Jun 222011

The Quick Rundown…

Team Yesterday’s Result Today’s Game Pitching Probables
Syracuse Chiefs Lost, 7-1 @ Gwinnett, 7:05 p.m. Tom Milone (4-5, 3.81) vs.
Yohan Flande (2-3, 4.09)
Harrisburg Senators Lost, 4-2 vs. Richmond, 12:00 p.m. Tanner Roark (4-2, 6.00) vs.
Justin Fitzgerald (5-4, 3.75)
Potomac Nationals OFF DAY ALL-STAR BREAK N/A
Auburn Doubledays Won, 9-0 @ State College, 7:05 p.m. Ryan Demmin (1-0, 1.80) vs.
Nicholas Kingham (0-1, 15.00)
GCL Nationals Lost, 7-5
vs. GCL Marlins
DSL Nationals Lost 11-5
vs. DSL Phillies
vs. DSL Rangers, 10:30 a.m.

Gwinnett 7 Syracuse 1
• J Martin (L, 1-5) 6IP, 2H, 2ER, 2BB, 5K, 2R HR
• Wilkie ⅔ IP, 3H, 4R, 2ER, 2BB, 0K, HR
• Hulett 2-4, 2 2B, RBI
• Solano 3-4, 2B

Save the ball and the spikes; Steve Lombardozzi doubled in his first AAA at-bat and later scored on a Tug Hulett double. Sadly, that would be Syracuse’s only run in a 7-1 loss to Gwinnett, extending the losing skid to five games. JD Martin offered a quality start with six innings, allowing only a fourth-inning two-run homer to Stefan Gartrell. The Chiefs would only seriously threaten to score twice more after losing the early 1-0 lead. Jesus Valdez flied out in the sixth inning with one out and Matt Antonelli was gunned down trying to score. In the seventh, Lombardozzi grounded out into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded to stifle another Syracuse rally. Gwinnett broke the game open in the bottom of the frame as they greeted Josh Wilkie with a leadoff homer, two singles and a sacrifice bunt to put runners on second and third. After a one out walk loaded the bases, Wilkie walked in a run. Two errors by shortstop Matt Antonelli led to two more runs. Atahulapa Severino pitched the final one and 1/3rd innings, yielding a leadoff homer in the 8th to close the scoring at 7-1.

Richmond 4 Harrisburg 2
• Martis (L, 4-3) 6⅓ IP 8H 3ER, BB, 8K, 2R HR
• Lehman 1⅔ IP 0H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Norris 1-3, R, HR, RBI, BB, PB
• Rhinehart 2-3, 2B, BB

Harrisburg bookended their night with solo shots in the 1st by Josh Johnson and in the 9th by Derek Norris, who also gave up his 13th passed ball of the season [Ed. Note: Souldrummer is all in, but won’t look past this hole in his game]. Sadly, they squandered the six other hits in the game, batting 0-5 with RISP. Shairon Martis took the loss but tossed a quality start with three runs allowed over six innings, yielding a two run homer to Roger Kieshnick in the third and another run on a double by Hector Correa followed by a Juan perez single in the seventh. Corey VanAllen failed to keep the game close at 3-2 when he allowed a leadoff homer to Johnny Monell to close the scoring at 4-2. Harrisburg’s record is now 39-30, good for a first place lead of 3.5 games over the second-place Orioles affiliate in Bowie.

Jeff Kobernus struck out in his lone at-bat in the California-Carolina League All-Star game, which the Carolina Leaguers lost 6-1.

The Southern Division beat the Northern Division, 6-3, with the following Suns appearing in the game:
• Kelso 1-2, R
• Harper 0-2, RBI
• Freitas 0-2, 2K
• Manno 1IP, 0H, 0R, BB, K

Auburn 9 State College 0
• Bates (W, 1-0) 5IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 4K
• Jenkins 2IP, 1H, 0R, 2BB, 1K
• M Rodriguez 2IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 3K
• Jimenez 3-4, 2R, BB, RBI, SB, CS
• Nieto 2-5, R, 2RBI
• Rowe 2-4, 3R, BB, RBI

The Doubledays made roadkill out the Spikes, pounding out 13 hits and scoring in six separate innings for a 9-0 victory. Colin Bates, Chad Jenkins and Manny Rodriguez each gave up a hit while combining for the shutout. Rick Hughes was the sole batter to not reach base, as Hendry Jimenez led the offensive onslaught with a 3-for-4 effort, followed by Connor Rowe (2-for-4, two doubles) and Adrian Nieto (2-for-5, two RBI). The win was the third straight for Auburn, which leads the six-team Pinckney Division at 4-1.

GCL Marlins 7 GCL Nationals 5 (14 inn.)
• Chico 4IP, 4H, 1R, 1ER, 0BB, 4K
• Mieses 4IP, 3H, 1R, 1ER, 1BB, 4K
• Martinez 3-6, R, BB, RBI, 2SB
• Ramos 2-5, 2R, BB, HR, RBI, 2SB

The GCL Nationals built a 4-2 lead, running wild on the basepaths (eight SBs), but a bullpen blowup in the ninth sent the game into extras, tied at 4-4. The GCL Marlins pushed across three in the top of the 14th to which the G-Nats could only respond with one for the eventual 7-5 loss. Estarlin Martinez led the 10-hit attack with a 3-for-6 afternoon, walking once and stealing twice. Matt Chico and Adalberto Mieses were the starter and first reliever, both allowing a run over four innings of work. Andy Santana blew the save in the 9th while Anthony Marcelino took the loss, pitching the final four frames but giving up the final three runs.

DSL Phillies 11 DSL Nationals 5
• Pineyro (L, 0-2) 3⅔ IP, 7H, 6R, 5ER, 2BB, 4K, HR
• K Rodriguez 2IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• E Gonzalez 3-5, R
• N Ortega 1-3, BB, RBI

A pair of three-run outbursts by the D-Phillies in the fourth and fifth innings erased an early 4-3 lead and put the game away as the D-Nats fell for the eighth time in the last 10 games by an 11-5 count. Ivan Pineyro took the loss, chased in the fourth after giving up six runs on seven hits and two walks. Emmanuel De La Cruz and Brian Escolastico couldn’t stop the bleeding, allowing the next five runs before Kelvin Rodriguez could over the last two. Edgar Gonzalez led the offense with three hits of the D-Nats seven hits.

Jun 212011

Suffice it to say, the first half was a monumental disappointment — even with the strong finish (7 of last 10). The 40 losses appear to be the most in the first half since the team began the Washington affiliation in 2005, the 29 wins tying the 2007 squad for the fewest. This was supposed to be the youngest and most talented team to date.

Wins and losses aren’t the most important bellwether, of course, but the nature of the wins and losses is an indicator. If a good team scores five or more runs while allowing three runs or fewer, well, Potomac hit that standard just eight times (8) in 69 games. Conversely, they scored three or fewer runs while allowing five or more 15 times. They were shut out seven times, and returned the favor four times.

The team’s offense was sixth, the team’s pitching was eighth, as was its defense. There is no mystery as to why this team finished where it did.

Revisiting the format from last months “First Impressions”…

After a decent April, Steven Souza has cooled considerably, the average dropping from .273 to .224 and has been on a homerless streak for 19 games. He’s cut down on his strikeouts recently but is also walking less. Defensively, he’s still a work in progress but as a convert from the other side of the diamond, that’s to be expected.

The results are now starting to match the intensity with which Kobernus plays. Those of you who thought Jeff would be leading the Carolina League in steals at the break raise your hands. Anyone besides Mr. & Mrs. Kobernus? The soon-to-be-23-year-old is also starting to hit for some power, collecting six of his 13 doubles in the past month or so. He’s still not taking walks (just 14 in 66G) which is arguably the next step for him to take.

Jose Lozada has inherited the position with the season-ending injury to Rick Hague, but one has to wonder how long until the 25-y.o. is moved to the bench to give more playing time to someone younger, like, say Justino Cuevas. Unfortunately, Cuevas is streaky both on offense and defense, so much that Kobernus was placed there this past homestand (and showed why he’s a second baseman). Best-case scenario: Francisco Soriano gets the job back once he regains his form/health in the GCL.

Nothing’s changed in terms of my opinion of Justin Bloxom as a third baseman: It’s not his position. But with Souza learning first base, it’s where Bloxom’s been put to keep his bat in the lineup. He’s not hitting .300+ like he was for Hagerstown, but I suspect that by season’s end, he’ll probably be close to .275 and be in the top three for the team in HRs and RBI.

Injuries have returned this slot in the lineup to its more traditional role in the minors of a way station while guys are shifted in and out defensively. Destin Hood, Bloxom, J.P. Ramirez and Cutter Dykstra have been the primary guys there. Dykstra seems to have been used there the most (there is no quick and easy way to look this up, so please bear with me) and while he’s been hitting a bit better, turning on the ball more, he appears overmatched by Carolina League pitchers and is not taking walks — a critical factor since he came to the organization with a reputation for having strong OBP skills.

J.P. Ramirez has played here the most, but unlike Bloxom, it’s because there’s nowhere else for him to play. He compensates well for his lack of footspeed (only Sandy Leon is slower) but there are just far too many balls hit his way that aren’t turned into outs. His patience at the plate has improved tremendously of late, but he’s still hitting like a backup catcher, not a corner OF.

Now the challenge is to see how the league reacts to Eury Perez now that everybody knows his game. Defensively, he’s been solid, just what you’d expect from his archetype with a decent arm, to boot. In what seems like a cut & paste, he’s not taking the walk and striking out too much. The gap power has diminished, too. Relative to the hype, a disappointment, but otherwise fine for a 21-year-old.

Easily the biggest surprise on the team. Destin Hood’s 33BBs and 5HRs in the first half matches his 2010 season totals for the two categories. Knee troubles have sidelined him lately, but it’s not been evident on the field. He’s begun to start hitting to all fields and the power is starting to flow. Ought to be playing more in LF in preparation for the inevitable shift, unless Bryce Harper plays CF exclusively for games in Woodbridge (*ahem*).

Very little change in my thinking: Sandy Leon is a defensive stalwart that’s still learning to hit, with flashes of power as a LHB.

Also not much change here: Peacock belongs in Harrisburg, but is blocked by another OG in person of Devin Ivany. With the DH slot unavailable because it’s being used to evaluate the likes of Dykstra and/or rotate in/out prospects, he’s been limited to a couple of starts a week and the occasional pinch-hitting appearance. J.R. Higley has been getting a fair amount of playing time in the wake of Hood’s injury and/or when Ramirez is put at DH, but both he and Chris Curran appear to be odd men out despite their significant defensive skills and relative youth (both are 23).

Little has changed since Opening Day in terms of the hopes of Potomac’s starters getting a callup prior to the AFL deadline. Truth be told, none has made the case consistently to get folks to pound the drum the way Brad Peacock has in Harrisburg. Some have made the case to be shifted to the ‘pen, reassigned or released.

Danny Rosenbaum — Twice the southpaw has put together back-to-back quality starts only to falter in the third start. Of course, “falter” is relative; Rosenbaum has gone at least five innings in every start. Still looking for that curve to come back, but has gone five straight starts with two or less walks and has kept the ball in the yard.

Trevor Holder — A maddening pitcher. Just when you think it’s time for tines in the spine, he comes off the ropes. A troublesome trend: walks and home runs have gone up at the same time strikeouts have gone down. Holder’s never going to be a strikeout guy, but in conjunction with those critical peripherals, it’s something to watch, and perhaps worry.

Paul Demny — Last time, I cited his differential between ERA and FIP as a sign that perhaps he’s been more lucky than good. It’s gone down by more than a run (-2.52 to -1.26) but almost all of that can be explained by the six HRs he’s given up. Or has just been the good fortune of only surrendering solo shots? Demny’s much like Holder in that he has flashes of brilliance but can also get hit very hard.

Mitchell Clegg — Too often the pitches were up and flat, and the OBA of .330 is the expected result. Recently sent to the ‘pen and gave up three hits in a two-and-1/3rd inning outing. More walks allowed than strikeouts (17 vs. 16 in 42⅔ IP). A righthander like that would have been released in April (Kyle Morrison).

Evan Bronson — The beneficiary of Clegg’s removal from the rotation, Bronson will need to prove that he’s a better starter than reliever. Most of his starts have been the result of the numerous rainouts (i.e. a long reliever asked to go four or five out of seven innings). He’s also pitched dramatically better on the road. All of these splits are fair small (20 or so innings per cell) so it’s tough to get a read on him just yet.

Cameron Selik — The first SP to be recalled from Hagerstown, Selik struggled early, making some folks wonder if his Suns success was simply a factor of age (he turns 24 in August), but he’s made an impression on us with his ability to pound RHBs inside and spot his breaking pitches, making him the most improved starter of the bunch.

The struggles of the starters have given these guys a lot of work, but it’s hard to make the case that anyone’s been abused. Back-to-back outings have been rare, even for the closers [insert snarky remark about losing record here]. Here’s a rundown on the relievers, ordered by appearances.

Josh Smoker — His velocity is up: mid-90s, but he’s nearly as likely to walk a batter as strike him out. He’s mostly come in to face lefties in the 7th and 8th innings though he’s been slightly more effective vs. RHBs.

Marcos Frias — As a reliever, he’s been effective but no less prone to walks. The regulars wonder aloud “are we going to get the good Marcos or the bad” when he comes in. Typically used for multiple-inning stints.

Adam Olbrychowski — It’s surprising that he’s not the team leader in appearances because it seems like he’s pitched a lot in Woodbridge. Began the year strong, then suffered a string of six straight appearances with at least one earned run allowed. In the past month, he’s been much more effective, but like most of the relievers this year, struggles with walks allowed.

Joe Testa — The powers that be have dropped him down to a sidearm delivery, delaying his first appearance until late April. He’s appeared enough in late games to get four decisions, but it’s clear that they want him to be a LOOGY someday, with seven of his 17 appearances lasting less than an inning.

Dean Weaver — If/when a reliever is moved up from Hagerstown, Weaver is a candidate to take his place. Simply has not been effective, as the 9.37ERA and .319OBA clearly shows.

Rob Wort — Wort caught our eye with his tendency to excel in pressure situations in his brief stint with Potomac in 2010. This year, he’s been more wild (5HBP) and hit harder (2HR) in a slightly larger body of work (though he’s still rail-thin).

Hector Nelo — All the makings of a Rizzo project: thick trunk, big (6’1″, 200) and throws HARD (95-98). Like Cole Kimball, his radar reading can often indicate balls and strikes. The higher the speed, the more likely it’s a ball.

My initial instinct was to write a wish list, but that’s just going to lead to bitching session about who’s where and why. Last year, Rosenbaum and Holder were sent up in the second half and it wasn’t hard to figure that might happen with the likes of Jesse Estrada and Adrian Alaniz in the rotation. This year, it might just be Sammy Solis or Matthew Grace, and it may not be until August in conjunction with the AFL deadline.

It would be nice to get a couple of the Suns late-inning guys, but who will replace them? Perhaps after a month or so, we’ll have an Auburn guy sawing through the NY-Penn League, but until then, I’d keep my hopes in check.

The P-Nats could use a true third baseman, but as simple as “bring up Blake Kelso, send down Cutter Dykstra” sounds, I’d put more money on Stephen King returning from Harrisburg, and that’s pretty unlikely. A level a year seems to be the new normal from High A down.

Lastly, there’s the question of Bryce Harper. He may be the exception to this “rule,” but I thought he’d be here by now and now I’m starting to think that Rizzo will treat him much the way the Atlanta Braves treated Jason Heyward, leaving him in Hagerstown for almost the entire year. That wouldn’t be the tragedy that some impatient DC fans (an redundancy, I know) may think, especially if that would also mean that we’d have a more fully seasoned 20-year-old in the Washington outfield for Opening Day 2013.

Jun 212011

The specious nature of recent player moves prevents the use of the word “promote,” but Steve Lombardozzi has been moved from the AA roster of Harrisburg to the AAA roster of Syracuse.

Lombardozzi, who was recently named the Eastern League batter of the week, had been hitting .309 with a .466 OBP with Harrisburg, with 16 steals in 19 tries. Taking his place on the Senator roster is Chris McConnell, a recent “B” on our GBI for his .175/.250/.257 line put up over 57 games with the Chiefs.

In other roster moves, RHP Garrett Mock was placed on the 7-Day DL for Harrisburg while C Jhonatan Solano was activated for Syracuse.

Jun 212011

The Quick Rundown…

Team Yesterday’s Result Today’s Game Pitching Probables
Syracuse Chiefs Lost, 8-2 @ Gwinnett, 7:05 p.m. Brad Meyers (4-3, 4.60) or
J.D. Martin (1-4, 4.94) vs. TBD
Harrisburg Senators OFF DAY vs. Richmond, 7:00 p.m. Shairon Martis (4-2, 3.30) vs.
Henry Sosa (2-0, 0.00)
Potomac Nationals OFF DAY ALL-STAR BREAK N/A
Auburn Doubledays Won, 7-6 @ State College, 7:05 p.m. Colin Bates (0-0, 0.00) vs.
Joely Rodriguez (0-0, 0.00) vs.
GCL Nationals Won, 5-3 vs. GCL Mets, 12:00 PM TBD vs. TBD
DSL Nationals Lost, 3-2
vs. DSL Mets1
vs. DSL Phillies, 10:30 a.m. Ivan Pineyro (0-1, 2.50) vs.
Francibel Alejo (0-2, 3.18)

Gwinnett 8 Syracuse 2
• Detwiler (ND) 6⅔ IP, 3H, 2R, 2ER, 4BB, 3K
• Pena (L, 0-4) 1IP, 6H, 6R, 6ER, 0BB, K
• Marrero 2-3, R, RBI, BB
• Hulett 1-3, BB

Syracuse battled hard against the Gwinnett Braves’ JV Tomahawk Chop and Julio Teheran, the no. 5 overall rated prospect according to Baseball Prospectus. Teheran (W, 2-1, 8IP, 5H, 2ER, 0BB, 8K) easily retired the first ten Chiefs he faced, but Syracuse scratched out a game-tying run on a Matt Antonelli double and a Chris Marrero RBI single. Detwiler had allowed a first inning run after a dreaded leadoff walk. In the seventh, Syracuse eked out another tally with a Marrero single, a Tug Hulett single, and a Jesus Flores groundout. Syracuse, as has been their habit the last three games, then found a creative way to blow a late lead. With two out and nobody on base, Detwiler walked the pitcher, Teheran, and was justifably pulled from the game after a strong six and 2/3rds innings pitched where he yielded just one run and a two-out inherited runner for the bullpen that matched Teheran’s more dominating performance. Lee Hyde then came into “relieve” and gave up a walk and a single to allow Teheran to score. Hassan Pena then temporarily shut the door by inducing Gartrell to fly out. Pena (*ERA 19.29*) then imploded in the eighth giving up six runs before Ryan Tatusko mercifully retired the final batter in the 8th. All in all, Syracuse is becoming more frustrating as they continue to find worse and worse ways to blow late leads. If any Syracuse fans wander through our threads in a foul mood, let’s remind them to keep a sunny disposition.

Harrisburg Senators — OFF DAY
After a strong 5-2 roadtrip, the first-place Senators are home for the next six, hosting Richmond for three, then Altoona for three.

Potomac Nationals — OFF DAY
Tonight is the Carolina-California All-Star Game in Modesto, with Jeff Kobernus as the sole P-Nat player on the roster, a replacement for Destin Hood.

Hagerstown Suns — OFF DAY
Tonight is the Sally League All-Star Game in Delmarva, with five Suns players on the roster. Due to injury concerns, Bryce Harper will forego the HR derby, MASN’s Byron Kerr reports.

Auburn Doubledays 7 State College Spikes 6
• Lopez 3⅓ IP, 5H, 3R, 3ER, 2BB, 3K
• Mirowski (W, 1-0) 2IP, 1H, 1R, 0ER, 1BB, 2K
• Nieto 2-4, R, 2B, HR, 4RBI
• Norfork 2-4, R
• B Ortega 2-4, SB

Adrian Nieto’s two-run HR in the top of the 7th broke a 3-3 tie and began a late-inning slugfest that saw another Auburn triumph by a 7-6 score. Nieto also doubled and drove in four total for the night, one of three Doubledays to get multiple hits, as Bryce Ortega and Khayyan Norfork also went 2-for-4. Kelvin Lopez got the start but was knocked out in the fourth after charged with three runs on five hits and two walks over three and a 1/3rd innings. Richie Mirowski, a 45-round draft pick from Oklahoma Baptist Univ., got the win with one unearned run allowed on one hit and one walk over two innings.

GCL Nationals 5 GCL Mets 3
• Karns 2⅔ IP, 1H, 0R, 2BB, 2K
• J Smith 1⅓ IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
• Ramos 2-4, R, HR, 2RBI
• Soriano 1-2, HR, RBI

Wander Ramos’s two-run HR in the bottom of the eighth proved to be the difference as the GCL Nationals held off a ninth-inning rally for a 5-3 win over the GCL Mets. Perenially rehabbing Nathan Karns took the ball first and allowed one hit and two walks over two and 2/3rds. NDFA Jason Smith was first out the ‘pen with an inning and a 1/3rd relief to get the win. Francisco Soriano also homered as the G-Nats had nine hits and made the most of their scoring opportunities, going 2-for-5 with RISP and just five runners left on.

DSL Mets1 3 DSL Nationals 2
• Mendez 6IP, 3H, 1R, 0ER, 3BB, 5K
• Barrientos (BS, 1; L, 1-2) 3IP, 3H, 2R, 1ER, 1BB, 6K
• Mercedes 1-3, R, BB
• Rosario 1-3, BB, RBI, OF assist @ 3B

The D-Nats mustered just three hits but held a 2-1 lead into the seventh, when the D-Mets1 squad rallied for two with two outs for the eventual 3-2 outcome. The seventh began with the cardinal baserunning mistake, as Dionicio Rosario and Wilmer Difo combined to cut down a runner trying to stretch a leadoff double into a triple. Losing pitcher Joel Barrientos struck out the next batter but gave up a walk, then a two-out double that “Fred” Ortega threw away to allow both runs to score. Barrientos would finish the game and strike out six over three innings, but the lack of clutch hits (1-for-10 with RISP) and shaky defense (two errors) gave starter Gilberto Mendez a no-decision for his six innings, in which he allowed an unearned run on three hits and three walks while setting down five on strikes.

Jun 202011

The Quick Rundown…

Team Yesterday’s Result Today’s Game Pitching Probables
Syracuse Chiefs Lost, 10-9 @ Gwinnett, 7:05 p.m. Ross Detwiler (5-6, 5.01) vs.
Julio Teheran (6-1, 1.78)
Harrisburg Senators Lost, 4-1 OFF DAY N/A
Potomac Nationals vs. Salem — CANCELED ALL-STAR BREAK N/A
Hagerstown Suns Won, 11-4 ALL-STAR BREAK N/A
Auburn Doubledays Won, 6-4 @ State College, 7:05 p.m. Kelvin Lopez (0-0, -.–) vs.
Stetson Allie (0-0, -.–)
GCL Nationals SEASON OPENER vs. GCL Mets, 12:00 PM TBD vs. TBD
DSL Nationals OFF DAY vs. DSL Mets1, 10:30 a.m. Gilberto Mendez (1-0, 3.46) vs.
Franly Caminero (1-0, 2.70)

Charlotte 10 Syracuse 9
• Maya 5IP, 10H, 6ER, BB, 2K, HR
• Mandel (BS 2, L, 1-2) 2IP, 5H, 2ER, BB, 2K
• Hulett 4-5, R, 2-2B, 3RBI
• Brown 3-4 2R, 2HR, 3RBI, BB
• J Valdez 3-5, 3R, 2-2B

This game featured 19 runs, 32 hits, 2 Syracuse blown saves, another heartbreaking loss to the Charlotte Knights, and an out-of-breath recapper. After Saturday night’s walkoff victory, Sunday afternoon Syracuse failed to tie the game up after loading the bases in the 9th inning. A poor performance starts with lackluster starting pitching, and Yunesky Maya appears to not be fooling anyone right now. After a leadoff double by Jordan Danks and a Michael Restovich walk in the sixth inning, Ryan Tatusko was brought in to add more gasoline to the fire, allowing both of Maya’s runners to score and two more of his own to score while putting Syracuse down 8-7. Syracuse got both perpetrators off the hook with a two-run 7th. Tug Hulett doubled in Jim Gallagher who had doubled and Chris Marrero (0-4, R, BB) who had walked earlier in the inning to put the Chiefs up 9-8. Charlotte, however, provided the dads in the house with an immediate response when Gookie (how do you get named Gookie?!?! [Ed. Note: It refers to a face made famous by Harpo Marx]) Dawkins hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the 7th off Jeff Mandel to end the scoring and leave Syracuse on the wrong end of a wild 10-9 loss. Lost in the wild scoring at the end were Corey Brown’s two home runs and 3 early RBI to put the Chiefs up early 3-0 before Maya’s Meltdown.

Altoona 4 Harrisburg 1
• Arnesen (L, 3-1) 6IP, 3H, 2R, 1ER, 2BB, 7K, WP
• VanAllen 1H, 1R, 1ER, 0BB, K, HR
• Johnson 1-4, 2B
• Arnesen 1-2

Erik Arnesen did everything he possibly could to carry a feeble Harrisburg offense to victory. He offered a quality six innings. He got a hit. Ultimately, the Harrisburg defense hurt his outing by contributing to an unearned run and the feeble offense couldn’t make up for it. The Suns only mustered one unearned run themselves when Jonothan Tucker reached on a throwing error by catcher Tony Sanchez, Josh Johnson doubled, and Archie Gilbert grounded out. Harrisburg’s chief nemesis was Quincy Latimore, who went 2-2 with a double, a homer, and two of Altoona’s run scored. Relievers Corey VanAllen and Jimmy Barthmaier failed to add quality relief; they allowed one run each.

Potomac Nationals vs. Salem Red Sox — CANCELED
The link above is the official press release regarding the cancellation. This is how the field looked like at approximately 1:10 p.m. yesterday afternoon: Pic1 | Pic2. The second half resumes on Thursday with a six-game trip from South to North Carolina, with visits to Myrtle Beach and Kinston for three games each.

Hagerstown 11 Delmarva 4
• Solis 4IP, 3H, 2R, 2ER, 2BB, 5K
• Manno 1IP, 3H, 2R, 2ER, 1BB, 1K
• Martinson 3-5, R, RBI, SB
• Keyes 3-5, 2R, HR, RBI
• Leonida 3-4, 3R, 2B, RBI

After being mathematically eliminated on Saturday night, the Hagerstown Suns closed out the first half with a big 11-4 win, its third straight following a six-game tailspin that killed their playoff hopes. The Suns pounded out 19 hits, with every batter collecting at least one and four collecting three. Kevin Keyes and Wade Moore both homered. Bryce Harper sat for the second straight game, ostensibly to rest his nagging injuries. Sammy Solis pitched the first four innings while four relievers followed him out of the ‘pen, including Chad Gaudin on rehab. Christopher Manno’s struggles returned with his worst outing of the season: two runs on three hits and walk over just one inning.

Auburn 6 Batavia 4
• Encarnacion 3⅔ IP, 3H, 3R, 3ER, 4BB, 2K
• Henke (H, 1) 1⅔ IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 2K IR-S: 2-1
• Moldenhauer 2-4, 2-2B, 2RBI, BB
• Montilla 2-4

Russell Moldenhauer’s two-run double capped off a four-run second, as the Auburn Doubledays held on for a 6-4 win and took the series 2-1. Pedro Encarnacion couldn’t go the requisite five to get the win, chased with two outs in the fourth inning with three runs allowed on three hits and four walks. Aaron Barrett got the win despite also giving up four walks and a run in just two and 2/3rds innings. Travis Henke and Ben Grisz closed out the game with two and 2/3rds scoreless innings to get the hold and save respectively. Angel Montilla and Moldenhauer paced the 12-hit attack that saw eight of the nine batters reach base safely.

The initial roster has a strong Dominican feel to it with roughly a dozen-plus DSL “grads” making it stateside (yes, including HWMNBN) for Opening Day in Viera. Some notables: 17-y.o. IFA Pedro Severino (C), 18-y.o. IFA Arialdi Peguero (1B), Nathan Karns (RHP), Luis Atilano (rehab), Francisco Soriano (rehab), and our 2011 Watchlisters — OF Victor Chavez, RHPs Anthony Marcelino and Andy Santana, IF Jean Carlos Valdez.

DSL Nationals — OFF DAY
Some home cooking this week for the D-Nats with just one road game over the next six (@ D-Giants) as they host the D-Mets1, D-Phillies, D-Rangers, D-Cubs2 and the D-Marlins.

Jun 192011

It’s not looking great for a dry, sunny day at the ballpark today, but I’ll be going anyway because baseball is what always bonded me to my father. This is the second Father’s Day since he passed away early last year, not too long after I started writing for this website.

My father never taught me how to play the game, in his mid-50s by the time I was in Little League, to which he drove me to many games and practices despite his three hours of driving each day for work. He often couldn’t stay because I was one of several children and my older brothers had games, too.

If you think that that bothered me, that there was some resentment, well, you’re wrong. My father was the master of calm, serenity, and subtlety. Every once in a while, he would talk about seeing some kid “really get a hold of a low, outside pitch and drive it the other way” when he showed up to get me, not ask about how many hits I got. Instead he’d ask about how many runners I threw out.

Back then, I was a catcher. Five feet tall, 130 lbs. The big kid with a strong arm, but too slow for the outfield. Granted, much of my success came from kids that would run because the rest of the catchers couldn’t reach second base with a throw, much less get it there accurately. That’s what I could do.
And my Dad knew to praise me for that versus my hitting.

When I got older, Dad would talk about baseball while we watched games together. Maybe I might have missed out on becoming more of a player in part because the coaches couldn’t size up my Dad (I’m adopted) but I might have missed out on learning about the game, too.

So I’m not going to get all “Cat’s In The Cradle” on you. I miss my Dad and think about him while I’m watching baseball. Chances are, if you’re reading this, you might have a father or grandfather like him in some way. Call him today, take him out to a ballgame (or whatever his passion is) and tell him you love him. Do it while you still can.

Jun 192011

The Quick Rundown…

Team Yesterday’s Result Today’s Game Pitching Matchup
Syracuse Chiefs Lost, 7-6 (11 inn.) @ Charlotte, 2:15 p.m. Yunesky Maya (1-4, 3.79) vs.
Matt Zaleski (1-3, 6.75)
Harrisburg Senators Won, 6-3; Won, 4-3 @ Altoona, 6:05 p.m. Garrett Mock (0-1, 13.50) vs.
Bryan Morris (1-3, 5.05)
Potomac Nationals Lost, 5-2; Won, 2-0 vs. Salem, 1:05 p.m. Cameron Selik (2-4, 3.64) vs.
Chris Hernandez (5-4, 2.95)

Hagerstown Suns Won, 7-3 vs. Delmarva, 1:05 p.m. Sammy Solis (1-0, 3.47) vs.
Scott Copeland (4-4, 4.78)
Auburn Doubledays Lost, 9-6 vs. Batavia, 1:05 p.m. Pedro Encarnacion (0-0, -.–) vs.
Andrew Benes (0-0, -.–)
DSL Nationals Won, 4-1
vs. DSL Yankees1

Charlotte 7 Syracuse 6 (11 inn.)
• Stammen 3IP 6H, 5ER, BB, 2K, 2HR
• Wilkie 2IP 0H, 0ER, 0BB, 3K
• J Flores 3-5, 2R, 2B, RBI
• Frazier 2-4, R, 2R HR, 4RBI

Why? Why? Why did they pitch to Damon Viciedo, the 21-year-old phenom (.912 OPS) for the White Sox, after coming back from five runs down to take a 6-5 lead in the top of the 11th inning? With two outs, a man on second, and an 0-2 count, Viciedo rapped a game tying single that was part of the two-run Charlotte walkoff eleventh. Outstanding bullpen work by JD Martin, Jeff Mandel, Atahulapa Severino, and even eventual loser Hassan Pena held down the knights for 7 scoreless innings to give Syracuse a chance for what might have been. In the fifth, Jeff Frazier started the comeback with a two run homer. In the sixth inning Jesus Flores had an RBI double (his 11th two-bagger), and Jeff Frazier stepped up with a 2RBI single to plate Flores and Tug Hulett. All in all, this is the kind of loss that Syracuse will look back upon if they manage to run off a miraculous win streak to get back into the IL playoff picture from their current 27-39 record.

Harrisburg 6 Altoona 3 — GAME ONE
• Brad Peacock (W, 8-2) 7IP, 4H, 3R, 3ER, BB, 7K, HR, CG
• Moore 2-4, 2 2B, 2RBI
• Rahl 2-4, 2R, 2B, RBI

Brad Peacock proved to the Altoona Curve that he is one of the better pitching prospects in the Nationals system. Last night, he gave up a first-inning home run. He gave up a double and a triple in the 6th as part of a two-run rally for the Curve, but in-between he must have been filthy, striking out seven and walking only one in a seven-inning complete game. Harrisburg did most of its damage in the third inning, keyed by doubles from Chris Rahl and Tyler Moore and helped by a Curve fielding error. Archie Gilbert had a strong game as well. He helped engineer a run in the second with some get ’em on (walk), get ’em over (stolen base), get ’em over once more (balk), and get ’em in on a Jonathan Tucker groundout. He later led off the sixth inning with a home run.

Harrisburg 4 Altoona 3 — GAME TWO
• C. Martinez 4IP, 6H, 3R, 3ER, 0BB, K, HR
• Martin 2IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
• Zinicola (S, 4) 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0ER, 0BB, 3K
• A. Valdez 1-2, R, HR, BB
• Tucker 2-3 2R, 3B, RBI
This game got off to an inauspicious start when Carlos Martinez gave up a first-inning, three-run shot to Jordy Mercer. The back end of the bullpen and the back end of the lineup sealed the deal on the doubleheader sweep for Harrisburg against former Harrisburg pitcher Aaron Thompson. Batters six through eight scored all four runs. In the second, Alex Valdez homered and Jonathan Tucker scored on a two out wild pitch from Thompson. In the fourth, an RBI Tucker triple was the big blow in a two-run frame. Rafael Martin pitched two scoreless innings to earn the win. Protecting a one-run lead, Zech Zinicola struck out the side in the 9th.

Salem 5 Potomac 2 — GAME ONE
• Holder (L, 3-8) 6⅓ IP, 7H, 3R, 3ER, 2BB, 3K, HR (three-run)
• Nelo ⅔ IP, 2H, 2R, 1ER, 0BB, 2K
• Bloxom 2-4, R
• Ramirez 0-1, 3BB

Sue may have picked the wrong game to skip, but here’s what “she” saw in the first game Last Night In Woodbridge.

Potomac 2 Salem 0 — GAME TWO
• Demny (W, 4-6) 5IP, 1H, 0R, 2BB, 5K
• Testa (S, 1) 2IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 1K, 2-0 IR-S
• Perez 2-3, 2RBI
• Kobernus 2-3

Paul Demny carried a no-hitter into the fifth, giving up a one-out double with a runner on but getting two key outs to escape the jam. Josh Smoker would pitch to two batters in the sixth, hitting one and walking the other before Joe Testa was brought on to kill the rally. Testa got the last six outs to earn his first save of 2011. Eury Perez’s two-run single in the second against the #39 pick in the 2010 Draft, Tony Ranaudo, stood up as the game-winner. Perez and Jeff Kobernus both went 2-for-3 to pace the Potomac offense. Sue skipped this one in part because of fatigute, but also to make time to write a Father’s Day essay.

Hagerstown 7 Delmarva 3
• Jordan (W, 7-3) 6IP, 8H, 3R, 2ER, BB, 2K
• Eusebio (S, 3) 3IP, 2H, 0ER, 3BB, 3K
• Keyes 3-4, 2R, 2B, 2HR, 4RBI
• Martinson 1-2, 2R, HR, RBI, 2BB
Hagerstown battled back from a 3-0 fourth inning deficit. Taylor Jordan was hit hard in the second and gave up a double and two singles as part of an early two-run rally. In the fourth inning, two singles and a Michael Mooney error led to an eventual Tyler Kelly sacrifice fly. Kevin Keyes answered back with a three-run homer that scored David Freitas, who had doubled, and Jason Martinson. Hagerstown went on score in three consecutive innings with back-to-back homers by Martinson and Keyes to put the game out of reach. Wilson Eusebio pitched three shutout innings to close the door and earn his third save.

Batavia 9 Auburn 6
• Esteves (L, 0-1) 3⅔ IP, 9H, 6R, 6ER, BB, 6K
• Jenkins 1⅔ IP, 1H, 1R, 0ER, 2BB, 2K
• Ortega 2-2, 2R
• Norfork 3-5, 2B, 4RBI

A five-run fourth chased DSL grad Wirkin Estevez, who gave up six runs on nine hits and a walk, as the Auburn Doubledays lost their home opener, 9-6 to Batavia. Middle infielders Bryce Ortega and Khayyan Norfork combined to go 5-for-7 with two runs and four RBIs to lead the Doubleday offense, which scored five of their six runs in the last three innings.

DSL Nationals 4 DSL Yankees1
• Martinez, A 4IP, 1H, 0R, 1BB, 3K
• Vasquez (W, 1-0) 2⅔ IP, 1H, 1R, 0ER, BB, 3K
• Difo 2-2, 2R, 2BB
• Tllero 1-3

Their fourth error of the day prevented the shutout, but not before the D-Nats snapped their three-game losing streak with a 4-1 win over the DSL Yankees1 squad. Venezuelan Anderson Martinez made his first start, going four scoreless innings and allowing just one hit and one walk while striking out three. Daury Vasquez was awarded the win as the most effective reliever to follow, pitching two and 2/3rds innings and charged with the lone run on one it and a walk. Wilmer Difo reached base four times with two hits and two walks to lead the D-Nat offense.

Jun 192011

If ever there was a game that might sum up a team’s half-season in seven innings, the first game of this doubleheader just might be it.

A pool-cue single opened the game, as the ball spun just over Trevor Holder’s reach and spun into the infield grass to give the runner that split second he needed to beat it out. A single to right followed, then a three-run homer that cleared the centerfield wall to put Potomac in an early 3-0 hole — and there was still nobody out.

Holder escaped further damage with back-to-back K’s and a flyout

The P-Nats got two runners on with one out in the bottom of the first. And left them on.

Holder gave up what was later changed to leadoff single in the second, then retired five straight before issuing a two-out walk in the third.

The P-Nats got a two-out double in the second, then left ’em loaded in third, only scoring when a wild pitch sent Eury Perez home from third. A one-out walk was stranded at second in the fourth.

Holder put up goose eggs in the fourth and fifth, allowing two baserunners via an error and a single, both with two outs.

Justin Bloxom ripped a single to right-center with one out in the fifth, took second on a wild pitch, and went to third went the Salem rightfielder dropped a Souza flyball. J.P. Ramirez, who has suddenly become a walk machine (11BB in 14G in June; he had six in May, two in April), drew a walk to load the bases.

After grounding out the last time he saw the sacks full, Sandy Leon delivered the clutch hit to shallow center to drive in Bloxom. Souza ran through the stop sign and was gunned down, though the play was close and the CF had shown a weak arm previously. That hit would be the only one in 13 opportunities with runners in scoring position.

Holder issued his second walk to lead off the sixth inning to Salem’s David Mailman. The next batter singled to center, but Perez made him a dead letter with a special delivery to Bloxom, who deftly applied the tag at the very last moment.

There’s a reason why coaches call that baserunning blunder the cardinal sin, because another single followed to put runners on first and second, one that might have scored Mailman. Given a chance to work out of the jam, Holder got the double-play ball he needed, leading it himself for a 1-6-3 DP to end the inning.

Two more runners were left on in the bottom of the sixth. Holder would leave with one out in the top of the seventh, but Hector Nelo’s wildness and another error led to the last two Salem runs.

Potomac would get the tying run to the plate twice in the bottom of the seventh, but a strikeout and a popup ended it, the two runners left were nos. 12 and 13 for the game.

Jun 182011

The Quick Rundown…

Team Yesterday’s Result Today’s Game Pitching Matchup
Syracuse Chiefs Lost, 5-2 @ Charlotte, 7:15 p.m. Craig Stammen (5-3, 3.84) vs.
Harrisburg Senators Won, 8-4 @ Altoona, 5:05
Brad Peacock (7-2, 2.33) and
Erik Arnesen (3-0, 2.78) vs.
Jeff Locke (5-5, 4.46) and TBD
Potomac Nationals Postponed vs. Salem, 5:35 p.m.
Trevor Holder (3-7, 6.31) and
Paul Demny (3-6, 4.38) vs.
Anthony Ranaudo (1-2, 2.55) and
Ryan Pressly (4-6, 4.58)
Hagerstown Suns Won, 2-1 (10 inn.) vs. Delmarva, 7:05 p.m. Taylor Jordan (6-3, 2.84) vs.
Luis Noel (4-6, 5.76)
Auburn Doubledays Won, 6-1 vs. Batavia, 7:05 p.m. Wirkin Estevez (0-0, -.–) vs.
Patrick Daugherty (0-0, -.–)
DSL Nationals Lost, 5-4
@ DSL Braves
vs. DSL Yankees1, 10:30 a.m. Anthony Marcelino (1-0, 0.57) vs.
Cesar Vargas (0-2, 6.30)

Charlotte 5 Syracuse 2
• Milone (L, 4-5) 5⅓ IP, 7H, 5R, 4ER, BB, 6K
• Tatusko 1⅓ IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Aubrey 2-3, 2R, 2B, HR, RBI, BB
• Hulett 2-2, 2B, BB

The Charlotte Knights’ Lastings Milledge picked last night to show one of those flashes of offensive brilliance that has tantalized and tormented Nats fans. He had a two-run double after Tug Hulett allowed Eduardo Escobar to reach on a fielding error. Milledge also had a two-out RBI single to almost singlehandedly beat the Chiefs. Tom Milone showed control (six K’s and just one walk for the IL strikeout leader entering the game), but didn’t miss enough bats within the strike zone to earn the win. Offensively, the Chiefs struggled to score early when they got their leadoff man aboard, wasting a leadoff single in the first, a Tug Hulett walk in the second, and an Adam Fox double in the third. Overall, the Chiefs went 2-for-10 with RISP and left nine runners on base.

Harrisburg 8 Altoona 4
• Davis (W, 3-2) 6IP, 10H, 4ER, 0BB, 8K
• VanAllen 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Rahl 3-4, 2R, 3B, RBI
• Moore 2-4, R, 2B, 2RBI
• Norris 2-3, 2RBI, 2BB

The Altoona Curve pitching was a bit flat as the Harrisburg offense exploded for eight runs in Altoona. Six Senators had multihit games. Eight Senators tallied in the box score with either runs or hits. Harrisburg did half of its damage in a four-run third inning. Tyler Moore’s two-run double was a key blow, followed by a Derek Norris RBI single, and an RBI single from Alex Valdez that scored Bill Rhinehart, who had doubled earlier in the inning. If it wasn’t for a caught stealing of Alex Valdez, Harrisburg might still be batting. Erik Davis was didn’t walk anyone but caught too much of the plate, yielding 10 hits and four runs in his six innings. Pat Lehman, Corey VanAllen and Zech Zinicola combined for three innings of perfect relief to shut the door on the Curve.

Potomac Nationals — PPD
Heavy thunderstorms in the six-o’clock hour dumped enough rain on the Pfitz field to force a rainout and a Saturday night
doubleheader between the High-A affiliates of the Boston and Washington franchises of the same names.

Hagerstown 2 Delmarva 1
• Ray (ND) 5IP, 7H, 1R, 1ER, 1BB, 4K
• Swynenberg 4IP, 0H, 0R, 1BB, 7K
• Harper 2-3, 2RBI, 2BB, SB
• Freitas 2-3, BB

Hagerstown snapped its six-game losing streak with a 2-1 victory over the Delmarva Shorebirds, but it may be too little, too late as both Greensboro and Hickory won on Friday night to reduce the Suns’ elimination number to one. Randolph Oduber drove in the gamewinner in the bottom of the tenth after back-to-back walks issued to Bryce Harper (intentional) and Mills Rogers (unintentional) after Blake Kelso’s leadoff single. Ben Graham got the win in relief, following four scoreless and hitless innings from Matt Swynenberg. Robbie Ray started and allowed the lone Delmarva run on seven hits and one walk over the first five innings.

Auburn 6 Batavia 1
• Demmin (W, 1-0) 5IP, 3H, 1R, 1ER, 3BB, 4K
• Bates (S, 1) 4IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 3K
• Nieto 3-3, 2R, HR, 2RBI
• Moldenhauer 2-4, R, 2B

Hendry Jimenez’s two-run triple highlighted a three-run sixth, as the Auburn Doubledays broke open a 2-1 lead for a 6-1 victory on the Opening Day of the New York-Penn League. Ryan Demmin returned to action as a starter after struggling in relief for Potomac with the lone Muckdog run allowed on three hits and three walks over five innings. Adrian Nieto returned from his PED suspension with a 3-for-3 night, including a solo HR and two RBIs. Colin Bates finished the game with four scoreless innings to earn the save.

DSL Braves 5 DSL Nationals 4
• Moscat (ND) 5⅔ IP, 6H, 4R, 3ER, BB, 4K
• Guzman 1⅓ IP, 0H, 0R, 2BB, 1K
• Difo 2-5, CS
• Rosario 0-1, R, 2BB, SB

The D-Nats dry spell was extended to three straight with a 5-4 loss to the DSL Braves. Starter Felix Moscat couldn’t hold an early 3-0 lead, coughing up four runs over five and 2/3rds innings. A run in the top of the eighth gave him the no-decision, but the ‘pen gave it back in the bottom of the inning for the loss. Wilmer Difo went 2-for-5 to lead the offense, which managed seven hits for the game.

Jun 172011

Absent an official press release, we’re presuming the roster now posted on the Auburn Doubledays site is live and accurate…

Ryan Demmin
Chad Jenkins
Blake Monar
Aaron Barrett
Colin Bates
Brian Dupra
Pedro Encarnacion
Wirkin Estevez
Travis Henke
Alex Kreis
Kelvin Lopez
Silvio Medina
Richard Mirowski
Manuel Rivera
Manny Rodriguez

Adrian Nieto
Wilfri Pena

Seth Bynum (rehab)
Hendry Jimenez
Justin Miller
Russell Moldenhauer
Khayyan Norfork
Bryce Ortega
Roberto Perez
Matthew Skole


Rick Hughes
Angelberth Montilla
Caleb Ramsey
Connor Rowe

italics = 2011 draft
green = 2010 Vermont Lake Monster
blue = 2010 GCL guy
red = 2010 DSL guy

By my count, that’s 10 of this year’s picks, nine guys repeating from Vermont, five GCL “grads,” thee DSL guys leapfrogging up the ladder and two OGs. Feel free to discuss in the comments…