Aug 312010
 

If you came here for some exciting names, look elsewhere. As the picture suggests, the Nationals were uninspired in their choices for who’s going to Arizona for the fall league. Without further ado…

  • C Derek Norris
  • OF Michael Burgess
  • IF Steve Lombardozzi
  • LHP Sammy Solis
  • RHP Cole Kimball
  • RHP Adam Carr

This is not to disrespect the likes of Cole Kimball and Adam Carr, which we can infer that the front office clearly believes are near-term-future relievers. But like nearly everything Tim McCarver says in a Fox broadcast, that was already painfully obvious. Perhaps more will come out in the next few days about the rationale, but all I can see is that some younger, more promising prospects (Peacock, Milone) were passed over… and I don’t mean Bryce Harper. For those of you who claim that Rizzo said that Harper might play in the AFL, he never explicitly said that it would be the fall of 2010.

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 312010
 

The Potomac bats remained hot, but the pitching was erratic, resulting in a split against the Frederick Keys.

In Game One, Marcos Frias took the hill against a team that he had thrown a quality start against earlier in the month, when Potomac swept the Keys on the road. For three innings, it looked like he might just duplicate that feat, though the signs that this might be short outing were evident: three of the first four Frederick hits were of the extra-base variety, enabling the Keys to get single runs in the 1st and 2nd.

In the fourth, Frias set down the first two batters fairly quickly but then struggled to get the Nos. 8 and 9 batters out, walking them both. This paved the way for the top of the order to make him pay. Xavier Avery* doubled to right, Kyle Hudson singled to left, and Ronnie Welty, who had doubled in his previous two at-bats, completed the scoring binge with a two-run shot to turn a 2-1 lead into a 7-1 chasm.

* If there’s a contest to rank great baseball names, how could MiLB look past this one?

Potomac, however, would not roll over in its half of the 4th. Derek Norris his just his second HR at the Pfitz to lead things off. Following singles by Bill Rhinehart and Jose Lozada, Chris Curran and Francisco Soriano hit back-to-back triples with two outs to rally the P-Nats to within two at 7-5.

Steve Lombardozzi’s third single of the game with two outs drove in Lozada in the sixth cut the lead to one at 7-6. Billy “But He’s Still Young” Rowell connected for a solo HR in the top of the 7th — his 25th for Frederick in 316 games since 2008 — to give the Keys an 8-6 lead.

That run would prove crucial as Potomac rallied one more time in the 7th, as a Moore single, a wild pitch, and a Rhinehart single whittled the lead to 8-7, but that’s as close as the P-Nats would get.

###

After an announcement of a 20-minute break between games, the nightcap started 39 minutes later with Adrian Alaniz on the mound and he was not sharp. Consistently falling behind hitters, the 26-year-old battled through 4⅓ innings and somehow managed to allow just two runs on six hits and one walk before giving way to Jimmy Barthmaier.

Meanwhile, the Potomac bats, which had peppered the field in the first game with 14 hits, a-salted the Frederick pitchers for 11 hits in the second game. They scored in every inning but the first, highlighted by a pair of two-run blasts by Bill Rhinehart in the third and sixth innings. Jose Lozada led the hit parade with three hits, and had five hits combined in the doubleheader, as did Steve Lombardozzi.

With the split, Potomac gained a half game on first-place Wilmington and remains a game-and-a-half ahead of third-place Frederick, the first-half winner. Recently promoted Danny Rosenbaum makes his second home start for Potomac, with Ryan O’Shea taking the hill for Frederick.

Jul 152010
 

Jordan Zimmermann threw four solid but not spectacular innings of work, but took the loss last night thanks to poor defense and a weak offense. No, that’s not a cut & paste from a ’09 WaPo game recap, but it sure seems like one, doesn’t it?

As many minor leaguers do against rehabbing major leaguers, once they realize that they have no hope of getting ahead in the count — which was evident when Zimmermann dispatched Kinston’s leadoff hiter Lucas Montero on three pitches — they sit on the fastball and hope for the best. The next batter doubled, took third on a groundout to first, and came in on an error charged to shortstop Jose Lozada on an olé by Tyler Moore.

Zimmermann retired six of the next seven batters with ease before running into a little bit of trouble in the fourth. Back-to-back singles put runners on first and second with one out, but Zimmermann caught the lead runner leaning and got a break on some high-school-ego baserunning. Jeremie Tice doubled to the wall in right-center but speedy CF Chris Curran was just a step behind and gunned the ball to Steve Lombardozzi, who threw a one-hop seed to catcher Derek Norris. Kinston’s manager saw this and put up the stop sign, but Juan Diaz ran through it and was out by 25 feet.

As was the case in the previous rehab start in Woodbridge, Zimmerman’s velocity was there, his control was decent, but the pitches were just a little up in the zone — enough for High-A hitters to get decent wood on them.

The change of pace from fireballer (Zimmermann) to control artist (Alaniz) did not disrupt the Indians in the fifth, as the first three batters he faced tripled, doubled, and singled off him for the second and third runs of the night. Alaniz would settle down and pitch three scoreless innings, finishing the night with a halfway decent line of two runs allowed on six hits over four innings.

The PNats got their lone run in the bottom of the sixth, as a Derek Norris was hit by a pitch (you already know it was on his left arm, right?) and took second on wild pitch. Tyler Moore drove him in with the only solidly hit ball of the night, an opposite-field double to right.

With the loss, Potomac falls to back to .500 at 9-9 in the second half. A.J. Morris is projected to make his return to the rotation, opposed by Kinston’s Austin Adams for today’s noontime tilt.

Jul 042010
 

The Potomac Nationals returned home last night to host the Wilmington Blue Rocks for their traditional cash cow 4th of July festivities and sent the reported crowd of 5,908 home happy with a 4-2 win.

Jordan Zimmermann returned to Woodbridge for the first time since early 2008, pitching two scoreless innings in a rehab start from last year’s Tommy John surgery. The surprise #5 starter in the ’09 Washington rotation threw 25 pitches, 16 for strikes. His velocity appeared fine, but his location was a little lacking.

Zimmermann was quoted by Robert Daski in the News & Messenger as believing that he’ll be with the team for a total of three or four appearances, which would have him pitching on the road in Frederick and against Salem in Boston, then again in Woodbridge against the Kinston Indians on Wednesday, July 14th.

Adrian Alaniz, a teammate of Zimmermann’s in ’08 at Potomac, followed the righthander with six solid innings of relief, allowing just two unearned runs on three hits with one walk and five strikeouts.

The offense would leverage the mistakes of the Wilmington Blue Rocks pitchers to score a pair of runs in the third, with Dan Lyons and Steve Lombardozzi drawing walks and Derek Norris driving them in with a double over the head of the centerfielder to take a 2-0 lead.

They would take advantage of poor Blue Rocks defense in the fifth. With a runner on first and one out, Lombardozzi would lay down a bunt to the third baseman, who threw wide of first, enabling the runner to score and Lombardozzi to take second. After a passed ball and a walk, Mike Burgess bounced a hard grounder over the Wilmington first baseman for an RBI single that would give the PNats a 4-1 lead.

They would return the favor for the game’s final run in the top of the 8th as a two-out error and triple broke up a streak of eight batters set down by Alaniz, but Zach Dials snuffed any hopes of a comeback by striking out the side in the 9th to earn the save.

With the win, Potomac improves to 4-5 in the second half, 1½ games behind Wilmington and Frederick for the Northern Division lead. The two teams will meet again tonight, with Marcos Frias taking the hill for the PNats against John Lamb for the Blue Rocks.