Sep 132010
 

Winston-Salem’s Stephen Sauer pitched masterfully for eight innings to lead the Dash to a 4-0 victory over the Potomac Nationals in Game One of the Mills Cup Finals.

Sauer was perfect through five innings, keeping the ball down and in the infield with four strikeouts, a lineout, a popup, and nine grounders. The 24-year-old would eventually give up five hits and no walks before turning the ball over to closer Tyson Corley for a 1-2-3 ninth and a combined shutout.

Danny Rosenbaum got his second Game One series start and almost immediately got into trouble with the first of two errors by Robby Jacobsen and a walk before rolling a double-play ball and striking out Winston-Salem’s cleanup hitter Seth Loman. After a scoreless second, and two-hit third, Winston-Salem got on the board first with an Ozzie Lewis solo HR to take a 1-0 in the fourth.

Rosenbaum would last for 4⅓ innings before leaving with runners on 1st and 3rd in the fifth, an unusually quick hook by manager Gary Cathcart who called upon A.J. Morris to clean up the mess, which he did with by returning a tapper back to the mound to Derek Norris and inducing a liner to short.

The sixth inning was not as kind to Morris as shaky defense combined with timely hitting loaded the bases and the Dash grinded (grounded?) out two runs in the process to take a 3-0 lead. Joe Testa took the hill in the seventh and gave up the fourth and final Dash run with a leadoff double by Kenny Williams Jr. and an RBI single by Loman.

Jose Lozada collected the first Potomac hit with a leadoff single in the sixth and took second on a Nick Moresi swinging bunt and third on Chris Curran single to right. Sean Nicol, however, grounded out to end the threat. Tyler Moore became the second runner stranded after he narrowly missed an opposite-field home run in the seventh. And in the eighth, back-to-back singles by pinch-hitter Sean Rooney and Curran went for naught as pinch-hitting Francisco Soriano couldn’t get the clutch hit.

Trevor Holder will be asked to split the series as the Game Two starter against Winston-Salem’s Dylan Axlerod takes the hill with hopes of giving the P-Nats the poison pill and a trip to Woodbridge with 2-0 lead.

Aug 252010
 

Some folks will say that Wilmington’s Will Smith dominated the P-Nats last night, but the more careful observer will tell you: This is what happens when you swing at pitcher’s pitches.

For eight innings, Potomac flailed at the Blue Rock southpaw, consistently putting themselves behind 0-2 and 1-2. For 5⅔ innings, Smith retired every batter he had faced before Nick Moresi singled up the middle to break up the perfect game.

The lanky centerfielder would be the lone exception as batter after batter refused to wait him out — even Derek Norris — as Smith racked up 12 strikeouts over eight innings against no walks.

Meanwhile, Trevor Holder’s troubles keeping the ball in the yard continued, as he surrendered two home runs to Wilmington, accounting for three of the four Wilmington runs. Holder has allowed five home runs in 45 innings for Potomac, but four have come in his last three starts.

But with such abysmal offense, it’s a nitpick. Potomac would get two runs in the bottom of the ninth against the Blue Rock bullpen as a walk, a Moresi double, and a Norris two-out double would cut the Wilmington lead in half before Tyler Moore would become the 13th and final strikeout on the night fly out to center to end the game.

The loss drops Potomac into second place, a ½ game behind Wilmington, and into a tie in the loss column. The latter matters because Wilmington will play just 68 games in the 2nd half, making it possible for the Blue Rocks to make the playoffs as a percentage-points winner.

Jimmy Barthmaier looks to stop the three-game slide for Potomac against Wilmington’s Timothy Melville, who is 0-1 with a 4.21 ERA in two starts against Potomac this season.

Aug 202010
 

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

SYRACUSE 62-57, 3rd place IL North, 7½ games back

Good Leonard Davis .282/.331/.518 since All-Star Break
Bad Atahualpa Severino 0-2, 6.14ERA since All-Star Break
Interesting Brian Bixler .372/.400/.465 since acquisition on 8/9

HARRISBURG 64-59, T3rd place, 7 games back, EL (1 game behind wild-card)

Good Tom Milone 10-5, 2.87ERA, 12QS in 24G
Bad Adam Fox .156/.240/.265 in 54G
Interesting Steve Lombardozzi .345/.406/.414 since promotion (8G)

POTOMAC
29-22 in 2nd Half, 1st place by 1½ games in CrL North

Good Patrick McCoy 1-0, 3SV, 0.56ERA, 23K in last 10 appearances (16IP)
Bad Nick Moresi .172BA, 12K in last 10G
Interesting Signing Jamar Walton (.200/.239/.293) to replace Mike Burgess

HAGERSTOWN
22-31 in 2nd Half, last place in SAL North, 9½ games back

Good Eury Perez .412BA, 6SB in August
Bad Paul Demny 0-4, 5.82ERA in August
Interesting Josh Smoker .143 OBA, 3.00ERA as reliever

VERMONT
30-27, 1st Place Stedler Division of NY-Penn League, 1½ games ahead

Good Wade Moore .455BA in August
Bad Matt Swynenburg 13R, 19H allowed in last three starts (13⅔ IP)
Interesting Mark Herrera 30K in 23#8532; IP in 12G

GCL NATIONALS
19-28, 5th place GCL East Division, 12 games back, Eliminated

Good Christopher Manno 0.95WHIP, 1.42ERA, 21K in 12⅔ IP
Bad Rashad Hatcher .222/.263/.222 in 24G
Interesting 25th Rd. Pick Christian Meza 1.83ERA, .174OBA, 20K in 19⅔ IP

DSL NATIONALS
34-34, 5th place B.C. South Division, 10 games back, Eliminated

Good Edgar Gonzalez 39BB in 58G, .406 OBP
Bad Carlos David Alvarez 53G, 214PA
Interesting Adalberto Mieses 33BB, 5HR, 57H in 63⅓ IP = 2.98ERA?
Jul 232010
 

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

SYRACUSE 54-45, 2nd place IL North, 3 games back

Good Justin Maxwell .342/.432/.605 in July
Bad Jason Jones 20H, 14R, 7HR in last three starts (yes, we can fickle)
Interesting Boomer Whiting .264BA as a LHB (began switching hitting this year)

HARRISBURG 49-50, 4th place, 9 games behind

Good Jesus Valdez .315BA, 18RBI in July
Bad 13E each for starting 1B, 2B, and SS
Interesting Chuck James as a reliever: 3-0, 0.00ERA in 15G

POTOMAC
14-11 2nd Half; 45-50 Overall

Good Tyler Moore 18-for-30, 8-2B, 6HR, 19RBI in last 8G
Bad Nick Moresi .186BA in July
Interesting Justin Phillabaum, four runs allowed over last eight appearances
(vs. 11 runs allowed in first eight appearances)

HAGERSTOWN
10-17 2nd Half; 46-51 Overall

Good Eury Perez .328BA, 13SB in July
Bad Dean Weaver 0-2, five blown saves since return from DL on Jun. 16
Interesting Ben Graham 8K, 5H, 0BB in first four appearances (6⅔ IP) since promotion

VERMONT
22-11, 1st Place Stedler Division of NY-Penn League

Good David Freitas .443BA during 18-game hit streak
Bad Taylor Jordan 0-1, 7.94ERA in July
Interesting Neil Holland 0.66ERA, 1.02WHIP, 14K in 9 appearances (13⅔ IP)

GCL NATIONALS
11-15, 4th place GCL East Division, 7 games back

Good Adrian Sanchez .375/.390/.600 in 19G
Bad Estarlin Martinez .150/.209/.275 in 14G
Interesting Billy Ott 1-0, SV, 0.60ERA, 0.87WHIP in 5G

DSL NATIONALS
23-19, 5th place B.C. South Division, 4 games back

Good 18-y.o. Wirkin Estevez 5-3, 2.44ERA, 61K in 51⅔ IP
Bad Jorge De La Cruz, 9.28ERA, 2.25WHIP, 6HB in 7G
Interesting Nelalexfred Ortega 15/16 in stolen-base attempts