Luke Erickson

Luke Erickson is a season-ticket holder for the Potomac Nationals, but makes a point of seeing games in Hagerstown and Harrisburg at least once a summer. When the PNats are away on the weekend, Luke finds a minor-league game somewhere to watch, and generally attends 70-80 baseball games a year up across several states. A former sportswriter with newspapers in Massachusetts and Oregon, Luke lives in Western Fairfax County with his wife and two sons.

Aug 122012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 6-0 vs. Scranton/WB,
4:00 p.m. (DH)
Maya (10-8, 3.58) and
Atkins (6-8, 4.78) vs.
Warren (6-7, 4.74) and
Whitley (8-5, 3.96)
Harrisburg Won, 5-4 vs. Binghamton,
2:00 p.m.
Demny (6-6, 5,29) vs.
Mazzoni (4-3, 3.60)
Potomac Won, 6-4 vs. Winston-Salem,
1:05 p.m.
Meyer (2-0, 0.78) vs.
Johnson (1-2, 2.13)
Hagerstown Won, 2-0;
Canceled
OFF DAY N/A
Auburn Lost, 9-2 vs. Mahoning Valley,
6:05 p.m.
Fischer (1-3, 5.28) vs.
Sisco (1-3, 3.93)
GCL Nationals Won, 5-2 OFF DAY N/A
DSL Nationals Won, 8-5 OFF DAY N/A

Syracuse 6 Lehigh Valley 0
• Duke (W, 13-5) 9IP, 3H, 0R, 0BB, 7K
• Leon 2-3, BB
• Hoffpauir 2-4, 2R, BB, HR, 2RBI
• Perez 2-5, R, SB

Zach Duke tossed a three-hit shutout as the Chiefs split the two-game series with a 6-0 win over Lehigh Valley. Duke struck out seven and walked nine and turned in first complete game since April of 2009. The Chiefs would tally 11 hits but didn’t break through until a two-run 6th followed by a three-run 7th. Carlos Rivero and Jarrett Hoffpauir both homered as all eight position players hit safely.

Harrisburg 5 Binghamton 4
• Rosenbaum 5IP, 8H, 4R, 4ER, 3BB, 5K
• Tatukso 2IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 3K
• McCoy (W, 7-1) 1⅓ IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Goodwin 3-4, BB, OF assist at HP
• Lozada 2-4, R

Harrisburg snapped a five-game skid with a five unanswered runs with a 5-4 win over Binghamton. Jose Lozada (2-for-4) came around to score on an error as Brian Goodwin (3-for-4) beat out an infield single for his third hit. Pat McCoy got the win in relief of starter Danny Rosenbaum, who remains winless since June 2. Rosenbaum gave up all four B-Mets runs on eight hits and three walks while striking out eight over five innings. Ryan Tatusko and Marcos Frias combined with McCoy for four scoreless innings.

Potomac 6 Winston-Salem 4
• Grace (W, 7-11) 6IP, 3H, 2R, 0ER, 4BB, 8K
• Wort (SV, 8) 1IP, 2H, 0R, BB, K, HR
• Kelso 3-4, 2R, 2B, RBI
• Soriano 2-4, R, RBI

The P-Nats came back to life Last Night In Woodbridge.

Hagerstown 2 Charleston 0 (5½ inn.)
• Hansen (W, 3-4) 4+IP, 5H, 0R, 3BB, 2K
• Meza (SV, 2) 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Miller 2-2, 2R, BB
• Higley 1-2, 2B, RBI

Rain cut this one short and canceled the second game of the doubleheader, but Hagerstown got the win, 2-0. Bobby Hansen and Christian Meza combined on the shutout to earn win #3 and save #2 respectively. Justin Miller reached base three times and scored both Suns runs. With the win, Hagerstown edges to a ½ game of first place in the Sally League North.

Mahoning Valley 9 Auburn 2
• Mooneyham (L, 1-2) 5IP, 6H, 5R, 3ER, 2BB, 4K
• Harper 1IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 2K
• Marrero 2-3, R, BB, RBI
• Mesa 2-3, BB
• Renda 2-4, R

Sloppy fielding continues to plague the Doubledays as they committed four errors for the second straight night in a 9-2 loss to Mahoning Valley. Starter Brett Mooneyham took the loss with five runs (three earned) on six hits and two walks over five innings. Tony Renda, Narciso Mesa, and Chris Marrero each had a pair of singles as Auburn totaled eight hits but also left on eight runners. The loss sliced the Doubledays lead over the Spikes to 2½ games in the Pinckney Division.

GCL Astros 5 GCL Nationals 2
• Estevez 4IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 3K
• Santana (L, 1-4) 3+ IP, 3H, 3R, 3ER, 0BB, 4K
• Lucas (BS, 1) 1IP, 2H, 2R, 2ER, 2BB, K, 2-2 IR-S
• Brooks 2-4, BB, RBI
• Difo 1-3, 2B, 2BB, 2SB

The G-Astros did all their damage in the 8th, blasting the G-Nats for five runs for a 5-2 win. Bobby Lucas blew the save and hung the loss on Andy Santana, letting in two inherited runner and two of his own with two hits and two walks. Starter Wirkin “For The Weekend” Estevez went the first four frames, giving up just a hit and a walk while striking out four. The one-two batters in the lineup, Wilmer Difo and James Brooks, combined for three hits and three walks to pace the G-Nats offense.

DSL Nationals 8 DSL Yankees1 5
• Ruiz 5⅓ IP, 8H, 3R, 2ER, BB, 4K
• Lopez (W, 1-0) 1⅔ IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 3K, 2-0 IR-S
• Read 3-4, R, 2B, 2RBI
• Mejia 2-4, 3B, RBI, CS

A five-run 8th snapped a 3-3 tie as the D-Nats held off the D-Yankees1 for an 8-5 win. Starter Raul Ruiz gave up three runs on eight hits and a walk over five and a 1/3rd innings but the win went to Reynaldo Lopez in relief. Raudy Read led the D-Nats offense with a 3-for-4 game, including a double and two RBI as the D-Nats had no trouble plating runners from scoring position with a 7-for-11 team mark.

Aug 112012
 

Sometimes the box score doesn’t tell the full story, but for this one, it did.

The Potomac Nationals were one-hit last night by three Winston-Salem Dash pitchers in a 6-0 shutout. The one hit? A no-doubt-about-it double to the right-center gap by Kevin Keyes to lead off the second inning.

That may be some consolation to Scott Snodgress, who won’t wonder if he could have had a no-hitter, but for the P-Nats the lack of offense against a 23-year-old southpaw with mediocre stuff is something to worry about.

More troubling: Robbie Ray continues to struggle in the second half. Since the All-Star break, the 20-year-old has gone 1-5 with a 6.75 ERA and a 1.77 WHIP. He avoided the usual pattern of getting hit hard early then settling in, in favor of the the more worrisome: success early, then a series of diminishing returns (single runs in the 2nd and 3rd, followed by a four-run 4th) that ended his night after just four innings.

The final line: 4IP, 6R, 4ER, BB, 5K, HR (a moonshot to dead center by the Dash backstop, not-Silent-Bob Kevan Smith).

Ryan Demmin turned in three and 2/3rds scoreless innings of relief with two walks and three strikeouts followed by four outs by Aaron Barrett to lower his ERA with Potomac to 1.04 in five appearances.

Anthony Rendon’s home debut was also a disappointment: a weak grounder to 1st, a popup to shallow RF that was dropped for an error, a lineout to short (albeit a laser), and caught looking on strikes. In the field, he made a couple of decent plays but also bounced one to first for an error, that perhaps a more experienced 1B would have caught.

Despite the loss, Potomac remains in the playoff hunt at 1½ games behind both Wilmington and Frederick and a ½ game behind first-half winner Lynchburg. Matt Grace (6-11, 5.93) and Chris Bassitt (3-2, 3.41) are slated to rematch last Sunday’s contest.

Aug 112012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 6-0 @ Lehigh Valley,
7:05 p.m.
Duke (12-5, 3.81) vs.
Cochran (6-4, 4.58)
Harrisburg Lost, 5-0 vs. Binghamton,
7:00 p.m.
Rosenbaum (7-9, 3.79) vs.
A. Rodriguez (2-2, 3.14)
Potomac Lost, 6-0 vs. Winston-Salem,
6:35 p.m.
Grace (6-11, 5.93) vs.
Bassitt (3-2, 3.41)
Hagerstown Postponed @ Charleston,
3:05 & 7:05 p.m.
Hansen (2-4, 4.91) and
Jordan (0-2, 5.63) vs.
Gerritse (4-5, 3.89) and
Mitchell (7-9, 5.14)
Auburn Lost, 4-2 vs. Mahoning Valley,
7:05 p.m.
Mooneyham (1-1, 2.53)
vs. Lee (4-1, 2.30)
GCL Nationals Won, 2-1;
Won, 5-4
@ GCL Astros,
12:00 p.m.
TBD vs. TBD
DSL Nationals Lost, 3-2 vs. DSL Yankees1,
10:30 a.m.
TBD vs. TBD

Lehigh Valley 6 Syracuse 0
• Roark (L, 6-14) 6IP, 8H, 6R, 3ER, 0BB, K, HR
• Pena 2IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 2K
• Brown 2-4, 2B
• Negrych 1-4

The offensive outage for Friday night started at the top as the Syracuse Chiefs were held to three hits in a 6-0 shutout. Tanner Roark suffered his team-leading 14th loss, giving up all six runs (three earned) on eight hits, including a three-run HR in the 6th. Corey Brown and Jim Negrych were the only two Chiefs to hit safely, as Syracuse left on six runners total and hit into three double plays.

Binghamton 5 Harrisburg 0
• Perry (L, 1-3) 7⅓ IP, 6H, 4R, 4ER, 2BB, 2K
• Barthmaier 1⅔ IP, 2H, 1R, 0ER, 2BB, K, 1-1 IR-S
• Bloxom 1-3, 2B
• Goodwin 1-4

It was Star Wars night at Metro Bank Park, complete with folks dressed up as Jedi. However, they were not the only ones who weren’t going to score on Friday night as the Senators were held to just two hits in a 5-0 shutout. As Geoff Morrow pointed out on Twitter, Binghamton’s Mark Cohoon hadn’t had an outing with no runs allowed since April of 2011, a streak of 42 starts. Cohoon struck out 10 and walked one while going the distance. Justin Bloxom’s texas-league double to shallow CF in the 7th and Brian Goodwin’s line-drive single in the 9th were the two Harrisburg items in the “H” column. The loss was Harrisburg’s fifth straight, dropping the Senators to 6½ games behind Bowie. Jim Mora has the assessment of the odds of a third straight postseason appearance.

Winston-Salem 6 Potomac 0
• Ray (L, 4-9) 4IP, 6H, 6R, 4ER, BB, 5K, HR
• Demmin 3⅔ IP, H, R, ER, BB, K, HR
• Keyes 1-4, 2B

It was pretty much as bad as the box score looks Last Night In Woodbridge.

Hagerstown vs. Charleston — PPD
Rain washed out Game Three of the Suns-Riverdogs series on Friday night. It will be made up with a doubleheader today with first game at 3 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.

State College 4 Auburn 2
• Monar 4IP, 6H, 0R, BB, 6K
• Medina (L, 0-3) 3IP, 2H, 3R, 1ER, 0BB, 5K
• Renda 2-3, BB
• Marrero 1-3, R, HR, RBI

The six hits in Auburn matched the six hits tallied by Syracuse, Harrisburg, and Potomac combined. It was not, however, enough to get past State College, which got a game back in the Pinckney Division with a 4-2 win. Unlike the previous night, the Doubledays ‘pen faltered with four runs allowed over five innings. Silvio Medina took the loss, giving up three (one earned) over three innings on two hits. Starter Blake Monar scattered six hits over four innings, with no runs, no walks and six strikeouts. Tony Renda led the offense with a 2-for-3 night, while Chris Marrero homered and played six innings at first base.

GCL Nationals 2 GCL Astros 1 — GAME ONE
• Turnbull 1IP, 2H, 1R, 1ER, 0BB, 0K
• Hudgins (W, 4-3) 6IP, 5H, 0R, BB, 7K
• Piwnica-Worms 1-3
• Lippincott 1-2, BB, RBI, SB

The opener was a pitchers’s duel that saw the G-Nats edge the G-Astros, 2-1. Kylin Turnbull gave up the lone Astro run in his rehab appearance on two hits, but Will Hudgins shut ‘em down the rest of the way with six scoreless innings, allowing just five hits and one walk while striking out seven. Bryan Lippincott drove in the first G-Nat run with an RBI single in the 2nd while a walk, a stolen base, a groundout to second, and wild pitch plated the winning run in the 3rd.

GCL Nationals 5 GCL Astros 4 — GAME TWO
• Selsor 4IP, 4H, 2R, 2ER, 0BB, 4K, HR
• Peters (W, 1-0) 1IP, 0H, 0R, 2BB, K
• Foat 3-5, R, 2RBI
• Difo 2-4, 2R, BB

An error in the bottom of the 9th gave the G-Nats a 5-4 win in extra innings and a sweep of the doubleheader. John Peters got the win in relief with a scoreless 9th. Casey Selsor got the start and gave up two runs on four hits with no walks and four strikeouts. Matt Foat paced the offense with a 3-for-5 game, followed by Wilmer Difo’s 2-for-4 effort.

DSL Yankees1 3 DSL Nationals 2
• De La Cruz 3IP, 4H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Chavez 2IP, 3H, 0R, BB, 3K
• D. Ramos (BS, 1; L, 0-1) 1⅓ IP, 4H, 3R, 3ER, 2BB, 0K
• Marmolejos-Diaz 3-3, 2B, BB, RBI
• Bautista 2-4, R, 2B, BB

The DSL Yankees1 rallied for three runs in the bottom of the ninth to take this one, 3-2. David Ramos got the blown-save-loss with all three runs allowed on four hits and two walks over an inning and a 1/3rd. “Orange” Marmolejos-Diaz reached base four times with two singles, a double, and a walk while driving in a run to pace the 10-hit D-Nats attack.

Aug 102012
 


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

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 58-61, 5th place I.L. North, 8 games behind

Good Carlos Rivero .371/.451/.649 since All-Star break (27G)
Bad 713 pitching K’s last in I.L. (next-worst, 824)
Interesting Mitch Atkins 0.87ERA, 0.39WHIP in last six relief appearances

HARRISBURG SENATORS 53-59, 5th place E.L. West, 13½ games behind

Good Justin Bloxom .281/.324/.344 last 10G
Bad Team OBP of .315 dead last in Eastern League
Interesting Team streaky — 3+ Wins, eight times; 3+ Losses, eight times

POTOMAC NATIONALS 21-25, T3rd place C.L. North Division, 1½ games behind (52-64 overall)

Good Current starters named Meyers or Karns: 1.73ERA, 0.93WHIP
Bad Current starters not named Meyers or Karns: 5.98ERA, 1.67WHIP
Interesting Steve Souza Jr. .875OPS in 12G

HAGERSTOWN SUNS 25-22, T3rd place Sally League North Divison, 1 game behind (67-49 overall)

Good Matt Skole 1.019OPS (Best in Low-A)
Bad Wilson Eusebio 7.71ERA, 1.88WHIP
Interesting Billy Burns .323BA, 3rd in Sally Lg. (.328 vs. RHBs, .315 vs. LHBs)
First full year of switch-hitting

AUBURN DOUBLEDAYS 30-20, 1st place Pinckney Division, N.Y.-Penn League, 4 games ahead

Good Mike McQuillan .300/.371/.488 in 23G
Bad Jason Smith 7.94ERA, 1.85WHIP in 22⅔ IP
Interesting Nick Lee 43K in 42IP

GCL NATIONALS 20-25, 4th Place GCL East, 8½ games behind

Good Joel Barrientos 3-0, 2.48ERA, 1.29WHIP
Bad Michael Albaladejo .483OPS
Interesting Hayden Jennings .281BA, 9SB in last 10G

DSL NATIONALS 31-26, 3rd Place Boca Chica South Division, 9½ games behind

Good 19-y.o. Younaifred Aguero .294/.397/.394 in 40G
Bad 20-y.o. Philips Valdez 5.80ERA, 2.01WHIP in 40⅓ IP
Interesting 19-y.o. LHP Hector Silvestre 2-1, 1.71ERA in last four appearances
Aug 102012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 6-3 @ Lehigh Valley,
7:05 p.m.
Roark (6-13, 4.73) vs.
Cochran (6-4, 4.58)
Harrisburg Lost, 2-1
(13 inn.)
vs. Binghamton,
7:00 p.m.
Perry (1-2, 1.54) vs.
Pettibone (1-0, 4.09)
Potomac Lost, 11-2 vs. Winston-Salem,
7:05 p.m.
Ray (4-8, 5.85) vs.
Snodgress (2-0, 2.55)
Hagerstown Lost, 4-3 @ Charleston,
7:05 p.m.
Hansen (2-4, 4.91) vs.
Gerritse (4-5, 3.89)
Auburn Won, 5-3 vs. State College,
7:05 p.m.
Monar (2-3, 2.95) vs.
Sampson (0-0, 2.81)
GCL Nationals Won, 7-3 vs.GCL Astros,
11:00 a.m.
TBD vs. TBD
DSL Nationals Won, 9-4;
Lost, 7-6
@ DSL Yankees1,
10:30 a.m.
TBD vs. TBD

Syracuse 6 Pawtucket 3
• Mandel (W, 3-4) 7IP, 4H, 2R, 2ER, 2BB, 4K, HR
• Atkins 2IP, 2H, R, ER, 0BB, 4K
• Walters 2-4, 2B, E
• Hoffpauir 2-4, R, 2B
• Perez 0-3, 2R, 2SB, BB (hit streak over)

A five-run third proved to be enough as the Chiefs completed their two-game sweep of Pawtucket with a 6-3 win. Jeff Mandel got the win with seven strong innings, limiting the Pawsox to two runs on four hits and two walks while striking out four. Middle infielders Zach Walters and Jarrett Hoffpauir both went 2-for-4 with a double as Syracuse registered eight hits total. The road trip continues tonight with a pair against Lehigh Valley before heading back to Syracuse for an 11-game homestand.

Richmond 2 Harrisburg 1 (13 inn.)
• Holder 5IP, 4H, R, ER, 3BB, 4K, HBP
• Davis 2IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Frias 2IP, H, 0R, BB, 3K
• Tatusko (L, 2-5) ⅔ IP, 2H, R, ER, 0BB, 0K, WP
• Pahuta 1-2, R, 2B, 3BB
• Skelton 1-4, 2BB

Richmond completed the sweep of Harrisburg with a 2-1 win in 13 innings, handing the Senators their fourth straight loss overall. Harrisburg used six of eight relievers trying to win this one. Ryan Tatusko suffered the loss on two singles given up with a wild pitch sandwiched in between. Starter Trevor Holder gave up the other run to the airborne rodents on four hits and three walks over the first five frames. The Senators were held to just five hits and left 10 runners on base. Despite the loss, Harrisburg remains mathematically alive at 5½ games behind second-place Bowie with eight games left between the two teams. They return home for six games in seven days against Binghamton and Akron, starting tonight.

Myrtle Beach 11 Potomac 2
• Gilliam (L, 0-1) 4IP, 7H, 10R, 9ER, 2BB, 2K, 3HR
• Swynenberg 3IP, 4H, R, ER, 2BB, 3K
• Rendon 2-4, 3B
• Sanchez 2-4
• Howell 2-3

The long ball did in both Rob Gilliam and Potomac as Myrtle Beach took the rubber game of the series, 11-2. Gilliam gave up 10 runs on seven hits, including three home runs, over four innings. He walked two and struck out three. The P-Nats collected 11 hits, just one fewer than the Pelicans, with eight of nine starters reaching base safely. Anthony Rendon, Adrian Sanchez, and Jeff Howell each had two hits, with Rendon tripling to center in his first at-bat as the DH. The loss drops Potomac into a tie for third place, 1½ behind Frederick in the C.L. North, as the P-Nats return home for a six-game homestand against Winston-Salem and Wilmington.

Charleston 4 Hagerstown 3
• Schwartz (L, 1-1) 5IP, 7H, 3R, 3ER, 4BB, 3K
• Kreis 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Burns 2-4, R
• Skole 1-3, BB, RBI, SB(10)

Hagerstown made the most of its limited chances but fell, 4-3 to Charleston and dropped into second place in the Sally League North. Starter Blake Schwartz gave up the first three Riverdog runs on seven hits and four walks over five innings and was charged with the loss. The Suns went 2-for-5 with RISP and left on three runners. Billy Burns led the seven-hit effort with a 2-for-4 night while Matt Skole increased his RBI tally to 91 and stole his 10th base without getting caught. Roster moves: 2B Hendry Jimenez placed on 7-Day DL, IF Cutter Dykstra activated from DL.

Auburn 5 State College 3
• Pineyro (W, 2-1) 6IP, 6H, 3R, 3ER, 2BB, 5K, HR
• Henke (H, 3) 2IP, 2H, 0R, BB, K
• Self (S, 10) 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• C. Lopez 3-4, R
• Miller 2-2, R, 3B, RBI
• E. Martinez 2-4, R, 2B, RBI

After losing an early 2-0 lead, Auburn chipped away with single runs in the 4th, 6th, and 7th to come away with a 5-3 win over State College. Ivan Pineyro weathered the OBI (One Bad Inning) to get the quality start with three runs allowed on six hits and two walks while striking out five. Travis Henke and Derek Self combined for three innings of scoreless relief to earn the hold and save respectively. Brandon Miller made his return from the disabled list and went 2-for-2 with an RBI triple. Carlos Lopez led the 12-hit attack with a 3-for-4 night. With the win, Auburn increased its lead in the Pinckney Division to four games.

GCL Nationals 7 GCL Marlins 3
• Barrientos 5IP, 3H, R, ER, 5BB, K
• Mendez 3IP, 2H, R, ER, 0BB, 5K
• Dicharry (W, 3-1) 2IP, 2H, R, ER, 0BB, 0K
• Brooks 3-6, 2R, 2B, 4RBI
• Foat 3-5, BB, RBI
• Difo 2-6, 2R, RBI

James Brooks’s bases-clearing double highlighted a five-run 10th as the G-Nats beat the G-Marlins 7-3 in 10 innings. Kevin Dicharry got the win in relief, though he gave up a run in the last of the 10th. Starter Joel Barrientos went the first five innings, allowing a run on three hits and five walks. Brooks went 3-for-5 with two runs scored and four RBI total to pace the offense.

DSL Nationals 9 DSL Mets1 4 — GAME ONE
• Valerio (W, 2-4) 5IP, 5H, 2R, 2ER, BB, K
• K. Rodriguez 2IP, 2H, 2R, 0ER, 0BB, 3K
• Aguero 2-3, 2R, BB, RBI
• De Los Santos 2-3, 2R, BB
• A. Martinez 1-2, R, 2BB, 2RBI, SF

The D-Nats scored four in the 6th and three 7th to break open a 2-2 tie and cruise to a 9-4 win over the D-Mets1. Maximo Valerio benefited from the late rally with a win after allowing two runs on five hits and a walk over the first five innings. Kelvin Rodriguez finished the game with two unearned runs on two hits while striking out three. Youanifred Aguero and Juan De Los Santos both went 2-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored as the D-Nats collected 10 hits and drew eight walks.

DSL Mets1 7 DSL Nationals 6 — GAME TWO
• Benitez (L, 2-2) 3IP, 4H, 4R, 2ER, 2BB, 3K
• Lopez 2IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Mejia 2-4, R, 2B, SB
• Abreu 1-3, 2RBI

Twice the D-Nats rallied for three runs, but it wasn’t enough to overcome an early 6-0 deficit as the D-Mets1 held on to split the doubleheader, 7-6. Starter Juan Benitez took the loss, giving up four runs (two earned) on four hits and two walks over the first three innings. The D-Nats took advantage of seven walks, a wild pitch, a passed ball and an error to score six runs on only five hits. Bryan Mejia led the offense with a 2-for-4 effort, which included a double, a run scored, and a stolen base. Roster move: RHP Reynaldo Lopez assigned from Washington (18 years old, born in the D.R.)

Aug 092012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 10-2 @ Pawtucket,
12:05 p.m.
Mandel (2-4, 3.51) vs.
Buckner (4-5, 4.48)
Harrisburg Lost, 6-0 @ Richmond,
7:05 p.m.
Holder (2-2, 4.73) vs.
Fitzgerald (7-7, 3.73)
Potomac Lost, 9-2 @ Myrtle Beach,
7:05 p.m.
Gilliam (0-0, 2.38) vs.
Van Meter (1-4, 1.93)
Hagerstown Won, 6-0 @ Charleston,
7:05 p.m.
Schwartz (1-0, 3.31) vs.
Black (0-0, 2.28)
Auburn Lost, 10-6 vs. State College,
7:05 p.m.
Pineyro (1-1, 2.81) vs.
Rodriguez (2-1, 2.72)
GCL Nationals Lost, 7-2 @ GCL Marlins,
12:00 p.m.
TBD vs. TBD
DSL Nationals Postponed @ DSL Mets1,
10:30 a.m.
TBD vs. TBD

Syracuse 10 Pawtucket 2
• Lannan (W, 7-10) 8IP, 5H, 2R, 2ER, BB, 9K, HR
• Bibens-Dirkx 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Brown 3-6, 2B, RBI
• Carroll 2-4, R, 2B, BB, 3RBI
• Hoffpauir 1-3, 2R, 3BB, HR, 4RBI

John Lannan struck out nine and went eight innings while Jarrett Hoffpauir hit a grand slam as Syracuse pounded Pawtucket, 10-2. Lannan gave up just two runs on five hits and a walk, though he did allow his 16th HR in 20 starts. The Chiefs racked up 13 hits and drew 10 walks and could have done more damage as they went just 4-for-14 and left on 13 baserunners. Corey Brown led the hit parade with a 3-for-6 night, Hoffpauir drew three walks and drove in four, and Eury Perez extended his hit streak to 19 games.

Richmond 6 Harrisburg 0
• Pucetas (L, 7-5) 5IP, 6H, 3R, 3ER, BB, 3K
• Broderick 3IP, 6H, 3R, 3ER, BB, 0K
• Lozada 1-3, 2B

Jose Lozada broke up the no-hit bid with a two-out double, which turned out to the sole Harrisburg hit in a 6-0 loss to Richmond. Kevin Pucetas took the loss with three runs allowed on six hits and a walk. The loss drops the Senators into 5th place in the E.L. West, 5½ back in the wild-card race. Roster move: OF Destin Hood activate from DL to bring Senators roster to the full 25.

Myrtle Beach 9 Potomac 2
• Karns (L, 8-3) 2IP, 5H, 5R, 3ER, 3BB, 3K
• Olbrychowski 3IP, 3H, 0R, 3BB, 0K
• Soriano 2-3, R, 2-2B, BB, RBI
• Keyes 1-4, RBI
• Rendon 0-3, BB, 2E

While a last-place team might make not a struggling pitcher look bad, a first-place team usually will. Myrtle Beach jumped on Nathan Karns for five runs in the first two innings and cruised to a 9-2 win over Potomac. Karns gave up three walks and five hits in his two innings pitched and struck out three. Two of the five runs were unearned, as Potomac committed two errors behind him and three on the night. Francisco Soriano basically was the Potomac offense, going 2-for-3 with two doubles, a walk, an RBI and a run scored. The P-Nats remain a ½-game behind Wilmington and Frederick, tied with Lynchburg in the C.L. North.

Hagerstown 6 Charleston 0
• Hill (W, 10-6) 6IP, 8H, 0R, 2BB, K
• Mirowski 2IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Hollins 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Skole 3-5, 2R, 2HR, 3RBI, SB
• Burns 2-4, R, 2B, BB, RBI, SB(35)
• Ortega 2-5, R, 2RBI

Matt Skole might not hit his way to Potomac this season, but the 23-year-old might want to clear some space in his trophy cabinet for some Sally League hardware after hitting two home runs (nos. 26 & 27) and driving in three (nos. 88, 89, and 90) in a 6-0 Hagerstown win over Charleston. Taylor Hill, Richie Mirowski, and Leonard Hollins combined for the shutout, with Hill scattering eight hits over six innings for his 10th win. Skole also singled and stole a base while going 3-for-5 as the Suns notched 12 hits total. The win puts Hagerstown in a three-way tie for first with Hickory and West Virginia in the Sally League North.

Jamestown 10 Auburn 6
• Lee (L, 1-1) 5⅔ IP, 9H, 4R, 4ER, 0BB, 4K
• Davis 1IP, 3H, 4R, 4ER, 2BB, 0K, 2-0 IR-S
• Ramos 3-5, R, 2-2B, RBI
• Pleffner 1-3, R
• Marrero 1-2

A five-run 7th broke open a 4-3 lead as the Jammers spread the Doubledays, 10-6. Nick Lee suffered the loss with four runs allowed on nine hits over five and 2/3rds with no walks and four strikeouts. All-Star reserve Wander Ramos singled and doubled twice to lead the Auburn attack, which saw eight of the nine starters get a base hit. The Doubledays remain 3½ games ahead of State College in the Pinckney Divison, and four ahead of third-place Batavia. Chris Marrero, who’s been assigned as rehab, singled in his two ABs and played first base and is expected to DH tonight, take Friday off, then repeat the pattern over the weekend. If all goes well, he could rejoin the Chiefs next week.

GCL Marlins 7 GCL Nationals 2
• Anderson (L, 0-1) 3IP, 7H, 5R, 5ER, BB, 3K, HR (GS)
• Mieses 4IP, 3H, 2R, 2ER, 3BB, K, HR
• Foat 3-4, BB, RBI
• Brooks 2-4, 2B

Dixon Anderson hit his first rough patch in the GCL, allowing five runs in a 7-2 G-Nats loss to the G-Marlins. Anderson went three innings but gave up seven hits, including a grand slam in the first inning, with a walk and three strikeouts to raise his ERA to 3.46. Matt Foat continues to rake, as the 22-year-old went 3-for-4 to improve his line to .318/.393/.374 to lead the G-Nats offense.

DSL Nationals vs. DSL Mets1 — PPD
Rain washed out the entire DSL docket. There is no indication if/when this game will made up, though the two teams play today and twice more at the end of the regular season.

Aug 082012
 

Rosters for the 2012 New York-Penn League All-Star team were announced this afternoon and five Auburn Doubledays made the N.L. squad:

• 1B Shawn Pleffner .322/.354/.471, 24RBI in 29G (reserve)

• SS Wes Schill .270/.329/.333, 16RBI in 38G (reserve)

• C Craig Manuel .273/.354/.313, 8RBI in 40G (reserve)

• OF Estarlin Martinez .329/.392/.484, 24RBI in 40G (starting OF)

• OF Wander Ramos .284/.388/.466, 26RBI in 43G (reserve)

The Mahoning Valley Scrappers are the 2012 hosts for the 8th annual exhibition. Manuel is a 10th round pick from the 2012 draft, Pleffner is a 26th round pick from the 2011 draft, Schill is a 2011 NDFA, and Martinez and Ramos are products from the DSL that began their careers in 2009.

Aug 082012
 

The Potomac Nationals Booster Club is holding its annual Silent Auction this Saturday at Pfitzner Stadium. This is the primary fundraiser for this group, which provides food, housing, and general assistance to the players, their friends, and their families. They also sponsor monthly awards and recognize players with in-season birthdays. In short, the club helps make life just a little easier for the young men striving to make the journey from Potomac to Washington.

Without further ado, here’s a list of the items that will be up for auction:
1. 2012 Washington Nationals Team Signed MLB Baseball
2. 2012 Carolina League Autographed Balls – All 8 Teams
3. 2012 Potomac Nationals Team Signed Bat
4. 2012 Potomac Nationals Team Signed Carolina League Baseball
5. Rollie Fingers Autographed MLB Baseball (Oakland A’s MLB 1992 HOF Inductee)
6. Michael Morse Autographed MLB Baseball (Washington Nationals Outfielder)
7. Bryce Harper Autographed Washington Nationals Logo Mini Home Plate
8. Bryce Harper Autographed Community College of Las Vegas Photo
9. Bryce Harper Autographed Hagerstown Suns Photo
10. Washington Nationals 2011 Arizona Fall League Baseball Signed by: Paul Menhart, Pat Lehman, Raphael Martin, Sammy Solis, Matt Purke, Bryce Harper, Derek Norris and Zach Walters
11. Gerrit Cole Autographed MLB Baseball (#1 Pick in 2011 MLB Draft by Pittsburgh Pirates)
12. Robbie Grossman Autographed MLB Baseball (2011 Minor League Leader in Runs Scored (127) and Walks (104), Pittsburgh Pirates Prospect)
13. Matt Purke Autographed MLB Baseball (2011 3rd Round Draft Pick of Washington Nationals)
14. Derek Norris Autographed MLB Baseball (Oakland A’s Catcher)
15. 2012 Carolina League All Star Autographed Logo Sheet
16. 2012 California League All Star Autographed Logo Sheet
17. Uncle Slam Autographed SGA Bank
18. Nick Markakis SGA Delmarva Shorebirds Bobble Glove
19. Jason Werth SGA Bowie Baysox Autographed Bobblehead
20. Al Bumbry SGA Bowie Baysox Autographed Bobblehead
21. Stephen Strasburg SGA Potomac Nationals Bobblehead
22. Chris Marrero The Potomac Nationals Years Autographed Photo Sheet
23. John Lannan MLB Authenticated Autographed MLB Baseball
24. Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez Autographed MLB Baseball
25. Jason Werth Washington Nationals SGA July 30, 2011 Bobblehead
26. Ian Desmond Washington Nationals SGA August 20, 2011 Bobblehead
27. Danny Espinosa Washington Nationals SGA September 10, 2011 Bobblehead
28. Ed Ott Prince William Pirates 1985 Manager Autographed MLB Baseball
29. Handcrafted Afghan in Nationals’ Colors of Red, White and Blue

Aug 082012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 4-3 @ Pawtucket,
7:05 p.m.
Lannan (6-10, 5.24) vs.
Hernandez (1-1, 2.16)
Harrisburg Lost, 7-2 @ Richmond,
7:05 p.m.
Pucetas (7-4, 3.53) vs.
Kickham (9-8, 2.76)
Potomac Won, 5-1 @ Myrtle Beach,
7:05 p.m.
Karns (8-2, 1.70) vs.
Jackson (3-1, 4.79)
Hagerstown OFF DAY @ Charleston,
7:05 p.m.
Hill (9-6, 5.00) vs.
Wetherell (5-5, 6.22)
Auburn Won, 5-4 vs. Jamestown,
7:05 p.m.
Lee (1-0, 3.47) vs.
Steckenrider (0-1, 2.70)
GCL Nationals Won, 7-6 vs. GCL Marlins,
12:00 p.m.
TBD vs. TBD
DSL Nationals Won, 3-1 vs. DSL Mets1,
10:30 a.m.
TBD vs. TBD

Syracuse 4 Buffalo 3
• Maya (W, 10-8) 6+ IP, 7H, 3R, 3ER, 3BB, 4K, HR
• Garcia (SV, 8) 2IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Rivero 2-3, BB, RBI, SB
• Perez 2-5, R

Yunesky Maya won his fourth straight start as Syracuse edged Buffalo, 4-3. He gave up three runs on seven hits and three walks over six-plus innings for his 10th win, striking out four and letting up his 17th HR, a solo shot in the 3rd. The defense turned three double plays behind him and rallied for three runs in the fifth and a single run in the 6th. Carlos Rivero was the offensive star, going 2-for-3 with a walk, an RBI, and a stolen base.

Richmond 7 Harrisburg 2
• Wang (L, 1-3) 4⅔ IP, 7H, 7R, 6ER, 2BB, 4K
• Demny 1⅓ IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 3K, 1-0 IR-S
• Van Ostrand 3-4
• Goodwin 1-4, R, 2B, RBI

Despite facing the worst offense in the Eastern League, Chien-Ming Wang still got smoked like a cheap cigar in a 7-2 Harrisburg loss to Richmond. Wang was battered for seven runs on seven hits and two walks over four and 2/3rds innings. He can only be hidden on rehab until Saturday, when the Nationals must activate him, designate him for assignment, or transfer him to the 60-Day DL. Jimmy Van Ostrand celebrated his 28th birthday with a 3-for-4 game as the Senators were held to seven hits total. The Senators now trail the wild-card race by 5½ games.

Potomac 5 Myrtle Beach 1
• Meyer (W, 2-0) 6IP, 2H, R, ER, BB, 4K, WP
• Wort (SV, 7) 2IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 3K
• Martinson 1-2, R, 3B, 2BB, 2RBI, 2SB
• Rendon 2-3, 2R, 2B, BB

Potomac’s left side of the IF combined for three hits, three walks, and three runs scored in a 5-1 win over Myrtle Beach. Anthony Rendon singled, doubled, and drew a walk while Jason Martinson tripled and walked twice while stealing two bags and driving in two. Starter Alex Meyer won for the second time in four starts with his third quality start, giving up the sole Pelican run on two hits and a walk while setting down four on strikes. The win keeps pace with Wilmington, which took first place with a win and a Lynchburg loss. Roster moves: C Sam Palace placed on the 7-Day DL, 3B Anthony Rendon activated from 7-Day DL.

HAGERSTOWN SUNS — OFF DAY
It’s the second-to-last road trip outside of Maryland for the Suns, who spend the next four games in Charleston, South Carolina to take on the Riverdogs — a chance to fatten up against one of the Southern Division also-rans before returning home for the first of 17 straight divisional games.

Auburn 5 Jamestown 4
• Encarnacion 6IP, 6H, 3R, 3ER, BB, 5K
• Benincasa (W, 2-0) 2IP, H, 0R, 0BB, 3K
• Mesa 3-3, R, SB
• Pleffner 2-4, 2B, 2RBI
• McQuillan 2-4, R, RBI

A three-run 7th turned a 3-2 deficit into a 5-3 lead as Auburn held off Jamestown for a 5-4 win. Shawn Pleffner’s two-run double proved to be the gamewinner, as the big (6’5″) first baseman has gone 4-for-8 since his return from the DL. Robert Benincasa got the win with two scoreless innings of relief of starter Pedro Encarnacion, who gave up three runs over six innings on six hits and a walk. Narciso Mesa led the hit column with a 3-for-3 night, followed by Pleffner and Mike McQuillan, who both went 2-for-4. Auburn still leads the Pinckney division by 3½ games.

GCL Nationals 7 GCL Cardinals 6
• Vasquez 3⅓ IP, 3H, 4R, 4ER, 5BB, 2K, HR
• Mendez (W, 1-1) 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 3K
• Nix 2-5, R, 2-2B, RBI
• Eusebio 2-5, RBI

Austin Chubb’s RBI groundout in the 9th gave the G-Nats their fifth straight win, 7-6 over the G-Cards. The two teams combined for 13 runs, 13 hits, 11 walks issued, seven errors (six by the Cardinals) and 22 strikeouts (14 by the Nationals). Gilberto Mendez and Kevin DiCharry got the win and save repsectively as each struck out the side in a scoreless inning of work. Tony Nix, who scored the game-winning run, led the offense with two doubles in five at-bats.

DSL Nationals 3 DSL Cubs2 1
• Silvestre (W, 5-3) 5IP, 2H, 0R, BB, 6K
• Valdez (H, 1) 3IP, 4H, 1R, 0ER, 0BB, 2K
• Ramos (SV, 1) 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Bautista 2-4, RBI, 2SB
• Aguero 2-3, R

Three D-Nats pitchers combined to hold the D-Cubs2 squad to just a run on six hits in a 3-1 win. Hector Silvestre got the win with five scoreless inning pitched, Philips Valdez gave up an unearned run on four hits over three for the hold, while David Ramos notched his first save with a 1-2-3 ninth. Rafael Bautista and Younaifred Aguero were the two hitting stars again, both connecting for a pair of singles.

Aug 072012
 

With roughly 2½ to 4 weeks to go in the regular season for the seven Nationals affiliates, it’s time for the annual assessment of playoff chances.

As noted in the comments, this time of year you’re just as likely to see folks proclaim that winning in the minors is overrated as you’ll see folks insist that it’s actually underrated. I can’t help but notice that it seems to be inversely proportional to the playoff chances of the writer’s favorite team or organization.

Obviously, player development is the most important objective of the farm system, even if I’m sure folks can come up with seemingly contradictory examples (*cough*, Carlos Alvarez, *cough*, Chien-Ming Wang, *cough*). As a prospect follower, I believe there is something to be said for playing an extra week or two of heightened competition. As a sportswriter, I love writing about the pennant chase. As a fan, I love playoff baseball.

For the third straight summer, we’re looking at multiple teams having a chance at postseason play. Without further ado, here’s a look at the odds for each affiliate…

SYRACUSE
Perhaps without the litany of injuries in Washington, the Chiefs might have had a chance at the playoffs with Corey Brown, Tyler Moore, and Bryce Harper in the lineup every day for another few weeks together. They’re still mathematically alive, as last September demonstrated that an 8½ game lead can vanish in a month. But with an elimination number of 21 with 28 games left, the odds are very slim. The Chiefs’ mission is keeping the potential call-ups healthy and ready for a September in DC.

HARRISBURG
A month ago, this team looked like a lock to make the playoffs, reeling off eight straight wins to begin July. They would then lose 10 of the next 11 and by month’s end fell from 1st place to 5th place in the E.L. West. They’re currently 4½ games out of wild-card contention and have eight (8) players on the DL, of which three (Chris Rahl, Jeff Kobernus, and Cameron Selik) are nearly certain not to return. Injuries and promotions (Eury Perez, Zach Walters) aside, the inability of the team to score in close ballgames and/or with runners in scoring position does not bode well for the team if it were to make it to the playoffs.

The good news is that they play their last 12 games against the two teams they’re chasing (Bowie, Richmond) but they have to make hay starting today against the Flying Squirrels. Ordinarily (see below), the talk would be about home-field advantage, but the Senators have played much better on the road (31-26) than at home (24-34) all season long. A similar showing in the six games against playoff contenders (Akron, Reading) in the next nine home games could make the last dozen overall merely an exercise in spoiling the hopes of their divisional foes.

POTOMAC
Potomac is fortunate in that the Carolina League chooses to have two four-team divisions despite having a balanced schedule. What this means it’s that it’s possible for a team to make the playoffs with a losing record or an inferior record to the other second-place if the balance of power happens to be in concentrated in one division, as it is this season and largely has been the past few seasons. There are 13 home games and 14 road games left for Potomac, and nine games left against the two teams they’re trying to beat out for the wild card. There are no more games against first-half winner and first-place Lynchburg.

This is significant because the Carolina League has not only reverted to a best-of-three for the first round, but a double half winner gets to host all three potential games. The first-half winner gets the choice of whether to host Game One, with the other team hosting Game Two and the potential Game Three. That’s a strong incentive to not mail in the second half as a certain Baltimore affiliate has in recent years. Should the P-Nats rally to win the division, as it did in 2011, the Hillcats might do well to gamble on opening in Woodbridge and having at least two chances to win in Lynchburg.

HAGERSTOWN
Hagerstown has been in contention all season long and has been hitting all season long, but the pitching has been unreliable. Fourteen different pitchers have made two or more starts for the Suns. Two starters have been sent up to Potomac (Alex Meyer, Nathan Karns), along with the team’s All-Star closer (Aaron Barrett). The replacements have had mixed success, but if this team is going to make the postseason, it will have to what it has done all season long and outslug its mound mistakes.

The Suns have had the more traditional home-road split — 36-18 at the Muni, 30-30 on the road. Fourteen of its last 25 are at home, and 19 of those 25 games are against divisional opponents. Like Potomac, they have no more games against the current first-place team, West Virginia, and just three more against the team that they’re tied for second place with (Hickory). Unlike Potomac, they do have a chance to knock back the first-half winners (Greensboro), if they make a run at winning both halves, though they’ll have to do it on the road. Overall, things look good to get to the playoffs, but getting past the first round is far less certain.

AUBURN
The Doubledays have been in the driver’s seat for the Pinckney Division all season long. They hold a 3½ game lead over second-place State College and have a favorable schedule (15 of 29 at home) the rest of the way. The problem is that with both rounds being best-of-three, it doesn’t matter how well they’re playing now. It’s how well they’re playing a month from now. Say what you will about them being one of the oldest teams in the league, though the gap between them and the league average is probably smaller than you might think (21.8 vs. 21.1 for the bats, 21.7 vs. 21.3 for the arms).

GCL NATIONALS
A four-game win streak has brought them under 10 games behind in the GCL East and to seven back in the wild card race, but this team only gets to the postseason as spectators.

DSL NATIONALS
The D-Nats have been a slightly better than .500 team for most of the season with a team that’s at league average for pitcher age and below league average for hitters. Unfortunately, in the DSL there are half-a-dozen teams that are .556+ (a.k.a. a 90-win team) and roughly the same number that are sub-.383 (a.k.a. a 100-loss team).