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 122012
 

Steve Souza Jr. has been named the South Atlantic League’s Batter of the Week, the second straight week a Nationals farmhand has earned that honor.

Souza refused to single for the week (July 2-8), hitting four doubles and five home runs last week for a total of nine runs scored and 12 RBI and line .of .333/.455/1.037. He’s the second Sun to earn weekly honors, joining Alex Meyer, who earned Pitcher of the Week honors for June 11-17.

The 2007 third-round pick out of Cascade High School in Everett, WA is currently riding a seven-game hit streak and is batting .293/.396/.756 for the month of July.

Jul 122012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse ALL-STAR BREAK vs. Scranton/WB,
6:00 p.m.
TBD vs. TBD
Harrisburg ALL-STAR BREAK vs. Richmond,
7:00 p.m.
TBD vs.
Kickham (6-7, 2.96)
Potomac Lost, 6-2 @ Wilmington,
7:05 p.m.
Ray (3-5, 4.87) vs.
Ferguson (0-0, -.–)
Hagerstown Won, 4-3 @ Greensboro,
7:05 p.m.
Hill (9-4, 4.72) vs.
Urena (5-4, 2.96)
Auburn Won, 9-5 @ Aberdeen,
7:05 p.m.
Fischer (0-1, 4.91) vs.
Coffey (0-3, 12.66)
GCL Nationals Won, 7-3 @ GCL Marlins,
12:00 p.m.
Hudgins (0-2, 4.70) vs.
Jackson (0-1, 1.50)
DSL Nationals Won, 15-5 vs. DSL Ariz./Cincy,
10:30 a.m.
Gomez (3-2, 3.45) vs.
Ramirez (1-2, 1.32)

SYRACUSE — ALL STAR BREAK
• Brown 0-4
• Rivero 0-2, 2K
• Negrych 1-2,
• Duke 1IP, 2H, R, ER, 0BB, 0K

The Pacific Coast League defeated the International League 3-0 in the Triple-A All Star Game. All four Chiefs saw game action, as indicated above.

HARRISBURG — ALL STAR BREAK
• Perez 0-4
• Kobernus 1-2
• Rahl 1-4, RBI
• Davis 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Nelo (L, 0-1) 0IP, 2H, R, ER, BB, 0K

The Eastern Division rallied for a 5-4 win in the last of the 9th, with Harrisburg’s Hector Nelo taking the loss with a run on two hits and a walk.

Wilmington 6 Potomac 2
• Olbrychowski 6⅔ IP, 9H, 6R, 5ER, 2BB, 5K, HR
• Carr 1⅓ IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, K, 1-0 IR-S
• Freitas 3-4, 2B, 2RBI
• Sanchez 2-4, SB

Potomac led this one briefly, 2-1, but the Blue Rocks pantsed the P-Nats with five unanswered runs for a 6-2 win. Adam Olbrychowski took the loss with all six runs allowed (five earned) on nine hits and two walks while striking out five. David Freitas drove in both Potomac runs while going 3-for-4 with a double.

Hagerstown 4 Greensboro 3
• Turnbull 6IP, 7H, 3R, 3ER, 2BB, 2K
• Bates (W, 4-2) 2IP, 4H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Barrett (SV, 16) 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Miller 1-2, R, 2B, BB, SF, 2RBI
• Ortega 1-3, BB, RBI, SB

With three runs in the 7th and a run in the 8th, Hagerstown went from being nearly no-hit to a 4-3 win over Greensboro. Steve Souza broke up the no-no with a leadoff single in the 7th, with Justin Miller following him with an RBI double to break up the shutout. In the following frame, Miller broke the 3-3 tie with a sac fly that sent in Billy Burns, who had led off the 8th with a single. Colin Bates got the win in relief of Kylin Turnbull while Aaron Barrett pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his league-leading 16th save.

Auburn 9 Aberdeen 5
• Encarnacion 4⅔ IP, 10H, 4R, 3ER, BB, 5K, HR
• Smith (W, 3-1) 1⅓ IP, 2H, R, ER, BB, 2K, 2-0 IR-S
• Henke (H, 2) 2IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Poole 3-5, 2B, 2RBI
• E. Martinez 2-4, R, BB
• Pleffner 2-5, 2R, RBI

Auburn batted around in the 7th for six-run inning and a 9-5 win over Aberdeen. The Ironbirds strafed starter Pedro Encarnacion for four runs (three earned) on 10 hits and a walk. Jason Smith picked up the win in relief while Robert Benincasa snuffed a late Aberdeen charge in the 9th for the save. Travis Poole paced the offense with a 3-for-5 night, including a double and two RBI.

GCL Nationals 7 GCL Marlins 3
• Schwartz 3IP, 6H, 3R, 2ER, 0BB, K
• Martin (W, 1-0) 2IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 4K
• Mesa 2-3, 2B, RBI
• Nieto 2-4, 2R, BB

A four-run 5th broke open 3-3 tie as the G-Nats downed the G-Marlins, 7-3. Blake Schwartz got the start but allowed all three Marlins runs on six hits over three innings. Rafael Martin led a trio of relievers that combined for six shutout and hitless innings with eight strikeouts. Eight of the nine G-Nats batters hit safely, with Narciso Mesa, Adrian Nieto, Jean Carlos Valdez and Will Piwnica-Worms each collecting two hits while the team compiled 12 total.

DSL Nationals 15 DSL Giants 5
• Valerio 4IP, H, 0R, 2BB, 3K
• Valdez (W, 1-1) 5IP, 8H, 5R, 2ER, 3BB, 3K, HR
• Marmolejos-Diaz 3-5, 3R, 2B, 3B, 5RBI
• A. Martinez 3-6, 3R
• Cerda 2-4, 2R, BB, RBI

The D-Nats snapped their eight-game skid with a 15-5 beatdown of the D-Giants. “Orange” Marmolejos-Diaz singled, doubled, and tripled while driving in five to lead the 13-hit attack. Starter Maximo Valerio threw four scoreless, allowing just a hit and two walks while striking out three. Phillips Valdez completed the game and got the win, giving up five runs (two earned) on eight hits and three walks.

Jul 112012
 

Things have been real busy at the home office of Nationals Prospects, but it occurred to me that I haven’t done a follow-up to the “First Impressions” column from May. With the lull afforded by the All-Star break, it’s time to fix that problem.

Everybody and their grandmother wants to know when __________ will be promoted. The three most common: Matt Skole, Brian Goodwin, and Alex Meyer. Perhaps the move of Carlos Alvarez up from Auburn to Hagerstown concurring with Skole’s placement on the DL is a signal that a move is coming. Potomac does return home this coming Monday, which is seven days after Skole last played. Or it could just be that he’s legitimately hurt. But there was no mention of an injury in the game report by the Hagerstown newspaper…

I tease because I have no other recourse. The truth is that I rarely get much notice, and sometimes I find out before the team employees do (well, except for the clubbies ;-). But my working assumption is that it’s most likely to be one or none of those three that gets promoted, informed by the pattern of the past three seasons which is (altogether now) one level per year below AA.

Back to the Potomac players & pitchers. Here’s an update on what I’m seeing…

FIRST BASE
Justin Bloxom has been moved up and it was earned. Stephen King has been moved down. Evaluating this has been a battle between the heart and mind. The heart hopes for him to hit like he’s been unfairly demoted and in the process, helping the P-Nats to a second-half playoff run. The mind knows that this has been a pattern: someone from AA gets dropped down to finish out the season (e.g. Sean Rooney, Bill Rhinehart). Defensively, it’s been about what you’d expect – he’s improving relatively quickly (as you’d expect from an athletic IF), but there have been moments of cringe. Offensively, he’s showing that he’s seen AA pitching and hitting the High-A pitchers’ mistakes.

SECOND BASE
Adrian Sanchez has played here the most, but not the best. The word is out that he likes the inside heat, but he’s starting to adjust and drive the ball the other way. Defensively, he has simply not impressed, and is visibly taking steps to compensate for his lack of range, often playing a step or two onto the outfield grass.

SHORTSTOP
This has been a shared position all season long. First with Zach Walters and Rick Hague, now with Jason Martinson and Hague. A lot of this is because there are more left-side IF prospects than positions, which we knew all along. Walters got promoted because of his bat, and while he showed flashes of brilliance on defense, he also committed errors in spades. It’s a similar story for both Hague and Martinson — offense is not the problem, but the defense is uneven. Hague has shown more promise at his secondary position (2B) than Martinson (3B), but the sample sizes for both are very small (16G and 4G).

THIRD BASE
Amid the (constant) carping, campaigning, and complaining about Skole, Blake Kelso has been quietly doing his job. He’s probably never going to hit for power, but I can understand why the Nationals are trying to keep him playing: He’s a decent baserunner, he plays relatively steady-if-unstellar defense and could make for a UI sometime down the line. He’s been regularly pushed aside for rehabbers and the shortstops, so the inference that he’s “blocking” anybody is simply untrue.

LEFT FIELD
Kevin Keyes has a ton of power and is passable on defense, but he’s an all-or-nothing hitter and strikes out a lot. J.P. Ramirez is back and while better than he was at this point last year, most of that is attributable to being a year older and 10-15 lbs lighter. Neither has shown a tremendous amount of improvement.

CENTERFIELD
The link that put in yesterday’s comments section regarding Brett Mooneyham in regards to reality vs. expectations comes to mind. In the offseason, Michael Taylor received scads of praise and was given comps to Mike Cameron and Devon White. Relative to that lofty praise, Michael Taylor has fallen way short. Considering that he’s a convert to the position and turned 21 in March, he’s going through some growing pains. There is still time for him to turn things around and put up the numbers that folks want/demand, but I’m satisfied with Sickels’ assessment that “he’s just scratching the surface,” as he runs well, covers a LOT of ground in CF, and has the kind of arm you’d expect from a former SS.

RIGHT FIELD
This has mostly been the province of Randolph Oduber, who seemed to be turning the corner in June but has fallen into a slump with the the turn of the month. He plays hard, he runs out every ground ball, can easily play any of the three OF positions, but just hasn’t quite mastered the strike zone. I’d like to think there may be other reasons for why he’s been unable to break through, and there probably are, but it probably is that simple.

CATCHER
David Freitas has done little to change my mind on two things: (1) he can hit and get on base (2) he’s not likely to stick at catcher beyond this level. I know the raw numbers don’t agree with that assessment, but having watched him catch now for more than half a season, it’s my gut feeling, especially knowing that he’s a former first baseman and could be converted with much more ease than others.

BENCH
Not much new to report here, especially since it’s still basically the backup catcher and utility infielder. Erick Fernandez has replaced Beau Seabury but Francisco Soriano is still the utility guy. Fernandez has played sparingly and fits both the role and the requirements of a second-string backstop. Soriano started the season very slowly but has since returned to form, which is good enough to sub in at several positions, won’t kill you on defense, and uses his speed well.

STARTING PITCHERS
Adam Olbrychowski — Will get lit up from time to time by the better Carolina League offenses, but can generally be counted on for six innings each time out and will do well against the teams he should.

Trevor Holder — Finally got the promotion after becoming the team’s anchor in May and June. In addition to getting healthy, he got there by no longer doing the things that hurt (leaving the ball up, issuing walks) and kept doing the things that served him well (keeping the ball down, enticing hitters to chase).

Matt Grace — Has had moments where you think he’s turned the corner, but more often than not, it feels like he’s gone up in flames. The trend of giving up a LOT more hits than innings pitched has gone on for a season and a half. It would be one thing if those were mostly singles, but to often they’re extra-base hits to the gaps. As I said in the offseason, he may be better served by returning to the bullpen, where he spent much of his collegiate career.

Matt Swynenberg — Shoulder soreness shelved him in June, but it appears that he’s gotten strong enough to return, especially after a pair of 4+ inning outings. When he’s on, he’ll get ahead and force batters to swing at pitches low and/or away. When he’s off, much like Grace, there’s not much doubt about it: the hitters will eat him alive.

Robbie Ray — One of the disturbing trends has been the dropoff in strikeouts. The K is a very sexy stat, often overrated because some pitchers sacrifice efficiency to achieve them, but it’s concerning when a pitcher gets three or less when going five or more innings, which has happened to Ray four times in 12 starts. Coming out of the all-star break, Ray was giving up a lot of runs early and then settling down. Like Taylor, it’s important to note that he’s still young for the level and also that he missed all of April.

Nathan Karns — Has become the prospect du jour thanks to the high K numbers (52 in 40⅔ IP for Potomac, including 31 over the last three starts of June) but what should make more people excited is that he seems to finally be healthy and is going deep into games, including an 8-inning, 29-batters-faced start in late June. Throws hard but is starting to get serious separation from the the heat to his breaking pitches, which is what’s helping him pile up the strikeouts.

RELIEF PITCHERS
This has gone from a strength to a question mark, particularly in the late innings.

Rob Wort — Since the All-Star game, he’s been foundering: three blown saves, two losses, and an ERA spiking from 1.07 to 2.58. Deception has always been a part of his game, but hitters at this level don’t miss pitches left up and over the plate, and that’s been the problem.

Neil Holland — Was nearly perfect in May, but has since reverted to something more human. Arguably the most reliable reliever that’s been there the whole year.

Paul Applebee — Hasn’t pitched in nearly a month and his last five outings were all pretty, both indications that he’s either hurt or done for the year or both. Struggled with the long ball (8 in 36IP).

Jimmy Barthmaier and Joe Testa — Both are older pitchers that are trying to reinvent themselves as side-armed relievers. Barthmaier, helped in part by have the long, lean physique that seems to help mechanically, has been mostly successful. Testa, who is now in Year Two of the experiment, has not.

Jul 112012
 
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 @ Wilmington,
7:05 p.m.
Olbrychowski (4-6, 5.43) vs.
Pounders (1-2, 6.08)
Hagerstown Won, 9-7 @ Greensboro,
7:05 p.m.
Turnbull (4-4, 4.85) vs.
Lowell (3-4, 4.31)
Auburn OFF DAY @ Aberdeen,
7:05 p.m.
Encarnacion (2-0, 0.55)
Guzman (0-0, 1.17)
GCL Nationals Won, 3-1 vs. GCL Marlins,
12:00 p.m.
Schwartz (0-2, 6.75) vs.
Fox (0-1, 8.53)
DSL Nationals Lost, 2-1
(11 inn.)
@ DSL Giants,
10:30 a.m.
Valerio (0-4, 5.47) vs.
Guzman (1-2, 3.41)

SYRACUSE — ALL STAR BREAK
The Triple-A All Star game is tonight in Buffalo, NY with Corey Brown, Zach Duke, Jim Negrych, and Carlos Rivero representing Syracuse.

HARRISBURG — ALL STAR BREAK
The Double-A All Star game is tonight in Reading, PA with Jeff Kobernus, Hector Nelo, Eury Perez, Kevin Pucetas, Chris Rahl, Danny Rosenbaum representing Harrisburg.

POTOMAC — OFF DAY
After the first off day of the second half, Potomac takes to the road for a four-game set against the Wilmington Blue Rocks.

Hagerstown 9 Greensboro 7
• McKenzie 4⅔ IP, 2H, R, ER, 5BB, K
• Meza (W, 5-1) 1⅓ IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, K, 3-0 IR-S
• Barrett (SV, 15) ⅓ IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 0K, 3-3 IR-S
• Goodwin 3-5, 2R, 2-2B, BB
• Miller 2-4, 2R, 2B, HR, BB, 3RBI
• Dykstra 2-3, 2R, 2B, 3BB, 2RBI, SB(25)

The disturbing pattern of the bats building a big lead and bullpen giving it away continues for the Hagerstown Suns in a 9-7 escape from Greensboro. The Suns led this one 9-1 after 6½ innings before allowing three runs to the Grasshoppers in both the 8th and 9th innings. Christian Meza got the win with four outs in the middle innings, stranding the bases loaded in the 5th. Hagerstown pounded out 12 hits, led by Justin Miller’s 2-for-4 night with a double, walk, two runs scored, and three RBI. Starter Chris McKenzie went the first four and 2/3rds, giving up two hits and a run, but walking five while striking out one. Roster moves: 3B/DH Carlos Alvarez transferred from Auburn, 3B Matt Skole placed on the 7-Day DL.

AUBURN — OFF DAY
It’s first of three against the Aberdeen Ironbirds, the furthest point south on the New York-Penn League circuit. Roster moves: UT Mike McQuillan promoted from GCL Nationals, IF Carlos Lopez activated from DL, LHP Jack McGeary assigned from GCL

GCL Nationals 3 GCL Cardinals 1
• Mieses (W, 1-2) 5IP, 3H, 0R, 0BB, 3K
• Dicharry (SV, 2) ⅓ IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 0K, 2-0 IR-S
• Nieto 1-3, R, BB, HR, RBI
• Piwnica-Worms 0-1, 3BB

With five scoreless frames from the start, strong relief, and a balanced offense, the G-Nats defeated the G-Cards, 3-1. Adalberto Miese allowed just three hits and struck out three, with no walks and no runs allowed to get the win. Eight of nine batters reached base safely, totaling seven hits and four walks, with Adrian Nieto connecting on a solo HR. Kevin DiCharry came on in the 9th to strand the tying runs and earn his second save.

DSL Giants 2 DSL Nationals 1 (11 inn.)
• J. Rodriguez 4⅔ IP, 3H, 1R, 0ER, 2BB, 7K, HBP
• Benitez 3⅓ IP, 0H, 0R, 3BB, 4K
• K. Rodriguez (L, 2-2) 3IP, 3H, R, ER, 3BB, 4K
• A. Martinez 1-4, R, HR, BB, RBI, 3K
• Bautista 1-2, 2BB, SB

The tailspin continues for the DSL Nationals as they fell 2-1 in 10 innings for their eighth straight loss. The three D-Nats pitchers combined for eight walks and 15 strikeouts, with Jefry Rodriguez giving up the first run on three hits and two walks over four and 2/3rds and Kelvin Rodriguez giving up the second on three hits and three walks over the final three frames. Andres Martinez’s solo HR in the bottom of the 6th accounted for the D-Nats scoring, as they left on seven and went 0-for-8 with RISP.

Jul 102012
 

With some luck, some timely hitting, and great pitching, the Potomac Nationals closed out their six-game homestand with a 2-1 victory that featured a scary/bizarre finish.

Anthony Gallas stroked a two-out single to left fielder J.P. Ramirez, who like most LFs, doesn’t have the plus arm. Barrelling in from second base, however, was Giovanny Urshela, a stocky infielder who doesn’t have plus speed. Urshela beat the throw. Though he went in feet first, Urshela collided head-to-helmet with catcher David Freitas, and crumpled at the point of contact.

Freitas, who had dropped the ball, picked it up and tagged Urshela out. Game over. A few minutes later, Urshela got up amid the surreal scene of the Potomac players celebrating the win while coaches, umpires, and fans nervously waited to see if the 20-year-old was okay. He received the respectful cheer as he walked up and away.

It was sour moment amid an otherwise sweet pitcher’s duel. The Indians’ #29 prospect Matt Packer was a late insert, recently recalled from the Arizona League after a couple of rehab outings. He thew three perfect innings with three strikeouts.

Nathan Karns took the hill for Potomac and turned in his fourth quality start in his last five appearances, giving up the lone Mudcat run on three hits and a walk while striking out five. He retired the leadoff batter in six of seven innings.

As the lede hinted, Potomac got a little luck in this one. After a J.P. Ramirez single in the sixth (the first of two on the night), Francisco Soriano launched a would-be flyout to left-center that Carlos Moncrief lost in the twilight. It fell in for a triple that tied the game. Blake Kelso would follow with a sac fly for what proved to be the gamewinner.

These two teams meet again on August 20-23, which bears mention because in addition to the play at the plate in the 9th, tempers flared in the 7th when shortstop Jason Martinson upended his counterpart Tony Wolters to break up a double play. While certainly rough, the play looked clean. Perhaps Wolters took exception to Martinson NOT saying something as he walked away.

Drew Storen made his third appearance in the 8th, working around a one-out error by Kelso with a little help from Carolina baserunner Delvi Cid, who kept going from first to third on a groundout to first baseman Stephen King, apparently missing either that the ball didn’t go through or the coach signalling him to retreat to second. Instead, King fired across the diamond for your “routine” 3-A-5 double play.

Neil Holland, fresh from his return from Syracuse, pitched the ninth and gave up the two hits that created the play at the plate, but got the save.

With an off day today, the P-Nats head up 95 to visit the Blue Rocks for a four-game set from Wednesday to Saturday before returning to the Pfitz next Monday.

Jul 102012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse ALL-STAR BREAK ALL-STAR BREAK N/A
Harrisburg Lost, 4-1 ALL-STAR BREAK N/A
Potomac Won, 2-1 OFF DAY N/A
Hagerstown OFF DAY @ Greensboro,
7:05 p.m.
McKenzie (2-2, 8.19) vs.
Lyman (1-2, 8.53)
Auburn Lost, 4-1 OFF DAY N/A
GCL Nationals Lost, 1-0 @ GCL Cardinals,
12:00 p.m.
Mieses (0-2, 6.32) vs.
TBD
DSL Nationals Lost, 12-2 vs. DSL Giants,
10:30 a.m.
J. Rodriguez (0-1, 3.34) vs.
Mella (1-1, 2.37)

SYRACUSE — ALL STAR BREAK
IF Jim Negrych has been added to the International League All-Star roster, joining fellow Chiefs Corey Brown, Zach Duke and Carlos Rivero. Roster move: As predicted, RHP Neil Holland was returned to the Potomac Nationals yesterday.

Erie 4 Harrisburg 1
• Rosenbaum (L, 7-6) 6IP, 6H, 4R, 2ER, 3BB, 3K
• McCoy 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Walters 2-4, 2B
• Van Ostrand 1-2, R, BB, RBI

A four-run 4th put the brakes on an eight-game winning streak as Erie dropped Harrisburg, 4-1. Danny Rosenbaum took the loss, giving up all four runs (two earned) on six hits and three walks while striking out three over six innings. The Sens bats were held to just five hits, with Zach Walters the only multihit Senator (2-for-4) and Jimmy Van Ostrand (1-for-2) registering the sole RBI. Roster move: RHP Rafael Martin assigned to GCL Nationals.

Potomac 2 Carolina 1
• Karns (W, 4-2) 7IP, 3H, R, ER, BB, 5K
• Storen 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Holland (SV, 3) 1IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Ramirez 2-3, R, SB, OF assist at HP
• Soriano 1-3, R, 3B

A wild finish Last Night In Woodbridge.

HAGERSTOWN — OFF DAY
After a five-game homestand that saw the Suns sweep the Legends, it’s an eight-game trek to Greensboro for four and a rematch against Lexington from Saturday to Tuesday before returning to the Muni next Thursday.

Hudson Valley 4 Auburn 1
• Monar (L, 1-2) 5⅓ IP, 5H, 2R, 2ER, 3BB, 5K
• Self 2IP, H, 0R, BB, 2K, PO at 1B
• Manuel 2-4, R
• Kieboom 1-3, RBI

The Auburn Doubledays lost back-to-back games at home for the first time this season, dropping a 4-1 decision to the Hudson Valley Renegades. Blake Monar took the loss, allowing two runs on five hits and three walks over five and a 1/3rd innings while setting down five on strikes. The Doubledays were held to just five hits, however, with Craig Manuel going 2-for-4 and Spencer Kieboom driving in the sole Auburn run. Today is the first of just three scheduled off days (the other two coming next month with the NYPL All-Star Game) as the Doubledays make the first of two road trips outside of Western NY/PA Pennsylvania with a pair of three-game series against the Ironbirds (MD) and the Tigers (CT) starting on Wednesday.

GCL Cardinals 1 GCL Nationals 0
• Vasquez (L, 0-4) 5IP, 3H, 1R, 0ER, 3BB, 2K
• R. Martin 1IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Hollins 2IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 3K
• McQuillan 2-4
• Brooks 2-4

For the second straight game, the scoree was 1-0, but this time the G-Nats were on the losing end, falling to the first-place G-Cards. Daury Vasquez gave up the sole run on three hits and three walks while striking out two. Rafael Martin made his first appearance since being placed on the restricted list for Harrisburg in early June, tossing a scoreless inning. The G-Nats mustered just six hits (all singles), with Mike McQuillan and James Brooks hitting safely twice and Wilmer Difo and Narciso Mesa both singling once.

DSL Yankees1 12 DSL Nationals 2
• Suero (L, 4-2) 3⅓ IP, 2H, 3R, 3ER, BB, 5K, HR
• A. Martinez 2-4
• Marmolejos-Diaz 1-4, R, HR, RBI

A trio of trespassers crossed home plate in three straight innings as the DSL Nationals were pounded, 12-2 by the DSL Yankees1. Wander Suero was the first of four D-Nats pitchers to get [w]itch-slapped, charged with the loss on three runs allowed over three and a 1/3rd innings on two hits and three walks, though he did fan five. Andres Martinez led the the hit column with a 2-for-4 game, while “Orange” Marmolejos-Diaz connected for a solo HR.

Jul 092012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 4-1 OFF DAY N/A
Harrisburg Won, 3-1 @ Erie,
7:05 p.m.
Rosenbaum (7-5, 3.41) vs.
Carrillo (0-1, 9.45)
Potomac Lost, 3-2 vs. Carolina,
7:05 p.m.
Karns (3-2, 2.67) vs.
Roberts (3-5, 6.30)
Hagerstown Won, 6-3 OFF DAY N/A
Auburn Lost, 7-2 vs. Hudson Valley,
7:05 p.m.
Monar (1-1, 3.65) vs.
Ames (1-0, 0.95)
GCL Nationals OFF DAY vs. GCL Cardinals,
12:00 p.m.
Vasquez (0-3, 3.46) vs.
De Los Santos (1-1, 3.68)
DSL Nationals OFF DAY vs. DSL Yankees1,
10:30 a.m.
Suero (4-1, 3.09) vs.
Canela (2-1, 1.55)

Pawtucket 4 Syracuse 1
• Maya 7IP, 9H, 4R, 4ER, 0BB, 0K, HR
• Bibens-Dirkx 1IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 0K
• Hoffpauir 2-4, RBI
• Teahen 2-4
• Bynum 2-4, R,

Yunesky Maya went seven innings but also gave up a HR in his fifth straight game, as Pawtucket beat Syracuse, 4-1. Maya gave up all four runs on nine hits as the 30-year-old Cuban neither walked not struck out a batter. Jarrett Hoffpauir, Mark Teahen, and Seth Bynum each went 2-for-4 but the Chiefs managed just seven hits total. It’s the AAA all-star break for the next three days with the Chiefs resuming with a five-game sequence against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, including a suspended-game doubleheader on Thursday.

Harrisburg 3 Erie 1
• Perry (W, 1-1) 5IP, 2H, 0R, 2BB, 3K
• VanAllen (H, 2) 2IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Lozada 1-3, R, HR, 2RBI
• Bloxom 1-4, R, HR, RBI

The Senators haven’t lost since last month, taking a 3-1 decision for their 8th straight win. All three runs came via the longball, with Jose Lozada connecting on a two-run shot in the 5th and Justin Bloxom going deep again in the 9th. Ryan Perry got his first professional win as a starter with five scoreless innings, allowing two hits and two walks while striking out three. Corey VanAllen and Erik Davis both got holds while Zech Zinicola gave up a solo shot in the 9th but was credited with the save (#2).

Carolina 3 Potomac 2
• Grace (L, 4-8) 5+ IP, 3H, 2R, 2ER, 2BB, 2K
• Swynenberg 4IP, 2H, R, ER, 2BB, 4K, HR, 1-0 IR-S
• Kelso 1-3, SB(22)
• Sanchez 1-3, 2B, BB, 2RBI

After flirting with a no-hitter for five innings, Matt Grace hit the wall in the sixth with a single and back-to-back doubles. The Mudcats would score twice in the 6th and once in the 7th on a HR. That last run would prove to be the difference as the P-Nats rallied for two on a two-run double by Adrian Sanchez in the 9th, but fell short 3-2. Grace would suffer the loss, his 8th, giving up two runs on three hits over five-plus innings. Matt Swynenberg stranded a runner in the 6th and allow one run (a home run in the 7th) on two hits while walking two and striking out four over the last four frames.

Hagerstown 6 Lexington 3
• Hansen 4⅓ IP, 4H, 3R, 3ER, 6BB, 2K
• Mirowski (W, 2-0) 2IP, 2H, 0R, 2BB, 4K, 2-0 IR-S
• Holt (SV, 2) 2⅔ IP, H, R, ER, BB, K, HR, 3-0 IR-S
• Ramsey 3-4, RBI
• Palace 2-4, R

With a pair of three-run rallies and four and 2/3rds scoreless innings of relief, the Suns completed the five-game sweep of the Legends, 6-3. Matt Skole, Steve Souza, and Justin Miller each homered to highlight the offense. Bobby Hansen Jr. couldn’t go the requisite five, falling two outs short as the 22-y.o. southpaw issued six walks over four and a 1/3rd innings, but kept Lexington off the board after a three-run first. Richie Mirowski stranded two runners and went two innings to earn the win while Greg Holt escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the 7th with a double play and finished the game for his second save. If you blinked, or had the sound off to not have to listen to Rick Sutcliffe and Aaron Boone prattle on about players they clearly never saw before, you might have missed Alex Meyer’s six-pitch outing in last night’s Future’s Game.

Hudson Valley 7 Auburn 2
• Jordan (L, 0-1) 3IP, 5H, 3R, 3ER, 0BB, 4K
• Rauh 5IP, 5H, R, ER, 2BB, 4K
• Alvarez 3-4, R, 2B
• Poole 1-2, RBI

Hudson Valley put up a crooked number in the first and last innings in a 7-2 win over Auburn. Starter Taylor Jordan suffered the loss, giving up three first-inning runs on five hits while pitching three innings total, walking none, and striking out four. The New York-Penn League’s oldest and most expensive organizational guy (OG) led the hit column, going 3-for-4 with a double and a run scored, The Doubledays offense was otherwise abysmal: just five other hits from guys not born during the Reagan administration, eight runners left on base, and a 1-for-12 mark with RISP.

GCL NATIONALS — OFF DAY
After a 4-2 span in their first week, it’s been 2-10 in the last two weeks for the GCL Nationals as they’ll face the Cardinals, Marlins, and Astros with home games on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

DSL NATIONALS — OFF DAY
Six straight losses have dropped the D-Nats under .500 (15-16) as they look to get their first win in July this week with a five-game week that features a rematch against the DSL Yankees1 and a pair of games against the DSL Giants and the DSL Arizona/Cincinnati co-op.

Jul 082012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 3-2 @ Pawtucket,
1:05 p.m.
Maya (6-6, 3.58) vs.
Duckworth (7-2, 3.53)
Harrisburg Won, 5-3
(10 inn.)
@ Erie,
1:35 p.m.
Perry (0-1, 2.31) vs.
Cooper (2-1, 5.06)
Potomac Won, 4-3 vs. Carolina,
1:05 p.m.
Grace (4-7, 6.28) vs.
Rayl (4-7, 4.45)
Hagerstown Won, 9-6 vs. Lexington,
1:05 p.m.
Hansen (2-0, 3.75) vs.
Dufek (5-1, 5.26)
Auburn Won, 8-7
(10 inn.)
vs. Hudson Valley,
6:05 p.m.
Jordan (0-0, 2.84) vs.
Guerrieri (0-1, 0.90)
GCL Nationals Lost, 1-0
(12 inn.)
OFF DAY N/A
DSL Nationals Lost, 6-0 OFF DAY N/A


Pawtucket 3 Syracuse 2

• Roark (L, 4-11) 6+IP, 4H, 3R, 2ER, 3BB, 3K
• Holland 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Rivero 2-4, R, 2B
• Negrych 0-2, 2BB, RBI

One bad inning was enough to decide this one as the Chiefs were edged by the PawSox, 3-2. Tanner Roark took the loss when he failed to retire any of the five batters he faced in the 7th, leaving with the bases loaded and a 2-2 tie. Hassan Pena got a rehabbing Jacoby Ellsbury to pop up but couldn’t get Jose “No, my Dad is not Julio” Iglesias out, sending in what proved to be the gamewinner with a single to center. Syracuse actually outhit Pawtucket 8-5, with Carlos Rivero leading the hit column with a 2-for-4 night, though he committed an error in the PawSox’s three-run 7th. RHP Neil Holland was assigned to Syracuse from Potomac. Like most A+ to AAA moves, as well as the All-Star break starting tomorrow, this is likely to be an up-and-back maneuver.

Harrisburg 5 Erie 3 (10 inn.)
• Demny 8IP, 7H, 3R, 2ER, 2BB, 5K
• Gilliam (W, 3-7) 1IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 0K
• Nelo (SV, 12) 1IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 1K
• Leon 2-4, R, 2B, BB, 2RBI
• Rahl 2-4, R, 2B, SAC
• Bloxom 1-4, R, HR, BB, 2RBI

Make it seven straight for the Senators, as they rallied to tie in the 9th and win in the 10th, 5-3 over the Seawolves. Justin Bloxom’s one-out solo shot in the 9th took starter Paul Demny off the hook, tying the game at 3-3. Demny was knocked to the mat with a three-run third, but got up and held Erie scoreless for the next five innings, allowing seven hits and two walks total while striking out five. Sean Nicol and Destin Hood led off the 10th with back-to-back singles, but after a Chris Rahl sacrifice and Nicol getting erased at the plate, the Seawolves hit Jeff Kobernus to load the bases, then issued RBI walks to Sandy Leon and Bloxom. Hector Nelo pitched around a hit and a walk in the last of the 10th to nail it down and earn his 12th save.

Potomac 4 Carolina 3
• Holder 7IP, 6H, R, ER, 3BB, 8K
• Storen (BS, 1; W, 1-0) 1IP, 1H, 2R, 1ER, BB, 0K
• Barthmaier (SV, 3) 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Keyes 1-2, R, HR, BB, RBI
• Hague 2-4, R, 2B
• Martinson 1-3, R, HR, SF, 2RBI, 3E

For the second straight night, the kid that came off the bench to replace the rehabbing major-leaguer won the game, as Kevin Keyes smashed a towering opposite-field homer in the last of the 8th for a 4-3 Potomac win over Carolina. Drew Storen got the blown-save win, letting in two runs (one earned) in the top of the 8th, the tying run coming in on the third of Jason Martinson’s three errors. The 23-y.o. Texan did drive in two for the game, homering in the 5th and getting a sac fly in the 6th. The late-inning heroics were made possible by Trevor Holder, who rebounded from his previous, career-worst outing, to throw seven innings of one-run ball with a season-high eight K’s.

Hagerstown 9 Lexington 6
• Hill (W, 9-4) 5IP, 8H, 5R, 5ER, 0BB, 5K
• Hawkins (H, 2) 3IP, 3H, R, ER, 0BB, K
• Barrett (SV, 14) 1IP, 0H, 0R, BB, K
• Newsome 4-5, 3R, 3-2B, HR, 2RBI
• Souza 2-3, R, 2B, HR, 2BB, 4RBI, CS
• Mayo 1-2, R, 2B, 2BB, 2RBI

The Legends must hate going to Hagerstown. For the sixth time in seven games (the last four straight), Hagerstown beat Lexington, 9-6. Taylor Hill got the win despite giving up five runs on eight hits over five innings, though he walked none and struck out five. Brett Newsome would not settle for a single, doubling three times and homering for the third consecutive contest. Steve Souza also went deep and doubled, driving in four. Ben Hawkins got the hold with a run on three hits over three innings while Aaron Barrett pitched a scoreless 9th to tie for the Sally League lead in saves with 14.

Auburn 8 Hudson Valley 7 (10 inn.)
• Mooneyham 1⅔ IP, 1H, 0R, 2BB, 2K
• Benincasa (BS, 1) 1⅓ IP, 4H, 2R, 2ER, 0BB, 3K, 3-2 IR-S
• Henke (W, 3-0) 2⅓ IP, 1H, 0R, 3BB, K
• Montilla 3-4, R, HR, BB, RBI
• Pleffner 2-5, R, 2-2B, RBI
• Ramos 2-3, 2R, 2B, HR, BB, 2RBI

Call them the Incredibles, the Cardiac Collegiates, or the Auburn H-Rods, the Doubledays continue to rally late, walking off for the second straight night and fifth time this season with an 8-7 win over the Hudson Valley Renegades. Third-round pick Brett Mooneyham got the start and allowed a hit over one and 2/3rds inningw while walking two and striking out two. Seventh-rounder Robert Benincasa wasn’t as fortunate, letting two of three inherited runners over an inning and a 1/3rd for the blown save. Travis Henke got the win with one hit and three walks given up over the final two and 1/3rd innings. Angel Montilla led the offense with a 3-for-4 night, extending his hit streak to eight games and his on-base streak to 17 contests.

GCL Nationals 1 GCL Astros 0 (12 inn.)
• Pineyro 5IP, 1H, 0R, 2BB, 5K
• Heredia (W, 1-1) 3IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 4K
• McQuillan 3-6, 2B, RBI
• Difo 2-5, R, BB

It was a Star Trek convention on the scoreboard (that’s a whole lot of zeros, folks) until the G-Nats broke through with Wilmer Difo single followed by an RBI double by Mike McQuillan for a 1-0 win over the G-Astros in 12 innings. Four pitchers combined on the shutout, with Ivan Pineyro getting the start and going five innings with one hit and two walks allowed and Inocencio Heredia getting the win with one hit over the three extra frames. Casey Selsor and Kevin DiCharry both tossed two scoreless in between. McQuillan (3-for-6) and Difo (2-for-5) accounted for five of the nine G-Nats hits.

DSL Yankees1 6 DSL Nationals 0
• Silvestre (L, 2-2) 6IP, 6H, 3R, 3ER, 2BB, 4K, HR
• Chavez 1IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 0K
• A. Martinez 1-2, BB, 2CS
• Tillero 1-2, BB

With a 6-0 loss to the DSL Yankees1, it’s 0-for-July for the DSL Nationals. Hector Silvestre turned in a quality start, with three runs allowed on six hits and two walks while striking out four. However, the offense was nearly nil: just three hits and three walks and an 0-for-5 mark with RISP. Andres Martinez and Jorge Tillero both went 1-for-2 with a walk.

Jul 072012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 5-1 @ Pawtucket,
6:05 p.m.
Roark (4-10, 5.27) vs.
Stewart (1-0, 1.54)
Harrisburg Won, 3-2 @ Erie,
7:05 p.m.
Demny (6-4, 5.40) vs.
De La Cruz (5-7, 4.38)
Potomac Won, 6-5 vs. Carolina,
7:05 p.m.
Holder (5-3, 4.28) vs.
Salazar (0-2, 2.65)
Hagerstown Won, 5-4 vs. Lexington,
7:05 p.m.
Hill (8-4, 4.46) vs.
Ordosgoitti (2-3, 5.01)
Auburn Won, 7-6 vs. Hudson Valley,
7:00 p.m.
Mooneyham (pro debut) vs.
Bierman (0-1, 5.63)
GCL Nationals Lost, 6-2 vs. GCL Astros,
12:00 p.m.
TBD vs. TBD
DSL Nationals Lost, 12-3 @ DSL Yankees1,
10:30 a.m.
Silvestre (2-1, 5.06) vs.
De Paula (3-1, 2.10)


Buffalo 5 Syracuse 1

• Lannan (L, 6-8) 6IP, 7H, 5R, 5ER, 3BB, 6K, HR
• Severino 2IP, 1H, 0R, 3BB, 4K
• Hoffpauir 2-3, BB
• Marrero 1-4, R, 2B

John Lannan coughed up his 13th HR last night, a three-run shot in the 3rd as the Bison stampeded the Chiefs, 5-1. The former Opening Day starter gave up all five runs on seven hits and three walks while striking out six. Syracuse mustered just five hits in the loss, with Jarrett Hoffpauir the sole batter to reach base multiple times and Chris Marrero collecting the one extra-base hit, a double in the 7th. After dropping the series to Buffalo, it’s a two-game set in Pawtucket to finish up before the All-Star break.

Harrisburg 3 Bowie 2
• Tatusko (W, 2-2) 5IP, 6H, R, ER, 2BB, 5K
• Nelo (SV, 11) 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Walters 1-4, R, HR, 3RBI
• Perez 3-5

With a three-run home run, strong pitching, and a little luck, Harrisburg completed its sweep of Bowie with a 3-2 win, its sixth straight triumph. Zach Walters only went 1-for-4, but the “1” cleared the batter’s eye in dead CF with two aboard in the 4th inning. Spot starter Ryan Tatusko turned in five innings, allowing just a run on six hits and two walks while striking out five to earn his second win. A quartet of relievers followed, combining for four scoreless innings despite issuing four walks. Bowie had baserunners in every inning but the 9th, in which Hector Nelo set ‘em down in order for his 11th save.
The Senators head back to PA, but it’s to Erie for a three-game set before the two-day All-Star Break. Roster move: LHP Cory VanAllen was activated from the 7-Day DL.

Potomac 6 Frederick 5
• Ray 6IP, 9H, 3R, 1ER, 3BB, 1K
• Wort (BS, 5; W, 2-4) 1IP, 2H, R, ER, 0BB, 1K
• King 3-3, 2R, 2-2B, 2RBI
• Ramirez 1-2, BB, RBI
• Keyes 1-4, 2R, HR, 2RBI

The first of three walkoff wins last night happened in spite of some rather questionable managing in the 9th. After Stephen King led off the 9th with a double, Kevin Keyes, with one (1) career sacrifice, was asked to lay one down and predictably bunted into an easy 1-5 putout to erase King. Mysteriously, Randolph Oduber, the team leader in sacrifice hits was called upon to pinch-hit one batter too late and popped up. A hit batsmen push Keyes to second for pinch-hitter Adrian Sanchez, subbing for an 0-for-4 Chad Tracy. Sanchez delivered the game-winning RBI single with a little help from a throw that was too far up the first base line. Rob Wort got the win despite blowing his five save for the season, third in his last four appearances. Roster move: Mascot Uncle Slam was placed on the 60-Day DL.

Hagerstown 5 Lexington 4
• Turnbull 6IP, 10H, 4R, 3ER, 2BB, 3K, HR
• Bates (W, 3-2) 3IP, 2H, 0R, 3BB, K
• Burns 3-5, R, SB
• Jimenez 2-4, R, 2B, 3B, RBI
• Newsome 2-4, 2R, HR, RBI

The second walkoff for the farm also had a WTF moment of doubt when Brian Goodwin singled to lead off the 9th, took second on a Billy Burns single… and got picked off after a Matt Skole strikeout. Steve Souza saved the day with an RBI double that Burns motored in from first with the decisive run. Burns and Souza also contributed on defense with outfield assists on plays at the plate. The win went to Colin Bates, who pitched three scoreless innings and worked around two hits and three walks. Starter Kylin Turnbull threw the first six, allowing all four Lexington runs 10 hits and two walks.

Auburn 7 Lowell 6
• Lee (ND) 5⅓ IP, 4H, 3R, 2ER, 2BB, 5K
• Waterman 1⅔ IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Pleffner 3-5, R, 2-2B
• Martinez 2-5, 2B, 3RBI

The third walkoff of the night was the most improbable, with three runs, three hits and and two errors in the final frame to turn a 6-4 deficit into a 7-6 win. It was the fourth walkoff win for the Doubledays in 11 home games, and the seventh come-from-behind win in 18 games total. The rally made a winner out of Elliott Waterman, who threw the final one and 2/3rds innings with just a walk allowed. Shawn Pleffner led the offense with a 3-for-5 night, including a leadoff double to start the 9th, while Estarlin Martinez was close behind with a single, double, and three RBI.

GCL Astros 6 GCL Nationals 1
• Hudgins (L, 0-2) 2⅔ IP, 6H, 4R, 3ER, 0BB, 3K
• Hollins 2IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 2K
• Difo 2-3, 2B, BB
• J.C. Valdez 1-3, 2B

Three straight two-run innings put this one away as the GCL Astros handed the GCL Nationals their 11th loss in the last 12 games, 6-2. Will Hudgins took the loss with four runs allowed on six hits over two and 2/3rds. He struck out three. Wilmer Difo, Mike McQuillan, and Jean-Carlos Valdez accounted for all four G-Nats hits, with Difo and Valdez collecting doubles.

DSL Mets1 12 DSL Nationals 3
• E. Gomez (L, 3-2) 6IP, 3H, 4R, 2ER, BB, 5K
• P. Valdez 2IP, 7H, 8R, 7ER, 2BB, 0K, 0HR
• Abreu 1-3, R, BB
• Marmolejos-Diaz 1-4, R, RBI
• Cerda 1-4, R, 2B, RBI

The DSL Mets1 scored 12 unanswered runs, swatting aside a three-run top of the first to win handily, 12-3. The bulk of the damage was done in the final two stanzas, with three runs in the 7th and five in the 8th off beleaguered Philips Valdez (10.80 ERA, 2.13 WHIP). Despite six D-Nats errors, nine of the 12 runs were earned. Osvaldo Abreu, “Orange” Marmolejos-Diaz, and Kevin Cerda accounted for all three D-Nats hits and runs.

Jul 062012
 

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

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 44-43, 4th place I.L. North, 7 games behind

Good Jim Negrych .514/.575/.657 in last 10G
Bad Atahualpa Severino 5.9BB/9IP (22 in 33⅓ IP)
Interesting Pat Lehman 1-0, 2.03ERA in last 10 appearances

HARRISBURG SENATORS 45-40, 2nd place E.L. West, 4½ games behind

Good Hector Nelo 5SV, 1.54ERA in last 10 appearances
Bad Tim Pahuta .205/.295/.282 last 10G
Interesting Erik Davis 2-0, 1.77ERA since June 1 (20⅓ IP)

POTOMAC NATIONALS 7-8, T2nd place C.L. North Division, 2 games behind (38-47, overall)

Good Ricky Hague .415/.467/.707 in last 10G
Bad Rob Wort 0-2, 2BS, 14.72ERA, 3.00WHIP in last 3 appearances
Interesting Nathan Karns 39K in last 4 starts (12.84 K/9 over 27⅓ IP)

HAGERSTOWN SUNS 9-6, T2nd place Sally League North Divison, 2 games behind (51-33 overall)

Good Matt Skole 20HR, 71RBI, 75BB — Sally League leader in each category
Bad Bobby Lucas 6.53ERA, 1.69WHIP
Interesting Christian Meza 4-1, 2.95ERA, 1.14WHIP in 22 appearances (2 starts)

AUBURN DOUBLEDAYS 12-5, 1st place Pinckney Division, N.Y.-Penn League, 2½ games ahead

Good Pedro Encarnacion 2-0, 0.55ERA, 0.98WHIP
Bad Wes Schill .192/.267/.269 in 11G
Interesting Stephen Perez .482SLG, 6E in 15G

GCL NATIONALS 5-11, 4th Place GCL East, 7 games behind

Good Tony Nix .313/.313/.469 in 10G
Bad Adalberto Mieses 0-2, 6.79ERA, 1.79WHIP
Interesting Daury Vasquez 1.23WHIP, 15K, 8BB, 2HBP in 13IP (three starts)

DSL NATIONALS 15-14, T5th Place Boca Chica South Division, 5 games behind

Good 20-y.o. Wander Suero 4-1, 3.09ERA, 1.19WHIP
Bad 18-y.o. Miguel Acevedo 6.75ERA, 1.90WHIP
Interesting 17 y.o. Thomas Alvarez .273/.500/.636 in 7G