May 292012
 

After hitting five HRs in five consecutive games, there was little doubt that recently promoted Syracuse Chiefs OF Corey Brown would be named the International League Player of the Week for period of May 21-27.

Brown played in just four games during the week, but went 9-for-19 with five runs scored, 4HR, two triples and 10RBI. He also currently has a six-game hit streak.

This is the first POTW honor for the Syracuse Chiefs this season.

May 292012
 

Ed. Note: This is Part 3 of Sean Hogan’s three-part series on the 2012 Nationals Draft. Parts 1 and 2 can be found here and here.

If they fall to #16, grab them up immediately
OF Byron Buxton (Appling County HS, GA) – Currently the #1 guy on my board. Very athletic, with great tools across the board (Keith Law rates both his speed and arm as an 80… an 80 arm is Ankiel/Harperesque). Buxton is one example of when you should NOT be scared off by the label of “toolsy.” Only an injury or an outrageous salary demand will drop him to the Nats.

RHP Mark Appel (Stanford University) – The draft is all about taking guys with the right tools and molding them into major league ballplayers, and Appel is the perfect example. He’s the safest option at #1 overall due to his projectability, but doesn’t necessarily have ace potential as it stands. Law says that he is more hittable than he should be, so he could be a minor project for an organization’s pitching coaches.

C Mike Zunino (University of Florida) – The best college bat on the market led the SEC in TB, H, R, 2B and HR last season. Did I mention he is a solid defensive catcher? His swing is currently a little too long, and he’s struggling in SEC play this season, but he should still be long gone before the Nats pick.

SS Carlos Correa (Puerto Rico Baseball Academy HS) – You can dream on the glove (if he ends up at 3B) and the power. Correa is probably the biggest risk/reward type in the top half of the first round. I could really see him turning into a superstar, even more than Buxton, but at a greater risk.

OF Albert Almora (Mater Academy HS, FL) – Rapidly moving up lists with great intangibles, fielding and speed. Has decent pop and can likely hit consistently enough to become a five-tool player. Not your average “toolsy” player with a short and smooth swing.

RHP Kyle Zimmer (University of San Francisco) – In my opinion, has the greatest ceiling and floor out of the top tier pitchers. He’s got four solid pitches, but needs to improve his slider and changeup to make it to the MLB level. Inconsistent at times.

RHP Kevin Gausman (Louisiana State University) – Throws hardest out of the top college pitching prospects, but without great direction and lacks a breaking ball. Is it worth taking a guy like Gausman in the top 5 when there is a high chance he turns into a power reliever? Easily my least favorite of the top tier, although he is still a major pitching prospect.

RHP Lucas Giolito (Harvard-Westlake HS, CA) – Sitting out his senior season due to an elbow injury. Fastball is excellent; at 95 MPH, it gets good movement and pairs well with his all-around good command and secondary offerings. Injury concerns crushed his draft stock for now. If he can prove to be healthy and make an encore appearance in the next month, he could end up being taken in the 5-10 range.

Probably going to be off the board well before #16, but could drop
SS Deven Marrero (Arizona State University) – Cousin of Nats 1B Chris Marrero. Great defensive SS, but question marks surround his bat. Upside is a five-tool all-star SS. I think he’ll turn into an Alex Gonzalez type (albeit with a little better plate discipline). Rumors of a lack of effort are not what you want to see when you are looking at drafting a guy high in the first round. Looks like he won’t last past Pittsburgh at #8.

LHP Max Fried (Harvard-Westlake HS, CA) – Fastball isn’t crazy impressive (90-94 MPH) but curveball is excellent. Similar scouting report to Jack McGeary, and a sizeable amount of risk goes into drafting a soft-tossing HS lefty.

3B Stephen Piscotty (Stanford University) – Has good plate discipline and power potential, but lousy defense. Youkilis build isn’t for everybody, but can pay dividends at MLB level.

RHP Michael Wacha (Texas A&M University) – Fastball and changeup are good enough to survive without a solid breaking ball in the low minors, but he’ll have to scrap something to be a solid big-leaguer. Jonathan Mayo sees him as a Jon Garland-type of pitcher, which isn’t sexy, but is definitely worth grabbing in the top 10. Safest of the 1st-round RHSPs, but lowest upside.

Likely in the Nats’ range at #16
LHP Andrew Heaney (Oklahoma State University) – Low 90s heater pairs with slider/change up that can be decent MLB pitches, but limited upside — #3 starter at best.

RHP Marcus Stroman (Duke University) – The Nats took Stroman in the 18th round of the ’09 draft. At 5’8” he’s not much of a physical specimen, but he throws a hard fastball and power curveball. His command isn’t great, and he’s likely destined to become a reliever, but could rise to the big leagues faster than any other 2012 draftee. Talk of keeping him as a starter is intriguing, but people said the same thing about Drew Storen back in 2009.

3B Richie Shaffer (Clemson University) – Good raw power and defense, with bat speed praised by Keith Law. Upside is an above-average 3B, but likely reality is MLB average.

RHP Zach Eflin (Hagerty HS, FL) – Projectable righty with a good fastball and changeup. Lacks a solid breaking ball at the moment, but could be a #2/3 if he gets one.

SS/3B Addison Russell (Pace HS, FL) – Won’t hit for excellent average, but excellent defense and power. High risk.

1B Joey Gallo (Bishop Gorman HS, NV)
– Excellent power makes his other tools look lousy by comparison, but it’s really just his excellent power looking excellent. Could be a below average fielding but mashing 3B, but more likely to play 1B. Intriguing to say the least, and the Nats’ last Nevadan teenager draft pick worked out okay.

LHP Matt Smoral (Solon HS, Ohio) – Very tall and projectable, but small injury concerns (stress fracture in foot) can turn into big ones when you’re talking about giants (6’8” and 225 lbs). If healthy, he has ace potential, with a great fastball and slider. Raw, LHP version of Alex Meyer.

SS Gavin Cecchini (Barbe HS, LA) – Has 2 very solid tools in defense and ability to hit for average, but lack of power/plate discipline keep him from being an elite prospect.

RHP Lucas Sims (Brookwood HS, GA) – Does not have a violent delivery, which is music to my ears. Decent pitches across the board, middle of the rotation starter potential.

RHP Lance McCullers (Jesuit HS, FL) – The son of the former major league reliever Lance McCullers can dial it up to 97 MPH with a great slider and a lousy changeup. He’s bound for the bullpen, with only two pitches and mediocre control, but could quickly develop into an 8th- or 9th-inning guy. Higher upside than Stroman, but much worse floor.

OF David Dahl (Oak Mountain HS, AL) – A tick below Almora and Buxton across the board with a similarly high ceiling and low floor. Mike Trout comparisons are a bit premature (I’ve also seen Adam Jones) but I think his bat is the real deal.

3B Corey Seager (Northwest Cabarrus HS, NC) – a more well-rounded 3B prospect than Russell, but a downgrade in power and defense.

OF Courtney Hawkins (Carroll HS, TX) – Your average toolsy HS player. Hawkins has a great arm and power, but has a long, strikeout-prone swing and is doubtful to remain in CF as a pro. He’s the type of player the Nats have (in my opinion, correctly) stayed away from over the last few years.

May 292012
 

So far this season, a return to the Pfitz has been the cure for Potomac’s road woes but last night the home cooking had the same recipe: good pitching coupled with bad luck and worse hitting in a 3-2 loss to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans.

Robbie Ray’s third home start was the best of the three so far, and almost as good as his last time out in Wilmington. He went six and 2/3rds and gave up three runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks. But he struck out just two versus eight, and still has not fanned a left-handed batter thus far this season. This is always troubling because southpaws are supposed to negate the other team’s lefties — especially when the lineup had five of them.

Of course, Ray’s counterpart was the Rangers’ #6 prospect Cody Buckel and the undersized righty lived up to his billing, flashing low-90s heat, a 12-6 curve that he reportedly learned from Barry Zito (sure looked like it) and devastating change.

Last time he pitched here (April 28), Potomac touched him for three runs in the second pass through the lineup, but the best that you could say is that they were able to make the 19-year-old work hard for his nine strikeouts, as they managed just three hits against him in six innings.

Ray gave up single runs in the 2nd, 4th, and the 7th. That last run was the most painful, not just because it was the margin of victory but because it came when it was obvious that Buckel was done and with the 4-5-6 men coming up, this was their chance to make some hay. Instead, the defense faltered again (the 4th inning run came after SS Zach Walters threw a bullet 5′ over Justin Bloxom’s glove) unable to snag a flyball to short RF for a leadoff double.

But Ray was not blameless, as it was his wild pitch that sent in the run with runners on 1st and 3rd and one out.

Potomac finally got on the board in the last of the 8th, as Justin Bloxom shattered his bat for broken-bat popup to CF that fell in for a single and Adrian Sanchez tripled him home. But as mentioned previously, luck was not on the Woodbridge Nine’s side as strikeout and a line drive back to the mound (for a 1-5 double play) ended the 8th.

J.P. Ramirez led off the 9th with nifty piece of place hitting, as the noticeably trimmer left-fielder legged out an opposite-field double. He showed off that newfound average speed to take third on a deep flyout to CF and slid home safe on ball that went off the Pelican pitcher’s glove that David Freitas lumbered to first for an infield single.

Francisco Soriano was called upon to pinch-run for Freitas and was promptly picked off 1st for the inning’s second out while Walters compounded his fielding miscue with his third strikeout to end the game.

The loss put Potomac back in the Carolina League North cellar, 8½ games behind division-leading Lynchburg and tied with Frederick. Matt Grace (2-6, 6.70) takes the hill for Game Two of the four-game series while the offense should get a badly needed jolt of energy with the addition of Michael Morse in the lineup on a rehab assignment.

May 292012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 4-3 @ Louisville,
11:05 a.m.
Duke (5-2, 4.25) vs.
Francis (2-5, 4.09)
Harrisburg Lost, 8-0 vs. Portland,
7:00 p.m.
Tatusko (0-1, 9.00) vs.
Buckner (3-3, 3.28)
Potomac Lost, 3-2 vs. Myrtle Beach,
7:05 p.m.
Grace (2-6, 6.70) vs.
Mendez (3-3, 4.08)
Hagerstown Won, 9-7 @ Greensboro,
7:00 p.m.
Hill (4-3, 3.40) vs.
Brice (4-1, 4.35)

Louisville 4 Syracuse 3
• Atkins (L, 4-4) 5IP, 7H, 4R, 4ER, BB, 6K, HR
• Pena 2IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 0K
• Paul 3-4, RBI
• Johnson 2-5, R

All seven runs came in the first three innings as the Bats ‘pen outdueled the Chiefs for a 4-3 win. Mitch Atkins went five innings but gave up all four runs in the first two innings, including a solo HR in the 2nd that proved to be the game-winner. Xavier Paul led the offense with a 3-for-4 game as Syracuse outhit Louisville 9-8 but left seven runners on.

Reading 8 Harrisburg 0
• Rosenbaum (L, 6-1) 6IP, 12H, 6R, 6ER, BB, 2K, HR
• Davis 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, K
• King 2-3, 2B
• Valdez 2-4

Danny Rosenbaum got taken to the woodshed by Reading for his first loss of the season as Harrisburg was shut out, 8-0. Rosenbaum gave up six runs on 12 hits and a walk while striking out just two, his second straight start of three-plus runs allowed after a streak of six starts with none or one run allowed. Stephen King and Jesus Valdez combined for four of the seven hits the Senators could muster against Reading’s David Buchanan, who went the distance.

Myrtle Beach 3 Potomac 2
• Ray (L, 1-2) 6⅔ IP, 6H, 3R, 2ER, 2BB, 2K
• Holland 2IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Ramirez 2-3, R, 2B
• Sanchez 2-3, 3B, RBI

Robbie Ray turned in decent start, but it wasn’t enough Last Night In Woodbridge.

Hagerstown 9 Greensboro 7
• Meyer (W, 3-3) 5IP, 5H, R, ER, 2BB, 3K
• Bates (H, 1) 3IP, H, 0R, BB, 3K
• Lucas ⅓ IP, 3H, 6R, 4ER, 2BB, 0K, HR(GS)
• Burns 2-5, R, 3RBI
• Martinson 2-5, 2R, 2B, 2RBI

A six-run 3rd by Hagerstown seemed like enough to coast to a win, but a six-run 9th by Greensboro proved otherwise as the Suns survived, 9-7. Bobby Lucas retired just one of the seven batters he faced, giving up a grand slam after a pair of walks and a single and getting chased after an error (his) and a double. Aaron Barrett struck out two but let in two while putting out the fire and earning his sixth save. Starter Alex Meyer evened his record at 3-3 with a run on five hits and two walks over five innings. Billy Burns and Jason Martinson both went 2-for-5 to lead the Suns 11-hit offense.

May 282012
 

No, I Said The White PhoneWith OF/PH Chad Tracy being placed on the 15-Day DL with a groin injury, the Washington Nationals have indeed made the move to recall Syracuse OF Corey Brown, as suggested in this morning’s news & notes. Yesterday, Brown was flown from upstate NY to Florida in anticipation of this development, which was also signaled by the activation of OF J.R. Higley from the Potomac DL and the placement of RHP Rafael Martin on the Temporary Inactive List.

Brown is currently riding a five-HRs-in-five-games HR streak and has been red-hot in the month of May, hanging a line of .359/.450/.772 including 9HR and 23 RBI in 24 games. He’s also stolen six bases in nine tries as the Chiefs leadoff batter and has two errors in 55 games on defense. This is his second stint with the parent club, the previous coming last September when he was hurt after just three pinch-hit appearances.

For those wondering why the more experienced Harrisburg OFs Jesus Valdez and Chris Rahl were bypassed, consider that two key Senators starters — Jeff Kobernus and Destin Hood — have been day-to-day with nagging injuries. It’s possible, if not probable, that one of those two will swap places with Higley once Hood is able to return to action, or perhaps even as soon as Martin is eligible to reactivated from the Temporary Inactive List on Wednesday.

Brown, who was acquired along with Rolaids dispenser RHP Henry Rodriguez in the December 2010 trade with Oakland for OF Josh Willingham, is expected to come off the bench. How long his stay in DC will depend on the parent club’s decisions to be made once OF-1B Michael Morse is deemed healthy enough to return to action for Washington. Morse is expected to play with Potomac this week on a rehab assignment and could be activated as soon as Friday, according to Nats Insider Mark Zuckerman.

UPDATE: The Harrisburg Senators have announced that OF Destin Hood has been placed on the 7-Day DL, retroactive to Friday, May 25, with no corresponding move. Both the Syracuse and Harrisburg rosters stand at 24, one short of the full 25. Stay tuned to this space if an additional move is made this afternoon.

UPDATE #2: Multiple online sources are reporting that Jhonatan Solano will be called up with 1B-LF Tyler Moore returning to Syracuse. As noted on Twitter last night, the presence of Solano on the 40-man and three catchers already on the Chiefs roster made this an unsurprising turn of events, not to mention the popular opinion that Moore was gathering dust on the bench as he was given more than two plate appearances just twice in 12 games and 19 overall in four weeks.

May 282012
 

Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 9-1 @ Louisville,
4:05 p.m.
Atkins (4-3, 3.07) vs.
Obispo (0-0, 3.60)
Harrisburg Won, 6-5 vs. Reading,
6:00 p.m.
Rosenbaum (6-0, 0.99) vs.
Buchanan (1-5, 4.73)
Potomac Lost, 6-1 vs. Myrtle Beach,
6:05 p.m.
Ray (1-1, 8.15) vs.
Buckel (3-2, 1.33)
Hagerstown Won, 7-6 @ Greensboro,
7:00 p.m.
Meyer (2-3, 4.36) vs.
Lowell (3-1, 3.83)

Columbus 9 Syracuse 1
• Roark (L, 3-6) 3⅓ IP, 6H, 9R, 9ER, 6BB, 4K, HR
• Lehman 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Teahen 2-4, 2-2B, RBI
• Rivero 1-4, 2B

A five-run 3rd followed by a four-run 4th left little doubt that Columbus would win, 9-1, completing the three-game sweep. Tanner Roark’s scoreless inning streak was stopped at 16 full innings as the Clippers took advantage of the six walks he issued and connected for a three-run shot in the 3rd. The Chiefs managed just six hits, with Mark Teahen doubling twice and driving in the sole Syracuse run. The Chiefs head back out on the road four an eight-game stretch against Louisville and Indianapolis. Roster Moves: OF J.R. Higley was activated from the Potomac disabled list and assigned to Syracuse and got the start in CF (0-for-3), with RHP Rafael Martin assigned to the Temporary Inactive List. Corey Brown has reportedly been flown down to Miami to be activated if the Big Nats need him to replace Chad Tracy, who was hurt on Saturday afternoon. DC backstop Jesus Flores was lifted in the 7th inning last night in Atlanta with a hamstring injury but is not as likely to go on the DL, which means the Chiefs will probably continue to carry three catchers.

Harrisburg 6 Reading 5
• Mandel 6⅓ IP, 10H, 5R, 4ER, 0BB, 7K
• Frias (W, 2-3) 1IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Nelo (SV, 4) 1IP, 0H, 0R, BB, K
• Valdez 3-4, 2R, 2B, 2HR, 3RBI
• Seabury 1-3, R, HR, 3RBI
• OF assists: Perez, HP; Rahl, 2B

Jesus Valdez and Beau Seabury combined for three HRs and six RBI as Harrisburg rallied from a 5-2 deficit for a 6-5 win over Reading. Starter Jeff Mandel was left in for for one batter too many, leaving in the 7th after a three-run triple, the 10th hit he gave up over six and a 1/3rd innings. Pat McCoy was able to strand the runner at third by striking out the first batter he faced and inducing a flyball to end the inning. Marcos Frias and Hector Nelo both flirted with disaster (two hits, a walk) but laid goose eggs for the win and save respectively.

Lynchburg 6 Potomac 1
• Olbrychowski 4IP, 3H, R, ER, 5BB, 5K
• Testa ⅓ IP, 0H, 2R, 2ER, 0BB, 0K, 2HBP, 2-1 IR-S
• Wort 1⅔ IP, H, 0R, 0BB, 3K, 3-3 IR-S
• Kelso 1-4, RBI
• Sanchez 1-3, R, 2B

The wheels came off in the 7th inning in Lynchburg as three relievers gave up five runs on four hits and two hit batsmen, turning a 1-1 pitcher’s duel into a 6-1 loss for Potomac, its 18th in 24 road games. Bobby Hansen Jr. was officially charged with the loss, but Joe Testa hitting two of three batters faced certainly didn’t help nor did an offensive output of just six hits and one walk. The P-Nats return home for four games against Myrtle Beach before a fourth series against the Hillcats this weekend (as previously reported, this year the Carolina League schedule is unbalanced on a per-half basis, with just six games against Wilmington and Carolina in the first half, 14 against the Pelicans, 12 vs. Lynchburg, and 11 vs. both the Dash and the Keys; only Salem is the “usual” 10 games per half — something that might affect the second-half playoff races, should the P-Nats mount their usual charge).

Hagerstown 7 Lakewood 6
• Dupra (W, 3-4) 5IP, 6H, 5R, 3ER, 0BB, 4K, 2HR
• Meza (H, 2) 3IP, 2H, 1R, 0ER, BB, 5K
• Barrett (SV, 5) 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Dykstra 3-4, R, 2B, SB
• Souza 3-5, R, 3B, 3RBI
• Goodwin 2-3, 2R, 2B, BB, RBI

A four-run fifth powered the Suns past the BlueClaws for a 7-6 win and a 5-1 series smackdown. Brian Dupra hasn’t shook the homer bug, giving up two — nos. 6 and 7, all given up in his last three starts — but got the win. Hagerstown pounded out twelve hits with Cutter Dykstra, Steve Souza and Brian Goodwin combining for eight of them while Matt Skole drew three more walk to push his league-leading total to 47 in 48 games. The Suns continue their road trip with a 500+ mile bus ride last night to Greensboro for a three-game series. Auburn shuffle: Prior to the game, RHP Brian Dupra was assigned from the Doubledays to the Suns, switching places with RHP Jason Smith

May 272012
 

With home runs from Jose Lozada and Tim Pahuta, Harrisburg opened up a 4-1 lead and survived a late Reading charge to win, 5-4.

Starter Paul Demny got the win despite just one clean inning and retiring the leadoff batter twice, as the redheaded Texan struggled with his control and allowed seven hits and four walks over five and 2/3rds innings.

His teammates, however, picked him up early as Lozada cranked a one-out solo shot, his second home run of the year to give the Senators an early 1-0 lead. He would single twice in subsequent at-bats to push his batting average to .312, riding an 11-for-24 stretch since being inserted in the #2 spot in the lineup a week ago.

Reading would tie it in the 3rd with a walk, groundout, a wild pitch and and one-out single from former Nat farmhand Tug Hulett.

Tim Pahuta would get the lead back for good in the 4th with a moonshot about 20′ to the right of the Metro Bank Park scoreboard and about 5′ short of clearing the outfield boardwalk — his third HR in seven days.

Two more runs came in the 5th with Eury leading off with the second of his three line-drive singles to center, Lozada pushing him to third with a single and Pahuta smacking an opposite-field flyball deep enough for the 21-year-old centerfielder to score and Lozada deftly moving up to 2nd on lousy throw from the outfield. Chris Rahl skipped a grounder through the 5/6 hole to send in Lozada and open up the lead to 4-1.

Demny was chased in the 6th after giving up a single, homer, and a two-out walk to the #8 batter (the second time for that sin). Both managers made their move, with John Wathan calling for a pinch-hitter and Matt LeCroy summoning Kevin Pucetas.

The big, fashionable man won the matchup and set down eight of nine, four by way of the K, and gave way to Erik Davis in the 9th after Jeff Mandel pinch-hit for him in the 8th.

Devin Ivany tripled to lead off the 6th and came in to score on Perez’s third hit and that insurance run loomed large after Davis gave up a leadoff single and a one-out double to put the tying runs in scoring position. An infield single plated the fourth Reading run then a wild pitch put the go-ahead run at second.

LeCroy ordered an intentional pass to Tug Hulett and Davis escaped the jam with SS Chris McConnell taking the grounder, stepping on second, and tossing across to Pahuta for the game-ending DP.

The loss breaks a two-game skid for Harrisburg and pushed them to within three games of first-place Akron. The two second-place teams meet again this afternoon for Game 3 of the four-game series, with Mandel (4-3, 3.40) taking the hill for the Senators against Reading’s Trevor May (5-2, 4.10).

May 272012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 9-6 vs. Columbus,
6:30 p.m.
Roark (3-5, 3.89) vs.
Seddon (4-3, 4.70)
Harrisburg Won, 5-4 vs. Reading,
2:00 p.m.
Mandel (4-3, 3.40) vs.
May (5-2, 4.10)
Potomac Lost, 7-2 @ Lynchburg,
2:05 p.m.
Olbrychowski (1-4, 7.20) vs.
Delgado (2-1, 4.15)
Hagerstown Won, 7-1;
Lost, 7-5
@ Lakewood,
7:05 p.m.
TBD vs.
Oviedo (1-0, 1.50)

Columbus 9 Syracuse 6
• Maya (L, 3-5) 5⅔ IP, 6H, 7R, 7ER, 3BB, 6K, HR
• Martin 2IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Teahen 2-5, 2RBI
• Negrych 2-4
• Solano 2-5, R

A six-run 5th put the wind in Columbus’s sails as the Clippers built a 9-0 lead and weathered a late rally by Syracuse, 9-6. Yunesky Maya was torched for seven runs on six hits, including a three-run HR in the 5th, and suffered the loss. Mark Teahen, Jim Negrych, and Jhonatan Solano each had two hits in the loss.

Harrisburg 5 Reading 4
• Demny (W, 4-2) 5⅔ IP, 7H, 3R, 3ER, 4BB, 4K, HR
• Pucetas (H, 2) 2⅓ IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 4K, 1-0 IR-S
• Perez 3-5, R, RBI, SB
• Lozada 3-4, 2R, HR, RBI
• Pahuta 1-3, R, HR, 2RBI

Big flies and mayflies were both out Last Night In Harrisburg.

Lynchburg 7 Potomac 2
• Swynenberg (L, 3-3) 5⅔ IP, 8H, 6R, 5ER, 2BB, 2K, 3HR
• McCatty 1IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Ramirez 3-4, RBI
• Freitas 1-3, R, RBI

The month of May continues to be unkind to Matt Swynenberg, as the Lynchburg Hillcats smacked three HRs in a 7-2 win over Potomac. The staff ace lost for the second time in five starts and has seen his ERA climb from 3.24 to 4.94 over that span. J.P. Ramirez led the P-Nats offense with three of their nine hits.

Hagerstown 7 Lakewood 1 — GAME ONE
• Karns (W, 2-0) 7IP, H, R, ER, BB, 10K
• Souza 2-3, R, 2B, BB, 2RBI
• Skole 2-3, R, HR, BB, RBI
• Martinson 2-4, 2R, RBI, SB

Nathan Karns threw a one-hit complete game, striking out a career-high 10 as the Suns took game one of the doubleheader, 7-1. Hagerstown broke the game open in the 3rd with a four-run rally, highlighted by Steve Souza’s two-run double. Matt Skole connected for his 10th HR in the 5th while Jason Martinson singled twice as the Suns pounded out 10 hits in the seven-inning game.

Lakewood 7 Hagerstown 5 — GAME TWO
• Smith (L, 0-1) 1⅔ IP, 4H, 5R, 5ER, 2BB, K, HR
• Hawkins 2⅓ IP, 1H, 1R, 0ER, BB, K
• Skole 3-3, 2B, BB, RBI
• Goodwin 2-3, 2R, 2B, 3B, BB, RBI

The tables were turned in the nightcap as the BlueClaws roughed up Jason Smith in his Low-A debut with a five-run 2nd and held on for a 7-5 win. Matt Skole went 3-for-3 with two singles and a double while Brian Goodwin doubled and tripled as Hagerstown outhit Lakewood 9-5. Jason Martinson singled to extend his hit streak to seven games and scored twice to push his league-leading tally to 52.

May 262012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 9-6 vs. Columbus,
7:00 p.m.
Maya (3-4, 2.57) vs.
Kluber (3-4, 4.67)
Harrisburg Lost, 3-1 vs. Reading,
7:00 p.m.
Demny (3-2, 4.03) vs.
Naylor (3-1, 5.75)
Potomac Won, 11-8 @ Lynchburg,
6:05 p.m.
Swynenberg (3-2, 4.57) vs.
Schlosser (5-2, 3.95)
Hagerstown Won, 4-2 @ Lakewood,
6:05 p.m.
Karns (1-0, 2.59) and
Jason Smith (A- debut) vs.
Martinez (3-2, 6.15)
and TBD

Columbus 9 Syracuse 6
• Lannan (L, 3-5) 5IP, 7H, 5R, 5ER, 0BB, 3K, 2HR
• VanAllen 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Carroll 2-4, 2R, 2B, HR, 3RBI
• Brown 2-5, R, 3B, HR, 2RBI
• Solano 2-5, R

Corey Brown homered for the fifth straight game to set a franchise record, but the Chiefs lost, 9-6. Brown also tripled and drove in two while teammate Brett Carroll smacked a double and home run and sent in three. John Lannan also had two home runs, but they came off his arm, not his bat, as the beleaguered lefty was charged with five runs on seven hits and no walks over five innings. It was his fifth loss and the eighth longball surrendered, five coming in his last two starts. Syracuse pounded out 11 hits but somehow scored six times despite going 1-for-12 with RISP.

Reading 3 Harrisburg 1
• Ballard (L, 1-4) 8IP, 8H, 3R, 3ER, BB, 5K, 3HR; 3 sac hits
• Nelo 1IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Lozada 2-5, R, HR, RBI
• Seabury 3-4

The longball also told the story roughly 260 miles down I-81 from Syracuse as the R-Phils went deep three times in a 3-1 win over the Harrisburg Senators. Mike Ballard took the loss despite pitching eight innings with eight hits (three homers, five singles) and a walk allowed; his longest outing of the year. He also followed each of Beau Seabury’s three singles with a sacrifice bunt, but all three times Seabury was stranded. The Sens had 10 hits and 10 men left on base, the lone run coming on (you guessed it) a home run by Jose Lozada.

Potomac 11 Lynchburg 8
• Holder 3⅔ IP, 5H, 3R, 3ER, 3BB, K
• Holland (W, 3-1) 2IP, 3H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Selik (SV, 6) 1⅓ IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Taylor 3-5, 3R, 2-2B, 2RBI, SB
• Keyes 2-5, 2-2B, 2RBI
• Oduber 2-5, 2RBI

Potomac broke a six-game road losing streak with an 11-8 win in Lynchburg. Scoring first has been a bellwether for Potomac (13-6 this season), but on the road lately, scoring at all has been a rarity (13 runs in the 10 games prior). A five-run first followed by single runs in the 2nd and 3rd helped Potomac build a 7-0 lead before the Hillcats scratched back with three runs in the 4th and a single run in the 5th. The P-Nats answered with a four-run rally in the 6th, which Lynchburg matched. Neil Holland and Cameron Selik put a stop to any thoughts of blowing the 7-0 lead, combining for three and a 1/3rd scoreless innings of relief to earn the win and save, respectively.

Hagerstown 4 Lakewood 2
• Turnbull (W, 2-3) 6IP, 5H, R, ER, 0BB, 6K
• Holt (H, 1) 2⅓ IP, 1H, R, ER, 0BB, 0K, HBP
• Lucas (SV, 2) ⅔ IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, K, WP, 2-1 IR-S
• Nieto 1-2, 2RBI, 2BB
• Souza 2-4, 2R
• Martinson 2-4, 2B, BB

Kylin Turnbull turned in his best start of the season and the bullpen held up as the Suns put the pinch on the BlueClaws, 4-2 for their third straight win. The 22-y.o. lefty allowed just a single run on five hits and no walks while setting down six on strikes. Three of the four Suns runs were driven in without a base hit, with Adrian Nieto turning the trick twice on groundout in the 3rd and bases-loaded walk in the 8th. Steve Souza and Jason Martinson both went 2-for-4 to lead the Suns eight-hit attack. Roster moves: RHP Pedro Encarnacion was assigned to “Auburn” to make room for RHP Jason Smith, who was activated from the GCL Nationals roster to pitch the second game of the doubleheader tonight.

May 252012
 

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

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 23-24, 5th place I.L. North, 6½ games behind

Good Corey Brown .381/.426/.929, 6HR, 14RBI in last 10G
Bad Josh Johnson .576 OPS, 7E in 34G
Interesting Yunesky Maya 2-1, 1.35 ERA, 1.013 WHIP in May

HARRISBURG SENATORS 25-21, 2nd place E.L. West, 4 games behind

Good Erik Davis 4-1, 2.17 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 31K in 29IP
Bad Destin Hood .197/.275/.239 in May
Interesting Kevin Pucetas 1.59 ERA, 0.926 WHIP in last 10 appearances

POTOMAC NATIONALS 18-25, 3rd place C.L. North Division, 6½ games behind

Good Justin Bloxom .292/.350/.542 in May (4HR, 14RBI)
Bad Francisco Soriano .173/.276/.267
Interesting Neil Holland 2-0, 0.00 ERA in May (6 appearances)

HAGERSTOWN SUNS 26-19, 2nd place Sally League North Divison, 6 games behind

Good Caleb Ramsey .323/.387/.600, 5HR, 17RBI in May
Bad Justin Miller .175/.237/.310, 38K in 35G
Interesting Ben Hawkins 1.98 ERA, 80% LOB, .157 OBA