Jun 152011
 

The Quick Rundown…

Team Yesterday’s Result Today’s Game Pitching Matchup
Syracuse Chiefs Lost, 3-1 OFF DAY N/A
Harrisburg Senators Lost, 7-3 vs. Trenton, 7:05 p.m. Shairon Martis (3-2, 3.79) vs.
Dellin Betances (3-1, 1.75)
Potomac Nationals Won, 5-1; Lost, 2-0 vs. Myrtle Beach, 10:30 a.m. Chad Gaudin (rehab) vs.
Wilfredo Boscan (1-2, 4.31)
Hagerstown Suns Suspended, 2-2 (Top 11) @ Lakewood, 6:05 p.m.
(completion, reg. gm)
Matt Grace (7-4, 4.14) vs.
Garrett Claypool (1-3, 2.69)
DSL Nationals Lost, 7-6
@ DSL Rangers
vs. DSL Giants Ivan Pineyro (0-1, 3.46) vs.
Yeini Martinez (1-1, 2.31)

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre 3 Syracuse 1
• Detwiler (L, 5-6) 7IP, 7H, 3ER, BB, 5K
• Mandel 2IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Blanco 1-4, R, HR, RBI
• Frazier 1-3, BB

After a leadoff home run by Gregor Blanco, Syracuse was completely stymied by the Scranton-Wilkes Barre Yankees’ Adam Warren last night. Matt Antonelli sat, and apparently the Chiefs offense sat with him as they mustered just two more hits and five walks on the evening. Ross Detwiler barely managed to survive the third inning. He gave up a single, a double, and a Kevin Russo two-run double to start the frame. That was immediately followed by a Greg Golson RBI single to make four consecutive hits and to have Detwiler reeling against the ropes. After a lineout to Jesus Valdez, Detwiler bounced back by striking out Jorge Vazquez and Brandon Laird. Detwiler showed some moxie in pitching through adversity for an encouraging fourth consecutive quality start, which will help him battle his way back into the DC conversation.

Trenton 7 Harrisburg 3
• Mock (L, 0-1) 3⅓ IP, 9H, 7R, 7ER, 2BB, 4K
• Martinez 2⅔ IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 0K
• Van Allen 2IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 5K
• Norris R, 2 BB
• Moore 1-4, 2B

I would like to offer a moment of silence for all of those Harrisburg fans who will have to watch Garrett Mock today.” — Souldrummer, 6/14/11

Carlos Martinez did his best to keep clean up after Mock, turning in a strong two and 2/3rds innings of relief and stranding both baserunners he inherited. Unfortunately, Harrisburg was practicing its binary code with a 100100100 box score. Steve Lombardozzi followed up his Eastern League player of the week with a classic get-on walk, get-over stolen base, and get-in on a Chris Rahl Single to give Harrisburg an early 1-0 lead. Derek Norris walked to leadoff the fourth, two singles loaded the bastes, and a Jonathan Tucker walk were responsible for Harrisburg’s second run. Sadly, the rally lost steam with a Lombardozzi double play groundout. In the 7th, Lombardozzi reached first on a Jose Pirela error, stole second, reached third on a Corban Joseph fielding error and later scored on a Rahl groundout.

Potomac 5 Myrtle Beach 1 — GAME ONE
• Selik, 7IP, 4H, ER, BB, 4K *CG*
• Kobernus 3-3, R, 2B, 2RBI, BB, SB (24)
• Hood 1-4, 2B, RBI

Myrtle Beach 2 Potomac 0 — GAME TWO
• Olbrychowski 4IP, 6H, 2R, 2ER, BB, 5K
• Smoker 2IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 3K
• Kobernus 1-3, SB (25)
• Peacock 1-3, 2B

If you haven’t seen it yet, check out Sue’s take on the doubleheader split.

Hagerstown 2 Lakewood 2 — SUSP. (Top 11)
• Solis 7IP, 4H, 2R, ER, 2BB, 6K
• Manno 2IP, H, BB, 3K *(ERA 0.29. BA .117 in 31 IP)
• Freitas 2-3, R, 2R HR, BB
• Kelso, R, BB, K
Some of the usual suspects showed up for Hagerstown last night. Kelso scored in front of a 2R Frietas home run in the first. Manno’s Minions witnessed another dominant two innings of relief in the 9th and the first frame of extra innings. Sadly, Sammy Solis was his own worst enemy in the fifth. After allowing a leadoff double by Cameron Rupp, Miguel Alvarez singled. Carlos Pedermo reached on a Solis throwing error that ultimately led to an unearned run. Ground outs by Edgar “Duran” Duran, Zach Collier, and Jim Murphy were responsible for the second run that ended the scoring in last night’s extra inning affair before it was suspended. The Grasshoppers won to move into a virtual tie for first place with the Suns with five games to play, while Hagerstown’s magic number remains frozen at seven with seven games to play. Hickory also won last night and is a ½ game back of the top two teams, while Kannapolis is still mathematically alive at two games back with five to play but will only play 68 to ther rest of the teams’ 70 games with two games canceled

DSL Rangers 7 DSL Nationals 6
• Mendez 4IP, 6H, 2R, 1ER, 0BB, 6K
• Martinez 2IP, 4H, 4R, 3ER, 4BB, 3K
• Eusebio 2-4, 2B, SB
• Ruiz 2-2, 2R, 2B

The D-Nats fell below .500 at 6-7 with a 7-6 loss to the DSL Rangers, which was not a doubleheader as anticipated. Gilberto Mendez got the start and struck out six but gave up six hits and allowed two runs (one earned). Somehow the D-Nats nearly overcame seven errors, but only two of the seven runs surrendered were unearned. Diomedes Eusebio and Adderling Ruiz each collected two hits to account for four of the team’s seven hits.

Jun 152011
 

After a preventable, unscheduled day off on Monday, the Potomac Nationals took to the field on Tuesday to take on the Myrtle Beach Pelicans for pair of seven-inning games, and as the pic suggests, it was split.

Potomac won the first game 5-1 to extend its winning streak to five games, the longest of season — home or away — as Cameron Selik tossed a complete game for the victory, his second win of the season (third complete game) for the P-Nats.

Selik went all seven innings, allowing the one run on four hits, one walk, and four strikeouts. He threw 54 of his 78 pitches for strikes, and retired the side four times, though he labored through the seventh by loading the bases and giving up a warning-track flyball to right.

Since getting tattooed for 10 runs in four and a 1/3rd innings on May 13, Selik has given up just 11 runs (seven earned) over his past five starts. Though he’s won two and lost two, he’s posted a WHIP of 0.95, an ERA of 1.99 and an FIP of 3.42 — all great numbers when you compare them to the league averages of 1.27, 3.76, and 3.29.

But more importantly, Selik has shown significant improvement from that first home outing. The pitches are down in he zone, he’s getting that slider underneath the forearms of the right-handed batters (slipping in the backdoor to the lefties) and mixing in his breaking pitches with some flair (no, that flair; more like this flair) to fluster batters.

Offensively, the first game was a showcase for Jeff Kobernus, who went 3-for-3 with a walk, a double, a run scored, two RBI, and a stolen base — his league-leading 24th (No. 25 would come in the nightcap). Destin Hood and Eury Perez would drive in the other three runs as the 1-2-3 batters combined to go 5-for-11 with two doubles.

The second game was what the stat folks might call a reversion to the mean, with Potomac losing 2-0 on just two hits on offense.

Adam Olbrychowski got the spot start in the second game of the double-dip, but took the loss. The middle reliever went four innings and gave up both Pelican runs on six hits but also struck out five while walking just one, aided by two double plays but hindered by two errors, too. Josh Smoker and Joe Testa followed him out of the ‘pen, combining for three scoreless innings on two hits, a walk, and four K’s.

As the summary suggests, the pitching wasn’t the problem in the second game; the lack of offense was. Potomac loaded the bases in the first on three walks but couldn’t get the two-out hit when it needed it. Kobernus got his fourth hit of the night in the third with a infield single to short but 11 of the next 12 batters would be retired before J.P. Ramirez drew a one-out walk in the bottom of the seventh.

Brian Peacock ripped a double to left, hard enough for Ramirez to make it to third, to put two runners in scoring position for J.R. Higley, who struck out for the third time. Destin Hood pinch-hit for Justino Cuevas but the Carolina League All-Star grounded to second to end the game.

The split puts Potomac at 27-38 for the first half, two games behind third-place Lynchburg and 14 games behind first-place (and playoff-bound) Frederick. With no team release written since Sunday, and the MiLB.com listing “TBD,” today’s starter is unknown. Sources do report, however, that last night’s expected starter (Danny Rosenbaum) is not injured.

Jun 142011
 

For the sixth time this season, a Nationals farmhand has received a weekly honor, with Steve Lombardozzi earning the Eastern League’s Player of The Week award for the period of June 5 to June 12.

The switch-hitting second baseman went 14-for-26 (.538) with a double, homer, an RBI, eight runs scored, three walks, two stolen bases and a partridge in a pear tree (just checking). The 22-year-old is riding a nine-game hit streak and leads the Eastern League with six triples, his 75 hits is tied for second, giving him the seventh-best batting average at .316. Lombardozzi entered the 2011 campaign as the No. 13 Nationals prospect according to Baseball America.

Jun 142011
 

The Quick Rundown…

Team Yesterday’s Result Today’s Game Pitching Matchup
Syracuse Chiefs Lost, 8-3 vs. Scranton/WB, 7:00 p.m. Ross Detwiler (5-5, 5.13) vs.
Adam Warren (4-2, 3.53)
Harrisburg Senators OFF DAY @ Trenton, 7:05 p.m. Garrett Mock (0-0, 9.00) vs.
Shaeffer Hall (5-3, 4.00)
Potomac Nationals Postponed vs. Myrtle Beach, 6:05 p.m.
(doubleheader)
Cameron Selik (1-4, 4.11) and
Danny Rosenbaum (4-3, 2.50) vs.
Justin Grimm (2-0, 0.96) and
Barret Loux (5-3, 3.75)
Hagerstown Suns Lost, 3-1 @ Lakewood, 7:05 p.m. Sammy Solis (1-0, 3.86) vs.
Jesse Biddle (3-6, 4.13)
DSL Nationals Game Not Reported vs./@ DSL Rangers TBD vs. TBD

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre 8 Syracuse 3
• Gorzelanny (L, 0-1) 4IP, 5H, 4ER, BB, 3K, 3R HR
• J.D. Martin 4IP, 7H, 4ER, 0BB, 3K
• Aubrey 2-3, R, 2B, BB
• Blanco, 1-2, R, HR, RBI, 2BB
Tom Gorzelanny was not sharp in his first rehab start back from injury. The big blow was a three-run home run in the third inning that gave Scranton/Wilkes-Barre a 4-0 lead. Syracuse answered with a solo home run from George Blanco in the fourth. They added two runs against Andrew Brackman, who had replaced George Kontos in the fifth. A leadoff double from Michael Aubrey, followed by a Flores HBP, a Jesus Valdez single, and a Corey Brown sac fly led to the additional runs. The Yankees extended their lead in the top of the sixth with an RBI double from Greg Golson. They put it out of reach with three more runs against relievers Lee Hyde and Ryan Tatusko in the 9th.

Harrisburg Senators — OFF DAY
Despite getting swept at home by Akron, the Senators remain in first place by three games in the E.L. West. They’re back on the road for seven games in six days before returning to Harrisburg a week from today for a six-game homestand.

Potomac Nationals — PPD
Unplayable field conditions was the announced (offline) explanation for the postponement. A doubleheader is scheduled for tonight at 6:05 p.m. to make up the game.

Lakewood 3 Hagerstown 1
• Jordan (L, 6-3) 5IP, 4H, 3ER, 2BB, 4K
• Swynenberg 2IP, H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Freitas (1B) 3-4
• Kelso 2-4, R, K

With a 3-1 loss to Lakewood, Hagerstown’s lead is down to one over Greensboro and Hickory in the race for the first-half division title in the Sally League North. The Suns were eclipsed each time a runner reached the apex of the basepaths, going 0-for-10 with RISP and stranding nine runners — seven with two out in the inning. Starter Taylor Jordan’s winless streak was extended to six starts by allowing all three Lakewood runs over five innings on four hits and two walks. Brad Kelso and David Freitas, playing first base, combined for five of the eight Suns hits (Bryce Harper did not play. The magic number to clinch remains at seven with seven games to play, the last five of which are scheduled for Municipal Stadium, where the Suns have actually played worse than on the road (15-15 vs. 22-11).

DSL Nationals vs. DSL Phillies — Empty Box Score
We’ll put the link here so you can see for yourself, but as of this writing at ~7:55 a.m., it looked like LeBron James’s digitus quartus.

Jun 132011
 

Potomac has announced that tonight’s game against Potomac has been postponed and will be made up tomorrow night with a doubleheader beginning at 6 p.m. Perhaps not coincidentally, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans are coming to town following the longest game in Carolina League history at 23 innings, a game in which they used seven pitchers, six for two or more innings.

The pic above was taken during the brief rain delay prior to yesterday’s game.

Jun 132011
 

The Quick Rundown…

Team Yesterday’s Result Today’s Game Pitching Matchup
Syracuse Chiefs Lost, 5-4 vs.
Scranton Wilkes-Barre, 7:00 p.m.
J.D. Martin (1-4, 4.71) vs.
David Phelps (4-4, 2.95)
Harrisburg Senators Lost, 5-4 OFF DAY N/A
Potomac Nationals Won, 5-2 vs. Myrtle Beach, 7:05 p.m. Tom Gorzelanny (rehab) TBD vs.
Justin Grimm (2-0, 0.96)
Hagerstown Suns Lost, 5-4 @ Lakewood, 7:05 p.m. Taylor Jordan (6-2, 2.62) vs.
Ervis Manzanillo (3-3, 5.43)
DSL Nationals OFF DAY @ DSL Phillies, 10:30 a.m. Anthony Marcelino (0-0, 1.00) vs.
Adrian Sierra (0-2, 6.17)

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre 5 Syracuse 4
• Arnesen 6⅔ IP, 7H, 1R, 1ER, BB, 4K
• Severino 1IP, 1H, 0R, 1BB, 2K
• Frazier 2-4, 2R, 2B, HR, RBI
• Marrero 3-4, 2B

Ryan Zimmerman’s rehab start was unsuccessful at the plate with an 0-5 afternoon. He handled five chances in the field — including two bunt attempts — but made a poor fielding choice that helped contribute to Scranton Wilke-Barres four-run 8th inning. Erik Arnesen was stung early by the Scranton-Wilkes Barre Yankees with an Austin Krum double and a Ramiro Pena single but settled down and gave up no additional runs. Jeff Frazier homered to lead off the fifth, the only run off Yankees’ overpriced AAAA signee Kei Igawa. Syracuse scored an unearned run in the 7th inning on a throwing error by relief pitcher Josh Schmidt on a single by Matt Antonelli (3-for-5, now hitting .364/.430/.545). Things fell apart during an 8th inning in which Hassan Pena took the loss when he could not retire a batter. He left the bases loaded for Josh Wilkie after a the dreaded leadoff walk, and two singles. Josh Wilkie not only allowed three runs for Pena to score, he allowed one run of his own to put Syracuse down 5-2 heading the 9th. Syracuse launched a furious comeback, putting the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position with two outs for #MrWalkoff, Ryan Zimmerman, who became #MrWalkBacktotheDugout after a groundout to end the game.

Akron 5 Harrisburg 4
• Peacock (L, 7-2) 6⅓ IP, 6H, 3R, 2ER, BB, 10K
• VanAllen 1IP, 0H, 0R, BB, K
• Lombardozzi 2-3, 2R, BB
• Rahl 2-4, 2-2B, 2RBI

Brad Peacock continues to dominate Eastern League batters, this time to the tune of 10 Strasburgesque strikeouts of the Akron Aeros with only one walk. In the first inning, a Steve Lombardozzi leadoff walk eventually led to a Tyler Moore sac fly. Jonothan Tucker singled in Alex Valdez for to tie the score after Peacock had given up two runs in the with the big blow a Nick Weglarz – who later scored – double to right field. Akron scored three more in a 7th inning rally, aided by a Stephen King fielding error. This key error led to FAIL from both Pats: Lehman McCoy, who allowed three singles without retiring a batter, and McCoy Lehman, who gave up a Chun-Hsiu Chen double on a grounder down the line to left field before inducing two groundouts. Akron gave up an unearned
run of its own in the bottom of the 8th as Harrisburg fell short in its comeback bid to eventually match the Chiefs score with a 5-4 loss.

Potomac 5 Carolina 2
• Demny (W, 3-6) 5⅔ IP, 5H, 2R, 2ER, 3BB, 5K, HR (10)
• Frias (H, 3) 1⅓ IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 2K, 2-0 IR-S
• Higley 3-4, R, HR, 2RBI
• Cuevas 3-4, R, 3B, RBI
• Leon 2-3, R

Four wins in a row for Potomac, playing for pride on a Sunday Afternoon In Woodbridge

Lakewood 5 Hagerstown 4
• Ray (ND) 5IP, 5H, 3R, 3ER, 3BB, 3K
• Holland 1IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
• Freitas 3-4, R, 2B, HR, 2RBI
• Martinson 1-3, RBI, SF

Apparently, Potomac didn’t get the memo about losing 5-4, but the Suns did, falling to Lakewood but having its magic number reduced to 7 with a loss by second-place Greensboro. Robbie Ray showed signs of mortality, giving up three runs over five innings pitched on five hits and three walks and a mere three strikeouts. David Freitas led an otherwise moribund offensive effort with three-fourths of the cycle, singling, doubling, and homering while driving in two of the four Hagerstown runs. Suns batters went just 1-for-11 with RISP while stranding seven.

DSL Nationals — OFF DAY
A three-game losing streak has dropped the D-Nats to 6-6 for the season, which is three games off the pace. After hosting three of their last four, the D-Nats hit the road for four of the next six days, including rainout/makeup doubleheader against the Rangers.

Jun 122011
 

This could become a habit.

With a steady offensive attack — 10 hits, baserunners in six of eight innings, and just six runners stranded — the Potomac Nationals prevailed by a 5-2 count this afternoon, sweeping the Salem Red Sox for their fourth straight win.

With the first-place Myrtle Beach Pelicans the next team to visit as the P-Nats enter game eight of a 14-game homestand, we’ll soon see how much this is actual progress and how much this has been a function of merely facing an also-ran.

Paul Demny won his first home start in four tries, pitching five and 2/3rds innings, surrendering both Salem runs on five hits, three walks and five strikeouts. Unfortunately, one of those hits was a monster solo shot that hit the top of the scoreboard for his 10th home run allowed, tied for the most among Carolina League pitchers.

For better or worse, the hit parade was clustered with the Nos. 6-8 batters Sandy Leon (2-for-3), J.R. Higley, and Justino Cuevas (both 3-for-4). For folks looking for signs of progress, six of the ten hits and two of the four RBI came with two outs. Potomac would score single runs in four straight innings from the third to the sixth to overcome a (*surprise*) 1-0 first-inning deficit and then again in the eighth for the insurance run.

The P-Nat ‘pen did its best to keep the game interesting. Dean Weaver was greeted with a hard single to center with two outs and a runner on in the sixth, but got out of the inning with no further damage. He would then put on two runners in the seventh before Marcos Frias would come on with two outs in the seventh to get a flyball to center. Frias would give up two hits to the first three batters of the eighth before striking out the last two he faced. Rob Wort would put two runners on via the plunk (just wild) but got the three outs he needed to earn the save.

Combined, the three relievers would put on seven runners of their own and strand eight altogether. Unlike the two-out hitting, this smells more like luck, the kind that sandlot players would bark things like “I’m surprised you’re not walking funny with that horseshoe up your [hind quarters].”

Tom Gorzelanny is scheduled to make a rehab appearance tomorrow, with Cameron Selik (the displaced starter) most likely the first reliever to pitch against the Southern Division-leading Myrtle Beach Pelicans, who will send Justin Grimm to the mound, hoping for a very, very long outing as they come off a Sunday afternoon/evening game that is still in progress as of this writing (bottom of the 20th) in Kinston, NC.

Jun 122011
 

The Quick Rundown…

Team Yesterday’s Result Today’s Game Pitching Matchup
Syracuse Chiefs Won, 3-2 vs. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, 7:00 p.m. Erik Arnesen (0-2, 4.91) vs.
Andrew Brackman (2-5, 6.75)
Harrisburg Senators Lost, 4-3 vs. Akron, 7:00 p.m. Brad Peacock (7-1, 2.28) vs.
Matt Packer (2-6, 5.19)
Potomac Nationals Won, 2-0 vs. Salem, 1:05 p.m. Paul Demny (2-6, 4.50) vs.
Ryan Pressly (4-5, 4.50)
Hagerstown Suns Suspended:
Top 2nd, 1-1
@ Lakewood, 4:05 p.m. Robbie Ray (2-0, 0.30) vs.
David Buchanan (7-3, 2.68)
DSL Nationals Lost, 7-3
@DSL Mets1
OFF DAY N/A

Syracuse 3 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre 2
• Milone (W, 4-4) 7IP, 8H, R, ER, 0BB, 8K, HR
• Balester (S, 1) 1⅔ IP 2H, 0R, BB, 2K
• Zimmerman 2-4, R, RBI; 2 PO’s
• Marrero 2-3, RBI, BB
• Valdez, J. 2-4, R, HR, RBI

Ryan Zimmerman took his rehab tour up to Syracuse against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees and delighted the home-team radio announcers to the refrain of “Can we keep him?” Zimmerman made a stellar play to gun down a runner at home on a fielder’s choice and made a pretty grab down the line but a tough throw that Chris Marrero caught with his ever-improving glove. “Watch out NL EAST!” exclaimed the announcers. Both Zimmerman and Chris Marrero had key two-out singles to lead a late two-run rally that put the Chiefs ahead 3-1 before Collin Balester pitched an inning and 2/3rds innings for the save. Starter Tom Milone was his usual calm, cool, and controlled self in allowing a bit of contact on eight hits, but allowing just one run on a solo HR, no walks and striking out batters in key situations, eight in all to even his record at 4-4.

Akron 4 Harrisburg 3
• Ollie Perez 5⅓ IP, 7H, 3R, 2ER, 0BB, 7K
• Martin 1IP, 0R, 0BB, K
• Lombardozzi 2-4, R, 2B, HR, RBI
• King 1-4, R, HR, RBI
Once again, Harrisburg got off to a strong offensive start early with a leadoff HR by Steve Lombardozzi, and an unearned run on a Tyler Moore groundout following Josh Johnson’s reaching base on a through-the-wickets error on Beau Mills. Stephen King homered in the bottom of the second to give Harrisburg a 3-1 lead. Unfortunately, it would not be enough. The shell of Ollie Perez, whose velocity topped off in the mid 80s, gave up three runs, one of which was unearned in the first inning following a two-out passed ball on Derek Norris. Jimmy Barthamier continues to struggle in AA. He gave up the decisive run in relief despite striking out four batters in two and 2/3rds innings pitched.

Potomac 2 Salem 0
• Holder (W, 3-7) 7IP, 6H, 0R, 0BB, 4K
• Nelo (S, 4) 1⅔ IP, 0ER, 0BB, K
• Hood 3-4, R
• Ramirez 2-4, R, 2B

A season-best start for Trevor Holder and a three-game home win streak for Potomac, Last Night In Woodbridge.

Delmarva 1 Hagerstown 0 — SUSP. T2
The rains came in the top of the second with the score tied at 1-1, with Delmarva’s Tyler Kelly channeling Rickey Henderson for a leadoff HR off A.J. Cole. They’ll pick up play next week when the two teams meet in Hagerstown to close out the first half. The Suns magic number remains at eight with second-place Greensboro winning last night in Kannapolis.

DSL Mets1 7 DSL Nationals 3
• Moscat 4⅔ IP, 5H, 2R, 2ER, 2BB, 4K, HR
• Barrientos (L, 1-1) 1IP, 1H, 3R, 1ER, 1BB, 1K
• Difo 2-5, R, SB
• Eusebio 2-4, R, 2B

A three-run seventh broke a 3-3 tie as the DSL Nationals dropped a 7-3 decision to the DSL Mets1 squad for their third straight loss. Felix Moscat started and went the first four and 2/3rds, giving up two runs on five hits and two walks while striking out four. The D-Nats put 12 in the “H” column on the scoreboard, with Wilmer Difo, Diomedes Eusebio and Aladin Reyes each collecting two hits.

Jun 122011
 

After so many nights of frustration, this night was a treat — a reminder of what we love about minor-league baseball. For the casual fan, it may have simply been a home win on a fireworks night, even if the game started an hour late. For the baseball fan, it was pitcher’s duel featuring the usual assortment of crisp defense, boneheaded baserunning, and timely hitting.

For Trevor Holder, it was a reminder of why he’s been labeled a prospect and a much-needed building block for the future.

Entering the game with a 7+ ERA, Holder tossed seven shutout innings for just his third win in 12 starts, but easily his best start of the 2011 campaign. He allowed six hits, walked none, and struck out four as the first of three pitchers to combine on a 2-0 Potomac shutout. He kept the ball down for the most part and allowed just one runner to reach third base, two to reach second.

That’s also in part because the defense was on last night. With Jose Lozada sliding over to third, Justin Bloxom starting at first base, Justino Cuevas at short, and J.R. Higley in right field, it should have been. With eight runs allowed in his previous two starts, it was clear that manager Matt LeCroy wanted the seven men behind Holder to be the best possible alignment.

In the third and fourth innings, the wisdom of that decision was proven. A round-the-horn double play erased the first single that Holder allowed in the third, while an unusual (misruled) double play killed both a rally and the spirit of the Salem Red Sox in the fourth.

For a little more detail on that second play: Salem leadoff hitter Wilfred Pichardo served a single in right to start the frame. No. 2 batter Peter Hissey laid down a sacrifice bunt down the third base line that Lozada fielded and fired over accurately, but Bloxom dropped the throw. Pichardo hesitated, then went for third. Bloxom fired back to Lozada for the out. Hissey rounded towards second and Lozada threw back to Bloxom for another out.

Hissey’s bunt was ruled a single (instead of a sacrifice and an error on Bloxom), making for an unorthodox 5-3-5-3 double play.*That’s one assist and putout apiece for the two fielders; I don’t just watch, I keep a scorebook for everygame I attend.

Potomac would get on the board in the sixth, as Destin Hood would get the second of his three singles for the night. Cleanup hitter Justin Bloxom worked the count full and ripped a grounder to second that got past (went through?) the Salem second baseman into short right-centerfield. Running on the 3-2 pitch, Hood would score from first for the 1-0 lead.

The P-Nats would get their insurance run in the next inning with a little less luck, as J.R. Higley led off with a single, took second on a Sandy Leon liner off the pitcher that he scooped up and sprinted over to tag the less-than-fleet catcher. A wild pitch sent Higley to third and a Justino Cuevas sacrifice fly drive him home.

Joe Testa came on in the top of the eighth to face two lefthanded batters, and got one to ground out and walked the other. With Pat Lehman up the ladder to Harrisburg, LeCroy called on Hector Nelo to close out the game. The fireballer got the first man he faced to ground into the third double play of the night for the Potomac infield, then pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for the save, his fourth of the year.

The victory was the third in a row for Potomac, the longest at home and the third stretch of three or more wins on the season. Paul Demny (2-6, 4.50) gets the ball today against Salem’s Ryan Pressly (4-5, 4.50), the redheaded Texan gunning for his first home win of the year.

Jun 112011
 

The Quick Rundown…

Team Yesterday’s Result Today’s Game Pitching Matchup
Syracuse Chiefs Lost, 6-4 vs. Scranton Wilkes-Barre, 7:00 p.m. Tom Milone (3-4, 3.84) vs.
D.J. Mitchell (4-4, 2.95)
Harrisburg Senators Lost, 9-5 vs. Akron, 7:00 p.m. Oliver Perez (2-1, 1.89) vs.
T.J. McFarland (2-4, 4.94)
Potomac Nationals Won, 9-8 vs. Salem, 7:05 p.m. Trevor Holder (2-7, 7.05) vs.
Junichi Tazawa (0-1, 8.76)
Hagerstown Suns Won, 6-5 @ Delmarva, 7:05 p.m. A.J. Cole (1-4, 3.42) vs.
Parker Bridwell (0-0, 9.64)
DSL Nationals Lost, 7-5 (10 inn.)
vs. DSL Yankees1
@ DSL Mets1, 10:30 a.m. TBD vs. TBD

Louisville 6 Syracuse 4
• Meyers (L, 3-3) 5⅔ IP, 14H, 6R, 6ER, 0BB, 8K, HR
• Pena 2IP, 0H, 0R, 1BB, 3K
• Marrero 2-4, R, 2B, HR, 3RBI, BB
• Hulett 4-4, R, 2 2B, RBI, BB

This game had the makings of the wrong kind of laugher when Brad Meyers gave up three runs on five hits and one error in the first inning. Syracuse, however, immediately answered in the bottom of the frame with a majestic three-run blast that had the radio announcers in awe. Meyers gave up a solo shot to the Syracuse nemesis and Reds blocked prospect Devin Mesoraco in the top of the third. In the bottom of the third, the Chiefs wasted a leadoff double by Chris Marrero. New fan favorite Matt Antonelli didn’t light up the box score, but he did earn a two-out walk in front of a Tug Hulett double for Syracuse’s final run. The 4-4 game fell apart for the Chiefs in the top of the 6th. Meyers yielded a cheap single to leadoff. With two outs Alonso Yadier Alongso singled and that bad, bad man Mesoraco tripled, yielding two runs. Atahulapa “Huapa Time” Severino stopped the bleeding by stranding Mesoraco on third with a Juan Francisco groundout after a walk to Jeremy Hermida. Ryan Tatusko made his Syracuse debut, pitching a scoreless 9th inning. Overall, the Bats have a fearsome lineup with their 1-6 hitters all hitting well over .300. They hit as advertised tonight with a total of 16 knocks, 14 of them against Meyers.

Akron 9 Harrisburg 5
• Roark (L, 3-2) 2⅔ IP, 4H, 7R, 7ER, 3BB, 3K, HR
• Carlos Martinez 3⅓ IP, 0H, 0R, 3BB, K
• Lombardozzi 3-5, R, K
• Gilbert 1-4, R, 3R HR, 3RBI

Harrisburg got off to an auspicious start over the Akron Aeros with a five-run first inning, punctuated by a three run home run from Archie Gilbert, who is now hitting .297/.371/.485. Lombardozzi continued to solidify his status as a one of the premier leadoff hitters in the Eastern League with a 3-for-5 night, answering his critics in prospect evaluation land with a .297/.371/.485 line. Sadly, Tanner Roark did not answer his critics. He fell apart with three walks and a hit by pitch as part of a seven-run top of the 3rd before Carlos Martinez, who pitched three and 1/3rd strong innings to keep the Senators in the game, ended the inning on a Matt Lawson groundout. The Pats, Lehman and McCoy, each yielded runs in the 8th and 9th innings to complete the scoring in a frustrating Harrisburg loss.

Potomac 9 Salem 8
• Clegg 1⅔ IP, 5H, 4R, 1ER, 2BB, 1K
• Bronson 4⅓ IP, 4H, 1R, 1ER, 0BB, 1K, HR
• Lozada 2-4, 2B, 3RBI
• Perez 3-5, 2R, RBI
• Hood 2-5, 2B, RBI

It is possible to win back-to-back games at home. See how Potomac did it for just the second time this season, Last Night In Woodbridge

Hagerstown 6 Delmarva 5
• Grace (W, 7-4) 6IP, 5H, 3R, 2ER, 4BB, 2K, HR
• Eusebio (H, 6) 2IP, 0H, 0R, BB, K
• Kelso 3-5, RBI
• Harper 2-5, R
• Newsome 2-3, 2RBI

With a 6-5 win over the Delmarva Shorebirds, the Hagerstown Suns lowered their magic number to clinch a division title to eight with nine games left in the first half. Matt Grace tied for the Sally League lead in wins with his 7th on the strength of six innings pitched with three runs allowed on five hits and for walks. The trio of Blake Kelso combined to go 7-for-13 as the Shorebirds stayed in the game by turning four double plays to offset the Suns 13 hits and two walks drawn. Wilson Eusebio earned the hold with two scoreless innings while Ben Graham survived a rocky ninth inning (two runs allowed on three hits) to “get” the save.

DSL Yankees1 7 DSL Nationals 5 (10 inn.)
• Navarro 3⅓ IP, 4H, 4R, 4ER, BB, 4K
• Guzman 3⅔ IP, 1H, 0R, 2BB, 6K
• Mercedes 2-4
• Eusebio 3-4, R, 2B, HR, 3RBI

Diomedes Eusebio’s RBI single (his third hit and third RBI) in the bottom of the ninth tied it for the D-Nats, but Inocencio Heredia was pushed one inning too far as the DSL Yankees1 answered with two in the top of the tenth to give them a 7-5 loss. Miguel Navarro’s 2011 debut was a rocky one, with four runs given up on four hits and a walk over three and a 1/3rd innings. Yermin Mercedes was second to Eusebio in the hit column with a 2-for-4 game.