Jun 052012

A series of transactions were made this afternoon to reshuffle the minor-league deck. More moves are undoubtedly coming with rosters below the limit as well as the restocking from the draft, so stay tuned to dispatches such as these as well as the morning News & Notes.

• RHPs Christian Garcia, Jeff Mandel promoted from Harrisburg

• LHP Cory VanAllen assigned from Syracuse
• RHP Cameron Selik promoted from Potomac
• RHP Rafael Martin placed on the restricted list

• RHP Nathan Karns promoted from Hagerstown
• RHP Shane McCatty placed on 7-Day DL
• RHP Jimmy Barthmaier assigned from Washington (XST)

• 1B Chris Marrero assigned from Washington (rehab)

Jun 052012

The South Atlantic League has officially announced its All-Star representatives, which will include four Hagerstown Suns:
• C Adrian Nieto

• 3B Matt Skole

• OF Caleb Ramsey

• RHP Aaron Barrett

This is the second All-Star game for Skole, who represented the Auburn Doubledays in the 2011 New-York Penn League game. Skole currently leads the league in BBs (51 in 55G), second in HRs (12) and third in RBIs (53).

Fellow ’11 Draft pick Caleb Ramsey got the nod with a .299/.370/.446 line, while ’10 Draft pick Barrett has gone 3-1 with 6SV in 17 appearances, striking out 33 in 20⅔ innings. Adrian Nieto (’08), who split time between Auburn and Hagerstown last season, rounds out the quartet with a .261/.333/.406.

Manager Brian Daubauch was also named one the Northern Division coaches for the game, which will be held in two weeks in Charleston, SC.

Jun 052012
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 4-3 vs. Louisville,
7:05 p.m.
Lannan (4-5, 5.63) vs.
Gustafson (2-2, 5.04)
Harrisburg OFF DAY vs. Binghamton,
7:00 p.m.
TBD vs.
Cohoon (3-5, 3.52)
Potomac Lost, 4-0 @ Frederick,
5:00 p.m.
Holder (2-1, 4.99) and
Nathan Karns (A+ debut) vs.
Zagone (2-0, 3.13) and
Howard (1-2, 5.71)
Hagerstown OFF DAY vs. Kannapolis,
7:05 p.m.
TBD vs.
Snodgress (1-2, 5.29)
DSL Nationals Won, 12-5 @ DSL Yankees1,
10:30 a.m.

Indianapolis 4 Syracuse 3
• Duke (L, 6-3) 6IP, 7H, 4R, 4ER, 3BB, 3K, HR
• Arnesen 2IP, 2H, 0R, BB, 2K
• Teahen 2-3, R, 2B, RBI
• Hoffpauir 2-4, R, 2B, 3B

An RBI triple in the 5th broke a 2-2 tie and the sac fly that followed proved to be the gamewinner as the I-tribe downed the S-Chiefs, 4-3. It was the third straight loss for Syracuse, but the closest game as the Indians outscored the Chiefs 30-19 during the series. Zach Duke took the loss, giving up all four runs on seven hits and three walks. Jarrett Hoffpauir doubled and tripled to lead the seven-hit offense while Corey Brown smacked his 13th HR. Syracuse plays its next 21 games at Alliance Bank Park, thanks to a shifted four-game series vs. the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees next week.

After a weekend jaunt to lovely (no, not really) New Britain, the Senators return to City Island to host the Binghamton Mets for three games, hoping to make a dent in their 10-16 home record (vs. 20-10 on the road).

Frederick 4 Potomac 0
• Lidge (L, 0-1) ⅓ IP, 2H, R, ER, BB, K
• Grace 7⅔ IP, 8H, 3R, 3ER, 2BB, 4K
• Taylor 2-3, 2B
• Bloxom 1-3
• Oduber 1-3

Potomac’s four-game win streak came to a screeching halt in Frederick, as the Keys scored one in the first and three in the second and blanked the P-Nats, 4-0. Brad Lidge hit his pitch limit in the first inning in the space of just four batters and was charged with the loss. Matt Grace was roughed up early, but went the rest of the way for a serviceable three runs over seven and 2/3rds innings. Offensively, the P-Nats put just two baserunners into scoring position as the lineup was limited to just four hits. Prior to the game, OF J.R. Higley was activated while OF Kevin Keyes was placed on the 7-Day DL. Higley started in LF and went 0-for-4 with 2K.

After their final scheduled off day of the first half, the Suns have a home-and-home series vs. Kannapolis over the next six games, where all signs point to Hagerstown playing out the string despite a .589 win pct. (33-23) as they trail the 40-17 Greensboro Grasshoppers by 6½ with 13 to play.

DSL Nationals 12 DSL Mets1 5
• Suero (W, 1-0) 5IP, 3H, 2R, 2ER, 2BB, 7K, HR
• Gomez (H, 1) 3IP, H, R, ER, 2BB, 5K
• Mejia 2-5, R, 2B, 3B, 4RBI
• Bautista 3-4, 2B, 3B, 3RBI
• Diaz 3-5, 2B, 3B
• Novas 2-4, 4R, RBI, 2SB

With four big innings, the DSL Nationals overcame an early 2-0 deficit and pounded the DSL Mets1 squad, 12-5. Jose Marmolejos-Diaz and Rafael Bautista both singled, doubled, and tripled to combine for six hits and seven RBI as the D-Nats tallied 12 hits total. DSL veteran Wander Suero got the win with two runs allowed on three hits (one a HR) and two walks while fanning seven.

Jun 042012

Hi everyone,

Sean Hogan here (@seanhoganvt). I will be liveblogging the entire first round (plus supplemental!) of the draft tonight, so keep this page and your F5 button handy.


The Astros surprise everyone and choose Puerto Rican high school SS Carlos Correa, who I considered for the #1 spot on my big board before eventually settling for Byron Buxton. Has similar upside to Buxton but is a SS and should be able to stick around there. Kudos to the Astros for being brave. I really like Correa.


The Astros’ pick of Correa creates a chain reaction that likely made the Twins pretty happy, getting to choose between Buxton and Appel. They chose Buxton, which is a bit of a risk as a HS bat, but #1 on my board. Buxton isn’t exactly the prototypical “toolsy” HS hitter, as he doesn’t have plus plus power, but does have a special arm and blazing speed.


Florida C Mike Zunino to Seattle at #3. Honestly, I don’t see the excitement surrounding him. He doesn’t have true star potential and his swing isn’t a sure thing to keep working against better pitching. I can see Zunino being a solid, league average catcher with an all star season in an exceptional year, but Seattle could have chosen a better player here in my opinion.


Orioles had a ton of options here. Interesting to see they had Gausman above Appel on their board. I like Gausman more and more every day (more because he started off pretty low in my mind), but he still lacks good enough secondary stuff at the moment. With the right pitching coach, though, he could turn into a Verlander. Pretty solid pick here.


Royals grab Kyle Zimmer. My #3 guy due to the ace potential, but another big risk/reward guy. As they just mentioned on MLB Network, he’s got a great stuff/control combination for someone so new to pitching. Appel keeps falling.


Almora to the Cubs is the most predictable pick so far. Rates as above-average across the board but with no true plus tool. I like him in CF and think he’ll develop more speed and a higher OBP but less power than MLB Network’s Adam Jones comparison.


San Diego was known to be on HS LHP Max Fried for a while, but I think Appel would have been a better choice here. Fried is considered to be pretty low risk for a HS pitcher (which inherently are huge risks) and should move through the organization. But Appel is a tier above Fried as this draft class’ pitchers go and must be asking for the moon in cash.


Appel finally drops to Pittsburgh at 8. Great pick for them. Let the Deven Marrero to DC rumors begin…


The Marlins take LHP Andrew Heaney. Doesn’t have ace potential, but should be a pretty solid mid-rotation starter with low end #2 potential. Reminds me of Ross Detwiler when he was drafted. As a guy who doesn’t like the Fish, I’m happy to see them take a guy without a ton of upside, but not a bad pick by any means. Heaney was one guy I thought the Nats would be very interested in at 16 if he dropped to them.


Rockies take OF David Dahl. Known to be a bit of a loafer, but can hit, run and play great defense. Can turn into a beast of a leadoff hitting CF if all breaks well, but a lot depends on his effort level. Also doesn’t have much power potential. Decent pick, as he was #12 on my board.


Not a huge fan of A’s pick Addison Russell. I don’t think he sticks at SS and don’t think he’ll be able to hit high-level pitching. Best case scenario he turns into an Ian Desmond-type SS or a slightly above average 3B, but he was #30 on my big board for a reason.


Mets go with prep SS Gavin Cecchini. #21 on my big board, can make it to the big leagues as a fielder/speedster, but lacks power (even of the line drive variety). He’s a good contact hitter, but is going to have to be really good at beating out infield hits if he wants to be a ML starter.


White Sox take Courtney Hawkins. Has a long swing, but could have dynamite power if he gets it straightened out. Definitely a project, but could pay huge rewards. Needs to find a better tie (for those of you watching MLB Network). His backfip probably just made Kenny Williams poop his pants, but as a David Wilson fan, I thought it was cool.


Reds go way off my board with prep RHP Nick Travieoso. Huge arm, huge upside, huge risk. He’s got ace potential, but bust floor. I think he ends up as a reliever, but if he can improve his secondary stuff and continue his control improvements, he can be good. Glad my team didn’t take him, though.


The Indians take Tyler Naquin. I love the bat (he will hit .300 at some point I’m convinced), but he can’t play any better than average CF and doesn’t have enough power to play a corner. Won’t kill you if he ends up in CF, though.

I expect Nats to choose between Wacha, Marrero and Stroman, leaning towards Wacha (although I like Marrero more than Wacha).


Nats select RHP Lucas Gioloto. You’ll be reading about him at Nationals Prospects for a long time because he’s not ML ready. Has the highest ceiling out of all pitchers in the draft, but as a HS pitcher with injury concerns (UCL sprain held him out all season), you just never know. But WOW, hell of a value pick. 4th straight year the Nats have gotten a guy who would have been 1st overall without injury concerns (well, Stras and Harper didn’t have those concerns, but you know what I mean). Fell to 14 on my big board due to injury concerns, but I’m no doctor.


Blue Jays pick DJ Davis has incredible speed, 20 HR pop, great range but a terrible arm. Juan Pierre comparisons work for me, but with more power obviously. Elite leadoff potential. I really like this pick for Toronto. #18 on my big board.


Dodgers selection 3B Corey Seager has a projectable bat with sneaky power (25+ HR potential). Lower risk than most other HS bats, but doesn’t have elite upside. Good pick and good value – #16 on my board.


And to think, I had RHP Michael Wacha all written up for the Nats at 16. He’s #10 on my list – doesn’t stand out at anything, but is above average across the board and has 3 good pitches to go with excellent control. I see Jon Garland comps everywhere, and I’m sure the Cardinals would be happy with that.


Giants take another solid college RHP in Chris Stratton. I’m not as high on him as I am on Wacha, but could develop into a nice starter if he can develop a solid third pitch. Although so could a lot of other players. At worst, he’ll be a solid reliever.


Braves take HS RHP Lucas Sims. Nats were rumored to be after him for a while (maybe just to annoy the Braves?), but I never really considered their interest in him to be that serious. Slight overdraft (#29 on my board) but I think he’ll end up as a starter more than a lot of people do, apparently.


It’s probably no surprise to you, but I think Marcus Stroman is an amazing pick for the Blue Jays. He was #5 on my big board and can contribute immediately (aka signing today, pitching tomorrow) in an ML bullpen. I think the Jays would be silly to not at least try him as a starter, but his worst case scenario is as an excellent reliever.


Cardinals choose a college senior in FSU 2B/OF James Ramsey. Will sign for way under-slot and allow Cardinals to spend some cash in the compensation rounds. Naquin-lite…profiles better at 2B if he can stick there, but likely a .280-.290 hitter peak with not a whole lot else.


Devin Marrero finally goes to the Red Sox. I was significantly higher on him than most (#9 on my list) and still think he’ll turn into a good SS. You can never have enough middle infielders, and he’s a great fielder, so I think this is a great pick.


Richie Shaffer is a great value pick for the Rays at 25. #15 on my board due to his combination of defense, plate discipline and developing power. Might have to move to a corner OF position rather than 3B, but with Longoria at 3B anyways, it won’t be an issue for Tampa Bay. Shaffer will make it into their lineup somewhere.


Stryker Trahan to the Diamondbacks is about where I figured he’d end up. If you think he can stick behind the plate, this is a good value. If not, will he hit enough to play OF? He’s got solid power and a great arm, but question marks about his ability to make contact. There weren’t really any surer bets on the board, but were some guys with more upside like Joey Gallo.


The Brew Crew have back to back picks at 27 & 28. With pick 27, they went with prep C Clint Coulter. He barely missed my top 30, but I like his power and defense behind the plate. Not amazing upside, but looks like a good shot at being an average or a little better catcher that can put up 20 homers a few times.

Brewers take OF Victor Roache with pick 28. Massive, massive power. Not a whole lot of tools beside the power, but damn, he has some impressive power. Power power power power.


Texas goes with Lewis Brinson, another prep OF. This is a better place to take a risk on a toolsy high school kid with bat issues than top 15 like some other teams did, so a solid pick by Texas. Good situation for Brinson because of Texas’ minor league depth, so they can keep him in the minors for extra development.


The Yankees grab HS RHP Ty Hensley. Super high potential, love his stuff (especially curveball), but far from the majors. Could use some help with his command. Great pick. #24 on my big board.


Boston takes LHP Brian Johnson from Florida. I’m skeptical about his potential long-term. His secondary pitches are solid but his fastball will be knocked around by big league hitters (especially AL East batters). Looks like a #5 starter or LOOGY to me. A stretch here, but Boston could be saving $ for their next pick. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see Boston or St. Louis grab Joey Gallo in the compensation round here.


Puerto Rican HS RHP Orlando Berrios to the Twins at 32. Small, throws hard, could be a shutdown reliever.

Florida HS RHP Zach Eflin goes to Padres. #2 potential, great pick.

HS SS Daniel Robertson to Oakland at 34. Don’t know a lot about him, but from what I’ve just read, he’s a good contact hitter that plays above his talent level (a la Lombardozzi?)

Mets take C Kevin Plawecki from Purdue. Not a lot of pop, can hit for average, but profiles as a backup/platoon guy.


Steve Piscotty, a 3B from Stanford, goes to the Cardinals. Looks more like a bench/platoon guy due to the lack of high-end power or defense, but wouldn’t be surprised if he turned into a league average 3B.


Red Sox take RHP Pat Light from Monmouth. An overdraft, but has pitched in the northeast and can dial it up to the mid 90s.

Brewers take OF Mitch Haniger from Cal Poly. I like his contact tool and think he can be a 50+ guy across the board.


Joey Gallo finally goes to the Rangers. Huge power, huge arm on the mound, can he turn either into greatness? Plus plus power/arm, but meh contact with the bat and control on the mound.

Phillies grab California HS RHP Shane Watson. Don’t like his control, but has 2 very good pitches. Needs to add a 3rd (or since I don’t like the Phillies, he can stick with 2).


Houston goes with prep RHP Lance McCullers. Great arm, and a great pick at #41. I was afraid the Nats would grab him too high, but #41 is fantastic value for him. Correa + McCullers would be a great combination for a team that is dying for talent.

Twins grab RHP Luke Bard from Georgia Tech with pick #42. An overdraft, especially given his current injury concerns. Looks like a bullpen arm to me like his brother.

Fergie Jenkins and the Cubs take RHP Pierce Johnson from Missouri State with pick 43. I like this pick a lot for the Cubbies. #32 on Baseball America’s big board. Lots of K’s come from his arsenal of pitches led by his fastball.

The Padres select OF Travis Jankowski from the Cinderella story of the NCAA baseball tournament, Stony Brook. Good speed, defense and contact, not a lot of power or arm, though. Baseball America compares his swing to Dustin Ackley.


The Pirates take OF Barrett Barnes from Texas Tech 45th overall. Reminds me a ton of Drew Stubbs due to his power, speed and defense combo with that goes along with mediocre contact and a bunch of K’s.

The first local player off the board, RHP Eddie Butler from Radford goes 46th to the Rockies. His pitches don’t do a lot for me (not a lot of movement, decent control), but he throws hard and could be a solid reliever.

The A’s go with Georgia HS 1B Matt Olson. More HS talent that can hit for Oakland. I think he’ll hit for more average than power in the pros, but could do both.

White Sox take Keon Barnum, a HS 1B from Florida. Plus power, questionable contact, probably a bit of an overdraft here.


Cincinnati takes Florida HS OF Jesse Winker, a guy who should hit for average but again I am skeptical about the power.

The Blue Jays are killing it, now grabbing HS LHP Matt Smoral. If he’s not injured, he’s a top 15 pick. He’s tall as hell, but doesn’t have as bad mechanical issues as a lot of tall guys do (aka Alex Meyer).

The Dodgers go with Jesmuel Valentin, a Puerto Rican HS SS. I like his defense a lot, but don’t know about the bat contact-wise.


St. Mary’s 3B Patrick Wisdom goes to St. Louis at #52. I think the bat is better than his 2012 stats. Decent defense at 3B too.

Rangers go with a HS RHP Collin Wiles at #53. Considered to be unsignable or close to it according to Baseball America, he’s not that impressive to me but projectable at 6’4″ 180 lbs.

Phillies get RHP Mitch Gueller, a talented pitcher who could turn into something if he can get more consistent.


The Padres go with high school righty Walker Weickel. Right now he only throws an 89 MPH fastball, but at 6’6″ 180 or so he can add some velocity. Good secondary pitches for a prep guy.

The Cubbies take HS RHP Paul Blackburn from California. He’s got 3 really good pitches. Signability is questioned by some and not by others, but I think the Cubs have a chance to sign him.

The Reds take UCLA OF Jeff Gelalich, another college outfielder with a pretty good contact tool but little power and a questionable ability to play CF in the pros.

The Blue Jays take a prep 3B in Mitch Nay. Haven’t heard much on him, but it looks like he’s got some power, a nice arm and could hit for average contact.

The Cards select Texas HS C Steve Bean, a guy with an excellent arm who can hit for solid contact and could develop into a decent power hitter. I like this pick a lot.

The Blue Jays grab Texas HS RHP Tyler Gonzales. Baseball America says he’s the nephew of Nats crosschecker  Jimmy Gonzales, and I’m sure Uncle Jimmy would have loved to select his nephew when the Nats pick first tomorrow. It sounds like his delivery is violent enough to be an injury concern. Will probably end up as a back-end bullpen guy.

Looks like that’s it for tonight. Thanks to Luke for having me and to anyone who read this far! Check back on me this week with more Nats draft coverage at DC is for Baseball and 2012 Nationals Draft Info.

Jun 042012

As many of you know, I’m not “all in” for the MLB First-Year Player Draft, which may be a bit unusual for prospects guy. But even before I were to tell you that I graduated from the University of Oregon, you already knew I was an odd duck.

As I’ve written before, it just doesn’t interest me to speculate on who “we” might get so much as I like to follow who “we’ve” got. As a buddy of mine put it, it’s hard for MLB to manufacture the excitement of the NFL or NBA drafts because you’re pretty much going on the opinions of perhaps a dozen people.

However, this year is a little different.

Sean Hogan, author of the three-part draft series that ran the past three Tuesdays, will be live-blogging the event for us, so I hope you’ll check in tonight to see what he has to say. I’ll be keeping an eye on the minors, as usual, and resting up for a busy weekend in Potomac.

Jun 042012
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 14-6 @ Indianpolis,
7:05 p.m.
Duke (6-2, 3.97) vs.
Owens (3-2, 2.30)
Harrisburg Won, 6-1 OFF DAY N/A
Potomac Won, 8-0 @ Frederick,
7:00 p.m.
Grace (2-6, 6.02) vs.
Wilson (1-1, 3.00)
Hagerstown Won, 13-5 OFF DAY N/A
DSL Nationals OFF DAY @ DSL Mets1,
10:30 a.m.

Indianapolis 14 Syracuse 6
• Atkins (L, 4-5) 3IP, 7H, 6R, 6ER, 3BB, 2K, HR
• Paul 2-4, R, 2B, RBI
• Rivero 2-3, BB, SB

Indianapolis scored early and often, pummeling Syracuse for a 14-6 win. Despite the double-digit “R” column, just four pitchers were used (and all were scored upon), with starter Mitch Atkins bearing the brunt of it with six runs allowed on seven hits and three walks. Xavier Paul and Carlos Rivero were the only two Chiefs to collect multiple hits, while James Skelton led the team in RBIs with two. Corey Brown went 1-for-5 in his first start since his return from D.C.

Harrisburg 6 New Britain 1
• Pucetas (W, 3-1) 6IP, 3H, R, ER, 0BB, 2K
• McCoy (H, 4) 2IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Perez 3-4, 2RBI, CS, SF
• Rahl 3-5, R
• Mayorson 2-5, R, RBI

Kevin Pucetas stepped in for a spot start and helped deliver a 6-1 Sens win over the Rock Cats. The 27-y.o. veteran held New Britain to just a run on three hits over six innings for his third win. Harrisburg peppered the field with 14 hits but left 10 men on while going 3-for-15 with RISP. Eury Perez and Chris Rahl both singled three times to lead the Sens hit column.

Potomac 8 Lynchburg 0
• Ray (W, 2-2) 8IP, 2H, 0R, BB, 9K
• McCatty 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Hague 2-4, 2R, HR, BB, 5RBI, SB
• Oduber 3-4, 2R, 2B, SB
• Walters 1-3, R, HR, 2RBI

In case you missed it yesterday, Robbie Ray had it going on Sunday Afternoon In Woodbridge.

Hagerstown 13 Delmarva 5
• Hill (W, 5-4) 6IP, 6H, 4R, 4ER, 3BB, 2K, HR
• Bates 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Souza 3-4, 2R, 2B, HR, BB, 4RBI, SB
• Dykstra 2-4, 2R, HR, 4RBI, SB
• Martinson 2-2, 2R, HR, BB, RBI, CS

The Suns scored in each of the first six innings to cruise to 13-5 win over the Shorebirds. Steve Souza, Cutter Dykstra, and Jason Martinson each homered, combining to collect 7 of the 11 hits and 9 of the 13 RBIs. Starter Taylor Hill got the win despite a shaky finish, giving up four runs on six hits and three walks over six innings. RHP Wilson Eusebio was assigned from the Potomac Nationals to the Hagerstown Suns, with LHP Bobby Lucas being placed on the 7-Day DL to make room on the roster.

DSL Nationals — OFF DAY
After a funny start-stop due to the Saturday debut and Sundays being the regular off day, the D-Nats return to action this week with home and away games against the Yankees1 and Giants1 squads, and road games vs. the DSL Mets1 and the Arizona/Cincy co-op (Redbacks?). Looking over the rosters, it’s roughly a 50/50 split between the newcomers and returnees. Perhaps that’s the bad news. The good news is that the average age of the newcomers is roughly 17½ and just four on the active roster are 20 or older.

Jun 032012

It's time to see if the P-Nats can take this show on the road.

With eight masterful innings by Robbie Ray, Potomac completed a three-game sweep of Lynchburg with an 8-0 shutout.

The southpaw allowed just two hits and a walk over eight innings while striking out nine, flirting with a no-hitter for two and 1/3rd innings before Randolph Oduber got turned around on a flyball that fell in for a triple.

Ray retired the next seven just as easily, then gave up a clean double to base of the LF wall to quash any what-if ramblings about a no-hitter.

Working fast, keeping the ball low, and using both sides of the plate, Ray was in command from start to finish — and did it against one of the better offenses in the Carolina League.

Meanwhile, the offense picked up where it left off the night before, making the Hillcats pay for each and every mistake (and even overcoming a couple of their own), using the long ball once again. An error, sacrifice, and another error on a double-steal plated the first Potomac run while Zach Walters went deep (again) for his third HR in five at-bats to give Potomac a 3-0 lead after one.

Back-to-back singles by Kevin Keyes and Randolph Oduber opened up the 2nd inning, but a botched bunt by Blake Kelso erased Keyes at third for the first out. Manager Brian Rupp ordered another double steal but Oduber was gunned down trying to advance on grounder to short for the second out.

But strange things happen in A-ball, such as Rick Hague following those two miscues by lofting a high flyball to RF that seemed destined to be caught or fall foul by the Potomac bullpen. Instead, it somehow went out on a clear and not-too-windy Sunday for another home run, and a 6-0 Potomac lead.

Hague registered five RBI for the game, a season-high for any P-Nat thus far this season, while going 2-for-4 and scoring twice. He drove in the seventh run with an RBI single in the 4th and beat out a double-play ball for the eighth final Potomac tally in the 6th.

The win sliced the Hillcats’ lead to just 2½ games over the Blue Rocks and 3½ games over the P-Nats.

As caption suggests, winning at the Pfitz has not been the team’s problem this year, as their 18 home wins (in 29 games) leads the Carolina League. But on the road? Just six (out of 24).

If Potomac is going to continue this win streak of four games, and make a run at the division title, they’re going to have to play this way in Maryland and in the Carolinas over the next two weeks. And they’re going to need some help. That’s because they have no more games left against Lynchburg (4-8 against) or Wilmington (2-4 against) and just one more home series, a five-game tilt next weekend against Salem.

Next up: a five-game set in Frederick that begins tomorrow, and includes a doubleheader on Tuesday that is likely to be Nathan Karns’s High-A debut. Matt Grace (2-6, 6.02) is slated the start in the series opener, opposed by the Keys’ Tyler Wilson (1-1, 3.00).

Jun 032012

The Nationals have announced that recently activated LHP Mike Gonzalez has been recalled to Washington after making his season debut with the Syracuse Chiefs on Friday night, bypassing longtime LHP Atahualpa Severino.

To make room on the Washington roster, RHP Ryan Perry was optioned back to Syracuse after posting a 10.13 ERA and a 1.75 WHIP over seven appearances with the parent club. RHP Drew Storen was transferred from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL to clear space on the 40-man roster.

Naturally, it’s worth noting that LHP Atahualpa Severino was bypassed by this move for a left-handed reliever. Since being added to the 40-man roster in November 2009, the 27-year-old Dominican has made just six appearances — all coming last September.

Jun 032012

Zach Walters (2) congratulates Justin Bloxom on his two-run HR

With three HRs total and a two-hit complete game in the opener, the Potomac Nationals swept a doubleheader from the first-place Lynchburg Hillcats, 6-1 and 4-2.

The wins (Potomac’s third straight) and losses (Lynchburg’s fifth straight), have tightened the race in the Carolina League’s Northern Division. Last weekend, the two teams met in Lynchburg with the Hillcats taking two of three to build an eight-game lead. Since then, Lynchburg has gone 1-5 and Potomac has gone 5-2, shaving the lead to 4½ games. With a win today, Potomac’s chances go from slim to some, but better than a week ago when it was nil and none.

In Game One, Adam Olbrychowski turned in precisely what the team needed: A complete game — especially with this being the first of four doubleheaders in eight days. The 25-year-old veteran gave up just two hits and retired the last 10 batters he faced for his first career complete game.

Zach Walters, who went 4-for-4 on Thursday, continues to swing a hot bat. His first homerun (righthanded) capped off a four-run third that would provide all the support Olbrychowski would need.

In Game Two, Bobby Hansen Jr. made his first start in five weeks and battled through some wildness (three walks) and some long hits (three doubles) to keep the team in the game with a final line of two runs allowed over four innings. He gave up single runs in the second and third innings, but also stranded four baserunners, firing a 90-mph heater for his sole strikeout to end the second and getting a groundout and popup to end the third.

Like Thursday night, the P-Nats put up crooked numbers in consecutive innings to overcome an early (2-0) deficit. Walters homered again (lefthanded) to get the rally going while Michael Taylor singled, took second as Kevin Keyes got hit by a pitch, and scored on Francisco Soriano’s RBI single to tie at 2-2 after four innings.

Justin Bloxom, who was named the Offensive Player of the Month by the Booster Club between games, lived up to the billing with another two-run homer, a pulled shot 15′ fair, 250′ high and 350′ over the right field fence.

Sidewinders Joe Testa and Neil Holland got the win (Testa’s 1st) and save (Holland’s 2nd) as they combined to pitch three shutout innings to complete the doubleheader sweep.

Robbie Ray (1-2, 6.66) has the start this afternoon as Potomac guns for its first three-game series sweep and a chance to slice the Lynchburg lead down to 3½ games, opposed by soap-opera-named Blaine Sims (0-0, 5.26).

Jun 032012
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 7-3 @ Indianpolis,
1:15 p.m.
Atkins (4-4, 3.49) vs.
Cabrera (1-1, 3.82)
Harrisburg Won, 4-3 @ New Britain,
1:35 p.m.
Kevin Pucetas (2-1, 1.50) vs.
Aaron Thompson (0-0, 0.00)
Potomac Won, 6-1;
Won, 4-2
vs. Lynchburg,
1:05 p.m.
Ray (1-2, 6.66) vs.
Sims (0-0, 5.26)
Hagerstown Lost, 8-6;
Won, 7-2
vs. Delmarva,
1:05 p.m.
Hill (4-4, 3.47) vs.
Bridwell (2-3, 4.87)
DSL Nationals Won, 7-3 OFF DAY N/A

Indianapolis 7 Syracuse 3
• Roark (L, 3-7) 5IP, 6H, 3R, 3ER, 2BB, 6K, HR
• VanAllen 1⅓ IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 2K, 1-0 IR-S
• Moore 3-4, 2R, 2-2B
• Rivero 3-4, R, 3B, RBI

Tyler Moore and Carlos Rivero were 6-for-8 combined, but the rest of the Syracuse lineup was 3-for-26 as Indianapolis overcame an early deficit to cruise to a 7-3 win. Starter Tanner Roark took the loss with three runs allowed on six hits and two walks. Corey Brown made his first appearance since returning to the club, striking out in the 9th as a pinch-hitter. Roster moves: RHP Josh Wilkie and IF Josh Johnson were placed on the restricted list, with Wilkie suspended for 50 games for a “drug of abuse.” MASN’s Byron Kerr has the story on Wilkie, while WaPo’s Adam Kilgore has the story on two more minor-leaguers entering rehab.

New Britain 10 Harrisburg 3
• Rosenbaum (W, 7-1) 7⅔ IP, 5H, 2R, 2ER, 3BB, 2K, HR
• Garcia (SV, 7) 1⅓ IP, 1H, 1R, 0ER, 0BB, 2K
• Rahl 2-3, RBI, SF
• Valdez 2-4, R, 2B, RBI

After his worst outing of the season, Danny Rosenbaum bounced back with strong start and secured his 7th win as the Senators held off the Rock Cats for a 4-3 win. Harrisburg raced out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning and extended it to 4-0 in the 6th. New Britain spoiled any chance of a shutout with a two-run HR in the 7th that cut the lead to 4-2. Rosenbaum was lifted with two outs in the 8th, having given up just the two runs on five hits and three walks and two strikeouts. Christian Garcia let in an unearned run in the 9th (fielding error) to secure the win and register his 7th save. Rafael Martin was one of the two minor-leaguers sent home (former Senator Josh Johnson is the other), but no roster move has been officially announced yet.

Potomac 6 Lynchburg 1 — GAME ONE
• Olbrychowski (W, 2-4) 7IP, 2H, R, ER, BB, 4K, HR
• Walters 1-3, R, HR, 2RBI
• Sanchez 2-4, 2B, CS
• Kelso 1-2, R, 2B, 2BB, RBI

Potomac 4 Lynchburg 2 — GAME TWO
• Hansen 4IP, 4H, 2R, 2ER, 3BB, K
• Testa (W, 1-0) 1⅓ IP, 0H, 0R, BB, K
• Holland (SV, 2) 1⅔ 1H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Bloxom 1-3, R, HR, 2RBI
• Walters 1-2, R, HR, RBI

Strong pitching and some long ball were the keys to a doubleheader sweep Last Night In Woodbridge.

Delmarva 8 Hagerstown 6 — GAME ONE
• Turnbull (ND) 5⅔ IP, 7H, 5R, 5ER, BB, 5K, HR
• McKenzie (BS, 2; L, 1-2) ⅔ IP, 3H, 3R, 3ER, BB, K
• Goodwin 2-4, 2B, RBI
• Martinson 2-4, 2RBI

Kylin Turnbull hit the wall in the 6th and the Suns firemen followed with gasoline instead of water as Delmarva scored eight unanswered runs in the final two innings to send Hagerstown to an 8-6 defeat. Turnbull got the no-decision with five runs allowed on a walk and seven hits, including a three-run HR to the last batter he faced. Brian Goodwin and Jason Martinson both went 2-for-4 to lead the eight-hit attack.

Hagerstown 7 Delmarva 2 — GAME TWO
• Meyer (W, 4-3) 5IP, 2H, 0R, 2BB, 7K
• Encarnacion 1IP, 0H, 0R, BB, K
• Nieto 2-3, R, 2B, RBI
• Burns 2-4, R, 3B, RBI
• Newsome 2-3, R, 2B, RBI

The Suns held onto the lead in the nightcap, building a 7-0 lead before giving up two in the 7th for a 7-2 win. Alex Meyer tossed five shutout innings to get the win, allowing two hits, walking two and fanning seven. Brett Newsome and Adrian Nieto both went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI to lead the offense.

DSL Nationals 7 DSL Mets1 3
• Silvestre (W, 1-0) 5IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 3K
• K. Rodriguez (SV, 1) 1⅔ IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 2K; 2-0 IR-S
• O. Abreu 4-5, RBI, 2CS
• A. Martinez 2-4, 2RBI, SB
• A. Ramirez 3-4, 2R, 2B

The D-Nats opened the 2012 campaign with bang, pounding out 15 hits in a 7-3 win over the DSL Mets1. Hector Silvestre got the start and the win with five shutout innings, with two hits and no walks allowed and three strikeouts. Osvaldo Abreu led the offense with a 4-for-5 game. Kelvin Rodriguez stranded two runners in the 8th and pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for the save.