP Chien-Mien Wang activated from 60-Day DL

In case anyone ever wondered, this is not unlike court reporting in a small town… a lot of reading between the lines and being unable to make a definitive statement, even when you *know* what’s really going on.

UPDATE #1: A couple more moves made overnight…

Jul 312011
 

The good news is that the Potomac Nationals figured out a way to beat the Frederick Keys. After losing 6-2 last night and 4-0 on Friday, this afternoon’s 5-2 win over Frederick prevented a three-game sweep and kept the P-Nats within striking distance for the second-half title.

The bad news is that they’re going to have to do it with Danny Rosenbaum. Or at least, they should have to do without him.

That’s because the 23-year-old has shown that he’s ready for the next level. After a rocky first inning — two runs on three hits and a walk — Rosenbaum did more than just settle down. He no-hit the Keys for the next seven innings, allowing just two baserunners (hit by pitch in the 3rd, walk in the 4th) while finishing with a season-high 11 strikeouts.

The curve has been an unreliable weapon for Rosenbaum in 2011, but this afternoon, he had it working. Seven of the 11Ks were called third strikes, including veterans with AA experience like Miguel Abreu and Dale Mollenhauer. Considering that this is the fourth straight start where he’s fanned seven or more while going eight, nine, six and eight innings, it’s both safe and fair to say that he has earned the chance to test his mettle at the next level.

Potomac would erase the 2-0 Frederick lead in the 2nd with three runs on three hits, with a two-run shot by Sandy Leon tying the game and Francisco Soriano’s two-out, bases-loaded walk scoring the go-ahead run.

The five-run output would seem to indicate an improvement from the night before, but the P-Nats were only slightly better with runners in scoring position: 2-for-10 vs. 2-for-12 and actually left on one more baserunner. It’s tempting to chalk that up to walks because they played a part in the three-run 2nd, but the Keys pitchers actually walked two fewer today than yesterday.

Potomac would strand five base runners from the 3rd to the 6th inning before breaking through in the 7th. Destin Hood stroked an opposite field single to right and stole second. After Justin Bloxom flew out, Steve Souza tapped to the mound and Hood got caught in a rundown between second and third. Souza aggressively took second to set up Sandy Leon for another RBI chance and the backstop delivered with a single to right to extend the lead to 4-2.

Jose Lozada doubled and came around to score in the bottom of the 8th when Hood redeemed his baserunning gaffe with an RBI single to center for the fifth and final Potomac run. Hector Nelo came on to pitch the 9th, allowing a one-out single but getting the three outs necessary for his 14th save.

With the win, Potomac returns to a three-game deficit behind Frederick with a 21-15 mark in the second half. They return to action on Tuesday against the Salem Red Sox, with newly acquired SS Zach Walters expected to join the team.

UPDATE: A reliable source tells me that Rosenbaum has been promoted to Harrisburg, swapping places with Erik Davis on the Senators roster. Will have a separate post when the move is officially announced.

Jul 312011
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitcher
Syracuse Lost, 4-3
(11 inn.)
@ Toledo,
6:00 p.m.
Craig Stammen (8-5, 4.47) vs.
Brayan Villarreal (2-5, 4.85)
Harrisburg Won, 5-3 vs. Binghamton,
2:00 p.m.
Erik Davis (5-6, 4.75) vs.
Collin McHugh (3-2, 4.14)
Potomac Lost, 6-2 vs. Frederick,
1:05 p.m.
Danny Rosenbaum (5-5, 2.61) vs.
Nathan Moreau (10-7, 3.92)
Hagerstown Won, 8-6
(10 inn.)
@ Delmarva,
5:05 p.m.
TBD vs.
Matt Bywater (0-1, 7.00)
Auburn Won, 4-3 @ Tri-City,
5:00 p.m.
Nathan Karns (1-1, 4.00) vs.
Juri Perez (1-2, 3.86)
GCL Nationals Lost, 8-2
vs. GCL Mets
vs. GCL Marlins,
12:00 p.m.
Adalberto Mieses (1-1, 4.70) vs.
Jose Rodriguez (1-2, 3.30)
DSL Nationals Won, 3-1
@ DSL Yankees1
OFF DAY N/A

Toledo 4 Syracuse 3 (11 inn.)
• Mock 3IP, 5H, 3R, 3ER, BB, 6K, HR
• Balester 4IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 6K
• Lombardozzi 2-4, RBI
• Hulett 1-3, 2BB, 2RBI

Garrett Mock put the Chiefs in a 3-0 hole that the offense managed to dig itself out from, but the bullpen could only hold off the Mud Hens for so long, falling in extras, 4-3. Collin Balester (4IP), Zech Zinicola (2⅔ IP), and Atahualpa Severino (⅓ IP), combined for seven shutout innings of relief, striking out 10 batters. Steve Lombardozzi led the offense with a 2-for-4 effort, as the Chiefs fell to 47-59, 14 games behind Lehigh Valley in the I.L. North.

Harrisburg 5 Binghamton 3
• Roark (W, 6-7) 6⅓ IP, 4H, 3R, 3ER, 4BB, 3K
• Martin (S, 6) 2IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
• Rahl 3-5, 2R, HR, 2RBI
• L Davis 3-5, R, 2-2B
• Moore 2-3, R, 2B, 2BB, 2RBI

Back-to-back doubles by Tyler Moore and Bryce Harper highlighted a three-run 1st that Harrisburg would ride onto a 5-3 victory over Binghamton. Derek Norris was the lone position player to go hitless as the Sens pounded out 15 hits, but struggled after the first to get the clutch hit with a 3-for-12 mark overall with RISP and 11 men left on base. Tanner Roark turned in another quality start for his sixth win while Rafael Martin shut the door with two scoreless innnings for save #6. Combined with a Richmond loss, Harrisburg’s lead is back to 1½ games with an E.L.-best 61-47 record.

Frederick 6 Potomac 2
• Olbrychowski (L, 3-6) 3IP, 5H, 4R, 4ER, 4BB, K, HR
• Clegg 3IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 4K
• Bloxom 2-4, 2B
• Higley 2-4, 2B

The P-Nats couldn’t cash in on multiple opportunities Last Night In Woodbridge

Hagerstown 8 Delmarva 6 (10 inn.)
• Ray 3IP, 2H, 0R, 2BB, 4K
• Bates 2⅓ IP, 6H, 6R, 5ER, 2BB, 0K
• W Moore 2-5, R, RBI
• Keyes 1-3, R, 2B, 2BB

A pair of errors in the 10th gave the Hagerstown Suns an 8-6 win in extras over the Delmarva Shorebirds. Colin Bates was rocked in his Low-A debut, charged with six runs in two and 1/3rd innings as the first man out of the ‘pen. Starter Robbie Ray went the first three innings, and it would appear that the organization is tapering both him and A.J. Cole down the stretch. Wade Moore was the lone Sun to get multiple hits as Hagerstown had just eight hits, but drew nine walks. The win improves the Suns to 17-17, back in fourth place, and 3½ games behind Hickory in the Sally North.

Auburn 4 Tri-City 3
• Rodriguez, M 4⅓ IP, 8H, 3R, 3ER, 3BB, 3K
• Hawkins (W, 1-0) 3⅔ IP, 3H, 0R, BB, 2K
• Ortega 3-4, 2R, 2B, BB, 2SB
• Burns 3-4, SB

Russell Moldenhauer’s sac fly in the 9th capped a comeback from a 3-0 deficit as the Auburn Doubledays defeated the Tri-City Valleycats, 4-3. Both teams had multiple chances to do much more damage than they did, each collecting 11 hits and committing two errors. Ben Hawkins got the win in relief of Manny Rodriguez, tossing three and 2/3rds shutout innings in his debut appearance for Auburn. Aaron Barrett set ‘em down in order in the bottom of the 9th for his second save. The win improves the Doubledays to 23-19, still a game back of Jamestown and Mahoning Valley and tied with Williamsport in the Pinckney Division of the New York-Penn League.

GCL Mets 8 GCL Nationals 2
• King (L, 1-3) 5IP, 1H, 1R 0ER, 0BB, 4K
• Santana 2IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Mesa 1-3, R, SB
• P Severino 1-3, 2B

Another bullpen implosion (four runs in the 7th, three runs in the 8th) sent the G-Nats to an 8-2 loss to the G-Mets. NDFAs John Peters and Scott Williams were the pitchers in question, both making their second appearance. Peters faced 10 batters, Williams faced seven, charged with four runs and three runs respectively, with Williams allowing one of two inherited runners to score and Andy Santana letting in one of three while throwing two innings of mopup duty. Meanwhile, the offense was limited to just four hits and two walks. The loss, which is the fourth straight for the G-Nats, tumbles them to a 12-22 mark and reduces their elimination number to 11.

DSL Nationals 3 DSL Yankees1 1 (5½ inn.)
• Mendez, G (W, 5-0) 5IP, 2H, 1R, 0ER, 0BB, 6K
• Ruiz 1-3, R, 2B
• Marmolejos-Diaz 1-3, 2B

Gilberto Mendez “went the distance” in a (presumably) rain-shortened affair that the D-Nats won, 3-1, over the DSL Yankees1. Mendez allowed an unearned run on two hits, no walks, and struck out six over five innings. Adderling Ruiz and Jose Marmolejos-Diaz both went 1-for-3 with a double to pace the D-Nat offense. The win puts the DSL Nationals over .500 at 27-26, 4½ games behind the B.C. South Division leaders, the DSL Cubs2 and the DSL Rangers.

Jul 312011
 

Missed opportunities was the theme of the night in a 6-2 loss to Frederick.

Potomac had baserunners in eight of nine innings on offense, including a leadoff walk in the 1st by Eury Perez and a leadoff double in the 2nd. Both runners were erased or stranded.

Meanwhile, Adam Olbrychowski and the strike zone weren’t on friendly terms, with four walks issued during his three innings. Amazingly, none of them scored. But the net effect was that when he was around the plate, the 24-year-old got hit hard — a double and homer in the second and three singles in the 3rd, which chased him from the game.

Mitchell Clegg came on in relief and finally had what’s eluded him all season long: a strong appearance at home. In his eight previous appearances at the Pfitz, he’d given up 34 runs and 43 hits and walked nine over just 22⅔ innings. Instead, the lefty from UMass turned in three scoreless innngs with just two hits allowed, no walks, and four strikeouts.

Down 4-0 after three innings, Potomac broke up the shutout with a run in the bottom of the fourth, But it should have been more. Steve Souza was picked off first after drawing his team-leading 54th walk. Adrian Nieto singled, took second on on error, and scored on J.R. Higley’s ground-rule double to dead center.

Two innings later, Potomac’s night was summarized in the 6th. Destin Hood led off with a single to center, Bloxom ripped a liner to right to send him to 3rd and Steve Souza doubled to score Hood. With runners on second and third, and nobody out and down just two at 4-2, the P-Nats appeared poised to tie the game, if not take the lead.

Instead, Frederick went to the ‘pen and got precisely what they needed to stop the momentum from Chris Petrini — three straight strikeouts by Nieto, Higley, and Sean Nicol. The lefty would strike out five in his two innings of work for his 11th hold of the season.

If that wasn’t the kill-shot, then the two runs in the top of the 7th off Neil Holland put the proverbial bullet to the brain. As if they didn’t do enough damage on defense (with two double plays and seven assists for the night), the keystone combo of Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop led off the inning with a single and double respectively and came around to score on a sacrifice fly to right and an error by Jeff Kobernus that prompted the usual treatment from manager Matt LeCroy: A seat on the bench for the rest of the night.

Potomac stranded four more over the last three innings, with Bloxom striking out with runners on first and second in the 7th, Machado and Schoop turning a Sean Nicol grounder into a 6-4-3 DP to end the 8th, and Hood’s last-gasp flyout to deep right-center ending the 9th.

The loss extends the Keys’ lead over the P-Nats to four games and narrows the gap between Potomac and third-place Wilmington to seven games. Staff ace Danny Rosenbaum (5-5, 2.61) will be tasked with stopping the losing streak and salvaging the series this afternoon. Frederick’s Nathan Moreau (10-7, 3.92) will oppose him, with a shot to tie teammate Bobby Bundy for the Carolina League lead in pitching wins.

Jul 302011
 

Photo Credit: Futurebacks.com

There’s a whole lot less (right now) about SS Zach Walters, acquired in the trade for Jason Marquis, but in the interest of serving our readers…

A 9th-round pick last year out of the Univ. of San Diego, Walters is your prototypical “athletic shortstop” — raw power, runs well, has range and arm… and makes a ton of errors (40 in 160 games). Injuries dogged him in college but he’s stayed off the DL this year and last.

Sickels graded him a “C” in his 2011 Prospect Book and cautioned that his plate discipline needs improvement. So far so good, as he’s improved his OBP from .338 to .377 while still batting .302 and improving his slugging percentage from .440 to .485.

Baseball America describes the switch-hitter as having “all the hallmarks of a future utility player,” and say the scouts have doubts that his arm and range will improve enough to stick at shortstop.

If he is indeed assigned to Potomac, I’ll obviously have more to say after the next homestand on August 8-14. In the meantime, I’m off to Woodbridge…

UPDATE: Bill Ladson is reporting that Walters will be placed on the Potomac roster. With Walters leaving from Michigan, his debut is most likely going to happen on the road in Salem, Virginia, where the P-Nats begin a three-game series on Tuesday.