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.

Jul 252011
 

I’ll spare you guys the row of bottles, but I did notice a few blips on the transaction front…

SYRACUSE
• Activated OF Jeff Frazier from DL
• Placed OF Gregor Blanco on 7-Day DL

HARRISBURG
• Assigned RHP Erik Davis from Potomac
• Assigned IF/OF Leonard Davis from Washington Nationals
(purchased from New Jersey Jackals of Can-Am League)

POTOMAC
• Assigned C Adrian Nieto from Auburn
• Assigned IF Sean Nicol from Harrisburg
• Placed C Brian Peacock on the 7-Day DL

• Assigned LHP Evan Bronson from Harrisburg
• Placed OF J.P. Ramirez on 7-Day DL, retroactive to July 20
• Activated IF Justin Bloxom from 7-Day DL

HAGERSTOWN
• Activated Brett Newsome from 7-Day DL
• Activated Patrick Arnold from 7-Day DL

GCL NATIONALS
• Assigned Justino Cuevas (currently on Potomac 7-Day DL)

DSL NATIONALS
• Assigned OF Algenis Ramirez from Washington Nationals (turned 17 this past April, appears to be a signee from the Dominican Prospect League)

Like the previous transaction post, if there are any additions in the next 24-36 hours, I’ll update this post. The nature of these moves certainly suggests that more are coming. We still don’t know, for example, if the swap of Evan Bronson and Erik Davis to/from Harrisburg and Potomac is a permanent move or simply a one-off to accommodate the multiple doubleheadrs in Richmond over the weekend.

UPDATE #1: Potomac has announced the full extent of its roster moves, additions in bold.
UPDATE #2: Harrisburg has announced the full extent of its roster moves, additions in red. As predicted/feared/suspected, the Bronson-Davis move was reversed. Leonard Davis returns to the Nats organization, purchased from the New Jersey Jackals of the independent Can Am league.
UPDATE #3: Potomac and Syracuse have made and/or announced a couple more moves, indicated in blue.

Jul 222011
 

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

SYRACUSE 43-54, 4th Place I.L. North, 13 games behind

Good Steve Lombardozzi .357/.396/.468, 5SB, 0E in 29G
Bad Corey Brown .161/.217/.268 in July
Interesting Defense — 2nd-best FPct. (.983), 3rd-fewest errors in I.L.

HARRISBURG 56-41, 1st place E.L. West Division, 2½ games ahead

Good Shairon Martis 2.94 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 7QS in last 9GS
Bad Bryce Harper .175/.250/.175, 9K in 12G
Interesting Rafael Martin 2-1, 0.54 ERA, 0.84 WHIP

POTOMAC 16-10, T1st place C.L. North Division (45-50 overall)

Good Francisco Soriano .306/.342/.667 in last 10G
Bad Eury Perez .214/.290/.250, 2CS in last 10G
Interesting Joe Testa 5-0, 1.11 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 2SV, 6 holds in 26G

HAGERSTOWN SUNS 15-12, T2nd place Sally North Division, 3 games behind (55-42 overall)

Good Robbie Ray 2-1, 2.12 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 66K in 63⅔ IP
Bad Wade Moore .181/.286/.278
Interesting Matt Swynenburg 2.94 ERA, 1.19 WHIP in 52IP

AUBURN DOUBLEDAYS 18-16, 2nd place Pinckney Division, New York-Penn League, 1 game behind

Good Adrian Nieto .292/.375/.469, 4HR in 27G
Bad Travis Henke 7.36 ERA, 1.91 WHIP, 3 Blown Saves
Interesting Ben Grisz 1.50 ERA, 0.83 WHIP in 9G

GCL NATIONALS 11-16, 4th place GCL East, 7½ games behind

Good Bobby Lucas 0.68 ERA, 17K in 13⅓ IP
Bad Deion Williams .121/.171/.121, 10E in 18G
Interesting That it took this long to release Matt Chico

DSL NATIONALS 22-22, 5th place, Boca Chica South Division, 5½ games behind

Good Edgar Gonzalez (18 y.o.) .291/.371/.372 in 27G
Bad Miguel Navarro (18 y.o.) 14.59 ERA, 2.51 WHIP in 6G
Interesting Joel Barrientos (17 y.o.) 2.55 ERA, 1.02 WHIP in 11G
Jul 212011
 


A long overdue move was finally made, which leads off our transaction update…

HARRISBURG
• LHP Matt Chico released

GCL NATIONALS
• IF Wilmer Difo assigned from DSL Nationals
• RHP Andy Santana assigned from DSL Nationals

As always, if there are any other minor-league moves made in the next 24-36 hours, this post will be updated.

UPDATE #1:
POTOMAC
• RHP Trevor Holder assigned to GCL Nationals for rehab
• IF Justinn Bloxom placed on 7-Day DL
(BA is reporting this, MiLB.com has him as active; given his hospitalization, I lean towards BA)

AUBURN
• OF Rick Hughes assigned to GCL Nationals
• RHP Brad Meyers assigned to Auburn for rehab

DRAFT PICK SIGN
• OF Billy Burns (32) signed

NON-DRAFTED FREE AGENT SIGN
• Scott Williams, Wisconsin-Stevens Point

UPDATE #2:
A couple moves in Harrisburg this afternoon…

HARRISBURG
• OF Archie Gilbert placed on 7-Day DL
• IF Sean Nicol assigned from Hagerstown

Jul 192011
 

A two-base hit, a sacrifice bunt, and a “run-scoring flyball” gave Potomac a 1-0 win over the Lynchburg Hillcats.

The problem is that happened in the bottom of the first and it was never that certain that the P-Nats would prevail.

Cameron Selik, Marcos Frias, and Hector Nelo combined for a five-hit shutout, allowing just one runner to reach second base. The defense turned two double plays and gunned down a runner trying to stretch a single into a double. And the Potomac offense managed just two more hits from the second to the eighth innings.

It’s difficult to convey the excitement that a 1-0 game is supposed to elicit because, like the sign on Jimmie Dimmick’s lawn, it simply wasn’t there. After the first, it was two hours of wondering when the other shoe would drop: “We’re ahead, but it doesn’t feel like we’re winning.”

For three games now, the Potomac offense has been lifeless. They’ve managed to win two of those games… against a last-place team. To expect the pitching and defense to be that good that often is not realistic. Apologies for the short writeup today, but there’s not much else to say.

The win improves Potomac to 15-9 in the second half, still tied with Frederick for first place in the Carolina League North. Adam Oblrychowski (2-5, 5.36) is slated to start this afternoon, opposed by David Hale (1-3, 4.71).

Jul 182011
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitcher
Syracuse Won, 8-4 vs. Buffalo,
7:00 p.m.
Yunesky Maya (1-6, 4.45) vs.
Dylan Owen (4-5, 4.48)
Harrisburg Won, 9-7 vs. Bowie,
7:00 p.m.
Erik Arnesen (6-1, 2.27) vs.
Tim Bascom (5-2, 2.96)
Potomac Lost, 5-4 vs. Lynchburg,
7:05 p.m.
Cameron Selik (2-6, 4.42) vs.
Chris Masters (5-4, 3.48)
Hagerstown Lost, 6-2 @ Lexington,
7:05 p.m.
Robbie Ray (2-1, 1.76) vs.
Alex Sogard (1-3, 3.98)
Auburn Lost, 8-3 vs. Batavia,
7:05 p.m.
Colin Bates (2-1, 1.93) vs.
Tod McInnis (2-1, 1.44)
GCL Nationals OFF DAY vs. GCL Cardinals,
12:00 p.m.
Brandon King (1-2, 8.44) vs.
Victor De Leon (0-3, 5.03)
DSL Nationals OFF DAY vs. DSL Giants,
10:30 a.m.
Jesus Guzman (0-0, 2.33) vs.
Yeini Martinez (2-3, 2.55)

Syracuse 8 Lehigh Valley 4
• Milone (W, 8-5) 7⅓ IP, 6H, 1R, 1ER, BB, 6K; 3-3, 2R, RBI (.421 BA)
• Wilkie ⅔ IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Frazier 3-3, 2R, 2-2B, BB, RBI
• Marrero 3-4, R, 2-2B, 2RBI
• Lombardozzi 3-5, 2R, HR, 3RBI

Tom Milone picked up where he left off from before the All-Star break, tossing seven and 1/3rd innings of one-run pitching for his 8th win as Syracuse doubled up Lehigh Valley, 8-4. Steve Lombardozzi’s three-run homer in the bottom of the 4th was the offensive highlight, as five Chiefs would collect multiple hits, including Milone (3-for-3). The win improves Syracuse to 40-53, 15 games behind Lehigh Valley.

Harrisburg 9 Akron 7

• O Perez 2IP, 4H, 4R, 4ER, 3BB, 2K, HR
• Barthmaier (W, 2-3) 3⅔ IP, 4H 0R, 0BB, 4K
• Moore 2-4, R, 2B, HR, 2RBI
• Gilbert 2-4, 2R, 2B, 2RBI, SB

Perhaps it’s time for tines in the spine for Oliver Perez, who needed 67 pitches to get six outs while giving up four runs. He was bailed out by Jimmy Barthmaier’s hold-the-fort relief effort of three and 2/3rds scoreless innings, as the Harrisburg Senators fell behind early (4-1), went up big (9-4) and held on for a 9-7 win. Tyler Moore continues his assault on the E.L., smacking HR #20 to go back into a tie with teammate Bill Rhinehart for the league lead as the Sens got nine runs on nine hits and went 5-for-11 with RISP in the win. Second-place Bowie is in town for the next three, hoping to chip away at the 4½ game lead the Sens have built with their 55-38 mark.

Lynchburg 5 Potomac 4
• Demny (L, 6-8) 6IP, 6H, 2R, 2ER, 2BB, 4K, HR
• Wort 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Soriano 2-5, R, 2B, 2RBI
• Kobernus 2-5, RBI

A too-little-too-late offensive effort for the P-Nats Last Night In Woodbridge

Lexington 6 Hagerstown 2
• Grace 6IP, 6H, 1R, 0ER, 3BB, 6K
• Hanks (L, 0-1) 2IP, 6H, 5R, 5ER, 2BB, K
• Keyes 2-3, 2R, 2B, BB, HR, RBI
• Martinson 2-4, 2B, RBI

Shortly after Kevin Keyes had bailed him out with a solo shot in the top of the 8th, Tyler Hanks was even less effective in the bottom of the 8th as the Lexington Legends battered him for five runs on six hits over the last two innings in a 6-2 win over the Hagerstown Suns. Matt Grace started and went the first six, allowing one unearned run on six hits and three walks while striking out three. Jason Martinson, David Freitas and Keyes each had two hits, but just one hit came from the rest of the lineup. With the loss, Hagerstown falls to 2½ games behind first-half champ Hickory in the Sally North with a 13-10 record.

Batavia 8 Auburn 3

• Rodriguez, M (L, 1-2) 4⅔ IP, 8H, 5R, 5ER, BB, 3K
• Ramsey 2-5
• Skole 2-4, R, BB

The Muckdogs pretty much had their way with whomever was on the mound, as they battered three Doubledays pitchers for 15 hits in 8-3 romp over Auburn. Manny Rodriguez took the most damage, allowing five runs on eight hits and a walk with three strikeouts, losing his second game of the season.
Caleb Ramsey, Matt Skole, and “Bowden’s Folly” each had two hits in the nine-hit offensive effort. The loss was the fourth straight for Auburn, evening the Doubleday record at 15-15, two games behind the trio of Batavia, Jamestown and Mahoning Valley in the Pinckney Division of the New York-Penn League.

GCL Nationals
Seems early to start referring to the elimination number, but with G-Marlins on an 8-game win streak and the G-Nats on a 7-game losing skid, it’s down to 25 with 33 games left to play and a nine-game deficit (6½ in the wild-card race) to overcome.

DSL Nationals
Just five games this week for the D-Nats, who are also looking at bleak prospects for postseason play — down six games in the division, eight games in the wild-card race.

Jul 182011
 

Two good innings of hitting weren’t enough to offset seven innings of bad as the Potomac Nationals saw their five-game win streak snapped with a 5-4 loss to the Lynchburg Hillcats.

Perhaps it was the hangover effect from facing a knuckleballer the night before. Journeyman Aaron Shafer simply wasn’t as good as his numbers might indicate, limiting the P-Nats to just four hits over the first seven innings. There seemed to be an unusual number of popups (5), particularly against a pitcher that wasn’t throwing especially hard.

The too-little, too-late effort made a loser out of Paul Demny, who pitched well enough to win: two runs on six hits (though one was home run #15 surrendered) and two walks against four strikeouts over six innings. On most nights, that would have been good enough to win.

Mitchell Clegg came on in the 7th and continues to be a decent pitcher on the road (3.58 ERA, 1.38 WHIP) and dreadful at home (7.94, 2.29). This despite showing an improved breaking pitch. He would go two innings, but one mistake (a three-run double) after a single, walk, and sacrifice-turned-hit loaded the bases and a near escape (strikeout, flyout to shallow center) would keep the trend going.

Curiously, the seventh also saw manager Matt LeCroy pull Destin Hood during the warmups and replace him with Cutter Dykstra, ostensibly a punishment for not running out the last out of the sixth, a high fly to left field. The last time such a thing happened (Eury Perez, July 1), the offender was benched for three games. Something to consider if Hood is out of the lineup tonight.

Potomac would rally for two runs in both the bottom of the 8th and 9th innings, pounding out five hits and drawing two walks but the five-run cushion built by Lynchburg would hold for the 5-4 win.

With the loss, Potomac drops into a first-place tie with Frederick at 14-9. Cameron Selik (2-6, 4.42) takes to the hill tonight, opposed by Lynchburg’s Chris Masters (5-4, 3.48).

Jul 172011
 

With a doubleheader sweep of the Kinston Indians, the Potomac Nationals have now won five straight games and five straight series.

Since the season’s lowpoint — 11 straight losses from May 22 to June 1 — the P-Nats have gone 26-14, a .650 winning percentage, and it’s a familiar story: The bats have begun to heat up, the bullpen has solidified, and the defense has tightened.

But even better, the tendency to play better on the road has subsided. With the 5-3 and 3-2 wins, Potomac has 15 of its last 20 home games. Quite a turnaround from the 5-16 mark in the first 21 games.

In game one, Sammy Solis worked around a lapse of concentration in the second — back-to-back moonshots by Jeremie Tice and Abner Abreu, the second coming on a flat fastball — to go six innings and strike out nine batters against two walks. Yes, he gave up eight hits but three were of the “dying quail” variety that spilled just over the infielders into the outfield.

Those two home runs gave the Indians a brief 2-1 lead until Francisco Soriano struck again for another two-RBI hit, this one a double down the left-field line with two outs. Soriano would collect six RBI for the series.

In the bottom of the sixth, Potomac would match the Kinston second with Destin Hood and Justin Bloxom clearing the fences on consecutive at-bats to break a 3-3 tie and go ahead 5-3. Neil Holland would pitch the final frame and set the Indians down in order for his first High-A save.

In game two, Potomac got the pleasure of facing Steven Wright, the pitcher, and now one of the latest pitchers in affiliated baseball to throw the dreaded/beloved knuckleball. The last one spotted here was John Barnes in 2006, pitching for Wilmington when it was a Boston Red Sox affiliate.

Unlike Barnes, Wright is not a position player seeking a new baseball life — he’s a reliever capable of throwing in the low 90s that is looking for an edge, as he’s stalled at AA for parts of the past four season and will be 27 at the end of next month. Acccording to an Indians prospect site, he worked with Tom Candiotti during spring training and has been starting this season to get a feel for the pitch.

He’ll also need to learn to hold runners on much better, as the P-Nats stole five bases and took advantage of an errors on throws to the bases to score. Otherwise, the Potomac nine looked helpless, and perhaps a bit sore from flails at 55 m.p.h. pitches.

Evan Bronson opposed Wright and much like Solis, the number of hits he gave up was not indicative of his stuff. The predominantly righthanded Kinston lineup (Chase Burnette is the sole lefty… on the roster) three of six hits were hit to short right field, in front of Destin Hood. Ironically, the one mistake Bronson made came against Burnette, as the first baseman smacked a two-run homer for Kinston’s only runs.

Like the first game, the P-Nats made it a “sportswriter’s win” — usually a game won in the bottom of the 8th, but here the bottom of the sixth — after J.P. Ramirez led off the inning with a clean single to center. J.R. Higley was called on to pinch-run, but hurt himself trying to get back to first on numerous pickoff attempts.

Jeff Kobernus replaced him and took second and third in the same way that Francisco Soriano had to tie the game at 2-2 in the previous inning: A steal of second and a scamper to third on an error.

A wild pitch scored the 2nd Potomac run, but the third came in a much more conventional way as Kinston changed pitchers after Wright issued his fourth walk and allowed the fifth steal. Cutter Dykstra pounded a grounder that bounced just high enough for Kobernus to score without a throw to the plate.

Joe Testa got the call to close out the game in the 7th, allowing a leadoff single to short on a slow roller but otherwise got the job done to preserve the 3-2 win.

Potomac now stands at 14-8, one full game ahead of Frederick and hosts the last-place Lynchburg Hillcats for the next four games.

Jul 162011
 

A few transactions showed up in today’s sweep…

HAGERSTOWN
• Taylor Jordan placed on 7-Day DL
• Ben Graham placed on 7-Day DL
• Chris McKenzie assigned from GCL Nationals
• Tyler Hanks assigned from GCL Nationals

AUBURN
• Taylor Hill assigned from Washington Nationals (6th Rd. Draft Pick)

DSL Nationals
• Jesus De Los Santos assigned to DSL Nationals from Washington Nationals
(Int’l Free Agent, signed ’10-’11 offseason)

Jul 162011
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitcher
Syracuse Lost, 7-6 vs. Lehigh Valley,
7:00 p.m.
Brad Peacock (AAA debut) vs.
Ryan Feierabend (8-5, 5.52)
Harrisburg Lost, 4-3 vs. Akron,
7:00 p.m.
Erik Davis (5-3, 3.74) vs.
Joe Gardner (6-6, 4.11)
Potomac Won, 4-3 vs. Kinston,
5:30 p.m.
Sammy Solis (2-0, 2.08) and
Evan Bronson (2-3, 3.77)vs. TBD
Hagerstown Lost, 7-0;
Lost, 3-2 (11 inn.)
@ Lexington,
7:05 p.m.
Carlos Quevedo (6-4, 4.45)
Auburn Lost, 10-4 vs. Batavia,
7:05 p.m.
Christian Meza (0-0, 12.86) vs.
Jose Almarante (2-0, 2.81)
GCL Nationals Lost, 8-6
@ GCL Mets
@ GCL Marlins,
12:00 p.m.
Chris McKenzie (1-0, 5.40) vs.
TBD
DSL Nationals Won, 5-1
@ DSL Phillies
@ DSL Rangers,
10:30 a.m.
TBD vs. TBD

Lehigh Valley 7 Syracuse 6
• Stammen 4⅔ IP, 10H, 5ER, 2BB, 7K, 2R HR, HR
• Mandel 1⅓ IP, 0H, 0ER, BB, 2K, 1 IR stranded
• Lombardozzi 3-5, R, RBI
• Bynum 2-4, 2R, RBI, SF

Syracuse fell in a 7-6 loss to the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. Syracuse hit 13 singles and couldn’t match the power of Lehigh Valley’s two home runs. Starter Craig Stammen gave up two runs in the third, one run in the fourth, and two runs in two-thirds of an inning in the fifth before being lifted for Collin Balester. Balester took the loss, giving up two runs in one and a third innings pitched. Jeff Mandel and Atahualpa Severino combined for
two innings of scoreless relief to keep the Chiefs in the game. With the loss, Syracuse falls to 39-50 and a tie for fourth place with Buffalo, fifteen games back of Lehigh Valley.

Akron 4 Harrisburg 3
• Roark (L, 4-6) 5IP, 8H, 4R, 3ER, 2BB, 6K, HR
• McCoy 2IP, H, 0R, 0BB, 4K
• Moore 2-4
• Rhinehart 1-3, R, 2R HR, 2RBI, BB

Harrisburg fell 4-3 to Akron despite a two-run homer from Bill “The Godfather” Rhinehart in the sixth after a Derek Norris walk. Jerry Hairston, Jr. went 0-3 and played shortstop in a rehab start. Bryce Harper has cooled off at the plate and earned a sombrero, striking out three times. Tanner Roark continues to struggle at AA (6.36 ERA) and took the loss, allowing eight hits and walking two. Jimmy Barthmaier and Pat McCoy pitched two scoreless innings apiece to keep the game close. Harrisburg remains 5½ games over Bowie for first place in the E.L. West at 54-37 overall.

Potomac 4 Kinston 3
• Rosenbaum (W, 5-4) 8IP, 3H, 1R, 1ER, BB, 8K
• Nelo (S, 11) 1IP, 1H, 2R, 1ER, BB, 0K
• Soriano 2-4, 2R, 2HR, 4RBI
• Lozada 1-3, R, 3B

After two unscheduled nights off, it was all right Last Night In Woodbridge
Augusta 7 Hagerstown 0
• Cole (L, 2-5) 2IP, 3H, ER, 0BB, 5K
• McCatty 2IP, 4H, 4ER, 3BB, 2K
• Freitas 1-3
• Rogers 1-3
Hagerstown lost 7-0 in the resumption of yesterday’s suspended game. A.J. Cole gave up a single and an RBI double in the second but struck out Bobby Haney, his last batter, and struck out five of the six Greenjackets that he retired on Thursday night. Four Greenjackets pitchers combined to limit the Suns offense to just three singles and two walks in the seven-inning shutout.

Augusta 3 Hagerstown 2
• Swynenberg 4IP, 2H, 2ER, 3BB, 2K
• Manno 1⅔ IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K, 3 IR stranded
• Kelso 1-5, R
• W Moore 1-2, 2RBI
Hagerstown was swept in the doubleheader when they lost 3-2 to Augusta in eleven innings. Starter Matt Swynenberg gave up a run in the third when Carlos Willoughby tripled and scored. Two leadoff walks in the fourth eventually led to a second run. Hagerstown came back to tie in the sixth with a two-run rally. Christopher Manno came in with one out and the bases loaded in the sixth and struck out Jeff Arnold and got Willoughby to get the Suns out of deep trouble. Overall, Paul Applebee, Manno, and Ryan Demmin combined for six innings of scoreless relief before Demmin tired in the eleventh and gave up three two-out walks, one intentional, to give Augusta the dreaded walkoff walk. After the doubleheader sweep, Hagerstown falls to third place at 12-9, 1½ games back of first-place Hickory in the Sally Northern division.

Brooklyn 10 Auburn 4
• Estevez (L, 2-2) 4IP, 10H, 8R, 4ER, 2BB, 2K
• Henke 2IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Rowe 1-2, R, 2BB
• Hughes 1-4, 2RBI

Brooklyn scored in each of the first four innings, building an 8-1 lead as the Cyclones cruised to a 10-4 win over the Auburn Doubledays. Wirkin “For The Weekend” Estevez gave up 10 hits in four innings, allowing eight runs (four earned) on 10 hits and two walks. The Doubledays took advantage of five walks to score four runs on just six hits. The loss drops Auburn to 15-13, one game behind Jamestown and Mahoning Valley.

GCL Mets 8 GCL Nationals 6
• Encarnacion (L, 0-2) ⅔ IP, 4H, 5R, 0ER, 0BB, K
• Lucas 3⅓ IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 2K
• E Fernandez 4-4, R, RBI
• Mesa 2-5, 3B, 2RBI
• Je Valdez 1-3, R, HR, 3RBI

Make that six losses in a row for the G-Nats, who fell 8-6 to the G-Mets. Pedro Encarnacion started and lasted 2/3rds of an inning, giving up four hits, throwing two wild pitches as the defense committed three of its five errors in the G-Mets five-run first inning. The Mets would tag on another three runs in the fourth to build an 8-0 lead. Jean Carlos Valdez smacked a three-run homer in the top of the 7th, as the G-Nats would score five in the 7th and one in the 8th to pull within two runs. The G-Nats are now 8-14, 7½ games behind the G-Marlins in the GCL East.

DSL Nationals 5 DSL Phillies 1
• Santana (W, 2-1) 6IP, 4H, 1R, 1ER, BB, 9K
• W Suero (S, 1) 3IP, 1H, 0R, BB, K
• Rosario 2-5, 2R, 2B
• Mercedes 2-5, R
• Difo 2-5, SB (25)

Behind six strong innings from starter Andy Santana, the DSL Nationals defeated the DSL Phillies by a 5-1 score. Santana gave up just one run on four hits and a walk while striking out nine to earn the win. Wilmer Difo, Dioncio Rosario and Yermin Mercedes combined to go 6-for-15 from the first three spots in the batting order. Wander Suero pitched three scoreless innings for the save, his first of the year. The D-Nats improved to 19-21, five games in back of the D-Rangers in the B.C. South Division.

Jul 162011
 

Behind a pair of Francisco Soriano two-run HRs and eight strong innings from Danny Rosenbaum, the Potomac Nationals returned to action with a 4-3 win on Friday night.

Enjoy this while it lasts because if history serves, Rosenbaum’s time in Woodbridge may be coming to an end.

One of the most common questions* is when will Player X get promoted. For position players, I keep telling folks, the new world order is that it’s a level a year below AA. Pitchers are the most likely to get in-season moves. Tonight, Brad Peacock makes his first AAA start. Next week, Nathan Karns will be likely to start for the first time north of Florida. *Answerable; I know nothing about incriminating pictures or information that’s keeping a given player active or on the 40-man roster.

With his one-year anniversary of his high-A debut coming next week, Rosenbaum’s AA debut could be on deck in the next three or four weeks. He certainly made the case with his performance: eight innings pitched, a season-high eight strikeouts and eleven groundball outs. His fastball command was a little shaky but hitters couldn’t touch his changeup, as several times he was able to fool them with it on back-to-back pitches.

Walks have been his bugaboo this year — something I believe has come with a jump in his top velocity from the high 80s to the low 90s — and though he walked just one, wouldn’t it figure that the lone walk would lead to the lone run? It came in the fourth inning with one out and was followed by a single that pushed the runner to third. Eury Perez snagged the flyout in medium center, waving off J.R. Higley and launched missile to home plate… just up the line enough for the runner to score.

The sacrifice fly was the first of five straight batters retired before a leadoff single in the sixth. That would be the last Indian to reach base against Rosenbaum, who retired the last eight batters he faced, including a 6-4-3 double to erase that single.

Not to bury poor Francisco Soriano, who was the story on offense. It’s one thing to hit two home runs in a game, it’s quite another to do it from both sides of the plate. Soriano drove in all four runs for Potomac, including a shot off the LF foul pole in the 7th to put the P-Nats up 4-1. As P-Nats broadcaster Will Flemming tweeted last night, his four HR in 41 games this year matches the four HR he had hit in the 245 games he had played previously.

The 4-3 final correctly suggests that Hector Nelo was less than stellar in the ninth. He walked the leadoff batter and his deliberate delivery enabled not one but two Kinston baserunners to steal against Sandy Leon (55% CS rate). An error “helped” make one of the two runs unearned with the runs coming in on single over Jeff Kobernus into right-center and groundout to Kobernus for the second out. Soriano gunned down the last batter with the tying run at third to end it.

The win improves Potomac to 12-8 for the second half, still a ½-game ahead of the first-half winner Frederick in the Carolina League’s Northern Division. Sammy Solis (2-0, 2.08) makes his second Pfitz start in the opener of tonight’s doubleheader against Kinston, with Evan Bronson (2-3, 3.77) pitching the nightcap.