Two years ago, Potomac faced an 89-win team that led the league in offense (5.46 runs per game) and outslugged them 35-15 to win the Mills Cup. This year, they’re facing the same challenge against the 81-win, 5.31-runs-per-game Winston-Salem Dash. Can they do it again?
The odds are stacked against them. During the regular season, they only beat them eight times in 20 games. Four wins in the first half, four wins in the second. Four wins at home, four wins on the road
It’s tempting to say that the much-improved offense can stand toe-to-toe with them but take a look at the last seven meetings:
These meetings coincide with the offensive resurgence of the P-Nats, and demonstrates the universal truth of when you get good pitching, you usually win. Well, tell that to the Kinston Indians, who lost 3-2 and 2-0 before falling 10-5 in 10 innings to get swept in the Southern Division semis for the Mills Cup. That five-run outburst in extras is what Potomac needs to fear, especially after blowing an 8-2 lead to lose 9-8 on August 20.
If there is any hope, it’s the lack of familiarity that Winston-Salem has with the top three projected starters for Potomac, Danny Rosenbaum, Trevor Holder and Jimmy Barthmaier. Rosenbaum has never faced them, Holder as only pitched 3⅔ innings as a reliever, and Barthmaier pitched five scoreless innings against them on August 20th. The same cannot be said for any of Winston-Salem’s likely starters, which are reported to be Steven Sauer and Dylan Axlerod for Games 1 and 2, with Terry Doyle and Nathan Jones likely to follow, though not necessarily in that order.
Without further ado, here’s the breakdown, starting with the schedule…
Game 1 at Winston-Salem, Sept. 13 at 7 p.m.
Game 2 at Winston-Salem, Sept. 14 at 7 p.m.
Game 3 at Potomac, Sept. 16 at 7:03 p.m.
Game 4 at Potomac (if necessary), Sept. 17 at 7:03 p.m.
Game 5 at Potomac (if necessary), Sept. 18 at 6:35 p.m.
And here are the pitching matchups, as reported by the Winston-Salem Journal and predicted by yours truly…
Game 1 Danny Rosenbaum (3-2, 2.09) vs. Stephen Sauer (8-10, 4.89)
Game 2 Trevor Holder (3-3, 4.09) vs. Dylan Axelrod (8-3, 1.99)
Game 3 Jimmy Barthmaier (4-1, 3.62) vs. Terry Doyle (8-8, 3.71)
Game 4 Marcos Frias (7-5, 5.69) vs. Nathan Jones (11-6, 4.08)
Game 5 Danny Rosenbaum (3-2, 2.09) vs. Stephen Sauer (8-10, 4.89)
And — don’t underestimate this, it matters big-time — the weather forecasts…
Game 1 – 78° and clear
Game 2 – 81° and clear
Game 3 – 78° and clear
Game 4 – 76° and chance of rain (20%)
Game 5 – 73° and clear
Projected Starting Lineups
2B Dan Lyons (.221/.352/.306 , 1HR, 13RBI)
C Derek Norris (.235/.419/.419, 12HR, 49RBI)
DH Bill Rhinehart (.254/.328/.466, 14HR, 51RBI)
1B Tyler Moore (.269/.321/.552, 31HR, 111RBI)
LF Jamar Walton (.302/.309/.453, 1HR, 11RBI)
3B Robby Jacobsen (.223/.296/.352, 6HR, 37RBI)
SS Jose Lozada (.256/.307/.390, 6HR, 34RBI)
RF Nick Moresi (.236/.283/.342, 1HR, 24RBI)
CF Chris Curran (.226/.296/.305, 1HR, 17RBI)
Key Bench/Platoon Players:
C/DH – Sean Rooney (.258/.320/.400, 3HR, 22RBI)
IF – Sean Nicol (.288/.344/.390, 0HR, 9RBI)
LF Kenny Williams Jr. (.252/.306/.365, 33R, 0SB)
CF Jose Martinez (.242/.295/.347, 5HR, 24RBI)
3B Jon Gilmore (.312/.349/.394, 5HR, 80RBI)
1B Seth Loman (.292/.379/.514, 25HR, 88RBI)
DH Ozzie Lewis (.300/.358/.440, 10HR, 56RB)
RF Nick Ciolli (.375/.390/.600, 1HR, 5RBI)
C Jason Bour (.302/.376/.570, 6HR, 26RBI)
2B Andrew Garcia (.253/.318/.381, 9HR, 70RBI)
SS Greg Paiml (.272/.350/.380, 0HR, 10RBI)
Key Bench/Platoon Players:
OF – Brandon Short (.316/.365/.491, 15HR, 79RBI)
C – Luis Sierra (.293/.343/.418, 5HR, 41RBI)
Love to be wrong on this one, but Winston-Salem in five games