Apr 212013
 

Adrian Nieto’s flare to shallow left with two outs in the 8th plated two to break a 1-1 tie and help the P-Nats return to .500 with a 3-1 win over Frederick.

Three Potomac pitchers combined for 15 strikeouts, though they also walked six. Starter Robbie Ray went six-plus innings allowing one run on two hits, with four walks and ten strikeouts — four of them looking. He was working with slightly lower velocity, but his command (the four free passes not withstanding) was significantly better as he worked with well with the fastball, curve, and change.

Indeed, the “plus” was the one time Ray did not retire a leadoff batter in seven innings. Matt Grace, the first man out of the Potomac ‘pen, was greeted with by Frederick’s Travis Adair with a single that first-year first baseman Kevin Keyes couldn’t snare and which pushed the runner Grace inherited to third.

Though it won’t show up in the box score, Billy Burns snagged the next batter’s liner on the run for a sacrifice fly that tied things up at 1-1. Grace stranded his runner with a groundout and the first of his four K’s over two innings.

Potomac got on the board first in the fourth with a near repeat of yesterday’s game one, leading off with a single and trotting home on Michael Taylor double as the 22-year-old again waited on a curve and served it down the left field line for an RBI double.

The gamewinner came in dramatic, almost bipolar fashion in the last if the 8th for what we like to call a “sportswriter’s win.” Pinch-hitter Caleb Ramsey led off with a walk and was pushed to second on a picture-perfect bunt by Burns that went justpast the pitcher and died on the grass before the second baseman, who could see it coming… but couldn’t stop it.

An errant pickoff throw took away the need for Taylor to bunt, and instead he walked to load the bases with nobody out. Cutter Dykstra flew out to shallow right, then Jason Martinson, who had two infield hits on a 2-for-3 afternoon, struck out. But before folks could lament the missed opportunity, Nieto saved the day — none too late after striking four times in his last six at-bats.

Richie Mirowski came on in the top of the 9th to close things out and issued a two-out walk but got pinch-hitter Brenden Webb to ground out to short to end it.

It’s a swing down 95 to Zebulon and Myrtle Beach this week for the 8-8 Potomac squad, as they play four against the Mudcats and three against the Pelicans before returning home to face the same two teams for the same number of games next week.

Jun 272010
 

Perhaps the only thing more reviled than the intentional walk is the throw over to first base. When it works, a few people notice and understand. But when it fails, everybody sees and wonders why didn’t he just to pitch to him?!

It was turning point in the game last night in Woodbridge.

With the score tied at 6-6, and two outs. Rocket Wheeler was faced with a decision: Pitch to the lefty Bill Rhinehart, who had smoked a triple in the second inning for the P-Nats first two runs. Or pitch the to the righthanded Brian Peacock, who hadn’t gotten the ball out of the infield.

For the second night in a row, Rocket Wheeler ordered the free pass, and just like the night before, the decision backfired. Peacock blistered an outside fastball between the Pelican first baseman and first base itself for a two-run triple.

In the press box, the home team pulling ahead in the eighth is sometimes called a sportswriter’s win because then they can start writing up the game early, or at least think up their ledes. Dan Leatherman also did his part by striking out two in a 1-2-3 ninth for his 4th save.

As the 8-6 score implies, this was not pitcher’s duel. Neither Potomac’s Trevor Holder nor Myrtle Beach’s Randall Delgado was sharp or effective. Both went five innings and gave up five runs.

Holder labored to keep the ball in the strike zone, but only issued one walk. When he was locating the ball, the Pelicans let him know with authority, smacking eight hits including two home runs and lifting five flyballs.

As was the case last Sunday, the separation between Holder’s pitches was only apparent when he threw his soft breaking pitch that’s not quite a curve and not quite a change (this is why scouts want to be directly behind home plate; it’s difficult to read pitches otherwise, especially when seated in an elevated grandstand like the POS Pfitz).

Following Holder was Carlos Martinez, who returned to the P-Nats from the GCL to make his first appearance of the season, and his 55th in parts of five seasons with Potomac. He pitched two innings and allowed one run on two hits.

Clayton Dill pitched a scoreless top of the 8th to earn his 4th win of the season, walking one and striking out one.

With the win, Potomac improves to 2-1 on the season and hits the road for a six-game swing through North Carolina, visiting Kinston Sunday through Tuesday, then Winston-Salem on Wednesday through Friday.