Thursday’s News & Notes

Team Yesterday Today Pitching Matchup
Syracuse Lost, 5-1 vs. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre,
6:35 p.m.
Valdez (2-2, 1.64) vs.
Sheffield (1-2, 2.96)
Harrisburg Won, 5-3 @ Reading,
7:15 p.m.
Darnell (3-3, 5.54) vs.
Arauz (3-3, 4.57)
Potomac Won, 6-1;
Lost, 5-3
vs. Buies Creek,
7:05 p.m.
Hagerstown Lost, 6-0 @ Lakewood, Johnston (0-2, 3.31) vs.
Young (1-3, 2.45)

Pawtucket 5 Syracuse 1
• Simms (L, 2-2) 3⅓ IP, 5H, 5R, 5ER, 2BB, 5K
• Smith 1⅔ IP, 3H, 0R, 0BB, 2K, 3-3 IR-S
• Wilson 2-3, 2B, BB
• Gonzalez 1-2, R, 2B, BB

The Chiefs’ tailspin extended to five games as the PawSox completed the sweep with a 6-1 victory. John Simms stepped in for Erick Fedde and was down 2-0 when he stepped off after three and a 1/3rd innings, though he did give up five hits (including a HR) and walked two. With the bases loaded, Chris Smith let ’em all in with two hits to the first three batters he faced to put Syracuse in a 5-0 hole. Austin Adams and Carlos Torres both spun two scoreless to keep the game within reach but the offense could only push across one run for the third time in four games. Jacob Wilson (single, double, walk) and Bengie Gonzalez (double, walk) were the only two Chiefs to reach base multiple times. Roster moves: RHP Eric Fedde recalled to Washington; RHP Trevor Gott optioned from Washington.

Harrisburg 5 Reading 3
• Estevez (W, 1-3) 6IP, 4H, 0R, BB, 5K; 1-2, RBI, SAC
• Mendez (S, 3) 2IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 3K
• Gamache 3-5
• Ward 2-4, 2R, HR, 2RBI
• Gushue 2-5, R

Conversely, the Senators ran their win streak to four games with 5-3 win over the Fightins. Wirkin “For the Weekend” Estevez tossed six scoreless with four hits and one walk allowed and struck out five for his first win. He also drove in a run with a single. After the white whale got to Ismael (Guillon) for three runs in the space of four batters, Jeff Ames got Harrisburg out of the 7th without further damage while Roman Mendez pitched two perfect innings to earn the save, his third. Dan Gamache racked up another three hits while Drew Ward and Kelvin Gutierrez both homered to lead the Sens offense.

Potomac Salem – GAME ONE
• Crowe (W, 9-0) 6⅔ IP, 8H, R, ER, 2BB, 6K, 103-70 PIT-K
• Bourque ⅓ IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 0K, 3-1 IR-S
• Noll 3-4, 2R, 2B, 2RBI, SB
• Sundberg 2-2, BB, CS
• Perkins 1-3, R, BB, SB

Potomac reduced its magic number to one with a 6-1 win the opener vs. Salem. Wil Crowe threw just seven more pitches than his last outing but got five more outs as he won for the 9th time (1st in the C.L.), pitching six and 2/3rd innings and allowing one run on eight hits and two walks while striking out six. James Bourque walked the first batter he faced to lose the shutout but got the second to fly out to end the game. Like Jane Russell and her Playtex, the P-Nats offense gave Crowe plenty of support with ten hits and six runs, led by Jake Noll with two singles and a double, followed by Jack Sundberg with two singles and a walk.

Salem 5 Potomac 3 – GAME TWO
• Pantoja (L, 0-3) 3⅔ IP, 6H, 4R, 3ER, BB, 2K, WP
• Howard 2⅓ IP, 4H, R, ER, 2BB, 2K, 2-1 IR-S
• Noll 2-3, 2-2B, RBI
• Keller 1-2, R, SF, RBI

Tripp Keister’s record for managerial wins and the clinching of the 1st half title will have to wait another day as the P-Nats couldn’t hold leads of 2-0 and 3-1 and dropped the nightcap, 5-3 to the Red Sox. Jorge Pantoja got the spot start and gave up four runs on six hits and a walk over three and 2/3rds innings as he suffered his third loss. Jake Noll collected his fourth and fifth hits of the night with two more doubles but the Potomac offense sputtered in the clutch, going just 1-for-8 with RISP.

Lakewood 6 Hagerstown 0
• Raquet (L, 4-6) 4IP, 11H, 5R, 5ER, 0BB, 5K, 0HR, BK
• Lee 3IP, 2H, R, ER, 2BB, 5K
• Corredor 1-3, BB
• Antuna 1-3, BB

Hagerstown opened up another donut shop on the top half of the scoreboard with a 6-0 shutout by Lakewood. Nick Raquet took the brunt of beating with the first five runs allowed on eleven (11) hits over four innings. He walked non and struck out five. Andrew Lee followed with a three innings of one-run relief before Jared Brasher loaded the bases in the 8th before rolling a double play to get out of the jam. The Suns got eight runners on with four walks and four singles, with Aldrem Corredor and Yasel Antuna the only two batters to reach base twice.

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.

31 thoughts on “Thursday’s News & Notes”

  1. If he can make it there . . .

    I’ve been known to write a farewell note here when guys we’ve followed for a while leave the Nats’ system. It seems time to do it again for one Juan Soto, who may have left the farm forever. (It should be acknowledged, however, that with him only three or four weeks short of Super Two status, shenanigans could ensue.) Goodness, if the nation hadn’t heard of Soto before Wednesday night, it will now, with two taters on national TV at Yankee Stadium.

    I’ve been on the Soto bandwagon longer and more enthusiastically than most (more on that in a minute), but even I have been shocked at his rapid rise. I thought a good showing for him this year would be making it to AA and playing in the AFL. Well, he’ll be playing in the autumn, but in front of a few more folks than they draw in the fall league.

    I have been wrong many times before about prospects, but I got this one right. Folks may remember me as the guy who for the last two years kept Robles from being the unanimous winner of Luke’s Top Bats poll. I voted for Soto both years because I thought if the power promises about him were true, he’d be more of a game-changer than Robles. Several commenters challenged me on that point, with one saying that Soto would have to be a 40-homer type guy for that to be the case. Well, he has 19 collectively thus far in 2018, and we’re not halfway yet. Anyone want to bet against 40?

    We can only hope that Robles proves to be just as good.

    1. I don’t think it was me that said that about 40 HRs (although I did and, assuming full health on his return, still do rank Robles a little higher overall due to speed, D and position, but not on bat alone), but I’ll take the other side of that bet, especially if he stays up with the big club.

      Maybe it’s time to get McGowin up and see about him as a long man. Could be lightning strikes twice (finding him and Miller).

      1. Who gets credit for the tweaking of McGowin, Williams and Dragmire?
        The combination of Soto and Robles could be real thunder and lightning

      2. Always have loved Eduardo Perez on ESPN especially after last night : only takes eight letters. Remember the name.
        Loved Tony Perez too

    2. Soto’s at bats are just electric. So fun to watch, while his power his ridiculous, his eye and his two strike approach are unbelievable. Soto has a more advanced and sounder approach at the plate than Bryce Harper or Trey Turner (or anyone else in the lineup except possibly Rendon), and its not even a close argument. He truly controls that at bats; very few MLB players are capable of controlling an at bat like Soto. Truly a unique and maybe even generational offensive talent.

      With that said, Soto still has a loooong way to go as a player.

      Right now, he is a terrible base-runner. More than just getting picked off for the third time in less than 3 weeks, he doesn’t know when to take the extra base, his leads are comically short (possibly a reaction to the pick offs; yet, he still is getting picked off) and he makes mental errors running the bases. Defensively, he also needs to improve a lot. He is obviously a great athlete, but he is slow to charge balls, his arm is fringy and seems to lose focus in the OF at times. His base running and defense will improve with time and coaching, but while he is a savant at the plate, the rest of his game is what you expect from a 19 year-old that should be playing for H’town. Fascinating.

      I think the plans change for Soto with each passing day.

      When the season started, the plan was to promote him aggressively and hope he gets to and succeeds in AA (which would be awesome for a 19 year-old). When he got to AA early than anyone expected and continued to rake, the plan was that Soto might get a late season call-up and could even make the Nats post-season roster, like Robles in 2017. When a bevy Nats OF went down (Eaton, Goodwin, Bautista and Kendrick) and Soto was lighting up AA, the Nats brought up Soto with the thought that he would go back down when Eaton came back (for among other reasons, to resolve the Super Two issue). Now, Soto is the most productive hitter in an MLB lineup that is struggling; so, he can’t be sent down. While it still remains possible that Soto could go back down for a short minor league stint, if he struggles a little and/or Eaton, Harper, MAT (and others) get hot so the Nats can address the Super Two issue, but even that is looking increasingly unlikely.

      Soto’s meteoric rise may be unprecedented. Realize that I am getting way out in front of my skis, but has a MLB ROY ever started a season in Low Class A? I would doubt it.

      1. Soto was far from the only Nat who embarrassed himself on the base paths last night. Don’t know who is in charge of base-running with the big club this year, but it’s time for some refreshers. One would hope that some of the older players would also take Soto aside and work with him on such things. (Not sure who that player is right now among the hitters; it clearly would be Scherzer among the pitchers.)

        Fangraphs says Soto is the fastest player to the majors since A-Rod, based on the number of minor-league games, so basically the fastest to the majors in a quarter century. A-Rod didn’t stick his first two times up, either.

  2. Another effective outing for Andrew Lee. Great comeback story there. I would assume with his age clock ticking fast that they’ll try to get him to Potomac sooner rather than later.

    Raquet, on the other hand, may have delayed his promotion a bit. We’ll see. He’s been pretty consistent before now.

    Crowe also continues to be consistent but not fully dominant.

    1. Being consistently good, but not dominant, is just fine. Those guys will find spots in the middle of the rotation. Scherzers are few and very far between.

    1. The heat is rising in the small EL home park on city Isle and the rest of the league.
      Let’s keep track from HR 5 onward
      As the temperature stays 83-93F

      1. Very friendly for RH hitters, yes — 325 down the LF line and only 350 in the LF power alley. More of an MLB poke to right-center at 380.

        Gutierrez only has six doubles to go with those five homers, though, so his SLG is only .408 and ISO .127. Still, for a guy with only seven career homers before this season, five thus far is encouraging.

        1. Yes, keeping an eye on Gutierrez. Never mind his or Ward’s year long output; both of their power has ramped up to definitively higher levels.

          1. Gil Nats added another Latin arm to DSL stable . This signing period runs through when ??

            Possible collegiate arms to motor through auburn (haha)
            Tapani , Cate, Milacki the junior , FSU Seminole RHP, UK kid??
            Maybe several on forensicane
            Microscope ???

    1. Gil Nats added another Latin arm to DSL stable . This signing period runs through when ??

      Possible collegiate arms to motor through auburn (haha)
      Tapani , Cate, Milacki the junior , FSU Seminole RHP, UK kid??
      Maybe several on forensicane
      Microscope ???

  3. Crowe is 9-0 in his first full professional year, in High A and first year after Nats instructional league.

    I would say that any team would be happy to say that about their 2nd round pick.

    As for Soto, the person who actually was the most prescient was the Nationals minor league pitcher, Brigham Hill, who told me in spring training, “he should be in the major leagues right now. He is on another level from everyone in the (Nats) minor leagues and will be an All Star.”

    I looked at him like he was nus. He replied, “seriously.”

  4. Haha

    For everyone here, go to spring training in late March, talk to all the players about their impressions of everyone they see, and you’ll never need Law or Mayo again.

    I learned a lot and shared here. The only thing I heard that did not bear true was the expected rise of Jimmy Cordero. He got lots of raves; although he is indeed doing well statistically, he appears to be lower on the pecking order. But it’s a long season and we may yet hear from him.

  5. Carter Kieboom has now missed the last 3 games for the P-Nats and not played in last two days. Anything going on with him? Anybody know?

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