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 252013
 

Moving On Up for NPP
Following the news that Danny Espinosa has bone chips and will need prolonged rest, if not a stint on the DL, the Washington Nationals have promoted IF/OF Jeff Kobernus from the Syracuse Chiefs.

It’s been a rollercoaster ride for Kobernus over the past six months. He was selected by Boston then traded to Detroit in the MLB phase of the Rule 5 draft in December and played well into the spring for the Tigers before his return in late March. The experience may have proved beneficial, as he was asked to play outfield for Detroit to make the club as a utilityman — a position he hadn’t played since his collegiate days.

Upon his return to Nationals, he was assigned to the Chiefs and continued to play outfield, mostly in left field (19 games) but occasionally in center (9 games) as well as second and third base (12 and 3 games). More noticeable was the hot start as the 24-y.o. batted .367/.408/.467 with a home run and eight stolen bases in April.

He’s cooled some in May (.298/.344/.369) but has picked up the pace on the basepaths with 13 steals this month. Speed is his calling card as the Nats’ 2009 2nd Round Pick out of California led the Carolina League with 53 steals in 2011 and the Eastern League with 42 last season despite playing only 82 games.

To make room on the 40-man roster, RHP Yunesky Maya was designated for assignment (as previously hinted in this space). Putting it as mildly as possible, Maya has been a tremendous disappointment, signed as an international free agent as a Cuban defector in 2010 for four years and $6 million. In three-plus seasons, he’s pitched 59 innings at the major-league level — all but 1/3rd in 2010 and 2011 — and 367⅔ innings in the minors, mostly at AAA.

Last season was the only one in which he had an ERA below 4.00 as the 31-year-old went 11-10 with a 3.88 ERA in 28 starts for Syracuse.

RHP Taylor Jordan was also promoted, going from Harrisburg to Syracuse, though it’s likely to be a temporary move that will be reversed once Maya’s fate is ultimately determined. Likewise for the shift of RHP Brian Rauh from Hagerstown to Harrisburg, a move to replace whichever reliever (best guess: Matt Swynenberg) replaces Jordan in the rotation when his turn comes up next.

May 242013
 


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

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 19-27, 5th place I.L. North, 7½ games behind

Good Chris Rahl .320/.346/.440 in May
Bad Chris Young 47H, 8HR in 31IP – 7.26 ERA/6.68 FIP/1.90 WHIP
Interesting Tanner Roark 12⅔ scoreless innings in last 7 appearances



HARRISBURG SENATORS 23-24, 4th place E.L. West, 6 games behind

Good Ricky Hague .362/.403/.609 in May
Bad 42 pitching HRs surrendered, second-worst in E.L.
Interesting 36 batting HR, third-best in E.L. (14 in April, 22 in May)



POTOMAC NATIONALS 23-22, 3rd place C.L. North, 1½ games behind

Good Taylor Hill 45⅔ IP in eight GS (5&#8532+ innings per start)
Bad Randolph Oduber .194/.293/.333 in May
Interesting Colin Bates 4HBP, 4BB in 20IP


HAGERSTOWN SUNS 27-16, 1st place Sally North, 2 games ahead

Good Ivan Pineyro 3-0, 2.28/2.52/1.01 in May
Bad Wes Schill .258 slugging pct.
Interesting Will Hudgins 2-0, 1SV 1.09 WHIP
May 242013
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 8-7 (11 inn.) @ Columbus,
7:15 p.m.
Rosenbaum (4-2, 3.04) vs.
Bauer (2-0, 3.23)
Harrisburg Lost, 8-6 vs. Reading,
7:00 p.m.
Gilliam (1st AA start of ’13) vs.
Wright (0-2, 11.88)
Potomac Lost, 7-4 @ Lynchburg,
6:05 p.m.
Hill (4-1, 2.31) vs.
Moore (4-4, 5.94)
Hagerstown Won, 7-0 vs. Lexington,
7:05 p.m.
Encarnacion (3-3, 2.48) vs.
Nina (1-2, 4.55)



Syracuse 8 Columbus 7 (11 inn.)
• Torra 4IP, 4H, 3R, 3ER, 3BB, 4K
• Roark 2IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 3K
• Davis (BS, 2; W, 1-1) 2IP, 1H, R, ER, BB, 2K, HR
• Owings 2-6, 2R, 2HR, 5RBI
• Rahl 2-5, 2R, HR, RBI (15-game hit streak)
• Kobernus 2-4, R, 2BB, SB, CS

Chris Marrero’s two-out, two-run single in the 11th was the difference as the Chiefs won for the fifth time in 11 extra-inning games, 8-7. Matt Torra made his first start of the season, giving up three runs on four hits and three walks with four strikeouts. Micah Owings drove in five of the first six Syracuse runs with a solo shot in the 2nd and a grand slam in the 5th. Columbus tied the game at 6-6 with a leadoff HR off Erik Davis in the 9th, his second blown save. Xavier Cedeno “earned” his first save despite giving up a solo HR in the 11th. Roster move: RHP Matt Torra activated from 7-Day DL.

Erie 8 Harrisburg 6
• Jordan 1+ IP, 1H, 1R, 1ER, 1BB, 0K
• Holland (L, 0-2) ⅓ IP, 2H, 4R, 4ER, 2BB, 0K,
• Herron 2⅔ IP, 5H, R, ER, 0BB, 7K, 2-0 IR-S
• Johnson 2-4, R, 3B, BB, 3RBI
• Leon 1-3, 2R, 2B, BB
• Rendon 0-3, 2BB, K as DH

So much for getaway day. The ride home was shorter than the 5 hours and 49 minutes it took from first pitch to the last out as Erie took its second straight against Harrisburg, 8-6. Taylor Jordan went just an inning and walked a batter to start the second before a 149-minute rain delay ended his day. Harrisburg scored four in the third to take a 4-1 lead only to allow seven runs over the next five innings before scoring twice in the 9th. Neil Holland took the loss with four runs charged to him on two hits and two walks and a hit batsman in the space of just seven batters faced. Josh Johnson paced the Senators offense with a single, walk, and a triple and three RBI, as Harrisburg managed to score six times on just five hits thanks in no small part to ten walks issued by the Seawolves.

Frederick 7 Potomac 4
• Cole (L, 1-2) 5+ IP, 7H, 5R, 5ER, 3BB, 5K, HR
• Bates 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Nieto 2-4, 2-2B, RBI
• Taylor 2-4, 2B

A four-run 6th for Frederick turned a 3-2 deficit into a 6-3 lead, as the Keys split the rain-shortened series with a 7-4 win. Starter A.J. Cole failed to go six innings for the third straight start, putting the first three runners on in the sixth via a walk and back-to-back doubles. The 21-y.o. would be charged with five runs on seven hits and three walks while striking out five in his second loss. Adrian Nieto paced the offense with a pair of doubles as the P-Nats piled up 11 hits to the Keys’ nine, but twice ran into outs on the basepaths to kill rallies.

Hagerstown 7 Lexington 0
• Pineyro (W, 4-2) 7IP, 3H, 0R, 2BB, 6K
• Benincasa 1IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Renda 3-5, R, 2B, RBI
• B. Miller 2-4, R, 2B, RBI
• Piwinica-Worms 2-4, R, RBI, SB

Three Hagerstown pitchers combined for a four-hit shutout as the Suns debunked the Legends, 7-0. Ivan Pineyro tossed a season-best seven innings, with no walks, six strikeout and just three hits allowed to win his fourth contest. Cody Davis and Robert Benincasa each allowed a baserunner while laying the last two goose eggs on the scoreboard. Tony Renda led the attack with a 3-for-5 night, followed closely by Brandon Miller and Will Piwinica-Worms, who each went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.
Roster move: LHP Kylin Turnbull reassigned to XST; RHP Jason Smith reassigned from XST.

May 232013
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse OFF DAY @ Columbus,
7:05 p.m.
Torra (1st start of ’13) vs.
House (1-2, 5.22)
Harrisburg Lost, 7-6 @ Erie,
11:05 a.m.
Jordan (1-0, 0.00) vs.
Lobstein (5-2, 3.14)
Potomac Postponed @ Frederick,
11:00 a.m.
Cole (1-1, 4.50) vs.
Berry (2-2, 3.50)
Hagerstown Lost, 6-2 vs. Lexington,
7:05 p.m.
Pineyro (3-2, 3.96) vs.
Stumpf (3-1, 1.49)



Syracuse Chiefs — OFF DAY
The Chiefs’ eight-game Ohio swing continues with a four-game weekend set in Columbus. After a 3-1 series win in Toledo, Syracuse is 13-9 on the road and has climbed out of the I.L. North cellar, a ½ game ahead of the Rochester Red Wings.

Erie 7 Harrisburg 6
• Karns 6IP, 8H, 5R, 4ER, BB, 9K, 2HR
• Broadway 1⅓ 2H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Barrett (BS, 1; L, 1-1) ⅔ IP, 2H, 2R, 1ER, 0BB, 0K
• Head 2-4, R, 2B, HR, RBI, OF assist at 2B
• Hood 2-4, R, 2B, OF assist at HP
• Nicol 1-3, R, HR, 4RBI, SF

In a game that saw six lead changes, it was the last that hurt the most as a two-out single drove in the tying run and an error let in the winning run as the Seawolves stopped the Senators, 7-6. Starter Nathan Karns suffered his first multi-HR game as a pro, surrendering two solo shots and five runs total on eight hits and a walk while striking out nine. Sean Nicol drove in four, three with a HR in the 4th and fourth with a sacrifice fly in the 9th. Jerad Head and Ricky Hague also went deep. Aaron Barrett put on the first two batters he faced but then got two flyball outs before giving up a second hit for the single-and-error that halted the Harrisburg win streak at five. Roster moves: LHP Bill Bray was placed on the 7-Day DL to make room for RHP Rob Gilliam, who was promoted from Potomac.

Potomac vs. Frederick — PPD
Apparently, just the threat of rain can cause a delay as the P-Nats and Keys waited more than an hour before any rain actually fell at which point the game was called due to the “threat of increasingly torrential thunderstorms.” The game is scheduled to be made up on June 14th, when two teams next meet in Frederick and will turn a four-game set into a five-game series (and quite possibly six, given today’s forecast).

Greensboro 6 Hagerstown 2
• Turnbull (L, 2-2) 4IP, 5H, 5R, 0ER, BB, K, 0HR
• Henke 3IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 3K
• Ramos 2-3, R, BB, RBI, SB
• Severino 1-3, 2B, BB

The good news is that none of the five runs Kylin Turnbull gave up were earned. The bad news is that they still count on the scoreboard, which ended with Greensboro on top of Hagerstown, 6-2. Turnbull gave up five hits and one walk, struck out one, but gave up no homers for the first time in five starts for the Suns. “Help Me” Wander Ramos singled twice, scored a run, drove in a run, and stole a base to pace the Hagertown offense, which was held to seven hits and four walks and mustered just one hit in 12 chances with runners in scoring position.

May 222013
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 7-5 OFF DAY N/A
Harrisburg Won, 8-2 (6½ inn.) @ Erie,
11:05 a.m.
Karns (4-2, 4.38) vs.
Larez (5-1, 3.40)
Potomac Won, 6-5 (10 inn.) @ Frederick,
7:00 p.m.
Cole (1-1, 4.50) vs.
Berry (2-2, 3.50)
Hagerstown Won, 5-4 vs. Greensboro,
10:35 a.m.
Turnbull (2-1, 6.50) vs.
Del Orbe (0-3, 6.37)



Syracuse 7 Toledo 5
• Tatusko (ND) 5⅓ IP, 3H, R, ER, BB, 9K
• Accardo (BS, 1; W, 1-0)1 ⅔ IP, 1H, 2R, 2ER, 3BB, K, HR, 1-1 IR-S
• Davis (SV, 6) ⅔ IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 0K, 1-0 IR-S
• Jeroloman 2-3, R, 2B, BB, RBI
• Rivero 2-4, 2R, 2B
• Brown 1-3, R, HR, 2RBI

Ryan Tatusko pitched brilliantly in a last-minute spot start while the Chiefs rallied for six runs in the final two innings to take the game, 7-5 and the series 3-1. The 28-year-old Hoosier pitched into the 6th and let up just three hits and a walk while striking out a season-high of nine. He left with a runner on and one out but got the no-decision. Corey Brown’s two-out, two-run shot in the 8th capped the first of two three-run rallies in the final two frames as the Chiefs scored seven times on just eight hits. Erik Davis staved off a final Toledo charge in the bottom of the 9th for his sixth save of the season.

Harrisburg 8 Erie 2 (6½ inn.)
• Clay (W, 4-2) 6IP, 5H, 2R, 1ER, 0BB, 3K
• Head 3-4, 2R, 2-2B
• Bloxom 1-3, R, BB, 2RBI
• Hood 2-3, R, 2B, HR, 3RBI

Harrisburg went deep three times in an 8-2 pummeling of Erie for the Senators’ fifth straight win. Josh Johnson, Jeff Howell, and Destin Hood each went solo but the “band” filled the scorebook with 15 hits, led by Jerad Head’s single and two doubles. Caleb Clay rebounded from a run of three bad outings with six strong innings, giving up both Seawolves runs on five hits and no walks for his fourth win. Ricky Hague’s hot stretch continued with another multihit game, his seventh in a row and eighth straight games with a hit overall — a 16-for-29 streak that’s raised his batting average from .220 to .286.

Potomac 6 Frederick 5
• Solis 2IP, 3H, 2R, 0ER, BB, K, WP
• Fischer 3⅔ IP, 3H, R, ER, 2BB, 2K, 1-1 IR-S
• Soriano 1-2, R, 2BB, HBP
• Taylor 2-4, R, 2B, BB, RBI

Sammy Solis gave up a pair of unearned runs in his first regular-season appearance since TJ surgery last March as the P-Nats outlasted the Keys, 6-5 in 10 innings. Solis threw 47 pitches while facing 11 batters over two-plus innings, giving up three hits and a walk. Frederick chipped away at the P-Nats ‘pen, erasing deficits of 4-1 and 5-4 with single runs in the 3rd, 6th, 7th, and 9th innings to force extras. Francisco Soriano reached base four times with a single, two walks, and a beanball that knocked him from the game. Another walk and another HBP loaded the bases for Potomac with no outs with the winning run scoring on a double-play ball. Derek Self got the dreaded blown-save-win while Richie Mirowski tossed a 1-2-3 tenth for his third save.

Hagerstown 5 Greensboro 4
• Pena 6IP, 8H, 3R, 3ER, BB, 3K
• Harper (W, 3-0) 2IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
• Pleffner 3-5, 2-2B
• Manuel 2-3, BB

Hagerstown rallied for three in the bottom of the 9th with a squeeze play with one out sealing the deal for a 5-4 win. It was the Suns’ 13th win out of 17 games in May. Craig Manuel walked to get things going. Stephen Perez singled and stole second to put the tying runs on for Khayyan Norfork, who delivered a two-run single to tie it and took second on the throw to the plate. Shawn Pleffner’s third hit of the contest, an infield hit up the middle, pushed Norfork to third. “Help Me” Wander Ramos squared on the first pitch and caught the Grasshoppers napping as the righthanded batter pushed one up the first base line far enough for Norfork to scamper home. Bryan Harper got the win in relief with two scoreless innings.

May 212013
 

Catching Up On TransactionsThe Big Nats bullpen getting hammered like a Kennedy at an open bar the past two nights has forced the front office to dip into minors for help, creating a series of transactions. Here’s a recap plus a couple releases relayed via the latest BA transactions post

WASHINGTON
• RHP Yunesky Maya recalled from Syracuse
• LHP Fernando Abad selected, added to the 40-man roster

SYRACUSE
• OF Eury Perez optioned from Washington
• RHP Ryan Perry placed on 7-Day DL, retroactive to May 19

HARRISBURG
• RHP Rob Gilliam reassigned from Potomac

POTOMAC
• RHP Rob Wort activated from 7-Day DL, reassigned from Harrisburg
• OF J.R. Higley promoted from Hagerstown
• RHP Cameron Selik reassigned from XST
• LHP Sammy Solis reassigned from XST

HAGERSTOWN
• OF Estarlin Martinez activated from 7-Day DL
• IF Wilmer Difo reassigned from Potomac
• IF Hunter Bailey reassigned to XST

AUBURN
• LHP Christian Meza reassigned from Potomac
• RHP Brian Dupra reassigned from Potomac

RELEASED
• RHP Adam Olbrychowski
• RHP Dean Weaver

LHP Sammy Solis is expected to make a rehab start tonight in Frederick, which will necessitate another move or two for Potomac. OF Billy Burns is eligible to come off the 7-Day DL tomorrow, so don’t be surprised if Higley’s stay is just a day (hey, that rhymes!) and/or if a starter is placed on the 3-day temporary list retroactively (e.g. Rob Gilliam) and replaced by Solis tomorrow or Thursday.

Ultimately, it’s probably a good bet that RHP Pat Lehman will recover from his Hellenic flu and replace whichever Syracuse pitcher ultimately stays in DC to replace the (broken) right-handed Ryan Mattheus. I’d also wager that somebody, somewhere will be disappointed that Erik Davis is probably not going to be that pitcher. Even Stevie Wonder can see that the moves of Maya and Abad are indication that the Nats are willing to risk losing one of them if a designation for assignment is needed.

If you sense any cynicism or hesitation, it’s because every year I learn something new about how the transaction rules can be exploited work. I believe the retroactive placement of Perry on the DL is a clue that perhaps the plan is merely to skip him for one start. Jeff Mandel, for example, has not pitched since last Friday and would be the favorite to replace Perry, who had been scheduled to start on Thursday.

As always, if/when the Nationals make corresponding moves, this page will be updated.

UPDATE: The Potomac Nationals have announced a series of eight transactions, six of which (in red) were not previously reported.

As expected, Sammy Solis was added to the roster. Less of a surprise: Rob Gilliam being sent back to Harrisburg (which will require a corresponding move). Brian Dupra and Christian Meza being sent to Auburn might just be a procedural move, but unfortunately, could be a clue that one or both might get released. In the short term, the additions of Rob Wort and Cameron Selik should help shore up the P-Nats’ biggest weakness — the bullpen — while allowing both men to get back up to speed (can we keep ’em until the 1st half title is won?) in preparation for their return to AA.

May 212013
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 4-3 (10 inn.) @ Toledo,
10:30 a.m
TBD vs.
Hankins (1-2, 2.84)
Harrisburg Won, 10-7 @ Erie,
6:35 p.m.
Clay (3-2, 5.14) vs.
Crouse (3-2, 4.19)
Potomac OFF DAY @ Frederick,
7:00 p.m.
Solis (1st start of ’13) vs.
TBD
Hagerstown Won, 12-3 vs. Greensboro,
7:05 p.m.
Pena (2-2, 3.26) vs.
Lyman (1-3, 6.00)



Syracuse 4 Toledo 3 (10 inn.)
• Young 5IP, 6H, 3R, 2ER, 2BB, 4K
• Cedeno (W, 1-0) 3IP, 0H, 0R, 2BB, 4K
• Marrero 1-3, R, BB, RBI, SF, E(6)
• Costanzo 2-4, R, 2-2B

Jeff Kobernus drew a leadoff walk and stole 2nd and 3rd to set up a Chris Marrero sac fly as the Chiefs took the Monday matinee from the Mud Hens, 4-3 in 10 innings. Chris Young pitched well enough to not lose, giving up all three Toledo runs on six hits and two walks while tying his season-high of strikeouts with four. It was also his third start (out of six) without issuing a home run. Xavier Cedeno got the win, combining with Tanner Roark for five scoreless and hitless innings of relief with four walks and five strikeouts. Roster moves: RHP Yunesky Maya, LHP Fernando Abad recalled to Washington; OF Eury Perez optioned to Syracuse

Harrisburg 10 Erie 7
• Demny 4IP, 5H, 4R, 4ER, 2BB, 5K
• Herron (W, 1-0) 2IP, 2H, R, ER, BB, 2K
• Krol (SV, 1) 2IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 3K
• Van Ostrand 4-5, 2R, 2B
• Hague 2-4, R, HR, 3BI, BB (7-game hit streak)
• Goodwin 2-6, 2R, HR, RBI

Harrisburg rallied from deficits of 2-0 and 5-2 with a pair of four-run rallies to take their fourth straight game, 10-7 over Erie. Paul Demny got the no-decision with four runs allowed on five hits and two walks with five strikeouts. No word on whether he failed to breathe through his eyelids. Tyler Herron got the win in relief while Ian Krol locked it down with two scoreless for his first pro save. Jimmy Van Ostrand led the hit parade with a 4-for-5 night, while Ricky Hague remains red-hot with another multihit game (six straight) at 2-for-4 and a seven-game hit streak overall.

Potomac — OFF DAY
Byron Kerr has confirmed whispers heard that LHP Sammy Solis will start for Potomac tonight in Frederick. Corresponding roster moves have not yet been announced.

Hagerstown 12 Greensboro 3
• Anderson (W, 4-1) 6IP, 2H, 0R, 2BB, 3K
• Henke ⅔ IP, 1H, 0R, 1BB, 1K
• Manuel 2-4, R, 2B, HR, 5RBI
• Renda 2-3, 2R, 2BB
• Piwinica-Worms 2-4, 2R, BB

Craig Manuel’s three-run shot capped off a six-run first as the Suns scorched the Grasshoppers, 12-3. Manuel drove in five total and doubled as part of his 2-for-4 night. The offense was more than enough for starter Derek Anderson, who tossed six scoreless innings and gave up just two hits and two walks to win his fourth game of the year. Tony Renda singled twice, walked twice, and scored twice as Hagerstown took advantage of seven Greensboro walks and two errors to score 12 times on just 10 hits. Roster moves: IF Mike McQuillan placed on the 7-Day DL; C Thor Meeks assigned from XST, placed on 7-Day DL

May 202013
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 4-3 @ Toledo,
10:30 a.m.
Young (1-2, 7.96) vs.
Hill (0-4, 4.97)
Harrisburg Won, 11-3 @ Erie,
6:35 p.m.
Demny (3-4, 4.19) vs.
Saupold (3-1, 2.03)
Potomac Lost, 7-3 OFF DAY N/A
Hagerstown Postponed vs. Greensboro,
7:05 p.m.
Anderson (3-1, 2.43) vs.
Hope (2-2, 5.63)

Toledo 4 Syracuse 3
• Ohlendorf (L, 3-5) 5⅓ IP, 9H, 4R, 4ER, BB, 3K, 2HR
• Accardo 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Owings 2-4, R, 2B, RBI
• Costanzo 1-3, R, HR, RBI

Toledo took Syracuse starter Ross Ohlendorf deep twice as the edged the Chiefs, 4-3. Ohlendorf gave up nine hits total and all four Mud Hens runs as he walked one and struck out three. Syracuse posted a picket fence in the 5th through 7th innings but couldn’t get the equalizer as Toledo’s relievers retired the last eight batters following Mike Costanzo’s solo HR in the 7th. Micah Owings singled and doubled as the sole Chief to reach base twice.

Harrisburg 11 Reading 3
• Treinen (W, 4-4) 6IP, 6H, R, ER, 2BB, 5K
• Swynenberg 2IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Head 3-6, 2R, HR, 3RBI
• Rendon 1-3, R, 3B, 2RBI, SF, BB, 2E
• Hague 2-5, 2B, RBI

A pair of four-run rallies helped Harrisburg build a 10-0 lead as they swept their first series with an 11-3 pummeling of Reading. Blake Treinen evened his won-loss record at 4-4 with six innings of one-run ball, allowing six hits and two walks while striking out five. Jerad Head homered while going 3-for-6 and drove in three to lead the Sens offense, while Ricky Hague went 2-for-5 with a double and an RBI for his fifth straight multihit game and sixth consecutive game with a hit overall.

Winston-Salem 4 Potomac 3 (10 inn.)
• Gilliam (L, 0-1) 3⅔ IP, 7H, 5R, 5ER, 3BB, 2K, HR
• Dupra 1⅓ IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
• Ramsey 4-4, 2R, HR, RBI
• Dykstra 1-1, 2B, 3BB

The Dash scored in each of the first five innings en route to a 7-3 win and a sweep of the P-Nats. It was the 13th straight loss for Potomac at BB&T dating back to the 2012 season. Rob Gilliam was battered for five runs on seven hits and three walks with a solo home run surrendered and two strikeouts. Caleb Ramsey homered and singled three times to pace the Potomac offense, which was held to seven hits and four walks (three by Cutter Dykstra).

Hagerstown vs. Kannapolis — PPD
For the eighth time this season rain has postponed or cancelled a Suns game, the latest being yesterday’s series finale vs. Kannapolis. It will be made up next month when the Intimidators visit on June 4-6.

May 192013
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 6-4 @ Toledo,
2:00 p.m.
Ohlendorf (3-4, 4.96) vs.
J. Alvarez (3-2, 1.69)
Harrisburg Won, 6-4 @ Reading,
1:35 p.m.
Treinen (3-4, 5.04) vs.
Wright (0-1, 9.00)
Potomac Lost, 4-3
(10 inn.)
@ Winston-Salem,
2:00 p.m.
Gilliam (0-0, 2.25) vs.
Jaye (1-0, 3.00)
Hagerstown Lost, 5-0 @ Kannapolis,
5:05 p.m.
Anderson (3-1, 2.43) vs.
Olacio (1-5, 6.75)

Syracuse 6 Toledo 4
• Rosenbaum 7IP, 5H, R, ER, 5BB, 6K
• Davis (SV, 5) 1IP, 2H, 0R, BB, K
• Kobernus 3-5, R, 2-2B, RBI
• Owings 2-5, 2-2B
• Rahl 2-6, R, 2B, 2RBI

The Chiefs batters roasted the Mud Hens pitchers for 15 hits as they scored five runs early and held off a late Toledo charge for a 6-4 win. Danny Rosenbaum rebounded again from a poor outing with seven innings of one-run ball, though he did walk five and allow five hits with six strikeouts. Jeff Kobernus singled and doubled twice to lead the offensive outburst. Erik Davis loaded the bases in the 9th with two singles and a walk but induced a popup to end it and earn his fifth save.
Roster move: RHP Jeremy Accardo activated from the 7-Day DL.

Harrisburg 6 Reading 4
• Jordan (W, 1-0) 6IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 9K
• Herron ⅔ IP, 3H, 3R, 3ER, BB, 2K
• Barrett (SV, 7) 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
• Hague 3-3, 2R, 2B, HR, 3RBI
• Rendon 2-4, R, 3B, HR, BB, 3RBI

Taylor Jordan threw six scoreless innings with just one hit and one walk allowed while setting down nine on strikes for his first AA win, as Harrisburg held off a late surge from Reading for a 6-4 win. Ricky Hague and Anthony Rendon both homered and drove in three runs to power the Senators attack. Tyler Herron’s return to AA after a four-year absence was one to forget with three runs on three hits and a walk with two strikeouts. Aaron Barrett locked it down 1-2-3 in the 9th for his seventh save.

Winston-Salem 4 Potomac 3 (10 inn.)
• Ray 6⅓ IP, 2H, 2R, 2ER, 3BB, 9K
• Grace (BS, 4) 2⅔ IP, 1H, 1R, 0ER, 1BB, 0K, 2-1 IR-S
• Mirowski (L, 3-3) ⅔ 2H, R, ER, 0BB, 0K
• Nieto 3-4, 2R
• Difo 2-4, BB, RBI, CS

Robbie Ray flirted with a no-hitter into the 7th, but couldn’t finish the inning. For the second night in a row, the Potomac ‘pen blew the lead, allowing Winston-Salem to tie it in the 9th and win it in the 10th. Ray struck out nine and walked three and finished with six and 1/3rd innings pitched, with two runs charged on two hits. Adrian Nieto and Wilmer Difo combined for five hits; Justin Miller had the sixth and the only extra-base knock. Roster move: UT Francisco Soriano reassigned from Syracuse.

Kannapolis 5 Hagerstown 0
• Encarnacion (L, 3-3) 3IP, 7H, 4R, 4ER, BB, K
• Rauh 4IP, 2H, R, ER, 2BB, 5K
• Norfork 1-3, 2B, BB
• Ramos 1-3, BB

Kannapolis scored in each of the first four innings while three pitchers combined to shut out Hagerstown, 4-0. The Intimidators moundsmen issued seven walks, but with just four hits, the Suns couldn’t cash any of them in. Pedro Encarnacion took the loss, giving up four runs on seven hits and a walk with just one strikeout. Khayyan Norfork and “Help Me” Wander Ramos both went 1-for-3 with a walk as the Hagerstown offense stranded nine and went 0-for-8 with RISP.

May 182013
 

[Ed. Note:] These are the thoughts of my friend Shawn, a.k.a. one of my “spies in Hagerstown,” on the Suns position players. And again, don’t forget to visit his blog Musings about Sports and other important items

This team winning stuns me. The old phrase “More than the sum of its parts” is pretty dead on.

CATCHERS
Behind the plate, Pedro Severino has been impressive with his arm… as in a big-time, MLB-level arm. Offensively, he’s made contact, but lacks pop. Considering he doesn’t turn 20 until July, I’m intrigued. I’ve only seen Craig Manuel play once,so I’ll reserve judgement

INFIELDERS
Shawn Pleffner got off to a hot start, but slumped thereafter. The 6’5″ Pleffner makes me think of former organizational soldier Tim Pahuta, especially when you consider Pleffner turns 24 before the season ends.

Mike McQuillan plays both first and third and runs well, but doesn’t make a ton of contact and the Rory McElroy lookalike has not fielded smoothly in his starts at third, where he has played more often.

Tony Renda came to town with the most publicity. Renda makes me think of a ceiling/floor scenario. His ceiling? Think Steve Lombardozzi as they have similar skills. The floor? Sean Nicol. A great guy to have around, but struggling with the bat. Renda runs well, but has made eight errors and will kick the routine play.

Stephen Perez has made the plays at shortstop, but I think the bat has to pick up. I am not sure that will happen. Perez looks to be an org. soldier to me.

Khayyan Norfork puts the ball in play and can play around the infield, but he is 24 already and still here in Low-A. He’s the type of player that plays hard and is nice to have around, but is not a real prospect. I would not be surprised if Norfolk winds up to be much like Nicol and stick around on character and versatility for a nice minor-league career.

Wes Schill knows how to take a walk (20) and has command of the strike zone, but lacks power and doesn’t make a ton of contact.

Hunter Bailey never seems to play when I get to the games, but one extra-base hit in 42 at-bats with an average under .200 makes one wonder. Both Bailey and Schill are old for the level and I would scratch them from the list.

OUTFIELDERS
Brandon Miller leads the team in homers, but has struck out almost fifty times by mid-May = red flag alert right there. Miller has been an all-or-nothing player thus far and already (recurring theme) is 23.

Wander Ramos shows impressive tools and hit one of the longer homers that I’ve seen in a while, but swings and misses a lot and is… wait for it… 23. Something about those tools gives me a reason to give Ramos more time.

Estarlin Martinez hit just .191 before being injured, but was just starting to rev up with the bat before the injury. I’m interested in watching him when he returns.

J.R.Higley is still around and doesn’t do anything better than he did before. For a player that turns 25 in a month, I am befuddled on why he is still around these parts.

Haven’t seen Will Pinwica-Worms or Carlos Lopez play enough to form an opinion.

PITCHERS

Brett Mooneyham was impressive until being injured after his third start. Mooneyham has the “college guy/should dominate” tag on him, but I liked what I saw.

Pedro Encarnacion has been the breakout prospect over the first few weeks. Keeps the ball down, lets his fielders do the work.

Dixon Anderson has great numbers and is striking out almost a batter an inning and looks like a different pitcher than the fellow that arrived at the end of last season. Downside… he turns 24 before the season ends. Like Blake Schwartz, if the Nationals want to look at him seriously, he will need to see Potomac soon.

Ivan Pineyro has improved of late, but overall has been erratic in my view. Still needs more looks.

Ronald Pena has above-average stuff and below-average command.

David Fischer was promoted to Potomac and only two bad games make Fischer’s numbers look worse than he has pitched. The UConn Huskie had an almost 4 to 1 K to BB ratio.

Kylin Turnbull had an awful stat line in his last home start, due to a gusting wind blowing out to right, but his other starts have not been much more impressive. Almost 24, almost ready to give up on as a prospect if things do not turn around.

Will Hudgins has looked strong when I have seen him and his 12 K’s in 12 innings makes me consider him a player to watch.

I didn’t think Brian Dupra looked much different than last season, but someone must have as he was promoted to High A. The organization must think more of him than I do.

Brian Rauh has been hammered, but he still strikes people out (21 in 23 IP). Rauh has been really bad when he has been bad, so keep that in mind.

Bryan Harper, Travis Henke and Robert Benincasa are pitchers that I have seen very little of — Harper and Benincasa, just once and Henke not at all.

Henke turns 25 in July, so I’d rule him out. Benincasa is being used as the closer and the Nats’ track record is that they move guys quicker who close. Harper has the advantage of being a lefty and another obvious advantage as well.

I know this sounds pessimistic for a first-place team leading their division by four games as of this writing, but this is not a team loaded with prospects. In the Sally League, a team filled with older players wins games over teams with more true prospects due to age and experience. It also appears the North Division is the weaker of the two as only Hagerstown and Hickory are over .500 with all but one team in the South is at .500 or better.

The Washington Nationals appear to be slow-tracking their high schoolers and sending their college players to Hagerstown. Is that because of the state of Municipal Stadium? Perhaps, but one thing is certain: If the Nationals continue to send these types of players to Hagerstown, the Suns will contend for Sally League titles, but they will not produce very many future Nationals.