Last Night In Woodbridge

For eight innings, the Potomac lumber was in a slumber but awoke in the ninth for two runs. They needed three, and lost 4-3 to the first-place Wilmington Blue Rocks.

Nathan Karns was tagged with his second straight loss, giving up three runs on eight hits and three walks over six innings. And it could have been worse. Twice Wilmington ran into outs at home plate, the first coming in the 2nd inning when Nick Van Stratten attempted to score from second on groundout to short, the second when Van Stratten attempted to score from first on a one-out double to right-center in the 4th.

Karns had but one clean inning, and it didn’t come until the 5th. Much will be made of the 10 strikeouts, but more should be made of how hittable Karns was. Command and control are not the same thing, but poor command will often lead to fat fastballs and that’s what the Blue Rocks were feasting on last night.

Like too many pink drinks on Ladies Night, the Potomac offense made a big ugly look good. For seven innings, the aptly surnamed Brooks Pounders (6’4″, 270, 5.43ERA) held the P-Nats to just four hits and one unearned run, walking none and striking out five. The portly starboarder retired the last nine batters he faced, but did not appear to have overpowering stuff.

Matt Swynenberg followed Karns from the bullpen and turned in three solid innings of relief, with one run on two hits, no walks and three strikeouts. The lone mistake was a dropped third strike to lead off the 8th. A steal and a two-out single plated the extra runner for Wilmington’s fourth run and it turned out to be the difference.

Anthony Rendon started the 9th-inning rally with one out with a grounder steered between first and second with two strikes. Kevin Keyes followed suit with Rendon going to third. Ricky Hague sent Rendon in with a single to left. After a Jason Martinson strikeout, Jeff Howell drove in Keyes with a single to center and snuck into second on the relay throw trying to get Hague at third.

Stephen King, however, couldn’t cash in either runner and struck out to end the game.

The loss drops Potomac to 3½ games back in the Carolina League North. The P-Nats and Blue Rocks are scheduled to play tonight with Rob Gilliam (0-1, 7.04) facing off against Leondy Perez (3-4, 4.26).

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.

11 thoughts on “Last Night In Woodbridge”

  1. Not sure what your problem with Karns is, but you always seem to dog him more than anyone. He has thrown more innings than he has ever thrown, twice as many as college, and threw sparingly for the past few years, due to injury and surgery. Pitchers get arm fatigue. THe ball gets hit, you catch it, you field it. Many other pitchers get hit…and many other pitchers do not manage 10 ks along with. Perhaps the story should have been about the bats,,,,or lack of….team sport…I have always enjoyed your write ups, but as of lately, you seem to have a personal issue with Karns….

    1. That’s a fair criticism. However, when I predicted that he would start running into trouble after his start against Salem — which he did in Myrtle Beach — nobody said [squat]. As much as this site has a fan angle to it, I’d be doing you and other readers a disservice if I don’t point out these things, which you’re highly unlikely to read from the team because they’re going to put a positive spin on it.

      I’m not sure, though, how “lumber was in a slumber” could be inferred as anything but a knock on the offense taking too long to get going. In fact, just yesterday I was told that I was too kind in describing Sunday’s debacle.

      1. At one of my jobs in the not so distant past, we considered that we were doing things right if we made everyone equally unhappy.

  2. So i do agree that he had been off the last two games but 6 innings 3 runs and ten k’s are a tad above a quality start. Petsonally you need to focus on how bad the offense and defense is. I also believe the pitch calling is a bit suspect.

    1. With competent baserunning, it should have been at least four runs, and perhaps as much as five or six runs. That’s why I pointed it out.

  3. We obviously all cheer for the same team but Luke is right, this could have been a disaster for Karns. The second Rocks runner thrown out at home was thrown out by 10 feet with a normal throw. Karns wasn’t that impressive yesterday, yeah we know he is wearing down, but not impresive is not impresive. I would rather Luke tell it like it is and what he sees by attending the games, than too have him report about the 10k’s from the box score just to put a positive spin on things.

    The offense in Potomac is horrible largely due to too many underachieving “prospects” hitting under .250 (JP Ramirez, Hague, Keyes, Martinson, Kelso)

    The only bright spots of the 9 overall hits last night were Rendon 2 hits , Francisco Soriano (3 for 4 leading off), and 30 year old catcher Howell’s 2 hits.

    In general there are too many “Future” Organizational Guys in the field in Potomac rather than true MLB prospects. The Pitching has prospects with Meyers, Karns, Ray, etc… In the field it’s pretty much Rendon and Mike Taylor (who didn’t do anything until he was passed over by Goodwin.) and now Skole

    It’s gotten to the point where I can’t wait for guys from Hagerstown and Auburn to get called up to Potomac, because this crop of prospects are duds. I know the grass is always greener on the other side, but I think it’s time to cut some ties or demote some of these underperforming Potomac players.

    Maybe it’s time for some to start questioning the hitting coach or coach. Obviously this crop isn’t getting the job done. It’s either a bad crop, or maybe it’s the coach or something. It’s disappointing to watch guys struggle down in Potomac for so long and continue to play everyday.

  4. Not impressive as in “not impressive for Karns” or just not impressive? I have seen many pitchers who have done and continue to do worse….and do not get such a beat down. Could a should a would a…..a few more catches could have meant less men on bases, thus less scored runs. A few calls of the pitches on the line called for strikes instead of balls, also could have meant more outs. A few less strike outs could have been disasterous, on the other hand, many more on base for the Nats and the more hits, could have meant a win….10 ks in any game is positive…had this pitcher this night had any other name, and had been pitching like this all season….what would have been said??? I would think it would not have been such a beater.

    1. I’m sorry if you feel this was unduly harsh, but others clearly appreciate my candor. Karns has pitched well in previous outings and gotten the praise with the prose. Last night was not one of those nights.

  5. Luke, keep reporting as you see it.

    Stats can lie… and a lot of people will fall in love with the high K total. But, as many of us know… a good fastball will overpower many bad minor league hitters… and if Karns is getting by with just that and decent control, but also featuring poor command, then, yes, he is indeed struggling.

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