Last Night In Woodbridge

The Potomac Nationals got just enough offense to not waste Paul Demny’s best outing of the year for a 3-2 win over the Myrtle Beach Pelicans.

Demny went eight innings, dominating seven of them, and gave up just two runs on five hits with no walks and four strikeouts. He only allowed two leadoff hits — a single in the 3rd, which he promptly erased with a 1-6-3 double play, and a double in the 8th. That double was followed by a triple to plate the first Pelican run, then a grounder to second to send in the final Myrtle Beach run.

After a disastrous stretch of road starts in July and early August (7R in Lynchburg over 1⅔ IP, 9R in Winston-Salem over 4IP, 5R in Salem over 4⅓ IP), the past two home starts have been just what Demny needs to regain some confidence. Even with a rainout today, he’ll likely start his next two games at the Pfitz, and can build on this run as the P-Nats slouch towards head for the playoffs.

Offensively, there’s still reason to worry. Like the night before, getting runners on was not a problem: Leadoff doubles in the 1st and 7th, one-out singles in the 2nd and 3rd, a leadoff walk in the 4th. But when you subtract leadoff hitter Archie Gilbert from the equation, that’s three less hits, one less run, and the only hit with a runner in scoring position.

Potomac would strand 10 runners, including runners on second and third in the bottom of the 7th, as neither Brian Peacock nor Steve Souza could deliver the killshot to turn a 3-0 game into a 5-0 game.

With Nelo and Smoker used the night before, Marcos Frias was called upon to close out the 9th and delivered the win and earned the save, working around a leadoff single and finishing strong with two strikeouts.

The win keeps pace with Frederick, which won its 30th game of the second half and its fourth straight, keeping the division deficit at four games. A loss by Lynchburg extended Potomac’s lead to six, lowering the magic number to clinch a playoff spot to 17.

Should the rain hold off, Cameron Selik (4-8, 4.33) is scheduled to start this afternoon against Justin Grimm (3-2, 3.55).

Author: Luke Erickson

Since 2009, Luke Erickson has been chief writer, editor, and bottle-washer of Potomac is his home base as a season-ticket holder, but he has visited every affiliate north of Florida at least once, with multiple trips to Hagerstown and Harrisburg.

2 thoughts on “Last Night In Woodbridge”

  1. Sue, I know it’s a little more complicated in High A, but what do the PNats have to do the next 2 weeks to make the playoffs?
    We’re hitting the homestretch with all the clubs now.

    1. Not complicated at all: Finish the second half in first or second place.

      I mentioned this in the comments the other day — the C.L. Playoffs are set up so that both divisions get two playoff teams. With that requirement, and a balanced schedule (each team plays the other 20 times, 10 times per half) it’s possible for a team to make the playoffs with a losing record in a half. This especially true if there’s a double-half winner or if a particular division has more than two good teams.

      To me, that’s just arbitrary. While Potomac may benefit this year, I remember a race in 2007 in which they won 40 games in the second half were left out of the playoffs, Salem getting in because Kinston won both halves and Potomac having a better second-half record.

      If I ran the zoo, I’d eliminate the divisions and award two playoff spots per half, with the second half being the determiner if there’s a team that finishes in the top two twice. It’s a slight change, but I’d much rather see a three-way race (win to get in) between Potomac, Kinston, and Winston-Salem (all right now have 26 wins) for the last two spots than what we have now, which is Potomac merely not losing as often as Lynchburg.

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