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 102011
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitcher
Syracuse Lost, 6-0 vs. Lehigh Valley,
2:00 p.m.
Chad Gaudin (rehab) vs.
Tyson Brummett (0-2, 5.12)
Harrisburg Lost, 3-1;
Won, 6-4
@ Richmond,
5:05 p.m.
Erik Arnesen (6-1, 2.05) vs.
Eric Surkamp (7-3, 1.61)
Potomac Lost, 8-3 @ Lynchburg,
6:05 p.m.
Sammy Solis (1-0, 4.50) vs.
Blaine Sims (2-3, 3.25)
Hagerstown Won, 9-5;
Won, 5-0
vs. W. Virginia,
4:05 p.m.
Paul Applebee (5-2, 4.27) vs.
Tyler Waldron (6-4, 4.16)
Auburn Lost, 8-4 vs. Jamestown,
6:05 p.m.
Christian Meza (0-0, 16.87) vs.
Tom Peale (1-1, 1.42)
GCL Nationals Won, 3-2;
Lost, 12-5
vs. GCL Astros
vs. GCL Mets, 12:00 p.m. TBD vs. TBD
DSL Nationals Won, 9-2
@ DSL Giants
OFF DAY N/A

A lot of action yesterday (well, except Last Night In Syracuse) so it’s just boxes & bullets today.

Lehigh Valley 6 Syracuse 0
• Maya (L, 1-6) 5IP, 9H, 4R, 4ER, 0BB, 0K
• Severino 2IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Marrero 2-4, 2B
• Blanco 1-3, OF assist @ HP

Richmond 3 Harrisburg 1 — GAME ONE
• Davis (L, 5-3) 5IP, 6H, 3R, 3ER, 0BB, 10K, HR
• McCoy 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 3K
• King 1-2, RBI
• Rahl 1-3, R

Harrisburg 6 Richmond 4 — GAME TWO
• Roark 3⅔ IP, 7H, 4R, 4ER, 3BB, 4K
• Lehman (S, 3) 1⅔ IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Johnson 2-4, 2R, 2B, HR, 2RBI
• Rhinehart 2-4, R, HR, RBI

Lynchburg 8 Potomac 3
• Olbrychowski (L, 2-5) 4⅔ IP, 11H, 7R, 6ER, 2BB, 2K
• Smoker 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
• Bloxom 2-4, R, 2B, 3B
• Souza 0-2, R, 2BB, K

Hagerstown 9 West Virginia 5 — GAME ONE
• Grace 1IP, 5H, 4R, 4ER, 0BB, 0K, 0HR
• McCatty (W, 1-2) 4IP, 3H, 1R, 1ER, 0BB, 3K
• Sanchez 3-3, 2R, 2B, 2RBI
• Martinson 2-3, 2R, 2B, HR, 2RBI, SB

Hagerstown 5 West Virginia 0 — GAME TWO
• Jordan (W, 9-4) 7IP, 4H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Nicol 2-2, BB, RBI, SB
• Taylor 2-3, R, 3B

Jamestown 8 Auburn 4
• Estevez (ND) 6IP, 4H, 0R, BB, 7K
• Kreis (BS, 1; L, 0-1) ⅔ IP, 2H, 5R, 5ER, 3BB, 0K
• Jimenez 1-4, R, 3B, RBI
• Nieto 1-4, 2B, RBI

GCL Nationals 3 GCL Astros 2 — GAME ONE
• Medina 4IP, 3H, 2R, 0ER, 0BB, 7K
• Lucas (W, 1-0) 3IP, 3H, 0R, 2BB, 5K
• Mesa 2-4
• Jo Rodriguez 1-3, 2R, 2B, SB

GCL Astros 12 GCL Nationals 5 — GAME TWO
• Encarnacion (L, 0-1) 3IP, 6H, 6R, 6ER, BB, 2K, 2HR
• Herrera 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• E Martinez 3-3, 2R, 2HR, 3RBI
• Schill 2-4, R
• Ramos 1-3, R, HR, 2RBI, 2 OF assists (3B, 2B)

DSL Nationals 9 DSL Giants 2
• Vasquez 3IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Silvestre (W, 1-1) 3IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
• Ruiz 4-5, 2R, 3RBI
• Difo 1-4, BB, RBI, SB

Jul 102011
 


Alliance Bank Stadium is a very nice stadium — clean, comfortable, with good food and good service. Perhaps second only to Metro Bank Park in Harrisburg, which is a bit unfair because it’s much older. But every bit as good as other AAA stadiums I’ve been to.

I figure I’d better start with something nice to say about the game’s setting because there’s only so much positive things that can be said about the game itself, which was a 6-0 loss with just five hits and two errors for the Syracuse Chiefs.

On Friday, I could say “Well, the other pitcher was outstanding” and while Vance Worley was very good, he was by no means out of this team’s league, even if he’s likely to be back in the majors (and with a contender) next week.

That’s because Worley did not dominate the Chiefs. Sure, he scattered three hits over six innings, but he wasn’t overpowering, striking out just three batters. But he did beat them, and he did what good pitchers do: just. get. guys. out.

On the flip side (of the scorebook), Yunesky Maya continues to disappoint. Maybe some of this is simply the gap between the puff and PR from the mainstream media and his actual performance, but he very much reminds me of Robinson Checo in the late 1990s, an underwhelming, overpriced IFA that the Boston newspapers eventually dubbed “The Dominican Mystery Man” because his reputation far exceeded his results.

Maya was charged with four runs over five innings on nine hits with zero walks, but zero strikeouts. Four of nine hits went for extra bases. The Lehigh Valley batters may have been fooled the first time they saw Maya, but like many minor-league pitchers, not the second time, with eight of the nine IronPig hits coming during the 3rd, 4th, and 5th innings.

Offensively, only Chris Marrero seemed to show any real fire, gumption, or moxie. He showed particularly good patience by evening the count three times after falling behind 0-2 in the count in his first three at-bats. And it paid off: The first time, he flew out to the warning track. The second time, he singled to right-center. The third time, he rapped a double to the LF corner.

Unfortunately, Marrero also grounded into a double play in his last at-bat, which was the theme of the night as three times the Chiefs would see rallies snuffed by the dreaded twin-killing. Marrero’s GIDP stung a little more because it came after the first two batters walked in the 9th, ending whatever vain hope there may have been in denying the shutout bid.

The loss drops Syracuse to 38-49 for the season, 13 games behind first-place Lehigh Valley, as the two teams clash again tomorrow with Chad Gaudin set to start the game in another rehab outing.

Jul 092011
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitcher
Syracuse Lost, 5-4 vs. Pawucket,
7:00 p.m.
Yunesky Maya (1-5, 4.28) vs.
Vance Worley (4-2, 2.62)
Harrisburg Postponed @ Richmond,
5:35 p.m.
Erik Davis (5-2, 3.62) and
Tanner Roark (4-5, 6.20) vs.
Henry Sosa (4-1, 2.57) and
TBD
Potomac Lost, 4-1 @ Lynchburg,
7:05 p.m.
Adam Olbrychowski (2-4, 4.93) vs.
Zeke Spruill (6-7, 3.19)
Hagerstown Postponed vs. W. Virginia,
5:05 p.m.
Taylor Jordan (8-4, 2.68) and
Matt Grace (9-5, 4.50) vs.
Jameson Taillon (2-1, 2.74) and
Colton Cain (5-6, 3.14)
Auburn Lost, 8-1 vs. Jamestown,
7:05 p.m.
Wirkin Estevez (2-1, 5.60) vs.
Greg Nappo (0-0, 0.00)
GCL Nationals Lost, 17-6
vs. GCL Cardinals
@ GCL Astros, 11:00 a.m. TBD vs. TBD
DSL Nationals Won, 7-4
vs. DSL Rangers
@ DSL Giants,
10:30 a.m.
TBD vs. TBD

Shortening the writeups today, probably just boxes and bullets the next two days as my roadtrip heads east from Western PA to Central NY for games in Syracuse and Auburn… and a trip to Cooperstown.

Pawtucket 5 Syracuse 4
• Stammen (ND) 6IP, 5H, 3R, 2ER, 2BB, 4K, HR
• Balester (H, 5) 1IP, 0H, 0R, 2BB, K
• Solano 1-3, R, SAC, PB
• Lombardozzi 1-4, 2RBI
• Bynum 1-4, R, HR, RBI

Ordinarily, getting four runs on six hits in a single inning is a good thing. When it’s the only six hits of the game, not so much. Pawtucket’s pitchers were otherwise good while the Chiefs defense faltered late with two errors in the 8th in a 5-4 loss.

Richmond-Harrisburg — PPD
Oh, look: Rain in Richmond! For third time ’11, the Sens-Squirrels matchup has been postponed there. It will be made up today on July 23 as part of a day-night, 1:05/7:05 doubleheader with two 7-inning games.

Frederick 4 Potomac 1
• Rosenbaum (L, 4-4) 5IP, 6H, 4R, 1ER, 3BB, 4K, HR
• Holland 2IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Bloxom 3-4, 2B, RBI
• Hood, 1-4, R, 2B

Similar to Syracuse, it’s great when your 3-4 hitters get four hits. Not great when those are the only four hits of the game, as Potomac fell 4-1 to Frederick, reducing the P-Nats lead over the Keys to a ½ game once again.

West Virginia-Hagerstown — PPD
It’s a doubleheader in Western Maryland with two “sevens” between the Power and Suns, with game one featuring a matchup of aces in Jameson Taillon and Taylor Jordan.

Jamestown 8 Auburn 1
• Dupra (L, 1-1) 4⅔ IP, 7H, 4R, 3ER, 0BB, 5K
• Mirowski 2#&8531; IP, 2H, 1R, 1ER, BB, 2K
• Perez 2-4
• Miller 1-4, 2B, RBI

Since I might not have the time for a next-day “Last Night In Auburn,” I wrote up what I saw Last Night In Jamestown.

GCL Cardinals 17 GCL Nationals 6
• Baez 2⅔ IP, 4H, 4R, 4ER, 3BB, 4K, HR
• Lee 1IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 0K
• W Ramos 3-4, R, 2B, BB
• E Martinez 2-4, 2R, 3B, HR, 4RBI, BB

The missed extra point didn’t come back to haunt the G-Nats as a nine-run 8th turned an 8-6 slugfest into a 17-6 beatdown. No position players pitched, in case you were wondering. And presumably, no animals were harmed either.

DSL Nationals 7 DSL Rangers 4
• Moscat (W, 1-1) 8⅔ IP, 7H, 4R, 2ER, 4BB, 6K
• Kl Rodriguez (S, 1) ⅓ IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Ruiz 2-4, 2R, 2B, 2RBI
• W Rodriguez 2-4, R, HR, 2RBI
• Read 1-4, R, HR, 3RBI

Felix Moscat nearly went the distance, allowing four runs (two earned) over eight and 2/3rds innings as the DSL Nationals beat the division-leading DSL Rangers 7-4 and improved their record to 16-17.

Jul 092011
 


Last night it was bark in the park for the Jamestown Jammers, but the Auburn Doubledays it was a game that went to the dogs as they lost an error-filled game, 8-1.

To be fair, none of the mistakes would have made a difference in the game’s outcome. Jamestown’s starter, 19-year-old Jose Urena, was outstanding: allowing just two hits and two walks over seven frames and dealing some serious heat (disclosure: I tried using a borrowed pocket radar gun, but it’s too distracting; now I understand why upcoming pitchers work in tandem. Better to sneak a peek at the scout’s guns).

Urena set down the first nine batters in order before Hendry Jimenez pulled a clean single into right to lead off the fourth. He would be cut down two batters later trying to steal, killing the rally.

Meanwhile, local product (and 7th round draft pick) Brian Dupra (pronounced “doo-pray”) was making his first professional start. He would surrender single runs in the first two innings before settling down to retire eight of nine.

For those of you who might need some background music while you read the next few grafs, click here. I needed it to write them.

As the lede says, on defense was less than stellar behind him. Officially, Rick Hughes was charged with two errors, but merciful scorekeeping kept it from being more. Six times the ball was hit to him, and just once did he field it cleanly. Simply put: he looked like a pitcher forced to play there due to injury.

Angel Montilla was charged with the other error, misplaying a Texas-leaguer, but some slack can be cut for him because the Jammer runners were aggressive and that aggression helped force the issue.

On the infield, both Matt Skole and Hendry Jimenez seemed to be slow on the trigger. Twice balls hit to Jimenez became singles, twice Skole picked the ball and then double-clutched turning a routine out into an adventure. Neither were terribly impressive otherwise.

As you might have guessed, the Doubledays got their lone run against the Jammers ‘pen. Jeremy Mayo led off the 8th with a single to center and took second on a slow roller to the 3/4 hole by Hughes. After a Jimenez walk, Justin Miller missed a three-run homer by about two feet, doubling off the LF wall to drive in Mayo. Skole and Montilla both hit long flyballs to end the eighth.

Auburn got another two baserunners with one out in the 9th with back-to-back opposite-field flares by Roberto Perez and Wilfri Pena, but Mayo flew out to right and Hughes tapped another roller to second that didn’t get through for the game-ending out.

The loss dropped Auburn to 12-10, two games behind Jamestown, as the two teams meet again tonight in Auburn for the next three games (with yours truly scheduled to visit on Sunday). Wirkin “For The Weekend” Estevez pitches tonight while Christian Meza appears set to go tomorrow.

Jul 082011
 

The Harrisburg Senators have announced that Bryce Harper has been placed on the temporary Inactive List due to his participation in the MLB Futures Game in Arizona on Sunday. Taking his spot on the roster is RHP Tanner Roark, who was taken off the… wait for it… Temporary Inactive List.

This, of course, comes much to the dismay of the Richmond Squirrels, if not local Nationals fans, who have not been able to watch a first-round pick play within 50 miles of DC since August of 2009 when Drew Storen was assigned to Potomac. Coincidence? Perhaps, but those are the facts.

In other roster moves… 24-year-old Brett Newsome was placed on the 7-Day DL to make room for 25-year-old OF Carlos Alvarez, formerly known as Esmailyn Gonzalez, and typically referred to here as HWMNBM or He Who Must Not Be Named. Alvarez had been hitting .354 with 4RBI and 5SBs in 14 games for the GCL Nationals.

UPDATE: With Pudge Rodriguez on the 15-day DL, the Nationals have recalled Jesus Flores and activated Carlos Maldonado off the 7-Day DL to take his place on the Syracuse roster.

Jul 082011
 

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

SYRACUSE 38-47, 4th place I.L. North, 11 games behind

Good Steve Lombardozzi .367/.383/.443 since callup (17G)
Bad Yunesky Maya 5.67 ERA, 1.45 WHIP since return (4G)
Interesting Matt Antonelli .850 OPS (on-roster team leader)

HARRISBURG 51-34, 1st place E.L. West Division, 5½ games ahead

Good Erik Arnesen 6-1, 2.05 ERA, 1.04 WHIP
Bad Stephen King .579 OPS
Interesting Derek Norris 13PB, 19CS (38%)

POTOMAC 9-6, 1st place C.L. North Division, 1½ games ahead (38-46 overall)

Good J.P. Ramirez .344/.355/.508 since All-Star Break
Bad Cameron Selik 0-2, 6.60 ERA, 1.73 WHIP since All-Star Break
Interesting Joe Testa 5-0, 1.25 ERA, 1.20 WHIP

HAGERSTOWN 9-6, T1st place Sally League Northern Division, 1 game ahead (49-36 overall)

Good Taylor Jordan 8-4, 2.68 ERA, 1.25 WHIP
Bad Mills Rogers .513 OPS
Interesting Manno still here with 0.82 WHIP, 14.5K/9IP

AUBURN 12-9, 2nd place, Pinckney Division, New York-Penn League, 1 game behind

Good Bryce Ortega .432/.532/.541 in 15G
Bad Travis Henke 7.20 ERA, 1.80 WHIP
Interesting Ben Grisz (NDFA) 0.58 WHIP in 6 appearances (8⅔ IP)

GCL NATIONALS 7-7, 4th place, GCL East, 2 games back

Good Erick Fernandez .346/.379/.500 in 26AB
Bad Anthony Marcelino 10.45 ERA, 1.94 WHIP
Interesting Gregory Baez 0.98 WHIP

DSL NATIONALS 14-17, 5th place, Boca Chica South Division of Dominican Summer League, 7 games behind

Good Adderling Ruiz .344/.447/.438 in 12G
Bad Miguel Navarro 11.17 ERA, 1.97 WHIP
Interesting Daury Vasquez 6 HBP in 16⅔ IP
Jul 082011
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitcher
Syracuse Won, 8-2 vs. Pawucket,
7:00 p.m.
Craig Stammen (8-3, 4.19) vs.
Kevin Millwood (4-0, 4.15)
Harrisburg Won, 5-0 @ Richmond,
7:05 p.m.
Oliver Perez (2-1, 2.48) vs.
Henry Sosa (4-1, 2.57)
Potomac Won, 6-4
(10 inn.)
@ Frederick,
7:00 p.m.
Danny Rosenbaum (4-3, 2.81) vs.
Oliver Drake (7-3, 2.24)
Hagerstown Won, 4-2 vs. W. Virginia,
7:05 p.m.
Matt Grace (9-5, 4.50) vs.
Colton Cain (5-6, 3.14)
Auburn Lost, 7-6 @ Jamestown,
7:05 p.m.
Brian Dupra (1-0, 7.56) vs.
Jose Urena (1-1, 3.71)
GCL Nationals OFF DAY vs. GCL Cardinals,
12:00 p.m.
TBD vs. TBD
DSL Nationals Won, 11-4
vs. DSL Phillies
vs. DSL Rangers,
10:30 a.m.
TBD vs. TBD

Syracuse 8 Pawtucket 2
• Milone (W, 7-5) 7IP, 2H, 0R, 2BB, 6K
• Wilkie 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Aubrey 2-4, R, 2B, HR, 4RBI
• Marrero 2-4, 2B, 2RBI

Tom Milone threw seven shutout innings while Michael Aubrey homered, doubled and drove in four runs as Syracuse routed Pawtucket, 8-2. The recent IL Pitcher of the Week walked a season-high two (2) batters but only allowed two hits while striking out six. Chris Marrero went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI as the Cheifs pounded out 10 hits. Syracuse is now 11 games behind Lehigh Valley in the IL North at 38-47.

Harrisburg 5 Erie 0
• Wang (W, 1-0) 5IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Barthmaier 2IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 2K
• Moore 2-4, 2R, HR, BB, 2RBI
• Rahl 2-3, R, 2B, 2RBI

While things went wrong quickly in DC last night, Chien-Ming was all right in Harrisburg as Wang tossed five shutout innings to lead the Senators to 5-0 win, and complete the three-game sweep of Erie. All-Stars Tyler Moore and Bill “The Godfather” Rhinehart both hit home run #17, which is good for 2nd place on the E.L. leaderboard. Jimmy Barthmaier, Cory VanAllen and Pat Lehman combined for four shutout innings in relief, helping to move the game along in just 2:01. The win keeps pace with Richmond, but the Sens still hold a 5½ game lead as the two teams clash this weekend for five games, sans Harper, who’ll be in Arizona for the Futures Game.

Potomac 6 Frederick 4 (10 inn.)
• Selik 5IP, 6H, 4R, 4ER, 3BB, 2K
• Clegg 2IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Kobernus 3-5, CS
• Ramirez 3-5, 2R, 2-2B

Justin Bloxom’s solo HR in the 10th broke a 4-4 tie as the Potomac Nationals took their second straight against Frederick, 6-4. J.P. Ramirez remains red-hot, going 3-for-5 with two doubles and scoring two runs. Cameron Selik started and got tagged for three runs early, but went five and allowed all four Keys runs on six hits (but no HRs). The bullpen is buried here in sentence four, but their five innings of scoreless work made all this possible, with Mitchell Clegg leading the charge with two perfect innings in the sixth and seventh. The win extends the P-Nat lead over the Keys to 1½ games with a 9-6 mark in the second half.

Hagerstown 4 West Virginia 2
• Cole 6IP, 3H, 0R, 0BB, 7K
• Weaver (W, 1-1) 2IP, 1H, 0R, BB, K
• Taylor 2-4, R, 2B, HR, 4RBI
• Rogers 2-4, R, 2B

The game started 48 minutes late, but those who stayed ’til the end got to see Michael Taylor smash a three-run walkoff homer as the Suns shorted the Power, 4-2. Taylor drove in all four runs while going 2-for-4. A.J. Cole tossed six shutout innings, striking out seven, walking none, and giving up just three hits. Dean Weaver got the win in relief, his first for Hagerstown. The win puts the Suns back in first place in the Sally North, tied with Lakewood with a 9-6 mark.

Jamestown 7 Auburn 6
• Demmin 5⅓ IP, 5H, 4H, 4ER, 0BB, 2K, 2HR
• Henke (BS, 2) 1⅔ IP, 3H, 1R, 1ER, BB, 2K, 2-2 IR-S
• Skole 2-3, 2R, BB, HR, RBI
• Perez 2-4, R, RBI
• Jimenez 0-5, K (hit streak over)

Auburn built leads of 4-1 and 5-2, but the bullpen imploded for a 7-6 loss to Jamestown. Ryan Demmin was lifted with one out in the 5th but saw both runners he left on go in as the Jamestown Jammers tied the game at 5-5 with a three-run sixth and came back again in the bottom of the 8th with two runs for the final tally. Hendry Jimenez saw his hit streak snapped while Matt Skole hit his first professional HR while going 2-for-3 to pace the Doubledays 10-hit attack. The Doubledays dropped to second place with the loss, one game back of the Jammers, as the two teams meet again tonight (with yours truly in attendance).

GCL Nationals — OFF DAY
The G-Nats are at 7-7 as they start a five-games-in-four-days stretch against the rest of the GCL East, with a doubleheader tomorrow.

DSL National 11 DSL Phillies 4
• J Guzman 5IP, 0H, 1R, 0ER, 3BB, 3K
• Suero (BS, 1; W, 3-0) 3IP, 3H, 2R, 2ER, BB, 2K, 2WP
• D Eusebio 4-5, RBI
• Novas 3-5, 2R, 2B, RBI
• Marmolejos-Diaz 2-3, R, BB, 2RBI

With three runs in the 7th and five in the 8th, the D-Nats turned a 3-3 tie into a blowout win over the DSL Phillies, with 11-4 as the final tally. Diomedes Eusebio led the 14-hit onslaught with a 4-for-5 game, which saw the D-Nats go 7-for-15 with RISP. Wander Suero got the u-g-l-y BS-W while Jesus Guzman lowered his ERA to 1.13 with one unearned run allowed on three walks over five hitless innings. The win improves the D-Nats to 14-17, seven games behind the DSL Rangers in the Boca Chica South Division of the DSL.

Jul 062011
 

Just a quick catch-up on the recent transactions in the minors… many were tweeted yesterday:

SYRACUSE
P Brad Meyers placed on 7-Day DL retroactive to July 1
P Carlos Martinez assigned from Harrisburg
P Ross Detwiler called up to Washington

HARRISBURG
OF Bryce Harper assigned from Hagerstown

POTOMAC
P Sammy Solis assigned from Hagerstown
IF Justino Cuevas placed on 7-Day DL
IF Jose Lozada activated from 7-Day DL

HAGERSTOWN
P Matt Swynenberg activated from 7-Day DL
OF Chris Curran assigned from Potomac

AUBURN
C Jeremy Mayo assigned from GCL
P Christian Meza assigned from GCL

GCL
P Pedro Encarnacio assigned from Auburn
P Patrick Arnold assigned (on Hagerstown 7-Day DL)

Before folks get their panties in a bunch about Meyers, this is a less-opaque paper move related to the placing of Collin Balester on optional waivers. Likewise, I expect Carlos Martinez to return to Harrisburg once the merry-go-round stops later this week.

UPDATE: As predicted, Martinez’s stay was brief. The Harrisburg Senators have announced the following:
“RHP Carlos Martinez has been transferred from Syracuse to Harrisburg and RHP Tanner Roark has been placed on the temporary inactive list.”

Jul 062011
 

No Mercy! This is Wilmington!

The regulars know this is the battle cry from Steve Stevens, an otherwise mild-mannered grandfather, and last night the Potomac Nationals paid heed to the former Marine, blasting the Wilmington Blue Rocks by 12-3 score and taking the series three games to one.

The P-Nats scored often and early, though the bulk of the damage came in an eight-run second inning, one in which 12 men came to bat and highlighted by Sandy Leon’s first big fly of the season and a grand slam from J.P. Ramirez. Potomac “only” had 12 hits for the night, led by Jeff Kobernus’s 3-for-5 effort, with four other batters (Ramirez, Leon, J.R. Higley, and Eury Perez) collecting two.

Let’s Go Big Pitch!

It was also the Carolina League debut of 2010 Washington Nationals 2nd Round Draft pick Sammy Solis, who turned in a quality start of six innings pitched, three runs allowed on seven hits, one walk, and five strikeouts. Stevens wasn’t on hand to belt out another one of his familiar admonitions, but Solis wouldn’t need much encouragement with the huge lead.

Solis struggled early, with three-ball counts to nearly every batter in the first inning, and gave up a walk and two singles to fall behind early. He would settle down and settle in to retire 13 of the next 15 batters after giving up the first-inning run, allowing just a two-out single in the third and a swinging bunt single with one out in the 5th.

The velocity was there, as the “big pitch” (6’5″, 230) touched 96 on occasion, but what was more impressive was the huge separation in his pitches as his fastball was in the low 90s but his changeup dipped as low as the mid-70s. The 11-5 (1-7 from the batter’s eye) curve wasn’t as sharp as it was in Hagerstown last month, but it mostly kept the hitters off-balance as six of the seven hits Solis yielded were just singles.

The seventh, however, was another long home run off the bat of John Whittleman, his third HR of the series in as many uniform tops (last night it was #14) as Solis did leave on a somewhat sour note, giving up two runs in his final inning.

Rob Wort and Joe Testa followed Solis out of the ‘pen to combine for three scoreless innings, with Wort scattering three hits and both striking out one batter apiece.

The win improves Potomac to 7-6 in the second half, a ½ game behind first-place Frederick, the next team on the schedule. The Keys and P-Nats are slated for three games today through Friday. Potomac then visits Lynchburg over the weekend and into Monday for three games before returning to the Pfitz a week from today for an eight-game homestand.

Jul 052011
 


We’re back. As much fun as it might be to blame this on, say, a Bryce Harper fanboy or an aggrieved autograph whore, the problem was between the chair and the keyboard. In one of my past jobs, the design folks used to say that I knew “just enough HTML to be dangerous.” But clearly not enough to solve this problem quickly. I even had my IT guy take a look under the hood (right), but when it didn’t have any food scraps, he lost interest.

In layman’s terms, when I upgraded my WordPress software to the latest and greatest version, the theme wasn’t compatible. Hence the new look & feel.

For the immediate future, we’ll probably have fewer pictures, but once I figure out how things work, we’ll try to get back to the way things were. Unfortunately, that may have to wait because on Thursday, I’ll be hitting the road for a five-day trip through Pennsylvania & upstate New York for my annual baseball roadtrip (last summer it was the Appalachian League), which will include stops in Syracuse and Auburn. That means the news & notes are probably going to be a little more bare-bones while I’m on the road (SoulDrummer is also going to be away at roughly the same time).

My apologies to those who came here and saw gibberish. And I’m glad some folks reached out via Twitter (@nats_prospects) to express their dismay. Please bear with us while get used to the new digs. And please keep us part of your work avoidance daily routine.