Make that five straight losses for Scottsdale, as Pat Lehman surrendered a two-run homer in the bottom of the 8th that snapped a 6-6 tie. Derek Norris hit a sacrifice fly in the top of the 9th but the Scorpions rally fell short for the eventual 8-7 score.
Running down the individual performances…
Norris went 1-for-4 with a double and two RBI, but also grounded into two double plays
Zach Walters went 1-for-5 with with double but struck out three times and committed an error
Matt Purke threw two innings and gave up an earned run on a hit and walk and had one strikeout
Lehman pitched the final two innings and gave up two runs (one earned) on two hits and a walk while striking out two
Bryce Harper did not play. Today is his 19th birthday.
Tomorrow we’ll take a look at the AFL stats to date. The Scorpions host Phoenix on Monday, visit the Desert Dogs on Tuesday, host the Solar Sox on Wednesday, then finish out the week with visits to Mesa, Surprise, and Phoenix on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday respectively. It’s afternoon games on every day this week but Tuesday.
A much busier day than usual for the Nats prospects in yesterday’s 3-2 loss by the Scottsdale Scorpions. The highlights:
Bryce Harper went 0-for-3 with a walk while playing RF, where he made two putouts and had a triple go off his glove. On his walk he stole second but was caught trying to steal third with one out and the Scorpions trailing 3-1
Derek Norris caught and went 1-for-3 with a run scored, but committed an error while attempting to throw out a runner at second
Zach Walters went 2-for-3 with an RBI while playing 3B, where he had one assist
Rafael Martin made his first appearance, tossing a scoreless inning while issuing a walk and striking out one
Pat Lehman suffered through two innings, giving up two runs on four hits, including a solo HR
Scottsdale returns to .500 (3-3) with the loss. Sammy Solis is slated to start tonight’s game against the Salt River Rafters.
The Scottsdale Scorpions picked up where they left off on Saturday and won their third straight, 4-3.
Bryce Harper drove in his first run with an RBI groundout in the 4th and snapped an 0-for-15 streak with a single in the 6th. He was intentionally walked in the 8th. Both times he reached base he stole second. On defense, he played left field and made two putouts.
Zach Walters was the designated hitter but went 0-for-4 with a strikeout.
The two teams meet again this afternoon. Sammy Solis is most likely going to start tomorrow, while pitchers Rafael Martin and Matt Purke have yet to appear in a game.
Here’s a look at how the Nationals fared over the weekend in the Arizona Fall League…
Scottsdale broke into the win column with a 7-3 decision over the Phoenix Desert Dogs.
Derek Norris was the DH and went 1-for-4 with an RBI and 2K
Pat Lehman pitched the 9th and allowed a hit and a walk but struck out two
The Scorpions evened their record with another win over the Desert Dogs, 5-4.
Zach Walters played 3B and doubled in five at-bats, making one assist
Bryce Harper played RF struck out twice while going 0-for-5
Norris caught and went 1-for-4 with a stolen base. No baserunners attempted to steal against him.
This week features home-and-home series with Mesa, Salt River, and Peoria with afternoon games on Tuesday and Saturday.
Winter leagues also start up in Mexico (tomorrow), Venezuela (Wednesday) and the Dominican Republic (Friday). Roster information is not yet available, though Syracuse pitcher Ryan Tatusko has announced via Twitter that he’ll be starting on Thursday. I’ll pass along info as I come across it, but most likely it will be on an ad-hoc basis.
The accolades keep coming for the Washington Nationals minor-leaguers, as six farmhands (five current and one former) were named by Baseball America in its roundup of All-Star Teams.
Brad Peacock was named to the first team of the 2011 Minor-League All-Star Team as one of the five starting pitchers, while Bryce Harper was named to the second team as one of three outfielders. Unlike the league awards, this a higher honor because the pool was all of minor-league baseball.
After driving through rain shower crossing into MD from VA, the sun gave way to blue skies in time for the game in Hagerstown. With baseball being a game of ritual and routine, to your right is what I saw when I went to look at the lineups for the night.
No Bryce Harper?!
With the news coming across Twitter that Craig Stammen had been recalled, the immediate thought was that Harper had been given the bump as part of a chain reaction. Nope. Just a night off.
So it was time to focus on what had been a bonus, but still a treat: seeing Sammy Solis in person.
Unfortunately, while folks may have questioned his placement at Hagerstown after pitching well in the Arizona Fall League, and particularly after the Potomac rotation was in such disarray (though lately, it’s been quite in array after back-to-back CGs). Two long home runs in the first inning were explanation enough. He needs to fine-tune his game before he returns to his level.
Solis would also run into trouble in the third inning, walking the bases loaded to three successive batters, then striking out two of three to get out of it. He even took an infield popup himself for an out. Solis would be done after five innings, the three first inning runs on the two home runs allowed on four hits total with the three walks and six strikeouts. His velocity seemed fine (couldn’t peek at any guns from my vantage point) and his curve, an 11-5 (1 to 7 from the batters viewpoint) had a sharp break to it that the Drive couldn’t touch.
Meanwhile, Greenville’s Kyle Stroup was having the kind of night that one might have otherwise expected from Solis, holding the Suns to just two hits over six innings before giving way to the bullpen. He would walk two and hit a batter but retired the leadoff batter in every inning, something the Drive managed 11 times out of 12 last night.
Despite their problems getting runners on, the Suns broke through in the bottom of the eighth. Adrian Sanchez got a bad-hop single past the vacuum cleaner Drive SS Jose Garcia, who had seven putouts and an assist for the night. Blake Kelso served up his second opposite-field single to right to set up a first and third for catcher Davd Freitas.
The Univ. of Hawaii product fouled off several pitches before he got one he could handle, which he deposited to left-center for a game-tying home run, and perhaps some Greenville Drive bloggers hitting the delete key on the gamer that they thought was safe to start writing.
Unheralded elsewhere, but given a mention here was the three scoreless innings of middle relief that made Freitas’s heroics even possible. Matt Swynenberg may not have been flashy, but he got the job done, enabling the three back-end-of-the-‘pen relievers a chance to get the glory.
Remember that Bryce Harper kid? Well, turns out he may not have started but he got a chance to play. With one out in the ninth, he pinch hit for Kevin Keyes, a chance to be the hero. After working the count full, well, you can see for yourself.
I show you this so you can see for yourself how he handled himself, which was like any other minor-leaguer: a professional.
Ben Graham followed Swynenberg with two solid innings of work, escaping a two-on, one-out jam in the 10th with back-t0-back popups to Kelso and Jason Martinson.
Chris Manno took over in the 11th and got torched a long double to center by Miles Head, who hit the first HR in the first. Manager Brian Daubauch ordered an IBB to Brandon Jacobs, who hit the second HR in the first, and Manno struck out the next two batters and got a grounder to escape the jam.
The lone leadoff hit of the night for the Suns came when Brett Newsome doubled in the 11th. Jason Martinson couldn’t move him over (he swung away) to bring up Harper. Greenville wisely filled the open base at first to go after Mills Rogers instead, who struck out while Michael Taylor lined out to end the threat.
Greenville finally got to the Suns ‘pen in the 12th, as Manno struck out two and walked two before he was lifted for side-arming Neil Holland. With two outs and two strikes, Drive catcher Josue Peley singled sharply to center. Michael Taylor fielded it and gunned it in, but the throw hit the mound and took a bad hop, evening the lucky break Hagerstown got in the 8th for what proved to be the game-winning run.
With the loss, Hagerstown’s lead over second-place Greensboro was shaved to 1½ games, the two teams set to battle for first place over the next three days before the Suns hit the road on Thursday (Wednesday is an off day) for a seven-game swing through Delmarva and Lakewood.