May 062012
 

Capped by a three-run shot, the Blue Rocks hung a four-spot on the P-Nats in the 9th to ice an 8-3 win and reclaim second place in the C.L. North.

Leading 4-3, Wilmington was content to play small ball to get the insurance run, sacrificing a leadoff walk off Shane McCatty to set up the Blue Rock’s top hitter (and sole switch hitter), Angel Franco.

With first base open, manager Brian Rupp elected not to bring in a lefthander to turn Franco around nor order an intentional walk. Franco delivered the insurance run with a double down the left-field line that Kevin Keyes boxed around but recovered in time to gun down Franco at third.

Thus, with two out and the bases empty, back-to-back singles set up Brett Eibner’s 4th HR of the season and put the game away.

The P-Nats actually led this game at one point, 2-0, after Zach Walters’ two-out, two-RBI single in the bottom of the first. Starting pitcher Kyle Winters coughed up the lead in the second with a three-run four-hit second. Winters would strike out a career-high 10 over six innings and finish with four runs allowed on seven hits.

The fourth run, however, was unearned — a cricket wicket by Ricky Hague in the third — and after Michael Taylor’s RBI double (#11, which leads the Carolina League) in the 4th, that was the difference in what was a 4-3 ballgame until the 9th. Twice Hague had a chance to redeem himself, with Adrian Sanchez (3-for-4 in his return from the DL) advancing from first to third both times on passed balls and wild pitched, but tapped out to short and struck out instead.

The loss halted a modest three-game win streak for Potomac, returning the P-Nats to third place in the Carolina League’s Northern Division. LHP Matt Grace (1-3, 7.36) faces off against Leondro Perez (2-1, 3.66) in rubber match of the series finale.

May 062012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 4-1 @ Lehigh Valley,
1:35 p.m.
Lannan (2-2, 5.19) vs.
Elarton (2-1, 3.51)
Harrisburg Won, 2-1 at Binghamton,
1:05 p.m.
Gilliam (1-3, 5.03) vs.
Peavey (2-1, 6.35)
Potomac Lost, 8-3 vs. Wilmington,
1:05 p.m.
Grace (1-3, 7.36) vs.
Perez (2-1, 3.66)
Hagerstown Won, 4-1 vs. Augusta,
1:05 p.m.
Hill (3-1, 3.15) vs.
Crick (0-1, 2.30)

Lehigh Valley 4 Syracuse 1
• Maya (L, 1-4) 6+ IP, 6H, 3R, 2ER, 0BB, 0K, 0HR
• Severino ⅔ IP, 1H, 1R, 1ER, 3BB, 0K, 2-2 IR-S
• Lehman 1⅓ IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 2K, 3-0 IR-S
• Brown 2-3, R, BB, HR, RBI
• Teahen 1-3, BB

An ugly four-run rally in the bottom of the 7th was the difference in a 4-1 Syracuse loss to Lehigh Valley. Among the miscues: Carlos Rivero’s two-base throwing error, an IF single off his glove, a SB when he neglected to call time to talk to the pitcher, and three walks (two unintentional) by Atahualpa Severino. Up until the 7th, starter Yunesky Maya was cruising: just four hits allowed over six innings. The offense, however, was next-to-nil besides Corey Brown’s leadoff HR and third-inning single and Mark Teahen’s first-inning single and third-inning walk. The Chiefs would finish with just six hits and three walks total.

Harrisburg 2 Binghamton 1
• Rosenbaum (W, 4-0) 9IP, 5H, 1R, 1ER, BB, 4K
• Perez 2-5
• Leon 1-4, 2B, RBI
• Lozada 1-4, RBI

For the second time in four starts, Danny Rosenbaum has thrown a nine-inning complete game, winning the Saturday matinee, 2-1. He needed a few more pitches (109 vs. 95) and relied on his defense a little more (4K vs. 9K) as they turned three double plays for him, two of them ending the inning. The Sens took full advantage of an errant pickoff throw that moved up two runners into scoring position as Sandy Leon drove in the first run with a groundout and Jose Lozada drove in the second with an RBI single. Eury Perez was the sole Sen to collect multiple hits with a 2-for-5 afternoon.

Potomac 5 Wilmington 4
• Winters (L, 1-4) 6IP, 7H, 4R, 3ER, 2BB, 10K
• McCatty 1IP, 4H, 4R, 4ER, BB, 0K
• Sanchez 3-4, R, 2B
• Taylor 2-4, 2B, RBI

A four-run 9th quashed any chance for back-to-back walkoffs Last Night In Woodbridge.
Prior to the game, 2B Adrian Sanchez was activated from the 7-Day DL, swapping places on the roster with OF Chris Curran.

Hagerstown 4 Augusta 1
• Meyer (W, 2-3) 7IP, 4H, 1R, 1ER, 3BB, 6K, 2WP
• Barrett (SV, 2) 1IP, 0H, 0R, 2BB, 2K
• Souza 2-4, 2R, 2HR, 3RBI
• Ramirez 2-4, RBI, SB

Backed by two HRs by Steve Souza, Alex Meyer turned in his best outing as a pro thus far as the Suns beat the GreenJackets, 4-1. Meyer went seven innings, allowing the one Augusta run on four hits and three walks while setting down six on strikes. Todd Simko and Aaron Barrett each followed with a scoreless inning to preserve the win, earning the hold and save respectively. Souza drove in three while going 2-for-4 to lead the Hagerstown offense.

May 052012
 

On a night where hits were plenty but runs weren’t, Ricky Hague’s fourth single of the evening in the bottom of the 9th was the difference in a 5-4 Potomac win.

The two teams combined for 26 hits, but 23 of them were singles. Potomac turned four double plays, Wilmington one, but the difference was two-out hitting. The P-Nats got seven of their 14 hits and three of their five runs with two down; the Blue Rocks had just two-out hits and no runs.

This was Matt Swynenberg’s first start since his Sunday masterpiece, a three-hit, one-run complete game, but he was under the gun of the “GBI curse” — a little-known affliction that seems to affect players once they get recognition here in the weekly edition of “Good, Bad, and Interesting.”

With 11 hits given up over six innings, Swynenberg was not as sharp, but his penchant for the grounder saved him — twice he got the DP to end the inning, another to squelch a rally. Alas, the fourth DP came just one batter too late.

Wilmington opened the 6th with a single, double, and another single and had runners on second and third. The Potomac ‘pen got up, and appeared to be ready after Swynenberg issued a walk to load the bases.

But manager Brian Rupp was either slow on the trigger or was gambling that Swynenberg could get the batter, Jake Kuebler, to ground into another DP — just as he had done the inning before. Swynenberg got the DP, but one batter too late as Kuebler steered one to the 3/4 hole to drive in two and give the Blue Rocks a 4-3 lead.

Potomac would tie it in the 7th after threatening in the 6th as — you guessed it — Hague ripped a single to left to drive in Francisco Soriano.

Like the day before, stellar relief made the comeback possible Neil Holland needed just four pitches to get through his first inning and allowed just one hit over the final three frames. He also struck out three.

Soriano swung from his heels to open the 9th, but Randolph Oduber, who had homered to lead off the 3rd, used his eyes (walk on a 3-2 count) and his legs (stolen base) to get into scoring position for the Hague gamewinner.

The win was Potomac’s 11th of the season, but thanks to the league’s power clubs being clustered in the Southern Division, that 11-14 mark is just 2½ games behind the first-place Lynchburg Hillcats. Kyle Winters (1-3, 5.74) takes the hill tonight to try for the team’s fourth straight “W” with Greg Billo (1-3, 5.32) as his counterpart for Wilmington.

May 052012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 9-0 @ Lehigh Valley,
6:35 p.m.
Maya (1-3, 3.68) vs.
Cloyd (1-0, 0.00)
Harrisburg Won, 7-4 at Binghamton,
1:05 p.m.
Rosenbaum (3-0, 0.76) vs.
Gorski (2-0, 2.45)
Potomac Won, 5-4 vs. Wilmington,
6:35 p.m.
Winters (1-3, 5.74) vs.
Billo (1-3, 5.32)
Hagerstown Won, 10-2 vs. Augusta,
7:05 p.m.
Meyer(1-3, 5.31) vs.
Bandilla (1-1, 2.45)

Buffalo 9 Syracuse 0
• Roark (L, 1-5) 4IP, 7H, 7R, 5ER, BB, 8K, 2HR
• Pena 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Rivero 1-3, 2B
• Carroll 1-3

A five-run second proved to be more than enough for Buffalo, which stampeded Syracuse, 9-0. The Chiefs were held to just three hits and one walk as the Bisons’ Jeremy Hefner and D.J. Carrasco combined for the shutout. Tanner Roark took loss, giving up seven runs on seven hits (two were solo HRs) and a walk, though he did strike out eight.

Harrisburg 7 Binghamton 4
• Mandel (W, 3-1) 6IP, 7H, 3R, 3ER, BB, 2K; 1-1, R, RBI
• Nelo (H, 1) 1⅔ IP, 1H, 0R, 2BB, 2K; 3-1 IR-S
• Kobernus 2-4, R, 3SB (22)
• Nicol 1-1, R, 2B

Roughly 220 miles ESE from Buffalo, a five-run 2nd powered the Senators past the Binghamton Mets in a 7-4 win. The B-Mets uncorked four wild pitches to score four of the seven Senator runs. Jeff Mandel turned in another quality start, giving up three runs on seven hits and a walk, and contributing on offense with an RBI single. Jeff Kobernus led the 11-hit parade with two singles and swiped three bags to increase his E.L. lead in stolen bases to 22.

Potomac 5 Wilmington 4
• Swynenberg 6IP, 11H, 4R, 4ER, BB, K
• Holland (W, 1-1) 3IP, H, 0R, 3K
• Hague 4-5, 2RBI
• Bloxom 3-4, R

Ricky Hague’s fourth single of the night was the difference Last Night In Woodbridge.

Hagerstown 10 Rome 2
• Wang (W, 1-0) 6IP, 3H, 2R, 1ER, BB, 7K, HR
• Karns (SV, 2) 3IP, H, 0R, BB, 6K
• Ramirez 4-5, 2B, 4RBI
• Burns 3-4, 2R, 2B, BB
• Ramsey 2-5, 2R, 2B, HR, RBI
• Skole 1-4, 2R, RBI(33), 2BB (23, 24), 2K, E(10)

Chien-Ming Wang turned in six strong innings but got more than enough run support as Hagerstown continued its domination of Rome, 10-2. Wang gave up two runs, one earned (a solo shot in the 5th) on three hits and a walk and struck out seven. Nathan Karns struck out six while giving up a walk and a hit to finish the game and notch his second save. J.P. Ramirez led the 13-hit onslaught with a 4-for-5 night and 4RBI. Cutter Dykstra’s hit streak was stopped, but newly switch-hitting Billy Burns continues to rake, going 3-for-4 with a double and a walk to extend his on-base streak to 18 games.

May 042012
 

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

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 10-17, 6th place I.L. North, 6 games behind

Good Austin Bibens-Dirkx 1.38 FIP
Bad Jason Michaels .549 OPS
Interesting Carlos Rivero .343/.378/.514 in last 10G

HARRISBURG SENATORS 15-12, 2nd place E.L. West, 3½ games behind

Good Danny Rosenbaum 3-0, 0.76ERA, 0.70WHIP
Bad Eury Perez .130/.130/.152 last 10G
Interesting Sandy Leon .796 OPS

POTOMAC NATIONALS 10-14, 3rd place C.L. North Division, 3½ games behind

Good David Freitas .377/.457/.609
Bad Wilson Eusebio 9.31ERA, 4HBP, 8BB in 9⅔ IP
Interesting Matt Swynenberg 1ER in last 14⅓ IP

HAGERSTOWN SUNS 14-11, 3rd place Sally League North Divison, 3½ games behind

Good Cutter Dykstra .400/.464/.520, 11G hit streak
Bad Chris McKenzie 12.96ERA, 3.12WHIP in 5 appearances
Interesting Billy Burns 17G on-base streak (.469 OBP)
May 042012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 6-5 @ Buffalo,
7:05 p.m.
Roark (1-4, 4.85) vs.
Hefner (2-1, 2.08)
Harrisburg Won, 5-4 at Binghamton,
7:05 p.m.
Mandel (2-1, 2.67) vs.
Gonzalez Germen (AA debut)
Potomac Won, 5-0 vs. Wilmington,
7:05 p.m.
Swynenberg (2-1, 3.24) vs.
Ventura (0-2, 4.43)
Hagerstown Won, 9-4 vs. Rome,
7:05 p.m.
Wang (rehab) vs.
Moore (1-0, 3.32)

Buffalo 6 Syracuse 5
• Atkins (ND) 6IP, 11H, 4R, 4ER, BB, 4K, HR
• VanAllen ⅓ IP, 0H, 0R, BB, K, 2-0 IR-S
• Maldonado 3-4, R, HR, 2RBI
• Teahen 2-4, R, 2B, 3B, RBI, BB
• Negrych 2-5

A pair of two-run rallied by the Bisons in the 6th and 8th innings helped Buffalo overcome a 4-2 lead and edge Syracuse, 6-5. The Chiefs rallied for one in the 9th but left the tying and winning runs on 3rd and 2nd as Brett Carroll went down swinging. Mitch Atkins got the start and gave up four runs on 11 hits and a walk. Carlos Maldonado led the offense with a 3-for-4 night, including a solo HR.
OF Xavier Paul was activated from the Restricted List, bringing the Syracuse roster back to the full 25.

Harrisburg 5 New Britain 4
• Demny (W, 2-1) 6IP, 4H, 2R, 2ER, 2BB, 5K, HR
• Nelo (SV, 2) ⅓ IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, K, 2-0 IR-S
• Rahl 2-3, R, 2B, BB, RBI
• Hood 2-4, R, 2B, 2RBI
• Kobernus 2-4, 2R, SB

A 122-minute rain delay scratched Chien Ming-Wang’s rehab start, but Paul Demny survived a rocky first inning to pitch six in 5-4 Harrisburg win over New Britain. The 22-y.o. Texan allowed two runs on four hits and two walks while striking out five. Both Rock Cats runs came on a two-run homer to the second batter of the game. Chris Rahl, Destin Hood, and Jeff Kobernus each had two hits as the Sens hammered out nine for the contest. After a 2-5 homestand, Harrisburg heads to the bustling environs of Binghamton for the weekend before returning to City Island on Monday to host Richmond.

Potomac 6 Winston-Salem 5
• Ray (ND) 4⅔ IP, 7H, 5R, 5ER, BB, 5K, HR, HBP
• Holder (W, 2-0) 3⅔ IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Walters 3-4, 2R, SB
• Bloxom 2-3, 2R, 2B, HR, 3RBI, BB
• Keyes 2-4, RBI

Trevor Holder-ed the Dash to set up a comeback 6-5 win Thursday Afternoon In Woodbridge.
Before the game, Robbie Ray was activated from the 7-Day DL, swapping places with Bobby Hansen Jr.

Hagerstown 9 Rome 4
• Dupra 3IP, 3H, 0R, 2BB, 0K
• Meza (W, 2-0) 3IP, 3H, 2R, 1ER, BB, 5K
• Burns 2-4, R, 3B, RBI, SB
• Souza 2-5, HR, 2RBI
• Martinson 2-5, RBI

Highlighted by Cutter Dykstra’s three-run triple, Hagerstown rallied for four in the bottom of the 6th to break a 2-2 and cruise to a 9-4 win over Rome. It was the fourth Suns win in five games against the Braves, and the ninth win at the Muni in eleven contests. Brian Dupra got the start and tossed three scoreless before the rains came and delayed things for three hours, 11 minutes (this is Rome’s sole trip to W. Maryland and they’re due in Greenville, SC on Saturday night, thus the impetus to avoid a twinbill tonight). Christian Meza got the win in relief with the support of a 12-hit effort by the offense.
Prior to the game, Bryce Ortega was placed on the 7-Day DL, with Hendry Jimenez replacing him from XST.

May 032012
 

With three and a 2/3rd scoreless innings of relief from Trevor Holder and three RBI from Justin Bloxom, the Potomac Nationals rallied from a 4-1 deficit to take a 6-5 win from the Winston-Salem Dash, splitting the four-game series.

The game also marked the 2012 debut for Robbie Ray, and early on, it looked like the reinforcement that the fans had been hoping more. Ray set down the first seven batters straight, including four strikeouts, before the Dash began to figure him out.

Bear in mind, this is a 21-y.o. pitching against the #1 offense in the Carolina League. Ray wasn’t wild in the sense that he was working long counts or issuing walks, but it’s something we see every year: High-A hitters have just that much more of an idea of the strike zone… and when a fastball is left up, they almost always do something with it.

Ray would give up a pair of runs in the 3rd on four straight hits, with Michael Taylor gunning down one runner on one of two throws to the plate during the inning. Both throws were strong, but neither were terribly accurate — both missing the cutoff man and the second making it all the way to the backstop.

The Dash would tack on two more in the 4th, with Dan Black singling to lead off the inning and Brady Shoemaker following with a two-run shot to left-center.

Ray would leave with one out in the 5th and runners on the corners. Holder would come in but couldn’t hold on to the throw on a would-be 3-6-1 double play. Still, the veteran righthander stranded one of the two and got 11 outs in 11 batters faced, giving Potomac the chance to come back.

With two out in the bottom of the 5th, Justin Bloxom delivered his second and third RBI, courtesy of a two-run shot to right field to tie the game at 5-5. It would be his seventh hit in the last seven games, improving his home splits to .268/.354/.463.

After threatening in the 6th and 7th innings, the P-Nats delivered the gamewinner in the 8th with a little help from the Dash. Zach Walters led off with a opposite-field flare to left-center and stole second. Blake Kelso sacrificed him to third to bring up the big man Kevin Keyes.

With one out, the Dash elected to draw in the infield to cut down a runner at the plate. Against most any other hitter, that would make sense. But Keyes grounds out about twice a week because soft contact isn’t part of his game. When he connects, it’s usually a moonshot, and if it happens to go on the ground, it usually gets to the outfield on the third hop.

Sure enough, Keyes was able to ground one just past the reach of the second baseman, who might have had a chance to snag it on the first hop if he’d played it halfway.

With Cameron Selik unavailable, Rob Wort got the call to close the game and worked around a one-out double by striking out the side for his second save of the season.

The ten-game homestand finishes over the weekend with a three-game series against the second-place Blue Rocks, one of two teams the P-Nats only play two series against in the first half (the other being the Carolina Mudcats). Matt Swynenberg (2-1, 3.24) gets the start, the first since his complete game on Sunday, opposed by Wilmington’s Yordano Ventura (0-2, 4.43).

May 032012
 

Three Potomac pitchers combined on six-hit shutout, beating Winston-Salem for the first time in seven games, 5-0. The loss also halted the Dash’s nine-game win streak.

For the second straight outing, Adam Olbrychowski pitched into the seventh inning — a just-as-welcome development, given the toll on the ‘pen over the previous two nights — but against a much more potent offense. The 25-year-old showed no fear, working the ball inside (three HBP) and keeping the Dash batters off balance with his slow curve.

Though he allowed a baserunner in every inning, Olbrychowski also kept the ball on the ground, letting his defense help him with double plays in 3rd, 4th, and fifth innings and getting 12 of 20 outs on the ground total. He would give up just one extra-base hit, a double to leadoff hitter Marcus Semien with two outs in the 7th.

Meanwhile, the Potomac offense put together an impressive string of hits in the 2nd inning: five in a row, with three runners going from first to third and three crossing home plate. Were it not for a baserunning blunder by Kevin Keyes, it might have been a bigger inning.

The P-Nats would tack on one more run in the 5th as Francisco Soriano doubled, took third on a botched sacrifice, and came around to score on a double-play ball. They would finish the scoring in the eighth as Kevin Keyes launched yet another bomb to deep CF that could only score one of the two runners on base because with one out, they had to hold up in case it were caught.

Ryan Demmin took the ball from Olbrychowski and got the last out of the 7th, then turned it over to Cameron Selik. Though it wasn’t a save sitation, Selik closed out the game with five straight K’s before issuing a walk with two out in the 9th and then retiring the last batter on a popup.

With the win, Potomac improves to 9-14 and back into a tie for third place with the Frederick Keys. It’s a day game today with all signs pointing to Robbie Ray making his 2012 debut against Steve McCray.

May 032012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 5-2 @ Buffalo,
6:05 p.m.
Atkins (2-2, 3.68) vs.
Familia (2-1, 5.40)
Harrisburg Lost, 5-4 vs. New Britain,
7:00 p.m.
Wang (rehab) vs.
Hirschfeld (2-2, 3.14)
Potomac Won, 5-0 vs. Winston-Salem,
10:35 a.m.
Ray (2-3, 3.13 in ’11)
vs. McCray (0-0, 0.00)
Hagerstown Won, 10-5 vs. Rome,
7:05 p.m.
Dupra (2-3, 3.63) vs.
Filak (1-1, 1.73)

Buffalo 5 Syracuse 2
• Arnesen (L, 1-1) 3⅓ IP, 6H, 5R, 5ER, 2BB, 3K
• Martin 2⅔ 2H, 0R, 0BB, 3K, 2-1
• Rivero 2-4, 2B, RBI
• Carroll 0-1, 2BB

The Bison stampeded the Chiefs with two runs in the 3rd and three in the 5th en route to a 5-2 win. Erik Arnesen was charged with all five runs, giving up six hits and two walks over three and 1/3rd innings. Rafael Martin let in one of two inherited runners but combined with Atahualpa Severino and Josh Wilkie to shut down Buffalo the rest of the way. Unfortunately, the Bison ‘pen was just as effective — limiting the Chiefs to just two hits over the final five frames. Carlos Rivero had two of the five Syracuse hits and has 10 in his last 19AB.

New Britain 5 Harrisburg 4
• Ballard (ND) 6IP, 7H, 4R, 3ER, 3BB, 8K, HR
• Pucetas (L, 1-1) 3IP, 2H, R, ER, 0BB, 2K
• Pahuta 2-4, R, HR, RBI
• Valdez 2-4, R, 2B
• Kobernus 2-4

The Sens smacked three big flies but the Rock Cats scratched to a 5-4 win. Sandy Leon, Tim Pahuta both delivered solo shots while Chris Rahl drove in two with his 5th HR, but Harrisburg had trouble scoring otherwise — just five runners got past first base and only one scored (Valdez double followed by Rahl homer) as the Sens stranded five runners and hit into two double plays. Mike Ballard started and was charged with four runs over the first seven innings while Kevin Pucetas took the loss as a pair of singles and a wild pitch scored the gamewinner for New Britain in the 9th.

Potomac 5 Winston-Salem 0
• Olbrychowski 6⅔ IP, 5H, 0R, 3BB, 5K
• Selik 2IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 5K
• Freitas 3-4, R
• Bloxom 2-4, R, 2RBI
• Keyes 2-4, 2B, RBI

Three P-Nats pitchers combined on a 5-0 shutout Last Night In Woodbridge

Hagerstown 10 Rome 5
• Estevez (W, 3-1) 5⅓ IP, 3H, 4R, 3ER, 3BB, 6K, HR
• McKenzie 1IP, 1H, 0R, BB, K
• Souza 2-5, 2R, 2B, HR, 3RBI
• Martinson 2-5, 2B, HR, 2RBI
• Ramirez 3-4, 2-2B, RBI

A five-run 5th broke open a 3-1 game as the Suns doubled up the Braves of Rome, 10-5. Steve Souza and Jason Martinson both went 2-for-5 with a double and a HR as Hagerstown registered seven extra-base hits in the rout. Wirkin “For The Weekend” Estevez returned from “Auburn” to pitch five and a 1/3rd innings and earn his third win, but also gave up his 4th HR in six starts. Kylin Turnbull was assigned to the Auburn roster prior to the game to make room for Estevez. He’ll likely swap places with another pitcher in another 5-6 days, perhaps even Estevez himself.

May 022012
 

It’s one thing to keep the ball in the yard, but quite another to keep it out of the gaps. With nine extra-base hits out of 17 total, the Winston-Salem Dash pummeled the Potomac Nationals by a 15-6 count, taking their ninth straight win — six against the P-Nats.

The start for Matt Grace was similar to his previous against the Dash in Winston-Salem: Hit hard early, then settling down. But it wasn’t until the fifth batter that Grace got an out and there wasn’t much doubt about either double.

The two-bagger has been problematic for Grace all year long — all ten surrendered have come in the last three games. Yes, they’ve been given up to the league’s #1 and #2 offenses, but the 17 other hits in just 18⅓ IP isn’t exactly stellar. Throw in nine walks, and you’ve got a WHIP that’s just a hair shy of 2.00 (1.964) — if anything it’s a testament to both him and the Potomac defense that his 7.36 ERA isn’t higher.

Despite the 15-6 beatdown, there were some bright spots…

…Rick Hague made his first start at SS and made his first throw with no signs of a bum shoulder, a strong and accurate throw from about 8 feet “northwest” of second base.

…Offensively, Hague ripped a double to left and steered a single to right and drove in the first Potomac run with a sacrifice fly

…David Freitas followed the Hague double with a two-run blast over the left-field wall as part of a three-run 6th in which Potomac pulled within two at 7-5

…Potomac scored three times on “run-scoring flyballs” — perhaps an aberration, maybe just luck, but it’s still better than a strikeout (nine more last night brought the season total to 201, which is 2nd worst in the C.L.)

As aforementioned, the P-Nats were as close as 7-5 after six full innings but a six-run seventh put the game away for Winston-Salem Dash, aided by the ignominy of three hit batsmen (two that “Homer Simpsoned” runs in) and a bases-loaded walk.

With the loss, Potomac takes sole possession of last place, 5½ games off the pace. The series continues tonight with Adam Olbrychowski (0-3, 7.29) scheduled to pitch against Jake Petricka (2-2, 5.50).