May 292011
 

As the pic suggests, the P-Nats dropped a pair to fall into the Carolina League North Division cellar, losing 10-5 in the first game and 7-2 in the second. The losing streak is now six games.

The story in both games was much the same: the starting pitching was ineffective and made a mediocre offense look terrific. Except for one big inning in the first game, the Potomac offense was listless. It took nearly four innings in the first game for a runner to reach base. In the second game, they collected just three hits.

I’m not sure what the Nats brass, who have been on hand for the past couple of nights, has in mind to shake things up, but it’s pretty clear that some bats need to be thrown in the shower. Maybe even some wooden ones, too.

Individually, there is some decent talent in this group of players. But I keep hearing the rumblings that, while not quite 25 cabs for 25 guys, this is not yet a team. The difference in the record at home vs. the road in the past couple of weeks certainly begs the question of “why?” — especially when the opponents have been either the same (Lynchburg) or second-division (Kinston).

Again, I try hard not to editorialize in this space, but I know that folks value the eyes on the field and I’m seeing a collection of talent that needs some reshuffling. Maybe some guys that have been starting need to sit out today. Maybe some starters need to work out of the ‘pen and vice-versa. But something needs to happen soon.

Today, Cameron Selik and Evan Bronson are tasked with turning things around (and making me eat these words) with a noontime doubleheader against these same Hillcats, with a chance to both split the series and return to third place.

May 282011
 

With the placement of Tom Gorzelanny on the 15-Day DL retroactive to Tuesday, the Washington Nationals have recalled Collin Balester from Syracuse to take his roster spot. Balester, however, will be in the ‘pen which means another move may be coming to replace Gorzelanny in the rotation.

Bill Ladson is reporting that that will be Yunesky Maya. Presuming that’s true, one can surmise that at the very least, J.D. Martin will get a spot start tomorrow. Whether he stays in the Syracuse rotation is another matter.

The addition of Zech Zinicola is most likely a tipoff that a pitcher is going from Harrisburg to Syracuse. Unfortunately, it could be a reliever just as easily as it might be a starter (Brad Peacock last pitched on Wednesday). Doubleheaders further down the ladder (Potomac and Hagerstown today, Harrisburg and Potomac tomorrow) further complicate matters and make it harder to guess what may be coming.

As always, if anything breaks in the next few hours, watch this space for updates…

May 282011
 

The Quick Rundown…

Team Yesterday’s Result Today’s Game Pitching Matchup
Syracuse Chiefs 6-6, Susp. (Top 8th) vs. Charlotte 6:00 p.m.
(completion, scheduled game)
Craig Stammen (4-2, 3.62) vs.
Matt Zaleski (0-1, 14.73)
Harrisburg Senators Won, 2-0 (6 inn.) vs. Bowie, 7:00 p.m. Shairon Martis (1-2, 4.30) vs.
Zach Clark (5-2, 3.40)
Potomac Nationals Postponed vs. Lynchburg, 5:35 p.m. Paul Demny (1-4, 3.83) and
Evan Bronson (1-1, 2.42) vs.
Corey Rasmus (1-5, 7.09) and
Arodys Vizcaino (2-2, 2.45)
Hagerstown Suns 4-3, Asheville,
Susp. (Bot. 5th)
vs. Asheville, 5:05 p.m. Taylor Jordan (6-1, 3.12) vs.
TBD
DSL Nationals   @ DSL Rangers, 10:30 AM TBD vs. TBD

Syracuse 6 Charlotte 6 — SUSP (Top 8th)
• Milone (ND) 6⅔ IP 7H 4R 4ER 1BB 6K

Syracuse put up three spots in the 3rd and 7th innings to take a 6-4 lead but Jeff Mandel surrendered a home run to the second batter he faced in the 8th to tie the game. Play was halted shortly thereafter. The game will be completed tonight followed by the regularly scheduled nine-inning game.

Harrisburg 2 Bowie 0
• Roark (ND) 2IP 1H 0R 0BB 2K
• Arnesen (W, 2-0) 3⅔ IP 4H 0R 1BB 2K
• Chico (S, 1) ⅓ 0H 0R 0BB 1K
• Johnson 1-2, R, HR, RBI
• Moore 1-2, R, HR, RBI

Rain both shortened and delayed game, as Harrisburg won 2-0 in six innings. Josh Johnson and Tyler Moore both hit a solo home run, with Stephen King collecting the only other Senator hit. Tanner Roark allowed a hit and struck out two in the two innings he pitched before play was halted and delayed for 81 minutes. Erik Arnesen took the hill in relief and went the next three and 2/3rds innings, giving up four hits and a walk. Matt Chico struck out the only batter he faced to earn the save when the game was called. Tim Pahuta was placed on the DL to make room for Zech Zinicola, who was assigned to the team from XST

Potomac-Lynchburg — PPD
After initially delaying the start 25 minutes, the skies above Woodbridge opened up and forced the postponement. Tonight was an already scheduled doubleheader, thus another doubleheader will be played on Sunday, weather permitting.

Asheville 4 Hagerstown 3
• Hansen 5IP 5H 4R 4ER 0BB 6K 1HR

After surrendering the lead with a four-run fifth, the Suns put on two runners before Mother Nature said “That’s all for tonight, boys.” The game will be resumed tonight with a seven-inning game to follow.

GCLDSL Nationals — Opening Day
Extended Spring Training is finally overIt’s time to learn some new names… and the “TBD vs. TBD” macro is ready to go.

May 272011
 

With the Memorial Day weekend upon us, the rest of the indys have begun play and concludes my indulgence this series.

It’s a pretty short list (except for one, but I digress) — just three names:

Matt Rogelstad, Chico Outlaws

Jesse Estras, Newark Bears

Leonard Davis, New Jersey Jackals

For folks who may have missed the earlier editions: bn

Intro & The Atlantic League

Part 2: The American Association and the Frontier League

May 272011
 

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

SYRACUSE 16-22, 5th place I.L. North, 7 games behind

Good Chris Marrero .294/.362/.365 in May
Bad Ross Detwiler 1-4, 9.38 ERA, 2.17 WHIP in May
Interesting Josh Wilkie 1.75 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 10.89 K/9

HARRISBURG 23-20, 1st place E.L. West Division, 1 game ahead

Good Brad Peacock 7-1, 2.13 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 75K in 55IP
Bad Jimmy Barthmaier 1.90 WHIP, 4HR in 23⅔ IP
Interesting Bill Rhinehart 8HR, 17RBI

POTOMAC 18-27, 3rd place C.L. North Division, 10 games behind

Good Destin Hood .287/.333/.532 in May
Bad Joe Testa 2.04WHIP
Interesting Hector Nelo, spotted throwing 98mph

HAGERSTOWN 28-18, 1st place Sally League Northern Division, 1 game ahead

Good David Freitas .289/.392/.458
Bad Michael Taylor .280 OBP, 39K in 42G
Interesting Christopher Manno 6SV, 0.54WHIP, 33K in 17G
May 272011
 

The Quick Rundown…

Team Yesterday’s Result Today’s Game Pitching Matchup
Syracuse Chiefs Won, 9-1 vs. Charlotte 7:00 p.m. Tom Milone (3-3, 3.53) vs.
Freddy Dolsi (3-3, 7.65)
Harrisburg Senators Won, 7-6; Won, 6-1 vs. Bowie, 7:00 p.m. Tanner Roark (1-1, 5.79) vs.
Rick Zagone (1-3, 5.52)
Potomac Nationals OFF DAY vs. Lynchburg, 7:00 p.m. Trevor Holder (2-5, 5.89) vs.
Zeke Spruill (2-5, 3.76)
Hagerstown Suns Lost, 4-1 (11 inn.) vs. Asheville, 6:35 p.m. Bobby Hansen (5-1, 3.46) vs.
Peter Tago (1-0, 2.57)

Syracuse 9 Charlotte 1
• Meyers (W, 3-0) 6IP 7H 1R 1ER 0BB 3K
• Mattheus 1IP 0H 0R 0BB 2K
• Frazier 3-4, 2R, 2B, HR, BB, RBI
• Fox 3-5, R, 2B, 2RBI
• Valdez 3-5, R, 2B, RBI

The Chiefs broke out the bats, collecting a season-high 14 hits in a 9-1 triumph over Charlotte. Jeff Frazier, Adam Fox, and Jesus Valdez combined for nine hits (each doubling), four runs, and four RBI as the Chiefs score five runs in the 2nd and put up two-spots in the 3rd and 6th innings. Brad Meyers pitched six strong innings, allowing one run on seven hits and no walks. Collin Balester, Josh Wilkie, and Ryan Mattheus each tossed a scoreless inning in relief.

Harrisburg 7 Akron 6 — Comp. Susp. Game
• Perez 1IP 1H 1R 1ER 0BB 1K 1HR
• Peacock (W, 7-1) 6⅔ IP 3H 2R 2ER 1BB 9K
• VanAllen ⅓ IP 3H 3R 3ER 0BB 0K 1HR
• Martinez 1IP 1H 0R 0BB 0K
• Lombardozzi 2-5, R, RBI
• Moore 2-5, 2-2B, RBI

Brad Peacock took over from Oliver Perez as the suspended game was picked up and went six and 2/3rds innings for the win in a 7-6 Harrisburg victory. Derek Norris, Bill Rhinehart, and Alex VAldez each homered while Steve Lombardozzi and Tyler Moore both went 2-for-5. A four-run eighth, lowlighted by a three-run homer by Akron’s Jared Goedert off Cory VanAllen, made this game a lot closer than it should have been. Carlos Martinez got the final three outs in the ninth for his first save of 2011.

Harrisburg 6 Akron 1 (7 inn.)
• Tatusko 4IP 4H 1R 1ER 2B 4K
• Barthmaier (W, 1-2) 3IP 1H 0R 2BB 3K
• Ivany 2-3, 2R, RBI
• Pahuta 1-3, R, HR, 2RBI, SB
• Rahl 1-3, R, 2B, 2RBI

The ‘pen filled in and handled the second game admirably, with Ryan Tatusko going the first four innings, allowing the lone Akron run, and Jimmy Barthmaier going the last three innings to earn the win. The veteran trio of Devin Ivany, Tim Pahuta and Chris Rahl powered the offense, going 4-for-9 with four runs scored, a double (Rahl), a home run (Pahuta), a stolen base (Ivany) and five RBI.

Potomac – OFF DAY
The race to avoid last place is on with a four-game weekend series between the third-place P-Nats and the fourth-place Hillcats, with a doubleheader scheduled on Saturday.

Asheville 4 Hagerstown 1 (11 inn.)
• Ray (ND) 2IP 0H 0R 1BB 1K
• McCatty 3IP 2H 0R 2BB 4K
• Manno 2IP 0H 0R 0BB 3K
• Curran 1-3, BB
• Martinson 2-4, R

Thunderstorms and tornado warnings delayed the game nearly two hours, ending Robbie Ray’s night after two innings, as the Asheville Tourists defeated the Hagerstown Suns 4-1 in 11 innings. Four relievers were used over the last nine innings, with Sam Brown taking the loss by surrendering three in the top of the 11th. The Suns managed just nine hits for the night, with Jason Martinson going 2-for-4 and scoring the lone run.

May 262011
 

The Quick Rundown…

Team Yesterday’s Result Today’s Game Pitching Matchup
Syracuse Chiefs OFF DAY vs. Charlotte 7:00 p.m. Brad Meyers (2-0, 3.63) vs.
Jeff Marquez (3-3, 2.82)
Harrisburg Senators Suspended, 1-1, Top 2 @ Akron, 10:35 a.m.
(completion, 7 inn. gm)
(GameBrad Peacock (6-1, 2.05) vs.
T.J. McFarland (1-2, 5.08)
Potomac Nationals Lost, 13-7 OFF DAY N/A
Hagerstown Suns OFF DAY vs. Asheville, 6:35 p.m. Robbie Ray (1-0, 0.53) vs.
Erik Stavert (1-3, 9.00)

Syracuse Chiefs — OFF DAY
The Chiefs resume play tonight with a four-game homestand against the Charlotte Knights, then hit the road for eight days against Louisville and Indianapolis.

Harrisburg 1 Akron 1, Top 2 (Susp.)
Rain stopped play with the game tied at 1-1 and forced a doubleheader this morning, with the completion of the suspended game followed by a seven-inning contest.

Kinston 13 Potomac 7
• Clegg (L, 2-3) 1⅔ IP 5H 8R 5ER 3BB 1K 1HR
Weaver 1⅔ 5H 4R 4ER 0BB 0K 1HR
• Frias 2IP 0H 0R 1BB 1K
• Lozada 3-4, 3R, 2-2B, 2RBI
• Bloxom 3-5
• Perez 2-2, 2B, 2RBI, SAC, SF

A little editorial to go with the breakdown of this beatdown, Last Night In Woodbridge.

Asheville 4 Hagerstown 1
• Cole (L, 0-3) 4⅔ 7H 4R 2ER 1BB 5K 1HR
• Swynenberg 2⅓ IP 1H 0R 1BB 2K
• Newsome 3-4
• Nicol 2-4
• Sanchez 1-3, R, 2B, 2BB, SB

With single runs in the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th innings the Asheville Tourists wore down the Hagerstown Suns for a 4-1 decision. A.J. Cole took his third loss, allowing all four runs (two earned) over four and 2/3rds innings on seven hits and a walk, while striking out five. Relievers Matt Swynenberg and Wilson Eusebio turned in four and a 1/3rd scoreless innings. The Suns stranded 10 baserunners and only cashed in once in 13 chances with RISP. As noted in the comments, Chris Curran has been sent to Hagerstown, taking the place of Wade Moore, who was placed on the restricted list without explanation from any official source.

May 262011
 

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not easy to write about a blowout like this one (a 13-7 Potomac loss to Kinston, their fourth straight). You can be mean-spirited and lay into the poor pitching, piling on, kicking a man when he’s down (is there a better time?). Or you can cherry-pick the one or two good performances in the losing cause (Jose Lozada, 3-for-4 with two doubles, Justin Bloxom, 3-for-5), glossing over the contradictions (both had throwing errors).

Neither approach really serves you, the reader, all that well.

Potomac’s record is 18-27, a .400 winning percentage. They’ve scored 195 runs, allowed 234, which is fourth-best and dead last in the Carolina League, respectively. Their pythagorean projection has them at .392 or .409, depending on which formula you use. I’m not very good at math, but you can split the difference and see that .4005 is pretty damn close to .400.

As Bill Parcells famously once said “You are what your record says you are.”

Mitchell Clegg started this game with two quick outs and then loaded the bases with walks on either side of a hit batsmen. He then surrendered a bases-clearing triple and finally got out of the inning after pitching to the ninth batter. The second inning saw an error (Lozada’s) followed by a homer, a single (the only one surrendered), a long double to dead center, a flyout to center, a strikeout, then another long double to center.

Clegg was lifted with two outs, and his ledger filled when reliever Joe Testa was treated much the same with a double to… wait for it… center (don’t blame CF J.R. Higley — These balls were launched). The ‘pen may have faltered, but it was 8-0 after two, and it’s hard to pin much on group that has been asked to go one more inning or take one less day off more often than not

As the 13-7 score indicates, the P-Nats were able to muster some offense; unlike football, there’s no prevent defense. Joining Lozada and Bloxom in the hit parade was Eury Perez, who went 2-for-2 with sacrifice hit and a sacrifice fly and two RBI. Only Steve Souza went hitless as the team collected 13 total. On most nights, that would be more than enough.

Today is a badly needed day off for Potomac, the last scheduled off day of the first half. The homestand resumes on Friday with four games against the last-place Lynchburg Hillcats (doubleheader on Saturday).

May 252011
 

The Quick Rundown…

Team Yesterday’s Result Today’s Game Pitching Matchup
Syracuse Chiefs Lost, 10-4 OFF DAY N/A
Harrisburg Senators Won, 11-6 @ Akron, 7:05 p.m. Oliver Perez (1-0, 0.00) vs.
Austin Adams (4-3, 2.45)
Potomac Nationals Lost, 4-3 vs. Kinston, 7:05 p.m. Mitchell Clegg (2-2, 4.66) vs.
Giovanni Soto (3-3, 2.03)
Hagerstown Suns OFF DAY vs. Asheville, 6:35 p.m. A.J. Cole (0-2, 3.86) vs.
Joshua Slaats (0-1, 10.07)

Rochester 10 Syracuse 4
• Detwiler (L, 3-4) 3⅔ IP 10H 8R 6ER 1BB 1K
• Hyde 1IP 1H 0R 1BB 1K
• Valdez 2-3, R, 2B, HR, 2RBI, 2BB
• Solano 2-4, R, RBI
• Antonelli 2-4, 3B

After a seven-game win streak was snapped, the reversion has been mean, with Rochester pounding Syracuse early and often for a 10-5 win, the second straight loss for the Chiefs. Ross Detwiler continues to give up more hits than innings pitched with 10 over three and 2/3rds, leading to eight runs (six earned) with just one walk and one strikeout. Jesus Valdez was one of three Chiefs to get two hits, doubling and homering for two RBI, while Jhonathan Solano knocked in one with two singles and Matt Antonelli singled and tripled.

Harrisburg 11 Akron 6
• Davis (ND) 4⅔ 3H 3R 2ER 4BB 4K
• Arnesen (S, 1) 3IP 0H 0R 2K
• Moore 2-5, 2R, HR, RBI
• Lombardozzi 2-4, 2R, 3B, RBI
• Norris 1-3, 2R, HR, 2RBI, 2BB

Harrisburg broke out the bats for a season-high 11 runs against Akron, with five Senators collecting multiple hits. Matt Chico got the win in relief of recently returned Erik Davis, who allowed three runs on three hits and four walks over four and 2/3rds innings. Erik Arnesen pitched three scoreless innings for the save, his first for the season. The trio of Tyler Moore, Steve Lombardozzi, and Derek Norris combined for a 5-for-12 night with two HRs, four RBIs, two walks (guess who) and six runs scored.

Kinston 4 Potomac 3
• Rosenbaum (L, 2-2) 6⅔ IP 6H 4R 1ER 2BB 3K
• Smoker 1⅓ IP 1H 0R 0BB 2K
• Kobernus 2-4, BB, RBI
• Leon 2-4, 2B, RBI
• Souza 1-3, R, HR, BB, RBI

A little “O” and even less “D” equals an “L,” in Woodbridge last night.

Hagerstown Suns — OFF DAY
It’s a brief four-game homestand for the Suns, who come into Hagerstown still holding onto 1st place with a two-game lead, facing the Southern division’s fourth-place Asheville Tourists.

May 252011
 

Good pitching beats good hitting, but just a couple of errors can make it all for naught.

That was the story, plain and simple for the P-Nats on Tuesday night. Three errors equaled three unearned runs in a 4-3 loss. For a team that’s streaky on offense, a shaky defense is unacceptable.

Let’s fast-forward to the seventh, where things fell apart. Tied at 1-1, starter and losing pitcher Danny Rosenbaum let up a long double to left to lead off the inning. Rosenbaum turned a sacrifice attempt into another baserunner with a throwing error, setting up a single to shallow right and a 2-1 Kinston lead, runners on 1st and 3rd and still nobody out.

Things went from bad to worse when a dropped pickoff attempt plated the third run, enabling the Indians to sacrifice again, moving a slow-footed catcher to third with their #9 batter. A tapper down the line sent in the fourth run, which would prove to be the gamewinner.

Offensively, the P-Nats would get 14 baserunners — six hits, six walks, two errors — but only once in seven tries could they get the clutch hit with runners on 2nd or 3rd. Twice they would have runners thrown out. Steven Souza’s leadoff home run to dead center in the second inning and Sandy Leon’s double to right were the highlights of the night.

With the loss, Potomac falls to 18-28, nine games behind and just a ½ game out of last place in the Carolina League Northern Division.