Apr 102014
 

wheelscameoffthebus
It came an inning later than the previous night, but the wheels came off the bus with another big inning in the early going as Lynchburg pummeled Potomac, 9-1.

It only took three batters for the Hillcats to score in the 1st as Josh Elander served up a two-run shot to the opposite field to give the visitors an early 2-0 lead. Things would not go much better in the second with a leadoff triple and a grounder to 1st plating the third Lynchburg run.

On a night where P-Nats highlights were few and far between, Brandon Miller broke up the no-hitter and the shutout with a solo homer to right (yes, the wind was blowing that way, but it was only 5 m.p.h.) with one out in the 2nd. Tony Renda collected the second hit for the Woodbridge nine with a liner 3-4 hole into right field in the fourth and took second on a wild pitch.

Alas, Potomac would have just one more baserunner — a one-out walk by Mike McQuillan in the 6th — before McQuillan and Renda would lead off the 9th with their second walk and hit, respectively. Veterans Oscar Tejeda and Kevin Keyes couldn’t cash them in though as they hit into double play and struck out to end the bid for a second run.

Ronald Pena (0-0, 12.27) will take the hill for the P-Nats this morning in front of hundreds of screaming girls. Unfortunately, they’ll be middle schoolers there for the annual Science Day promotion. Lynchburg will be going for the sweep with Mauricio Cabrera (0-0, 2.25) on the bump for the Hillcats.

Aug 122013
 

That Potomac will win both halves of the 2013 season still seems pretty certain. Whether they’ll advance to the Mills Cup Finals is not.

Playing flat on offense and sloppy on defense, the P-Nats lost 5-2 in 10 innings to the Mudcats for their fourth straight defeat.

Sammy Solis got the start, essentially his 10th as his lone relief appearance was a continuation of a suspended game, and set down the side in order in the 1st. It should have been four in a row but newcomer Brandon Miller, who’s been on a tear on offense, looked like the second coming of Chris Marrero in left field on defense as he misplayed a flyball into a leadoff double in the 2nd.

Solis nearly pitched around the mistake but a two-out double to right-center plated the first Carolina run. It happened again in the 3rd: a flyball that a stronger defender would have caught fell in for a double, Solis getting two outs before giving up the RBI hit.

At the plate, Potomac didn’t get a hit until Cole Leonida led off the 3rd with a single to right and didn’t get a runner into scoring position until the 5th, when Carolina’s defense returned the favor with a passed ball and two errors by second baseman Joe Wendle to allow the P-Nats to tie with just one clean hit, coincidentally a single by Brandon Miller.

Solis was pulled after five innings, finishing with two runs on six hits and a walk and four strikeouts. Colin Bates was summoned from the ‘pen, which has been asked to pitch four or more innings in seven straight games, and turned in two scoreless innings. He couldn’t make it three, giving up a single and a double to open the 8th.

Rafael Martin bailed out Bates by striking out the side in the 8th and worked around a one-out single in the 9th.

As you might have already guessed, after the 5th, the Potomac offense threatened just once more — putting runners on 1st and 2nd with a one-out walk by Justin Miller and Leonida’s second single in the 7th only to have Randolph Oduber strike out for third time.

Robert Benincasa took over from the Martin in the 10th and was tagged for three runs on a walk, single, triple, and another single to suffer his third loss and the third straight outing with a run allowed.

The P-Nats would go down in order in the 10th for their sixth loss in seven games — all to the Carolina League South’s top two teams, Carolina and Myrtle Beach, which are separated by just a 1/2 game in the race for the 2nd half title.

Blake Schwartz (9-4, 2.92) will be tasked with breaking Potomac’s losing streak tonight, if not giving the bullpen some badly needed rest. He’ll be opposed by Nick Pasquale (4-6, 4.56) for Carolina.

May 142013
 

About the only thing colder than the weather were the P-Nats bats, held to just six hits in a 7-0 shutout by the Dash.

Coming into the game, Potomac was riding a five-game win streak and attempting its first four-game sweep at the Pfitz since 2007. With a matching of a low-2’s ERA prospect versus a high-6’s ERA journeyman, the odds seemed stacked in Potomac’s favor.

After Robbie Ray struck out the side — all three times looking — in the first, and two more in the second, the odds looked even better. Unfortunately, these were not nine-pitch innings so all those K’s came at a cost.

Indeed, the bill came due in third when Winston-Salem sent seven men to the plate, beginning with a walk and ending with, yes, another strikeout. In between, however, was a double, a strikeout, another walk, and a single. While Ray was able to minimize the damage to just two runs, the inning took its toll as Christian Meza was spotted warming up before Ray registered the third and final out.

With long counts on every man, Ray easily cracked 30 pitches and may have hit the 40-pitches-in-one-inning limit that famously shortened several Ross Detwiler outings in 2008. (Sorry, tracking pitches is the line between fun and work when it comes to keeping score). Thus, he was done after just three innings with two runs allowed on two hits and two walks with nine strikeouts.

Meza was no more effective than Ray, giving up three over the next three on six hits and two walks with three strikeouts. Colin Bates followed with two scoreless innings while Derek Self coughed up a two-out, two-run homer in the 9th to erase any doubt of the eventual outcome.

Of course, as aforementioned the offense was frigid and flat. Except for a leadoff double by Adrian Nieto in the 2nd, there was hardly a hard-hit ball on the night. Billy Burns’s one-out bunt single followed by Michael Taylor’s slap through the 3/4 hole in the 3rd were the only consecutive base knocks, which gave fleeting hopes of tying the game when it was only 2-0.

The chance to answer the Dash was, um, dashed with a 5-C-3 double play off the bat of Cutter Dykstra, who reached based three times with a walk and two singles. It was the first of two double plays turned by Winston Salem, as Dykstra’s leadoff walk was erased in the 6th with a 6-4-3 DP.

Kevin Keyes was the last leadoff man to reach, as the big man drew his sixth walk of the series (and ninth for the year) in the 7th as the next three batters went down in order with a pair of grounders and a popup to end Dash starter Bryan Blough’s winning night with seven strong innings that lowered his ERA from 6.94 to 5.82.

The loss drops Potomac into second place, one game behind Lynchburg in the Carolina League North. Rob Gilliam is scheduled to make his 2013 season debut tonight against Wilmington’s Aaron Brooks (0-3, 4.99) as the last-place Blue Rocks come to Woodbridge for a three-game series.

Mar 102013
 

Davey Johnson got his wish for a fast game, but not the result as Washington dropped a 2-1 decision to Detroit in a brisk two hours and twenty-five minutes this afternoon in Lakeland.

Dan Haren was stretched out to four innings in his third spring start, giving up both Tigers runs on five hits as both LF Tyler Moore and 1B Chris Marrero made defensive misplays that weren’t ruled errors. Haren walked none and struck out two. Four relievers followed, each turning in a scoreless inning, including Yunesky Maya (1H, 1BB, 0K) and Cole Kimball (0H, 0BB, 1K).

Four of “our guys” got the start, which is custom for road games in the Grapefruit League at this point in Spring Training…

…Corey Brown started in RF and finished in CF but struck out twice while going 0-for-4.
…Marrero went 0-for-2 with a groundout and a flyout.
…Matt Skole (1-for-2, RBI) drove in the sole Nats run on a sacrifice fly in the 7th, starting at 3B and replacing Marrero at 1B.
…Anthony Rendon made another start at SS and shifted over to 3B but went hitless at the plate with an 0-for-3 afternoon.

The Nationals were held to four hits total, which all came from the starting lineup. Micah Owings (LF), Sandy Leon (C), Carlos Rivero (LF-RF), and Zach Walters (SS) came off the bench with Rivero and Walters drawing the only two bases-on-balls for Washington.

The loss drops Nationals below .500 at 6-7-2 as they return to Viera for another afternoon game tomorrow against the Braves. Charlie Slowes and Dave Jagler have the call on 1580AM.

Feb 272013
 

via @NationalsPR on Twitter

The Nats mustered just three hits on offense, scoring their lone run on a Carlos Rivero sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 8th in a 5-1 loss to the Marlins this afternoon.

Dan Haren took the loss by virtue of giving up the first Miami run on two hits and no walks. He struck out three. Drew Storen rebounded from his previous outing — a blown save on Sunday — to turn in a scoreless inning, though he hit batter.

As the spring starts to ramp up, more regulars are playing as Zach Walters was the sole minor-leaguer in the starting lineup at shortstop, going 0-for-2 with a strikeout. Rivero made his first infield appearance, taking over at short for Walters.

Other notable minor-leaguers…

  • CF Eury Perez, 0-for-1
  • RF Corey Brown, 0-for-1, SO
  • 1B Chris Marrero, 0-for-1
  • 3B Matt Skole, two BB and R
  • C Carlons Maldonado, BB
  • 2B Will Rhymes, 0-for-1
  • LHP Fernando Abad – 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
  • RHP Tanner Roark – 1⅔IP, 4H, 4R, 2BB, 2K
  • RHP Erik Davis – 1⅔IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 1K, 2-2 IR-S

It’s another night game against the Mets, but you’ll be spared the SNY broadcasters trying to pretend they’re not looking at possible 90-loss team as MASN has the telecast at 6:05 p.m. tomorrow night.

Aug 122012
 

It would be tempting to pin this one entirely on the bullpen, but it would be letting the offense off the hook.

For the second time in three games, Winston-Salem shut out Potomac, this time by a 7-0 count. The P-Nats managed just five hits and drew just one (1) walk to put three (3) baserunners into scoring position. They stranded five baserunners.

Perhaps that’s not so bad, considering that for five and 2/3rds innings, Dash pitcher Erik Johnson had a no-hitter, which was broken up when veteran utilityman Francisco Soriano served up a clean, line-drive single to center.

But after back-to-back singles to open the 7th, Potomac couldn’t do any more damage against the White Sox 2011 2nd round draft pick, who wriggled out of the 1st-and-2nd-no-out jam with a strikeout and a double-play ball.

Alex Meyer suffered his first Carolina League loss, giving up a single run over six innings on four hits and no walks with seven strikeouts. His lone mistake: A leadoff triple by Michael Earley that Meyer couldn’t strand at third, getting the first out to a drawn-in infield but giving up the run on a sacrifice fly to medium right field.

As aforementioned, the firemen came out of the ‘pen with gas instead of water, as Adam Carr gave up back-to-back HRs to open the 7th and five straight hits total before being lifted for Joe Testa, who stranded one of two inherited runners then gave up two of his own on three hits in the 8th. Within the space of roughly 20 minutes, a 1-0 pitcher’s duel was transformed into another rout.

With the loss, Potomac finished 5-15 against the leading contender for the 2012 Mills Cup, which includes 0-10 at BB&T stadium. They are now 2½ games behind first-place Wilmington, which comes to town for three games starting tomorrow night and finishing on Wednesday afternoon.

Aug 112012
 

Sometimes the box score doesn’t tell the full story, but for this one, it did.

The Potomac Nationals were one-hit last night by three Winston-Salem Dash pitchers in a 6-0 shutout. The one hit? A no-doubt-about-it double to the right-center gap by Kevin Keyes to lead off the second inning.

That may be some consolation to Scott Snodgress, who won’t wonder if he could have had a no-hitter, but for the P-Nats the lack of offense against a 23-year-old southpaw with mediocre stuff is something to worry about.

More troubling: Robbie Ray continues to struggle in the second half. Since the All-Star break, the 20-year-old has gone 1-5 with a 6.75 ERA and a 1.77 WHIP. He avoided the usual pattern of getting hit hard early then settling in, in favor of the the more worrisome: success early, then a series of diminishing returns (single runs in the 2nd and 3rd, followed by a four-run 4th) that ended his night after just four innings.

The final line: 4IP, 6R, 4ER, BB, 5K, HR (a moonshot to dead center by the Dash backstop, not-Silent-Bob Kevan Smith).

Ryan Demmin turned in three and 2/3rds scoreless innings of relief with two walks and three strikeouts followed by four outs by Aaron Barrett to lower his ERA with Potomac to 1.04 in five appearances.

Anthony Rendon’s home debut was also a disappointment: a weak grounder to 1st, a popup to shallow RF that was dropped for an error, a lineout to short (albeit a laser), and caught looking on strikes. In the field, he made a couple of decent plays but also bounced one to first for an error, that perhaps a more experienced 1B would have caught.

Despite the loss, Potomac remains in the playoff hunt at 1½ games behind both Wilmington and Frederick and a ½ game behind first-half winner Lynchburg. Matt Grace (6-11, 5.93) and Chris Bassitt (3-2, 3.41) are slated to rematch last Sunday’s contest.

Aug 112012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 6-0 @ Lehigh Valley,
7:05 p.m.
Duke (12-5, 3.81) vs.
Cochran (6-4, 4.58)
Harrisburg Lost, 5-0 vs. Binghamton,
7:00 p.m.
Rosenbaum (7-9, 3.79) vs.
A. Rodriguez (2-2, 3.14)
Potomac Lost, 6-0 vs. Winston-Salem,
6:35 p.m.
Grace (6-11, 5.93) vs.
Bassitt (3-2, 3.41)
Hagerstown Postponed @ Charleston,
3:05 & 7:05 p.m.
Hansen (2-4, 4.91) and
Jordan (0-2, 5.63) vs.
Gerritse (4-5, 3.89) and
Mitchell (7-9, 5.14)
Auburn Lost, 4-2 vs. Mahoning Valley,
7:05 p.m.
Mooneyham (1-1, 2.53)
vs. Lee (4-1, 2.30)
GCL Nationals Won, 2-1;
Won, 5-4
@ GCL Astros,
12:00 p.m.
TBD vs. TBD
DSL Nationals Lost, 3-2 vs. DSL Yankees1,
10:30 a.m.
TBD vs. TBD

Lehigh Valley 6 Syracuse 0
• Roark (L, 6-14) 6IP, 8H, 6R, 3ER, 0BB, K, HR
• Pena 2IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 2K
• Brown 2-4, 2B
• Negrych 1-4

The offensive outage for Friday night started at the top as the Syracuse Chiefs were held to three hits in a 6-0 shutout. Tanner Roark suffered his team-leading 14th loss, giving up all six runs (three earned) on eight hits, including a three-run HR in the 6th. Corey Brown and Jim Negrych were the only two Chiefs to hit safely, as Syracuse left on six runners total and hit into three double plays.

Binghamton 5 Harrisburg 0
• Perry (L, 1-3) 7⅓ IP, 6H, 4R, 4ER, 2BB, 2K
• Barthmaier 1⅔ IP, 2H, 1R, 0ER, 2BB, K, 1-1 IR-S
• Bloxom 1-3, 2B
• Goodwin 1-4

It was Star Wars night at Metro Bank Park, complete with folks dressed up as Jedi. However, they were not the only ones who weren’t going to score on Friday night as the Senators were held to just two hits in a 5-0 shutout. As Geoff Morrow pointed out on Twitter, Binghamton’s Mark Cohoon hadn’t had an outing with no runs allowed since April of 2011, a streak of 42 starts. Cohoon struck out 10 and walked one while going the distance. Justin Bloxom’s texas-league double to shallow CF in the 7th and Brian Goodwin’s line-drive single in the 9th were the two Harrisburg items in the “H” column. The loss was Harrisburg’s fifth straight, dropping the Senators to 6½ games behind Bowie. Jim Mora has the assessment of the odds of a third straight postseason appearance.

Winston-Salem 6 Potomac 0
• Ray (L, 4-9) 4IP, 6H, 6R, 4ER, BB, 5K, HR
• Demmin 3⅔ IP, H, R, ER, BB, K, HR
• Keyes 1-4, 2B

It was pretty much as bad as the box score looks Last Night In Woodbridge.

Hagerstown vs. Charleston — PPD
Rain washed out Game Three of the Suns-Riverdogs series on Friday night. It will be made up with a doubleheader today with first game at 3 p.m. and the second game at 7 p.m.

State College 4 Auburn 2
• Monar 4IP, 6H, 0R, BB, 6K
• Medina (L, 0-3) 3IP, 2H, 3R, 1ER, 0BB, 5K
• Renda 2-3, BB
• Marrero 1-3, R, HR, RBI

The six hits in Auburn matched the six hits tallied by Syracuse, Harrisburg, and Potomac combined. It was not, however, enough to get past State College, which got a game back in the Pinckney Division with a 4-2 win. Unlike the previous night, the Doubledays ‘pen faltered with four runs allowed over five innings. Silvio Medina took the loss, giving up three (one earned) over three innings on two hits. Starter Blake Monar scattered six hits over four innings, with no runs, no walks and six strikeouts. Tony Renda led the offense with a 2-for-3 night, while Chris Marrero homered and played six innings at first base.

GCL Nationals 2 GCL Astros 1 — GAME ONE
• Turnbull 1IP, 2H, 1R, 1ER, 0BB, 0K
• Hudgins (W, 4-3) 6IP, 5H, 0R, BB, 7K
• Piwnica-Worms 1-3
• Lippincott 1-2, BB, RBI, SB

The opener was a pitchers’s duel that saw the G-Nats edge the G-Astros, 2-1. Kylin Turnbull gave up the lone Astro run in his rehab appearance on two hits, but Will Hudgins shut ‘em down the rest of the way with six scoreless innings, allowing just five hits and one walk while striking out seven. Bryan Lippincott drove in the first G-Nat run with an RBI single in the 2nd while a walk, a stolen base, a groundout to second, and wild pitch plated the winning run in the 3rd.

GCL Nationals 5 GCL Astros 4 — GAME TWO
• Selsor 4IP, 4H, 2R, 2ER, 0BB, 4K, HR
• Peters (W, 1-0) 1IP, 0H, 0R, 2BB, K
• Foat 3-5, R, 2RBI
• Difo 2-4, 2R, BB

An error in the bottom of the 9th gave the G-Nats a 5-4 win in extra innings and a sweep of the doubleheader. John Peters got the win in relief with a scoreless 9th. Casey Selsor got the start and gave up two runs on four hits with no walks and four strikeouts. Matt Foat paced the offense with a 3-for-5 game, followed by Wilmer Difo’s 2-for-4 effort.

DSL Yankees1 3 DSL Nationals 2
• De La Cruz 3IP, 4H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Chavez 2IP, 3H, 0R, BB, 3K
• D. Ramos (BS, 1; L, 0-1) 1⅓ IP, 4H, 3R, 3ER, 2BB, 0K
• Marmolejos-Diaz 3-3, 2B, BB, RBI
• Bautista 2-4, R, 2B, BB

The DSL Yankees1 rallied for three runs in the bottom of the ninth to take this one, 3-2. David Ramos got the blown-save-loss with all three runs allowed on four hits and two walks over an inning and a 1/3rd. “Orange” Marmolejos-Diaz reached base four times with two singles, a double, and a walk while driving in a run to pace the 10-hit D-Nats attack.

Jun 272012
 

With three straight three-run innings, Wilmington broke open a 2-1 game and pummeled Potomac for an 11-2 win.

Robbie Ray took the loss, walking a season-high six batters over four and 2/3rds innings and giving up five runs on just four hits. For the second start, Ray struggled early, allowing two first-inning runs and walking the leadoff batter in each of the first three innings. But as the six walks suggests, he struggled to find the strike zone.

It would be tempting to blame this one on a botched double play, with Stephen King failing to scoop out a low throw from Adrian Sanchez that would have ended the 5th with just one run in. But this was King’s seventh career game at 1B and his misplay was hardly the only one as each of the infielders had similar hiccups.

Instead, blame/credit needs to go the offense, which seems to have taken its first-half road show home, scoring just two runs and stranding six runners over the first five before going lifeless over the last four frames — a pair of singles, with the last eight batters retired in order.

The loss drops Potomac to .500 at 3-3 in the second half. The two teams finish their four-game series tonight with Trevor Holder (4-2, 3.67) the scheduled starter for the P-Nats versus the ubiquitous To Be Determined.

May 312012
 

Potomac picked up where it left off on Tuesday night with a run in the 5th and a run in the 7th and held on for a 5-3 win.

Paul Applebee got the win in relief, but continues to struggle with the long ball. It was just a solo shot, but the fifth the lefty has surrendered in just 27⅓ innings. Cameron Selik was shaky in the 9th, giving up a leadoff double and a walk before bearing down to get the next three batters out for his 7th save, the double coming around to score on a passed ball and a groundout to second.

In the second game, the score was 1-0. For baseball purists, that’s supposed to be something special. This was not.

Potomac wasted numerous chances on offense (eight runners left on) and was sloppy on defense (three errors), wasting the efforts of Trevor Holder (an unearned run on five hits and no walks over six innings).

This (the uneven offense, shaky defense) is particularly frustrating because the starters are, um, starting to show signs progress, with quality starts starting to come every other game instead of (seemingly) every other week. Against a younger, less experienced offense, Holder did precisely what a Carolina League veteran was supposed to: shut them down.

Even worse, is that this happened despite the presence of a major-leaguer on rehab. Likewise, Michael Morse did what you’d expect him to have done: collect a couple hits, including a double off the RF wall.

With the split, Potomac falls to 20-29 for the first half and still trails Lynchburg by 7½ in the Carolina League North division. Matt Swynenberg (3-3, 4.94) is set to pitch the series finale, opposed by Kyle Hendricks (1-5, 2.67).