Jun 082014
 

Velocity matters, but there’s a difference between throwing and pitching.

John Simms reminded us of that with a masterful 14-strikeout game in a 6-1 Potomac win over Wilmington. The 22-year-old Texan topped out at 91 mph and mostly threw in the high-80s. But as the old saw goes, hitting is timing and pitching is upsetting that timing.

The Blue Rocks batters were helpless against Simms’s changeup, which came in as slow as 73 mph. Not quite the Bugs Bunny slowball, but enough to induce 10 swinging strikeouts in which the batter was usually waaaaay ahead of the pitch.

Perhaps more impressive — Simms did this in just seven innings and walked only one. He did not hit a batter nor did he throw a wild pitch, for which catcher Cole Leonida, as all backstops should, deserves both mention and credit.

Thankfully, the masterful pitching was accompanied by more than enough offense, helped a little by some sloppy defense.

With one out in the 3rd, Randolph Oduber shot a bull past the Blue Rock matador playing third base to start the rally. Stephen Perez walked and the twosome pulled off a double steal to set up the No. 3 batter, Tony Renda.

Renda flared an opposite field single to deep right field to plate Oduber and Renda. Cleanup man Oscar Tejeda did just that by hitting his team-leading 9th HR with a blast to LF to complete the four-run binge and turn an early 1-0 deficit into a 4-1 advantage.

In the 6th, Will Piwnica-Worms and Cole Leonida led off with back-to-back singles to right and left, respectively. After Justin Miller tapped one to short, too slow to get more than one out, Wilmington relieve Aroni Nina threw one past the first baseman, sending in Piwnica-Worms and Miller all the way to third.

Estarlin Martinez waved at pitch up and out of the zone for a dribbler in front of the plate, but Blue Rocks catcher Cam Gallagher lost his grip and Martinez got the hometown scoring decision of a single. Oduber skied one to right to drive in Miller and complete the two-run binge that extended the lead to 6-1.

Simms, who had a streak of six straight K’s from the 3rd to the 5th, struck out the side in the 7th, with the last two looking (hoping) for his first win of 2014. Ian Dickson, who was the originally announced starter, came on in relief of Simms in the 8th and spun two scoreless innings to close out the game, striking out two.

With the win and a Lynchburg loss, Potomac’s magic number to clinch the first-half Northern Division title was reduced to six with one week left before the All-Star break. The two teams finish the series and their sixth game over the last six days with a matchup of Matthew Spann (4-0, 2.08) against Glenn Sparkman (2-1, 1.45) this afternoon.

Jun 082014
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 6-3 @ Buffalo,
1:05 p.m.
Hill (8-1, 1.57) vs.
Hendriks (5-0, 1.91)
Harrisburg Won, 8-0 vs. Akron,
2:00 p.m.
Kroenke (0-1, 4.80) vs.
Roberts (5-6, 4.26)
Potomac Won, 6-1 vs. Wilmington,
1:05 p.m.
Spann (4-0, 2.08) vs.
Sparkman (2-1, 1.45)
Hagerstown Lost, 15-5 @ Greensboro,
4:00 p.m.
Pivetta (8-2, 3.75) vs.
Garner (3-4, 4.09)
DSL Nationals Won, 6-2 OFF DAY N/A


Syracuse 6 Buffalo 3
• Laffey (W, 7-3) 7IP, 5H, 2R, 2ER, 0BB, 4K, HR
• Mattheus (H, 4) 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Souza 2-4, 2-2B, BB
• Moore 1-3, R, 2B, 2BB, 2RBI
• Walters 2-5, 3B, 3RBI

Seven of the 11 Syracuse went for extra bases while Aaron Laffey turned in seven strong innings to lead the Chiefs to a 6-3 win over the Bisons. The 3-4-5 combo of Steve Souza, Tyler Moore, and Zach Walters combined to go 5-for-12 with four doubles, a triple, three walks and five RBI. Laffey allowed just two runs on five hits, with no walks and four strikeouts while earning his seventh win. Ryan Mattheus escaped the curse of the GBI with yet another 1-2-3 inning for his fourth hold.

Harrisburg 8 Akron 0
• Cole (W, 5-2) 5IP, 2H, 0R, BB, 7K
• Espino (H, 1) 3IP, 3H, 0R, 0BB, 3K
• Ramsey 3-3, R, BB, 2RBI
• Hague 2-4, 3R, 2B
• Taylor 2-4, R, 2RBI

Three Harrisburg pitchers combined on a five-hit shutout while the offense pounded out 11 hits in an 8-0 shutout of Akron. Thanks to the long stretches watching his teammates duck up the opposing pitchers, Cole was limited to five innings, with just two hits and a walk allowed while striking out seven, but earned his 5th win. Caleb Ramsey reached base four times in four plate appearances and drove in two to lead the Senators attack, followed by Ricky Hague and Michael Taylor, who both went 2-for-4.

Potomac 6 Wilmington 1
• Simms (W, 1-3) 7IP, 2H, R, ER, BB, 14K
• Dickson 2IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Tejeda 1-2, R, 2BB, HR, 2RBI
• Renda 1-3, R, BB, 2RBI, SB
• Perez 1-3, R, BB, 2SB

John Simms reminded us of the difference between throwing and pitching. Last Night In Woodbridge.
Roster moves: LHP Gio Gonzalez removed from roster; RHP Paul Demny activated from TIL, reassigned to Harrisburg.

Greensboro 15 Hagerstown 5
• Silvestre (L, 2-3) 4⅓ IP, 7H, 8R, 8ER, 2BB, 0K, 2HR, HBP
• Ramos ⅔ IP, 5H, 3R, 3ER, BB, K, HR, BK, 3-3 IR-S
• Ballou 3-5, R, RBI
• Kobernus 2-4, 2R, HR, BB, RBI, SB

The Grasshoppers eclipsed the Suns with 10 unanswered runs in the middle innings of a 15-5 beatdown. Hector Silvestre, who had appeared to have broken out a funk in his previous outing, was lit up for eight runs on seven hits, including two home runs. David Ramos did his best to make the Greensboro batters look like his brother Wilson with a five hits allowed in the space of eight batters, letting in three inherited runners and giving up a three-run HR. Rehabbing Jeff Kobernus would appear ready to take a ride over to Wilson, NC to join the P-Nats tomorrow with a 2-for-4 game in which he walked, homered, scored twice, and stole a base.
Roster moves: RHP Jake Johansen placed on the 7-Day, retroactive to June 6; RHP Philips Valdez reassigned from Auburn.

DSL Nationals 6 DSL Rockies 2
• Ramirez 4IP, 2H, 0R, 2BB, 6K, WP, HBP
• Charlis (W, 2-0) 2IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Perdomo 2-2, R, RBI, SB
• Martinez 2-3, 3B, RBI
• Robles 2-4, 3R, 2B, 2SB

The D-Nats scored the first four runs of the ballgame and took advantage of four D-Rockies errors as they closed out their first full week with a 6-2 win. Nector Ramirez started and went four innings, allowing two hits and two walks while striking out six. The win went to Fiyeral Charlis, his second, for two scoreless innings of relief with one hit, no walks, and no strikeouts. Four batters had two hits, with Andres Martinez racking up the most total bases with a triple and a single and an RBI.
Roster move: SS Leudy Molina assigned from Washington.

Jun 072014
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 5-1 @ Buffalo,
7:05 p.m.
Laffey (6-3, 3.72) vs.
Drabek (4-5, 4.37)
Harrisburg Lost, 5-2 vs. Akron,
6:00 p.m.
Cole (4-2, 2.54) vs.
Colon (5-2, 2.37)
Potomac Won, 11-10 vs. Wilmington,
6:35 p.m.
Dickson (1-4, 7.26) vs.
Manaea (2-4, 5.09)
Hagerstown Lost, 8-7 @ Greensboro,
7:00 p.m.
Silvestre (2-2, 3.24) vs.
Milroy (5-3, 2.70)
DSL Nationals Won, 10-9 vs. DSL Rockies,
10:30 a.m.
TBD vs. TBD


Syracuse 5 Indianapolis 1
• Tatusko (W, 4-5) 6IP, 4H, R, ER, 4BB, 5K, HR; 1-2, RBI
• Delcarmen (H, 2) 2IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 2K
• Solano 2-3, 2R, BB
• Goodwin 2-3, R, BB, RBI
• Moore 1-2, 2BB

Ryan Tatusko gave up a home run to lead off the game, then shut down Indianapolis as his teammates rallied for two in the 2nd and
4th and took away a save chance with a run in the 8th for a 5-1 Chiefs win. The proud papa-to-be gave up four hits and four walks while striking out five to win his fourth game of the season. Brian Goodwin, Tyler Moore, and Jhonatan Solano each reached base three times as the Syracuse offense pounded out 11 hits and drew five walks.

Akron 5 Harrisburg 2
• Meyers (L, 1-4) 4⅓ IP, 9H, 3R, 3ER, 3BB, K, 0HR
• Bates 2⅔ IP, 2H, R, ER, 0BB, K, HR, 3-0 IR-S
• Martinson 2-2, R, 2B, BB, HR, RBI, SB
• Ramsey 2-4

Harrisburg’s quest for a three-game win streak remain unfulfilled as Akron struck for three in the 1st and cruised to a 5-2 win. Brad Meyers failed to make it out of the 5th for the fifth time in five starts, as the RubberDucks pecked him for three runs and nine hits and three walks over four and 1/3rd innings. Jason Martinson was one-man wrecking crew, going 2-for-2 with a walk, a double, a solo HR, and a stolen base. The Sens managed nine hits total but just two came with RISP as they stranded seven and grounded into three double plays.

Potomac 11 Wilmington 10
• Gonzalez 3⅔ IP, 7H, 8R, 8ER, 4BB, 2K, HR(GS)
• Harper (W, 1-0) 2⅔ IP, 2H, 0R, 2BB, K
• Oduber 3-6, 2R, 2-2B, RBI
• Tejeda 3-5, 2R, 2B, RBI
• Piwnica-Worms 2-5, R, 2RBI

The P-Nats batted around and scored five runs in the bottom of the 9th to take the series opener, 11-10 versus the Blue Rocks. Gio Gonzalez made the rehab start, and as frequently (usually) happens, the hype far exceeded the performance as the southpaw was hammered for eight runs on seven hits and four walks over three and 2/3rds innings. Potomac scored in each of the first four innings and had leads of 3-0 and 6-5 before Wilmington, the worst offense in the Carolina League, put up four-spots in the 3rd and 4th. Randolph Oduber struck out to lead off the 9th, then beat out an infield single to plate the gamewinner. In between, the P-Nats walked three times, singled four times, and tied the game on a sacrifice fly. The win, which was Potomac’s sixth walkoff this season, reduced the magic number to eight. Lynchburg kept pace with a 2-1 win, coincidentally its sixth walkoff win.
Roster moves: LHP Gio Gonzalez added to the roster for MLB rehab; RHP Paul Demny placed on three-day TIL for paternity leave, RHP Blake Schwartz activated from the 7-day DL.

Greensboro 8 Hagerstown 7
• Rodriguez 4+ IP, 10H, 7R, 7ER, 2BB, K
• Webb (L, 1-1) 2⅓ IP, 3H, R, ER, BB, K, 1-1 IR-S
• Difo 3-5, 2R, 2B, 3B, RBI, SB
• Wooten 2-4, 2R, 2B, HR, 4RBI, SF
• Mesa 2-4, R

The Suns drew first blood with three in the first, but the Grasshoppers dug out of the ditch and put a hurt on Jefry Rodriguez to take this one, 8-7. Rodriguez was knocked from the game after giving up back-to-back doubles in the 5th, charged with seven runs on 10 hits anf two walks. He struck out just one. The loss went to Joe Webb, who left with a runner on third and one out in the 7th and watched from the dugout as the gamewinner came in on a sacrifice fly. Wilmer Difo was a home run shy of the cycle, going 3-for-5 with a double and a triple while John Wooten drove in four with a double, a solo homer, and a sacrifice fly as the Suns racked up 11 hits but drew no walks on the night.

DSL Nationals 10 DSL Giants 9
• Baez 4IP, 4H, 2R, 2ER, 2BB, 5K, HR
• Acevedo (W, 1-0) 2IP, 2H, 3R, 3ER, BB, K, HR
• Cespedes (S, 1) 2IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 4K
• Mota 3-4, 2R, 2B, HR, 4RBI
• A. Martinez 2-4, R
• Agustin 1-3, 2R, BB, RBI, SB

The D-Nats scored nine times in the 2nd inning but barely held on to win vs. the D-Giants, 10-9. Israel Mota’s three-run home run, his third of the season (really), capped off big rally as the 18-y.o. (well, you can never be sure) went 3-for-4 with four RBI to lead the D-Nat attack. Joan Baez started and went the first four innings, giving up two runs on four hits and two walks. The win was awarded to Carlos Acevedo as the least ineffective of the two reliever that followed Baez. Angher Cespedes got the save with two scoreless innings and four strikeouts.

Jun 062014
 


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

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 34-26, T1st place I.L. North, 4½ games ahead

Good Zach Walters .275/.310/.600, 3HR, 8RBI since return from MLB (10G)
Bad Zach Jackson 0-2, 10.38 ERA, 2.08 WHIP in last 10 appearances
Interesting Ryan Mattheus 1BB, 1H, 0R allowed in last 7 appearances (10IP, 33BF)



HARRISBURG SENATORS 18-34, 6th place E.L. West, 14½ games behind

Good Rafael Martin 2-0, 0.00ERA, 0.52 WHIP in last eight appearances
Bad 472 team batting K’s, 11th in 12-team Eastern League
Interesting Still have not won three games in a row (H/T Mayflies & Bigflies)



POTOMAC NATIONALS 32-27, 1st place C.L. North, 2½ games ahead

Good Tony Renda .366/.435/.537 in last 10G
Bad Ian Dickson 1-2, 8.10/4.44/1.58 as a starter (6GS), 7HR total in 48⅓ IP
Interesting Travis Henke 1-0, 2.41 ERA, 1.23 WHIP since May 2 (2-0, 9.35, 2.42 in April)



HAGERSTOWN SUNS 41-19, 1st place Sally North, 6 games ahead

Good Ryan Ullmann 2-0, 1.36 ERA, 1.12 WHIP in 11 appearances
Bad 170 team BB, 9th in 14-team Sally Lg.
Interesting 320 team K, 1st (fewest) in 14-team Sally Lg.
Jun 062014
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 7-3 vs. Indianapolis,
7:00 p.m.
Tatusko (3-5, 2.79) vs.
Locke (3-1, 4.14)
Harrisburg Won, 8-7 (12 inn.) vs. Akron,
7:00 p.m.
Meyers (1-3, 7.32) vs.
Murata (3-1, 1.95)
Potomac Won, 3-2 vs. Wilmington,
7:05 p.m.
Gonzalez (rehab) vs.
Santos (0-0, 3.00)
Hagerstown Won, 9-4 @ Greensboro,
7:00 p.m.
J. Rodriguez (0-1, 5.63) vs.
Garcia (5-2, 4.87)
DSL Nationals Lost, 4-1 vs. DSL Giants,
10:30 a.m.
Baez (0-1, 3.00) vs.
Vargas (1-0, 0.00)


Syracuse 7 Indianapolis 3
• Jordan 6IP, 6H, 2R, 2ER, 3BB, 9K, HR
• Jackson (BS, 3) ⅔ IP, 2H, R, ER, 0BB, 0K
• Mattheus (W, 1-1) 1⅓ IP, 0H, 0R, BB, K
• Moore 2-4, 2B, HR(GS), 4RBI
• Souza 1-2, R, 2BB
• Burriss 1-3, R, RBI

Tyler Moore’s grand slam in the bottom of the 7th snapped a 3-3 tie to lead Syracuse to 7-3 win over Indianapolis. The big fly, which was third of the game for the Chiefs, made a winner out of Ryan Mattheus as the pitcher of record by getting the last out of the 7th. Taylor Jordan got the start and posted a quality start with two runs allowed on six hits and three walks while striking out a season high of nine batters. Zach Jackson followed him in the 7th but was dinged for a run on two hits in 2/3rds of an inning. As aforementioned, Jhonatan Solano and Brian Goodwin also homered while Steve Souza maintained his (commanding) I.L. leads in BA (.371) and OBP (.476) with a single and two walks in four PA.

Harrisburg 8 Reading 7 (12 inn.)
• Simmons 5⅓ IP, 7H, 4R, 4ER, 3BB, 6K
• Dupra 3IP, 3H, R, ER, 2BB, 4K
• Espino (W, 2-3) 1IP, 4H, 2R, 2ER, 0BB, K
• Skole 2-3, 2R, 2B, HR, 3RBI
• Taylor 2-5, R, 2B, BB, 2RBI, SB
• Latimore 3-5, R, BB, HR, 2RBI

Matt Skole managed to do what few can do in the minors — upstage the Cowboy Monkeys — with a two-out, three-run bomb in the 12th to turn a 7-5 loss into an 8-7 walkoff win for Harrisburg. Skole also doubled in the 9th as a pinch-hitter to key a three-run rally that sent the game into extras. James Simmons started but was knocked around for four runs on seven hits and three walks in five and a 1/3rd innings. The win went to Paolo Espino despite giving up two runs on four hits in the top of the 12th. Quincy Latimore led the Sens’ 13-hit parade with a 3-for-5 night, homering in the 6th to score the first two Harrisburg runs. The Eastern League named Michael Taylor as its Player of the Month for May, an honor not bestowed on a Senator since Stephen Strasburg in April 2010.

Potomac 3 Wilmington 2
• Bacus 6IP, 6H, 2R, 2ER, 3BB, 4K
• Suero (W, 2-1) 2IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 3K, 2-0 IR-S
• Mendez (SV, 3) 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Perez 2-4, R, 2B, SB(15)
• Pleffner 2-4, 2B, RBI

All-Stars Stephen Perez and Shawn Pleffner struck for doubles in the 9th while an error plated what proved to be the gamewinner as Potomac rallied for two in the 9th for a 3-2 win over Wilmington. The rally made a winner out of Wander Suero, who stranded a pair of inherited runners with no outs in the 7th and pitched two perfect innings of relief. Gilberto Mendez bounced back from his poor showing on Tuesday with a three-up, three-down, two-K ninth for his third save. Perez and Pleffner both went 2-for-4 to lead the P-Nats offense, which managed seven hits total. Potomac now leads the C.L. North by 2½ games, thanks to Lynchburg’s fourth straight loss. Their magic number now stands at nine with 11 games left to play in the first half.

Hagerstown 9 Greensboro 4
• Johansen 4IP, 5H, 2R, 2ER, 5BB, 2K
• Ullmann (W, 2-0) 3⅔ IP, 3H, 2R, 1ER, 3BB, 0K
• Ward 3-5, R, 2-2B, 2RBI, E(13)
• Difo 3-5, 2R, RBI
• Bautista 2-4, 2R, 2B

A four-run 5th broke a 2-2 deadlock as the Suns scorched the Grasshoppers for a 9-4 win and reduced their magic number to clinch the Sally North first-half title to five. Jake Johansen struggled again with his control, walking five for the second time in three starts as he only went four innings, giving up two runs on five hits. He struck out just two in his fifth no-decision in 11 starts. Drew Ward doubled twice and drove in two while going 3-for-5 as Hagerstown lit up the scoreboard for 14 hits total. The win went to Ryan Ullman, who gave up two runs (one earned) on three hits and three walks over three and 2/3rds innings.
Roster move: UT Jeff Kobernus assigned for MLB rehab.

DSL Giants 4 DSL Nationals 1
• Bermudez (L, 0-1) 4⅔ IP, 4H, 2R, 0ER, BB, 6K
• Rosario 2⅓ IP, 1H, 2R, 0ER, BB, 0K
• Franco 2-3, 2B, BB
• Robles 2-4, SB

All four runs scored by the D-Giants were unearned, but they count just the same on the scoreboard as the D-Nats fell, 4-1. The loss snapped a three-game win streak by the D-Nats. Starter Juan Bermudez took the loss, charged with two runs on four hits and a walk while striking out six over four and 2/3rds innings. Sixteen-year-old 3B Anderson Franco singled, doubled, and walked to lead the D-Nats attack.

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In Day 1 of the Rule 4 Draft, the Nationals took a pitcher who had TJ surgery. On Tuesday. Mark Zuckerman has the story on Erick Fedde, who hopes to become the second high-round, injury-risk pick to make the big club out of the past five drafts.

With the 57th pick, the line between arrogance and confidence was broached again with another injury-history selection in LHP Andrew Saurez. Baseball America led with him in its Top 100 College Players story from last December.

Jun 052014
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 11-2 vs. Indianapolis,
7:00 p.m.
Jordan (0-2, 4.32) vs.
Wilk (3-5, 4.95)
Harrisburg Won, 5-4 vs. Reading,
7:00 p.m.
Simmons (0-0, 2.79) vs.
Loewen (AA debut)
Potomac Won, 2-1 @ Wilmington,
7:05 p.m.
Bacus (2-1, 3.13) vs.
Binford (3-3, 2.68)
Hagerstown Won, 5-4 @ Greensboro,
7:00 p.m.
Johansen (4-2, 4.98) vs.
German (5-1, 2.24)
DSL Nationals Won, 11-9 @ DSL Giants,
9:00 a.m.
TBD vs. TBD


Indianapolis 11 Syracuse 2
• Roenicke (L, 1-3) 3⅓ IP, 8H, 7R, 6ER, 3BB, K, HR
• Stange 3⅔ IP, 1H, 0R, 3BB, 2K, 2-1 IR-S
• Leon 2-4, 2B, RBI
• Souza 2-4, E
• Hood 2-4, R

Indianapolis put the brakes on the latest Syracuse win streak, pummeling the Nats’ AAA entry for an 11-2 win. Josh Roenicke took the brunt of it, hammered for seven runs on eight hits and three walks. The big blow was a three-run shot in the Indians’ four-run 3rd. Sandy Leon, Steve Souza, and Destin Hood each went 2-for-4 as the Chiefs were held to eight hits and had just three chances with runners in scoring position. Roster move: RHP Christian Garcia placed on the 7-Day DL, retroactive to June 2 (shoulder discomfort per MLB.com’s Bill Ladson).

Harrisburg 5 Reading 4
• Poveda 6IP, 9H, 4R, 4ER, 2BB, 9K
• Herron (W, 2-2) 1⅓ IP, 2H, 0R, BB, 2K
• Grace (SV, 2) ⅔ IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, K, 3-0 IR-S
• Ramsey 3-4, R, RBI
• Dykstra 3-4, 2B, RBI
• Keyes 2-4, 2R, 2B, RBI

For the first time this season, the Senators dug themselves out of a four-run hole and scored the five runs of the game for a 5-4 win. Omar Poveda survived a three-run first and gutted out six innings, striking out a season-high of nine. He allowed all four Fightin runs on nine hits. Tyler Herron got the win with a huge assist/save by Matt Grace as the southpaw struck out the first batter he faced and got the second to ground out to leave the bases loaded in the top of the 9th. Cutter Dykstra and Caleb Ramsey both went 3-for-4 with an RBI to lead the Harrisburg offense, followed closely by Kevin Keyes, who scored the gamewinner after leading off the 8th with a double, taking 3rd on a flyout, and chugging home on a wild pitch.

Potomac 2 Wilmington 1
• Brach (W, 1-0) 6IP, 3H, 1R, 0ER, 0BB, 4K, HBP
• Benincasa (SV, 9) 1⅓ IP, 0H, 0R, BB, K, 2-0 IR-S
• Pleffner 3-4, 2R, 2-2B, HR, RBI
• Renda 2-4

Shawn Pleffner wasted no time in showing why (hey now) he’s (an) All-Star, (getting his game on) with a 3-for-4 night with a pair of doubles and a solo HR in a 2-1 Potomac win over Wilmington. Brett Brach spun six solid innings, giving up an unearned run on three hits and no walks while striking out four, and getting his first win. Robert Benincasa got the last four outs, stranding two in the 8th and working around a walk in the 9th for his ninth save. Tony Renda went 2-for-4 from the leadoff spot while Will Piwnica-Worms drove in a run with a sacrifice fly as the P-Nats managed just seven hits total in the pitcher’s duel. Combined with Lynchburg’s third straight loss, Potomac has opened up a 1½ game lead in the C.L. North and has a magic number of 11 with 12 games left in the first half.

Hagerstown 5 Delmarva 4
• Voth (W, 3-3) 7IP, 7H, 3R, 2ER, BB, 5K
• Walsh (SV, 6) 1IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 0K
• Difo 2-4, R, 2B, RBI
• Ballou 2-3, R, BB, RBI
• Bautista 2-4, R, 3SB

The Suns scorched the Shorebirds for five runs in the 5th to overcome a 3-0 deficit and held on for 5-4 win. All five tallies came with two outs as Hagerstown struck for five straight hits, including a two-run homer by John Wooten and doubles by Wilmer Difo, Drew Ward, and Spencer Kieboom. Austin Voth went seven innings and let in three runs (two earned) on seven hits and a walk while striking out five to even his won-loss record at 3-3 (yes, really). Jake Walsh pitched around a walk in the 9th to earn his sixth save. The three-game sweep lowered Hagerstown’s magic number to six as they notched their 40th win in 59 games. The Suns hit the road for tied-for-second-place Greensboro for four games, then Lakewood for three and could return to the Muni next Friday having clinched the first-half title.

DSL Nationals 11 DSL Red Sox 9
• Nunez 3⅔ IP, 5H, 1R, 0ER, 2BB, 4K
• Charlis (W, 1-0) 2+ IP, 5H, 4R, 2ER, 0BB, 4K
• Vargas (SV, 1) 2IP, 3H, R, ER, BB, 2K, 1-1 IR-S
• Mota 3-4, 3R, 2B, HR, BB, 4RBI
• A. Martinez 3-5, 2R
• Agustin 1-3, 2R, BB, HR, RBI, SB

The two teams combined for 32 hits and eight errors but the D-Nats struck first and won the slugfest, 11-9 for their third straight victory. Starter Jose Nunez gave up just an unearned run on five hits and two walks over the first three and 2/3rds while striking out four. The win went to Fiyeral Charlis, though he was charged with four runs over two-plus innings. Miguel Vargas was credited with the save, allowing an inherited runner and one of his own over the last two innings. Israel Mota and Telmito Agustin both homered as eight of nine batters hit safely.

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Longtime readers already know this, but for the more recent visitors to this space… I don’t cover the MLB draft because I’m simply too busy keeping track of the teams and the players that are already here than to speculate, worry, or otherwise spend time on the guys who might be here. I can, however, refer you to a couple of folks who have put in that work…

…Ryan Kelley runs down the Top 50 Draft Prospects over at District Sports Page.

…Sean Hogan focuses on possible targets for the Nats, who pick 18th this year.

Jun 042014
 

With the release of the 2014 Carolina League All-Star Team roster, there will be multiple Potomac players for the second straight year.

SS Stephen Perez and 1B Shawn Pleffner are both scheduled to attend the 2014 Carolina-California League All-Star Game in Wilmington on June 17th.

It’s the first All-Star nod for Perez, who’s batting .297/.406/.396 with 14 steals, 26 RBI, and 35 runs scored and has appeared in 53 of the 57 games the P-Nats have played. His .406 OBP mark is 4th best in the Carolina League while his 32 walks is second-best. He’ll be the Carolina League’s starting SS.

Pleffner was a NYPL All-Star in 2012 and was held in purgatory Extended Spring Training until late April. If he had enough PAs to qualify, his .308 batting average would be in the Top 10. In 37 games he’s made just one error, and is arguably the best defensive 1B to play for Potomac over the past several seasons. He’ll be on the Carolina League’s bench.

Last season, three P-Nats were named to the exhibition — Billy Burns, Robbie Ray, Blake Schwartz — breaking up a streak of three straight seasons of just one player — Zach Walters, 2012; Destin Hood, 2011 (replaced by Jeff Kobernus); and Michael Burgess, 2010.

Jun 042014
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 5-1 vs. Indianapolis,
7:00 p.m.
Roenicke (1-2, 4.11) vs.
Jackson (2-1, 5.26)
Harrisburg Lost, 5-1 vs. Reading,
7:00 p.m.
Poveda (1-2, 5.82) vs.
Garner (4-3, 3.86)
Potomac Lost, 5-3 @ Wilmington,
7:05 p.m.
Brach (0-0, 3.60) vs.
Dziedric (5-3, 2.94)
Hagerstown Won, 8-5 vs. Delmarva,
6:35 p.m.
Voth (2-3, 2.49) vs.
Harvey (3-3, 1.68)
DSL Nationals Won, 6-3 @ DSL Red Sox,
10:30 a.m.
TBD vs. TBD


Syracuse 5 Indianapolis 1
• Hill (W, 8-1) 6IP, 7H, R, ER, 0BB, 2K
• Cedeno (H, 2) 2IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Souza 2-4, R, HR, RBI
• Hood 2-4, R, 3B, RBI, SB
• Goodwin 1-2, 2B, RBI, 2BB, SB

The offense put up a run in the 1st and posted a picket fence in their final three innings, providing more than enough support for Taylor Hill as the 25-y.o. pitched the Syracuse to a 5-1 victory over Indianapolis — their third straight win and 12th in 15 games. Hill turned in yet another quality start (#7), allowing one run on seven hits with no walks and two K’s to notch his league-leading 8th win. Zach Walters and Steve Souza both homered while Destin Hood tripled and Brian Goodwin doubled as the Chiefs made the most out of their seven hits and five walks collected on the night.

Reading 5 Harrisburg 1
• Kroenke (L, 0-1) 5IP, 4H, 2R, 2ER, 2BB, 2K, HR
• Martin 2IP, 2H, 0R, BB, 2K
• Latimore 1-4, R
• Keyes 0-2, BB

Quincy Latimore’s two-out single in the bottom of the 9th broke up Reading’s bid for a combined no-hitter as Harrisburg lost again, 5-1. Zach Kroenke made his third start for the Senators and gave up two runs on four hits and two walks over five innings while fanning two. The longball continues to bedevil the southpaw as both runs came on a homer in the 1st. Reading lost the perfect game in the 7th when Latimore reached on dropped third strike and eventually scored with the help of an error and a second wild pitch. The Fightins only led 2-1 before Neil Holland was lit up for three runs on four hits in the 8th.

Wilmington 5 Potomac 3
• Spann 6IP, 5H, 3R, 2ER, 3BB, 5K
• Mendez (L, 2-3) 2IP, 2H, 2R, 2ER, 0BB, 3K
• Oduber 3-4, RBI
• Norfork 2-3, R, HR, RBI, E, CS

The Blue Rocks broke a 3-3 tie with two in the bottom of the 7th as they beat the P-Nats, 5-3 in the series opener. Matt Spann was dinged for three runs (two earned) on five hits and three walks but struck out five. The loss went to Gilberto Mendez, as he gave up the final two Wilmington runs on two hits and no walks while setting down three on strikes while pitching the 7th and 8th innings. Randolph Oduber went 3-for-4 with an RBI to lead the Potomac hit column, followed closely by Khayyan Norfork, who was 2-for-3 and hit a game-tying HR in the 7th. The race for the first-half title in the Carolina League Northern Division has tightened considerably. Lynchburg lost again, which keeps Potomac in 1st place by a ½ game while Wilmington is now just one game behind.

Hagerstown 8 Delmarva 5
• Giolito 3IP, 3H, 0R, 0BB, 5K
• Pivetta (W, 8-2) 4IP, 6H, 4R, 4ER, BB, 4K, 2HR
• Mesa 3-4, 2R, 2B, 3RBI
• Ward 2-4, R, HR, 2RBI
• Difo 2-5, R, SB

Hagerstown scored in five straight “ups” to defeat Delmarva, 8-5 as Lucas Giolito returned to the mound for the first time in more than three weeks. As such, he was limited to three innings, in which he allowed three hits, no runs, no walks, and struck out five. Nick Pivetta, who was coming off a two-week layoff, got the win, though he was ineffective with four runs allowed on six hits and a walk over four innings. Narciso Mesa went 3-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored while Drew Ward smacked his 5th HR while going 2-for-4 as the Suns pounded out 12 hits total and extended their lead to five games over Delmarva. The Suns’ third straight win has reduced their magic number to clinch the Sally North to eight vs. both Delmarva, who they play tonight for the final time in the first half, and Greensboro, which will host Hagerstown for four games beginning on Thursday.

DSL Nationals 6 DSL Red Sox 3
• Pena 4IP, 3H, 2R, 2ER, BB, 4K
• Cespedes (W, 1-0) 2⅓ IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 4K, 1-0 IR-S
• S. Guerrero 2-4, R, SB
• G. Ramirez 2-4, R
• Vilorio 2-4

The D-Nats put up a four in the 4th and two in the 6th as they doubled up the D-Red Sox, 6-3. Wilber Pena got the start and was touched for two runs on three hits and a walk over four innings. Angher Cespedes was the more effective of the two relievers who followed and was thus awarded the win with one walk allowed over two and a 1/3rd no-hit, no-run innings. He stuck out four of ten batters faced. Sandy Guerrero, Gilberto Ramirez, and Luis Vilorio each went 2-for-4 as the D-Nats notched 10 hits total.

Jun 032014
 

Ripple
As is often the case, the effect of activating someone on the parent club ripples throughout the minors…

WASHINGTON
• Removed 3B Ryan Zimmerman from Potomac roster, activated from 15-Day DL
• Released LHP Niko Spezial*
• Released RHP Andy Santana*
• Released OF Hayden Jennings*
* Per latest BA Transaction post.

SYRACUSE
• 1B-OF Tyler Moore optioned from Washington

HARRISBURG
• LHP Sammy Solis placed on the 7-Day DL

POTOMAC
• UT Mike McQuillan activated from the 7-Day DL

HAGERSTOWN
• OF Narciso Mesa reassigned from Potomac
• RHP Nick Pivetta activated from the 7-Day DL
• RHP Cody Davis activated from the 7-Day DL

AUBURN
• OF Greg Zebrack reassigned from Hagerstown
• RHP Reynaldo Lopez reassigned from Hagerstown
• LHP R.C. Orlan reassigned from Hagerstown

A corresponding move to make room for Moore has not yet been announced; Syracuse is at 25-man limit while Harrisburg is at 24 and could absorb a player reassigned if Washington so chooses.

It’s obviously concerning that Solis, who was hit hard on Memorial Day but did not appear to have diminished velocity, is back on the DL after just three starts total. As perverted as this may sound, we can only hope that it’s just his back (on which he has had surgery and was the reason cited for his previous trip to the DL) and not his left arm that’s bothering him because a bad back can be more readily treated versus a bad shoulder or elbow.

For the folks champing at the bit for promotions, the Nationals will sometimes realign the Low-A and High-A rosters after their All-Star Break (June 16-18) and in between when the Auburn and GCL rosters are set. (Auburn begins play June 13; the GCL on June 21).

As always, if/when further moves related to these become known, this space will be updated.

UPDATE:

Multiple online sources are now reporting that it is indeed elbow soreness that’s sent Sammy Solis to the DL. This, of course, is about as bad as it gets for a pitcher who’s already had one TJ surgery (2012).

Jun 032014
 


For the second straight season, six Hagerstown players have been named to the Northern Division’s entry into the Sally League’s All-Star game on June 17th. But, instead of just two coaches in 2013, manager Patrick Anderson, hitting coach Luis Ordaz, and pitching coach Sam Narron have been asked to join their charges at L.P. Frans Stadium in Hickory, NC.

Without further ado, here’s who’s been named:

  • 2B Wilmer Difo
  • C Spencer Kieboom
  • RHP Nick Pivetta
  • RHP Austin Voth
  • LHP Jake Walsh
  • RHP John Wooten

Also, for the second straight year — all six players appear to be going to an All-Star game for the first time. Manager Patrick Anderson was named to the same position on the 2013 GCL postseason all-star team after guiding the 2013 G-Nats to the GCL Championship.

For highlights on the Hagerstown players, visit the Suns official press release.