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.

Jun 112011
 

With back-to-back-to-back singles in the bottom of the ninth, the P-Nats put an end to an ugly night of baseball for a 9-8 win and (*gasp*) consecutive home wins.

Eury Perez and Jeff Kobernus bunted their way on to lead off the inning to bring up Potomac’s all-star representative, Destin Hood. After two swings and a miss and foul-off, Salem’s Dennis Neuman went with a breaking ball for pitch number but Hood put a coat on the hanger, sending it to the wall for the game-winner.

The walkoff, which was Potomac’s third of the year and seventh home win overall, made a winner out of newly sidearming Joe Testa, the only P-Nat pitcher to go untouched with an inning and a third pitched over the 8th and 9th innings.

Early on, it was the same. old. very. tired. story of a starter struggling and getting hit hard and the defense not up to snuff (though in fairness, there does come a point when you can no longer blame the player for his fielding but the manager or the organization for playing him out of position; that point was passed a long, long time ago) as Clegg was charged with four runs on five hits over an inning and 2/3rds while the defense committed two errors.

Salem also took full advantage of Clegg’s slow motion to steal five bases in the first inning.

If there’s any positive to the situation, it’s that Evan Bronson was seen warming up at the first sign of trouble in the first inning and was ready to go when the hook finally came. He would throw four and 1/3rd innings of much-needed relief, surrendering only a no-doubt-about-it home run to dead center and he did it on just three days rest after a similar performance against Frederick on Monday.

The P-Nats would put up a big inning in the bottom of the fourth, with five runs on four hits, highlighted by doubles from Justin Bloxom and Jose Lozada and finishing with Eury Perez guiding a groundball single to righth for the go-ahead run at 6-5.

Two innings later, Potomac would extend the lead to 8-5 with a Peacock single and another Lozada RBI, with another run coming in on an error (the two teams would combine for five on the night).

Josh Smoker was the third straight lefty to take the hill in the 7th and turned in a Nuke LaLoosh-as-a-reliever outing with three walks and three strikeouts over an inning and 2/3rds, giving up an unearned run in his first inning and charged with an earned run the second inning when Marcos Frias gave up a two-out double.

Frias would let in the game-tying run in ignominious fashion, uncorking two wild pitches, the second coming on a walk. Joe Testa was the last man on the mound, getting the final out of the eighth and setting down the side in order in the ninth.

With the win, Potomac has won two in a row at home for the second time this season. Trevor Holder is set to toe the slab against rehabbing Junichi Tazawa in game two of the three-game series tonight.

Jun 102011
 

With the parent club’s purchase of Ryan Mattheus’s contract from Syracuse, there’s a chain reaction of transactions to report…

TO SYRACUSE
RHP Ryan Tatusko assigned from Harrisburg

TO HARRISBURG
RHP Pat Lehman assigned from Potomac
RHP Erik Davis put on the temporary Inactive List
3B Tim Pahuta activated from the 7-day DL

TO POTOMAC
RHP Rob Wort activated from the 7-Day DL

As always, if I learn who got the boot will be moved from the 40-man to make room for Mattheus before I head to Woodbridge, I’ll post it here.

UPDATE
Well, by now everybody knows that Cole Kimball is the “other shoe,” going on the DL with shoulder inflammation. But above (in red) is another transaction that came across since the last post

Jun 102011
 

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

SYRACUSE 25-33, 5th place I.L. North, 12 games behind

Good Matt Antonelli .421/.463/.543 in last 10G
Bad J.D. Martin 9HR in 42IP
Interesting Corey Brown 25BB in 53G

HARRISBURG 30-21, 1st place E.L. West Division, 3 games ahead

Good Brad Peacock 0.84WHIP, 91K in 67IP
Bad Jonathan Tucker .148 in last 10G
Interesting Bill Rhinehart .368 OBP, career-best since 2007 (.377 for Vermont)

POTOMAC 23-37, 5th place C.L. North Division, 14 games behind

Good Justin Bloxom .385/.381/.641 in last 10G
Bad Dean Weaver .305 OBA, 4HR, 5BB, 18H in 14IP
Interesting 6-16 at home, 17-21 on the road

HAGERSTOWN 36-24, 1st place Sally League Northern Division, 1½ games ahead

Good Robbie Ray 0.67 WHIP, 0.30 ERA in 30IP
Bad Left-side IFs: 38Es
Interesting Neil Holland 18K, 0BB, 2HR in 18⅔ IP

DSL NATIONALS 6-4, Tied for 3rd, Boca Chica South Division of Dominican Summer League

Good Wilmer Difo (Age 19) .355/.556/.516, 8SB in 10G
Bad Daury Vasquez (Age 18) 2.20 WHIP in 3G
Interesting Ivan Pineyro (Age 19) 19K in 13IP
Jun 102011
 

For the second straight year, Potomac’s right fielder will be going to the in the Carolina/California League All-Star game. And for the second straight year, that man will be the sole P-Nat player on the roster.

Destin Hood gets the honor/obligation of making the trip to Modesto, CA for the 2011 exhibition. His manager, Matthew LeCroy, and Potomac trainer Allan Wood will be joining him.

Hood is currently batting .269/.373/.453 in 58 games, his 19 doubles good for 2nd place in the Carolina League and 32 BB’s is third-best.

Jun 102011
 

The Quick Rundown…

Team Yesterday’s Result Today’s Game Pitching Matchup
Syracuse Chiefs Won, 4-3 vs. Louisville, 7:00 p.m. Brad Meyers (3-2, 4.19) vs.
Scott Carroll (4-2, 4.32)
Harrisburg Senators Won, 7-3 vs. Akron, 7:00 p.m. Tanner Roark (3-1, 4.81) vs.
Austin Adams (4-5, 3.31)
Potomac Nationals Won, 3-1 vs. Salem, 7:05 p.m. Mitchell Clegg (2-3, 5.70) vs.
Drake Britton (1-6, 6.75)
Hagerstown Suns Won, 4-1 @ Delmarva, 7:05 p.m. Matt Grace (6-4, 4.26) vs.
Scott Copeland (4-4, 5.09)
DSL Nationals Lost, 6-2 vs. DSL Marlins vs. DSL Yankees1, 10:30 a.m. Gregory Baez (0-1, 1.00) vs.
Eduardo Rivera (0-0, 1.80)

Syracuse 4 Louisville 3
• Detwiler (W, 5-5) 6⅓ IP, 4H, 2R, 2ER, 2BB, 4K, HR
• Balester (H, 4) 1⅔ IP, 0H, 0R, 3K
• Antonelli 2-3, R, BB, HR, RBI
• Marrero 2-4, 2B, RBI
• Aubrey 1-3, R, HR, 2RBI

Ross Detwiler backed up a strong start last Saturday with an even stronger start yesterday. He pitched three perfect innings to start the game off. He was touched for a solo HR by Yonder Alonso, the no. 3 preseason prospect in the Reds system according to John Sickels. Detwiler struggled with control in the 7th, walking Alonso to lead off the frame and then Bert Cleven before ending his outing by striking out Daniel Dorn. Balester offered outstanding relief. He wriggled out of Detwiler’s jam by stranding two inherited runners, striking out Michael Griffin on his way to retiring all five batters he faced. Syracuse MI Matt Antonelli continues to rake; after his 2-for-3 plus a walk and a homer afternoon, he is now hitting .423/.463/.684 over his last ten games. Somebody in the front office should be noticing this 25-year-old’s outstanding season by now.

Harrisburg 7 Bingthamton 3
• Martis (W, 3-2) 5IP, 3H, 3R, 3ER, 2BB, 8K, HR
• Barthmaier (H, 1) 2IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 3K
• Johnson 3-5, 2R, HR, 4RBI
• Lombardozzi 2-5, 2R

A three run 9th homer by Josh Johnson broke the bats last night. They built a strong picket fence earlier in the game with single runs in the first, second, third, and fifth innings. They also brought the speed with stolen bases by Gilbert (1-4, RBI), Tucker (BB, R), Ivany, and Valdez (1-4, R). Shairon Martis answered some of his critics with a high K/BB ratio of 8:2. Jimmy Barthamier, Rafael Martin (in his first outing for Harrisburg this season, and Zech Zinicola combined for four scoreless innings.

Potomac 3 Frederick 1
• Rosenbaum (W, 4-3) 7IP, 9H, 1R, 1ER, 0BB, 5K
• Nelo (S, 3) 2IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
• Zimmerman 2-4, 2B, RBI
• Bloxom 2-3
• Lozada 2-3, RBI

Six wins at home isn’t bad if it’s late April. A third the way the through June? Well, the 10-game losing streak is over and something appears to be clicking for Danny Rosenbaum. Check out Sue’s take on what happened Last Night In Woodbridge

Hagerstown 4 Delmarva 1
• Solis (W, 1-0) 6⅔ IP, 5H, 1R, 1ER, 1BB, 5K, 1HR
• Holland (H, 2) 1⅔ 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Martinson, 2-4, 2R, 3B, HR, RBI
• Oduber 2-4, 2R, HR, RBI

Sammy Solis turned in his long outing of the season, tossing six and 2/3rds innings with a solo HR among the five hits he gave up as the Suns took a 4-1 decision from the Shorebirds. Four Suns got multiple hits but four runners were lost on the basepaths as Delmarva’s Michael Ohlman gunned down three would-be basestealers and Jacob Petit picked off Jason Martinson. Randolph Oduber and Martinson both hit solo shots to lead the Suns offense. Neil Holland and Chris Manno finished the game with two and 1/3rds scoreless relief to earn the hold and save, respectively. Combined with a Greensboro loss, Hagerstown reduced its magic number to 10 games for the Sally League North’s first-half title.

DSL Marlins 6 DSL Nationals 2
• Pineyro (L, 0-1) 5IP, 5H, 2R, 1ER, 1BB, 7K, 1HR
• Rodriguez, Kel. 1IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
• Difo 3-5
• Tillero 2-2, 2BB

A three-run sixth pushed the D-Fish past the D-Nats for a 6-2 decision. Ivan Pineyro took the loss, down 2-1 after his five innings, as Daury Vasquez surrendered four runs over the next three innings. Wilmer Difo led the 10-hit attack with a 3-for-5 game while the D-Nats were a woeful 1-for-14 with RISP and stranded 11 baserunners.

Jun 102011
 

When you’re trying to scatter a whole bunch of hits, it sure helps to have a major-leaguer defender behind you. Just ask Danny Rosenbaum, who gave up hits in six of his seven innings pitched (nine total), but just one run as the Potomac Nationals ended a 10-game home losing streak with 3-1 victory.

Unlike the two nights he had previously started, Ryan Zimmerman was busy at the hot corner, racking up six assists and getting a glove on three more balls that were ruled hits. A major-league scorekeeper might have given an error on one of those, but most minor-league third basemen wouldn’t have gotten a glove on more than one, either.

As the nine hits in seven innings suggests, there were some double plays involved and ironically, Zimmerman was not involved in any of them. Journeyman shortstop Jose Lozada started up all three that the P-Nats turned last night, combining twice with Jeff Kobernus to help Rosenbaum out of jams in the first and third innings.

This is not to say that Rosenbaum was “rescued” by his defense last night, a common refrain when a pitcher gives up more hits than innings pitched. Folks have to look more closely at their scorecards or boxscores before making that observation. Last Saturday, Rosenbaum got 13 groundballs that led to outs, four flyouts, and six strikeouts in nine innings. Last night, those numbers were 10-3-5 in seven.

In other words, last night was pretty damn similar to Saturday night, even if it wasn’t a shutout. But for the first time this year, Rosenbaum didn’t issue a walk, which has been a troubling factor for him all season long. This may be in part to his increased velocity (90-92 vs. 87-89) and also attributable to his stubborn refusal to throw the get-me-over fastball.

In any case, in a first half that has been sorely lacking for bright spots, we may just have seen something to hang our hats on for the second half.

Offensively, Potomac did not break out last night: just eight hits and and eight men left on base. Zimmerman’s RBI double in the 4th was the offensive highlight while Lozada’s “single” to right field in the 5th, a grounder to second that was clearly misplayed but ruled a hit because it apparently went untouched, gave Potomac the go-ahead run (a runner who had reached on an error) while the game appeared to be under the threat of being halted, if not called, by the encircling dark skies and streaks of lightning spotted in the distance.

Potomac would get an insurance run in the seventh on another error-aided rally while Hector Nelo pitched the final two frames for his third save.

Mitchell Clegg (2-3, 5.70) is expected to get the start tonight against Salem’s Drake Britton (1-6, 6.75) as the P-Nats shoot for their seventh home win in 23 games.

Jun 092011
 

The Quick Rundown…

Team Yesterday’s Result Today’s Game Pitching Matchup
Syracuse Chiefs Won, 2-1 vs. Louisville, 10:30 a.m. Ross Detwiler (4-5, 5.37) vs.
Chad Reineke (5-2, 2.52)
Harrisburg Senators Lost, 4-1 @ Binghamton, 10:35 a.m. Shairon Martis (2-2, 3.57) vs.
Brandon Moore (5-3, 3.78)
Potomac Nationals Lost, 6-4 vs. Frederick, 7:05 p.m. Danny Rosenbaum (3-3, 2.61) vs.
Oliver Drake (4-2, 3.09)
Hagerstown Suns OFF DAY @ Delmarva, 7:05 p.m. Matt Grace (6-4, 4.26) vs.
Jacob Pettit (5-1, 3.95)
DSL Nationals Won, 9-4
vs. DSL Cubs2
vs. DSL Marlins, 10:30 a.m. Ivan Pineyro (0-0, 4.50) vs.
TBD

Syracuse 2 Louisville 1
• Martin, J (W, 1-4) 6IP, 2H, 0R, 2BB, 4K
• Mattheus (S, 2) 1⅔ IP, 2H, 0R, BB, 2K
• Flores 1-3, R, HR, RBI
• Blanco 1-3, 2B, RBI

Apparently, somebody had a plane to catch after this one. It was over in just 2:01. J.D. Martin showed up large, pitching six shutout innings before handing it over to the bullpen with a 2-0 lead. Josh Wilkie gave up a solo shot, but still managed a hold before handing the ball over to Ryan Mattheus for the save. A Jesus Flores solo home run, a double from Corey Brown, and a Fox trot in front of an RBI double from Gregor Blanco was the extent of the Syracuse offense. Thanks to the stellar pitching, that was just enough.

Binghamton 4 Harrisburg 1
• Davis (L, 2-2) 6IP, 4H, 2ER, 3BB, 8K, WP, E (PO)
• Chico 2IP, 2H, 2R, 2ER, 5K, 1HR
• Moore 2-3, R, HR, RBI, BB
• Rhinehart 2-3, 2B, BB, K, E (throw)

Binghamton first stung Erik Davis on a third inning Tobi Stoner double that was later followed by a Reese Havens triple. Tyler Moore answered right away with a solo shot to lead off the fourth in what would be Harrisburg’s lone tally for the evening. Davis gave up his second run in the bottom of the 6th on a Bubba Bell walk and stolen base followed by an Allan Dykstra RBI single. Dykstra advanced to second on a throwing error by Rhinehart, but Davis escaped further harm by inducing an Eric Campbell ground out to end the frame. Matt Chico gave up two runs in relief on a homer by Salomon Manriquez in the bottom of the 8th. This morning the Harrisburg Senators announced that Shairon Martis had been activated from the DL while Matt Chico had been placed on it. Martis is slated to start today’s game, while previously announced starter Oliver Perez has been pushed back to Saturday.

Frederick 6 Potomac 4
• Selik (ND) 5IP, 5H, 3R, 1ER, 2BB, 2K
• Frias 2IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
• Hood 3-4, R, 2B, RBI
• Leon 2-3, RBI
• Zimmerman 0-3, BB, E (Throw)

It’s now 10 straight losses at home, as the P-Nats continue to struggle Last Night In Woodbridge

Hagerstown Suns — OFF DAY
The lead is now just a ½ game over the second-place Greensboro Grasshoppers as the Suns travel to fourth-place Delmarva for three, then last-place Lakewood before heading home to host Delmarva for four more. The road may be just what the doctor ordered, though, as the Suns have gone 20-9 there vs. 15-15 at Memorial Stadium

DSL Nationals 9 DSL Cubs2 4
• Mendez 4IP, 5H, 4R, 3ER, 1BB, 4K
• Martinez (S, 1) 3IP, 0H, 0R, 1BB, 3K
• Mercedes 2-5, 2R, 2B
• Eusebio 3-5, 2R
• Rosario 2-2, R, 2B, 3RBI, 2BB

After blowing leads of 2-1 and 4-2, the D-Nats scored five unanswered runs in the middle third of the game for a 9-4 win over the DSL Cubs2 squad. Gilberto Mendez started but was lifted after four with all four runs allowed on five hits and a walk. Joel “necesito comer un bocadillo” Barrientos (6′ 2″, 145) and Anderson Martinez combined for five innings of scoreless relief, with Barrientos getting the win and Martinez getting the save. The D-Nats’ 3-4-5 hitters combined to go 7-for-12 with four runs scored, two doubles, two walks, and three RBI.

Jun 092011
 

With three runs and four hits in the first inning — and the lead, too! — the P-Nats looked like they just might snap out of the funk they’ve been in at home. With Ryan Zimmerman in the lineup and manning third base, things looked promising.

Unfortunately, when it comes to losing in baseball, it’s not only contagious, it’s confounding in its creativity. Potomac would outhit Frederick 12-7, but two costly errors on defense and two costly baserunning blunders would be the difference in a 6-4 loss, the 10th straight at home.

To give Frederick some credit, three of the six runs were scored solidly: a fifth inning double after a hit batsmen and a two-run HR in the sixth off Dean Weaver, who took the loss in the game.

But to dole out some blame, baserunning errors in the fourth and fifth by Potomac didn’t help. Sandy Leon tried to advance to third base from first on an overthrown grounder to third base. Eury Perez got a little greedy and tried to take an extra base after leading off the fifth with a single to center. Maybe you can write off one of these as just plain bad luck, but not both.

The metaphorical buzzards kept circling for the third straight inning in the sixth when Destin Hood, who went 3-for-4 with an RBI double on the night and J.P. Ramirez led off with back-to-back singles. Leon sacrificed them to second and third, but a strikeout to Justino Cuevas and a “Hey there Z-man, I can do that, too” play by Key third baseman Dale Mollenhauer charged in and got Cutter Dykstra’s tapper down the line, tossing across the diamond to end the inning.

Speaking of Zimmerman, he batted third but went 0-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout, making two plays in the field — one for an error, that a more accomplished first baseman might have saved, the other a cut-across-the-infield scoop and throw on the run that was, well, like a Gold Glover might make.

As of this writing, the pitching line for Pat Lehman is missing from the boxscore, but he followed Weaver for an inning, allowing Zimmerman’s error to score on a sacrifice fly but also getting two ground balls in his first appearance in three-plus weeks. Marcos Frias finished with two strong innings, allowing just a single and striking out one.

Danny Rosenbaum, who threw a three-hit shutout in his last outing, gets the call tonight against Frederick to stop the streak and prevent a four-game sweep. Oliver Drake is the opposing moundsman for Frederick as the Keys go for their ninth straight win overall and continue the march towards the first-half division title.