This has not been a good fall for Pat Lehman. The 25-year-old was charged with his third loss and first blown save in an 8-4 loss by the Scottsdale Scorpions.
Lehman was greeted with a single and an RBI double in the sixth before he got his first out, a grounder to short. A stolen base and another singled plated the second run of the inning and turned the Scorpions’ 3-2 lead into a 4-3 deficit. Lehman finished with two runs allowed on three hits with no walks and no strikeouts.
Sammy Solis put in his longest outing this October with five innings pitched. He walked just one while giving up two runs on four hits, throwing 44 of his 63 pitches for strikes — an encouraging sign after a 37-for-67 outing last Tuesday.
Derek Norris continues to swing a hot bat, doubling and homering while drawing a walk. He also drove in a run via a sacrifice fly. His 2-for-2 afternoon moves his batting average to .333 for the fall, his three times on base has lifted his OBP to .429, and the six total bases moves his slugging percentage to .576.
Finally, Zach Walters was the designated hitter but went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.
Zach Walters’ two-run shot in the top of the 8th broke a 4-4 tie as the Scottsdale Scorpions scored five times over the final two innings for a 9-4 win over the Phoenix Desert Dogs.
Walters had been 0-for-4 for the afternoon and finished 1-for-5 with a run scored and two RBI. Defensively, he played third base and had a putout, an assist, but made his second error.
Derek Norris went 1-for-3 and walked twice and had 11 putouts (all Ks) while playing catcher. Phoenix did not attempt to steal a base.
With the win, Scottsdale’s record stands at 5-11. This week it’s home-and-home games against Peoria, Mesa and Salt River with night games on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday.
Friday was not a good day for the Nats pitchers in the AFL, as they gave up 12 runs in a 13-8 loss by Scottsdale to Surprise.
Matt Purke made his first AFL start but, as the pic suggests, was knocked around and retired just one of the eight batters he faced. The final damages: a third of inning pitched, seven runs, one walk, no strikeouts, and five hits given up, including a two-run homer.
Pat Lehman took the loss, his second of the AFL campaign, with five runs charged to him in one and a third innings. He pitched a scoreless sixth, but gave up all five hits in a stretch of six batters in the seventh, suffering one error behind him but also committing a balk.
Rafael Martin let in two of those runs charged to Lehman on a two-out double but pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning for a line of one and two-thirds innings pitched, one hit, no runs, one walk, and one strikeout.
Just one Nats bat was in the lineup, and yes, it was Bryce Harper. He wowed the scouts by pushing a bunt to second baseman and getting down the line in 3.83 seconds, according to Keith Law (times on bunts are always lower than a full swing, but consider that 4.1 seconds is considered “above average”). It was his sole hit in a 1-for-4 afternoon, in which he also walked and scored a run. Harper played left field and made three putouts.
Another light afternoon for the Nats farmhands in Arizona Fall League as the Scottsdale Scorpions fell for the 10th time by a 4-1 count.
Bryce Harper returned to the lineup and went 1-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout while playing left field, where he made two putouts. After 10 games, Harper is working a .211/.302/.395 line.
Zach Walters was the designated hitter but went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, lowering his triple-slash stats to .200/.250/.267.
Scottsdale finishes out the week with afternoon tilts against Surprise today and Phoenix tomorrow.
Yesterday was Derek Norris’s day to silence the
haters doubters. The 22-year-old catcher went 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBI and even stole a base.
Meanwhile, the Scottsdale Scorpions lost 6-5 on two runs given up in the 9th to stop their one-game win streak and fall to 4-9 for the season. Zach Walters also appeared in the game and went 1-for-2 with two walks while playing third base (one assist).
Norris also threw out two runners, which prompted lightning-rod Keith Law of ESPN to remark/answer:
Q: How has Norris’ receiving looked? Can he catch in the majors?
A: Fine. Yes.
Law also remarked that the HR came on a 96mph fastball that Norris lined over the left-field fence in the 8th inning. The three hits raised Norris’s oft-criticized batting average to .286, his on-base percentage to .364 while the six total bases improved his slugging percentage to .429.
Scottsdale’s skid ends at five with an 11-10 win in 10 innings that featured a breakout performance by Bryce Harper.
Playing left field, Harper was a triple shy of the cycle while going 3-for-4 with a single, double, homer, two walks, two runs scored, and three RBI. Defensively, Harper had no putouts and made a throwing error, his second of the AFL season.
Derek Norris started off slow, striking out twice and flying out to center before drawing two walks and singling in the game-tying run in the top of the ninth. He was the Scorpions’ designated hitter.
Sammy Solis continues to struggle, allowing four runs on five hits (including a home run) and four walks while striking out four over three innings. After three starts, opponents are batting .325 against him and he’s walked eight in 10 innings.
Lastly, in a non-AFL note, the Nationals returned Rule 5 pick Elvin Ramirez to the Mets after spending the season on the D.L. after shoulder surgery.
It’s starting to feel like the GCL in the AFL, as the Scottsdale Scorpions were stung for their fifth straight loss by a 7-4 count.
Just one National farmhand saw game action, as Bryce Harper doubled to lead off the 4th inning in the course of going 1-for-4. He was later thrown out at the plate trying to score on a two-out single.
Harper made two putouts while playing right field. Some folks have contacted me regarding Harper’s defense and let me quote the following replies I got from Dave Gershman via Twitter. Gershman writes for MarlinsDaily and covers the New York-Penn League:
Harper made a few lackluster plays, including one where he rushed a throw and missed the plate…needs to take better routes but the bat is way more important than the glove.
My personal takeaway from this is that this is Harper’s first full year in the outfield and he’s still learning to translate his raw tools into skills. I’d like to see him get more time in center next season, even if it’s merely to serve the purpose of giving him a day where he doesn’t have to worry about angles so much. My only fear is that he’ll take out a teammate trying to make a play that he should defer to the more experienced outfielder.
As was brought up in the comments from yesterday’s post, the early numbers from the Arizona Fall League aren’t pretty. But they’re not quite 9-of-22 with 4 INT, either. So we lift the coffee mug of small sample size and take a look…
# # #
The Domninican Winter League started up on Friday and a handful of Nats players have been spotted in the box scores:
- Eury Perez – Escogido
- Wilman Rodriguez – Escogido
- Jhonatan Solano – Licey
- Atahualpa Severino – Licey
A couple of other notes…
…Chris Marrero is supposedly on the Licey Tigres as well, but is not listed on the roster and/or has not appeared in a game.
…Wilman Rodriguez played outfield for the D-Nats this past summer, but has appeared as a pitcher thus far. Considering that this was in a game that was 1-1 at the time, and that he is no longer a teenager, the deduction is that a conversion to the mound may be in the process.
Make that five straight losses for Scottsdale, as Pat Lehman surrendered a two-run homer in the bottom of the 8th that snapped a 6-6 tie. Derek Norris hit a sacrifice fly in the top of the 9th but the Scorpions rally fell short for the eventual 8-7 score.
Running down the individual performances…
- Norris went 1-for-4 with a double and two RBI, but also grounded into two double plays
- Zach Walters went 1-for-5 with with double but struck out three times and committed an error
- Matt Purke threw two innings and gave up an earned run on a hit and walk and had one strikeout
- Lehman pitched the final two innings and gave up two runs (one earned) on two hits and a walk while striking out two
Bryce Harper did not play. Today is his 19th birthday.
Tomorrow we’ll take a look at the AFL stats to date. The Scorpions host Phoenix on Monday, visit the Desert Dogs on Tuesday, host the Solar Sox on Wednesday, then finish out the week with visits to Mesa, Surprise, and Phoenix on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday respectively. It’s afternoon games on every day this week but Tuesday.
The Scottsdale spiral continues with a fourth straight loss, this time by a 14-5 count. Three Nats saw game action…
- Bryce Harper drove in two with a 7th-inning triple and went 1-for-4 overall while playing left field
- Zach Walters went 0-for-4 while playing third base, where he made two putouts and had an assist
- Rafael Martin was touched for a home run and a double over his 1⅓ innings of work, but walked none and struck out two
The Scorpions and Javelinas rematch this afternoon to finish out the second week of AFL play.