Sep 052011
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitcher
Syracuse Lost, 7-4 vs.
Lehigh Valley,
2:00 p.m.
Brad Meyers (6-4, 3.46) vs.
Nate Bump (4-9, 5.09)
Harrisburg Lost, 6-4 vs. Akron,
2:00 p.m.
Oliver Perez (3-5, 3.27) vs.
Steven Wright (2-3, 5.66)
Potomac Lost, 5-3;
Lost, 2-1
vs. Kinston,
1:05 p.m.
TBD vs. TBD
Hagerstown Won, 4-2 vs. Lakewood,
2:05 p.m.
Matt Swynenberg (6-3, 3.77) vs.
Austin Wright (1-1, 1.50)
Auburn Lost, 4-2 END OF SEASON N/A

Lehigh Valley 7 Syracuse 4
• Tatusko 4IP, 7H, 1R, 1ER, BB, 2K
• C Garcia 2IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 2K
• Valdez 2-3, R, HR, 3RBI, 2BB
• Hulett 2-2, R, RBI, 3BB

Six unanswered runs in the late innings sent Syracuse to a 7-4 defeat. Jesus Valdez’s 10th home run, a three-run shot in the 5th, highlighted a four-run rally as the Chiefs rallied from an early 1-0 deficit. Ryan Tatusko got the spot start and scattered seven hits over four innings to allow just one run. Recently promoted Christian Garcia threw two scoreless innings to follow but things went south in a hurry after as four relievers gave up six runs over the last three innings, with Jeff Mandel taking the loss and Josh Wilkie blowing his fourth save of the season.

Akron 6 Harrisburg 4
• Rosenbaum (ND) 6IP, 4H, 2R, 2ER, 0BB, 2K
• Komatsu 2-4, 2B, BB
• Moore 1-3, R, HR, RBI
• King 1-2, 2BB

Tyler Moore smacked his 31st home run for the second straight season, but the Sens ‘pen fell apart late to lose this one, 6-4. Danny Rosenbaum got his 10th no-decision in 25 starts, tossing six solid innings with two runs allowed on four hits and no walks for his 15th quality start of the year. Erik Komatsu led the eight-hit offensive effort with a single, double, and a walk. Meanwhile, Richmond and Bowie tied in the loss column with a Baysox win and a Squirrels loss on Sunday. Richmond is in automatically with a win today, but Bowie needs both a win and Squirrels loss to make the postseason.

Kinston 5 Potomac 3 — GAME ONE
• Bronson (L, 5-5) 5⅓ IP, 9H, 5R, 4ER, 4BB, 3K, HR
• Holland 1⅔ IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 0K
• Lozada 2-3, R, 2B, HR, 3RBI

Evan Bronson wasn’t sharp on a Sunday Afternoon In Woodbridge

Kinston 2 Potomac 1 — GAME TWO
• Clegg (L, 4-7) 5IP, 2H, 1R, 0ER, BB, 0K
• Selik 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Peacock 2-3, 2B
• Bloxom 1-3, RBI

Mitchell Clegg flirted with a no-hitter for four innings in his first starting assignment in nearly three months. He gave up an unearned run on two hits in the fifth to take the hard-luck loss. Potomac was held to just five hits total, with Brian Peacock the sole P-Nat to collect multiple hits with a 2-for-3 game. Frederick lost again, leaving Potomac mathematically alive for the division title, as the two teams are now separated by a single game.

Hagerstown 4 Lakewood 2
• Cole 5IP, 5H, 2R, 2ER, BB, 5K
• Eusebio (W, 1-7) 2IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
• Keyes 2-4, R, HR, RBI, SB
• Cuevas 2-4, 2B, 3B

Back-to-back jacks by Kevin Keyes and Jason Martinson in the bottom of the 6th helped turn a 2-1 deficit into a 4-2 lead that the Hagerstown bullpen held. A.J. Cole gave up two runs on five hits and a walk to lower his ERA to 4.04 but got the no-decision for the seventh time in 18 starts. Blake Kelso, Justino Cuevas and Keyes had two hits apiece as the Suns collected 10 total for the game. The win puts Hagerstown at .500 for the second half and a win today would put them at 75 wins total, which would be a 10-game improvement over 2010.

Batavia 4 Auburn 2
• Estevez (L, 6-3) 5IP, 7H, 4R, 4ER, BB, 0K
• Moldenhauer 3-4, 2B, RBI
• Ramsey 2-4

In the season finale, Auburn was, um, doubled up by Batavia, 4-2. Wirkin “For The Weekend” Estevez took the loss with all four runs given up over five innings on seven hits and a walk. Russell Moldenhauer and Caleb Ramsey combined to go 5-for-8, but just two other Doubledays collected hit in the loss. Richie Mirowski, Alex Kreis, and Manny Rivera each threw a scoreless inning of relief. With Connecticut falling 6-5 to Lowell in the 16th inning, Vermont’s 11-7 win over Tri-City gave the Lake Monsters the Stedler Division title. Vermont will host Auburn in Game One of the best-of-three first round on Tuesday night, with Games Two and Three (if necessary) set to be held at Auburn’s Falcon Field on Wednesday and Thursday.

Sep 042011
 

Kinston’s three-run rally with two outs in the second inning proved to be too much for Potomac to overcome, as they dropped the first game of the doubleheader by a 5-3 tally.

Evan Bronson got the start but was not sharp this afternoon, allowing a long leadoff double to start the game and then misplaying a sacrifice bunt to set up runners on the corners with nobody out. After a popup to the three-hole batter, Adam Abraham, it appeared for just a moment that he would clean up his own mess, like the good pitchers do and like he’s done before.

Instead, he would walk the next two batters to give Kinston a 1-0 lead.

Bronson would get a liner to second and a strikeout to end the first, then the same sequence again to the first two batters of the second inning. And again, it looked like the worst had passed.

But the one thing that Bronson can’t control is the insistence by the Nationals of playing Justin Bloxom at third, and it was Bloxom’s 37th error in his 76th game at the position that started the Kinston rally in the second. Yes, you can put the blame on Bronson for failing to buckle down to the next two batters, who singled and homered, but it’s human nature to lose focus when things go awry and hard to ignore when a preventable problem keeps recurring.

Potomac would respond in its half of the 3rd as Cutter Dykstra singled and Eury Perez was safe on a sacrifice attempt to set up runners on first and second. Francisco Soriano’s subsequent bunt attempt was popped up and for a brief moment it appeared that Kinston’s Toru Murata had pulled a fast one by intentionally allowing the ball to drop and firing to second to attempt the 1-4-3 DP.

To his credit, Soriano ran out the play and it saved the P-Nats from an embarrassing moment, if not the umpires. Dykstra strayed from second but retreated to second *after* the throw to second came and went. With the force removed from Dykstra and Soriano beating the relay to first, the only out was the force on Perez. Had Murata thrown to third, he might have gotten away with the gambit and gotten the double play.

Instead, Jose Lozada ripped a first-pitch fastball (when will the Carolina League ever learn?) down the left field line for a two-run double and cut the Kinston lead in half, 4-2.

Bronson worked around threats in the 3rd and 4th innings before working a 1-2-3 fifth. He would throw away a pickoff move that sent Kinston outfielder Delvi Cid all the way around from first to put the Indians up, 5-2. He was lifted after his fourth and final walk for Neil Holland, who stranded the runner with the help of nifty 7-3 double play by Soriano, who has been pressed into OF duty with the shortage of OFs since J.P. Ramirez and J.R. Higley were placed on the DL.

Unfortunately, Kinston’s Murata also settled down to retire seven of the next eight batters, including a double play to end the fifth, before giving up another big hit to Lozada, a solo shot to right field in the 6th. Steven Souza would single two batters later, but he would be the final baserunner as the Kinston closer Preston Guilmet came on in the 7th and final inning to set down the P-Nats in order for his league-leading 35th save

Prior commitments made for a short afternoon, but in the nightcap, Potomac fell again 2-1, giving the Kinston Indians the second-half division title.

For the second straight day, Wilmington beat Frederick to keep Potomac mathematically alive, but it will require another Frederick loss and a win to break the streak. This wouldn’t be the 2011 season if the weather weren’t a part of the narrative, and yes, there is rain in the forecast for tomorrow.

Sep 042011
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitcher
Syracuse Lost, 6-3 vs.
Lehigh Valley,
6:30 p.m.
Ryan Tatusko (3-4, 4.79) vs.
Scott Mathieson (2-2, 3.00)
Harrisburg Lost, 6-2 vs. Akron,
2:00 p.m.
Danny Rosenbaum (3-1, 2.16) vs.
Brett Brach (1-2, 4.03)
Potomac Lost, 9-8 vs. Kinston,
1:05 p.m.
(doubleheader)
TBD vs. TBD
Hagerstown Won, 6-5 vs. Lakewood,
7:05 p.m.
A.J. Cole (4-7, 4.07) vs.
Ervis Manzanillo (8-7, 5.16)
Auburn Won, 2-1 @ Batavia,
1:05 p.m.
TBD vs. TBD

Rochester 6 Syracuse 3
• Martin (ND) 6⅓ IP, 4H, 1R, 1ER, 0BB, 5K, HR
• Severino (BS, 2) ⅔ 3H, 2R, 2ER, BB, K
• Frazier 2-3, R, HR, RBI, BB, CS
• Maldonado 2-4, R

J.D. Martin’s final start of the season was marred by a bullpen blowup, as the Chiefs surrendered three in the 7th and three in the 8th to blow a 3-0 lead and lose 6-3. Martin was lifted with one out in the 7th after giving up his lone run on a home run. Atahualpa Severino gave up the tying runs on three hits and a walk but finished the inning. Garrett Mock took the loss with three runs surrendered in the 8th. Jeff Frazier led the Chiefs offense with a 2-for-3 night including a solo HR.

Akron 6 Harrisburg 2
• Roark (L, 9-9) 7IP, 9H, 3R, 3ER, 4BB, 5K
• C Martinez 1IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 0K
• Rahl 2-4, R, 2B, 3B, RBI
• Ivany 2-4, CS

In what you’ll see is a motif, the Sens ‘pen also faltered, giving up three in the 9th to turn a 3-2 game into a 6-2 loss. Tanner Roark took the loss to even his record at 9-9, pitching seven innings but putting 13 runners on base via hit or walk. Chris Rahl doubled and tripled to lead the Harrisburg offense, which managed just seven hits total. Bowie lost while Richmond won to put the Baysox on the brink of elimination from the playoffs, the magic number now just one for the Flying Squirrels.

Kinston 9 Potomac 8

• Davis (L, 0-5) 6⅔ IP, 6H, 6R, 6ER, 4BB, 3K
• Smoker 1⅓ IP, 2H, 2R, 2ER, BB, 2K, HR (GS)
• Perez 3-4, 2R, SB (45)
• Walters 2-5, R, 3B

Oh, look. A reliever gave up the big hit to make it hurt Last Night In Woodbridge

Hagerstown 6 Lakewood 5
• Grace 6IP, 7H, 4R, 4ER, 2BB, 4K, HR
• Demmin (W, 5-2) 3IP, 1H, 1R, 1ER, BB, 0K
• Martinson 3-4, 2R, 2B, HR, RBI
• Oduber 3-4, R, SB

Another four-run rally in the 8th, another 6-5 win for Hagerstown. Matt Grace tossed six innings but allowed four earned runs on seven hits and two walks, striking out four, finishing the season with a 12-7 mark despite a 1.56 WHIP and a .314 OBA. Jason Martinson and Randolph Oduber both went 3-for-4 for the Suns, with Martinson’s 18th homer beginning the eighth-inning rally. Ryan Demmin got the win with a run given up over the final three innings.

Auburn 2 Batavia 1
• M Rodriguez 4⅔ IP, 4H, 1R, 1ER, 3BB, 3K
• Jenkins (S, 1) 3IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 3K
• Moldenhauer 2-4, R, 2-2B
• Montilla 2-4, R, 2B

Three Auburn pitchers combined to limit Batavia to one run on five hits as the Doubledays edged the Muckdogs, 2-1. Manny Rodgriguez got the start and gave up the first four hits over four and 2/3rds, walking three and striking out three. Kelvin Lopez got the win by finishing the fifth and pitching the sixth while Chad Jenkins notched his first save with three scoreless innings to finish up. Russell Moldenhauer and Angel Montilla both went 2-for-4 with a run scored to lead the Doubleday offense. Today is the season finale with Auburn’s first-round opponent still undetermined, as Connecticut and Vermont are separated by a game in the Stedler Division.

Sep 042011
 

It wasn’t exactly too little, but it was definitely too late as the P-Nats rallied for four in the bottom of the 9th, but came up short, 9-8 to the Kinston Indians.

The bottom of the 9th started innocently enough as Eury Perez singled for the third time, which is hardly a surprise with Perez on a hot streak which has seen him raise his batting average from .259 to .279 since August 11th. He then stole his 45th base, also not much of a shock since he’s swiped nine straight bags this week.

Soriano moved him over with a grounder to second and Kobernus moved him in with an infield single. Kobernus took second uncontested and Justin Bloxom walked. This brought up Steve Souza, who had already stranded four runners with two out. Apparently, having one out seems to suit him, as he clubbed his 11th home run to bring Potomac within one. It was his first home run since July 23, and the first one at the Pfitz since May 24.

If there’s a hotter hitter than Perez right now, it’s Zach Walters, who singled after Souza’s blast to restart the rally. Walters’ two hits pushed his Potomac batting average to .302, precisely what it was for South Bend when he was acquired for Jason Marquis in late July. Walters took second on a Sandy Leon groundout but was stranded there following a Jose Lozada walk and Brian Peacock’s game-ending flyout.

Erik Davis took the loss (his fifth in six starts) in what may very well be his final appearance for the Nationals organization. Once again, he struggled with his control, walking four batters over six and 2/3rds innings and striking out just three batters. He gave up six hits and was charged with six runs. Simply put: He looked more like a Low-A pitcher in his first High-A start than a AA pitcher that had been dropped down.

Davis is believed to be ineligible for the playoffs, but there is cause for concern with the first man out of the ‘pen. Josh Smoker let in the two runners he inherited from Davis in grand fashion with a slam over the LF wall, the second straight outing he had given up a homer. Perhaps its fatigue — Smoker leads the team in appearances with 46 — but it’s definitely something to be concerned because the heater wasn’t so hot last night (well, except on the way back out), flat, uneven and and elevated. That’s the classic recipe for getting knocked around.

Unfortunately, not only did the loss end the P-Nats’ four-game win streak, it was a missed opportunity to take first place as the Keys fell to the Blue Rocks, 3-2. The elimination number remains at three, but Potomac still can win the division regardless of what Frederick does; they just have to win the rest of their games. Conversely, a doubleheader loss combined with a Keys win today clinches the division for Frederick.

Sep 032011
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitcher
Syracuse Won, 10-9
(10 inn.)
@ Rochester,
7:05 p.m.
J.D. Martin (3-7, 4.09) vs.
Andy Baldwin (6-13, 5.64)
Harrisburg Lost, 7-1 vs. Akron,
7:00 p.m.
Tanner Roark (9-8, 4.75) vs.
Matt Packer (8-12, 4.37)
Potomac Won, 7-3 vs. Kinston,
6:35 p.m.
Erik Davis (0-4, 6.41) vs.
Francisco Jimenez (3-3, 3.25)
Hagerstown Won, 6-5 vs. Lakewood,
7:05 p.m.
Matt Grace (12-7, 5.13) vs.
Lisalberto Bonilla (4-5, 2.94)
Auburn Lost, 4-2;
Won, 2-1
(8 inn.)
@ Batavia,
7:05 p.m.
Manny Rodriguez (2-3, 4.93) vs.
Corey Baker (5-2, 2.81)

Syracuse 10 Rochester 9 (10 inn.)
• Stammen 4⅓ IP, 7H, 7R, 6ER, BB, 4K
• Zinicola (W, 1-0) 1⅔ IP, 0H, 0R, 2BB, K
• Valdez 4-6, 3R, 2B, HR, 4RBI
• Curran 3-5, R, 3B
• Frazier 3-6, R, RBI

After blowing two four-run leads and giving up a seven-run 5th, the Chiefs rallied for five runs in the late innings and held on for a 10-9 win in 10 innings. Craig Stammen got knocked from the box in the 5th, charged with seven runs (six earned) on seven hits and a walk. Jesus Valdez’s three-run shot in the 8th tied the game at 8-8, while Corey Brown’s two-run single in the 10th gave Syracuse a 10-8 lead. Zech Zinicola got the win while Josh Wilkie hit a batter and gave up a run on two hits but got the three outs needed to earn his 16th save. The win was Syracuse’s sixth straight

Akron 7 Harrisburg 1
• Martis (L, 8-6) 5IP, 8H, 5R, 5ER, BB, 3K, HR
• Lehman 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Norris 0-2, R, 2BB
• Davis 1-3

The Senators were flat in a 7-1 loss to Akron, collecting just four base hits and striking out 10 times as a team. Shairon Martis gave up the first five runs on eight hits and a walk over his five innings to take his sixth loss of the season. Richmond and Bowie flip-flopped again in the standings, and for folks wondering what that might mean for the first round of the playoffs, Harrisburg has gone 9-13 vs. Richmond, 13-5 vs. Bowie this season.

Potomac 7 Lynchburg 3
• Solis (W, 6-2) 7IP, 6H, 3R, ER, BB, 4K
• Holland 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
• Kobernus 2-4, 2R, RBI, BB, 4SB (51)
• Walters 3-5, R, 2B, RBI
• Leon 2-4, R, RBI

Potomac stole nine bases in a 7-3 win over Lynchburg to complete a four-game sweep of the Hillcats. Jeff Kobernus stole four of the nine bases and broke the 50-steal mark, the most since Boomer Whiting stole 54 in ’09. Sammy Solis was solid in his (presumably) final regular-season start, going seven innings and giving up three runs (one earned) on six hits and a walk while striking out four. Neil Holland and Hector Nelo both threw a scoreless inning of relief. Frederick kept pace with Potomac with a 10-0 win over Kinston to maintain its ½-game lead. Should the two teams tie at the end of the regular season, Potomac holds the rather odd tiebreaker of having won the first meeting of the second half as both teams went 10-10 in head-to-head competition.

Hagerstown 6 Lakewood 5
• Ray 4IP, 6H, 5R, 5ER, 0BB, 2K
• Holt 3IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 2K
• Kelso 2-4, R, RBI
• Nieto 1-4, R, HR, 2RBI

A four-run rally in the bottom of the 8th ended an eight-game losing streak as Hagerstown clipped Lakewood, 6-5. Robbie Ray had a rough final outing, giving up all five BlueClaws runs on six hits with no walks and just two strikeouts over four innings. Blake Kelso (2-for-4) and Adrian Nieto (2RBI) led the offense which made the most of its six hits to score six runs, aided by three Lakewood errors. At 32-34, Hagerstown will need to win the rest of its games (3) to finish above .500 for the second half.

Batavia 4 Auburn 2 — GAME ONE
• Dupra (L, 4-4) 4IP, 4H, 3R, 2ER, BB, K, HR
• Hanks 1IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Ortega 1-3, R, 2B
• J Miller 1-3, RBI

Batavia took an early 3-0 lead with runs in the 2nd and 3rd innings. Auburn rallied for two in the bottom of the 6th, but gave up an insurance run in the top of the 7th to lose 4-2. Brian Dupra took the loss with three runs given up over four innings on four hits and a walk. Five different Doubledays got a hit, with Bryce Ortega doubling and Justin Miller notching the lone RBI single (Matt Skole drove in the other on a groundout).

Auburn 2 Batavia 1 (8 inn.) — GAME TWO
• Meza (ND) 6IP, 3H, 0R, 0BB, 5K
• Henke (W, 4-2) 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Miller 2-4, RBI
• Montilla 2-3

Justin Miller’s RBI single in the last of the 8th gave the Auburn a 2-1 win to cap the doubleheader and give the fans a treat in the home finale. Coupled with a Williamsport loss, the Doubledays clinched the Pinckney Division title, the first for the team since 2007 and the first division crown for the organization in the New York-Penn League since 1996. Christian Meza nearly got the win with six shutout innings pitched, as the Doubledays took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the 6th, but the Muckdogs rallied against Colin Bates for the tie at 1-1. Travis Henke got the win with a 1-2-3 top of the 8th.

Sep 022011
 

The Big Board is close to frozen for 2011, but a few transactions of note have taken place the past week or so…

SYRACUSE
• OF Roger Bernadina recalled to Washington
• RHP Christian Garcia assigned from Auburn
• OF Chris Curran assigned from Hagerstown
UT Sean Nicol assigned from Potomac
LHP Tom Milone recalled to Washington

AUBURN
• UT Mills Rogers assigned from Hagerstown
• C Andruth Ramirez assigned from GCL

HARRISBURG
IF Adam Fox activated from Temporary IL

For those wondering about “GBI,” I’m delaying it until Tuesday for the final edition, in which I’ll pick the bat & arm for each category for the 2011 season.

UPDATE: As expected, Tom Milone has been recalled along with a couple of procedural moves.

Sep 022011
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitcher
Syracuse Won, 6-2 @ Rochester,
7:05 p.m.
Craig Stammen (10-7, 4.51) vs.
Tom Stuifbergen (1-0, 1.80)
Harrisburg Won, 10-0 vs. Akron,
7:00 p.m.
Shairon Martis (8-5, 2.81) vs.
TBD
Potomac Won, 5-1 @ Lynchburg,
7:05 p.m.
Sammy Solis (5-2, 2.92) vs.
Caleb Brewer (1-1, 5.28)
Hagerstown Lost, 10-1 vs. Lakewood,
7:05 p.m.
Robbie Ray (2-3, 2.75) vs.
Joe Blanton (rehab)
Auburn Won, 4-2 vs. Batavia,
5:05 p.m.
(doubleheader)
Brian Dupra (4-3, 3.38) and
Christian Meza (1-1, 6.57) vs.
Ryan Sherriff (0-1, 2.45) and
Jon Cornelius (1-4, 4.30)

Syracuse 6 Buffalo 2
• Maya (W, 4-9) 6IP, 6H, 2R, 2ER, 3BB, 6K
• Mock 2IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 3K
• Bernadina 2-3, R, 2B, RBI
• Maldonado 2-4, R, 2B, 2RBI, BB

Make that five straight for the Chiefs as they took another from Buffalo by a 6-2 count. Yunesky Maya finished his AAA campaign with six strong innings, allowing two runs on six hits and three hits while striking out six for a 4-9 mark and a 5.00 ERA. Roger Bernadina led off and went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI to lead the Syracuse offense, one of three Chiefs to connect twice for base hits (Carlos Maldonado, Jesus Valdez. Garrett Mock extended his scoreless appearance streak to six with another two innings while Ryan “Ball Me Bro” Tatusko pitched a 1-2-3 seventh for his second hold.

Harrisburg 10 Portland 0
• Strasburg (W, 1-0) 6IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 4K
• McCoy 2IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 2K
• Pena 1IP, 0H, 0R, BB, K
• King 2-4, R, HR, 4RBI
• Pahuta 2-4, R, HR, 3RBI
• Norris 1-1, 2B, 3R, 3BB

Well, I guess some rehab starts aren’t overrated. Stephen Strasburg let up just one hit and no walks over six innings and got the win as part of a 10-0 shutout that clinched the Division title for Harrisburg. Tim Pahuta (three-run) and Stephen King (grand slam) both connected for home runs to lead the 12-hit attack. Bowie broke a three-game losing streak to return to second place while Richmond fell back to third place with a loss, as the two are separated by a ½ game with four left to play.

Potomac 5 Lynchburg 1
• Demny (W, 10-10) 7IP, 5H, 0R, BB, 6K
• Wort 1⅔ IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 2K
• Walters 3-4, 2R, 2B, SB
• Perez 2-4, RBI, 2SB

Three weeks ago the Keys’ lead over the P-Nats was six games. After a 5-1 Potomac win over Lynchburg and a 3-2 Frederick loss to Kinston, just a ½ game separates the two teams for the Carolina League’s Northern Division lead. Paul Demny threw seven scoreless innings to even up his record at 10-10, giving up only five hits (all of them in the yard for the fifth straight start) and a walk while striking out six. Zach Walters and Eury Perez continue to swing hot bats, going 5-for-8 combined to lead the 12-hit offensive effort.

Lakewood 10 Hagerstown 1
• McKenzie (L, 4-7) 4IP, 8H, 6R, 4ER, 2BB, 2K
• Oduber 2-4
• Keyes 1-3, R, HR, RBI, BB

The Hagerstown spiral continues with an eighth straight loss to Lakewood, 10-1. Kevin Keyes’s solo shot in the 7th, his 16th of the season, broke up the shutout was one of just six hits the Suns could muster against Lakewood pitchers. Chris McKenzie went the first four innings and gave up six runs (four earned) on eight hits and two walks to take the loss. Hagerstown can still finish at .500 with three wins over the next four, but can also sink to sixth place if West Virginia can make up the 1½ games that separate the Suns from the Power.

Auburn 4 Jamestown 2
• Hill 3⅔ IP, 7H, 1R, 1ER, BB, 4K
• Rivera, M (W, 3-0) 2⅔ IP, 0H, 0R, 3BB, K
• J Miller 4-4, 3B, 2RBI
• Skole 3-4, 2R, 2B, BB

The Doubledays got back a little breathing room with a 4-2 win over Jamestown. That’s because Williamsport lost to fall back to two games behind, reducing Auburn’s magic number for the Pinckney Division crown to three. Justin Miller and Matt Skole combined to go 7-for-8 with a double (Skole), a triple (Miller), two runs scored (Skole) and two RBI (Miller). Manny Rivera got the win in relief with two and 2/3rds innings of scoreless relief while Christian Garcia blanked the Jammers over the last two innings for the save, his first of the year.

Sep 012011
 


The Carolina League has announced its postseason All-Star team, which includes three Potomac Nationals players: Sandy Leon, Jeff Kobernus and Destin Hood.

Just 13 players are named to the squad, with the eight defensive positions, a DH, a utility player, left- and right-handed starters and a reliever. The lineup is voted on by league managers, sportswriters, broadcasters and other media members.

Leon has turned up the heat offensively, hitting .278/.350/.411 since the All-Star Break after posting a .219/.275/.290 line prior. The 22-year-old Venezuelan was also recently named the best defensive catcher in a poll by Baseball America.

Kobernus is currently leading the league in steals with 47, quite the surprise after an injury-plagued 2010. Like Leon, Kobernus was cited by Baseball America in its 2011 “Best Tools” survey for High-A.

Hood was originally named as the Potomac’s representative to the 2011 Carolina League All-Star Game (Kobernus was his replacement), but sat with knee problems. Nevertheless, the 21-year-old has still managed to steal 20 bases and is currently third in the league with 82 RBI.

Sep 012011
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitcher
Syracuse Won, 3-1 @ Buffalo,
6:05 p.m.
Yunesky Maya (3-9, 5.09) vs.
Dylan Owen (6-6, 4.18)
Harrisburg Won, 2-1 vs. Portland,
7:00 p.m.
Stephen Strasburg (rehab) vs.
Michael Lee (1-6, 5.12)
Potomac Won, 6-3 @ Lynchburg,
7:05 p.m.
Paul Demny (9-10, 4.54)
vs. Matt Crim (2-7, 5.81)
Hagerstown OFF DAY vs. Lakewood,
7:05 p.m.
Chris McKenzie (4-6, 6.80) vs.
Garett Claypool (4-7, 3.63)
Auburn Lost, 3-2 vs. Jamestown,
7:05 p.m.
Taylor Hill (0-2, 3.25) vs.
Jose Urena (4-7, 4.39)

Syracuse 3 Buffalo 1
• Meyers (W, 6-4) 5⅓ IP, 7H, 1R, 1ER, 0BB, 5K, HR
• Wilkie (S, 15) 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Valdez 2-4, RBI
• Antonelli 0-2, 2RBI, BB, SF

Syracuse took advantage of Buffalo miscues to take their fourth straight game, 3-1. Brad Meyers got his sixth win by scattering seven hits — OK, six; one was a home run — over five and a 1/3rd innings with no walks and five strikeouts. Jesus Valdez was the sole Chief to get multiple hits, driving in the second Syracuse run in the 3rd with an RBI single as part of a 2-for-4 night. Josh Wilkie was the last of five relievers to follow Meyers, pitching a scoreless ninth for his 15th save.

Harrisburg 2 Portland 1
• Arnesen 7IP, 4H, 1R, 0ER, 0BB, 9K
• VanAllen (W, 5-3) 1IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Martin (S, 13) 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• T Moore 2-4, RBI
• Pahuta 2-3, R, HR, RBI

Tyler Moore’s 8th-inning RBI single put the Sens in the playoffs with a 2-1 win over Portland. Moore’s hit gave Cory VanAllen the win for pitching a scoreless 8th. Erik Arnesen got the start and allowed just an unearned run on four hits and no walks over the first seven innings while setting down nine on strikes. Tim Pahuta homered in the 5th to tie the game at 1-1, and went 2-for-3 for the game to lead the offense. Rafael Martin pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for save #13. Harrisburg can clinch the Eastern League West division with a win or a Richmond loss tonight.

Potomac 6 Lynchburg 3
• Olbrychowski (W, 5-7) 7⅓ IP, 2H, 1R, 1ER, BB, 6K, HR
• Selik ⅓ IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
• Walters 2-4, R, 2B, RBI, BB
• Bloxom 2-5, R
• Kobernus 2-5, 2RBI, SB

Likewise, Potomac clinched a playoff berth with a win over Lynchburg by a 6-3 count. Adam Olbrychowski pitched a masterful seven and a 1/3rd innings, allowing just two hits, though one was a home run. He walked one and struck out six. Potomac made him a winner by taking advantage of a Hillcats error in the 8th to pile on for four unearned runs. Jeff Kobernus, Justin Bloxom, and Zach Walters each had two hits as the P-Nats collected 11 total. Combined with another Frederick loss, the P-Nats are just 1½ games behind the Keys, the tragic number frozen at five.

Hagerstown — OFF DAY
The Suns finish out 2011 with a five-game set against the Lakewood BlueClaws. They’ll need to win three to avoid a losing second-half record.

Jamestown 3 Auburn 2
• Karns (ND) 5IP, 2H, 1R, 1ER, 3BB, 4K
• Kreis (H, 1) 2IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 2K
• Skole 2-5, 2-2B, RBI
• Ramsey 2-5, 2R

Auburn may have the best winning percentage of any Nats affiliate, but a 3-2 loss to Jamestown has tightened up the race for a playoff spot. Colin Bates was touched for two runs in the top of the 8th to burn a 2-1 lead, handing starter Nathan Karns a no-decision for his five innings of one-run ball. Matt Skole and Caleb Ramsey both went 2-for-5 to lead the Doubledays offense, which struggled in the clutch with a 2-for-9 mark with RISP and 10 men left on base. The loss slices Auburn’s lead over Williamsport to just one game in the Pinckney Division, which is also the same margin they have over the Brooklyn Cyclones in the wild-card chase.

Aug 312011
 

It’s almost a little fitting that the very first piece that I did for this site was a scouting report on Tom Milone. Why? Well, I hyperlinked it to show the date it was published: Christmas Eve, 2009.

This is not to gloat (well, maybe just a little). Hell, I’m quite well aware that Milone could get knocked around like a guest on the Jerry Springer show, leaving me feeling like Ralphie on a late Christmas morning. So chances are, I’m just gonna tape record his first start and go to the Potomac game on Saturday — it’s what I’m used to, and besides, it’s been too long since I gave you guys a “Last Night In Woodbridge.”

But I can prove that I’m not some Johnny-come-lately when it comes to Milone, so let’s look at what I had to say back then:

Fastball: An average fastball, but added a cutter in midseason, which seems to explain his ERA dropping from 3.89 to 2.91 over his last 10 starts.

Curveball: Good separation in speed from his fastball/cutter, typically in the mid-70s

Change: Arguably his best pitch, especially with his outstanding command

Control: Terrific control, which has been his hallmark since his days at USC — 2.14/9IP in the Carolina League last season

Strengths: Mixes pitches well and can hit his spots seemingly at will and generally keeps the ball down to prevent HRs (just 9 last season)

Weaknesses: Because he’s always around the plate and doesn’t throw hard, he can be quite hittable (144 in 151IP)

Milone is an under-the-radar kind of prospect because his best assets are between his ears. His champions will compare him to Cliff Lee. His detractors will compare him to Adrian Alaniz, a prospect that shot out of the gate in ’08 then hit a wall at the next level. Milone will likely start 2010 at Harrisburg having just turned 23 in February, the youngest SP to begin the year at that level in three years.

Now before folks start chiming in about Strasburg, remember that at the time he was expected to begin 2010 in Potomac, not Harrisburg, like most turning-22 first-round picks have done the past couple of years (e.g. Alex White, Barrett Loux). But overall, I think I got that one right.