Dec 182011
 

It’s mostly quiet on the minor-league front, but since our last post there have a been a few signings:

  • UT Andres Blanco (Texas)
  • RHP Jeff Fulchino (Houston/San Diego)
  • 2B Manny Mayorson (Toronto)
  • OF Jason Michaels (Houston)
  • 1B/3B Tim Pahuta (re-signed)
  • RHP Luis Chirinos (McAllen, NAL)
  • RHP Marcel Prado (Margarita, VWL)
  • IF-OF Chad Tracy (Japan, ’11; Cubs/Marlins, ’10)
  • OF Xavier Paul (L.A. Dodgers, Pittsburgh)

As you can see, most of these moves fall into either the category of roster-filling or spring-training competition. Unfortunately, I am also awaiting the inevitable BA transaction post in which we’ll learn about some of the releases and retirements.

In other news…

Byron Kerr has tweeted that he expects an announcement regarding the minor-league coaching staffs early next week. I’ve heard nothing definitive elsewhere.

Lastly, there are rumblings from Hagerstown about upgrading Municipal Stadium (or else). Our favorite Hagerstown blogger makes some very good points in his latest post (and open letter) to the county officials.

UPDATE: Baseball America has issued its latest transaction update, and in red are two names that were added. Both pitched in the Venezuela Winter League on the same pitching staff as Ryan Tatusko this offseason. Chirinos pitched in the independent North American League this past summer, while Prado pitched in the Golden Baseball League in 2010.

UPDATE #2: A few more minor-league signings in blue, with the requisite invite to spring training (plus Brett Carroll), which was also extended to Sandy Leon, Cory Brown, and Rafael Martin.

Oct 202011
 

The 2011 season was the first winning season in the five years that Washington has been affiliated with Hagerstown. The 75-64 record was a 10½ game improvement over the 2010 season. But ultimately, the curse of high expectations that surrounds all things Bryce Harper made the 2011 season a disappointment in many fans’ eyes.

It may also surprise you to learn that for all for the rehab stints (Strasburg, Zimmerman, Wang, the immortal Doug Slaten) and the presence of Bryce Harper, attendance still fell by 126 per game over 2010 (2,057 vs. 1,931). Times are hard in Washington County, no doubt, but that’s still a bit of a shock to me. So I’ll leave it to you as to whether we should blame it on the economy, the rain, or the bossa nova.

Considering that, as a team, the Suns were mostly middle of the pack in the 14-team South Atlantic League — 6th in offense, 8th in pitching, 7th in defense — to have been in contention in both halves for most of the way should be considered a success. As we’ve done the past three weeks, let’s take a look at how Hagerstown compared to the rest of the league…
HITTING

PITCHING

The most encouraging thing to take away from the 2011 Suns is that this team was not afraid to take a walk or give up a walk — second in the league on both counts. It was also a team that could run (3rd), but unlike last season, they did it without a single 30-steal player and were successful 73.5% of the time. That’s encouraging if you’re a proponent of having a team that’s capable of playing it both big and small.

The pitching was a mixed bag. The starter that gave up the most hits had the most wins (Matt Grace). There were a couple of relievers with ERAs in the 1′s (Chris Manno, Neil Holland)… and a couple of relievers with ERAs in the 6′s (Shane McCatty, Greg Holt), while the team’s two swingmen (Paul Applebee and Matt Swynenberg) gave up the second- and third-most HRs on the team, yet were among the team’s more effective pitchers. Finally, two pitchers had their season cut short by unspecified injuries (Taylor Jordan and Bobby Hansen), and a third (Chris McKenzie) spent six weeks on the DL midseason and more than two months away from the Suns total.

Now it’s time to drill down to look at the top 12′s for the hitters. The full statistics for the team can be found here. (* = 2010 Draft Pick ** = DSL Graduate)
Bryce Harper’s numbers speak for themselves, with his rate statistics close to 100 points above the league average despite being barely old enough to vote. His removal from the lineup on the 4th of July, however, was largely covered by the emergence of Kevin Keyes, who hit .281/.355/.528 after the Sally League All-Star break. As you can see, the cluster of 2010 draft picks were the heart of this team. What remains to be seen is how they’ll develop. Thankfully, one of my spies in Hagerstown wrote about the Suns batters earlier this month, and I encourage folks to click on over to see what he had to say.

Next up, the pitchers, which I’m expanding to the top 15 to include three notables…
Eleven different pitchers made at least five starts for the Suns, thanks in part to the injuries to Jordan, Hansen and McKenzie and the delayed debuts of Cole and Ray, both of whom were held back until the first full weekend in May. Injury also delayed the start of Sammy Solis’s season until Memorial Day Weekend, which kept his inning count down and is arguably the primary reason why he’s repeating the AFL as a starter.

If Auburn is a barometer for the 2011 draft, then Hagerstown might be the same for 2010 (and to a certain extent, 2009). If the expression is that there three kinds of pitchers — young, old, and hurt — well, that pretty much sums up the draft class thus far.

The ground on the “young” Cole and Ray has been pretty much covered (though again, I point folks to my friend Shawn’s take). Old, of course is a relative term, but Grace and Solis will enter the 2012 campaign as 23-year-olds and the latter was touted as being ready for prime time in ’12. The same is true for ’09ers Swynenberg and Jordan. And of course, the “hurt” applies to Jordan, Solis and McKenzie (Hansen was an ’08 pick). Solis and McKenzie have since recovered from their injuries, but the outcome for Jordan, who appeared to be headed for Potomac a la Danny Rosenbuam in 2010, won’t be known until next spring.

OBLIGATORY TOP FIVE LISTS
We’re into crossover territory and I’m trying to avoid double-listing guys. Thus, a couple of honorable mentions to answer the question “Well, who would make it onto the list if X were rated at the next level instead of this level?”

Hitters
1. Bryce Harper
2. David Freitas
3. Kevin Keyes
4. Michael Taylor
5. Adrian Sanchez
HM: Jason Martinson

Pitchers
1. A.J. Cole
2. Robbie Ray
3. Taylor Jordan
4. Sammy Solis
5. Matt Swynenberg
HM: Matt Grace

Sep 092011
 

[Ed. Note: The fourth guest column from frequent commenter BinM]
A 2011 regular-season wrapup from another voice…

Syracuse Chiefs, 66-74; 4th in Northern Division, International League
The Chiefs and their fans suffered on many levels this year. Between a spotty offense, and an ever-changing pitching staff (31 total pitchers for the year), the team never really mounted a challenge for the playoffs, despite plenty of MLB experience (25 players appearing with prior MLB time over the course of the year). The 10-game drop in the standings from 2010 with what looked like a better team was disapointing, to say the least.
Hitter of the year
Chris Marrero, 1B — With a slash of .300/.375/.449, 114 runs produced and a .281GPA, he squeaks past Steve Lombardozzi, who compiled a .310/.354/.408 slash, with 71 runs produced, 16SB and a .261GPA over 69GP.
Pitcher of the year
Tom Milone, LHSP — More silly numbers from a guy most people overlook: 3.22ERA, 1.03WHIP, 9.1:1K-BB over 148⅓ IP over 24GS. Hands down, the best pitcher on the staff.
Biggest disappointment
Yunesky Maya, RHSP — 5.00ERA, 1.24WHIP, 2.96:1K-BB, and 14HR allowed over 129⅔ IP ove 22GS.

Harrisburg Senators, 80-62; 1st in Western Division, Eastern League

Despite losing two of their top hitters (Lombardozzi and Bill Rhinehart), and their #1SP (Brad Peacock) near midseason, this team managed to stay together & won their division. The additions of the OF’s Bryce Harper (promotion) & Erik Komatsu (trade), and LHSP Danny Rosenbaum (promotion) to the starting staff certainly didn’t hurt the team. Simply by making the playoffs, I have to call this a good year.
Hitter of the year
Tyler Moore, 1B — Despite how well Steve Lombardozzi played earlier this year, I’m giving the nod to Moore for the Senators. His overall compilation of a .270/.314/.532 slash, with 70 XBH, 129 runs produced, and a .274GPA over 137GP was enough to sway me.
Pitcher of the year
Brad Peacock, RSHP — With numbers like a 2.01ERA, 1.29WHIP, 5.2:1K-BB, and a 10-2 W-L prior to his promotion to Syracuse, he gets the nod over Erik Arnesen, and Shairon Martis for the season, who each had good seasons as well.
Biggest disappointment
Oliver Perez, LHSP — From a former MLB pitcher: a 3.09ERA, 1.39WHIP, 1.9:1K-BB, and 10HRA over only 75⅔ IP and 16GP at AA fails to impress on a lot of levels.

Potomac Nationals, 29-40, 1st half; 39-31 2nd half, 68-71 overall;
2nd Half Champ, North Division Carolina League

An up and down year, with ongoing field/venue problems and a poor 1st half record, the team managed a surprisingly steady 2nd half to make the Carolina League playoffs once again. The team suffered some key losses to the pitching staff, with callups for RHRP Pat Lehman and Rosenbaum, and an injury to RHSP Trevor Holder. The callups of LHSP Sammy Solis and RHRP Neil Holland helped cover those losses. A decent year overall, salvaged by another playoff appearance, but slightly off last years’ pace.
Hitter of the year
Destin Hood, OF — Could be considered the core of the team this season, contributing across the board offensively. Posted a .276/.364/.445 slash, 131 runs produced and 21SB with a .278GPA.
Pitcher of the year
Daniel Rosenbaum — Promoted to AA in late July, he managed a 2.59ERA, 1.17WHIP, and a 2.3:1K-BB over 20GP and 132.0IP for the P-Nats.
Biggest disappointment
J.P. Ramirez, LF-DH — This one is hard for me because I wanted him to succeed, but I can’t ignore the numbers: .223/.275/.342 slash, no speed and limited range defensively, all of which appear to be signs that he’s topped out at High-A.

Hagerstown Suns — 75-64, 35-34 2nd half; 4th place, Northern Division, South Atlantic League
With a fading finish in the 1st half, and some indifferent play in the 2nd half, the Suns missed out on both chances at a playoff spot this year. This was a huge disappointment, given the hitting (Harper, Blake Kelso, and David Freitas) and pitching (Cameron Selik, Solis, Taylor Jordan, Holland and Chris Manno) the team received in the 1st half of the season. The 2nd half was more a “grind-it-out and hope for the best” kind of year. All in all, a better record than 2010, but it still must be a bittersweet finish to the Hagerstown faithful.
Hitter of the year
David Freitas, C-DH — He gets my hat-tip over Harper the younger here. With a slash of .288/.409/.450, 127 runs produced, a .297GPA, and the fact that he catches earns him the honors.
Pitcher of the year
Christopher Manno, LHRP — With a 1.04ERA, a 0.81WHIP, a 4.0:1K-BB and 12Sv / 25GF in 34GP prior
to his trade, he beats out LHP Paul Applebee who compiled a nice 3.35ERA, 1.01WHIP, and a 6.5:1K-BB over 96.2IP and 31GP.
Biggest disappointment
The trade of Christoper Manno to the Reds for Jonny Gomes. Seriously.

Auburn Doubledays – 45-30; 1st place, Pinckney Division, NY-Penn.
With a steady season, the Doubledays reach the playoffs in 2011, only to face last years’ Nats affiliate (now the Oakland A’s), the Vermont Lake Monsters in the 1st round. The team received timely hitting from a number of players (Bryce Ortega, Matt Skole, Hendry Jimenez, Caleb Ramsey, Russell Moldenhauer, Justin Miller; even ‘Bowden’s folly’), and pitching to match (Wirkin “For The Weekend” Estevez, Taylor Hill, Brian Dupra, Nathan Karns, Richie Mirowski, Tyler Hanks, Manny Rivera and Ben Grisz). A good year, with a 9½ game improvement over the 2010 record.
Hitter of the year
Bryce Ortega, SS-3B — With a .314/.410/.392 slash and a .283 GPA over 56GP at SS, he beats out Matt Skole (.290/.382/.438 slash and a .281GPA at 3B) by the slightest of margins.
Pitcher of the year
Benjamin Grisz, RHRP — I’m going against the grain with this one, but regardless of his alleged off-field behavior, this kid was a solid reliever for the Doubledays coming out of college, posting a 1.35ERA, an 0.85WHIP and 4SV / 8GF in just 11GP.
Biggest disappointment
Benjamin Grisz (see above). If the allegations are true — that he made no further appearances after July 27, despite being named to the NYPL All-Star Team is telling — the lack of personal restraint could ruin a budding career.

Gulf Coast Nationals – 20-33, 4th place Eastern Division
An overall lack of offense couldn’t support spotty pitching, and the G-Nats post their worst record in three years as a result. The team’s most interesting hitters were all out of the DSL — OFs Wander Ramos, Narciso Mesa, Estarlin Martinez; IFs Jean-Carlos Valdez and Wilmer Difo. The pitching carried a few possibles as well, with LHSPs Jack McGeary (recovering from TJ surgery) and Gregory Baez showing promise, and RHRP Scott Williams and LHRP Bobby Lucas out of the bullpen. Not a lot in terms of the record, but some players to keep an eye on going forward.
Hitter of the year
Wander Ramos, RF-LF — A 21-y.o. corner OF up from the DSL, he compiled a .313/.401/.653 slash, with a .344GPA this year.
Pitcher of the year
Gregory Baez — Only 19-y.o., Baez moved up from the DSL to compile a 3.72ERA, a 1.59WHIP and a 1.28K-BB over 48⅓ IP.
Biggest disappointment
Hector Taveras, C — Released without a single 2011 appearance, another career possibly wasted by a lack of restraint.

Dominican League Nationals – 33-36, 5th place, BCS division
Another up-and-down season with little consistency and some questionable starting choices led to a bad overall record. There are some youngsters on this team whose numbers look promising, with Adderling Ruiz (20-y.o. C), Yermin Mercedes (18-y.o. C-DH), Diomedes Eusebio (18-y.o. 3B) all showing promise at the plate, and Ivan Pineyro (19-y.o. RHSP), Gilberto Mendez (18yo RHSP), and Joel Barrientos (18-y.o. LHRP) from the pitching staff. With a regression of 3½ games from 2010, not the best overall result.
Hitter of the year
Adderling Ruiz — Still a little sketchy defensively (5E), he produced at the plate with a .343/.417/.476 slash, and a
.307 GPA.
Pitcher of the year
Ivan Pineyro — Overall solid numbers for a SP (65.7IP, 1.64ERA, 1.08WHIP, 3.14K-BB).
Biggest disappointment
Brian Escolastico, LHRP — Great last name but horrid results, with a 17.72ERA, 3.84WHIP, and a 0.78:1K-BB over 11GP.

Sep 062011
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitcher
Syracuse Lost, 4-1
(5½ inn.)
END OF SEASON N/A
Harrisburg Won, 5-2 END OF SEASON N/A
Potomac Won, 8-4 END OF SEASON N/A
Hagerstown Won, 9-1 END OF SEASON N/A
Auburn N/A Game 1, NYPL
Divisional Round
@ Vermont, 7:05 p.m.
Nathan Karns (3-2, 3.44) vs.
Drew Granier (1-1, 1.91)

Lehigh Valley 4 Syracuse 1 — 5½ inn.
• Meyers (L, 6-5) 4⅔ IP, 9H, 3R, 2ER, BB, K
• Mock ⅔ IP, 2H, 1R, 1ER, 3BB, 0K
• Curran 1-3, RBI
• Brown 1-2, R, 2B
• Nicol 1-2

Syracuse finished the season on a down note with a rain-shortened 4-1 loss to Lehigh Valley. Brad Meyers took the loss with three runs given up over four and 2/3rds innings on nine hits and a walk. The Chiefs were held to just five hits, with Chris Curran’s RBI single scoring Corey Brown for the lone Syracuse run. Garrett Mock continued his reversion to the mean with three walks given up over 2/3rds of an inning. Syracuse finished the season in 4th place with a 66-74 mark, 14 games behind Pawtucket in the I.L. North.

Harrisburg 5 Akron 2
• O Perez 4IP, 3H, 0R, BB, 3K
• C Martinez (W, 3-4) 3IP, 5H, 1R, 1ER, 0BB, 1K
• Norris 3-4, 2R, HR (20), RBI
• Pahuta 2-3, R, 2B, RBI

The Sens got off the schneid with a 5-2 win over Akron, stopping a three-game losing streak. Derek Norris started the scoring with a solo shot in the bottom of the 1st, his 20th of the year while Chris McConnell’s RBI double and Erik Komatsu’s two-run single in the 2nd extended the lead to 4-0. Oliver Perez got the start and went four scoreless innings on 49 pitches before giving way to Carlos Martinez, who earned the win with one run given up over three innings. Harrisburg finished the season at 80-62, best in the Eastern League and will host Richmond in the first round of the playoffs, which begin tomorrow.

Potomac 8 Kinston 4
• Olbrychowski 5⅔ IP, 10H, 4R, 4ER, 0BB, 3K
• Holder 1⅓ IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 3K
• Peacock 2-4, R, 2B, 3RBI
• Kobernus 2-3, 2R, SB

Brian Peacock’s two-out, two-run double started a six-run scoring binge in the eighth that secured a 2nd-half title on a Monday Afternoon In Woodbridge

Hagerstown 9 Lakewood 1
• Swynenberg 2⅓ IP, 3H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
• Applebee (S, 2) 4IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Cuevas 2-4, R, 2RBI
• Kelso 2-4, 2R, 3B, RBI

A five-run 4th combined with a solid “bullpen outing” sent Hagerstown on its way to a 9-1 win over Lakewood. Matt Swynenberg, Sam Brown, and Paul Applebee divvied up the pitching duties, with Brown getting the win and Applebee getting a four-inning save. Kevin Keyes was the sole Sun to go hitless, but did his part with a sac fly while Blake Kelso, Justino Cuevas and Brett Newsom each went 2-for-4 as part of the 11-hit attack. The win gave the Suns a tie for fourth place with Lakewood at 35-34 in the second half and 75 wins overall, the best season total since the Nats affiliation began in 2007.

Auburn Doubledays
The New York-Penn League Playoffs begin today with the Auburn Doubledays visiting the Vermont Lake Monsters in Game One of the best-of-three divisional series. Nathan Karns faces off against Drew Garnier in what will be just the fourth meeting between the two teams this year, but the first in Burlington. Click here to read the official MiLB.com preview on the NYPL playoffs.

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
 
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 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
 
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
 
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
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitcher
Syracuse OFF DAY @ Buffalo,
7:00 p.m.
Brad Meyers (5-4, 3.57)
vs. Mark Cohoon (4-9, 6.37)
Harrisburg Lost, 4-1 vs. Portland,
7:00 p.m.
Erik Arnesen (8-4, 2.57) vs.
Brock Huntzinger (5-11, 6.46)
Potomac Won, 5-4 (10 inn.) @ Lynchburg,
7:05 p.m.
Paul Demny (9-10, 4.54) vs.
David Hale (3-6, 4.30)
Hagerstown Lost, 6-5
(11 inn.)
OFF DAY N/A
Auburn Won, 11-2 vs. Jamestown,
7:00 p.m.
Nathan Karns (3-2, 3.69) vs.
Josh Hodges (8-1, 3.48)

Syracuse — OFF DAY
Multiple sources are now reporting that Tom Milone will be called up on Saturday to replace Jordan Zimmermann in the Washington rotation, with Brad Peacock another likely candidate to get the nod before the end of the AAA season. Meanwhile, the Chiefs finish out 2011 needing two wins and/or two Bison losses to secure a fourth-place finish in the I.L. North.

Portland 4 Harrisburg 1
• O Perez (L, 3-5) 3⅔ IP, 4H, 3R, 3ER, 4BB, 4K, HR
• Lehman 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Rahl 1-3, SB
• Gilbert 1-4, R, HR, RBI

Knuckleballer Charlie Haeger held the Sens to just two hits in a 4-1 loss to Portland. Oliver Perez gave up a three-run shot in the first and was knocked from the box with two outs in the 4th, allowing four hits and four walks total. Harrisburg couldn’t take advantage three first-inning walks and was no-hit until the 5th, when Chris Rahl beat out an infield single. Archie Gilbert’s solo HR in the 7th broke up the shutout bid. Both Bowie and Richmond failed to capitalize on the Harrisburg loss, each losing to drop the Sens magic number to clinch a playoff spot to two.

Potomac 5 Lynchburg 4 (10 inn.)
• Bronson (ND) 5⅓ IP, 7H, 3R, 2ER, BB, 3K
• Testa (W, 6-2) 1IP, 1H, 0R, BB, K
• Nelo (S, 18) 1IP, 0H, BB, 0K
• Perez 3-4, R, 3SB
• Walters 2-5, RBI, SB

Zach Walters’ two-out RBI single in the top of the 10th gave the P-Nats a 5-4 win in extras over the Lynchburg Hillcats. The win puts Potomac one win away from clinching a playoff berth, and combined with a Keys loss, an outside shot at winning the second-half division crown with 2½ games to make up in six days. Evan Bronson got the start and went five and a 1/3rd innings, giving up three runs on seven hits and a walk but got the no-decision when Marcos Frias let in the tying run in the last of the 7th. Joe Testa got the win with a scoreless 9th and Hector Nelo got the save with a scoreless 10th. Eury Perez led the offense with three singles and three stolen bases.

Asheville 6 Hagerstown 5 (11 inn.)
• Swynenberg 5⅔ IP, 7H, 4R, 4ER, 0BB, 6K, 2HR
• Holt 2⅓ IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 2K
• Oduber 2-4, R, HR, 3RBI, BB, SB
• Freitas 2-5, 2R, 2B, HR, RBI

Home runs by Randolph Oduber and David Freitas weren’t enough to prevent the five-game sweep and season elimination as the Suns were beaten in extras by a 6-5 score. Matt Swynenberg also surrendered two home runs in his five and 2/3rds innings to account for the first four Tourist runs, while Sam Brown took the loss with two walks, a stolen base, and a one-out single. Oduber and Freitas went 4-for-9 combined with three runs scored, four RBI, a double (Freitas), and a walk and a stolen base (Oduber).

Auburn 11 Jamestown 2
• Estevez (W, 6-3) 5IP, 4H, 2R, 2ER, 2BB, 2K
• K Lopez 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Miller 3-4, 2R, HR, 2RBI, BB
• Moldenhauer 2-3, RBI
• Pena 2-5, R, 2RBI

The Doubledays got back on track with a big win on Tuesday, spreading the Jammers, 11-2. Wirkin “For The Weekend” Estevez won his team-leading sixth game with both Jamestown runs allowed on four hits and two walks. Four relievers combined to shut down the Jammers the rest of the way. Justin Miller led the 13-hit attack with a 3-for-4 night, including a two-run homer in the 4th, in which Auburn scored seven times to break open a 3-2 lead. The win keeps pace with second-place Williamsport to maintain a two-game lead and cuts the magic number to clinch the Pinckney division to five.