Jul 022013
 

In a battle of the top two offenses in the Carolina League, No. 1 Winston-Salem beat No. 2 Potomac with three runs in the 8th for a 5-3 win.

Rob Wort took the loss, his first for Potomac this season. After retiring the first two batters on weak flyballs to second and right field, a walk followed by three long hits — a double to left-center, a double to right, a triple to right-center — broke open the 2-2 game and gave the Dash a 5-2 lead.

It’s tempting to write this one off as just another bullpen implosion — which it was — but the ten runners left on and the 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position also bears mention. Indeed, three of the ten were left on in the final two frames as Potomac could only get back one run with a sacrifice fly in the 9th.

Early on, it looked like Potomac was going to have its way with Jake Cose, getting five hits in the first two innings. But the damage was limited to just the one run, which came in on a wild pitch, though Michael Taylor did rip a liner into left that would have plated the run anyway.

Meanwhile, starter Blake Schwartz was doing his part as the starters have for the most part since Kylin Turnbull was sent packing in April. Schwartz gave up a solo shot in the 1st and an unearned run in the 4th for a quality start of two runs over six innings with no walks and four strikeouts.

Cose, as you might have guessed, settled down in the middle innings, allowing a pair of two-out runners in the 4th. Kevin Keyes broke up the Dash pitcher’s modest streak of five batters retired with his seventh HR of the season in the 6th, a not-so-modest blast to left-center that tied the game at 2-2.

Dash reliever Joe Dvorksy would get the benefit (i.e. the win) of the Winston-Salem 8th for pitching a scoreless 7th, allowing a one-out double to Billy Burns.

The two teams meet again tonight with Brian Rauh (0-0, 4.00) facing off against Joe Blough (7-4, 3.92).

Apr 192013
 

It’s back! Our weekly look at the leaders, trailers, and outliers in the Washington Nationals minor leagues. For the newcomers, this is a ripoff of tribute to comedian Demetri Martin’s segment from his old show on Comedy Central.

And of course, the obligatory caveats: sample sizes are here small, it’s early in the season, minors stats aren’t as meaningful as we think, past performance is not necessarily a guide to future performance, etc.

Nevertheless, a reminder: the players, their families, and their agents are reading, so let’s not get carried away in the comments. It’s just for fun.

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 6-7, 4th place I.L. North, 3½ games behind

Good Jeff Kobernus .463/.521/.659, 6SB in 12G
Bad Ryan Tatusko 7.11 ERA, 9BB, 2.84 WHIP in 6⅓ IP
Interesting Decision to not use a position player to pitch in a 27-9 smackdown, the day after a doubleheader

HARRISBURG SENATORS 8-6, T1st place E.L. West, ½ game ahead

Good Caleb Clay 2-0, 1.00WHIP, 14K in 17IP
Bad Justin Bloxom .503OPS, 23K in 14G
Interesting Trevor Holder 0.00 ERA, 0.78WHIP in 3G, 9IP

POTOMAC NATIONALS 6-7, 4th place C.L. North, 2 games behind

Good Jason Martinson 1.140 OPS, 15RBI in 13G
Bad Relievers – 5.82ERA, 1.42WHIP
Interesting Michael Taylor 10RBI, 13H, .228BA

HAGERSTOWN SUNS 8-7, T2nd place Sally North, 2 games behind

Good Dixon Anderson 0.68WHIP, 18K in 17⅔ IP
Bad Brandon Miller .172/.172/.345, 22K in 14G
Interesting Mike McQuillan 14-game on-base streak, 6SB
Apr 072013
 

wheelscameoffthebusFor six innings, things were looking real good for the Potomac Nationals. Taylor Jordan was dealing, retiring 10 batters in a row before Kevin Keyes made a kick save for an error in the top of the 4th. But back-to-back doubles with two out from Cutter Dykstra and Adrian Sanchez, plus a three-run rally in the next “ups” put Potomac ahead 5-0.

And then the wheels come off the bus in the 7th.

Christian Meza gave up a solo shot to the first batter he faced, ending a streak of 14 scoreless innings for Lynchburg. Then he allowed a single. And another single, then a two-run double. Four batters faced, none retired, three runs in.

Colin Bates was summoned to stop the bleeding, but the circling of the drain continued with an infield single, then an error on a sacrifice bunt to load the bases, then a walk to plate the fourth Hillcat run. Three batters faced, none retired, bases loaded.

Matt Grace became the third pitcher of the inning and for just a brief moment, looked like he was going to get the pitcher’s best friend — a double-play ball to Jason Martinson who stepped on second then fired to Keyes, but the inexperience of the newly converted 1B showed as he couldn’t keep his foot on the bag. Tie game at 5-5.

Grace struck out the next batter, but the Hillcats took advantage of the “extra” out to plate three more on a walk, an infield flare that Francisco Soriano turned an ankle getting to as it backspun in the grass between second and the mound, and a two-run single.

The fourteenth batter of the inning ended the misery with a grounder from Martinson to Blake Kelso, Soriano’s replacement at second.

Burns tripled to lead off the P-Nats response to the Lynchburg barrage, but stood there for the next three batters as the 10 m.p.h. breeze out to left gusted to 11 three times on whiffs by Michael Taylor, Martinson, and Keyes.

Seven of the 14 Potomac batting strikeouts came in the final three innings, killing a bases-loaded rally in the 8th and stranding another runner at third in the 9th, as Martinson tripled in hit-by-pitch Taylor for the sixth and final Potomac run.

It’s a Sunday matinee for the rubber match of the series as A.J. Cole takes the hill for the P-Nats against Mark Pope for the Hillcats.

Jul 052012
 

Like a lot of uber-matchups, neither Potomac starter Nathan Karns nor Frederick starter Dylan Bundy figured in the decision for this one.

Instead, it was the battle of the bullpens, which the Potomac Nationals lost by turning a 4-0 lead into a 6-4 loss, the fourth straight for the P-Nats.

The disintegration began in the sixth inning, when Karns was beginning to tire but had a 4-0 lead. He had given up a two-out double followed by an infield single before he was lifted. Matt Swynenberg came in and promptly gave up a single, walk, and another single to center that sent in two runners. Suddenly, it was 4-3, and things looked much less certain.

In the bottom half, Potomac got a two-out single from Adrian Sanchez. With major-league rehab Chad Tracy coming up, Frederick went to the ‘pen to summon southpaw Trent Walters to face the lefthander. Instead, Sanchez was picked off to end the frame.

The collapse was completed in the ninth inning. Rob Wort was in his second inning of work, but the first wasn’t particularly stressful — a leadoff single, then a dropped fly to shallow center that was turned into an out, a strikeout, and then a flyout to right — but simply looked flat. A walk, a single, and then a towering shot over the RF wall gave the Keys a 6-4 lead.

As a former starter, Walters was fine to begin a fourth inning of relief. Erick Fernandez led off with sharp single up the middle to bring up the tying run, but Sanchez struck out and both Tracy and Rick Hague flew out to deep center to end the game.

Walters would finish with just two hits and no walks given up over three and 1/3rd innings. Swynenberg and Wort would combine for the same three and a 1/3rd, but with four runs on seven hits and two walks while letting in both inherited runners.

Offensively, Potomac would rap out 12 hits but struggled in the clutch (1-for-7 with RISP). Fernandez, Sanchez, and Stephen King would combine for nine hits, two doubles, and a triple, while Jason Martinson hit his fourth HR for Potomac off the LF light tower.

With the loss, Potomac falls to 6-8 in the second half, two games off the pace in the Carolina League North. Adam Olbrychowski (3-6, 5.43) gets the start tonight for the Woodbridge nine opposed by Frederick’s Tyler Wilson (4-3, 3.80).

Jun 082011
 

The Quick Rundown…

Team Yesterday’s Result Today’s Game Pitching Matchup
Syracuse Chiefs Lost, 9-2 vs. Louisville, 7:00 p.m. J.D. Martin (0-4, 5.50) vs.
Brandon Hynick (1-4, 7.55)
Harrisburg Senators Won, 6-5; Won, 7-6 @ Binghamton, 7:05 p.m. Erik Davis (2-1, 3.63) vs.
Tobi Stoner (0-2, 12.60)
Potomac Nationals Lost, 7-2 vs. Frederick, 7:05 p.m. Cameron Selik (1-4, 4.50) vs.
Ryohei Tanaka (3-0, 1.09)
Hagerstown Suns Lost, 13-5 OFF DAY N/A
DSL Nationals Won, 7-6 @ DSL Giants vs. DSL Cubs2, 10:30 a.m. Gilberto Mendez (1-0, 1.80) vs.
Julio Sanchez (0-0, 0.00)

SYRACUSE
Louisville 9 Syracuse 2
• Arnesen (L, 0-2) 6IP, 7H, 3ER, 2BB, 7K, 1HR
Balester ⅓ IP 5H, 2ER, 3-3 IR-S
• Antonelli 2-3, 3B, BB
• Brown 1-3, R, HR, RBI, BB

Eirk Arnesen gave the Chiefs a solid outing in a spot start situation, but left the game with Chiefs down 3-1 to the Louisville Bats after six innings pitched. Arnesen was victimized by a three run HR by Daniel Dorn in the third inning. After a scoreless frame from Jeff Mandel, Atahualpa Severino retired one of five batters faced and Collin Balester was even worse, giving up a single, a triple, a single, a single, a fly out, and a two-out single by Jeremy Hermidia before he was mercifully removed in front of the home crowd. Syracuse’s only relevant offense was a solo shot by Corey Brown. They scored a less relevant run when Hulett tugged [Ed. note: Nice Tom Swifty!] a line drive to center to plate Chris Marrero who had doubled in the previous at-bat.

Harrisburg 6 Binghamton 5 — GAME ONE
• Peacock (ND) 5IP, 5H, 3ER, 2BB, *9K*, 1HR
• Tatusko (W, 2-4) 1IP, 1H, 0R, 1BB, 2K
• Norris 1-2, 2R, RBI, 2BB
• Rhinehart 1-4, R, 2R HR, 3RBI

Brad Peacock continues to mystify Eastern league hitters; this time nine Binghamton Mets whiffed. Peacock didn’t emerge unscathed this time, though. In the first, Joshua Satin doubled to left and later scored on a single by Bubba Bell. In the second, two leadoff walks led to a run, although a one-out swinging strikeout of Jeurys Familia with Salomon Manriquez standing on third base helped limit the damage. The third run allowed was a solo shot by pinch hitter Jordany Valdespin in the fifth. The Senators were helped by a two run shot in the top of the fourth by Bill Rhinehart who plated Derek Norris after one of his trademark walks. Harrisburg later strolled to the win in the seventh, with a three run rally aided by SIX bases-on-balls. Apparently, Derek Norris has started preaching on the fine art of walking to his flock. [Ed. note: I’ll admit that prose was purple, sheepishly.]

Harrisburg 7 Binghamton 6 — GAME TWO
• Mock 4IP, 3H, 4R, 4ER, BB, K, 3HR
• VanAllen (W, 2-1) 2IP, 1H, 1R, 0ER, 2BB, 2K
• Lombardozzi 3-3, R, PO/CS
• Rahl 2-4, R, HR, RBI
• Off The Bench Special #1 Rhinehart 1-1, R, 2R HR, SF, 3RBI
• Off The Bench Special #2 Norris 1-1, R, 2R HR, 2RBI

Yet another Nats affiliate found themselves behind after a Garrett Mock start, as the 40-man-by-reputation pitcher gave up four runs in four innings. Binghamton’s Joshua Satin and Bubba Bell smacked back-to-back jacks in the first inning, with Satin’s clout a two-run shot. Satin feasted on Mock again in the third with a solo shot. Bill Rhinehart revived the Harrisburg offense in the fifth with a two blast to make the score 4-2. Harrisburg found 7th heaven again, this time with a five-run seventh inning rally, keyed by consecutive homers by Derek Norris (two-run, PH) and Chris Rahl (solo). Carlos Martinez was pulled after giving up a run in the 9th to make it 7-6, but Pat McCoy struck out Salomon Manriquez to clinch a hard-earned doubleheader sweep for the Senators.

Frederick 7 Potomac 2
• Demny (L, 2-7) 6IP, 9H, 3R, 3ER, 0BB, 7K, HR
• Martin ⅓ IP 0H 0R 0BB 1K
• Bloxom 1-3, R, RBI, 2E
• Peacock 1-3, 2B, BB, RBI

Make that nine losses at home in a row Last Night In Woodbridge

Greensboro 13 Hagerstown 5
• Jordan (L, 6-2) 4IP, 6H, 2R, 2ER, 2BB, 2K
• Sanchez 3-4, R, 2-2B, BB, CS
• Martinson 2-4, 2B, 2RBI, SB
• Harper 1-3, BB, RBI

Leo Durocher is often attributed with the saying “If you ain’t got a bullpen, you ain’t got s!@#” and the Suns 13-5 loss is proof positive. Four Hagerstown relievers combined to give up 11 runs over the last five innings, with no pitcher going unscathed, (no) thanks to four Suns errors. All-Star Taylor Jordan took his second loss with two runs surrendered over four innings on six hits and two walks, while Adrian Sanchez paced the offense with three of its 11 hits. With the loss, the Suns lead is now just a half game over the Grasshoppers, who head home for an eight-game homestand while Hagerstown hits the road for seven.

DSL Nationals 7 DSL Giants 6
• Marcelino 4⅔ IP, 2H, 5R, 1ER, 4BB, 4K
• Heredia (S, 2) 1IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Rosario 4-4, R, 2B
• Read 2-5, R, 2B, RBI
• Ortega 1-1, 2R, RBI, 3BB, 4SB

The D-Nats blew an early 3-0 lead, but tied it at 5-5 in the sixth and got single runs in the 8th and 9th innings to prevail, 7-6. Anthony Marcelino started but was victimized by his defense for four unearned runs, as Wander Suero got the win in relief and Inocencio Heredia survived a two-hit ninth for his second save. Dionicio Rosario (4-for-4) and “Fred” Ortega (1-1, 3BB) both reached base four times and combined to score three runs to lead the D-Nat offense.