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.

May 082013
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 3-2 @ Durham,
11:05 a.m.
Rosenbaum (2-2, 2.51) vs.
Colome (1-4, 2.84)
Harrisburg Won, 13-2 vs. Altoona,
10:30 a.m.
Treinen (3-3, 3.82) vs.
Sanz (1-1, 3.29)
Potomac Lost, 4-1 @ Wilmington,
6:35 p.m.
Ray (2-1, 1.85) vs.
Selman (1-1, 5.57)
Hagerstown Won, 1-0;
Lost, 1-0

Syracuse 3 Durham 2
• Perry (W, 1-3) 6IP, 5H, 2R, 2ER, 0BB, 2K, HR
• Davis (SV, 3) 1IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
• Solano 3-4, 2B
• Walters 1-3, R, HR, BB, 2RBI

Chris Rahl’s two-run shot tied it while Eury Perez doubled and scored on a Jeff Kobernus bunt single that was tossed away to cap a three-run rally as Syracuse edged Durham, 3-2. It was the first time the Chiefs had won consecutive games since April 8th and 9th in Buffalo. Ryan Perry coughed up a two-out, two-run shot in the 1st, his fourth big fly surrendered in six starts, but settled down to go six innings, with just five hits total, no walks and two strikeouts. Fernando Abad and Mike Crotta each pitched a scoreless inning with a strikeout to set up Erik Davis for his third save in the 9th.

Harrisburg 13 Altoona 2
• Karns (W, 3-1) 5IP, 2H, 2R, 1ER, 3BB, 8K, HR
• Bray 2IP, 1H, 0R, BB, K
• Van Ostrand 4-5, 2R, 2B, HR, 5RBI
• Bloxom 2-3, R, BB, 2RBI, SF
• Rendon 2-4, 2-2B, BB

The Harrisburg Senators had season highs in hits and runs scored as they pummeled the Altoona Curve, 13-2. Every position player had a hit, five had multiple knocks. Jimmy Van Ostrand’s led the onslaught by going 4-for-5 with a double, homer, and five RBI. Nathan Karns labored through five innings (85 pitches) to get his third win, walking three and striking out eight with two runs allowed on two hits, including a home run. Southpaw Bill Bray made his 2013 debut with two scoreless innings, walking one and striking out one.

Wilmnington 4 Potomac 1
• Schwartz (L, 2-1) 4IP, 3H, 2R, ER, 4BB, 2K
• Herron 3IP, 4H, 2R, 2ER, 2BB, 3K
• Sanchez 1-3
• Nieto 1-4, PB(5)

For better or worse, a lot of the “First Impressions” were validated in a 4-1 loss to Wilmington. Except maybe the part about the offense, though that discredits 20-y.o. Royals pitching prospect Kyle Smith’s six innings of two-hit ball. P-Nats starter Blake Schwartz suffered his first loss, allowing two runs on three hits and four walks with two strikeouts. The Adrians Nieto and Sanchez both singled, Cutter Dykstra and Billy Burns both walked twice while Caleb Ramsey’s sac fly in the 7th accounted for the single Potomac run. Roster moves: RHP Taylor Jordan was activated from the Temporary Inactive List, with IF-OF Khayyan Norfork reassigned to Hagerstown.

Hagerstown 1 Rome 0 — GAME ONE
• Pineyro (W, 2-2) 5IP, 4H, 0R, BB, 5K
• Pena (H, 1) 1IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Benincasa (SV, 6) 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
• Severino 1-2, 2B, RBI
• B. Miller 1-3, 2B

Three Suns pitchers combined on a five-hit shutout to take the matinee opener, 1-0 and win their seventh straight game. Ivan Pineyro got the win with four hits let up over five innings, with a walk and five strikeouts. Ronald Pena tossed a scoreless 6th to get the hold while Robert Benincasa set ’em down in order in the 7th for his sixth save. Pedro Severino’s RBI double was one of just two Hagerstown hits, with Brandon Miller also doubling.

Rome 1 Hagerstown 0 — GAME TWO
• Encarnacion (L, 2-2) 5IP, 2H, 1R, 0ER, 0BB, 3K
• Rauh 1IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 0K
• Pleffner 1-3, 2B
• Foat 1-2

An unearned run in the last of the 5th dropped the Suns in the second game, 1-0. Pedro Encarnacion took the loss with just two hits and no walks allowed over five innings to go with three K’s. Brian Rauh held things down in the bottom of the 6th with a scoreless frame, but the offense was held again to just two hits — a double by Shawn Pleffner and a single by Matt Foat. The Norfork move (above) was announced minutes after this game completed and a corresponding move by the Suns is not likely to be made until today or tomorrow.

May 072013

After a dozen home games across three homestands, it’s time for the first assessment of this year’s edition of the Potomac Nationals.

This the eighth season I’ve been following the P-Nats, fourth for this site. Just twice in that time have they won the first half (2008) or break .500 (2009). That, of course, is the fan talking — the one who wants to see playoff baseball in September and saw the 40+ win second halves go for naught in 2007 and 2009.

There is, however, the sense that the .500 (15-15) team so far is on the verge of breaking out. The offense, which has already been good, can get better. Likewise for the defense, with the exception of the outfield, which may be the strongest ever seen, thanks to multiple players capable of playing CF. The starting pitching has been sensational, but the bullpen has been anything but. To steal from “Mayflies and Big Flies,” it’s a box of chocolates.

Here are my takes, position-by-position…

Kevin Keyes – The focus has been on the defense thus far, and yes, it’s steadily improving. Light years ahead of Chris Marrero at the same stage of conversion (though that’s not a high bar to clear). The offense, however, has lagged. This is not unusual, he started very slowly last year, too.

Adrian Sanchez – The nagging feeling is that this is not his position, watchlist notwithstanding. It’s not just the errors, but the range, which actually seems to be decreasing, even as he continues his habit of cheating towards the hole and playing unusually deep. Offensively, he’s become quite good at serving up singles to all fields, but at the cost of power, which is not good.

Jason Martinson – Obviously, he’s cooled off. That was bound to happen after putting up Nintendo numbers in the first two weeks of the season. Now, the question is whether or not he can adjust back. A lot will be made of the K’s but he’s still drawing walks, and as long as that’s the case, I suspect the Nats brass will let it slide (see: Espinosa, Danny). Not as much has been made about how his defense has improved, which may actually be why he’s been DH lately (i.e. others need the defensive reps more than he does).

Cutter Dykstra – The biggest difference between the 2011 and 2013 is not the two years of age but the strike-zone judgment. And that’s not just drawing walks, but working the count. Two years ago, it seemed like he was three pitches and out. This year, every at-bat is a grind, and he’s getting better pitches to hit. The question about where he fits defensively still remains. About the only thing I’m sure of is that shortstop isn’t his position.

Billy Burns – Sorry to repeat what’s been in the comments lately, but here it is. Burns is a CF playing LF because Michael Taylor is on the roster. Consequently, for a LF he has outstanding range which has been sorely missing in Woodbridge the past 2-3 seasons. Offensively, he’s a low-power, high-contact speedster with terrific small-ball skills. That’s fun to watch in the minors, but hasn’t been valued at the major-league level for quite some time.

Michael Taylor – Folks that haven’t seen him in person are dismissive, but those of us who have can understand why he’s been touted. Good range, strong arm on defense, quick-twitch at the plate, runs like you’d expect a wiry kid (22 y.o. but looks 12) with long legs (he’s been listed anywhere from 190 to 205 lbs, which would be accurate only when wearing multiple layers of wet, woolen clothing). Still has a habit of waving at pitches on the outside corner rather than taking them.

Caleb Ramsey – There are times when he looks really good, driving the ball to the gaps and making the most out of his average speed. Then there are times when he looks like a backup giving someone a day off. Defensively, the weakest of the bunch in Potomac, playing right field for his arm but has the range of left fielder.

Randolph Oduber – The Groovin’ Aruban is still struggling with strike-zone judgment (27K, 2BB in 17G) and has had his moments of brilliance, but seems to have hit his ceiling. Using him at DH instead of the OF raises questions about his health, which are both fair and natural given that injuries have prevented him from playing much more than half a season in full-season ball.

Adrian Nieto – Once touted as glove-first backstop, often in the same sentence as Sandy Leon, but hasn’t shown it aside from throwing out baserunners. Has had four passed balls charged to him already, which is even worse when you consider that official scorers tend to dole them out sparingly in the minors, much like errors.

Cole Leonida – Perhaps it’s a backhanded compliment, but when it’s Leonida catching instead of Nieto, it’s not all that noticeable. He hits as well, fields as well, and makes the routine defensive plays. Obviously, there’s a reason why he hasn’t been given more playing time in the past, but it’s not immediately apparent in the limited time I’ve seen him thus far.

The shuffling of players between Low-A and High-A and AA has severely limited the Potomac bench’s appearances. Khayyan Norfork had been 10th in games played until his return to Hagerstown today — with 11. Leonida is 11th with 10. The remaining four players (Miller, Soriano, Kelso, Piwinica-Worms) have as many ABs as Norfork and Leonida combined (65).

Robbie Ray – After a dreadful 2012, Ray seems to have put it behind him. The most noticeable change is that he seems to be sacrificing speed for the sake of command. That may not please the velo-hungry folks, but instead of trying to throw 92-94 inaccurately, he’s having success with working 88-90 and hitting his spots.

A.J. Cole – Until last Friday, I wasn’t too impressed with Cole, but could always understand that the excitement is in part the projection based on the live arm on a tall, lean body that even now you can see isn’t done filling out. It’s easy to like a pitcher when he’s “on,” though. I’ve seen the good and bad on the same day, so my biggest caution to folks is that I have a feeling this streakiness will continue.

Taylor Jordan – This is the first full season after having had TJ surgery in 2011 and as such there are expectations that he should pick up where he left off. He has. The velocity seems as good as it ever was, likewise for command and control. Appears to have shelved the curve in favor of the change, but that’s an observation, not a criticism

Taylor Hill – Last year he finished 2012 with Potomac but wasn’t particularly impressive. This year, he’s shown some promise though ironically as a flyball pitcher, not a groundball artist, which is how he was touted. Obviously, that’s a byproduct of his approach, which seems to be more fastball-curve than sinker-slider.

Blake Schwartz – Just one start, which you can read about here.

“If we can just hang with these guys and get into their bullpen, we’ll have a chance.”

That’s the kind of thing Potomac fans have said for years about the opposing teams. This year that sentiment applies to the P-Nats ‘pen.

It’s been better of late, but it’s still a Maalox moment when manager Brian Daubach takes the ball and gives it to the man coming in. Unfortunately, a lot of that is a function of the starters being so good. On the nights when the ‘pen was needed for more than three innings, it hasn’t been pretty.

As is always the case, the sample sizes here are tiny. Matt Grace, for example, got knocked around on Saturday night but prior to that he had five straight scoreless outings with multiple innings pitched. Richie Mirowski has managed to appear in each of the games I’ve had to miss, thus I’ve only seen him once.

Like all of the above, let’s check back in a few weeks and revisit these first impressions.

May 072013
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 5-0 @ Durham,
7:05 p.m.
Perry (0-2, 6.57) vs.
Torres (2-1, 2.08)
Harrisburg Lost, 3-1 vs. Altoona,
7:00 p.m.
Karns (2-1, 3.25) vs.
Taillon (2-3, 3.03)
Potomac OFF DAY @ Wilmington,
6:35 p.m.
Schwartz (2-0, 0.00) vs.
K. Smith (0-1, 2.49)
Hagerstown Canceled @ Rome,
10:30 a.m.
Pineyro (1-2, 4.58) and
Pena (2-2, 4.43) vs.
LaFreniere (2-0, 4.50) and
Scoggin (2-2, 4.98)

Syracuse 5 Durham 0
• Maya (W, 1-3) 7⅔ IP, 6H, 0R, BB, 9K, WP
• Roark 1IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 0K
• Perez 2-4, R, 2B
• Walters 1-4, R, HR, 3RBI

Three Syracuse pitchers combined for a six-hit shutout as Syracuse blanked Durham, 5-0. Yunesky Maya notched his first win with seven and 2/3rds innings pitched, six hits and a walk allowed, and nine strikeouts. Xavier Cedeno struck out the lone batter he faced while Tanner Roark closed out the game with a 1-2-3 ninth. Zach Walters’s seventh HR (#2 in the I.L.) drove in three in the 2nd while Eury Perez’s 2-for-4 effort extended his hit streak to a modest six games and pushed his batting average to .333.

Altoona 3 Harrisburg 1
• Broderick (L, 1-3) 6IP, 3H, 3R, 3ER, 2BB, 4K, HR
• Swynenberg 2IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 0K
• Leon 2-3
• Goodwin 0-2, BB, CS

All that stood between Casey Sadler and a no-hitter was Sandy Leon. The Senators catcher went 2-for-3, the rest of the Harrisburg lineup was 0-for-26 in a 3-1 loss to the Altoona Curve. Brian Broderick gave up his seventh HR (solo shot in the 6th) in his seventh, but still pitched well enough to win; a quality start of three runs on three hits and two walks with four strikeouts. Matt Swynenberg and Ian Krol combined for three scoreless (and hitless) innings relief, walking one apiece. Brian Goodwin and Justin Bloxom both drew a walk in the loss. Roster moves: RHP Trevor Holder was released yesterday to make room for LHP Bill Bray, who was assigned from XST. Geoff Morrow of the Patriot News has the story.

Potomac — OFF DAY
It’s a brief jaunt up 95 to visit Wilmington for three before heading home this weekend for a seven-game homestand versus the Winston-Salem Dash for four, then another three-game set against the Blue Rocks.

Hagerstown vs. Augusta — Canceled
Officially, rain canceled the regularly scheduled game on Monday. They’ll try to get in two this morning to make up Saturday’s rainout, which was postponed yesterday.

May 062013

A.J. ColeWith six shutout innings and nine K’s last Friday night, A.J. Cole earned the Carolina League’s Pitcher of the Week honors for the period of April 29th to May 5th.

Cole walked none and let up just four hits to earn his first High-A win for the Washington organization. He retired the leadoff batter fives times out of six and allowed just one runner to get into scoring position (he was stranded at third after a double play and a strikeout).

Overall, Cole is 1-1 with an ERA of 3.94, an FIP of 2.46, and a WHIP of 1.25 with 34 strikeouts (9.56 per 9IP) and six walks (1.69) in 32 innings pitched.

The 21-year-old was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2010 draft out of Oviedo HS in… wait for it… Oviedo, FL but traded away to Oakland as part of a four-for-two transaction more commonly known as the Gio Gonzalez trade. Cole was re-acquired this past January in a three-team trade between Seattle, Washington and Oakland.

May 062013
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 6-5
(11 inn.)
@ Durham,
7:05 p.m.
Maya (0-3, 7.45) vs.
Archer (4-1, 4.06)
Harrisburg Lost, 6-1 vs. Altoona,
7:00 p.m.
Broderick (1-2, 5.34) vs.
Sadler (3-2, 3.50)
Potomac Won, 3-2 OFF DAY N/A
Hagerstown Won, 5-4;
@ Rome,
5:00 p.m.
Pineyro (1-2, 4.58) and
Pena (2-2, 4.43) vs.
LaFreniere (2-0, 4.50) and
Scoggin (2-2, 4.98)

Norfolk 6 Syracuse 5 (11 inn.)
• Young 5⅓ IP, 6H, 2R, 2ER, BB, 4K
• Davis 2IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 2K
• Perez 3-6, R, 2B
• Kobernus 2-6, 2R, SB
• Rhymes 2-5, BB, 2RBI

After taking a two-run lead with single runs in the 6th and 7th, the Chiefs gave it back with a three-run 8th but tied the Tide with a two-out Will Rhymes RBI single in the 9th. Alas, Norfolk got to Mike Crotta (the seventh Syracuse pitcher) in the 11th for the deciding run, 6-5. Chris Young got the start and gave up just two runs on six hits and one walk (all season lows) with four strikeouts. Eury Perez scored the tying run with the second of his three singles, which led the Syracuse hit column. Jeff Kobernus and Micah Owings both scored two runs, with Kobernus swiping his 13th bag, which would lead any league without Billy Hamilton (17).

Binghamton 6 Harrisburg 1
• Clay (L, 3-1) 7IP, 6H, 4R, 4ER, BB, 2K, 2HR
• Lehman 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Rendon 2-4, BB, 2K
• Hood 2-4, 2B, 2K, OF assist at 2B

Harrisburg was one hit shy of Binghamton, but outhomered 3-0 and outscored 6-1. Caleb Clay took the loss, giving up six hits and four runs, three coming via two home runs allowed. He walked one and struck out two. Anthony Rendon both went 2-for-4 and struck out twice as the Senators were a woeful 1-for-14 with RISP and 11 runners left on. Pat McCoy gave up the third big fly and the final two B-Mets runs in the 8th. Pat Lehman, activated from the DL after Marcos Frias was struck by a line drive on Saturday night, pitched a scoreless 9th.

Potomac 3 Carolina 2
• Hill 7IP, 2H, R, ER, 2BB, 7K, HR
• Mirowski (BS, 2;W, 2-2) 2IP, 2H, 1R, 0ER, BB, 3K
• Burns 2-4, R, RBI, BB, SB
• Taylor 2-5, RBI

For the second time in less than a week, Billy Burns and Michael Taylor teamed up for the walk-steal-walkoff as Potomac edged Myrtle Beach, 3-2 to take the series 2-1 and close out the homestand 5-2. The steal was Burns’s Carolina League-leading 14th while Taylor’s single was his second of the game, but just the third P-Nat hit from scoring position as the P-Nats struggled to plate their nine hits and six walks, not to mention three Pelican errors. Taylor Hill gave up just two hits over seven innings, but one was a solo shot. He walked two and struck out seven. Richie Mirowski got the win with an unearned run over the last two frames, allowing two hits and a walk but setting down three on strikes.

Hagerstown 5 Augusta 4 — GAME ONE
• Turnbull (W, 2-0) 5IP, 7H, 4R, 4ER, BB, 3K, 2HR
• Hudgins (H, 2) 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Benincasa (SV, 5) 1IP, 0R, 2BB, 3K
• Miller 3-3, 2R, 2-2B, HR, 3RBI
• Schill 2-3, RBI

Brandon Miller doubled and scored twice, homered once, and drove in three runs as the Suns edged the Braves, 5-4 in what was to be the first of two in Rome, GA yesterday afternoon. Kylin Tunrbull got the win, but continues to give up the long hits, allowing seven total with five going for extra bases (two homers, two doubles, and a triple) as he gave up four runs and walked one with three strikeouts in his second start since being demoted from Potomac. Will Hudgins pitched a scoreless 6th for his second hold while Robert Benincasa walked two and struck out three in the 7th for his fifth save.

Hagerstown vs. Augusta — GAME TWO (PPD.)
The rains came back and postponed game two. They’ll try to get in two tonight, weather permitting.

May 052013

Potomac scored in each of its first three turns at bat but couldn’t keep up with Myrtle Beach, as the Pelicans scored the last eight runs of the game to hand the P-Nats an 11-5 defeat.

Brian Dupra took the hill in a spot start created by Monday’s rainout, but fell victim to his own mistakes. With a little luck, one or none of the first three runs might not have scored.

Tip your cap to Myrtle Beach for making him pay for a two-out walk with a two-out double in the 1st. Gnash your teeth at the wild-pitch strikeout that put the leadoff man on in the 3rd. But give the Pelicans credit for stealing second to take away the double play, and exploiting the extra out with a two-run home run to the fourth batter of the inning.

At the time, neither mistake seemed critical. Three extra-base hits in the bottom of the 1st erased the 1-0 deficit as Michael Taylor doubled with one out, Jason Martinson tripled with two down, and Adrian Nieto plated Martinson with an opposite-field, ground-rule double that might have gone for an inside-the-park job had it not bounced out of play. Pelican RF Preston Beck dove and missed and was slow to get up and was eventually removed from the game, though three K’s in three AB’s might have been a factor as well.

Back-to-back two-out RBI singles by Billy Burns and Taylor (set up by Burns’s 13th SB) extended the lead to 4-1. Adrian Sanchez served up the fifth and final run with an opposite-field liner to right, which has become something of a trademark for the Venezuelan this season.

Potomac put two runners on in the 4th but it was the last true threat as starter Victor Payano stranded them and turned in two more scoreless for an ugly line of five runs on nine hits over six innings, but got the win nevertheless.

Dupra hit the wall in the 5th, giving up a single, walk, then a double and leaving with runners on second and third. Matt Grace was the first man out of the ‘pen but couldn’t strand either and was charged with three runs of his own over three innings on six hits and no walks.

Greg Holt followed Grace and retired four straight batters before giving up a single with one out in the 9th and was on the verge of finishing the night with two scoreless frames until Kellin Deglan took him deep for a two-run shot that capped off the Pelicans onslaught.

With the loss, Potomac falls to 14-15 and two games off the pace in the Northern Division of the Carolina League. Taylor Hill (3-1, 2.43) gets the start in this afternoon’s rubber match and a chance to win both the series and close out the homestand with a 5-2 mark. Myrtle Beach will send Jerad Eickhoff (2-2, 4.44) to stop him and go for win no. 18 in game no. 30.

May 052013
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 9-1 @ Norfolk,
1:05 p.m.
Young (0-1, 9.00) vs.
Stinson (1-0, 1.96)
Harrisburg Lost, 8-2 vs. Binghamton,
2:00 p.m.
Clay (3-0, 2.17) vs.
Cohoon (2-0, 4.35)
Potomac Lost, 11-5 vs. Myrtle Beach,
1:05 p.m.
Hill (3-1, 2.43) vs.
Eickhoff (2-2, 4.44)
Hagerstown Postponed @ Rome,
2:00 p.m.
Turnbull (1-0, 1.50) and
vs. Pineyro (1-2, 4.58) vs.
W. Perez (3-1, 3.08)
Scoggin (2-2, 4.98)

Syracuse 9 Norfolk 1
• Ohlendorf (W, 3-3) 7⅓ IP, 3H, 1R, 1ER, BB, 3K, HR
• Crotta 1⅓ IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 3K, 1-0 IR-S
• Kobernus 4-5, 3R, 2B, 2RBI, 2SB
• Walters 3-5, R, RBI
• Rivero 2-5, R, 2B, RBI

The fourth was strong with Syracuse as the Chiefs scored nine unanswered runs in a 9-1 victory over the Norfolk Tides. Just three hits did Ross Ohlendorf give up as seven and a third innings he did pitch, the solo run on a home run in the first. Jeff Kobernus led the 15-hit attack with a 4-for-5 night with a double and two RBI and two stolen bases. Zach Walters was close behind with three singles in five ABs as five Chiefs had multiple hits. The win ended a five-game losing streak.

Binghamton 8 Harrisburg 2
• Demny (L, 1-4) 4IP, 6H, 5R, 2ER, 3BB, 7K
• Holder 2IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Hague 1-3, R, 2K
• Head 1-4, 2RBI

A three-run 4th knocked Paul Demny from the box as Harrisburg fell to Binghamton, 8-2. It was the fifth time in six starts that Demny failed to go six innings, as he was charged with five runs (two earned) on six hits and three walks, though he did strike out seven. Trevor Holder turned in two perfect innings of relief to start, but the offense never got going, tallying just three hits and three walks while fanning eight times. Anthony Rendon drew a walk but struck out twice in three ABs his return to the minors.

Carolina 11 Potomac 5
• Dupra (L, 0-1) 4+ IP, 5H, 6R, 6ER, 2BB, 4K, HR
• Taylor 3-5, R, 2-2B, RBI
• Burns 2-4, R, BB, RBI, SB
• Dykstra 2-5

Just two innings saw neither team score as Myrtle Beach pounded Potomac Last Night In Woodbridge.

Hagerstown vs. Augusta — PPD

Heavy rains rendered the field unplayable in the series opener, which is scheduled to be made up this afternoon with a doubleheader.

May 042013

Transactions for NPP 3With the activation of 3B Ryan Zimmerman, IF Anthony Rendon has been optioned back to Harrisburg, setting off a chain of moves (some of which were previously reported in this morning News & Notes, but repeated here for the sake of clarity)…


  • OF Erik Komatsu promoted from Harrisburg
  • OF Jimmy Van Ostrand reassigned to Harrisburg
  • C Jeff Howell activated from Temporary Inactive List (TIL), reassigned to Harrisburg


  • C Kris Watts placed on the 7-Day DL
  • IF Anthony Rendon optioned from Washingtonn
  • IF Francisco Soriano reassigned to Potomac


  • RHP Taylor placed on the TIL

The TIL maneuver was used several times last summer, typically with starters that had just pitched and would not be missed anyways. Compared to the “Hellenic Flu” that Kris Watts just caught, this is much more honest. Ultimately, I’m expecting another Potomac player to be removed from the roster and/or sent to XST.

As usual, we learn of releases via the weekly transaction post from BA, which saw the Nats setting loose 21-year-old Gregori Baez, who hit the wall with a 1-1 mark, a 9.64ERA and 2.25WHIP in 9⅓ innings over three starts for Auburn last summer.

May 042013

Don’t look now. But these P-Nats are starting to gel into something that might just be a contender.

Of course, that’s easy to think when, for a third straight night, the starting pitcher turns in a stellar outing and the offense breaks into double digits in both runs and hits.

It was A.J. Cole’s turn to shine as the 21-year-old struck out nine over six shutout innings. He walked none and allowed just four hits, retiring the leadoff man five times out six.

That one time the first batter wasn’t retired was a pool-cue single that skipped past Cole and Adrian Sanchez couldn’t scamper in and sling it over in time. Another single put runners on first and second, but Sanchez, who wasn’t really to blame for not getting the 80-foot dribbler, teamed up with Jason Martinson for the 4-6-3 DP to clip the Pelicans’ rally with Cole delivering the killshot with a strikeout.

Backup catcher Cole Leonida, who usually spells Adrian Nieto (the DH last night) behind the plate, made the case for more playing time with a three-run blast in the bottom of the second that started the P-Nats scoring binge.

It was also the first of three innings in which Potomac had multiple runners reach base, albeit with a little help. A hit batsmen in the 6th got the bases loaded for Randolph Oduber, who cashed in the second big chance as the Groovin’ Aruban drilled a three-run triple to right-center. In the 7th, a Sanchez and Leonida went back-to-back with RBI singles to take advantage when Caleb Ramsey reached on an error following a one-out single by Nieto.

Potomac would get their tenth run in the 8th when Myrtle Beach once again couldn’t quite execute (it should be noted that the Pelicans have just eight players that aren’t 22 or younger, a byproduct of the Rangers tendency towards HS players and IFAs, not to mention being Thirsty-Thursday-Night loaded with talent) as Michael Taylor scored on a wild pitch on a Nieto strikeout with runners on the corners.

Christian Meza followed Cole with two innings of relief, allowing an unearned run on a double that followed a missed catch as Sanchez attempted to complete a 6-4-3 double play without the baseball. Colin Bates finished out the game, giving up two unearned runs on a Ramsey error in the 9th.

The win evens Potomac at 14-14 for the season, one game behind Lynchburg (14-12) and Frederick (15-13) as the Carolina League remains bunched up like a cheap pair of und…er, tube socks with all eight teams within five games of one another.

Thanks to Monday’s rainout, Brian Dupra (1-2, 3.72 at Hagerstown, scoreless IP for Potomac on Wednesday) makes the spot start tonight. Victor Payano (1-2, 4.76) is his counterpart for Myrtle Beach.

May 042013
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 8-2 @ Norfolk,
7:05 p.m.
Ohlendorf (2-3, 5.46) vs.
Britton (1-0, 1.98)
Harrisburg Won, 6-1 vs. Binghamton,
7:00 p.m.
Demny (1-3, 6.12) vs.
Goeddel (1-2, 5.70)
Potomac Won, 10-3 vs. Myrtle Beach,
6:35 p.m.
Dupra (0-0, 0.00) vs.
Payano (1-2, 4.76)
Hagerstown Won, 9-1 @ Rome,
7:00 p.m.
Turnbull (1-0, 1.50) vs.
W. Perez (3-1, 3.08)

Norfolk 8 Syracuse 2
• Rosenbaum (L, 2-2) 5IP, 10H, 6R, 5ER, 3BB, 5K, 2HR
• Romero 1IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Rhymes 2-4, RBI
• Komatsu 1-2, R, BB

This one was over early as the Tide rolled in for five in the first and cruised to another 8-2 win over the Chiefs. Starter Danny Rosenbaum doubled his season strikeout total with five on the night but also gave up twice as many runs (six) and a pair of home runs for 10 hits total over five innings. Will Rhymes led the seven-hit offensive effort with a 2-for-4 night and an RBI as Syracuse avoided the shutout with a two-spot in the eighth.

Harrisburg 3 Binghamton 1
• Treinen (W, 3-3) 7IP, 5H, 0R, BB, 5K, WP, BK
• Holland (H, 2) 1IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Goodwin 1-3, R, 3B
• Johnson 2-4, R, RBI

The Senators returned to .500 with a 3-1 win over the Binghamton Mets. Blake Treinen evened his win-loss mark at three apiece with seven scoreless innings with five hits and one walk allowed. Neil Holland led a trio of relievers with a scoreless eighth while Aaron Barrett nailed things down by striking out the lone batter he faced with the tying runs on base in the 9th for his fifth save. The top four batters combined to go 5-for-15 with a double (Bloxom) and a triple (Goodwin) with Josh Johnson the sole Senator to have multiple hits at 2-for-4. Roster moves: C Jeff Howell was reassigned from Syracuse, with C Kris Watts placed on the 7-Day DL to make room of the Senators roster. Today, 3B Anthony Rendon will be activated with IF Francisco Soriano to be reassigned to Potomac per Geoff Morrow of the Patriot-News.

Potomac 10 Carolina 3
• Cole (W, 1-1) 6IP, 3H, 0R, 0BB, 9K
• Meza 2IP, 1H, 1R, 0ER, 2BB, 2K
• Leonida 2-3, 2R, HR, 4RBI
• Burns 3-4, BB, RBI
• Oduber 1-3, 3B, 3RBI

A.J. Cole struck out a season-high nine as the P-Nats broke into double digits for the fourth time this season Last Night In Woodbridge.

Hagerstown 9 Augusta 1
• Andwerson (W, 2-1) 6IP, 0H, 0R, 5BB, 7K
• Fischer (SV, 3) 2⅓ IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 4K, 2-1 IR-S
• McQuillan 3-4, R, RBI, SB, SAC, E(8)
• Pleffner 3-5, R, RBI

A seven-run 8th busted open a pitcher’s duel as the Suns pitchers combined to one-hit the GreenJackets in a 9-1 smackdown. Dixon Anderson walked five and struck out seven over six no-hit frames. Bryan Harper walked one in his 2/3rds of an inning while David Fischer let ‘im in on a wild pitch but closed out the game with two and a 1/3rds innings pitched and the lone Augusta hit surrendered. Hagerstown pounded out 13 hits with Mike McQuillan and Shawn Pleffner both racking up three singles.