Sunday Afternoon In Woodbridge

Folks are champing at the bit for the next wave to come to Potomac. This afternoon, Nathan Karns may have just reminded folks to appreciate what has come here so far.

The 24-year-old allowed just five baserunners over eight innings, racking up 11 strikeouts — career highs in both categories — as the Potomac Nationals pounded the Wilmington Blue Rocks, 7-1.

This was Karns’s fourth start since his promotion from Hagerstown on June 4 and the progression has rather quick all things considered: from seven runs over one and 2/3rds innings to two runs over four and 2/3rds to six and 2/3rds shutout innings to one run over eight innings today. Is his next start going to be a complete-game shutout? Probably not, but he’s shown enough that it might not be too optimistic to expect another quality start.

That’s because Karns showed that he can do what good pitchers do: make in-game adjustments. After weathering two walks and what was ruled an infield single in the 2nd, Karns bore down and got the groundouts he needed to turn what could have been a big inning into just a single run.

Then he found his groove.

After getting out of the second with minimal damage, Karns retired the side in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th innings, striking out five out nine and 11 straight overall before giving up a long double to center. He then retired another eight in a row before issuing a two-out walk (his third) in the 8th.

Everyone wants to know how hard a given pitcher is throwing, but from my perch, the improvement I’m seeing from Karns is that he’s gotten more separation from the heat to his breaking stuff, especially his changeup. Seemed like at least half the Ks came on batters that were WAY AHEAD of his offering.

Offensively, Potomac did its best imitation of Winston-Salem by scoring in each of the first four innings, highlighted Kevin Keyes’s opposite-field blast in the second that turned a 2-1 game into a 4-1 game. Like two nights before, there’s some reason to be concerned as the P-Nats left 12 on and went just 3-for-16 with RISP, but perhaps that’s just nitpicking.

With the win, Potomac improves to 3-1 in the second half. Game two of the four-game series will feature Adam Olbrychowski (2-6, 5.47) versus Yordano Ventura (3-5, 3.10) tomorrow night at 7:05 p.m.

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.

6 thoughts on “Sunday Afternoon In Woodbridge”

  1. If he keeps this up he could be heading to the AFL this summer depending on his innings limit.

  2. Karns was definitely the best story of the day.
    Good writeup, let’s hope he can continue it through the summer.

  3. We’ve got several players from the 09 Draft that are listed as R5 eligible this year. Some of these are familiar names to me and are at HBG (Kobernus, Bloxom, Holder, Rosenbaum, Lehman, Wort, Karns)

    1) When is the R5 draft held?
    2) The only way these players can be protected is to place them on the 40 man, correct?
    3) If true, I can’t see any of them landing a 40 man spot, but neither can I see a team taking a flyer on any to see if they can make their own 40 man. Having said that however, I would hate to lose someone like a Wort or Karns or Rosenbaum for that matter. None seem MLB-ready, but with pitching always being at such a premium, I would hate to leave it to chance (or other teams’ goodwill 🙂 )

  4. 1) End of the winter meetings, which I believe are in Nashville this year, Dec. 3-6
    2) From the MLB Phase, yes. There are reserve lists for the AAA and AA phases, but the names are never released so we have no idea who was exposed or protected [insert STD joke here].
    3) Way too early to make any predictions, especially when there are pitchers that can get hurt between now and the November deadline to protect (~11/20).

    1. Let’s not forget the world-class shenanigans the Yankees are pulling with Meyers, who’s been in witness protection for 6 months now.

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