May 152012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 6-4 @ Columbus,
6:35 p.m.
Maya (2-4, 2.98) vs.
Kluber (3-2, 2.58)
Harrisburg OFF DAY @ Richmond,
6:35 p.m.
Demny (2-2, 5.58) vs.
Westcott (3-2, 4.15)
Potomac Postponed vs. Frederick,
6:05 p.m.
Demmin (0-0, 3.77) and
Ray (0-1, 16.50) vs.
Simon (0-6, 5.50) and
Moore (0-4, 7.62)
Hagerstown Won, 5-3 @ Hickory,
6:00 p.m.
Turnbull (0-2, 5.24) vs.
Perez (2-1, 4.66)

Syracuse 6 Rochester 4
• Wang (W, 2-0) 8IP, 11H, 4R, 4ER, BB, K, 0HR
• VanAllen (SV, 1) 1IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 0K; 2-2 IR-S, BK Pickoff at 1B
• Brown 2-4, 2R, 2B, HR, RBI
• Paul 3-4, R, 2B, RBI
• Bynum 1-3, R, HR, RBI

After pleading his case to finish the game, Chien-Ming Wang proved the coaches right for wanting to end his day after eight innings, as the Chiefs survived a 9th-inning scare. They won their 6th straight and completed the four-game sweep of the Rochester Redwings with a 6-4 win. Corey Brown homered to start a three-run 6th that broke a 1-1 tie. Seth Bynum followed suit a solo shot to start the 7th as Syracuse extended the lead from 4-2 to 6-2. Cory VanAllen let in both runs he inherited from Wang (albeit at 2nd and 3rd) on a sac fly and a single but erased the runner at 1st with a nifty balk pickoff move and got the last out on a flyball for his first save.

HARRISBURG — OFF DAY
After taking three of four from 1st-place Akron, Harrisburg finishes its seven-game roadtrip with three games today, tomorrow, and Wednesday against the Richmond Flying Squirrels. Thus far, the Sens have fared much better on the road than at home — 14-6 vs. 6-10.

POTOMAC — PPD
Seems like old times as the Potomac Nationals and Frederick Keys were rained out for the second time in less than a month. It’s doubleheader tonight… weather permitting. A reporter from the Houston Chronicle caught up with Anthony Rendon, who told him "I’m probably not going to come back this year." Naturally, the Nationals’ official response was to deny that conclusion.

Hagerstown 5 Hickory 3
• Estevez (ND) 5IP, 4H, 3R, 2ER, BB, 2K
• Meza (W, 3-1) 2⅓ IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Miller 2-4, R, HR, 2RBI
• Burns 2-5, R, 2B, RBI (26-game on-base streak)
• Nieto 2-4, R, RBI

After a 67-minute rain delay in the 6th, Hagerstown broke a 3-3 deadlock in the 8th with RBI singles from J.P. Ramirez (12-game hit streak) and Justin Miller for a 5-3 win over Hickory. Christian Meza got the win in relief, taking the hill after the rain delay with two and a 1/3rd innings of scoreless relief. Aaron Barrett got the last four outs (two by way of the K) to earn the save, his third. Starter Wirkin “For The Weekend” Estevez allowed all three Crawdad runs (two earned), given up on four hits and a walk over the first five innings.

May 142012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 4-2 vs. Rochester,
12:00 p.m.
Wang (1-0, 2.57) vs.
Vries (0-3, 3.90)
Harrisburg Won, 8-4 OFF DAY N/A
Potomac Lost, 3-2 vs. Frederick,
7:05 p.m.
Ray (0-1, 16.50) vs.
TBD
Hagerstown Canceled @ Hickory,
6:00 p.m.
Estevez (4-1, 6.69) vs.
Perez (2-1, 4.66)

Syracuse 4 Rochester 2
• Duke (W, 4-1) 7IP, 6H, 2R, ER, 0BB, 3K
• Wilkie (SV, 2) 2IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Brown 1-3, R, 2B, BB, RBI
• Teahen 1-3, BB, RBI
• Negrych 1-4, R, HR, RBI

A costly two-run error in the bottom of the 7th was the difference as the Chiefs clipped the Redwings for their 5th straight win. Zach Duke scattered six hits over seven inning to record his 4th “W” of the year. Josh Wilkie pitched the final two frames to earn his second save. Corey Brown, Mark Teahen and Jim Negrych combined for three of the five Syracuse hits and all three Chiefs RBIs.

Harrisburg 8 Akron 4
• Ballard 3IP, 6H, 4R, 4ER, 2BB, 3K, HR
• Davis (W, 4-1) 3IP, 3H, 0R, 0BB, 4K
• McCoy (SV, 1) 3IP, 1H, 0R, 2BB, 3K
• Rahl 3-4, 2R, BB, 2RBI
• Ivany 2-4, R, 2-2B, 2RBI
• Hood 2-5, 2R, 2RBI

Harrisburg doubled up Akron 8-4 for their third straight win and took the four-game series, 3-1. Chris Rahl led the Sens’ 12-hit attack with a 3-for-4 afternoon, scoring twice, walking once, and driving in two. He also swiped three bases. Devin Ivany stepped in for Sandy Leon behind the plate and had two RBI doubles. Mike Ballard gave up all four Aeros runs in the 3rd inning, leaving after three innings after allowing six hits and two walks. Erik Davis and Pat McCoy each threw three scoreless innings to earn the win and save, respectively. No corresponding move for Leon has been made yet. With two catchers already on the roster and an off day today, there is no immediate need.

Carolina 3 Potomac 2
• Applebee (L, 1-1) 4+ IP, 5H, 3R, 3ER, 0BB, 0K, 0HR
• Holder 3IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, K; 1-0 IR-S
• Keyes 1-4, R, 2B
• Oduber 1-2, R
• Kelso 0-2, BB, RBI

The pitching was there for Potomac in the series finale, but the bats remained quiet as Carolina completed the three-game sweep with a 3-2 win. Kevin Keyes doubled and Randolph Oduber singled to account for the two (2) P-Nats hits, with Mudcat errors contributing to both P-Nats runs. Paul Applebee took the loss on this spot start, giving up all three Carolina runs on five hits over 4+ innings. Trevor Holder turned in another stellar relief outing, stringing his scoreless streak to nine innings over his last three appearances with one hit allowed over three frames. Potomac returns home for a seven-game homestand, beginning with four against the Frederick Keys starting tonight, weather permitting.

HAGERSTOWN — CNCLD
Sunday showers canceled the series finale between Lexington and Hagerstown. The Suns head to Hickory, NC for a three-game series against the Crawdads and a chance to take sole possession of second place in the Sally League North.

May 132012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 11-0 vs. Rochester,
2:00 p.m.
Duke (3-1, 3.86) vs.
Hendriks (1-0, 1.59)
Harrisburg Won, 6-5 @ Akron,
1:05 p.m.
Ballard (1-2, 2.67) vs.
House (1-0, 2.25)
Potomac Lost, 9-1 @ Carolina,
2:00 p.m.
Applebee (1-1, 4.40) vs.
TBD
Hagerstown Won, 7-5 @ Lexington,
1:35 p.m.
Estevez (4-1, 6.69) vs.
Foltynewicz (4-1, 1.60)

Syracuse 11 Rochester 0
• Roark (W, 2-5) 6IP, 4H, 0R, BB, 6K
• Pena 2IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Hoffpauir 3-5, R, 3RBI
• Brown 2-3, 4R, 2B, HR, 2BB, 3RBI
• Howell 2-4, 2R, RBI

Tanner Roark bounced back from two horrid starts to combine with two relievers on an 11-0 shutout, the fourth straight win for Syracuse and fifth in a row vs. Rochester. Roark went six and gave up just four hits and a walk while setting down a half dozen on strikes. Corey Brown led the offense with four runs scored, three driven in, and six total bases.

Harrisburg 6 Akron 5
• Gilliam 4+ IP, 7H, 4R, 4ER, 2BB, K, 0HR
• Pucetas (W, 2-1) 4IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, K; 3-1 IR-S
• Valdez 3-5, R, 2B, RBI
• Lozada 3-4, RBI
• Rahl OF assist at HP

A pair of two-run rallies in the 3rd and 4th innings erased an early Akron lead as the Senators edged the Aeros, 6-5. Starter Rob Gilliam put on nine baserunners in four-plus innings and left with the bases loaded in the fifth. Kevin Pucetas let in one with a single to the first batter he faced, with Chris Rahl gunning down the tying run, and then retired 9 of the next 10 batters he faced, getting the “W” with four scoreless innings of relief. Six different Senators collected an RBI with the team going 5-for-14 with RISP.

Carolina 9 Potomac 1
• Grace (L, 2-4) 4⅔ IP, 6H, 4R, 4ER, 2BB, 2K
• Bloxom 2-4, R, HR, RBI

Another nine runs given up Last Night In Zebulon.

Hagerstown 7 Lexington 5
• Hill (ND) 5IP, 7H, 5R, 5ER, 2BB, K, HR
• McKenzie (W, 1-1) 3IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 3K
• Lucas (SV, 1) 1IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 3K
• Miller 1-3, 2R, HR, RBI
• Skole 2-5, R, HR, RBI, SB

Like the Sens, strong bullpen work and team hitting were the keys to a 7-5 Suns win over the Legends. Chris McKenzie retired all nine batters he faced to get the win, while Bobby Lucas struck out the side in the 9th to get the save. Six different Suns drove in a run while five collected multiple hits. Justin Miller homered in the 8th to break the 5-5 tie while Matt Skole homered in the 9th to give Hagerstown the insurance run.

May 122012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 8-2 vs. Rochester,
2:00 p.m.
Roark (1-5, 5.70) vs.
Thompson (0-0, -.–)
Harrisburg Won, 8-1 @ Akron,
6:05 p.m.
Gilliam (1-3, 4.28) vs.
Espino (0-0, 0.00)
Potomac Lost, 9-2 @ Carolina,
6:15 p.m.
Grace (2-3, 5.84) vs.
TBD
Hagerstown Lost, 4-3 @ Lexington,
7:05 p.m.
Hill (3-2, 2.88) vs.
Ordosgoitti (0-1, 14.73)

Syracuse 8 Rochester 2
• Lannan (W, 3-3) 8IP, 8H, 2R, 2ER, 2BB, 4K, 0HR
• Arnesen 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Paul 3-5, 2R, 3B, HR, 4RBI
• Teahen 2-4, R, 2B, RBI

A pair of three-run rallies and eight strong innings from John Lannan cinched an 8-2 Syracuse win over Rochester. Lannan scattered eight hits over eight innings and walked just two while evening his record at 3-3. Xavier Paul was responsible for four of the eight runs, including a three-run blast in the bottom of the first, leading the 13-hit attack with a 3-for-5 night.

Harrisburg 8 Akron 1
• Rosenbaum (W, 5-0) 6IP, 4H, 0R, BB, 6K
• Nelo 2IP, H, 0R, BB, 2K
• Pahuta 3-4, 2R, 2B, RBI, BB
• Leon 3-5, 2R, 2B, 3RBI
• Rahl 2-5, 2R, 2B, RBI

Though he labored at the finish with a 32-pitch 6th, Danny Rosenbaum continues to steamroll the Eastern League, tossing six scoreless innings in an 8-1 Harrisburg win over Akron. The Ohio native now sports a 5-0 record, a 0.76 ERA, and a 2.39 FIP. Tim Pahuta, Sandy Leon, and Chris Rahl combined for 8 of the 13 Sens hits and scored six of the eight runs.

Carolina 9 Potomac 2
• Winters (L, 1-5) 4⅔ IP, 10H, 9R, 9ER, BB, 4K, HR
• Demmin 2⅓ IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 3K
• Kelso 2-5, 2R
• Hague 2-4, BB, RBI

The fireworks started early Last Night In Zebulon.

Lexington 4 Hagerstown 3
• Meyer (ND) 6IP, 8H, 3R, 3ER, 2BB, 5K
• Hawkins 1⅔ IP, 0H, 0R, 2BB, 3K
• Newsome 2-3, 2B
• Ramirez 1-4, R, HR, 2RBI
• Martinson 1-4, R, HR, RBI

After rallying from a 3-0 deficit and being no-hit for five innings, the Hagerstown Suns fell 4-3 in the bottom of the 9th. Delino DeShields Jr. singled, took second on a passed ball, stole third and scampered home for the gamewinner on a sac fly for the gamewinner. Alex Meyer started and gave up three runs on eight hits and two walks while striking out five.

May 112012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 5-1 vs. Rochester,
7:00 p.m.
Lannan (2-3, 6.10) vs.
Manship (2-0, 2.45)
Harrisburg Lost, 7-0 @ Akron,
7:05 p.m.
Rosenbaum (4-0, 0.81) vs.
Wright (3-1, 1.13)
Potomac Won, 5-2 @ Carolina,
7:15 p.m.
Winters (1-4, 5.51) vs.
Goodnight (1-2, 5.06)
Hagerstown Lost, 6-3 @ Lexington,
7:05 p.m.
Meyer (2-3, 4.28) vs.
Tropeano (2-2, 1.87)

Syracuse 5 Durham 1
• Maya (W, 2-4) 7IP, 7H, 1R, 0ER, BB, 4K
• Lehman 1IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 2K
• Paul 1-3, R, HR, 3RBI
• Negrych 1-3, R, HR, RBI
• Maldonado 1-3, R, HR, RBI

Durham outhit Syracuse 8-6, but three of those six went over the fence as the Chiefs beat the Bulls, 5-1 and took the series 3-1. Yunesky Maya turned in seven strong innings, giving up an unearned run on seven hits and a walk to win his 2nd game of the season. Xavier Paul, Jim Negrych, and Carlos Maldonado each went deep, with Paul’s shot driving in three. Pat Lehman and Josh Wilkie both turned in a scoreless inning to close out the game. The eight-game homestand continues tonight as Rochester comes to town for the next four games.

Akron 7 Harrisburg 0
• Mandel (L, 3-2) 3IP, 6H, 6R, 5ER, BB, 0K, HR
• Davis 2IP, 2H, 0R, BB, 4K
• Kobernus 2-4
• Hood 2-4, E(1)

Jeff Mandel got manhandled for four runs in the bottom of the first and it was more than Akron would need as the Aeros flew past the Senators, 7-0. Akron opened their half of the 1st with four straight singles, with a stolen base and an error in between, before Mandel would settle down to get three of the next four batters out. The Aeros, however, would post a picket fence with single runs in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th to put the game out of reach. Jeff Kobernus and Destin Hood both went 2-for-4 as Harrisburg was held to just seven hits, shut out for the second time this week and the third time in the last 10 games.

Potomac 5 Salem 2
• Swynenberg (W, 3-1) 5IP, 7H, 2R, 2ER, 3BB, 2K
• Wort (H, 2) 2IP, H, 0R, BB, 5K
• Cameron Selik (S, 4) 2IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 3K
• Keyes 2-3, 2R, 2B, HR, 4RBI
• Walters 2-4, R

Perhaps all Potomac needed was a good night’s rest and a chance to take some BP, as emerging staff ace Matt Swynenberg, the back of the ‘pen, and Kevin Keyes led the P-Nats to 5-2 win in the series finale. Swynenberg faltered late, but turned in a two-runs-in-five-innings start for his team-leading 3rd W. Rob Wort and Cameron Selik combined for four shutout innings of relief with just a hit and walk and eight strikeouts between them. Kevin Keyes doubled, homered, scored twice, and drove in four runs to power the Potomac offense. Prior to the game, RHP Adam Olbrychowski was placed on the 7-Day DL with LHP Joe Testa assigned from Harrisburg taking his spot on the roster.

Lexington 6 Hagerstown 3
• Karns 4IP, 4H, 2R, 2ER, BB, 8K, HBP
• Lucas 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Ramsey 1-2, 2RBI, BB
• Newsome 1-3, R, 2B, BB

A four-run seventh was the undoing of the Suns as the Legends doubled them up, 6-3. Nathan Karns went four innings in his first start, allowing two runs on four hits and a walk and striking out eight. Christian Meza took the loss after giving up two hits in the seventh and leaving with one out and a 3-2 lead. Greg Holt walked the next two batters to lose the lead then gave up a two-run single and a sac fly for the eventual margin of victory. The Suns were held to just seven hits, going 3-for-12 with RISP and stranding eight baserunners. RHP Alex Kreis was placed on the 7-Day DL, retroactive to May 8, making room for OF Chris Curran, who was assigned from Potomac.

May 102012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 15-8 vs. Durham,
7:00 p.m.
Roark (1-5, 5.70) vs.
Torra (2-3, 5.45)
Harrisburg Lost, 8-2 @ Akron,
7:05 p.m.
Mandel (3-1, 2.97) vs.
McFarland (5-1, 2.62)
Potomac Lost, 10-0;
Lost, 6-2
@ Salem,
7:00 p.m.
Swynenberg (2-1, 3.77) vs.
Pressly (2-0, 7.06)
Hagerstown OFF DAY @ Lexington,
7:05 p.m.
Karns (0-0, 1.35) vs.
Dufek (0-0, 5.14)

Syracuse 15 Durham 8
• Wang (W, 1-0) 7IP, 8H, 2R, 2ER, BB, K
• Severino (SV, 3) 1⅓ IP, H, 0R, 2BB, 2K, 2-2 IR-S, WP
• Teahen 3-5, R, 2B, BB, 5RBI, SB
• Hoffpauir 3-3, 2R, 2BB, 3RBI
• Brown 2-3, 3R, 2B, 3BB,

It was a battle of attrition in the late innings, turning what should have been a three-hour cruise into Gilligan’s Island in a 15-8 win for Syracuse. Chien-Ming Wang turned in seven decent innings, scattering eight hits and giving up two runs while the Chiefs offense broke out and built a 10-2 lead. The Bulls gored the Chiefs ‘pen for six runs in the top of the 8th, with Austin Bibens-Dirkx facing four batters and giving up the minimum of four runs possible with three singles and grand slam allowed. The Chiefs steered things around in the bottom of the inning with a five-run rally, highlighted by Mark Teahen’s two-run double and lowlighted by a pair of ejections after a Seth Bynum strikeout (Bynum, manager Tony Beasley). Atahualpa Severino, who had gotten the final out in the 8th, retired the side in the 9th to end the game after three hours, 38 minutes.

Richmond 8 Harrisburg 2
• Demny 5⅓ IP, 5H, 5R, 5ER, 3BB, 7K, HR
• Frias 2IP, 1H, 1R, 0ER, BB, 0K
• Nicol 2-3
• Kobernus 2-4, 2R
• Valdez 2-4, 2B

A pair of three-run rallies vaulted Richmond over Harrisburg for an 8-2 win and a two-game sweep of the rain-shortened series. The Senators collected nine hits, with three players getting two hits apiece, but went a dreadful 1-for-9 with RISP and stranded eight baserunners. Paul Demny took the loss, charged with five runs on five hits and three walks, with reliever Pat McCoy letting the last two runs before giving up two of his own over one and 2/3rds innings. The Senators hit the road for seven games, beginning with a four-game set against the Akron Aeros tonight.

Salem 10 Potomac 0 (comp. of susp. gm.)
• Olbrychowski (L, 1-4) ⅔ 5H, 6R, 6ER, 3BB, K, 2HR
• Applebee 2⅓ IP, 3H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Taylor 1-2, 2B, 2BB, OF assist at 3B
• Sanchez 1-2

Down 6-0 after 3½ innings, Salem had its way with relievers Shane McCatty and Wilson Eusebiom scoring a pair of runs off both to run the score to 10-0. Potomac was held to just three hits, with David Freitas and Adrian Sanchez both singling and Michael Taylor collecting his league-leading 13th double.

Salem 6 Potomac 2 (5 inn, rain)
• Ray (L, 0-1) 1⅔ IP, 7H, 6R, 6ER, 3BB, K, 2HR
• Holder 2⅓ IP, 3H, 0R, BB, 4K
• Hague 1-1, R, 2BB, SB, RBI
• Bloxom 1-3, 2B, RBI

Robbie Ray lasted just 15 batters before the Salem Red Sox chased him from the game, sending him to the showers after six runs and seven hits, including a solo HR and a grand slam. Trevor Holder turned in another fine relief outing, but the offense was limited to just two hits: a single by Rick Hague, a double by Justin Bloxom. Rain halted play after five full innings, saving the bullpen further work after having pitched 9⅔ innings in less than 24 hours.

HAGERSTOWN SUNS — OFF DAY
After a 5-2 homestand, the Suns hit the road for seven games, beginning with a four-game set with the Lexington Legends. Prior to yesterday’s game, Kylin Turnbull was assigned from “Auburn,” taking the roster spot of Steve Souza, who had been placed on the 7-Day DL, retroactive to May 6.

May 092012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 4-2;
Lost, 2-1
vs. Durham,
7:00 p.m.
Wang (rehab) vs.
Cobb (1-3, 3.38)
Harrisburg Postponed vs. Richmond,
10:35 a.m.
Demny (2-1, 4.97) vs.
Westcott (2-2, 4.78)
Potomac Losing, 6-0
(susp., mid-4th)
@ Salem,
11:00 a.m.
Ray (0-1, 10.38) vs.
Workman (2-0, 2.76)
Hagerstown Lost, 8-1
(6½ inn.)
OFF DAY n/a

Syracuse 4 Durham 2 — GAME ONE
• Duke (W, 3-1) 7IP, 3H, 2R, 2ER, BB, 5K
• Paul 1-3, R, HR, RBI
• Maldonado 1-3, 2B
• Negrych 0-1, BB, RBI, SH, SF

Zach Duke went the distance in the opener of the doubleheader, giving up two earned on three hits and a walk while striking out five. The Chiefs gave him a three-run lead in the bottom of the 2nd, highlighted by Xavier Paul’s solo HR. A walk, single, sacrifice and another single plated the two Bulls run in the 3rd. A walk, bunt single, error and a sac fly gave Syracuse the final run in the last of the 5th.

Durham 2 Syracuse 1 — GAME TWO
• Atkins (L, 2-3) 5IP, 4H, 2R, 2ER, 2BB, 4K
• Pena 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Paul 1-2, R
• Carroll 1-3

The Chiefs dropped the nightcap as the offense managed just four hits and two walks. Syracuse got on the board first with a pair of one-out singles from Xavier Paul and Mark Teahen and an RBI groundout by Carlos Rivero. Mitch Atkins needed more than the one run to win, as Durham broke through against him with a pair of runs in the 5th. The Chiefs would get a runner to second in the 6th and draw a two-out walk in the 7th, but couldn’t push either across.

HARRISBURG — PPD
Rain postponed the The Harrisburg Senators game Tuesday night against the Richmond Flying Squirrels. It will be made up as part of a doubleheader on Friday, July 13th.

Salem 6 Potomac 0 — SUSP (mid-4th)
Salem opened with back-to-back HRs — one over the wall, one inside the park — as the Red Sox chased Adam Olbrychowski after 2/3rds of an inning and 10 batters faced. The rain came and stopped play after 3½ innings. They’ll try to finish this one this morning at 11 a.m., then play a seven-inning game aftewards, weather permitting.

Augusta 8 Hagerstown 1
• Turnbull (l, 0-2) 3IP, 2H, 2R, 2ER, 3BB, K
• Dupra 2⅓ IP, 6H, 6R, 6ER, 3BB, K
• Leonida 1-2, R
• Dykstra 1-3, RBI

Rain shortened this one officially, but a four-run sixth put this one away for all intents and purposes as Augusta won 8-1 to split the four-game series. Kylin Turnbull took the loss, giving up two runs early, while Brian Dupra got knocked around for six runs on six hits and three walks in the decisive 5th and 6th innings. Cutter Dykstra’s RBI single in the 5th plated Cole Leonida to break up the GreenJacket shutout.

May 082012
 

With the break afforded this week after a 10-game homestand, it’s time to take a step back and take a look at what I’m seeing from this year’s edition of the Potomac Nationals.

Like last year, there are some players that are starting to heat up along with the weather, but also seem to be benefiting from the extended time at home. This is worth noting because while some parks are hitter’s parks, the Pfitz is basically neutral: not a hitter’s park (like Winston-Salem), not a pitcher’s park (like Wilmington). In other words, what you see is what you get.

Without further ado, here’s what I’m seeing so far:

FIRST BASE
Justin Bloxom – A dreadful first month, both offensively and defensively, but one of the aforementioned players that’s been playing better on this last homestand (.286/.316/.400). The experiment with third base is over, but the return to first hasn’t been as smooth as you’d otherwise expect. Not sure if knees are bothering him, but mobility on defense seems diminished from last season.

SECOND BASE
Adrian Sanchez – Just came off the DL, but picked up right where he left off and has a seven-game hit streak with 13 hits and four doubles over that stretch. Is no longer switch-hitting, as apparently the powers that be would rather see his short, quick stroke from just the right side. Defensively, he’s a step down from the last two to come through (Lombardozzi, Kobernus), which is probably what you should expect.

SHORTSTOP
Zach Walters – Has played here the most, but it’s been a spot that’s been in rotation with injuries and recent activations, Walters included. His proclivity for errors that marred his AFL stint last fall hasn’t subsided, but still possesses a cannon throwing arm. Hit .289/.317/.342 in Woodrbridge after a 1-for-18 start on the road.

Rick Hague – Recently activated and has picked up where he left off last April. He and Walters have been splitting time at SS, in part because of Hague’s shoulder injury. One has to think that Hague might be the exception to the level-a-year rule considering that he turns 24 in September and there is nobody blocking his path at AA and AAA. But that’s speculation, not prediction; he’s played seven home games against two clubs. One would also think that he’ll given a full turn through the Carolina League before the bump (please).

THIRD BASE
Blake Kelso – Has actually played three of four IF positions seamlessly and plays hard. It’s hard not to use the word “scrappy” for a guy like him, but he hustles and does the little things right. My guy in Hagerstown compares him to Jeff Keppinger, and aside from having less power, I’d say that’s a pretty good comp.

LEFT FIELD
Kevin Keyes – It’s hard to believe that he’s actually hit six singles — he strikes out a lot, but when he connects… it’s always faster out than it came in, and usually light-tower high. Defensively, there have been worse left fielders at the PFitz. He’s not fleet of foot and has an fringe-average arm.

Wade Moore – He’s roughly split time between LF and DH, but this year the DH spot has been used more “rotationally” versus a veteran bat (e.g. Jose Lozada). He’s shown flashes of power (.391 SLG) and a good walk rate (10.1%) and is adequate as a fielder.

CENTERFIELD
Michael Taylor – It’s not hard to see why the prospect gurus and the Nationals have been gushing about him: speed, power, arm, glove and moves like Jagger (making sure you’re paying attention). As Sickels put it, he’s in the refinement stage. The arm is powerful, for example, but not always accurate (as you’d expect from a former SS). He’s fast, but his baserunning instincts are below-average (hence, 7CS). He’s easily this year’s Destin Hood, but more advanced than Hood was at this point last season.

RIGHT FIELD
Randolph Oduber – The “Groovin’ Aruban” struggles with the strike zone but runs and fields well (has the range for CF, the arm for RF) and has some pop. Might be better served hitting lower in the lineup, but in a so-so offense, he’s been batting leadoff since Taylor’s been used in the 5th slot.

CATCHER
David Freitas – There’s not much question whether or not he can hit, but the focus this season is whether or not he’ll stick at catcher. His footwork and throwing skills are below-average, but his framing/receiving skills are good. A lot might depend on Sandy Leon – as the two were born five days apart in March 1989. If the powers that be decide Leon can hit well enough to be a backup catcher, it might be time to shift Freitas to first — especially with Marrero and Moore essentially about to “graduate.”

BENCH
Francisco Soriano – Obviously, not a first impression. Soriano has become an “OG” of sorts, but a useful player off the bench that can play multiple positions and bat in the 1/2 and 8/9 slots in the lineup and will give you some speed and some gap power, too.

Beau Seabury – The current backup catcher, he’s essentially a replacement for longtime backup Brian Peacock. Has obviously played sparingly but has held his own on offense and provided the kind of defense you’d expect from a 26-y.o. collegiate player.

STARTING PITCHERS
Adam Olbrychowski – Started the season terribly but has gone into the seventh inning the past two starts, getting both more grounders and more K’s, particularly with an offspeed pitch that has to be at least 12mph slower than his fastball.

Kyle Winters – By the luck of the draw, I’ve only seen him once — this past Saturday night, where he struck out 10, but also gave up four runs.

Matt Grace – Has pitched better each time I’ve seen him, but still gets hit hard and often, as the .330 OBA suggests and seems to have every other hit go for extra bases.

Matt Swynenberg – Have only seen twice: his complete game on April 22 and last Friday. In the former he seemed to have the batters swinging at his pitches, but in the latter, he seemed less in command and the hitters were able to get (and hit) their pitches.

Bobby Hansen Jr. – Likewise, have only seen twice and with four starts total, it’s tough to make any fair inferences, especially when those two road games have been against the league’s #1 and #2 offenses.

Robbie Ray – One start. Read about it here.

RELIEVERS
Last year I punted because I had seen so few of them more than once and a couple had already been released, but this year I’ll take a stab at giving some feedback even if that’s still largely the same situation…

Rob Wort – Made the 2011 Watchlist after a strong finish to the 2010 season, but seemed lost last season, struggling with his control and command. This year, it’s like late 2010 again. When he’s not getting K’s, he seems to be getting the IF pops that are every bit as important for relievers to get.

Cameron Selik – Has had a couple of rough outings, but his last two have been sensational: Five straight Ks last Wednesday and and a ninth-inning naildown with “only” two Ks. Seemed to run out of gas as a starter last season, but his new role of closer (and the ability to go multiple innings) suits him well so far.

Neil Holland – Another one of those luck of the draws: I’ve seen all three of his scoreless outings at home. A sidewinder that can go multiple innings and is hell on RHBs.

Trevor Holder – The same maddening inconsistency since 2010: Can get hammered just as easily as he can shut down an opponent.

Ryan Demmin – A much better pitcher than he was last year, when he was jumped from Vermont to Potomac but had to repeat SS-A and finish the season in Low-A. Like Holland, I’ve only seen him a couple of times and he’s pitched well.

Paul Applebee – He’s pitched five times in long relief — three bad outings, two good. I’ve two of the former and one of the latter. He and Demmin are the lefties in the ‘pen, and as you might guess the softer-tosser (Applebee) tends to work the longer outings.

May 082012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Postponed vs. Durham,
5:00 p.m.
Duke (2-1, 4.18) and
Atkins (2-2, 4.18) vs.
Paduch (1-0, 1.13) and
Archer (1-4, 6.30)
Harrisburg Lost, 2-0 vs. Richmond,
7:00 p.m.
Demny (2-1, 4.97) vs.
Westcott (2-2, 4.78)
Potomac OFF DAY @ Salem,
7:05 p.m.
Olbrychowski (1-3, 5.53) vs.
Celestino (2-1, 3.60)
Hagerstown Won, 11-3 vs. Augusta,
10:35 a.m.
Dupra (2-3, 3.20) vs.
Escobar (1-1, 2.33)

SYRACUSE — PPD
Folks that were dying to see a modern scoreboard will have to wait one more night until tonight’s doubleheader against the Durham Bulls, weather permitting.

Richmond 2 Harrisburg 0
• Ballard (L, 1-2) 5IP, 7H, 2R, 0ER, BB, 4K
• Pucetas 3IP, 3H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• McConnell 1-2, 2B, BB
• Pahuta 1-3, BB

The Harrisburg bats continue to slumber, collecting just four hits in a 2-0 loss to Richmond. Mike Ballard was the hard-luck loser, giving up two runs over five innings on seven hits and a walk, with errors by Eury Perez and Jeff Kobernus allowing baserunners to advance an extra base to make both runs unearned. Chris McConnell doubled, while Tim Pahuta, Chris Rahl, and Kobernus each singled as the Senators went 0-for-7 with RISP and stranded five runners.

POTOMAC — OFF DAY
After yesterday’s off day, the P-Nats are now entering a long stretch without a scheduled day off (41 days) and three extra games to make up, thanks to three rainouts. Tonight, they begin a six-game road trip through Salem, VA for three and Zebulon, NC for three — the first matchup between the P-Nats and the Mudcats since the switch of leagues (Southern to Carolina), levels (AA to High-A), and affiliation (Cincinnati to Cleveland).

Hagerstown 11 Augusta 3
• Estevez (W, 4-1) 7IP, 7H, 3R, 3ER, BB, 3K, 0HR
• Holt 1IP, 1H, 0R, BB, K
• Dykstra 4-6, R, RBI, SB
• Ramirez 3-5, 2R
• Miller 3-5, 2R, RBI

Wirkin “For The Weekend” Estevez improved his home record to 4-0 as the Hagerstown offense continues to shine for him in an 11-3 win. Led by Cutter Dykstra’s 4-for-6 at the top, the Suns buzzed the GreenJacket pitchers for 17 hits, with eight of nine starters collecting hits (Adrian Nieto was the “beer man” with an 0-for-5). Jason Martinson and Brett Newsome both drove in three runs, while Matt Skole drew two of the three walks given up by Augusta. Estevez went a season-high seven innings, setting down nine straight at one point, but gave up three runs on seven hits. In his seven starts, Hagerstown has scored 69 runs, which helps explain the 4-1 record despite the 6.69 ERA.

May 072012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 11-2 vs. Durham,
7:00 p.m.
Duke (2-1, 4.18) vs.
Paduch (1-0, 1.13)
Harrisburg Lost, 2-1 vs. Richmond,
7:00 p.m.
Ballard (1-1, 3.14) vs.
Fitzgerald (1-1, 3.41)
Potomac Won, 3-1 OFF DAY N/A
Hagerstown Lost, 4-1 vs. Augusta,
7:05 p.m.
Estevez (3-1, 7.36) vs.
Davis (2-0, 2.25).

Lehigh Valley 11 Syracuse 2
• Lannan (L, 2-3) 5IP, 7H, 6R, 6ER, 2BB, 2K, HR
• Teahen 2-3, R, BB
• Paul 2-4, 2-2B, RBI
• Brown 1-3, BB, SB

The IronPigs scored in seven of eight innings in an 11-2 romp over the Chiefs as Syracuse dropped its fifth straight game. John Lannan had four Ks, two on the mound, two at the plate as Lehigh smacked him for six runs on seven hits and two walks over five innings. Three relievers also got burned. Offensively, Xavier Paul, Corey Brown, and Mark Teahen combined for five of the seven Syracuse hits. The Chiefs return to Syracuse for a pair of four-game series against the Durham Bulls and Rochester Redwings.

Binghamton 2 Harrisburg 1
• Gilliam 6IP, 5H, 1R, 0ER, 3BB, 6K; 1-2, 2B
• McCoy 1IP, 1H, 0R, BB, K
• Frias (L, 0-2) 1⅔ IP, 2H, R, ER, BB, 2K
• Pahuta 1-3, BB

The Sens were on the wrong end of this 2-1 score as the B-Mets took the game in walkoff fashion. Robert Gilliam got the start and collected one of just four Harrisburg hits (a double), allowing an unearned run on five hits and three walks while fanning six. The lone Senator run came on a Chris Rahl steal of third and an error with two outs in the 4th. Marcos Frias took the loss on a two-out single in the bottom of the ninth. Harrisburg returns to City Island for a three-game set with Richmond before heading back out on the road on Thursday.

Potomac 3 Wilmington 1
• Grace (W, 2-3) 6⅓ IP, 8H, R, ER, BB, K, HR
• Wort (H, 1) 1⅔ IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 4K
• Selik (SV, 3) 1IP, 1H, 0R, 2K
• Kelso 2-4, R, 2B
• Keyes 1-4, R, HR, RBI
• Sanchez 2-3, R, 2B

Strong pitching from start to finish highlights this Sunday Afternoon In Woodbridge.

Augusta 4 Hagerstown 1
• Hill (L, 3-2) 5IP, 5H, 3R, 1ER, BB, 2K, HR
• Hawkins 2IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 0K
• Skole 1-2, 2BB, RBI
• Ramirez 1-3
• Burns 0-1, BB (20G on-base streak)

The Suns will be glad not to face Kyle Crick again anytime soon as the 19-y.o. tossed six innings of one-hit ball in a 4-1 win for Augusta over Hagerstown. Combined with his previous outing, Crick held the Suns to just three hits over 10 innings with five walks and 16 strikeouts. Taylor Hill took the loss for the Suns, giving up three (one earned) over five innings. Matt Skole, J.P. Ramirez, and Caleb Ramsey had the three hits for Hagerstown, with Skole collecting his league-leading 34th RBI.