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 212014
 


There’s a window of opportunity here at the home office of NationalsProspects.com, so I’m taking it to catch up on an overdue feature — the revisiting of my initial observations of the Potomac Nationals, which for the record, are those of a fan, a former sportswriter, and an amateur scout… just like the tagline has always said.

One of the most common questions I get when folks notice me keeping score at the park — after “Who do you work for?” — is “Who are the real prospects here?”

That, of course, is a loaded question; all the players are prospects to a certain degree, just some more than others. But I know what they mean (the some), so I tell ‘em the usual suspects for 2014: You should watch the catcher and the middle infielders.

But then I tell them: “This is the level that makes or breaks the guys. If they make it past here, they’ll probably play professionally well into their 20s, and a couple may make it all the way to DC. But if they don’t, they still made it farther than almost everyone they ever played with and there’s no shame in that.”

With that in mind, I’ll revisit the 2014 P-Nats:

FIRST BASE
Kevin Keyes has moved up and has shown the power stroke again. Shawn Pleffner has proven to be a hitter for average, and has shown a sweet opposite-field stroke, but has not consistently shown the kind of power that folks want from the position. He is the best fielder of his age cohort (i.e. Keyes and Matt Skole).

SECOND BASE
Tony Renda missed about five weeks to injury, but it’s not enough to say that it’s impeded his development. Defensively, he’s better than advertised, which is somewhat faint praise because his glove is usually mentioned as an afterthought to his hitting tool. I’d agree that he can be an adequate fielder, but having noticed that so many of his doubles are of the single-turned-into variety — and he’s not as fast as some of his predecessors that have advanced to AAA and beyond — he’s going to have to develop some more pop to justify the, um, shortcomings elsewhere.

SHORTSTOP
Stephen Perez is having a rough July on offense, but his defense hasn’t suffered all that much (in fact, I believe it’s improved). The league has adjusted to him and now it’s his turn to adjust back. Unless he bottoms out, this is still a breakthrough year for him.

THIRD BASE
This has become Khayyan Norfork’s position, in large part because he’s a better defensive player than Oscar Tejeda. Both players are serviceable veterans who bring different skills to the party. Tejeda’s got a fair amount of power while Norfork has shown a knack for the clutch hit along with decent speed.

LEFT FIELD
Randolph Oduber has played here the most in large part because the organization has deemed others to be more applicable to the other outfield positions. The Groovin’ Aruban remains a streaky player who’s prone to strikeouts and doesn’t walk much but remains a useful role player because he can play anywhere in the outfield.

CENTERFIELD
Will Piwnica-Worms emerged as the CF of choice and was just starting to cool off from a hot June offensively when he was dropped by a pitch on July 4th. Defensively, he’s not in the class of what has been quite an impressive run of defensive CFs over the past several seasons (most notably Eury Perez and Michael Taylor) but could play the position as well as the most of the league’s CFs.

RIGHT FIELD
Brandon Miller pulled up lame at first base in mid-May and is still working his way back from the hamstring injury. Right field had been a bit of a merry-go-round until Estarlin Martinez began hitting about a month ago. There is a sense that Martinez may be simply on a hot streak — I’m fully expecting someone to knock him for the lack of homers and RBI — but his game and his intensity both seem to have turned up a notch.

CATCHER
Pedro Severino has not lived up to the offseason hype. This reminds me of when Michael Taylor got a lot of buzz prior to 2012 only to founder by midseason and have folks turn on him. Like Taylor, the tools are evident when you watch Severino catch day in and day out. He’s also the same age (turning 21). Unlike Taylor, there is no other catcher to provide cover from above. I suspect the healthier Wilson Ramos is the more patience the fans will have.

THE BENCH
Justin Miller and Mike McQuillan have gotten the bulk of the work since the departures of Adrian Sanchez, Cole Leonida, and Kevin Keyes. Craig Manuel and Cody Dent have been called up from Hagerstown, but only Manuel has seen a similar workload to his counterpart. Dent has played sparingly. Eury Perez has covered the absence of Piwnica-Worms but has since gone back to Syracuse, meaning that another move or two may be imminent.

STARTING PITCHERS
There’s no sugar-coating this: it’s been a patchwork all season long. Injuries have played a part, with Pedro Encarnacion, Nick Lee, Brian Rauh going on the DL early and Ronald Pena almost making it to the All-Star break before succumbing, while ineffectiveness sent Brett Mooneyham backwards after seven starts.

Dakota Bacus has emerged as the staff ace, though he began the season in the ‘pen. Matthew Spann was called up from Hagerstown and did likewise. John Simms came up around the same time as Spann and has since gone up to Harrisburg. Austin Voth has also been promoted from Hagerstown and is pitching better than Simms ever did, begging the question: why not Voth too?

The suspicion here is that the rest of the summer will be an exercise of rotating in pitchers as they get healthy at both Hagerstown and Potomac. That doesn’t preclude any more promotions, but I’m pessimistic since recent history shows that most pitcher promotions at the full-season “A” level generally take place by mid-July.

RELIEVERS
I said they were very good in mid-May, and sure enough three of the five relievers I singled out — Bryan Harper, Derek Self, and Robert Benincasa — are now pitching for Harrisburg. The two that remain — Gilberto Mendez and Travis Henke — are still heavily used, recently reinforced with Jake Walsh from Hagerstown.

The aforementioned hurt guys have worked in relief and have started. What remains to be seen is how they’ll be used going forward. With only six or so of the so-called “roles” seemingly set — Spann, Bacus, Voth as SPs; Mendez, Henke, Walsh as RPs — those “other innings” could be used in variety of ways and probably will.

It’s going to be an interesting six weeks or so. Even with a playoff berth secured, with an arbitrary playoff format and not much separation between teams in either division (though ultimate I still think Myrtle Beach is the team to beat), anything can happen.

Jul 192014
 

Rockslide
For eight innings, there was a Star Trek convention on the Pfitzner stadium scoreboard — nothing but zeroes.

Austin Voth, who actually looked a little shaky early, did nothing to discourage the folks who want to Rhinehart him to Harrisburg with another seven scoreless innings. After giving up a 1st-inning single to Raul Mondesi and walking Jared Schlehuber in the 2nd, all he did is mow down the next 16 batters — striking out the side in the 4th.

The problem was, Wilmington’s Jonathan Dziedzic was nearly as good. Not as dominant, with four hits and a walk, but matched Voth zero for zero (Trekker for Trekkie?) until this became a battle of the bullpens.

Ian Dickson came on in the 8th and extended the retired batters streak to 19. Wilmington countered with veteran Blake Wood, who retired Randolph Oduber on a tapper back to the mound, then gave up a wall-scraping double to Khayyan Norfork.

Except Norfork missed first base, which Wilmington appealed so successfully that it didn’t even show up in the official box score play-by-play*.
* Not sure who to blame for that, but I haven’t seen something that egregious since the ’90s when an entire homestand was “rained out” during a drought in southern New Hampshire.

As you’ve no doubt inferred from the picture above, things fell apart rapidly thereafter. Estarlin Martinez tapped out to end the 8th. Wilmington led off the 9th with a single, got a sacrifice turned into a single, then a walk to load the bases. A sacrifice fly and a double brought ‘em all in for the 3-0 lead and eventual final score.

Potomac went in order in the 9th to lose for the fourth time in five games and fall out of 1st place, a 1/2 game behind Wilmington. The next six are on the road against the Salems, three in Virginia, three in North Carolina before the P-Nats return next Friday for six against the Mudcats and Pelicans.

Jul 182014
 


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

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 58-39, 1st place I.L. North, 5 games ahead

Good Tyler Moore .329/.422/.530, 6HR, 30RBI in 42G
Bad Daniel Stange 27BB in 45IP (5.4/9IP)
Interesting 75 offensive SB 2nd best in I.L.



HARRISBURG SENATORS 39-58, 5th place E.L. West, 18½ games behind

Good Paolo Espino 1-0, 2.51 ERA, 0.63WHIP in July (3 appearances, 2 starts)
Bad Drew Vettleson .170/.216/.234 in July (16G)
Interesting 7 team shutouts, 4th best in E.L.; 8th of 8 teams in pitching (5.4 R/G allowed)



POTOMAC NATIONALS 13-12, 1st place C.L. North, ½ game ahead (51-43 overall)

Good Estarlin Martinez .316/.355/.421 since All-Star break (19G)
Bad Matt Spann 2-3, 5.26 ERA, 1.91 WHIP since All-Star break (5GS)/td>
Interesting 4th-best offense in C.L., 2nd fewest total bases



HAGERSTOWN SUNS 18-10, T1st place Sally North, 2 games ahead (62-36 overall)

Good David Napoli 1-0, 0.68 ERA, 0.832 WHIP in seven appearances
Bad James Yezzo 11BB in 84G
Interesting Tied with Greensboro for both 2nd half and overall records



AUBURN DOUBLEDAYS 15-17, 4th place Pinckney Division, New York-Penn League, 8½ games behind

Good “Orange” Marmolejos-Diaz .850 OPS
Bad Drew Van Orden 0-2, 11.05 ERA, 2.32 WHIP in 3GS
Interesting 14SB – 14th in 14-team NYPL (also CS = 14)



GCL NATIONALS 13-11, T2nd place East Division, Gulf Coast League, 3 games behind

Good Anderson Martinez 1-0, 0.73 ERA, 0.97 WHIP in 4 appearances (12⅓ IP)
Bad Darryl Florentino .424 OPS in 20G (58PA)
Interesting Oliver Ortiz five OF assists in 20G



DSL NATIONALS 23-18, T3rd place Boca Chica South, 3 games behind

Good 19-y.o. Joan Baez 3-1, 1.21/3.12/0.90 in 9GS
Bad 17-y.o. Luis Perdomo .214/.233/.214 in 16G
Interesting 17-y.o. Panamanian Steven Fuentes 6HBP, 7BB, 35K in 33IP
Jul 182014
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 13-0 @ Lehigh Valley,
7:05 p.m.
Cole (1-0, 3.78) vs.
O’Sullivan (4-6, 4.20)
Harrisburg Lost, 5-1 @ Richmond,
7:05 p.m.
Simms (2-1, 3.86) vs.
Marte (7-3, 3.67)
Potomac Lost, 4-1 vs. Wilmington,
7:05 p.m.
Voth (2-0, 0.35) vs.
Dziedzic (5-5, 2.82)
Hagerstown Won, 3-2 @ Delmarva,
7:05 p.m.
Johansen (5-4, 4.86) vs.
Harvey (6-4, 3.01)
Auburn Lost, 6-2 vs. Hudson Valley,
7:05 p.m.
Bourque (1-0, 3.18) vs. TBD
GCL Nationals Lost, 4-2 (10 inn.) @ GCL Marlins,
12:00 p.m.
TBD vs. TBD
DSL Nationals Won, 8-5 @ DSL Giants,
10:30 a.m.
Acevedo (2-1, 3.21) vs.
Guzman (2-1, 3.79)


Syracuse 13 Lehigh Valley 0
• Treinen (W, 6-0) 6IP, 4H, 0R, 2BB, 6K
• Jackson 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Moore 4-5, 4R, 2RBI
• Walter 4-6, 3R
• Laird 3-4, 3R, 3B, HR, BB, 5RBI
• Hood 3-4, 2B, BB, 3RBI

There’s a Pig Roast scheduled for Sunday in Syracuse, but the boys got started a little early as the Chiefs grilled the IronPigs for 18 hits in 13-0 victory in Lehigh Valley. Four pitchers combined on the five-hit shutout, with starter Blake Treinen going the first six frames with four hits and two walks allowed while striking out while Zack Jackson, Daniel Stange, and Neil Holland each turned in a scoreless inning. Brandon Laird drove in five with a single, triple, and a three-run homer to lead the 18-hit assault.
Roster move: RHP James Simmons reassigned from Harrisburg.

Richmond 5 Harrisburg 1
• Dupra (L, 1-4) 5IP, 5H, 5R, 5ER, 3BB, 3K, HR(GS)
• Self 2IP, 3H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Martinson 2-3, 2B, BB
• Keyes 1-1, R, HR, RBI

The Flying Squirrels swooped on Senators starter Brian Dupra for five runs in the 5th to send Harrisburg to a 5-1 loss. Dupra went toe-to-toe with Richmond’s Austin Fleet for four innings in a 0-0 pitcher’s duel, with Fleet tossing a no-no and Dupra allowing a leadoff double in the 3rd. The excrement struck the spinning airflow device in the bottom of the 5th as the Squirrels rallied for for five, including a grand slam to send Dupra to his fourth loss. Jason Martinson broke up the no-hitter with a one-out double in the 5th while Kevin Keyes’s pinch-hit homer — #16 for the Senators, #20 overall — ended the shutout bid to lead off the 8th.
Roster move: OF Michael Taylor activated from the 3-Day TIL; RHP Paul Demny placed on the 7-day DL, retroactive to July 12.

Potomac 2 Wilmington 1 — COMP.
• Schwartz 5IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 3K
• Mirowski (W, 1-0) 1IP, 0H, 0R, BB, K
• Norfork 2-3, 2B
• Martinez 2-3, R, RBI

Khayyan Norfork led off the continuation with a single, which was knocked down by the Blue Rocks shortstop to deny him the RBI and Mike McQuillan nearly got the Willie Mays Hayes single and an RBI with a swinging bunt that got him out to end the 6th. After Richie Mirowksi pitched around a walk in the top of the 7th, Estarlin Martinez singled, took second on a sacrifice and scored on a Randolph Oduber single in the bottom of the 7th to take the continuation, 2-1.

Wilmington 4 Potomac 1 — GAME TWO
• Bacus (L, 3-5) 7IP, 7H, 2R, 2ER, BB, 4K
• Walsh 2IP, 3H, 2R, 2ER, BB, 4K, 2WP
• E. Perez 2-3, R, 2B, BB, SB
• Pleffner 2-4, RBI

The Potomac bats continue to fizzle as they racked up 10 hits but only plated one run in a 4-1 loss to Wilmington. Starter Dakota Bacus had trouble putting away the leadoff man, putting him on five times out of seven innings, but pitched well enough to win with two runs allowed on seven hits and a walk. Jake Walsh’s Woodbridge debut was marred by two wild pitches, one of which came on a strikeout to the first batter he faced. He would give up three hits and two runs in the 8th to give the Blue Rocks a comfortable three-run lead. Eury Perez singled, doubled, walked and scored the lone P-Nat run on a Shawn Pleffner double single off the right-centerfield wall in the 3rd.
Roster move: RHP Blake Schwartz placed on the 7-Day DL.

Hagerstown 3 West Virginia 2
• Pivetta 5⅓ IP, 7H, 2R, 2ER, 3BB, 3K
• Suero 1⅔ IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, K, 1-0 IR-S
• Johns (W, 1-0) 2IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Wooten 3-4, R, HR, 2RBI
• Middleton 2-4, 2B

James Yezzo singled with one out, Brennan Middleton followed with a double to push him to 3rd, and West Virginia’s shortstop Bucknered a Narciso Mesa roller to send him in as Hagerstown walked off with a 3-2 victory and a 2-1 series win. Nick Pivetta started and pitched into the 6th, when the Power got to him for their two runs. Wander Suero kept the go-ahead run on base by getting the last two outs, then pitched a 1-2-3 seventh. Samuel Johns pitched two scoreless innings for the “W.” John Wooten got the first two Suns runs with a homer in the 2nd and led the hit column with a 3-for-4 night.

Hudson Valley 6 Auburn 2
• Ott 6IP, 3H, 0R, 0BB, 6K
• D. Williams (BS, 1; L, 1-2) 2IP, 4H, 6R, 3ER, 2BB, 2K, 0HR
• Gardner 3-4, R
• Marmolejos-Diaz 2-4, BB

The Renegades had it made in the 8th as they retrieved six runs off Deion Williams to turn a 2-0 deficit into the eventual 6-2 bounty over the Doubledays. The implosion wasted a career night by Travis Ott, who pitched six innings of three-hit, shutout ball with no walks and six whiffs. Jeff Gardner led the Auburn offense with a 3-for-4 night, followed by “Orange” Marmolejos-Diaz, who went 2-for-4 with a walk.

GCL Marlins 4 GCL Nationals 2 (10 inn.)
• K. Simmons 3IP, 1H, R, ER, 2BB, K
• Morales (BS, 1; L, 0-4) 3IP, 4H, 3R, 3ER, 3BB, 3K, HR
• Alvarez 2-4, BB
• Ortiz 1-4, R, RBI

The G-Marlins got to Jose Morales for the 2-2 tie in the 8th and smacked a two-run HR against him in the 10th for the 4-2 win. Kyle Simmons started and went the first three innings, letting in one on a hit and two walks while fanning one. Thomas Alvarez went 2-for-4 with a walk from the leadoff spot but the rest of the lineup struggled, adding just six more hits and one more walk and going 1-for-14 with RISP.

DSL Nationals 8 DSL Giants 5
• Baez 5IP, 1H, 1R, 0ER, BB, K, HBP
• N. Ramirez (W, 5-3) 2IP, 4H, 2R, 0ER, 2BB, K
• Franco 4-4, R, BB, RBI, E(16)
• A. Martinez 2-4, R, 2B, BB
• Pimentel 2-4, 2RBI

The D-Nats erupted for five runs in the 8th to break a 3-3 deadlock and held on for an 8-5 win over the D-Giants. Starter Joan Baez let in just an unearned run over five innings on one hit and one walk as he struck out one. The win went to Nector Ramirez, though he gave up two unearned runs on four hits and two walks over the 7th and 8th innings. Angher Cespedes struck out two while earning his seventh save in a 1-2-3 ninth. 16-y.o. Anderson Franco reached base five times with four singles and a walk while Davinson Pimentel and Andres Martinez both went 2-for-4 to pace the 12-hit D-Nats offense.

Jul 172014
 

wheelscameoffthebus
As much as we like our boys to win, sometimes we’re reminded that they’re also here to learn.

At least that’s what the rational fan should be thinking after Wilmington rocked Pedro Encarnacion for five runs in the 5th to hand the P-Nats a 6-1 loss in the opener of the doubleheader last night in Woodbridge.

Encarnacion, who made four appearances — one abbreviated by rain — in the GCL over the last two weeks, looked good in his first inning of work, setting down the 2-3-4 batters 1-2-3 in the 4th on a pair of groundouts and strikeout.

But after a leadoff single in the 5th and a walk followed by a wild pitch, he looked rattled and pitched like, well, he was still in the GCL. A tapper to second was hit just slowly enough to score the go-ahead run. A triple down the right-field line sent in another. A swinging bunt scored the third Wilmington run.

Another single, this one also to right, plated the fourth run. After an aborted double-steal — Severino sniffed out, but couldn’t catch the runner at 3rd — Encarnacion rocked back and forth on the rubber for balk and another Wilmington run.

Raul Mondesi doubled to finish the binge, and Encarnacion finally got a popout. With a positive to lean on, manager Tripp Keister pulled the plug but the damage was done.

Of course, as the “1” in the linescore suggests, the Potomac bats were largely dormant — just five hits total and one walk, with the shutout avoided only when a wild pitch plated the tying run in the third.

The loss broke a modest four-game win streak, and another in the nightcap cut the P-Nats lead in the Carolina League North to just a 1/2 game over the Blue Rocks. Tonight, they’ll pick up where things left off last Thursday and then play a nine-inning game afterwards.

Jul 172014
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse ALL-STAR BREAK @ Lehigh Valley,
7:05 p.m.
TBD vs. TBD
Harrisburg ALL-STAR BREAK @ Richmond,
7:05 p.m.
Dupra (1-3, 5.91) vs.
Fleet (6-1, 3.27)
Potomac Lost, 6-1;
Lost, 6-2
vs. Wilmington,
6:00 p.m. (Comp. DH)
TBD and Bacus (3-4, 3.71) vs.
TBD and Sparkman (5-2, 1.43)
Hagerstown Lost, 6-1 vs. West Virginia,
7:05 p.m.
Pivetta (11-5, 3.90) vs.
Heredia (1-3, 4.97)
Auburn Won, 8-2 vs. Hudson Valley,
7:05 p.m.
Ott (0-1, 2.75) vs.
Pike (0-0, 2.45)
GCL Nationals Lost, 5-0 (5½ inn.) vs. GCL Marlins,
12:00 p.m.
TBD vs. TBD
DSL Nationals Lost, 13-4 @ DSL Giants,
10:30 a.m.
Jo. Baez (3-1, 1.36) vs.
Concepcion (4-1, 3.60)


Syracuse — All-Star Break
• Laffey 1IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Souza 1-4, 2B, BB, RBI
• Solano 1-2, R, HR, 2RBI

Jhonatan Solano’s two-run blast in the 2nd broke open a 2-0 game as the I.L., um, coasted by the PCL, 7-3 in the Triple-A All-Star Game in Durham. Steve Souza went 1-for-4 with a walk and an RBI double and made a diving catch to end the 8th. Aaron Laffey pitched a scoreless inning of relief.

Harrisburg — All-Star Break
• Taylor 1-3, BB, RBI, SB, CS, OF assist at 3B
• Keyes 0-1, K
• Bates 1IP, 1H, R, ER, 0BB, 2K

Michael Taylor showed off the arm, the legs, and the bat in a 5-2 win for the Western Division in the E.L. All-Star game. Kevin Keyes made a late appearance off the bench, striking out in one plate appearance. Likewise, Colin Bates was dinged for the final run on a triple and a groundout in the 8th though he fanned two.
Roster move: LHP Chris Manno promoted from Potomac; RHP Brett Brach released.

Wilmington 6 Potomac 1 — GAME ONE
• Rauh 3IP, 2H, R, ER, 0BB, K, HR
• Encarnacion (L, 1-3) 1⅔ IP, 5H, 5R, 5ER, BB, K, WP, BK
• Pleffner 1-2, BB
• Renda 1-3, 2B

The wheels came off the bus in the 5th Last Night In Woodbridge.

Wilmington 6 Potomac 2 — GAME TWO
• Schwartz (L, 2-1) 4⅔ IP, 7H, 4R, 4ER, BB, K, 2HR
• Pena 2⅓ IP, 4H, 2R, 2ER, BB, 0K, 2HR, 1-0 IR-S
• McQuillam 1-2, R, BB, CS
• E. Martinez 1-3, RBI, OF assist at 3B

Four solo HRs were basically the gap in the nightcap between Potomac and Wilmington as the Blue Rocks completed the doubleheader sweep of the P-Nats with a 6-2 win. The Schwartz was not with Blake as the 23-y.o. gave up four runs on seven hits, including two homers. Ronald Pena’s return to Woodbridge was also a bit rude as the visitors greeted him with longballs in the 6th and 7th innings. Mike McQuillan was the sole P-Nat to reach base twice (single, walk) as Wilmington limited Potomac to four hits, minimizing the damage from five walks issued.
Roster move: RHP Pedro Encarnacion activated from the 7-Day DL; OF Will Piwnica-Worms transferred from the 7-Day DL to the 3-Day Temporary Inactive List.

West Virginia 6 Hagerstown 1
• Silvestre (L, 5-7) 5IP, 7H, 3R, 3ER, BB, 3K, HR
• Napoli 3IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 4K, 2-0 IR-S
• Ballou 1-3, 2B, BB, SB, CS
• Ward 2-3, R, 2B, CS

Hagerstown never led this one as West Virginia scored in five of the first seven innings en route to a 6-1 win. Hector Silvestre was zapped for three runs on seven hits and a walk, including a solo HR in the 1st. He struck out three while suffering his seventh loss. The Suns were held to just six hits, through three were doubles by Isaac Ballou, Drew Ward, and John Wooten who combined to go 4-for-9 with two walks.

Auburn 8 Hudson Valley 2
• Lopez 3⅓ IP, 2H, R, ER, 3BB, 5K
• Sanchez (W 2-0) 2⅔ IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 0K, 2-0 IR-S
• Read 3-4, 2R, 2-2B, 2RBI
• W. Rodriguez 2-3, R, 2B
• Marmolejos-Diaz 2-4, R, 2B, BB, 2RBI

A four-run 3rd broke open a 1-1 game as Auburn edged one step closer to .500 with an 8-2 win over Hudson Valley. Reynaldo Lopez labored into the fourth, letting in one run on two hits and three walks, though he struck out five. He left with one out and two runners on in the 4th in favor of Mario Sanchez, who rolled a double play then tossed two perfect innings of relief for the win. The Doubledays racked up 13 hits and seven doubles, with Raudy Read collecting three of the former and two of the latter while driving in two and scoring twice, followed by “Orange” Marmolejos-Diaz and Wilman Rodriguez, who both singled and doubled and scored a run.
Roster move: OF Wilman Rodriguez demoted from Hagerstown.

GCL Cardinals 5 GCL Nationals 0 (5½ inn.)
• Dickey (L, 0-2) 1⅔ IP, 4H, 4R, 3ER, BB, K, 2WP
• W. Davis 1⅔ IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 0K, 3-0 IR-S
• Serrata 1-2
• G. Ramirez 0-0, BB

Rain shortened this one to five and a 1/2 innings as the G-Cards shut out the G-Nats, 5-0 on one (1) hit to stop a six-game win streak. Robbie Dickey was strangled for four runs (three earned) on four hits and a walk while striking out one over one and 2/3rds innings to take the loss, his second. Gilberto Ramirez pinch-walked to break up the perfect game with one out in the 4th while Brayan Serrata broke up the no-hitter with a leadoff single in the 6th.
Roster move: OF Brandon Miller assigned from Potomac for minor-league rehab.

DSL Red Sox 13 DSL Nationals 4
• Bermudez (L, 1-4) 1IP, 3H, 5R, 0ER, 3BB, K, HBP
• Y. Ramirez 4⅓ IP, 1H, R, ER, 0BB, 5K, 2HBP
• J. Ramirez 3-3, 2-2B, RBI
• Agustin 0-2, 2BB, SB

The D-Red Sox scored early, late, and often as they scored five runs in the 1st and six in the 8th en route to a 13-4 beatdown of the D-Nats? Starter Juan Bermudez was lifted after one inning — pitch count, no doubt — as he was charged with five unearned runs on three hits and three walks while hitting a batter. Yonathan Ramirez was the most effective of the four relievers that followed, giving up just one run over four and a 1/3rd while striking out five. Joshual Ramirez singled once, doubled twice and drove in a run to lead the D-Nats offense.

Jul 162014
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse ALL-STAR BREAK ALL-STAR BREAK N/A
Harrisburg ALL-STAR BREAK ALL-STAR BREAK N/A
Potomac OFF DAY vs. Wilmington,
6:00 p.m.
Schwartz, (2-0, 3.75) and
Rauh (1-1, 5.22) vs.
Manaea (2-7, 4.66) and
Finnegan (0-0, 0.00)
Hagerstown Won, 8-4 vs. West Virginia,
7:05 p.m.
Silvestre (5-6, 4.26) vs.
Dickson (4-8, 4.45)
Auburn OFF DAY vs. Hudson Valley,
7:05 p.m.
Van Orden (0-2, 15.19) vs. TBD
GCL Nationals Won, 7-5 (7½ inn.) @ GCL Cardinals,
12:00 p.m.
TBD vs. TBD
DSL Nationals Lost, 8-3 (11 inn.) @ DSL Red Sox,
10:30 a.m.
Bermudez (1-3, 1.87) vs.
Gonzalez (7-0, 2.48)


Syracuse — All-Star Break
As you see in the italics below, there’s one less Chief who’ll play tonight in Durham, North Carolina where the International League will match up against the Pacific Coast League in the Triple-A All-Star Game. Jhonatan Solano and Steve Souza are the starters at catcher and in the outfield respectively while Aaron Laffey will be among the pitchers available in relief.
Roster move: RHP Taylor Hill placed on the 7-Day DL, retroactive to July 14.

Harrisburg — All-Star Break
In Altoona, it’ll be Michael Taylor, Colin Bates, and Kevin Keyes representing Harrisburg for the Western Division in the Eastern League All-Star Game tonight. Last night, it was fun and festivities, where folks were treated to something other than a HR derby.
Mick Reinhard has the story.

Potomac — OFF DAY
It’s back to the grind tonight as the P-Nats and Blue Rocks, who play each other 14 times in the second half, begin the first of four-plus games in three days with a doubleheader tonight. Tomorrow, it’s a completion of the game suspended last Thursday, followed by a nine-inning game, then the regularly scheduled game on Friday.

Hagerstown 8 West Virginia 4
• Estevez 4IP, 6H, 2R, 2ER, 2BB, K
• Mooneyham (W, 2-0) 3⅓ IP, 3H, R, ER, 4BB, K, 3WP
• Kieboom 3-4, 2R, 3B, 2RBI
• Wooten 3-4, R, 2B, 2RBI
• Ballou 2-4, R, 3B

Like singles night in a trailer park, the Suns three-run 6th wasn’t pretty: just two hits, neither resulting in an RBI. But Hagerstown took advantage of West Virginia’s pitcher miscues (BB, HBP) to score once on a wild pitch and twice on sacrifice flies to break open a 3-2 game as they took the opener, 8-4. Wirkin “For The Weekend” Estevez made his first start for the Suns since the 2012 playoffs. He went four frames, giving up two runs on six hits and two walks while setting down one on strikes. Brett Mooneyham got his second win with three and 1/3rd uneven innings of relief, allowing one run on three hits and four walks with one strikeout and three wild pitches. Isaac Ballou (2-for-4) and Spencer Kieboom (3-for-4) went back-to-back with triples in the 7th while John Wooten’s third hit of the night plated Kieboom as Hagerstown pounded out 13 hits total.
Roster moves: RHP Lucas Giolito activated from the 3-Day TIL; OF John Wooten activated from the 7-Day DL; LHP Joseph Webb placed on the 7-Day DL.

Auburn — OFF DAY
At eight and a half games back with nine games left against division leader State College, the odds are better for Auburn to make it to the crapshoot that is the New York-Penn League playoffs as the wild card. In that race, the Doubledays trail by just three games but have five teams in front of them. Two of them are in their division — Batavia and Williamsport — which means they have plenty of chances to catch them. The other three — Staten Island, Brooklyn, and Connecticut — they play just one series against, on the road. They’ve already swept Connecticut, and play the NYC contingent beginning two weeks from today. The month of August could make for some serious scoreboard watching.
Roster moves: OF Brian Langlois reassigned from Hagerstown.

GCL Nationals 7 GCL Cardinals 5 (7½ inn.)
• Reyes 4+ IP, 3H, 3R, 3ER, BB, K
• Perry 1IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, K
• G. Ramirez 2-4, R, SB
• Keniry 2-4, R, RBI
• Rosario 3-4, 3R, 2B, HR, 3RBI

Dionicio Rosario’s three-run HR highlighted a four-run 5th as the G-Nats beat the G-Cards, 7-5 for their sixth straight win. Luis Reyes got the start but was smoked for three runs on three hits and a walk over four innings. D.J. Jauss was awarded the win but was ineffective, letting in two runs (one inherited) in the top of the 5th. Likewise, McKenzie Mills was credited with the save thanks to the rain, with one run allowed on four hits and two walks over an inning and 2/3rds. Rosario was 3-for-4 overall with a double and three runs scored as the G-Nats notched 11 hits over seven turns at bat.
Roster moves: RHP Ryan Perry assigned from Harrisburg for minor-league rehab.

DSL Red Sox 8 DSL Nationals 3 (11 inn.)
• Fuentes 5IP, 3H, 1R, 0ER, BB, 6K, 2HBP
• M. Pena (BS, 1) ⅓ IP, 2H, 2R, 2ER, 2BB, 0K
• Charlis (L, 3-2) 2IP, 2H, 5R, 5ER, 2BB, K, HR, HBP
• Agustin 2-4, 2R, 2-2B, SB
• Mota 2-5, PO at 3B
• Franco 2-5, 2-2B, 2RBI

A 3-1 lead was too small a lead for the D-Nats ‘pen to hold as they coughed up two in the 6th and five in 11th in an 8-3 loss to the D-Red Sox. Starter Steven Fuentes let in an unearned run on three hits and a walk over his five innings of work for his second no-decision in four starts. The loss went to Fiyeral Charlis, who was torched for a three-run homer and five runs total in the 11th. Telmito Agustin and Anderson Franco both doubled twice while Israel Mota singled twice but was picked off third in the 7th for what might have been the game-winning run.

Jul 152014
 

Austin VothAfter flirting with a no-hitter for five innings, Austin Voth “only” threw seven shutout innings last Friday, but it was enough to win the Carolina League Pitcher of the Week honor for July 7th to the 13th.

Voth, whose name rhymes with “both,” struck out a season-best of eight and walked one, which cost him the perfect game in the 5th, but won for the second time in four starts for Potomac.

Overall, the 22-y.o. native of Washington state is 6-3 with a 1.88 ERA and a 0.90 WHIP in 17 starts between Low-A and High-A, where his current pitcher’s line looks like an SEC football player’s GPA in the spring, fall, and winter at 0.35/2.43/0.50.
In 26 innings for the P-Nats, he’s allowed nine hits and four walks while striking out 28.

Originally drafted in the 5th Rd. last year The Univ. of Washington, Voth blew through three levels in 2013, making seven of eleven starts for the Auburn Doubledays where he was 2-0 with a 1.47 ERA and a 0.82 WHIP, which earned him a place on this site’s 2014 Watchlist for RHPs.

Jul 152014
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse ALL-STAR BREAK ALL-STAR BREAK N/A
Harrisburg Won, 9-5 ALL-STAR BREAK N/A
Potomac Postponed OFF DAY N/A
Hagerstown OFF DAY vs. West Virginia,
7:05 p.m.
Estevez (0-0, 2.25 @ GCL) vs.
Topa (3-6, 6.03)
Auburn Cancelled OFF DAY N/A
GCL Nationals Won, 8-6 (14 inn.) vs. GCL Cardinals,
12:00 p.m.
TBD vs. TBD
DSL Nationals Won, 10-8 vs. DSL Red Sox,
10:30 a.m.
Fuentes (1-2, 3.21) vs.
Mendoza (3-0, 2.40)


Syracuse — All-Star Break
All is quiet in upstate New York. Unlike summers past, both the Nationals and the Chiefs are in first place at the All-Star break.
Wait. What?

Harrisburg 5 Altoona 4 (10 inn.)
• McGregor 5IP, 3H, 2R, 2ER, 0BB, 6K, 2HR
• Self (W, 1-2) 1IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
• Sanchez 1-1, R, HR, 2RBI as PH
• Lozada 2-5, 2B, RBI
• Leonida 1-3, 2R, BB, 2B, RBI

The Senators rallied for one in the 9th to tie and one in the 10th for a 5-4 win over the Curve, taking the five-game series, 3-2. Jose Lozada’s two-out single sent in Cole Leonida to tie the game at 4-4 while Quincy Latimore duplicated the feat in the first extra frame with Matt Skole chugging in to secure Harrisburg’s third straight win. Derek Self got the win for pitching a scoreless 10th. Scott McGregor started and went the first five, striking out six and walking none but giving up two solo HRs and three hits total. Adrian Sanchez got those two runs back and a 3-2 lead with a pinch-hit homer in the 5th.

Potomac vs. Frederick — PPD
After a marathon game on Sunday afternoon, a rainout on Monday was probably not unwelcome — especially the night before an off day before four-plus games in three days starting on Wednesday. The Keys announced they’ll make this one up with a twilight doubleheader on Sunday, August 31st.
Roster move: RHP Ronald Pena transferred from Hagerstown, activated from the 7-Day DL.

Hagerstown — OFF DAY
After four games in the Sally League’s westernmost city, the Suns return home tonight for three against the West Virginia Power before heading out for (yet) another three-game set against Delmarva.
Roster move: RHP Wirkin Estevez transferred from the GCL Nationals, activated from the 7-Day DL.

Auburn vs. Aberdeen — CNCLD
The rains that postponed things in Frederick canceled the series finale in Aberdeen, as the two teams do not meet again in the 2014 season. The Doubledays return to western New York for their first of two six-game homestands of the season (against Hudson Valley and Lowell; the next is August 6-11 against Tri-City and Vermont) beginning on Wednesday.

GCL Nationals 8 GCL Cardinals 6 (14 inn.)
• Yrizarri 5IP, 4H, 4R, 4ER, BB, 0K, 2HBP
• J. Ramirez 4IP, 2H, 0R, BB, K
• Feliz (W, 2-0) 2IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 2K
• Lora 4-7, 2R, 2B, SB
• Guzman 3-6, R, 3B, BB, 2RBI
• Keniry 3-7, R, RBI

The G-Nats spotted the G-Cards four runs early, took a 5-4 lead in the 6th, lost it in the 8th, rallied to tie in 9th, and won it in the 14th with two runs on four singles for an 8-6 win. The two teams combined for 30 hits and — believe it or not — no errors. Deibi Yrizarri gave up two-spots in the first two innings but made it through five without further damage. Jean Ramirez spun four scoreless innings from the 9th to the 12th while John Feliz put up two goose eggs in the last two innings for the win. Edwin Lora led the 18-hit parade with a 4-for-7 game, followed by Luis Guzman (3-for-6) and Conor Keniry (3-for-7).

DSL Nationals 10 DSL Rojos 8
• W. Pena 4⅓ IP, 6H, 4R, 3ER, 2BB, 1K
• N. Ramirez (W, 4-3) 3⅔ IP, 4H, 2R, 2ER, 0BB, 4K, WP, 2HBP, 3-0 IR-S
• Cespedes (SV, 6) 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K, 1-1 IR-S
• Mota 2-3, 2R, 2B, 2BB, 2RBI
• Franco 2-3, R, 2BB, RBI
• A. Martinez 2-4, 2B, BB, 3RBI

Andres Martinez’s three-run double capped off a five-run 8th as the D-Nats held off the D-Rojos for a 10-8 win. Wilber Pena started and was knocked from the box in the 5th, leaving with the bases loaded and one out. Nector Ramirez stranded them and went three more innings and was the pitcher of record when the D-Nats rallied. Israel Mota and Anderson Franco both went 2-for-3 with two walks, combining for four of the team’s 12 hits and four of the 10 walks drawn on the afternoon.

Jul 142014
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 13-8 ALL-STAR BREAK N/A
Harrisburg Won, 9-5 vs. Altoona,
12:00 p.m.
McGregor (0-1, 14.21) vs.
Harlan (0-0, 1.80)
Potomac Won, 2-1 (13 inn.) @ Frederick,
7:00 p.m.
Rauh (1-1, 5.22) vs.
Wager (3-7, 5.89)
Hagerstown Lost, 6-5 OFF DAY N/A
Auburn Won, 5-3 @ Aberdeen,
7:05 p.m.
Van Orden (0-2, 15.19) vs.
Tarpley (0-1, 7.36)
GCL Nationals OFF DAY @ GCL Cardinals,
12:00 p.m.
TBD vs. TBD
DSL Nationals OFF DAY vs. DSL Rojos,
10:30 a.m.
N/A


Charlotte 13 Syracuse 8
• Hill ⅓ IP, 6H, 7R, 7ER, BB, 0K, HR
• Grace 2IP, 0H, 0R, 2BB, 2K
• Walters 3-4, 2R, BB, HR, 4RBI
• Souza 2-4, 2R, BB, HR, 2RBI
• Hood 2-5, 2-2B, 2RBI

Taylor Hill retired just one of the eight batters he faced in the 1st as the Charlotte Knights scored eight times and held on for a 13-8 to split the four-game series. It was the second straight loss for Hill, who left the game after a line drive back to the mound struck his pitching arm, though he was able to get an out at the plate. Zach Walters and Steve Souza both homered and combined for four runs scored and six RBI while Destin Hood drove in the other two runs while connecting for two doubles.

Harrisburg 9 Altoona 5
• Simmons (W, 2-0) 5IP, 7H, 5R, 5ER, 3BB, 4K, HR
• Bates (H, 3) 2IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Keyes 3-3, R, 2B, BB, 3RBI, CS
• Ramsey 3-5, R, 2RBI, SB
• Hague 2-3, R, BB, CS

The Senators plated seven in the 1st then got two more in the 7th to hold off the Curve, 9-5. Starter James Simmons got the Jack Morris win with all five Altoona runs allowed on seven hits and three walks. He struck out four and gave up his 12th HR of the season for his second AA win. Kevin Keyes reached base four times with a walk, two singles, and a double and drove in three while Caleb Ramsey went 3-for-5 with two RBI to lead the 13-hit, four-walk attack. Michael Taylor went 1-for-4 with two strikeouts as he played all nine innings in CF for the USA squad in the 2014 Futures Game.

Potomac 2 Frederick 1 (13 inn.)
• Dickson 5IP, 5H, 0R, 2BB, 1K
• Mirowksi 3IP, 2H, 0R, BB, 4K
• Walsh (W, 1-0) 2IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 1K, WP
• Oduber 3-6, R, 2B
• Martinez 1-2, R, 2B

Estarlin Martinez doubled and scored on Tony Renda’s lone hit in six trips to the plate as the P-Nats edged the Keys, 2-1 in 13 innings for their fourth straight win. Ian Dickson started and tossed five scoreless innings, letting up five hits and two walks with one strikeout. The win went to Jake Walsh as he pitched around a single that he turned into a double via a wild pitch in the 12th but then shut the door with a three-up-and-three-down 13th. Randolph Oduber doubled and scored in the 7th and went 3-for-6 overall as the Potomac managed just eight hits total.

Lexington 6 Hagerstown 5
• Johansen (L, 5-4) 5IP, 8H, 6R, 4ER, BB, 3K, WP, HBP
• Ullmann 2IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Middleton 2-3, R, BB
• Mesa 1-4, R, HR(GS), 4RBI

Narciso Mesa’s grand slam capped off a five-run rally for Hagerstown in the 9th, but it was too little, too late as Lexington held on for a 6-5 win to prevent the four-game sweep. Starter Jake Johansen, who turned in his first quality start in his 27th career start last time out against Lakewood, couldn’t make it 2-for-28. The 23-y.o. was lit up for all six Legends runs on eight hits and one walk over five innings for his fourth loss. Drew Ward (1-for-3) drove in the first run of the 9th with an RBI single as only he and Brenann Middleton (2-for-3, BB) reached base multiple times for the Suns. Lucas Giolito’s 2014 Futures Game appearance was uneven as he gave up a singlethen had Javy Baez put a coat on a hanger for a two-run blast to turn a 1-0 USA lead into a 2-1 deficit in the 6th before retiring the next two on a long flyout and strikeout before he was lifted.

Auburn 5 Aberdeen 3
• Derosier (W, 1-2) 5IP, 5H, R, ER, BB, 2K
• Mapes (SV, 2) 1IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Read 2-4, 2R, HR, 2RBI
• Medina 2-4

Matt DeRosier celebrated his birthday by pitching Auburn to a 5-3 win over Aberdeen. The 20-y.o. gave up jut one run on five hits and a walk over five innings while striking out two to earn his first “W” of ’14. Tyler Mapes put the tying runs on base in the 9th but neither came in as he got the last three outs for his second save. Raudy Read helped frost the cake with a two-run homer off rehabbing Steve Johnson in the 1st as both he and Willie Medina went 2-for-4 to lead the seven-hit, four-walk Doubledays attack.

GCL Nationals — OFF DAY
Despite a pair of rain-affected dates, the G-Nats put together a 5-2 week to move into second place in the GCL East. This week, their opponents are the first-place G-Cards and the fourth-place G-Marlins.

DSL Nationals — OFF DAY
The D-Nats moved up a spot in the Boca Chiac South to tie the D-Yankees1 for third place. This week, it’s four home games and two on the road and a good chance to match last week’s 4-2 mark.