Last Night In Woodbridge

Bumped from his spot on defense, Adrian Nieto put on a show on offense last night, having a hand in all five runs in a 5-3 Potomac win over Winston-Salem.

The 23-year-old Floridian backstop went 2-for-2 with three runs scored and two runs driven in, batting as the designated hitter* for the second straight night with Wilson Ramos catching on a rehab assignment. Ramos went 0-for-3 but threw out a baserunner and ran well when he took to the bases after getting plunked in the 5th.
* Whoever let told PA guy to stop that “hitter by designation” crap, thank you.

Nieto drew walks in each of his first two plate appearances. The other Adrian, Sanchez that is, drove him in with a two-out single in the 8th and cue-shot on a hit-and-run play in the 4th. (As an aside, Sanchez played shortstop last night and racked up six assists, showing some fire on defense that’s been missing for most of this season. Perhaps someone told him about Tony Renda?)

After ripping an RBI single to RF in the 5th, Nieto was on his way to his third walk in his fourth plate appearance, even going so far to toss his bat on a 3-0 count, which unfortunately, was a strike. Perhaps he realized the error of showing up the umpire, taking a little extra time to dry off his bat.

Winston-Salem’s Bryan Blough, however, opted not to see if Nieto would be punished for his faux pas by throwing something on the edges. Perhaps he forgot that first base was open, vacated by Mike Gilmartin who was on second after a slow roller moved him up after leading off the inning with a single and Michael Taylor grounded out to short for the second out of the 7th.

Instead, Blough fed Nieto a 3-1 fastball that he did not miss, smacking long home run off the third level of signage above the right-centerfield wall. The blast put Potomac on top 5-3.

Robert Benincasa came on in the 8th, the third Potmac pitcher of the night. Brian Rauh had started and turned in five innings with three runs allowed on six hits, walking none and striking out none. Richie Mirowski, who seems to have found his niche as a setup man, struck out three and let up a single while pitching the 6th and 7th. He would get his team-leading seventh win for his efforts.

Benincasa gave up a leadoff single to Dash No. 2 batter Adam Heisler, but bore down and showed why it’s actually possible, if not advisable, to have your “closer” pitch the 8th as he retired the meat of the Winston-Salem order then mowed down the next three in the 9th (six in a row) for the two-inning save, his fourth in as many appearances since his promotion last month.

Weather permitting, the two teams will conclude their three-game series tonight. Ivan Pineyro (0-0, 9.64) takes the hill for Potomac with Myles Jaye (5-2, 4.96) his counterpart for Winston-Salem.

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 “Last Night In Woodbridge”

  1. Glad you focused on Nieto. He’s been pretty under-the-radar this season, but has put up some pretty solid numbers.
    .299/.371/.468 look good for an OF. For a catcher, that’s great offense. You don’t often find catchers with the patience at the plate that Nieto does (career 12% BB rate). Guys like Ryan Hanigan and David Ross are extremely undervalued assets in the major leagues.
    How is his defense/play calling? I don’t remember hearing much about him one way or the other.

    1. Like I wrote in my first thoughts piece, Nieto’s glaring weakness is his penchant for passed balls and weakness at preventing wild pitches. The rest of his defensive game is decent.

  2. Do you see Nieto moving past Sandy Leon in the catching pecking order and semi-related to that, do you think the Nats would promote Nieto to AA this season?

    1. Not yet – Nieto still has yet to prove his durability, as last year’s 70 games was his career high. That Leon has been left in AA this long after playing in AAA last year can’t be a good sign, which means that Nieto could move ahead of him next year.

  3. RE: “* Whoever told PA guy to stop that “hitter by designation” crap, thank you” …Sorry Luke, but I’ve never said “Hitter by Designation” in my 13 years in baseball. You might be thinking of the PNats PxP guy Bryan Holland, but I can assure you that phrase has never even crossed my mind. As a matter of fact, when Francisco Soriano was replaced as the DH after only one at bat in a game last week, I clarified with the Official Scorer whether the new batter in that slot was a “Pinch Hitter” or a “Designated Hitter” since it did not involve a position player in the batting order. I’d appreciate a correction, thanks.

    Steve Ray
    Primary P.A. Announcer – Pfitzner Stadium/Potomac Nationals

    1. Steve, it may not have been you, but **somebody** has been saying saying that over the loudspeakers at Pfitzner stadium in seasons past. I stand by what I wrote because I know what I heard. It’s been a topic of discussion amongst fellow season ticketholders, one of whom approached me to tell me that he liked the Posterisk.

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