Apr 302012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 5-2 vs. Charlotte,
6:00 p.m.
Lannan (1-2, 6.63) vs.
Doyle (1-1, 3.63)
Harrisburg Lost, 8-7 vs. New Britain,
7:00 p.m.
Rosenbaum (3-0, 0.94) vs.
Bromberg (0-0, 12.86)
Potomac Won, 2-1 vs. Winston-Salem,
7:05 p.m.
Winters (1-2, 5.24) vs.
Ryan Buch (1-1, 4.76)
Hagerstown Lost, 2-0 @ Augusta,
7:05 p.m.
Hill (3-0, 2.25) vs.
Davis (1-0, 3.00)

Charlotte 5 Syracuse 2
• Maya (L, 1-3) 7IP, 8H, 5R, 5ER, BB, K, 2HR
• VanAllen 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
• Rivero 2-4, R, HR, RBI
• Hoffpauir 2-4, RBI

The home run is quickly becoming Yunesky Maya’s worst enemy, as the 30-year-old Cuban gave up two more in a 5-2 Syracuse loss to Charlotte. Maya gave up nos. 3 and 4 in his fifth start, accounting for three of the five runs he was charged with in this start, and nine of the 13 he’s allowed this season. Carlos Rivero and Jarrett Hoffpauir both went 2-for-4 in the loss, with Rivero connecting for his first HR of the season. IF Jim Negrych was assigned to the Chiefs roster to take the place of Tyler Moore, who went 1-for-3 in his big-league debut in Los Angeles, but there’s still a roster spot open after the promotions of Bryce Harper and Ryan Perry on Friday.

Bowie 8 Harrisburg 7
• Mandel (ND) 5⅔ IP, 10H, 6R, 6ER, 2BB, 4K, HR
• Nelo 2IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 3K
• Valdez 4-5, 3R, OF assist at HP
• Rahl 2-4, R, BB, RBI, SB
• King 2-5, R, 4RBI, SB

Harrisburg blew leads of 3-1, 5-3, and 7-5 before succumbing to the Bowie onslaught by an 8-7 count. Jeff Mandel took his first serious beating of the season, giving up six runs on 10 hits and two walks. Harrisburg was a respectable 6-for-16 with RISP with 10 runners left on, but four of them came in the final three innings, as the BaySox ‘pen held the Sens to no runs over the last four and 2/3rds innings. Patriot-News beat writer Geoff Morrow notes reports that a move to replace Negrych on the Harrisburg roster is not expected soon. When it comes, though, read his account via Doug Harris about how “punking” is a part of the Nationals promotion process.

Potomac 2 Myrtle Beach 1
• Swynenberg (W, 2-1) 9IP, 3H, 1R, 1ER, 1BB, 3K
• Kelso 1-3, RBI, SAC
• Keyes 1-3, 2B, OF assist (2B)
• Walters 0-3, SF, RBI

Matt Swynenberg needed just 94 pitches to complete the game on a Sunday Afternoon In Woodbridge

Augusta 2 Hagerstown 0
• Meyer (l, 1-3) 5⅔ IP, 7H, 2R, 2ER, 2BB, 8K
• Meza 2⅓ IP, 0H, 0R, 2BB, 2K, 1-0 IR-S
• Dykstra 2-4, BB, SB
• Souza 1-3, 2B, BB
• Burns 0-3, 2BB

Alex Meyer pitched into the 6th for the first time this season, but couldn’t get the “W” as the GreenJacket pitchers limited the Suns batters to just four hits in a 2-0 Hagerstown loss to Augusta. Meyer walked just two and struck out eight but gave up both runs on seven hits. The Suns best chance to score came in the third when Cutter Dykstra and Billy Burns drew back-to-back walks, then executed a double steal. The next three batters went down by way of the K, as the Suns would strand 12 runners total while going 0-for-12 with RISP.

Apr 292012
 

There’s a fascination with velocity when it comes to pitching, as nearly inquiry here includes some variation of “how fast does he throw?”

On Sunday, Matt Swynenberg reminded us that sometimes keeping batters off-balance is just as important.

The 23-year-old needed just 94 pitches to retire 27 of 30 batters in tossing a three-hit, one-run complete game as the P-Nats took the rubber game of the series by a 2-1 margin.

Swynenberg got 12 batters out on the ground and 12 out in the air, but seven of those came to the opposite field or on a popup. Essentially, the only three balls that were truly well-struck produced the run and the three hits. From the second inning to the ninth, Swynenberg retired 19 straight batters before walking the #9 batter Josh Richmond to lead off the 9th.

He picked the right time to pitch so well, as the Pelican’s Roman Mendez was nearly as good. Like Swynenberg, he got weak contact with a half-dozen or so popups. Unlike Swynenberg, he got it done more with the strikeout — nine total, with Justin Bloxom as his favorite victim (0-for-3, 3Ks). He would finish with both Potomac runs allowed on four hits and three walks.

Myrtle Beach drew first blood in the top of the 2nd, as Yefry Castillo singled in Brett Nicholas with one, who had doubled to lead off the inning, but Castillo hesitated on Kevin Keyes’ throw to the plate, and backup backstop Beau Seabury made him pay for the mistake, drifting from the plate forward and firing to Francisco Soriano who relayed to Sean Nicol to nail him for the inning’s second out.

Potomac would tie the game on two ugly singles to shallow right field in the bottom of the 3rd, with Sean Nicol scoring on Blake Kelso’s two-out flare.

The gamewinner came without a base hit, as Soriano led off with a walk, took second on a wild pitch, third on a sacrifice bunt by Kelso, and scored on a deep flyball from Zach Walters.

The ten-game homestand continues with a four-game set against Winston-Salem, with Kyle Winters (1-2, 5.24) rematching against the Dash’s Ryan Buch (1-1, 4.76).

Apr 292012
 

Multiple online sources are reporting that 1B-LF Tyler Moore has been recalled from Syracuse and will join the Washington Nationals. According to MLB.com’s Bill Ladson, UT Mark DeRosa will be placed on the DL to make room for Moore.

The 25-year-old Moore is one of two minor-leaguers (Paul Goldschmidt) to connect for 30+ home runs in 2010 and 2011. He was drafted three times by the Nationals (41st Round, 2005; 33rd Round 2006) before finally signing in 2008 as a 16th Round draft pick. His 7 HRs and 20 RBIs for Syracuse this season thus are both tied for third-best in the International League.

Moore racked up a slew of awards in 2010, including the Carolina League MVP, and made the Eastern League postseason All-Star team in 2011.

Moore is expected to come off the bench to play 1B and LF, though it’s most likely he’ll be used as PH against LHPs as an adequate defender at first and just a handful of pro games in left field.

Apr 292012
 

Kyle Winters, Living The Dream

A three-run fourth following four rehab innings from Chien-Ming Wang helped the Potomac Nationals snap a six-game skid with a 4-3 win on a rainy Saturday night.

Wang threw 49 pitches and gave up a run on four hits, as the Pelicans were keying on his sinker and were able to make the most of the ones that didn’t sink. Wang, however, was clearly working on his breaking pitches, and those they couldn’t touch with the last of this three Ks coming on a caught-looking bender. He cleanly fielded both chances he got — a leadoff bunt in the first and a 1-6-3 double play in the second.

Unlike the night before, the P-Nats had hits in six of eight innings and pounded out 11 total. Zach Walters led the lineup with a 3-for-3 night, while Randolph Oduber, Michael Taylor and Justin Bloxom each went 2-for-4.

Taylor and Bloxom keyed the three-run fourth with back-to-back singles before big man Kevin Keyes smacked a 398′ flyball off the 400′ CF wall to drive in the first run. Wade Moore drove in the second with a sac fly to left and Oduber completed the rally with an opposite-field single to right.

Matt Swynenberg was not the first man out of the ‘pen, as Trevor Holder took the ball to start the fifth (as the pic above shows, this was the plan all along, as it’s custom for the starter for two nights ahead to track pitches) — a move no doubt also influenced by the forecast, as it looked like the game might be halted at any moment from the 5th to the 7th.

Holder kept the ball in the yard, retiring eight straight before giving a double, a single, and a walk with two outs. He escaped the jam with a little help from Walters, as the shortstop combined with Blake Kelso on a close play at second to end the threat.

Cameron Selik was brought on in the 8th to close out the game but the Pelicans would not go gently in to the chill of the night, leading off both the 8th and the 9th with doubles. Selik stranded the first two-bagger with a grounder and two whiffs, but let in the second with an RBI single. Myrtle Beach would get the tying run to third on the next two outs, but couldn’t bring him in as Selik struck out his third batter to end the game.

The two teams will play the rubber game this afternoon, with Swynenberg (1-1, 4.50) expected to start for Potomac against the Pelicans’ Roman Mendez (1-2, 7.23)

Apr 292012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 5-3; Lost 11-1 vs. Charlotte,
2:00 p.m.
Maya (1-2, 2.82) vs.
Leesman (1-2, 3.98)
Harrisburg Won, 5-4 vs. Bowie,
2:00 p.m.
Mandel (2-1, 1.09) vs.
Pettit (3-0, 1.57)
Potomac Won, 4-3 vs. Myrtle Beach,
1:05 p.m.
Swynenberg (1-1, 4.50)
vs. Mendez (1-2, 7.23)
Hagerstown Won, 6-1 @ Augusta,
2:05 p.m.
Meyer (1-2, 6.14) vs.
Crick (0-1, 3.09)

Syracuse 5 Charlotte 3 — GAME ONE
• Atkins (W, 2-2) 5+IP, 6H, 3R, 3ER, 0BB, 2K
• Severino (SV, 2) 2IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, K, WP, HBP
• Moore 1-3, R, HR, 3RBI
• Carroll 1-2, BB, RBI

Highlighted by a three-run HR by Tyler Moore, the Chiefs exploded for four runs in the bottom of the 5th en route to a 5-3 win in the front end of the doubleheader. It was the 7th of the year for the “Magnolia Muscle,” which is 3rd-best in the I.L. while his RBI tally of 19 is 4th-best. Mitch Atkins evened his record with all three runs allowed on six hits with no walks and two strikeouts. Atahualpa Severino threw two scoreless to get his second save.

Charlotte 11 Syracuse 1 — GAME TWO
• Roark (L, 1-4) 4⅔ IP, 7H, 8R, 4ER, BB, 2K, 2HR
• Martin 2⅓ IP, 3H, 3R, 3ER, BB, K, HR
• Moore 1-2, 2B, BB, RBI
• Teahen 1-3, 2B

A six-run 5th inning put this game away for the Knights, as the Chiefs were checkmated, 11-1, ending the win streak at five for Syracuse. Tanner Roark suffered his fourth loss, giving up eight runs on seven hits (two HR) and a walk. Rafael Martin also suffered the long ball, giving up a three-run shot in the top of the 7th. Tyler Moore continues to swing a hot bat, doubling in the sole Chiefs run in the bottom of the 6th. Still no word on who will fill the vacant spot on the Syracuse roster, but the educated guess is that when Solano comes off the DL there will be a chain reaction between Harrisburg and XST.

Harrisburg 5 Bowie 4
• Demny 1⅔ IP, 4H, 4R, 4ER, 3BB, 0K, WP, HBP
• Pucetas (W, 1-0 4⅔ IP, 2H, 0R, BB, K, 3-0 IR-S
• Lozada 2-3, R, 2B, RBI
• Kobernus 1-2, 2R, 3B, BB, 2SB
• Negrych 1-2, 2B, BB, 2RBI

Paul Demny was wild early, giving up all four Bowie runs in the space of 12 batters, but a valiant effort by the Sens ‘pen held the fort to enable Harrisburg to turn a 4-1 deficit into a 5-4 win. Kevin Pucetas came on with the bases loaded and one out in the 2nd and stranded them all, pitching four and 2/3rds scoreless. Veteran Jose Lozada went 2-for-3 to lead the comeback, with Sandy Leon driving in Chris Rahl with what proved to be the gamewinner in the bottom of the 6th. Erik Davis got the hold with two scoreless and Christian Garcia notched the save with a 1-2-3 ninth (all Ks) as the three relievers threw seven and 2/3rds scoreless innings total.

Potomac 4 Myrtle Beach 3
• Wang 4IP, 4H, 1R, 1ER, 0BB, 3K
• Holder (W, 1-0) 3IP, 2Hm 1R, 1ER, BB, K
• Walters 3-3, R, BB
• Taylor 2-4, R, 2B, RBI
• Oduber 2-4, RBI

A three-run 4th with four strong from Wang keyed a 4-3 win Last Night In Woodbridge

Hagerstown 6 Augusta 1
• Dupra (W, 2-3) 5IP, 3H, 1R, 1ER, 2BB, 2K
• Hawkins (H, 1) 3IP, 0H, 0R, 2BB, 4K
• Dykstra 2-4, R, 2B, BB, RBI
• Ortega 2-3, 2R
• Burns 1-3, R, 2BB, 2RBI

A three-run 5th broke a 1-1 tie as the Suns cruised to a 6-1 win over Augusta. Brian Dupra got the win with a run allowed on three hits and two walks, while Ben Hawkins got the hold with three scoreless innings of relief. Cutter Dykstra went 2-for-4 with a double, walk, and an RBI while Billy Burns single once and walked twice — both extending their hit streaks to seven and eight games, respectively. Matt Skole’s RBI was #30 for the year, which leads the Sally League. Bryce Ortega reached base twice for the 17th straight game. (H/T to Suns PR man Matt Leite on the streak info)

Apr 282012
 

The first five runs in the game were earned, the last four weren’t. The Pelicans got three of those four on three P-Nats errors to overcome a 3-2 deficit and hold on for a 5-4 win on a cold Friday night.

The miscues also masked a gutsy outing by Adam Olbrychowski, who got hit (again) early with two runs in the 2nd inning but then settled in and settled down. After an RBI groundout for the second inning’s second out, the 25-year-old retired 13 of 15 batters.

The two that he didn’t get were walks, and were erased on two nifty double plays by Zach Walters and Franciso Soriano. A single to left followed, ending Olbrychowski’s night with just four hits and three walks allowed. More importantly, by pitching into the 7th he gave the bullpen the task of getting just seven outs, a little relief for the ‘pen that had worked three or more innings the past four games.

Before describing what happened next, it’s important to note that while Olbrychowski was setting them down in order inning after inning, so were the Pelican pitchers. Starter Wilmer Font gave up the first three runs, including a two-run shot to right-center by Wade Moore, but struck out six in his three innings of work. Middle reliever Randol Rojas was easily the true star of the game with five no-hit innings of relief, with just a walk in the sixth.

So while it’s natural to think “those three errors killed us,” the real culprit was the lack of hitting.

Back to the top of the 7th… runner on 1st, two outs, Rob Wort pitching. Josh Richmond lifts a flyball to medium right-center. Michael Taylor and Randolph Oduber converge but neither can get to it. And neither could pick it up cleanly, the error charged to Oduber as the runner came around all the way to score. Game is tied, 3-3.

In the 8th, an errant pickoff by Wort throw sets up a sacrifice fly. Myrtle Beach goes up 4-3.

In the 9th, Wilson Eusebio butchers a grounder with one out. Walters makes a sensational throw after going deep into the 5/6 hole, but the runner moves up and Richmond strikes again with an RBI single. The Pelicans now lead 5-3.

David Freitas, who singled in the first Potomac run way back in the first, strikes out to lead off the ninth. Michael Taylor follows suit. For those without a scorecard, that’s 22 of 25 batters retired since Moore’s homer in the 2nd.

Myrtle Beach commits its sole error as Justin Bloxom reaches on his counterpart’s mistake. After taking second on defensive indifference, Moore collects his third RBI of the night to pull the P-Nats within one at 5-4.

Despite the offensive drought, Potomac had a chance to win or tie. Brian Rupp rolled the dice by sending up big man Kevin Keyes, an all-or-nothing hitter, and giving Wade Moore the green light to steal second.

Moore succeeded, but Keyes didn’t, striking out to end the game.

The loss extends Potomac’s losing streak to six games. Chien-Mien Wang is slated to pitch tonight in a rehab start, with a pitch count of approximately 65 pitches. Matt Swynenberg is likely to be the first man out of the ‘pen as it’s his turn in the rotation. They’ll be opposed by 19-year-old Cody Buckel, the Rangers’ 2nd-round pick of the 2010 draft.

Apr 282012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Postponed vs. Charlotte,
1:00 p.m.
Atkins (1-2, 3.18) and
Roark (1-3, 4.64) vs.
Shirek (3-1, 3.38) and
Zaleski (0-1, 4.09 @ AA)
Harrisburg Lost, 6-2 vs. Bowie,
7:00 p.m.
Demny (1-1, 4.00) vs.
B. Bundy (1-3, 5.31)
Potomac Lost, 5-4 vs. Myrtle Beach,
7:05 p.m.
Wang (rehab) vs.
Buckel (2-0, 0.84)
Hagerstown Won, 9-3 @ Augusta,
7:05 p.m.
Dupra (1-3, 4.15) vs.
Bandilla (1-0, 1.29)

SYRACUSE — PPD
Lost in the excitement over Ryan Perry being recalled to Washington to replace Brad Lidge in the bullpen (what? there was another move?), was the postponement due to cold weather for the second time this week. The two teams will play a pair of seven-inning games this afternoon at 1 p.m.

Bowie 6 Harrisburg 2
• Ballard 5⅔ IP, 4H, 1R, 1ER, 2BB, 6K, HR
• Frias (L, 0-1) 2⅓ IP, 5H, 4R, 4ER, BB, K, 1-1 IR-S
• Pahuta 3-3, 2-2B, BB, RBI
• Hood 2-4, R, OF assist (2B)
• Leon 2-4, R, 2B

With four runs in the 9th, Bowie knifed the Senators for a 6-2 loss in Harrisburg. Marcos Frias took the loss, giving up four hits in the frame, and five hits total. Harrisburg notched eight hits total, but just four batters hit safely with Tim Pahuta leading the foursome with a single, walk, and a pair of doubles. Starter Mike Ballard went the first five and 1/3rd innings, allowing a run on four hits and two walks while striking out six.

Myrtle Beach 5 Potomac 4
• Olbrychowski (ND) 6⅔ IP, 4H, 3R, 2ER, 3BB, 6K
• Wort (BS, 1; L, 0-1) 1⅓ IP, 2H, 1R, 0ER, 0BB, 0K, E(1, pickoff)
• Moore 2-4, R, HR, 3RBI
• Freitas 1-3, BB, RBI

Errors will be the excuse, but hitlessness was the reason for the loss Last Night In Woodbridge

Hagerstown 9 Rome 3
• Turnbull (ND) 5IP, 5H, R, ER, 0BB, 3K
• Barrett (W, 2-0) 2IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 4K
• Burns 2-3, 2R, 2B, 2BB
• Souza 2-5, R, 2-2B, RBI
• Miller 1-5, R, HR, 5RBI

Justin Miller’s grand slam highlighted a six-run ninth as the Hagerstown Suns took the third of three games from the Braves with a 9-3 win. Kylin Turnbull came off the DL to toss five innings, giving up a run on five hits, with no walks and three strikeouts, leaving with a 2-1 lead. Christian Meza and Alex Kreis each gave up a run in relief before Aaron Barrett shut down the Braves over the last two innings to earn the win. The Suns took advantage of the seven walks and two hit batsmen to score their nine runs on just six hits, though four of them were for extra bases. Hagerstown finishes its Georgia swing with three against the Augusta GreenJackets.

Apr 272012
 

It’s the news you’ve been whining waiting to see: Bryce Harper will be recalled from Syracuse and make his major-league debut tomorrow in Dodger Stadium.

The move will come in conjunction with Ryan Zimmerman’s placement on the 15-Day DL for an inflammation of the AC joint. The move will be retroactive to April 21.

“We thought that we needed to bring in an impactful[sic] left-handed bat,” Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo told reporters at a press conference this afternoon. Rizzo also noted that Harper will initially play left field, and admitted the move was out of need due to injuries to Zimmerman and Michael Morse.

“This wasn’t the coming out party for Bryce we had in mind,” Rizzo said.

With the retroactive placement on the DL, Ryan Zimmerman could be activated on May 6th, which could also mean that Harper will return to AAA. In the meantime, Rizzo said that Harper will likely be the everyday left fielder, the position he played yesterday in the first game of the doubleheader.

While previously Rizzo had remarked that once Harper was recalled he would stay, this afternoon he backpedaled from that assertion, citing OF Mike Trout, who was recalled from AA to the Los Angeles Angels for 40 games last summer.

“(There’s) a possibility that this might not be his breakout moment. This could be a step sideways to take a leap forward,” Rizzo said.

Perhaps coincidentally, Stephen Strasburg will be the starting pitcher tomorrow in Los Angeles. Perhaps not coincidentally, Harper’s 20+ days of AAA service ensures that the 19-year-old phenom will not become a free agent until after the 2018 season.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Quotes were taken from Nationals beat writers on Twitter as this was written in real time to meet a personal deadline of filing something before leaving to attend tonight’s Potomac Nationals game. I mention this in the spirit of professionalism and disclosure.

Apr 272012
 

Mick Reinhard of the Central PA-based The Sports Burger is reporting that RHP Pat Lehman has been promoted from Harrisburg to Syracuse, a move that has also been tweeted on Twitter with some, um, enthusiasm.

Taking his place on the Harrisburg roster will be RHP Ryan Tatusko, who has been in Extended Spring Training (subject of his latest blog post), which has been confirmed. The corresponding move for the Syracuse roster has not yet been made public, but as always, when that information comes to light, this post will be updated.

As reported this morning in the News & Notes, Hagerstown LHP Kyln Turnbull is expected to be activated from the 7-Day DL, which will require a player to be taken off the roster to make room. Like the Chiefs, neither move has yet been reported officially via MiLB.com or other media.

UPDATE: As you already know, Bryce Harper will be recalled, which appears to be the move that will make room for Lehman. As expected, Turnbull was activated from the Suns’ 7-Day DL, with Wirkin “For The Weekend” Estevez assigned to the Auburn Doubledays to make room for him on the Hagerstown roster.

Apr 272012
 


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

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 7-13, 6th place I.L. North, 7½ games behind

Good Bryce Harper .290/.421/.419 in last 10G
Bad Bryce Harper vs. LHPs .190/.261/.238
Interesting Erik Arnesen 0.64ERA, 0.93WHIP in 14IP

HARRISBURG SENATORS 13-7, 1st place E.L. West, ½ game ahead

Good Chris Rahl .339/.379/.629, 7SB in 19G
Bad Kevin Pucetas 2.21WHIP, 5.68ERA in 5 appearances
Interesting Jeff Mandel 1.09ERA, 1.05 WHIP in 4 starts

POTOMAC NATIONALS 6-11, 4th place C.L. North Division, 3½ games behind

Good Rob Wort 14K in 8⅔ IP over 6 appearances
Bad Starting Pitchers: 1.78WHIP, 6.59ERA, 12HBP, 11HR in 83⅓ IP
Interesting Blake Kelso 8SB, 0CS in 16G

HAGERSTOWN SUNS 10-9, 4th place Sally League North Divison, 3½ games behind

Good Nathan Karns 1.93ERA, 1.21WHIP, 19K in 14IP
Bad Justin Miller .172/.194/.219, 20K in 17G
Interesting 30 for 35 SB attempts as a team (85.7% leads Sally League; total is 3rd)