Last Night In Woodbridge

It’s playoff time for Potomac

For the second time in three seasons, the Potomac Nationals are playoff-bound. They clinched with a 2-0 shutout of the Kinston Indians in the opening game of a doubleheader, the second shutout in as many games.

Perhaps more satisfying is that it came against Kinston ace Joe Gardner, who had beaten the P-Nat nine that past two times they had faced him. Or maybe that Trevor Holder kept the ball down and in the yard for six scoreless innings, just the second time a zero had appeared in the run column of his pitching line all season long.

Early on, it looked like it might be a rout. Derek Norris and Bill Rhinehart drew back-to-back walks with one out to bring up Tyler Moore, who scorched a grounder that third-baseman Kyle Bellows couldn’t handle and left-fielder Donnie Webb nearly misplayed (yes, it was hit that hard) for an early 1-0 lead. Webb recovered in more than enough time to throw out Rhinehart attempting to go from first to third.

After another walk, this one to Sean Rooney, Gardner got Jerome Walton to ground out to end the threat. It would be the first of 13 batters in a row he would retire.

Indian catcher Chun Chen would smack a double to left field to lead off the second and the feeling of a rout came back, but in the opposite direction. But then a funny thing happened: Holder struck out the side, en route to retiring nine straight.

After a brief threat in the fifth, which Holder escaped with a nicely turned 5-4-3 double play, Potomac would get an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth, as Francisco Soriano led off with a walk, stole second, and took third on an error before Norris drove him in with a single to left.

Holder would finish with three hits allowed and six strikeouts against no runs and no walks to give way to Pat McCoy, who retired the Indians 1-2-3 for save no. 6, clinching the second-half Carolina League North Division title for Potomac.

With the playoff bid secured, Rhinehart, Norris and Moore were given the rest of night off and swingman Carlos Martinez got the nod to start. The veteran swingman would put in four innings of work, leaving with a 1-1 tie before giving way to Justin Phillabaum.

For the 15th time in 29 appearances, Phillabaum was scored upon, coughing up three runs in the fifth with a bases-clearing, two-out triple by Abner Abreu. Inexplicably, Phillabaum was asked to throw again in the sixth. Predictably, the Indians torched him for another three runs, a no-doubt-about-it blast to right by Bo Greenwell.

Down 7-1 in the sixth, the P-Nats showed some heart to rally for three runs in the sixth and one more in the seventh, but the damage had been done as the Potomac would fall in the nightcap by a count of 7-5.

Friday’s News and Notes

Vermont loses but every other affiliate wins on Friday night in the Nats’ minors

The Quick Rundown…

Team Yesterday’s Result Today’s Game Pitching Matchup
Syracuse Chiefs Won, 4-1 vs. Rochester, 7:05 p.m. Andrew Kown (2-4, 3.79) vs. TBD
Harrisburg Senators Won, 9-1; Won, 3-1 @ Binghamton, 7:05 p.m. Brad Peacock (2-1, 4.50) vs.
Robert Carson (1-6, 8.74)
Potomac Nationals Won, 5-0 vs. Kinston, 5:00 p.m.
Trevor Holder (2-3, 4.48) and
Carlos Martinez (0-0, 2.90) vs.
Joseph Gardner (12-5, 2.69) and
Austin Adams (5-1, 1.51)
Hagerstown Suns Won, 6-5 @ West Virginia, 7:05 p.m. Paul Demny (6-9, 4.25) vs.
Jason Erickson (7-6, 4.44)
Vermont Lake Monsters Lost, 7-4 @ Staten Island, 5:00 p.m.
Taylor Jordan (2-2, 5.08) and
Matt Swynenberg (4-2, 4.84) vs. TBD

Syracuse Chiefs W, 4-1 @ Rochester Box | Gamer
Starting Pitcher: Mock (W, 1-1) 6IP 4H 1R 1ER 2BB 3K
Pitching Star: Bisenius 1⅓ IP 2H 0R 0BB 2K
Hitting Star #1: Bynum 1-3, 2R, BB, HR, RBI
Hitting Star #2: Davis 1-3, 3B, BB
Notes: Back-to-back RBI doubles by Chase Lambin and Pete Orr broke a 1-1 tie in the top of the seventh as the Syracuse Chiefs won their sixth straight game by a score of 4-1. Garrett Mock started and pitched six strong innings, allowing one run on four hits and two walks to go with three K’s, while three Chiefs relievers combined for the final three scoreless innings. The win kept pace with Columbus, as the tragic number is now down to one, meaning Syracuse has to win out and the Clippers to lose out just to force a tie.

Harrisburg Senators W, 9-1; W, 3-1 @ Binghamton Gamer
Starter/Pitching Star: Milone (W, 12-5) 7IP 7H 1R 1ER 1BB 9K
Hitting Star #1: Marrero 3-4, 2R, HR, 3RBI
Hitting Star #2: Burgess 2-4, 2R, 2HR, 3RBI
Hitting Star #3: Lombardozzi 3-3, 2R, 2BB, HR, RBI
Notes: For the second straight season, Tom Milone has posted a 12-5 won-loss record, as the 23-year-old tossed a complete game in the opening game of the doubleheader. The 12 wins leads the Nats minors by two over teammate Chuck James, and the nine strikeouts is 14 ahead of teammate Brad Peacock. Chris Marrero, Mike Burgess, and Steve Lombardozzi all went deep, combining for eight of the 12 Harrisburg hits.

Starting Pitcher: Alaniz (W, 1-0) 5IP 2H 0R 2BB 5K
Pitching Star: Spradlin (H, 0) 1IP 0H 0R 0BB 1K
Hitting Star #1: Johnson 2-3, 2R, 2-2B
Hitting Star #2: Burgess 1-3, R, HR, RBI
Notes: The nightcap was a scoreless pitcher’s duel through five full innings before Mike Burgess went deep for third time on the night, his solo HR giving the Senators a 1-0 lead in the sixth. Harrisburg added two more in the seventh to extend the lead to 3-0. Binghamton would get its lone run in the bottom of the seventh as Brahaim Maldanado greeted closer Cole Kimball with a big fly, which was just the third hit of the night for the B-Mets. Starter Adrian Alaniz went the first five innings, allowing just two his and two walks while setting down five on strikes.

The doubleheader sweep pulls Harrisburg into a tie with Bowie for the E.L. West wildcard. In the event of a tie, Bowie would host Harrisburg for a one-game playoff.

Potomac Nationals W, 5-0 @ Salem Box | Gamer
Starting Pitcher: Rosenbaum (W, 3-2) 6IP 4H 0R 0BB 4K
Pitching Star: Dials (H, 4) 2IP 2H 0R 0BB 1K
Hitting Star #1: Jacobsen 2-4, 2R, 2B, HR, 2RBI
Hitting Star #2: Moore 1-3, R, HR (30), RBI (109)
Notes: With Wilmington idle, the Potomac Nationals shut out the Salem Red Sox 5-0, reducing their magic number to reach the playoffs to just one. Tyler Moore and Robbie Jacobsen both went deep in a three-run eighth that put the game out of reach. Starter Danny Rosenbaum went six scoreless innings, giving up just four hits and striking out four. Zach Dials pitched a scoreless 7th and 8th and A.J. Morris closed out the game with a 1-2-3 ninth. The win also clinched a playoff berth for this weekend’s opponent, the Kinston Indians.

Hagerstown Suns W, 6-5 @ West Virginia Box
Starting Pitcher: McCatty (W, 1-1) 5IP 4H 1R 0ER 0BB 8K
Pitching Star: Morrison (SV, 2) 1IP 0H 0R 0BB 3K
Hitting Star #1: Newsome 2-5, R, 2-2B
Hitting Star #2: Leon 2-5, 2R, 3B, RBI
Notes: The Hagerstown Suns built a 6-1 lead and survived two late rallies to edge past the West Virginia Power, 6-5. Shane McCatty started and allowed just one unearned run on four hits over five innings while striking out eight to get the win. Kyle Morrison stopped the bullpen giveaways with 1-2-3 ninth on three strikeouts. Hitters of the game Brett Newsome and Sandy Leon both went 2-for-5 to pace the 10-hit Suns attack.

Vermont Lake Monsters L, 7-4 @ Staten Island Box | Gamer
Starting Pitcher: Hansen 4IP 11H 4R 4ER 1BB 4K
Pitching Star: Ray 1IP 0H 0R 0BB 2K
Pitching Un-Star: Jenkins (L, 2-7) 3IP 3H 3R 3ER 2BB 1K
Hitting Star #1: Rowe 2-4, 2B; Two OF assists at HP
Hitting Star #2: Kelso 2-4, SB
Notes: Vermont completed its collapse with a 7-4 loss to Staten Island, which coupled with a Connecticut win, eliminated the Lake Monsters from the playoffs. Pitching and clutch hitting were both AWOL as Bobby Hansen started and threw for four innings, giving up four runs on 11 hits and a walk and the Vermont offense went just 3-for-15 with RISP, stranding 10 runners. Connor Rowe doubled in a 2-for-4 night and gunned down two runners at the plate to earn hitting star honors along with Blake Kelso, who stole a base while also going 2-for-4.

Thursday’s News and Notes

Syracuse and Potomac win to highlight Thursday night in the Nats’ minors

The Quick Rundown…

Team Yesterday’s Result Today’s Game Pitching Matchup
Syracuse Chiefs Won, 7-3 vs. Rochester, 7:05 p.m. Garrett Mock (0-1, 7.20) vs.
Chris Province (0-1, 7.27)
Harrisburg Senators Lost, 3-2 @ Binghamton, 5:35 p.m.
Tom Milone (11-5, 2.92) and
Adrian Alaniz (0-0, 3.00) vs.
Mark Cohoon (5-3, 4.36) and
Potomac Nationals Won, 10-3 @ Salem, 7:05 p.m. Danny Rosenbaum (2-2, 2.43) vs.
Stolmy Pimentel (9-10, 4.18)
Hagerstown Suns Lost, 8-6 @ West Virginia, 7:05 p.m. TBD vs. TBD
Vermont Lake Monsters Lost, 8-1 @ Staten Island, 7:00 p.m. TBD vs. TBD

Syracuse Chiefs W, 7-3 vs. Rochester Box | Gamer
Starting Pitcher: Detwiler (W, 1-0) 5IP 5H 3R 1ER 1BB 2K
Pitching Star: Balester (H, 4) 2IP 0H 0R 0BB 1K
Hitting Star #1: Bixler 1-2, R, 3BB, 2RBI; OF assist at 3B
Hitting Star #2: Botts 3-4, RBI
Notes: It may be too little, too late but the Chiefs closed out their home slate with their fifth straight win, a 7-3 victory over Rochester. Starter Ross Detwiler went five innings, allowing three runs on five hits and one walk while Colin Balester and Atahualpa Severino each tossed two scoreless innings in relief. Brian Bixler reached based four times and drove in two to lead the Chiefs offense. The win combined with a Columbus loss kept Syracuse’s elimination number at two with four to play.

Harrisburg Senators L, 3-2 Box | Gamer
Starting Pitcher: Thompson (ND) 5⅓ IP 6H 2R 2ER 4BB 4K
Pitching Star: Martin 1⅓ IP 1H 0R 1BB 0K
Hitting Star #1: Burgess 2-4, R, 2B, HR, RBI
Hitting Star #2: Lombardozzi 1-3, R, BB, HR, RBI
Defensive Star: Baez, OF assist at HP
Notes: Solo home runs by Mike Burgess and Steve Lombardozzi were enough to chase blue-chipper Kyle Drabek, but the Senators were filibustered by the Fisher Cat bullpen as New Hampshire chipped away with single-run innings three times to come back for a 3-2 win. Starter Aaron Thompson threw 5⅓ innings and gave up two runs on six hits and four walks while striking out four. Harrisburg was held to just five hits, and could not capitalize on the six walks issued by New Hampshire, grounding into three double plays. The loss, combined with a Baysox win, dropped the Senators a ½ game behind Bowie in the E.L. West wildcard race.

Potomac Nationals W, 10-3 Box | Gamer
Starting Pitcher: Bronson (W, 4-7) 6⅓ IP 4H 2R 1ER 2BB 4K
Pitching Star: Wort 1IP 0H 0R 1BB 1K
Hitting Star #1: Walton 3-5, 2R, 2B, HR, 3RBI
Hitting Star #2: Norris 3-5, 2R, 2-2B, BB, 3RBI
Hitting Star #3: Moore 3-4, R, BB, RBI
Notes: Jamar Walton’s three-run HR in the top of the fourth broke open a 1-1 game as the Potomac Nationals would break out for a 10-3 win over Salem. Combined with a Wilmington loss, the P-Nats’ magic number is now just two with five games to play. Evan Bronson made a triumphant return to the P-Nat rotation, tossing 6⅓ strong innings with two runs allowed on four hits and two walks. Also collecting three hits were Derek Norris, and the newly anointed Carolina League MVP Tyler Moore, as the Potomac offense collected 16 hits overall.

Hagerstown Suns L, 8-6 Box
Starting Pitcher: Clegg 5IP 7H 3R 3ER 2BB 3K 2HR
Pitching Un-Star: Garcia (BS, 1)(L, 4-4) 2⅓ 4H 5R 5ER 3BB 1K
Hitting Star #1: Leon 3-4, 2R, 2-2B, RBI
Hitting Star #2: Hague 3-4, 2B, BB, 2RBI
Notes: The Suns bullpen couldn’t hold a 5-3 lead, coughing up five runs in three innings as the Lexington Legends took the game 8-6. Starter Mitchell Clegg allowed three runs on seven hits and two walks. Lexington turned four double plays to offset the 12 hits and five walks surrendered. Sandy Leon led the hit parade with two doubles and a single in hs four at-bats.

Vermont Lake Monsters L, 8-1 Box | Gamer
Starting Pitcher: Barrett 4IP 5H 4R 4ER 1BB 5K
Pro Debut: A.J. Cole 1IP 1H 0R 1BB 1K
Hitting Star: Kelso 1-4, R, HR, RBI
Notes: The death-spiral continues for Vermont, as the Lake Monster were spun 8-1 by the Brooklyn Cyclones for their eight loss in the past 11 games. Aaron Barrett made the start ahead of announced starter A.J. Cole and tired the Cyclones out with four runs allowed on five hits and a walk before Cole came on for a scoreless inning of relief for his pro debut. Blake Kelso’s solo HR in the eighth broke up the shutout, the third of three hits the Lake Monsters would manage on the night. The loss dropped Vermont to 2½ games behind Tri-City in the Stedler Divison and reduced the elimination number to just two.

Catching Up On Transactions

Here’s a rundown of player movement from the past week or so.

Having been on vacation in Tennessee the past week, I’m still wading through the detritus of unattended e-mail and RSS feeds. Also lost in the shuffle, has been a whole bunch of transactions, the past week of which I’ll try to summarize for folks:


  • IF  Danny Espinosa called up to Washington, placed on 40-man roster
  • CA Wilson Ramos recalled to Washington
  • LHP Ross Detwiler reassigned from Potomac
  • RHP Collin Balester to be recalled to Washington after 10-day option period expires (September 4)
  • LHP Victor Garate demoted to Harrisburg
  • RHP Yunesky Maya promoted from Potomac
  • RHP Garrett Mock promoted from Harrisburg


  • Adrian Alaniz promoted from Potomac
  • LHP Chuck James placed on 7-day DL


  • Nick Moresi placed on 7-Day DL
  • Marcus Jones promoted from Hagerstown
  • Zach Dials demoted from Harrisburg


  • Sammy Solis assigned from Washington Nationals
  • Michael Taylor promoted from GCL
  • Randolph Oduber promoted from GCL


  • Robbie Ray assigned from Washington Nationals
  • A.J. Cole assigned from Washington Nationals
  • Kevin Cahill placed on Inactive List
  • Cameron Selik placed on 60-Day DL
  • Jack Walker transferred from 7-Day DL to 60-Day DL
  • Christian Meza promoted from GCL
  • Ryan Mattheus promoted from GCL
  • Billy Ott promoted from GCL

Wednesday’s News and Notes

Everybody wins at least once on Wednesday in the Nats’ minors

The Quick Rundown…

Team Yesterday’s Result Today’s Game Pitching Matchup
Syracuse Chiefs Won, 7-2 vs. Rochester, 7:05 p.m. Ross Detwiler (0-0, -.–) vs.
Cole DeVries (0-1, 4.42)
Harrisburg Senators Won, 2-1 @ New Hampshire, 6:35 p.m. Aaron Thompson (4-13, 5.89) vs.
Kyle Drabek (14-9, 2.89)
Potomac Nationals Won, 4-2 @ Salem, 7:05 p.m. Evan Bronson (3-7, 4.06) vs.
Brock Huntzinger (7-7, 3.90)
Hagerstown Suns Won, 9-1 @ Lexington, 7:05 p.m. Mitchell Clegg (9-3, 3.38) vs.
Tanner Bushue (7-8, 3.92)
Vermont Lake Monsters Won, 6-4; Lost, 3-2 @ Brooklyn, 7:00 p.m. A.J. Cole (pro debut) vs. TBD

Syracuse Chiefs W, 7-2 @ Rochester
Starting Pitcher: Maya (W, 1-1) 5⅔ IP 6H 1R 1ER 2BB 3K
Pitching Star: Wilkie (H, 9) 1⅓ IP 0H 0R 0BB 3K
Hitting Star #1: Bynum 3-3, BB
Hitting Star #2: Martinez 3-5, R, 2RBI
Hitting Star #3: Maldonado 2-3, 2B, BB, RBI
Notes: A four-run 5th gave Yunesky Maya all the run support he would need as the Chiefs would beat the Red Wings by a final count of 7-2. The Cuban defector’s first American professional win saw him go 5⅔ innings and give up one runs on six hits and two walks to go with three strikeouts. Veterans Seth Bynum, Michael Martinez, and Carlos Maldonado were the hitters of the game, combining for eight of the 11 Syracuse hits. The win kept pace with Columbus for the wild-card race, but the elimination number is now two with five to play.

Harrisburg Senators W, 2-1 @ New Hampshire
Starting Pitcher: Roark (ND) 6⅓ IP 5H 1R 1ER 3BB 2K
Pitching Star: Pena 1⅓ IP 0H 0R 0BB 2K
Hitting Star #1: Johnson 2-3, 2R, 2-2B, BB
Hitting Star #2: Baez 1-3, BB, RBI
Notes: Edgardo Baez’s RBI single in the top of the 9th gave Harrisburg the 2-1 edge over New Hampshire. Tanner Roark got the no-decision, giving up the lone Fisher Cat run on five hits and three walks over 6⅓ innings. Hassan Pena and Jack Spradlin (who got the win by retiring the lone batter he faced) built the bridge for Cole Kimball, who pitched a scoreless bottom of the 9th for his 11th save for Harrisburg. The win keeps pace with Bowie, as the elimination number for the Baysox is now six. Fourth-place Akron lost to reduce its elimination number to three.

Potomac Nationals W, 4-2 @ Salem
Starting Pitcher: Frias (W, 7-5) 6IP 3H 1R 0ER 2BB 3K
Pitching Star: Martinez (H, 2) 2IP 0H 0R 0BB 2K
Hitting Star #1: Rooney 1-4, R, HR, 2RBI
Hitting Star #2: Jacobsen 2-3, 2B, RBI
Notes: Marcos Frias tossed his first quality start in nearly six weeks, while backup catchers Sean Rooney and Robby Jacobsen powered the Potomac offense to a 4-2 win over the Salem Red Sox. Frias went six innings and gave up an unearned run on three hits and two walks while striking out three. Rooney’s two-run blast in the top of the 4th broke a 1-1 tie to give Potomac the lead. In the 5th Jacobsen, who had been pressed into duty when starting catcher Derek Norris was ejected in the third, doubled in Francisco Soriano to extend the lead to 4-1. The win kept pace with Wilmington and reduced their magic number to clinch the second-half title to four, with two more to play in Salem before hosting red-hot (eight straight wins) Kinston this weekend.

Hagerstown Suns W, 9-1
Starting Pitcher: Solis 2IP 0H 0R 0BB 1K
Pitching Star: Applebee (W, 6-5) 7IP 4H 1R 1ER 0BB 5K
Hitting Star #1: Cuevas 2-4, R, 2-2B, SB, 2RBI
Hitting Star #2: Ramirez 2-5, R, 2B, 2RBI
Hitting Star #3: Hague 2-5, R, 2B, BB
Notes: Sammy Solis made his professional debut, tossing two perfect innings as the Suns debunked the Legends 9-1. The top third of the order (Hague, Cuevas, Ramirez) combined to go 6-for-14 with four doubles, four RBI and five runs scored as the Suns pounded out 14 hits overall. Paul Applebee followed Solis with seven solid innings, giving up the lone Lexington run on four hits, no walks, while setting down five on strikes.

Vermont Lake Monsters W, 6-4 (8 inn.) @ Brooklyn (Game One)
Starting Pitcher: Grace 4⅔ IP 3H 4R 2ER 1BB 2K
Pitching Star: Crane (W, 3-3) 3IP 1H 0R 2BB 2K
Hitting Star #1: Moldenhauer 2-4, R, 2B, RBI
Hitting Star #2: Kelso 2-3, 2R, BB
Notes: The Lake Monsters overcame a 4-0 deficit with picket fence of crooked numbers, scoring two runs in the 6th, 7th and 8th innings to win 6-4 in the first game against Brooklyn. Russell Moldenhauer’s two-run double tied the game at 4-4 to help him earn Hitting Star honors alongside Blake Kelso. Starter Matt Grace allowed all four Cyclone runs on three hits and a walk over 4⅔ innings, while Dustin Crane got the win with three scoreless innings of relief.

Vermont Lake Monsters L, 3-2 (8 inn.) @ Brooklyn (Game Two)
Starter/Pitching Star: Demmin 5IP 3H 0R 0BB 3K
Hitting Star: Moldenhauer 1-3, R, HR, RBI
Notes: The nightcap also went into “extra” innings, but this time the Cyclones came out on top by a 3-2 score as reliever Wilson Eusebio literally threw the game away with an error on a sacrifice bunt. Reliever Ryan Demmin turned in a strong spot start with five scoreless innings with three hits allowed and three batters struck out. Russ Moldenhauer was the hitter of the game again with a solo HR that gave the Lake Monsters an early 1-0 lead. With the doubleheader split, Vermont remains in third place, 1½ games behind Tri-City with an elimination number of just four with five games to play. Fourth-round draft pick A.J. Cole has been listed to start tonight, which would be his professional debut.

Tuesday’s News and Notes

Three walkoff losses lowlight the last night of August in the Nats’ minors

The Quick Rundown…

Team Yesterday’s Result Today’s Game Pitching Matchup
Syracuse Chiefs Won, 6-4 vs. Rochester, 7:05 p.m. Yunesky Maya vs. Anthony Swarzak (5-10, 6.08)
Harrisburg Senators Lost, 1-0 (10 inn.) @ New Hampshire, 6:35 p.m. Tanner Roark (11-6, 3.91) vs.
B.J. LaMura (5-6, 3.98)
Potomac Nationals Won, 5-3; Lost, 3-2 @ Salem, 7:05 p.m. Marcos Frias (6-5, 6.61) vs.
Miguel Gonzalez (6-2, 3.88)
Hagerstown Suns Lost, 10-7 @ Lexington, 7:05 p.m. Evan Bronson (4-2, 5.40) vs.
Luis Cruz (7-4, 3.13)
Vermont Lake Monsters Lost, 8-7; Lost, 6-4 @ Brooklyn, 6:00 p.m.
Matt Grace (0-1, 10.80) and
Ryan Demmin (2-1, 1.73) vs. TBD

Syracuse Chiefs W, 6-4
Starting Pitcher: Arnesen (W, 6-7) 5IP 7H 4R 4ER 0BB 6K 2HR
Pitching Star: Bisenius (H, 3) 2IP 1H 0R 0BB 3K
Hitting Star #1: Bynum 3-4, R, 2B, SB, RBI
Hitting Star #2: Martinez 2-4, 2R, 2B
Notes: Erik Arnesen won his sixth game, Adam Carr notched his seventh save as the Syrcause Chiefs staved off elimination one more day with their third straight victory.

Harrisburg Senators L, 1-0 (10 inn.)
Starter/Pitching Star: Tatusko 7IP 6H 0R 2BB 3K
Hitting Star: Johnson 1-2, 2BB
Notes: Matt Liuzza led off the bottom of the 10th to break a 0-0 tie and hand the Harrisburg Senators a heartbreaking 1-0 loss. Bowie, however, also lost while Akron won as the Sens’ lead remains a ½ game over the Baysox and 2½ games over the Aeros.

Potomac Nationals W, 5-3 @ Salem (Game One)
Starting Pitcher: Barthmaier (W, 4-1) 5IP 5H 2R 2ER 2BB 2K
Pitching Star: Morris (SV, 2) 2IP 1H 0R 2BB 2K
Hitting Star #1: Walton 1-3, 2B, 2RBI
Hitting Star #2: Rhinehart 2-3, RBI
Notes: See my take in Last Night In Salem

Potomac Nationals L, 3-2 @ Salem (Game Two)
Starting Pitcher: Lehman 4IP 5H 2R 2ER 0BB 2K 2HR
Pitching Star: Dials 1IP 0H 0R 0BB 1K
Hitting Star #1: Norris 1-3, R, HR, RBI
Hitting Star #2: Rooney 1-3, 2B, RBI
Notes: See my take in Last Night In Salem

Hagerstown Suns L, 10-7 @ Lexington
Starting Pitcher: Hicks (L, 1-6) 4IP 9H 5R 5ER 1BB 8K 1HR
Pitching Star: None
Hitting Star #1: Hague 2-5, 2R, 2B, HR, 3RBI
Hitting Star #2: Perez 2-4, 2R, 3SB (59, 60, 61)
Notes: Hagerstown rallied for three in the 7th to pull within two at 7-5, but the Lexington Legends answered right back with three of their own en route to a 10-7 victory and the Suns’ second straight loss.

Vermont Lake Monsters L, 8-7 (12 inn.) vs. Brooklyn
Starting Pitcher: Hansen 3⅓ IP 7H 5R 5ER 2BB 2K 2HR
Pitching Star: Selik 2⅔ IP 0H 0R 0BB 7K
Hitting Star #1: Mozingo 3-7, 2R
Hitting Star #2: Martinson 2-6, 3B, 2RBI
Notes: In a continuation from a suspended game from last month, Vermont entered the bottom of the 12th with a runner on second and one out. With two chances to score the tying run, Chad Mozingo struck out and Blake Kelso flew out to end the game.

Vermont Lake Monsters L, 6-4 @ brooklyn
Starting Pitcher: Ott 4IP 6H3R 3ER 2BB 5K
Pitching Star: 1IP 0H 0R 0BB 1K
Hitting Star #1: Mozingo 3-4, R, 2-2B, RBI
Hitting Star #2: Keyes 2-4, R, HR, 2RBI
Notes: A three-run walkoff HR sent the Lake Monsters to a 6-4 defeat, dropping them below .500 and into third place, one game behind Tri-City and a ½ game behind Connecticut with seven games left to play.

Last Night in Salem

Potomac splits to open its last regular-season road trip

Despite late-inning heroics, the Potomac Nationals couldn’t take both games of the doubleheader and had to settle for a split to open up the last regular-season road trip of 2010 with a 5-2 win and a 3-2 loss.

In opening game, Potomac pounced on Salem’s Michael Lee, connecting for three doubles on their first three hits as Derek Norris, Jamar Walton doubled before and after a two-out walk to Tyler Moore to take a 2-0 lead in the first.

Dan Lyons got double number three to lead off the second and came in on an RBI single by Francisco Soriano, who in turn scampered in when Chris Curran tripled him in. Bill Rhinehart would single after a walk to Norris to complete the rally and the scoring for game one.

Zach Hammes came on in relief of Lee and stifled the P-Nats bats over the next four innings while Salem picked away at the Potomac lead, which began with two runs in the bottom of the second off starter Jimmy Barthmaier, who went five innings and gave up five hits.

Rob Wort came on in relief in the sixth and failed to retire a batter, issuing two walks around a double. A.J. Morris preserved the lead with a first-pitch double play that plated the third Salem run and got the final out in the sixth.

The seventh, however, was a little different as Morris issued two walks and knocked down a ball that went for an infield single but also got two strikeouts and a flyball to earn his second save for Potomac and preserve the 5-3 win.

Pitching on two days’ rest, Pat Lehman got the nod to start the nightcap and sailed through the Salem lineup with just two base runners allowed over the first three innings. In the fourth, Alex Hassan and Oscar Tejeda hit back-to-back jacks to erase an early 1-0 lead that came courtesy of a Norris solo HR in the first. Lehman would finish the inning, allowing five hits over his four innings of work with no walks and two strikeouts.

But like the first game, Potomac’s offense was the long hit or no hit at all. After the Norris big fly, the next five batters would go down in order. Then Robby Jacobsen committed the cardinal sin of making the first out at third by trying to stretch a leadoff double into a triple in the fourth, then six batters went down in order until Jamar Walton doubled with one out in the 5th.

Thus, the 2-1 lead looked almost safe as Salem veteran Mark Holliman went for the complete game and started the seventh. Bill Rhinehart doubled high off the RF wall to lead off the inning and Tyler Moore made a loud out to chase Holliman. Sean Rooney greeted Sox reliever Cesar Cabral with a double to left to cash in “Dolla” Rhinehart and pinch-hitter Jose Lozada singled to left, but too sharply for Rooney to come in from second. The rally was then killed when Cabral got Sean Nicol to roll (hey, that rhymes) into a 6-4-3 double play.

Justin Phillabaum, who had pitched the sixth, came out to pitch the seventh and immediately surrendered a leadoff single that Salem turned into a double as pinch-runner Ryan Dent stole second.

Potomac seemed for just a brief moment to have fortune on their side when a towering popup to shallow center caught Dent in-between as Chris Curran sprinted in after misjudging the arc of the ball and got the double-play call. But a walk and an error kept the inning alive, and .

With the top of the order coming up (and a lefthanded batter), Gary Cathcart summoned Joe Testa to escape the jam. The lefty-on-lefty matchup was rendered moot with a walk, loading the bases. And the game was lost when a 3-2 fastball was deemed too inside for the walkoff walk, and a 3-2 Potomac loss.

With the split and a Wilmington win, the Potomac lead is down to 1½ games (two in the loss column). The series continues tomorrow with Marcos Frias set to take the mound against Miguel Gonzalez.

Nats Name AFL Roster

Washington’s AFL roster has been announced

If you came here for some exciting names, look elsewhere. As the picture suggests, the Nationals were uninspired in their choices for who’s going to Arizona for the fall league. Without further ado…

  • C Derek Norris
  • OF Michael Burgess
  • IF Steve Lombardozzi
  • LHP Sammy Solis
  • RHP Cole Kimball
  • RHP Adam Carr

This is not to disrespect the likes of Cole Kimball and Adam Carr, which we can infer that the front office clearly believes are near-term-future relievers. But like nearly everything Tim McCarver says in a Fox broadcast, that was already painfully obvious. Perhaps more will come out in the next few days about the rationale, but all I can see is that some younger, more promising prospects (Peacock, Milone) were passed over… and I don’t mean Bryce Harper. For those of you who claim that Rizzo said that Harper might play in the AFL, he never explicitly said that it would be the fall of 2010.

Monday’s News and Notes

The Chiefs win in extras, the Sens lose late, the Suns lose early, and the Lake Monsters win big to stay in first

The Quick Rundown…

Team Yesterday’s Result Today’s Game Pitching Matchup
Syracuse Chiefs Won, 4-1 (10 inn.) @ Buffalo, 7:05 p.m. Erik Arnesen (5-7, 3.76) vs.
Fernando Nieve (2-0, 5.40)
Harrisburg Senators Lost, 8-7 @ New Hampshire, 6:35 p.m. Ryan Tatusko (11-3, 2.86) vs.
Scott Richmond (0-0, 2.70)
Potomac Nationals OFF DAY @ Salem, 5:35 p.m.
Jimmy Barthmaier (3-1, 4.26) and
Pat Lehman (5-4, 4.96) vs.
Michael Lee (9-6, 4.09) and
Mark Holliman (3-0, 3.38)
Hagerstown Suns Lost, 14-1 @ Lexington, 7:05 p.m. Applebee or Hicks vs.
Cameron Bayne (12-9, 3.79)
Vermont Lake Monsters Won, 11-5 @ Brooklyn, 6:00 p.m.
(comp. of susp. game, regular game)
Billy Ott (0-2, 2.35) vs.

Syracuse Chiefs W, 4-1 @ Buffalo (10 inn.)
Starting Pitcher: Martis 7IP 5H 1R 1ER 1BB 5K 1HR
Pitching Star: Balester (W, 3-3) 2IP 1H 0R 1BB 2K
Hitting Star #1: Martinez 2-4, 2R, 2B, SB, HR, 3RBI
Hitting Star #2: Espinosa 2-4
Notes: After surviving a first-and-third threat with one out in the bottom of the ninth, which the Chiefs escaped with a double play, Syracuse put a three-spot on the board in the tenth to win this one 4-1 over Buffalo. Michael Martinez was the offensive force for the Chiefs, his solo home run tying the game at 1-1 in the sixth, and his two-run double breaking the 1-1 tie in the tenth. Starter Shairon Martis gave up just one run on five hits and one walk over seven innings to keep pace with 20-year-old Mets phenom Jenrry Mejia, who went eight innings and struck out nine in his AAA debut. The win keeps pace with wild-card leader Columbus, but the elimination number is now down to just three with seven games left.

Harrisburg Senators L, 8-7 @ New Hampshire
Starting Pitcher: Peacock (ND) 5IP 6H 5R 5ER 3BB 4K 2HR
Pitching Star: VanAllen ⅔ IP 1H 0R 1BB 1K (pickoff at 1st base)
Hitting Star #1: Lombardozzi 3-5, R, 2B, SB, HR, 3RBI
Hitting Star #2: Ivany 3-4, 2R, HR, RBI
Hitting Star #2: Burgess 2-4, R
Notes: After falling behind 5-0 midway through, the Senators rallied for five to tie in the top of the fifth and took the lead at 6-5 in the top of the seventh. But the bullpen faltered and the Senators fell 8-7. Starter Brad Peacock was knocked for five runs on six hits, including two home runs, while walking three and striking out four. Steve Lombardozzi continues to hit as if he’d been demoted instead of promoted, going 3-for-5 with a double, home run, and three RBI. He also stole a base. The loss shaves the Harrisburg lead over Bowie to just a ½ game, while Akron lost to reduce its elimination number to five.

Potomac Nationals — OFF Day
Notes: With a loss by Wilmington, the P-Nats lead is now 2½ games as they begin a doubleheader tonight against Salem, the first two of a five-game series that will conclude their road slate before heading home this weekend for four games (and another doubleheader) against second-place Kinston, for yet another possible playoff preview.

Hagerstown Suns L, 14-1 @ Lexington
Starting Pitcher: Demny (L, 6-9) ⅓ IP 3H 7R 7ER 3BB 1K 1HR 1HBP
Pitching Star: None
Hitting Star: Perez 1-3, R, SB
Notes: A nine-run first put no doubt in anyone’s mind that Lexington would win last night as the Hagerstown Suns were routed 14-1. Starter Paul Demny retired just one of the eight batters he faced, the rest all scored. Every reliever was touched for at least one run, prompting Matt LeCroy to send an infielder (Brett Newsome) out to pitch the eighth. Offensively, the Suns were held to just four hits, with the lone run scoring on a wild pitch.

Vermont Lake Monsters W, 11-5 @ Aberdeen
Starting Pitcher: Jenkins 3IP 4H 2R 2ER 1BB 3K
Pitching Star: Swynenberg (W, 4-2) 4IP 2H 0R 1BB 3K
Hitting Star #1: Moldenhauer 4-6, R, HR, 5RBI
Hitting Star #2: Kelso 3-4, 3R, 2-2B, 2BB
Hitting Star #3: Mozingo 3-6, 3R, 2RBI
Notes: Russ Moldenhauer’s two-out, three-run home run was the turning point, as the Lake Monsters went from a 3-2 edge to a 6-2 lead en route to an 11-5 strafing of the Aberdeen Ironbirds. Moldenhauer went 4-for-6 on the night to lead the offensive barrage, which saw the top three batters combine for 10 hits, seven runs, two doubles, and seven RBI. Matt Swynenberg got the win in relief or starter Chad Jenkins, who was touched for two runs on four hits over the first three innings. The win kept place with second-place Connecticut to maintain a ½-game lead.

Sunday’s News and Notes

A split in the Nats’ minors on Sunday

The Quick Rundown…

Team Yesterday’s Result Today’s Game Pitching Matchup
Syracuse Chiefs Won, 3-2 @ Buffalo, 7:05 p.m. Shairon Martis (8-7, 4.18) vs.
Jenrry Mejia (AAA debut)
Harrisburg Senators Won, 6-5 (10 inn.) @ New Hampshire, 7:00 p.m. Brad Peacock (2-1, 3.72) vs.
Randy Boone (4-9, 3.65)
Potomac Nationals Lost, 7-6 OFF DAY N/A
Hagerstown Suns OFF DAY @ Lexington, 7: Graham Hicks (1-5, 5.24) vs.
Jose Cisnero (6-6, 3.94)
Vermont Lake Monsters Lost, 7-2 @ Aberdeen, 5:35 p.m. Christopher Jenkins (2-6, 4.31) vs.
Justin Anderson (4-4, 5.92)

Syracuse Chiefs W, 3-2 vs. Lehigh Valley
Starting Pitcher: Chico (ND) 6IP 5H 2R 2ER 2BB 2K 1HR
Pitching Star: Severino (W, 5-3) 2IP 2H 0R 1BB 2K
Hitting Star #1: Martinez 1-2, 2B, RBI
Hitting Star #2: Orr 1-3, R, RBI
Notes: Pete Orr singled in pinch-runner Yunesky Maya and Mike Martinez doubled in Orr for the two-run rally that would erase a 2-1 deficit and give the Syracuse Chiefs a 3-2 win over Lehigh Valley. Starter Matt Chico went six innings and gave up both Iron Pig runs on five hits and two walks. Atahualpa Severino pitched the seventh and eighth innings for the win, while Adam Carr came on for a scoreless ninth to earn his sixth save. The win kept pace with wild-card leader Columbus, but the Chiefs still trail by 4½ games.

Harrisburg Senators W, 6-5 vs. Trenton (10 inn.)
Starting Pitcher: Milone 6⅔ IP 6H 2R 2ER 0BB 3K
Pitching Star: Pena 1⅓ IP 0H 0R 0BB 0K
Pitching Un-Star: James (BS, 1) 1IP 3H 3R 0BB 3K 1HR
Hitting Star #1: Lombardozzi 2-4, 3R, BB, HR, RBI
Hitting Star #2: Valdez 2-4, 3B, RBI
Notes: Chris Marrero was intentionally walked to set up a double play and Jesus Valdez showed his disdain with an RBI single to give the Senators a 6-5 win over the Trenton Thunder. The bullpen failed Tom Milone in his bid for win #12, as Chuck James surrendered a two-run HR to the first batter he faced in the top of the seventh to turn a 2-1 lead into a 3-2 deficit. James would give up two more runs in the top of the eighth to extend the Thunder lead to 5-2, but the Senators rallied for three in the bottom half to tie the game at 5-5, thanks to a three-run shot by Marvin Lowrance. The win kept place with third-place Bowie, while fourth-place Akron fell; Harrisburg’s lead remains 1½ over the Baysox and 3½ games over the Aeros.

Potomac Nationals L, 7-6 @ Frederick
Starting Pitcher: Holder 4IP 8H 6R 5ER 2BB 2K 3HR
Pitching Star: Martinez 2⅔ IP 1H 0R 0BB 0K
Hitting Star #1: Norris 3-4, R, 2B, RBI
Hitting Star #2: Lyons 2-3, R, 2B, BB
Notes: Pedro Florimon Jr. channeled Homer Simpson with a hit-by-pitch to drive in the winning run and avert a series sweep as the Frederick Keys defeated the Potomac Nationals 7-6. It was the fifth and final lead change as just three times neither team was able to score in either half of the inning. Starter Trevor Holder continues to struggle keeping the ball in the park, as surrendered three home runs in four-plus innings, charged with six runs on eight hits and two walks. Joe Testa took the loss with a rocky ninth inning that featured two hits, two walks (one intentional) and two strikeouts before the run-scoring hit-by-pitch. Despite the opportunity to gain ground, Wilmington fell in extras to Lynchburg.

Hagerstown Suns — OFF DAY
Notes: The Suns set the 2010 season with a seven-game road trip through Kentucky and West Virginia, three against the Legends, four against the Power. Hagerstown is two games out of the cellar and 1½ games away from fifth place in the second half.

Vermont Lake Monsters L, 7-2 @ Aberdeen
Starting Pitcher: Jordan (ND) 6IP 6H 2R 2ER 1BB 7K 1HR
Pitching Star: Crane 2IP 1H 1R 0ER 2BB 1K
Pitching Un-Star: Meza 5BF, 3H, 2HBP
Hitting Star #1: Keyes 1-4, R, HR, RBI
Hitting Star #2: Moore 1-3, R, BB, HR, RBI
Notes: A four-run seventh broke a 2-2 tie and sent Vermont to a 7-2 loss, its fourth in the past five games. Starter Taylor Jordan went the first six innings, allowing two runs on six hits and a walk while setting down seven on strikes. The first man out of the bullpen, newly promoted from the GCL Christian Meza, failed to retire a batter, giving up three hits and hitting two batters with two pitches before Dustin Crane was able to get out of the inning with a strikeout, a groundout that sent home one runner, and a popup. Hitters of the game Kevin Keyes and Wade Moore collected the only extra-base hits, as the Lake Monsters were 0-for-8 with RISP and left… wait for it… eight men on base. The loss drops Vermont back into a tie for first place with Connecticut.