Nov 162010
 

A five-run sixth inning powered the Scottsdale Scorpions past the Peoria Saguaros, as the Nats’ AFL entry improved to 19-10 with a 9-4 win. Two pitchers and two hitters saw action…

  • Steve Lombardozzi led off as the DH and went 3-for-5 with two doubles and a run scored.
  • Michael Burgess batted eighth and played RF, tripling and homering in four at-bats, scoring a run, driving in a run, striking out twice, and throwing out a runner at third.
  • Sammy Solis appeared in relief and allowed one hit and no walks over three innings to go with two strikeouts. AOL Fanhouse’s Frank Piliere tweeted him as “consistently at 93-94 and attacking hitters” but also cautioned that “he has to be fine with his stuff”
  • Brad Peacock pitched the ninth, allowing a hit but struck out a batter

The Scottsdale Scorpions clinched a spot in the playoff game, but await their opponent as the defending AFL champs (mandatory sportswriter cliché, sorry) — the Peoria Javelinas — lost yesterday but remain three games up with three to go. As luck would have it, Scottsdale and Peoria are also scheduled in the final game on Friday. And yes, Bryce Harper is eligible to play in the championship game on Saturday, which is due to be televised on MLB Network at 2:30 p.m.

Nov 152010
 

Here’s a look at how the Nats fared over the weekend in the AFL…

FRIDAY
A five-run fourth carried the Scottsdale Scorpions to their third straight win by a 6-4 count

  • Michael Burgess, batting seventh and playing RF, went 0-for-1 with a walk and a strikeout
  • Adam Carr earned the save with a 1-2-3 ninth, striking out the final batter

SATURDAY
The Surprise Rafters edged the Scorpions 4-3

  • Steve Lombardozzi led off and played 2B and went 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored. He was also caught stealing
  • Bryce Harper batted fifth and played RF, walking once, scoring a run, and was caught stealing. He also committed an error (fielding)./li>

Statistics through 28 games…

BATTERS

PLAYER G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO AVG OBP SLG SB
Lombardozzi 18 69 15 19 6 2 0 4 10 5 .275 .386 .420 2
Burgess 16 58 7 14 3 2 1 11 4 18 .241 .286 .414 1
Norris 14 47 9 13 5 1 4 19 11 17 .277 .417 .649 2
Harper 8 31 6 10 2 2 1 6 4 10 .323 .400 .613 1

PITCHERS

PLAYER W L SV ERA G IP H R ER BB SO WHIP HLD GF
Solis 1 0 0 4.35 5 20⅔ 21 13 10 7 10 1.355 0 0
Carr 1 0 1 2.25 9 12 5 3 3 3 7 0.667 0 4
Peacock 0 0 0 4.91 8 11 9 6 6 3 16 1.091 2 0
Kimball 0 0 1 0.82 10 11 8 1 1 2 14 0.909 0 10
Nov 122010
 

The Scottsdale Scorpions took their second straight with a 5-1 decision over the Phoenix Desert Dogs. Highlights from the Nats included…

  • Steve Lombardozzi led off, played 2B, and went 1-for-4 with an RBI and a stolen base
  • Michael Burgess tripled and drove in two for is 1-for-4, playing RF and batting seventh
  • Cole Kimball closed out the game with a scoreless inning, allowing a hit, a walk, but striking out one

The win combined with a loss by the Mesa Solar Sox extends the Scottsdale lead to four games with six to play. They host the Peoria Saguaros tonight, then visit the Surprise Rafters tomorrow. Check back on Monday to see how they did, plus our weekly review of the AFL stats. Plus, the last of the affiliate season reviews is on tap for Tuesday.

Nov 112010
 

While folks checking in to see the parent club’s new uniforms may have been disappointed, the news from Arizona was about as good as it gets. Scottsdale won 11-1 and all three Nats that played had a good day:

  • Sammy Solis went five innings, allowing one run on two hits (one was a home run) and one walk and striking out two and got credit for the win.
  • Derek Norris was the DH and batted cleanup, going 3-for-6 with a double, home run, two runs scored, and three RBI. He struck out once.
  • Bryce Harper played RF and batted seventh, tripling twice in five at-bats, scoring two runs, and driving in two runs. He struck out twice.

The win extended the Scorpions’ lead over the Mesa Solar Sox to three games with seven games left to play, a championship tilt against the Peoria Javelinas looming for next Saturday.

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Just a quick note: It’s now known where Gary Cathcart will be reassigned: For the first half of the season, he’ll be a roving instructor (along with Bobby Henley), focusing on the GCL and Hagerstown. In the second half, he’ll be managing the Auburn Doubledays. Click here for the full story from MASN’s Byron Kerr.

Nov 102010
 

A better game for the Nats, but the Scottsdale Scorpions fell 7-4 to Phoenix Desert Dogs to snap their four-game win streak. Highlights included:

  • Michael Burgess smacked a two-run HR (his 1st in the AFL), doubled, and scored two runs while going 2-for-4 and playing RF
  • Steve Lombardozzi went 0-for-1 off the bench and played 2B
  • Adam Carr tossed two scoreless innings, allowing no hits and just one walk
  • Cole Kimball gave up a hit but struck out two while keeping the Desert Dogs off the scoreboard in the bottom of the 8th

The Mesa Solar Sox also lost, thus the Scottsdale lead remains at two games with eight to play. Sammy Solis (0-0, 5.17)  is slated to take the hill this afternoon against former National farmhand Daryl Thompson as the Scorpions visit the Peoria Saguaros this afternoon. Bryce Harper is also expected to play.

Nov 092010
 

The Scottsdale Scorpions won their fourth straight by a count of 8-3. Here’s how the Nats fared in the game:

  • Steve Lombardozzi led off and played shortstop, going 2-for-4 with a walk and a run scored but committed his third error. He was also hit by a pitch.
  • Derek Norris caught and batted seventh. He had an RBI double in his five at-bats, but struck out three times. Nobody attempted to steal against him.
  • Brad Peacock was tagged for a three-run home run in the seventh, giving up two hits and a walk while striking out two.

The win, combined with a Mesa loss, puts Scottsdale three games up with nine to play. Sammy Solis is expected to start on Wednesday of this week.

###

In case folks haven’t heard, Brian Daubach has been hired as the new manager for the Hagerstown Suns while Matt LeCroy is reportedly taking the helm for Potomac in 2011. There is no word on the fate of Gary Cathcart. Officially, the Nats have not made any announcements for any of the affiliates coaching staffs for next year.

As stated in the comments, I had heard that Cathcart wasn’t returning to Potomac but with his assignment to the Florida Instructional League, I inferred that he is likely to remain and be reassigned within the organization. This is also the time of the year when coaches change jobs anyway, so it could also very well mean that Cathcart could be in the running for another managing job elsewhere.

It’s as good a time as any to also remind folks that what we see on the field is arguably the least important facet of a manager’s job. There are lots of funny saws about the art of managing (my favorites invariably come from Casey Stengel), but the common thread is about keeping young men prepared, engaged and motivated. I don’t think there’s any correlation between past playing success to those “people” skills.

Nov 082010
 

It’s a light update for the Nats in the AFL. Just one played in Friday’s game, obligatory SEO insert Bryce Harper, who went 1-for-4 with a walk and two strikeouts and was caught stealing. John Sickels, who was presumably in Arizona to catch the AFL Rising Stars game (Burgess made the lone Nat appearance, going 0-for-2 with a strikeout), had this to say about what he saw:

I got to see Bryce Harper play last night for the first time. It is hard to believe he just turned 18. I would rate his raw power at an 80 on the traditional scale. He’s got outstanding bat speed, and while he can be fooled at this point, he did make an effort to work the count and showed the ability to make adjustments in the same at-bat. It was just one game but I saw enough to completely buy into the hype.

I’m sure more folks will weigh in next week, but as the snarky strikethrough suggests, it’s pretty clear that the comparisons to A-Rod and Griffey may in fact be justified… so the baseball world is watching with baited breath, which leads to an awful lot of one-handed typing. I’m excited, too, but the hype is something I hate — especially with a fanbase that’s both impatient and imbued with an enormous sense of entitlement. Hey, what’s this soapbox doing here?

As we’ve done the past few Mondays, here’s a look at the AFL stats through Friday (22 games):

BATTERS

PLAYER G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO AVG OBP SLG SB
Lombardozzi 14 57 13 15 6 2 0 3 8 5 .263 .368 .439 1
Burgess 13 49 5 11 2 1 0 7 3 16 .224 .264 .306 1
Norris 12 36 7 9 3 1 3 15 11 13 .250 .429 .639 2
Harper 6 23 3 8 2 0 1 4 3 8 .348 .423 .565 0

PITCHERS

PLAYER W L SV ERA G IP H R ER BB SO WHIP HLD GF
Solis 0 0 0 5.17 4 15⅔ 19 12 9 6 8 1.596 0 0
Peacock 0 0 0 2.70 7 10 7 3 3 2 14 0.900 2 0
Kimball 0 0 1 1.00 8 9 6 1 1 1 11 0.889 0 8
Carr 1 0 0 3.00 7 9 5 3 3 2 6 .889 0 3
Nov 052010
 

The Scottsdale Scorpions won their second straight by a 9-5 count to remain in first place, two games ahead of the Mesa Solar Sox. Sources say that if they win today, it’ll be what’s known as winning streak.

Here’s how the Nats did:

  • Derek Norris caught, batted fifth, and went 1-for-4 with an RBI (his 15th in 12 games) but struck out three times and allowed another passed ball.
  • Michael Burgess played RF, batted seventh, and also went 1-for-4 but struck out just once and threw out a runner at 3B.
  • Adam Carr pitched a scoreless seventh and struck out one, dropping his ERA to 3.00
  • Cole Kimball struck out the side in the ninth

Bryce Harper will be eligible to play in Friday night’s game as the Scorpions visit the Phoenix Desert Dogs. Tomorrow night is the AFL Rising Stars Game, pitting the players from the Eastern Division against the Western Division. It will be televised on MLB Network and streamed on MLB.com.

Nov 042010
 

A busier-than-usual day for the Nationals in the AFL, as five of the eight saw action in a 9-3 Scottsdale win over Surprise.

  • Steve Lombardozzi returned to 2B and the #2 spot in the order and had a 2-for-5 afternoon with a triple and two runs scored.
    He also helped turn two double plays.
  • Bryce Harper batted sixth and played RF, walking twice (his first two BBs), and scoring two runs in a 1-for-2.
    He also collided with the opposing team’s catcher in scoring one of the runs.
  • Sammy Solis allowed two runs on five hits and one walk over four innings. He also gave up a home run and stuck out one.
  • Brad Peacock allowed a run on one hit (triple) while striking out one in his lone inning of work
  • Cole Kimball pitched a scoreless ninth, allowing a hit and striking out one , lowering his ERA to 1.13

Adam Foster from Project Prospect was tweeting from yesterday’s game, and besides the Harper takeout play, which he described as “Nobody f’s with Bryce Harper,” he had the following tweets that are of interest:

…[Bryce Harper has a p]lus arm, good instincts, good speed, aggressive. Should be at least MLB average in RF.

…Brad Peacock’s FB last inning: 96, 94, 95, 95, 95, 95, 96, 95.

…If you like SP who command a low-90s FB with movement along with a changeup, you may like Sammy Solis. He has touched 94 today, too.

…Solis has a promising changeup, but his success with it will hinge on his ability to command it.

The only thing I can add is that Peacock’s velocity as a starter was 93-95. It’s not that hard to imagine that if he were being groomed as a setup man, he could could touch 97 or 98 after an offseason of rest and conditioning.

Nov 032010
 

The Scottsdale Scorpions lost again, falling to the Peoria Javelinas by a 7-4 count. Here’s a look at how the Nats fared:

  • Steve Lombardozzi led off and played SS. He went 3-for-4 with a triple, but was caught stealing for the second time.
  • Derek Norris batted sixth and drew two walks but went o-for-2 otherwise.
  • Michael Burgess batted eighth and extended his hitless streak to 15AB with another 0-for-4 game.
    He did, however, throw out a runner at the plate.
  • Adam Carr pitched a scoreless ninth and struck out one.

Sammy Solis, to clarify, is scheduled to start today as will (presumably) Bryce Harper. Yesterday, the AFL announced rosters for the 5th Annual Rising Stars Game and Burgess and Cole Kimball were named to the Eastern Division squad.

[Editorial]The selection of Burgess is mystifying as is the exclusion of Norris. At first glance, it would appear that catcher Tony Sanchez would have bumped Norris (the old “every team must have a representative” canard), until you notice that Pirate OF Andrew Lambo, who also plays RF, is batting .304/.351/.522. As noted yesterday in the comments, it would almost appear as if the managers got together, determined whose turn it was to play, and cobbled the rosters accordingly [/Editorial]