May 232012
 

This used to be a much more enjoyable task, but the nature of the beast is this: In the “lower” independents, it’s been fairly brutal the past few years.

The Can-Am League is down to just five teams plus a travelling squad (and its official developmental league, the New York State League is on hiatus). The North American League — the merger of the former Northern League, United Baseball League and Golden Baseball League — is on the verge of collapse (though more likely, the United League will be reborn from its ashes).

As always, there’s talk of some new leagues, but as noted in this story about the Freedom Pro Baseball League, an upstart similar to the tiny Pecos League, indy ball has proven to be an especially hard sell in the Western U.S.

I’ll spare you the speculation as to why this is (the economy, growth in collegiate wood-bat leagues) and cut to the chase: There are fewer places for “our guys” to end up after they get released, with the Atlantic League tilting heavily towards 4A’s and the rest tilting towards the non-drafted free agents and guys released after one or two seasons of short-season ball.

Without further ado, here’s a list of the guys I was able to spot in my tour through the available rosters of the North American League, American Association, and the Can-Am League:

Kyle Morrison, Newark Bears (Can-Am)
Daryle Ward, Newark Bears (Can-Am)
Matt Chico, New Jersey Jackals (Can-Am)
Nick Serino, Worcester Tornadoes (Can-Am)
Alex Caldera, Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks (Am. Assoc.)
Mitchell Clegg, Sioux Falls Pheasants (Am. Assoc.)
Trevor Lawhorn, Sioux Falls Pheasants (Am. Assoc.)
Christian Guerrero, Sioux Falls Pheasants (Am. Assoc.)
Ben Graham, Wichita Wingnuts (Am. Assoc.)
Jack Spradlin, Amarillo Sox (Am. Assoc.)
Marcel Prado, El Paso Diablos (Am. Assoc.)
Osvaldo Rodriguez, El Paso Diablos (Am. Assoc.)
Mark Herrera, Grand Prairie Air Hogs (Am. Assoc.)
Russell Moldenhauer, Lake Erie Crushers (Frontier)
Justino Cuevas, London (Ontario) Rippers (Frontier)
Patrick Arnold, Gateway Grizzlies (Frontier)
Chad Mozingo, Schaumburg Boomers (Frontier)
Matt Rogelstad, Edmonton Capitals (No. Am.)
Lou Santangelo, Edmonton Capitals (No. Am.)

I’m sure I’ve probably missed a few (last month proved as much), but bear in mind that without a searchable database at Pointstreak, it’s too time-consuming to do much more than an eyeball test. This concludes the series.

May 232012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 3-1 OFF DAY N/A
Harrisburg Postponed @ Altoona,
10:00 a.m.
Rosenbaum (5-0, 0.62) and
Gilliam (1-4, 4.68) vs.
Irwin (0-1, 4.76) and
Cumpton (5-3, 3.72)
Potomac Lost, 4-2 @ Wilmington,
11:05 a.m.
Grace (2-5, 7.34) vs.
Sample (0-5, 6.00)
Hagerstown Won, 5-4;
Lost, 8-4
vs. Greensboro,
10:35 a.m.
Meyer (2-3, 4.70) vs.
(3-1, 3.95)

Syracuse 7 Toledo 0
• Atkins (W, 4-3) 6IP, 2H, 0R, 2BB, 3K
• Arnesen (SV, 1) 3IP, 2H, 0R, BB, K
• Brown 2-5, R, HR, 5RBI
• Michaels 2-4, 2R, RBI

Mitch Atkins and Erik Arnesen each gave up two hits to combine on a four-hit Syracuse shutout of Toledo, 7-0. The Chiefs did their damage with two big innings — a four-run 2nd and a three-run 7th as the Chiefs plucked the Mud Hens pitchers for 12 hits. Corey Brown remains an offensive force, driving in five runs (all with two outs) while smacking his 10th HR. Syracuse finished its Ohio swing with a 5-3 mark and gets an off day today before returning to action on Thursday.

HARRISBURG — PPD
Rain postponed Game Two of the four-game series and will be made up as a doubleheader this morning.

Wilmington 4 Potomac 2
• Ray (ND) 5⅔ IP, 5H, R, ER, 2BB, 8K
• Wort (L, 0-2) 1⅔ IP, 2H, 2R, 2ER, BB, 2K
• Selik (BS, 1) ⅔ IP, 2H, R, ER, 0BB, 0K, 2-2 IR-S
• Bloxom 2-4, R, 2B
• Keyes 1-4, R, RBI, SB

Robbie Ray turned in his finest outing thus far for Potomac, pitching into the 6th with eight strikeouts and a run on five hits and two walks. The Blue Rocks, however, pulverized the Potomac ‘pen for three runs in the last of the 8th, turning a 2-1 deficit into a 4-2 win for Wilmington. Rob Wort took the loss when Cameron Selik couldn’t strand the two runners he inherited. Wort was charged for his first earned run in more than a month while Selik suffered his first blown save in six opportunities. Justin Bloxom continues to swing a hot bat, going 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored to lead the P-Nat offense.

Hagerstown 5 Greensboro 4, 10 inn. (comp.)
• Karns 1⅓ IP, H, 2R, 2ER, 4BB, K
• Meza 4⅔ IP, 0H, 0R, 3BB, 5K, 2-1 IR-S
• Barrett (BS, 1; W, 3-1) 2IP, 4H, R, ER, BB, K
• Nieto 2-4, R, 2B, BB, 2RBI
• Souza 2-4, R, BB
• Skole 2-5, 2R, RBI

Adrian Nieto’s RBI single in the bottom of the 10th gave the Suns a 5-4 win over Greensboro in the completion of Monday night’s suspended game. Christian Meza got the spot “start,” and turned in four and 2/3rds innings of relief, letting in one of two inherited runners while walking three and striking out five. After Hagerstown rallied for two in the last of the 8th, Aaron Barrett couldn’t nail it down in the 9th, giving up a two-out double to tie it at 4-4 but pitched a scoreless 10th to earn the win. Nieto, Steve Souza, and Matt Skole each had two hits as the Suns rapped out nine total.

Greensboro 8 Hagerstown 4 — GAME TWO
• Dupra (L, 2-4) 1⅔ IP, 6H, 8R, 8ER, 4BB, K, 2HR
• Hawkins 3⅓ IP, 5H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Burns 2-3, R, 2B, 3B, BB, SB, RBI
• Goodwin 1-3, R, BB

Brian Dupra’s struggles with the long ball continue with two more given up in an 8-4 loss to Greensboro. The righthander has given up five in his past two starts, along with 10 hits, 12 runs and five walks. Billy Burns walked, doubled, tripled, stole a base, scored a run, and drove in a run to lead the Suns on offense, which collected seven hits total but left nine runners on base.

May 222012
 

[Ed. Note:] This is Part Two of a Three-Part series leading up to the Nationals 2012 Draft next month. Part One can be found here.
There are four major figures that have great influence over the Nationals draft: General Manager Mike Rizzo, Scouting Director Kris Kline, Director of Player Procurement Kasey McKeon, and Assistant GM and VP of Player Personnel Roy Clark, .

Mike Rizzo – Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager
Our fearless leader since Jim Bowden’s resignation in March of 2009, Mike Rizzo is still an interesting specimen from a drafting perspective. He previously served as the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Scouting Director from 2000 to 2006. Overall (between both Arizona and DC), Rizzo has leaned heavily towards college players (75% of top 10 round picks) and pitchers (60%).

Kris Kline – Scouting Director
Kline was promoted by the Nationals to Scouting Director in 2009 after serving as Assistant Scouting Director and National Crosschecker in 2009 and originally joined the Nats in 2006 from Arizona. There’s unfortunately not a whole lot of information out there concerning Kline (or McKeon for that matter) that I could create any useful conclusions from.

Kasey McKeon – Director, Player Procurement
The son of legendary manager Jack McKeon and a former minor-league catcher, Kasey served as the scouting director for Cincinnati from 2001-02 and was an assistant to Rockies GM Dan O’Dowd for seven seasons up until being named Nationals Director of Player Procurement in 2011. While in Cincinnati, the top 10 rounds of his drafts leaned towards college players (67%) and pitchers (57%).

Roy Clark – Assistant General Manager and Vice President, Player Personnel
Clark served as the Atlanta Braves’ scouting director from 2000 up until being named Nationals Assistant GM and VP, Player Personnel in 2009. He is credited for procuring many top Braves talents (past and present) such as Brian McCann, Tommy Hanson, Adam Wainwright and Jason Heyward. While in Atlanta, the top 10 rounds of his drafts were pitching heavy (61%) but pretty even between college (55%) and high schoolers (45%). The number dropped drastically over the years, too, with only 22% of his top 10 draftees coming out of high school in his last three years in Atlanta.

I recently read Scout’s Honor by Bill Shanks, essentially an account of how the Braves scouted their way to the top of the NL East. While it was written in 2005, there is still plenty of good intel inside, including an entire chapter dedicated to Roy Clark. One of the major philosophies that Clark stressed in Atlanta is thorough scouting. He is not afraid to go off the board for a player he likes (similar with Rizzo with Jordan Zimmermann). That’s how Clark got Kevin Millwood in the eleventh round in 1993. Other teams lost interest in Millwood when his velocity was down at the beginning of his senior year in high school, but Clark knew it was because that Millwood had been playing on his school’s basketball team and couldn’t make it to baseball workouts. It worked out pretty well, as in the eleventh round of the 1993 draft, the other three guys to reach the big leagues (Glen Barker, Steve Rain and Tom Fordham) combined for -0.7 WAR in their careers. 2011 Nats tenth-rounder RHP Manny Rodriguez is a recent example of a pick based more on scouting, as he is a converted third baseman coming from a small school (Division II Barry University) who is still learning how to pitch.

Clark also emphasizes the importance of makeup, which he defined in Scout’s Honor as “the guy you want at home plate with the game on the line and he wants to be there.” He ties it in with the thorough scouting point as well, noting that “to get a good read on a kid’s makeup you can’t see him just one game or one time… I like to see a guy at his best and I like to see a guy at his worst. I like to see how he handles adversity.”

The book in general is a bit of a crusade against Moneyball, but Clark seems to lie somewhat in the middle of the stats vs. scouting argument. Excellent stats will get a player noticed by Clark quicker and mediocre stats will cause red flags, but neither will make or break a player’s draft status in Clark’s eyes. He uses himself as an example, as he was the MVP on his high school team over Lou Whitaker, who went on to enjoy an 18-year MLB career full of all-star appearances and gold gloves. I personally side with this philosophy (to some degree at least) because quality of competition and small sample sizes can skew the stats of both high school and college players alike.

The last major point Clark makes about the draft revolves around signability. The process of signing draftees has significantly changed in the seven years since the book was published, but the idea of it remains the same: Do these players want to be Washington Nationals? If yes, draft them. If no, do not. Clark’s philosophy does not suggest chasing guys with signability question marks, Matt Purke not withstanding.

Next week: A look at some potential targets for the Nationals in the 2012 Draft

May 222012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 3-1 @ Toledo,
10:30 a.m.
Atkins (3-3, 3.55) vs.
Oliver (3-2, 3.25)
Harrisburg Lost, 4-2 @ Altoona,
6:30 p.m.
Rosenbaum (5-0, 0.62) vs.
Irwin (0-1, 4.76)
Potomac Lost, 7-0 @ Wilmington,
6:35 p.m.
Ray (1-1, 11.25) vs.
Ventura (2-3, 2.97))
Hagerstown Losing, 1-0
(Susp., Top 2)
vs. Greensboro,
5:05 p.m.
TBD vs. TBD

Syracuse 3 Toledo 1
• Roark (W, 3-5) 5IP, 2H, 0R, BB, 4K
• Pena (SV, 1) 1IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Brown 2-4, 2R, HR, RBI
• Hoffpauir 1-3, SF, RBI

Tanner Roark returned to the starting rotation and extended his scoreless inning streak to 14 with five more in a 3-1 Syracuse win over Toledo. The 25-y.o. allowed just two hits and a walk while striking out four. For the second straight game, Corey Brown led off the game with a HR, and went 2-for-4 with two runs scored to lead the Syracuse offense, which struggled otherwise (1-for-10 with RISP, 10 LOB). Hassan Pena was the last of four relievers to follow Roark, pitching around a two-out IF hit to earn his first save of the season.

Altoona 4 Harrisburg 2
• Mandel (L, 4-3) 6IP, 4H, 3R, 2ER, 3BB, 6K, WP
• Pucetas 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Perez 2-4, BB, RBI
• Lozada 3-4, R, 3B

The Sens out hit the Curve 8-5 but lost the game 4-2. Altoona committed two errors to Harrisburg’s one, but two runs scored on the Senator error, a bases-loaded, one-out grounder that went through Manny Mayorson’s legs. The Sens were DOA with RISP, going just 1-for-7 with 9 runners left on. Jose Lozada and Eury Perez combined for five of the eight hits. Starter Jeff Mandel took the loss despite a quality start of three runs allowed (two earned) on four hits and three walks.

Wilmington 7 Potomac 0
• Swynenberg (L, 3-2) 4⅓ IP 9H, 6R, 5ER, BB, 6K
• Hansen 2IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Taylor 1-2, 2B, BB
• Hague 1-4

Wilmington’s Greg Billo and Leondy Perez combined on a two-hit shutout of Potomac by a 7-0 count. Starter Matt Swynenberg took the loss, giving up six runs (five earned) on nine hits and a walk. Ricky Hague’s single in the 1st and Michael Taylor’s double in the 2nd were the two Potomac hits. Taylor’s walk in the 5th was the third and final P-Nat baserunner. Roster moves… OF J.P. Ramirez was assigned from Hagerstown, while OF Wade Moore was assigned to Extended Spring Training. RHP Adam Olbrychowski was activated from the DL while RHP Kyle Winters was released.

Greensboro 1 Hagerstown 0 — SUSP.
Rain halted play during the second inning last night, forcing a suspension of play. Play will resume tonight at 5:05 p.m. to complete the suspended game in nine innings, followed by second game of seven innings. RHP Brian Dupra was activated from the Temporary Inactive List, taking the place of Ramirez on the Suns’ 25-man roster.

May 212012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 5-2 @ Toledo,
10:30 a.m.
Roark (2-5, 4.38) vs.
Weber (3-1, 2.18)
Harrisburg Won, 4-0 @ Altoona,
6:30 p.m.
Mandel (4-2, 3.45) vs.
Baker (2-4, 5.18)
Potomac Won, 4-2 @ Wilmington,
6:35 p.m.
Swynenberg (3-1, 3.95) vs.
Billo (3-3, 5.58)
Hagerstown Lost, 3-1 vs. Greensboro,
7:05 p.m.
Karns (1-0, 2.10) vs.
Fernandez (4-0, 1.91)

Toledo 5 Syracuse 2
• Maya (ND) 7IP, 2H, R, ER, 2BB, K
• Wilkie (BS, 1; L, 0-2) ⅔ IP, 4H, 4R, 4ER, 0BB, K, HR (3R)
• Brown 1-4, R, HR, RBI
• Teahen 1-4, R, 2B

A pinch-hit, two-out, three-run home run by former Chief Brad Eldred ended this one in walkoff fashion as Toledo rallied for four in the 9th to beat Syracuse, 5-2. Josh Wilkie blew his first save, charged with four runs on four hits over 2/3rds an inning. The implosion spoiled another fine start by Yunesky Maya, who allowed just two hits, two walks, and one run over the first seven innings. Corey Brown drove in the first Chiefs run with a leadoff HR in the 1st while Brett Carroll’s sac fly in the 7th broke a 1-1 tie. Pat Lehman and Corey VanAllen divvied up the 8th, each earning a hold.

Harrisburg 4 Bowie 0
• Demny (W, 3-2) 8IP, 2H, 0R, 3BB, 4K
• Garcia 1IP, 1H, 0R, BB, K
• Rahl 1-3, R, HR, 2RBI
• Pahuta 1-4, R, HR, 2RBI

Paul Demny’s MBP demons were nowhere to be found as the 22-y.o. turned in his best outing of the season with eight scoreless innings in a 4-0 Harrisburg win over Bowie. Tim Pahuta and Chris Rahl both smacked two-run shots in the four-run 4th, as the Senators prevented a BaySox sweep and stopped a three-game tailspin. Christian Garcia worked around two 9th-inning baserunners (walk, hit) to preserve the shutout and lower his ERA to 1.65.

Potomac 4 Carolina 2
• Demmin 4IP, 2H, 0R, 3BB, 5K
• Holland (SV, 1) 2IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Oduber 2-3, R, HR, 2B, 2RBI
• Bloxom 1-3, R, HR, RBI

Justin Bloxom and Randolph Oduber both homered Sunday Afternoon In Woodbridge.
Byron Kerr passes along news that Matt Purke continues to be the sirloin that the local diner will have on special “next week,” as the southpaw is set to go Thursday in Viera after pitching last Thursday. If activated (and not reassigned) for his next turn in the rotation, that would be during the next Potomac homestand on May 28 to June 3.

Delmarva 3 Hagerstown 1
• Turnbull (L, 1-3) 5IP, 6H, 3R, 2ER, 2BB, 2K
• McKenzie 3IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
• Souza 0-1, SH, SF, RBI, E
• Skole 1-4, 2B
• Ramirez 1-2, 2B

The Suns were the latest victims of Shorebirds teenage phenom Dylan Bundy, who was perfect for four innings before Matt Skole led off the 5th with a double, as Delmarva beat Hagerstown, 3-1. J.P. Ramirez also doubled while Brian Goodwin singled, as the Suns were held to just three hits and one walk (neither by Billy Burns, ending his on-base streak at 30 games; Kerr gets the blame for the curse ;-). Steve Souza drove in the sole Hagerstown run with a 7th-inning sac fly.

May 202012
 

Justin Bloxom and Randolph Oduber continue to terrorize the Mudcats, as both went deep in a 4-2 Potomac win over Carolina.

Potomac got on the board in the bottom of the 1st for the fifth time in the last seven games, posting a three-spot. Francisco Soriano drew a one-out walk and stole second and third, waltzing home with the first run when Carolina’s Tyler Cannon overshot the third baseman. Bloxom connected two batters later for his first HR batting righthanded to drive in the second run

Michael Taylor followed with a double to deep right-center. After a Kevin Keyes walk, Oduber drove in the third Potomac run. Three innings later Oduber cleared the LF fence as Bloxom did. The two combined for four HR’s and eight hits for the series, scoring five runs and driving in five runs.

Ryan Demmin took his second turn in the rotation and struggled with his control. His stuff was there — a nice mix of 90s heat combined with low-80s breaking balls — but the command was spotty as the southpaw walked three and struck out five. But with some help from his defense (a nifty 5-C-3 DP by Blake Kelso in the 2nd), he stranded four baserunners and gutted his way through four scoreless innings.

Shane McCatty was the first man out of the ‘pen and wasn’t much better than his previous outing. He walked three and struck out but also gave up a HR to Cleveland’s #13 prospect Ronny Rodriguez, unable to get his fastball past him despite multiple warnings that were hit hard, far, and foul down the LF line. He would get the rulebook win despite giving up a run in his fourth straight appearance, pitching the 5th and part of the 6th.

Joe Testa, another reliever that’s been struggling, stranded the two runners he inherited from McCatty to end the 6th. But got into trouble after giving up a leadoff double to start the 7th and then firing a seed on a sacrifice attempt that handcuffed an inexperienced Soriano at 1B as the throw glanced off Soriano’s wrist, scoring the second Carolina run. He would finish the inning on defense, but eventually left the game.

David Freitas, who was getting the usual rest for an everyday catcher (day game after a night game) showed little signs of rust as he returned to the position he played as a schoolboy and deftly handled all four chances he had over the last two innings, as sidewinding Neil Holland closed out the game with just a one-out single allowed in the 9th for his first save of the season.

After getting swept last weekend, Potomac took two of three from the Mudcats finished the homestand with a 5-2 mark, keeping pace with both Lynchburg and Wilmington. With less than a month left, the six-game roadtrip that starts tomorrow will make or break the P-Nats’ chances for the first half.

It starts with a three-game series against the second-place Blue Rocks, a team that Potomac took two of three from at home two weeks ago. After a previously misreported (*ahem*) unnoticed off day on Thursday, it’s a weekend set against the Hillcats — a team that (rather handily) beat Potomac five times in six April meetings.

May 202012
 

It’s tempting to write this as a valiant ninth-inning comeback, the third during this homestand. But the reality is that the Potomac Nationals had numerous opportunities to win this game sooner and took advantage of a very, very critical mistake.

Going into the 9th, the P-Nats had drawn four walks, stolen five bases, and left on 10 baserunners. They got off to a good start as Mudcats closer Jesus Flores committed the one of the cardinal pitching sins by walking the leadoff batter, Ricky Hague.

Hague stole second to reduce the odds of another double play, as the Woodbridge nine had done in the 7th and 8th innings. But David Freitas struck out for the inning’s first out. Zach Walters worked another base on balls, Potomac’s sixth, to set up 1st and 2nd with one down.

Michael Taylor drove in the tying run with a single to left while Carolina’s LF Anthony Gallas airmailed it past the catcher to allow Walters to take third, Taylor to take second.

Here’s where the critical mistake took place.

With first base open, the Mudcats decided to take their chances with Kevin Keyes, rather than issue the intentional pass and see if they can get another twin-killing with Adrian Sanchez, who had already hit two infield grounders.

The big man from Texas does indeed strike out quite often. And after getting ahead 1-2, the gamble appeared to be on the verge of paying off.

But Keyes also hits a fair amount of flyballs and that’s all that the P-Nats would need as he connected for a drive to medium center to send in Walters with a sacrifice fly with the gamewinner and a 6-5 final.

Keyes’ 23rd RBI (and yes, he does have 23 hits) made a winner out of Cameron Selik, the last of three relief pitchers that combined for six and 2/3rds innings of stellar relief.

Early on, this game had the feel of three of the previous four Carolina-Potomac matchups: A big inning in the 3rd that should have been much smaller that turned a 1-0 lead into a 5-1 deficit.

Spot starter Trevor Holder gave up a leadoff double to left-center followed by a single to left and a stolen base. Holder got the first out on grounder to second with the IF drawn in halfway, and should have had the second out on another grounder, but Freitas was late with the tag on a ball that beat the runner by 10 feet for the first Mudcat run. Another single and an error plated two more runs and another double followed for a fourth, and Holder was out — his scoreless inning streak snapped at 11.

Paul Applebee gave up the fifth Carolina run on a two-out double, but sporting a funky new motion, retired nine of the next 10 for a line of three and 2/3rds with one walk and one strikeout.

Meanwhile, Potomac answered the five-run Mudcat rally with back-to-back RBI singles from Freitas and Walters in the 3rd and a nifty double steal in the 4th that enabled Francisco Soriano to ease Potomac to within one at 5-4 with a grounder to 2nd. Potomac would leave on two in the 5th, one in the 6th, and as previously mentioned, hit into DPs in the 7th and 8th innings.

Rob Wort followed Applebee and worked around a one-out triple by striking out the #3 and #4 batters before turning in a 1-2-3 eighth for his sixth straight appearance without allowing a run of his own, all of them with three or more Ks. Selik worked around his own error (plunking the baserunner on a tapper back to the mound) with a pair of strikeouts in the ninth.

With the win, Potomac improves to 17-22, percentage points behind second-place Wilmington but still 4½ games behind division-leading Lynchburg. Ryan Demmin (0-1, 4.67) gets another turn in the rotation as the P-Nats shoot for the series win and attempt to close out the homestand with a 5-2 mark.

May 202012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 8-5 @ Toledo,
2:00 p.m.
Maya (3-4, 2.76) vs.
Crosby (4-2, 4.79)
Harrisburg Lost, 2-1 vs. Bowie,
2:00 p.m.
Demny (2-2, 4.91) vs.
B. Bundy (2-6, 5.27)
Potomac Won, 6-5 vs. Carolina,
1:05 p.m.
Ryan Demmin (0-1, 4.67) vs.
TBD
Hagerstown Lost, 9-1 vs. Delmarva,
1:05 p.m.
Turnbull (1-2, 5.27) vs.
D. Bundy (0-0, 0.00)

Syracuse 8 Toledo 5
• Wang (ND) 5⅔ IP, 7H, 4R, 4ER, 3BB, 6K, HR
• Wilkie (SV, 3) 1IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Hoffpauir 3-5, 2R, 2RBI
• Bynum 2-5, R, 2B, RBI

A four-run 8th turned a 5-4 deficit into an 8-5 lead as Syracuse defeated Toledo. Chien-Ming Wang, making what appears to be his final start before heading to DC, was touched for four runs on seven hits and three walks over five and 2/3rds innings. Atahualpa Severino, who stranded both runners he inherited from Wang but gave up the go-ahead Toledo run in the 7th, got the win while Pat Lehman and Josh Wilkie each turned in a scoreless inning for the hold and save, respectively. Jarrett Hoffpauir led the 10-hit Chiefs’ attack with a 3-for-5, 2RBI night.

Bowie 2 Harrisburg 1
• Ballard (L, 1-3) 7IP, 5H, 2R, 2ER, 0BB, 6K, HR
• Davis 2IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Hood 2-4, R
• Rahl 1-4, RBI, SB

“Missed opportunities” were the two key words to describe the Sens’ 2-1 loss to the Baysox. Harrisburg went 0-for-10 with RISP and did not take full advantage of the four Bowie errors. Mike Ballard was the hard-luck loser, giving up both runs on a two-run shot in the 4th and just five hits total over seven innings with no walks and six K’s. Destin Hood had two of the five Harrisburg hits while Chris Rahl drove in the lone Senator run and stole a base.

Potomac 6 Carolina 5
• Holder 2⅓ IP, 5H, 5R, 5ER, BB, 2K
• Applebee 3⅔ IP, 1H, 0R, BB, K, 2-1 IR-S
• Freitas 2-4, BB, 2RBI
• Taylor 2-5, RBI

Kevin Keyes’ sac fly in the 9th cashed in the last of several opportunities to win Last Night In Woodbridge.

Delmarva 9 Hagerstown 1
• Hill (L, 3-3) 6IP, 9H, 4R, 4ER, BB, 2K
• Encarnacion 3IP, 4IP, 5R, 4ER, 3BB, K, 2HR
• Dykstra 2-4
• Ramsey 1-2, R, BB, OF assist at HP

Pedro Encarnacion, assigned from the GCL Nationals on Friday night, got a rude welcome to the Sally League on Saturday night with a pair of HRs in the 7th as the Shorebirds eclipsed the Suns, 9-1. Starter Taylor Hill took the loss with four runs given up on nine hits and a walk over the first six innings. Cutter Dykstra was the sole Hagerstown batter to get multiple hits as the Suns were held to five hits and five walks and had their six-game win streak snapped. Brian Goodwin had an RBI double in his second game back from the disabled list. J.P. Ramirez went back and forth to “Auburn” as he was assigned to the SS-A roster on Friday to make room for Encarnacion and returned to the Low-A roster on Saturday with Chris Curran taking his place (but likely not leaving town, either).

May 192012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 12-2 @ Toledo,
7:00 p.m.
Wang (2-0, 3.60) vs.
Turner (0-0, 3.38)
Harrisburg Lost, 9-3 vs. Bowie,
7:00 p.m.
Ballard (1-2, 3.44) vs.
Bascom (2-2, 4.87)
Potomac Lost, 12-5 vs. Carolina,
6:35 p.m.
Holder (2-0, 4.34) vs.
Jimenez (4-1, 2.43)
Hagerstown Won, 5-4 vs. Delmarva,
7:05 p.m.
Hill (3-2, 3.90) vs.
Chalas (3-2, 8.34)

Columbus 12 Syracuse 2
• Duke (L, 4-2) 5IP, 8H, 5R, 5ER, 3BB, 3K, HR
• Severino 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Bynum 2-4, R, RBI
• Howell 1-4, 2B

A six-run 7th by Columbus put this game away, turning a 6-1 lead into a 12-1 blowout as the Clippers would sail to a 12-2 win over Syracuse. Cory VanAllen failed to retire any of the five batters he faced, giving up two doubles and two walks with a Carlos Rivero error. Hassan Pena would let in both inherited runners and give up a run of his own before getting out of the inning. The Chiefs would manage just five hits, with three coming from the #8 and #9 batters, Seth Bynum and Jeff Howell.

Bowie 9 Harrisburg 3
• Gilliam (L, 1-4) 6IP, 8H, 3R, 3ER, BB, 5K, HR
• Tatusko 3IP, 5H, 6R, 6ER, BB, K, HR, BK
• Valdez 3-4, 2B
• Seabury 1-2, 2BB, RBI

A pair of three-run rallies in the late innings turned a 3-1 game into a 9-1 Bowie beatdown. Harrisburg would get two in the last of the 9th for the 9-3 final. Starter Robert Gilliam gave up single runs in the first three innings but lasted six innings, giving up eight hits but five were for extra bases (four doubles, a solo HR). Ryan Tatusko had the misfortune of a dropped third strike in the 7th and a balk in the 8th but finished the game to save the bullpen. The Senators were a woeful 1-for-10 with RISP and left on seven, the “1″ being Chris McConnell’s RBI single in the last of the 9th. Jesus Valdez had three of the seven Harrisburg hits. Prior to the game, Manny Mayorson was activated from the DL to bring the Senators roster to the full 25.

Carolina 12 Potomac 5
• Grace (L, 2-5) 5IP, 12H, 8R, 8ER, 2BB, 2K, HR
• Hansen 2IP, 2H, R, ER, 0BB, 2K, HBP, pickoff at 1B
• Bloxom 1-3, R, HR, 2RBI, BB
• Oduber 2-4, R, 2B, HR, RBI

Same [stuff], different weekend. The Mudcats hammered the P-Nats for 12 runs on 18 hits for Carolina’s fourth straight win over Potomac. The collective score thus far has been 33-10 by runs, 47-11 by hits. Justin Bloxom and Randolph Oduber once again were the two P-Nats the Mudcats pitchers couldn’t reel in, both homering and driving in three of the five Potomac runs. The two have seven of those 11 hits in the four games. Matt Grace took the loss with eight runs allowed on 12 hits, including a three-run shot by Jeremie Tice in the 3rd. Bobby Hansen returned from the DL and gave up on a run on a two-out double following a hit batsmen, but his one run over two innings made him the most effective Potomac pitcher of the night.

Hagerstown 5 Delmarva 4
• Meyer 5IP, 7H, 4R, 4ER, 3BB, 6K, HR
• Hawkins 2IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Lucas (W, 2-0) 2IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 4K
• Ramsey 1-3, R, HR, 3RBI
• Martinson 2-4, R, RBI

The Hagerstown Suns scored the last five runs of the game, walking off with a 5-4 win over Delmarva. Starter Alex Meyer was touched for all four Shorebird runs on seven hits and three walks over five innings. Ben Hawkins and Bobby Lucas pitched each pitched two perfect innings of relief, striking out six combined. Hagerstown rallied for three in the 8th to tie with a Steve Souza sac fly and Caleb Ramsey’s two-run HR. Brian Goodwin (0-for-3) drew a leadoff walk and took third on an errant pickoff move. He scored two batters later on Jason Martinson’s RBI single. To make room on the Suns roster for Goodwin, Brian Dupra was placed on the temporary inactive list. Billy Burns played LF and extended his on-base streak to 30 games with a single in the 7th.

May 182012
 


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

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 19-22, 5th place I.L. North, 7½ games behind

Good Corey Brown .361/.480/.656 in May
Bad John Lannan 6.63 ERA, 1.79 WHIP, 4HR in last 3 starts
Interesting Xavier Paul .380/.436/.780 in May

HARRISBURG SENATORS 22-17, 2nd place E.L. West, 2 games behind

Good Eury Perez .316/.328/.386, 4SB in May
Bad Paul Demny 8.29ERA at home (2.57 on road)
Interesting Christian Garcia 5SV, 3H, 19K in last 10 appearances

POTOMAC NATIONALS 16-21, 3rd place C.L. North Division, 5½ games behind

Good Cameron Selik 3SV, 13K in last 5 appearances
Bad Shane McCatty 19H, 9BB in 9⅔IP, 13.03ERA, 2.90WHIP
Interesting Kevin Keyes 22H, 22RBI (.191/.271/.417)

HAGERSTOWN SUNS 22-15, 2nd place Sally League North Divison, 6 games behind

Good Cutter Dykstra .340/.429/.454 in 23G
Bad Brian Dupra 10.98ERA, 2.31WHIP in May (4 appearances)
Interesting Steve Souza 7HR in 13G