Sunday’s News & Notes

Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 4-2 @ Scranton/Wilkes-Barre,
1:05 p.m.
McGregor (2-8, 5.68 in ’14) vs.
Whitley (3-2, 2.01 in ’14)
Harrisburg Won, 4-1 vs. Altoona,
1:30 p.m.
Alderson (2-4, 6.01 @ AAA in ’14) vs.
Kuhl (13-5, 3.46 @ A+ in ’14)
Potomac Won, 1-0; Lost, 2-1 vs. Lynchburg,
1:05 p.m.
Suero (2-1, 7.57 in ’14) vs.
Brown (8-8, 3.31 @ A- in ’14)
Hagerstown Lost, 2-1 @ Hickory,
5:00 p.m.
Van Orden (2-3, 4.39 @ SS-A in ’14) vs.
Martin (1-4, 5.40 @ AZL in ’14)


Syracuse 4 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre 2
• T. Hill 6IP, 6H, 2R, 0ER, BB, K
• R. Hill (W, 1-0) 1IP, 0H, 0R, 2BB, 2K
• Martin (SV, 1) 2IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 4K
• Minicozzi 3-4, R, 2-2B, RBI
• D. Robinson 3-4, R

It wasn’t pretty — an error, two bunts, and a hit batsman that “drove in” the go-ahead run — but the Chiefs rallied for three in the 8th to double up the RailRiders, 4-2. Taylor Hill started and went the first six innings, letting in two unearned runs on six hits and a walk while striking out one. Rich Hill got the win in relief while Rafael Martin worked around hits in both the 8th and 9th innings with four whiffs to nail down the save. Mark Minicozzi and Derek Robinson both went 3-for-4 with a run scored to pace the Syracuse offense.

Harrisburg 4 Altoona 1
• Espino 6IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 4K
• Mendez (W, 1-0) 2IP, 2H, R, ER, 0BB, 3K, HR
• De Los Santos (SV, 1) 1IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Renda 2-3, R, 2B, BB, 2E
• Skole 1-4, R, 2B, RBI, 3K

Likewise for Harrisburg, which scored all four of its runs in the bottom of the 8th with the help of two errors to send Altoona to another defeat, 4-1. Paolo Espino took a no-no into the 6th before Curve leadoff man Keon Broxton doubled with one out in the sixth. The veteran Venezuelan stranded Broxton to finish with one hit over six innings with one walk and four strikeouts. Gilberto Mendez gave up a home run to pitcher-turned-slugger Stetson Allie in the 7th but turned in a scoreless 8th and got the win. Abel De Los Santos held off the Curve in the 9th for the save. Tony Renda reached base three times with a single, double, and a walk as the Sens were held to just four hits total.

Potomac 1 Lynchburg 0 — GAME ONE
• Rauh (W, 1-0) 5IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Bacus (SV, 1) 2IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Werth 1-2, R, BB, HR, RBI

Jayson Werth’s 4th-inning HR was the difference in a 1-0 shutout for Potomac vs. Lynchburg in Game One. The two teams combined for just five hits and one walk. Brian Rauh got the win with five innings of two-hit ball with no walks and two K’s. Dakota Bacus worked around a dropped flyball in the 7th for the second of two scoreless innings to earn the save. John Wooten and Drew Ward accounted for the other two P-Nats hits.

Lynchburg 2 Potomac 1 — GAME TWO
• Schwartz (L, 0-1) 6IP, 2H, 2R, 1ER, BB, 4K, HR
• Lee 1IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 0K
• Ward 1-2, BB, RBI

The Potomac offense remained AWOL in Game Two, unable to capitalize on four walks and hindered by some questionable umpiring for a 2-1 loss to Lynchburg in Game Two. The Hillcats smacked a long solo HR in the 1st and used a two-out double to cash in a Wilmer Difo throwing error for its two runs. The P-Nats broke up the shutout bid in the 6th as Difo reached on a throwing error, took second on a wild pitch, and, following a Jayson Werth walk, went to third on a passed ball. Chris Bostick tapped to third, holding Difo, and threw over to 2nd to throw out pinch-runner Isaac Ballou, who slid hard into the Lynchburg second baseman standing on the bag to break up the double play. Umpire Chase Eade ruled the legal slide illegal and awarded the second out to the Hillcats. Drew Ward singled to send in Difo, but instead of 1st and 2nd and one out, it was Ward on first and two down. James Yezzo struck out to end the rally, and the P-Nats went in order in the 7th.

Hickory 2 Hagerstown 1
• Reyes 5IP, 3H, 0R, BB, 7K, WP
• Ramos (BS, 1; L, 0-1) ⅓ IP, 3H, 2R, 2ER, 0BB, 0K
• Mesa 1-3, BB, SB
• Reistetter 2-3, RBI, SB

David Ramos wasted no time in registering his first blown save of the season (ninth of his career) as the Suns were eclipsed with two runs in the bottom of the 9th for a 2-1 loss to Hickory. A double, groundout, triple, and single got the job done for Hickory. Luis Reyes started and went the first five, striking out seven against one walk in three hits. Hagerstown managed just five hits on the night, with Matt Reistetter driving in the lone run with a single in the 5th.

Trea Turner Update
Turner walked, stole a base and scored a run but remains hitless (0-for-10) in three games for AA San Antonio.

Saturday’s News & Notes

Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 6-0 @ Scranton/Wilkes-Barre,
4:05 p.m.
Hill (11-7, 2.81 in ’14) vs.
Tracy (1-6, 4.45 in ’14)
Harrisburg Won, 3-2 (11 inn.) vs. Altoona,
6:00 p.m.
Espino (6-5, 3.98 in ’14) vs.
Glasnow (12-5, 1.74 @ Hi-A in ’14)
Potomac Postponed vs. Lynchburg,
2:05 p.m.
Rauh (2-4, 4.39 in ’14) and
Schwartz (2-1, 4.40 in ’14) vs.
Plutko (4-9, 4.08 in ’14) and TBD
Hagerstown Won, 14-4 @ Hickory,
6:00 p.m.
Reyes (0-1, 2.62 @ SS-A) vs.
Garrett (6-1, 4.06 @ SS-A)


Syracuse 6 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre 0
• Jordan (W, 1-0) 6IP, 2H, 0R, BB, 5K
• Grace 2IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 3K
• Ramsey 3-3, R, SF, 3RBI
• Martinson 2-3, 2R, BB, RBI, OF assist at 2B
• Gwynn 2-5, R

Caleb Ramsey had three hits and drove in three while three Chiefs pitchers combined on a… wait for it… three-hit shutout for 6-0 triumph over the RailRiders. Taylor Jordan allowed just, um, three baserunners as he gave up two hits and a walk over six innings to earn the win. Jason Martinson went 2-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored and threw out a runner trying to stretch a single into a double to end the 2nd inning. Tony Gwynn Jr. also notched multiple hits as Syracuse racked up 11 total.

Harrisburg 3 Altoona 2 — 11 inn.
• Ross 4IP, 6H, 2R, 2ER, 2BB, 6K
• Demny (W, 1-0) 2IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 3K
• Renda 3-5, R
• Skole 1-4, R, BB, HR, RBI

Matt Skole’s leadoff walkoff home run ended this one after 11 innings as the Senators straightened the Curve, 3-2. Joe Ross struggled early, giving up single runs in the 1st and 2nd innings and finished with six hits and two walks allowed over four innings (78 pitches). Derek Self, Robert Benincasa, and Paul Demny combined for eight shutout innings of relief, with Demny getting the win. Tony Renda singled three times in five trips to the plate but the rest of the lineup was just 3-for-29 with three walks as Harrisburg had just five RISP chances and left six runners on over eleven turns at bat.

Lynchburg vs. Potomac — PPD
Wet grounds were cited for the postponement of Game Two of the Lynchburg-Potomac series. It will be made up today with a doubleheader starting at 2 p.m.

Hagerstown 14 Hickory 4
• Bach 4IP, 5H, 2R, 2ER, 2BB, 3K, HR, WP, HBP
• Ullmann (W, 1-0) 4IP, 2H, R, ER, 2BB, 4K
• Masters 3-3, 2R, 3B, 2BB, 3RBI
• Read 2-4, 4R, 2BB, HR, 2RBI, SB
• DeBruin 3-5, 2R, 2B, 3RBI

Hagerstown went to town on Hickory in the middle innings, scoring 10 runs in the 4th, 5th, and 6th combined in a 14-4 win. Connor Bach got the start and went the first four innings, letting in two runs on five hits and two walks. Ryan Ullmann earned the win with four innings of one-run relief, allowing two hits and two walks. Raudy Read capped off the scoring with a two-run shot in the 9th and was 2-for-4 with four runs scored while David Masters and Grant DeBruin both registered three hits and three RBI to pace the Suns’ 16-hit attack.

Trea Turner Update
Turner went 0-for-4 in a 1-0 San Antonio Missions win, which he helped preserve on defense by throwing out a runner at home to end the 2nd.

Friday’s News & Notes

Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 8-3 @ Scranton/Wilkes-Barre,
7:05 p.m.
Jordan (0-2, 4.06 in ’14) vs.
Long (7-2, 2.35 @ AA in ’14)
Harrisburg Lost, 1-0 vs. Altoona,
6:30 p.m.
Ross (2-0, 3.60 in ’14) vs.
Creasy (8-9, 3.93 @ A+ in ’14)
Potomac Lost, 8-6 vs. Lynchburg,
7:05 p.m.
Rauh (2-4, 4.39 in ’14) vs.
Plutko (4-9, 4.08 in ’14)
Hagerstown Lost, 5-2 @ Hickory,
7:00 p.m.
Bach (0-0, 3.52 in ’14) vs.
L. Ortiz (0-0, 1.29 in ’14)


Scranton/Wilkes-Barre 8 Syracuse 3
• Cole 5IP, 8H, 2R, ER, 0BB, 3K, HR, WP
• Rivero (BS, 1; L, 0-1) 1⅓ IP, 3H, 3R, 3ER, BB, K
• Burriss 2-4, R, BB, RBI, E
• D. Robinson 0-2, 2R, 2BB, SB

The wheels came off the bus in the 7th and 8th innings as Scranton/Wilkes-Barre put up three-spots in both frames to turn a 3-2 deficit into an 8-3 win over Syracuse. Felipe Rivero took the loss, retiring just one of six batters in the 7th after a 1-2-3 sixth. A.J. Cole started and gave up two runs, one earned, on eight hits over five innings. Emmanuel Burris was the sole Chief to notch multiple hits as Syracuse managed just six singles but did draw seven walks on the night.
Roster moves: C Jeff Howell, IF Jose Lozada, OF Brian Goodwin activated from XST, placed on 7-Day DL

Altoona 1 Harrisburg 0
• Voth 6IP, 3H, 0R, BB, 7K, WP
• De Los Santos (L, 0-1) 1IP, 1H, R, ER, 2BB, K
• Vettleson 1-4, 2B
• Keyes 1-3, BB

It was a Star Trek convention on the Metro Bank scoreboard (all zeroes) until the 9th inning when Altoona scored the game’s only run to shut out Harrisburg, 1-0. Austin Voth threw six scoreless innings and allowed just three hits and one walk while striking out seven. A walk, sacrifice, and an intentional walk set up the game-winning single off Abel De Los Santos in the 9th. Drew Vettleson doubled to lead off the 5th (and break up the no-hitter) and took third on Shawn Pleffner’s subsequent single but a 5-3 lineout DP off the bat of Pedro Severino killed the only true threat of the night. The Sens were held to just five hits and two walks total.
Roster move: Player-coach Andruth Ramirez reassigned to Potomac.

Lynchburg 8 Potomac 6
• Pivetta (L, 0-1) 5IP, 3H, R, ER, 2BB, 7K
• Johansen 2⅔ IP, 2H, 3R, 3ER, 3BB, 4K, HR
• Bostick 1-3, R, BB
• Wooten 1-4, R, 2RBI, 3K

Potomac scored six times in the 9th with two outs. On any other night, that would probably be a walkoff, but down 8-0 it was merely prolonging the agony as Lynchburg held on for an 8-6 win. Early on, it was a pitcher’s duel as Nick Pivetta matched goose eggs with Dylan Baker, who no-hit the P-Nats for five innings. Pivetta would take the loss on just one run allowed over five innings on three hits and two walks while fanning seven. Four of the five Potomac hits and three of five walks came in the 9th, with Chris Bostick the sole P-Nat to reach base twice. Roster moves: RHPs Ian Dickson and Ronald Pena, LHPs Kylin Turnbull and Hector Silvestre activated from XST and placed on the 7-Day DL; OF Jayson Werth assigned from Washington for MLB rehab.

Hickory 5 Hagerstown 2
• Williams (L, 0-1) 4IP, 6H, 3R, 1ER, 0BB, 2K, WP
• Johns 2IP, 1H, 1R, 0ER, 0BB, 0K, WP
• Carey 1-4, R, HR, RBI, 3K
• Marmolejos-Diaz 1-3, R, HR, 2K

The scoring difficulties extended all the way to Low-A, as the Suns could only manage just three hits in a 5-2 loss to the Crawdads. Two of them left the yard with “Orange” Marmolejos-Diaz homered in the 2nd and D.K. Carey left the band yard and went solo in the 4th. Austen Williams was dinged for three runs, one earned, on six hits over for innings and was charged with the loss.
Roster moves: LHP Brett Mooneyham, RHP Wirkin Estevez, 3B Jake Mayers activated from XST and placed on the 7-Day DL

Trea Turner Update
Turner went 0-for-3 with a walk and three strikeouts in a 10-4 San Antonio Missions loss.

Opening Day!


It’s a full slate today for minor-league Opening Day for the second straight season as the Chiefs visit the RailRiders, the Senators host the Curve, the P-Nats host the Hillcats, and the Suns visit the Crawdads.

Well, weather permitting. Again. The first-pitch forecast is 47 degrees and a 50% chance of rain in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre; 50 and 45% in Harrisburg, 55 and 35% chance in Woodbridge, and 75 and 85% in Zebulon, NC.

Team Today’s Game Pitching Matchup (’14 Stats at Level)
Syracuse @ Scranton/Wilkes-Barre,
7:05 p.m.
Cole (6-3, 2.92) vs.
Mitchell (4-2, 3.67)
Harrisburg vs. Altoona,
6:30 p.m.
Voth (1-3, 6.52) vs.
A. Sanchez (0-2, 4.32)
Potomac vs. Lynchburg,
7:05 p.m.
Pivetta (13-8, 4.22 @ Low-A) vs.
Baker (3-3, 4.05)
Hagerstown @ Hickory,
7:00 p.m.
A. Williams (4-3, 4.66 @ SS-A) vs.
Jurado (2-1, 1.62 @ AZL)


Just the annual reminder: These pitchers are not necessarily the team’s #1 starter. They are, within a slot or two, how the Nationals would like the starters to align from Low-A to MLB in the event of promotions or injuries.

Based on what I’ve been able to gather (or been told, H/T Mayflies’ Mick Reinhard), here’s how the rest of the starting rotations will round out:

TEAM Game 2 Game 3 Game 4 Game 5
Syracuse Jordan Hill McGregor Billings
Harrisburg Ross Espino Alderson Swynenberg
Potomac Rauh Schwartz TBD TBD
Hagerstown Bach L. Reyes TBD TBD


Obviously, there’s some intrigue as to who will start Games 4 and 5 for the “A” teams. Potomac, for example, has Nick Lee, Matthew Spann, Dakota Bacus, and Wander Suero as candidates while Hagerstown has R.C. Orlan, Drew Van Orden, and Andrew Cooper. As the press release cycle starts up, we’ll know more.

And another reminder: These rotations are very likely to be short-lived, especially with the likes of Reynaldo Lopez, Robbie Dickey, Jefry Rodriguez, and some other guy expected to arrive within three weeks or so.

Nationals Affiliates Announce Rosters

Yesterday, the Washington Nationals affiliates officially announced the 2015 Opening Day rosters. Let’s take a look at who landed where to begin the season.

SYRACUSE
Watchlist Pitchers — A.J. Cole, Felipe Rivero, Taylor Hill, Matt Grace
Watchlist Position Players — Cutter Dykstra

HARRISBURG
Watchlist Pitchers — Abel de Los Santos, Bryan Harper, Gilberto Mendez, Joe Ross, Austin Voth
Watchlist Position Players — Pedro Severino, Stephen Perez, Tony Renda, Matt Skole, Shawn Pleffner, Drew Vettleson

POTOMAC
Watchlist Pitchers — Jake Johansen, Nick Pivetta, Matt Spann, Wander Suero, Justin Thomas, Jake Walsh
Watchlist Position Players — Spencer Kieboom, Chris Bostick, Wilmer Difo, Drew Ward, John Wooten, James Yezzo, Isaac Ballou, Rafael Bautista

HAGERSTOWN
Watchlist Pitchers — None
Watchlist Position Players — Raudy Read, Austin Davidson, Jose Marmolejos-Diaz, D.K. Carey

M.I.A. — Robbie Dickey, Ian Dickson, Lucas Giolito, Cody Gunter, Brian Goodwin, Reynaldo Lopez, Jefry Rodriguez, Hector Silvestre, Sammy Solis, John Simms, Kylin Turnbull.

Obviously, there are more that fall into that last batch… but for the sake of expediency, I’m limiting my analysis to the watchlist.

• For those of you who haven’t heard, Giolito and Lopez are both being held back in XST, and that’s presumably the case with most of the other pitchers.

• If indeed Lopez and Giolito are activated in late April, the best bet is for them to debut at the Pfitz during the midweek games of the first homestand in May.

• That Brian Goodwin isn’t ready is in line with our suspicion that he’s much further behind in his recovery than team officials have stated, which is hardly a shock given the amount of time it took for them to divulge that he had labrum surgery at all.

• It’s interesting that players on the DL have not yet been identified. While not a surefire indicator, it’s a least a hint as to where they might end up.

• Folks shouldn’t read too much into Hagerstown having no watchlist pitchers — they do have five 2014 draft picks, and one of the flaws of the watchlist is that short-season guys can (and do) get shortchanged if they don’t succeed right away in the GCL or the NYPL.

• It’s tough to make out what the plans are for Matt Skole with his placement at Harrisburg, but it may be more of a comment on the club’s wanting Ian Stewart and Kila Ka‘aihue in Syracuse and available as replacements for Ryan Zimmerman and/or Anthony Rendon.

• Felipe Rivero is not starting for Syracuse; the team announced a rotation of Cole-Jordan-Hill-McGregor-Billings.

• Austen Williams is the only other Opening Day starter that’s been announced.

• Finally, longtime Nats/Expos farmhand Devin Ivany is listed as a coach for the Senators.

As always, feel free to discuss in the comments. Opening Night — weather permitting 🙁 — is tomorrow!

Saturday’s News & Notes — Playoff Edition

Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 7-6 END OF SEASON N/A
Potomac OFF DAY @ Myrtle Beach,
7:05 p.m.
Bacus (7-6, 4.41)
Dickson (5-9, 4.37) vs.
Bell (6-3, 3.52)
Hagerstown Won, 6-2 OFF DAY N/A


Pawtucket 7 Syracuse 6
• Lively 3⅔ IP, 4H, 3R, 3ER, 4BB, 3K
• Grace (BS 1; L, 0-1) 1IP, 4H, 3R, 2ER, 0BB, 2K
• Burriss 4-5, 2R, 2B, HR, 2RBI
• Skole 0-1, 4BB
• Rhymes 2-3, 2R, 2B, 2BB, 2RBI, 2E

The Chiefs led 4-0 early but the bullpen couldn’t stop the PawSox, who rallied for three in the 7th for a 7-6 win and a 3-0 series sweep.
Matt Skole got things started for Syracuse in the 2nd with the first of his four walks drawn, followed by a single by Eury Perez. Will Rhymes busted a double down the right field line for the first two runs, then trotted in ahead of Emmanuel Burriss’s home run for the aforementioned 4-0 advantage. The joy was short-lived as starter Mitch Lively issued four walks in the 3rd to give two runs back, then gave up a leadoff single then a two-out double in the 4th to end his night. Sam Runion got the last out to preserve the 4-3 lead. The Chiefs answered with a run in the bottom of the 4th to take a 5-3 lead and responded again in the 6th when the PawSox got a run in the top of the 6th to go up 6-4. Matt Grace got one quick out by way of the K to start the 7th but then was peppered with a single-double-single sequence, then the second Rhymes error. After a second whiff by former Chief Corey Brown, Grace gave up the gamewinner on an infield single to deep short. Syracuse threatened in the 7th and 8th with two baserunners in each inning but couldn’t get the equalizer. Roster moves: UT Jeff Kobernus recalled to Washington, OF Quincy Latimore reassigned from Harrisburg.

Potomac — OFF DAY
Folks hoping for a rematch of the 2013 Mills Cup matchup will get 2008 instead, as Myrtle Beach shut out Salem, 5-0 to advance to the Carolina League Championship series against Potomac. The Pelicans and the P-Nats, both double-half winners, were the only two teams to finish above .500 in the eight-team circuit. Myrtle Beach won 11 of the 19 meetings, including a three-game sweep in late July at the Pfitz. However, six of Potomac’s eight wins were at BB&T, which was hardly unusual as the team had a better road record (39-26) than at home (39-32), including a 22-9 mark in the second half. The P-Nats have not officially announced a starter, but they have yet to deviate from the previous turn through rotation, hence Dakota Bacus as the probable listed above.

Hagerstown 6 Greensboro 2
• R. Lopez 6IP, 2H, 0R, BB, 10K
• Johns (BS, 2; W, 1-0) 1IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, K, 2-2 IR-S
• Napoli (SV, 1) 1⅔ IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 0K, 1-0 IR-S
• Difo 3-4, 2R, 2B, RBI
• Masters 2-4, R, 2B, RBI

The Hagerstown ‘pen couldn’t match its brilliance of Game One, blowing a 2-0 lead, but were bailed out when the bats broke out for four runs over the final two innings in a 6-2 win that puts the Suns back in the Sally League Finals for the second straight season. Starter Reynaldo Lopez played entomologist, putting the pin in the Grasshoppers for six shutout innings, with just two hits and a walk allowed while striking a career-best 10 batters. The Suns, however, were only able to get two runs for him, taking advantage of Greensboro error for a run in the 1st, then converted a Wilmer Difo leadoff double into the second score with a pair of flyouts. Nick Lee had more wild pitches (2) than outs (1) when manager Patrick Anderson pulled the plug on him after giving up a single and a walk in the space of three batters. Lee’s replacement, Samuel Johns, couldn’t keep the tying run from scoring with the third wild pitch and a two-out double to tie things at 2-2. The Grasshoppers unwisely hit Difo to start the 8th and Anderson played small ball with a sacrifice, which Spencer Kieboom plated with an RBI single to take a 3-2 lead. Johns gave up a double to begin the last of the 8th when Greensboro made another critical mistake: running into the first out of the inning at third on a grounder to short. Anderson called on southpaw David Napoli to face the left-handed Carlos Lopez, who grounded out to the right-handed Carlos Lopez at first base, then got the next batter on a tapper back to the mound. The Suns broke it open with three in the 9th to put the game away, while Napoli shook off a single to start the bottom of the 9th with a 6-4-3 DP and got the final out on the flyball to center. Hagerstown will head south over the weekend, but won’t know if it’s to Georgia or North Carolina, as the Tourists-Sand Gnats game was suspended in the bottom of the 8th with Asheville, who won Game One, leading 2-1.

Friday’s News & Notes — Playoff Edition

P-Nats-CLDS-2014

Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 8-2 vs. Pawtucket,
7:00 p.m.
Lively (5-2, 3.86) vs.
Owens (3-1, 4.03)
Potomac Won, 4-3 OFF DAY N/A
Hagerstown OFF DAY @ Greensboro,
7:00 p.m.
R. Lopez (4-1, 1.33) vs.
Sadberry (4-1, 2.65)


Pawtucket 8 Syracuse 2
• McGregor (L, 0-1) 5IP, 7H, 3R, 3ER, BB, 2K
• Rivero 1IP, 3H, 3R, 3ER, 2BB, K, BK, 32 pitches-17 strikes
• Kobernus 1-2, R, 2B, BB
• Hood 1-3, BB, RBI

With a three-run rally in the 1st, the PawSox continued their domination of the Chiefs as they cruised to an 8-2 win and took a 2-0 lead in the Governor’s Cup semifinals. Starter and loser Scott McGregor gave up four hits and a walk to the seven batters he faced in the 1st, escaping only when Garin Cecchini was dumb enough to try for third with two outs, never mind against the arm of Michael Taylor. McGregor recovered to put up four zeroes in innings two through five. His counterpart, Matt Barnes, stifled the Syracuse bats for seven innings, allowing just two singles and a double. The PawSox showed exactly what happens when late-season AAA team faces an inexperienced AA pitcher, as they torched Felipe Rivero for three runs in the 6th to put the game away. Syracuse got four free passes in the 8th to score twice on just one hit and avoid the shutout. The series shifts to NBT Bank Park for its first-ever playoff game tonight.

Potomac 4 Lynchburg 3
• Rauh (W, 1-0) 6IP, 3H, R, ER, 2BB, 2K, HR
• Mendez (SV, 2 1⅓ IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, K, 2-0 IR-S
• Ballou 2-3, 2R, BB, HR, SF, 2RBI
• Renda 2-4, 2B, BB, RBI
• 0-for-10 RISP, 10 LOB

Isaac Ballou led off the game with a solo HR in the 1st, hit the second of two sacrifice flies in the 4th, and scored on Tony Renda’s two-out double in the 6th as the P-Nats held off a late charge by the Hillcats to take the game, 4-3, and the series 2-0 to advance to the Mill Cup finals for the third time in five years. Brian Rauh made but one mistake in his six innings of work, as Jose Martinez went deep for just the third hit Rauh allowed (hey, that rhymes!). The 23-y.o. walked two and struck out two and was credited with the win. Kylin Turnbull took over in the 7th but struggled, giving up two hits and a walk in the space of four batters. He would be charged with two runs. Bryan Harper let in one of two runners he inherited from Turnbull with a sacrifice fly but struck out the next batter to preserve the 4-3 lead. Lynchburg threatened again in the 8th, getting the tying run to second with two outs on pair of singles. Gilberto Mendez was called upon to put out the fire and got a huge assist from Brandon Miller, who gunned down Kevin Ahrens at the plate for the second straight night. Mendez worked around a one-out error in by Renda to close out the game in the 9th. Myrtle Beach, who lost Game One of the Southern CLDS on a controversial HR, evened it up with a 4-1 win and force a decisive Game Three. Potomac will travel to the winner tomorrow and visit for the first two games of the best-of-five Mills Cup champonship.

Hagerstown vs. Greensboro
Game Two of the Sally North Division series is tonight in Greensboro with Hagerstown needing to to win just one of two possible games. With Lucas Giolito out for the season, Reynaldo Lopez assumes the label of staff ace label and will get the start. Greensboro will send 2014 6th Rd. pick Chris Sadberry to oppose Lopez, who shut out the Grasshoppers for six innings on August 19th.

Thursday’s News & Notes — Playoff Edition

Two out of three

Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 2-1 (10 inn.) @ Pawtucket,
7:05 p.m.
McGregor (1-2, 3.91) vs.
Barnes (8-9, 3.95)
Potomac Won, 4-2 vs. Lynchburg,
7:05 p.m.
TBD vs. TBD
Hagerstown Won, 3-2 OFF DAY N/A


Pawtucket 2 Syracuse 1
• Hill 6IP, 7H, R, ER, 2BB, 5K, HBP
• Delcarmen (L, 0-1) 1+ IP, 2H, R, ER, BB, K, WP
• Mattheus 0IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 0K, 2-1 IR-S
• Solano 3-3, 2B
• Laird 1-4, R, HR, RBI

Gerald Laird tied the game with two out in the top of the 9th, but the sixth Syracuse hit was its final as the PawSox got to the Chiefs ‘pen in the 10th for a 2-1 walkoff win. Taylor Hill got the start and gave up the first Pawtucket run on seven hits and two walks over six innings. Matt Grace followed with two scoreless in the 7th and 8th innings. After failing to convert a leadoff single off Manny Delcarmen in the 9th, the PawSox went one better with a leadoff double in the 10th. Delcarmen spared them the trouble of another sacrifice with a wild pitch, then walked the next batter to set up 1st and 3rd with no outs. Ryan Mattheus was brought in and got neither the K nor a popup as he walked the first batter load the bases, then gave up the game-winning single to center field. Jhonatan Solano singled twice and doubled once while the rest of the Syracuse lineup went 3-for-31 with no walks (despite Matt Skole starting at 1B) and eight whiffs.

Potomac 4 Lynchburg 2
• Silvestre (W, 1-0) 7IP, 5H, R, ER, 3BB, 5K
• M. Rodriguez (H, 1) 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Mendez (SV, 1) 1IP, 2H, R, ER, 0BB, K
• Ballou 1-1, 2R, 2BB, SB, CS, HBP
• Wooten 2-4, 2B, RBI

Hector Silvestre tossed seven strong innings, the offense made hay with the Hillcat bullpen, and the P-Nats relievers weathered a late comeback bid in a 4-2 win. Silvestre gave up one run on five hits and three walks while striking out five. More importantly, he kept the ball in the yard to improve his 2014 record in homerless starts (13) to 5-1 with a 1.37 ERA (vs. 3-8, 6.61 in 12GS). After a hit batsman, a stolen base, and an error plated Isaac Ballou in the 1st for a 1-0 lead, Lynchburg tied with a run in the 6th on a two-out double and a single. Silvestre let up a third straight hit but Brandon Miller and Pedro Severino prevented a second Hillcat run with a 9-2 putout to the end the inning. Randolph Oduber broke the 1-1 tie with a solo shot golfed over the LF fence in the bottom of the 6th. The P-Nats pushed the lead to 4-1 with a Severino double, singles by Ballou and Tony Renda, and an RBI groundout by John Wooten. Manny Rodriguez set ’em down in order in the 8th while Gilberto Mendez wobbled a bit in the 9th, allowing a single and a double for the second Hillcat run before getting pinch-hitter Levi Hyams to tap out to first to end it and earn the save.
Roster moves: 1B Shawn Pleffner activated from 7-Day DL, UT Cody Dent reassigned to Hagerstown.

Hagerstown 3 Greensboro 2
• Suero 4IP, 4H, 2R, 1ER, 2BB, 3K, 2WP
• Thomas 3IP, 3H, 0R, IBB, 2K
• Napoli (W, 1-0) 1IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 0K
• W. Rodriguez 2-4, R, 2-2B, RBI, SB
• Bautista 2-5, RBI

The Suns were three outs away from getting a 2-0 Columbia necktie, but rallied for three in the bottom of the 9th to pull one of out their ascot and shock the Grasshoppers, 3-2. A three-base error got things going as Carlos Lopez’s would-be flyout was turned into a Little League triple. Lopez scored on a groundout to second by Jimmy Yezzo. David Masters, who had struck out three times in three previous at-bats, drew a walk to restart the offense. Wilman Rodriguez sent him home on his second double of the night to tie it while Rafael Bautista’s second single plated Rodriguez to win it. The comeback made a winner out of David Napoli, who tossed the fifth of five scoreless innings by the Hagerstown bullpen in the top of the 9th. Wander Suero started but was dinged for two runs (one earned) on four hits and two walks over four uneven innings. Justin Thomas followed with three goose eggs while Jake Johansen posted his fifth relief appearance without a run scoring in the 8th. Bautista’s single was the lone hit in 14 chances with RISP, including an 0-for-7 mark following doubles by Drew Ward, Rodriguez, Spencer Kieboom, and Lopez.
Roster moves: UT Cody Dent reassigned from Potomac, IF Austin Davidson placed on the reserve list.

Wednesday’s News & Notes — Playoff Edition

Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse OFF DAY @ Pawtucket,
6:35 p.m.
Hill (11-7, 2.81) vs.
Escobar (0-2, 4.28)
Potomac OFF DAY vs. Lynchburg,
7:05 p.m.
TBD vs. TBD
Hagerstown OFF DAY vs. Greensboro,
7:05 p.m.
Suero (4-1, 2.13) vs.
German (9-3, 2.48)


Syracuse vs. Pawtucket — I.L. Division Series
While there has been angst about the Syracuse players “lost” due to callups or being shut down, the Nationals reinforced the Chiefs roster with 1B-3B Matt Skole, LHP Felipe Rivero, RHP Tyler Herron from the 2003 Tigers Harrisburg Senators, and added MLB rehab Ross Ohlendorf. It should also be noted that Tyler Moore hasn’t exactly been a key cog in the Chiefs offense for quite some time (.682OPS since the All-Star break, .621 in August) while Blake Treinen made but three starts in August (1-1, 4.32), in which Syracuse went 19-12 with much of the rag-tag rotation they’re bringing into the playoffs (Hill-McGregor-Lively-Laffey-Espino). The PawSox and Chiefs split their 16 games, including a four-game sweep in late May. Over the past two months, Pawtucket has taken six of nine, though the games have been close: six were decided by two runs or less. The series begins in Rhode Island with the first two and concludes in New York in the best-of-five matchup.

Potomac vs. Lynchburg — C.L. Division Series
It’s a rematch of the 2013 first round series, which the P-Nats won 2-0 but both games were tight, one-run games won in walkoff fashion — 2-1 in 14 innings, 3-2 in regulation. Potomac took 12 of 19 games this season, including the last three on the road in Lynchburg. Pitching matchups have not yet been announced, but if the most recent rotation is used, it’ll be Hector Silvestre, Ian Dickson, and Brian Rauh for the series. Dickson and Matthew Spann have been both red-hot lately (3-1, 1.44 and 2-0, 1.08 respectively over their last five starts) but the hope is that only one will be needed (in theory, Spann could be used on three days’ rest on Friday, though we’re more likely to get an update on Brian Goodwin’s injury) to advance to the Mills Cup where the defending champions (Salem) or the other double-half winner (Myrtle Beach) await.

Hagerstown vs. Greensboro — S.A.L. Division Series
This is third straight playoff appearance for the Suns and the second time they’ve drawn the Grasshoppers as their first-round opponent. Thanks to the Sally League’s travel-influenced schedule, the two teams have played just 11 times despite being in the same division (contrasted to the 204 times they played Lakewood and Delmarva, give or take 150). Hagerstown took six of those eleven, but only one of four games played in the first half, which led to Greensboro’s first-half title and vice-versa as the two teams tied both halves with records of 44-26 and 43-27. Wander Suero gets the ball tonight at the Muni, followed by Reynaldo Lopez in Game 2 on Friday, and Nick Pivetta in Game 3 on Saturday in North Carolina. Should the Suns advance, they could potentially rematch against the defending Sally Lg. champs, Savannah, which plays Asheville in the Southern division series.

Tuesday’s News & Notes

Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 8-2 END OF SEASON N/A
Harrisburg Won, 3-0 END OF SEASON N/A
Potomac Won, 6-1 END OF SEASON N/A
Hagerstown Lost, 9-8 END OF SEASON N/A
Auburn Won, 4-3 END OF SEASON N/A


Buffalo 8 Syracuse 2
• Laffey (L, 12-6) 4IP, 13H, 6R, 6ER, 0BB, 3K, WP
• Runion 3IP, 6H, 2R, 2ER, 0BB, 2K
• Dobbs 2-4, 2B
• Hood 1-4, 2B, RBI

The Syracuse pitching staff presented few challenges to Buffalo in an 8-2 regular -season finale loss. With one out in the 1st, the Bisons loaded the bases on three singles before Matt Hague singled in Darin Mastroianni. After recording the first two outs in the 2nd, starter and loser Aaron Laffey allowed five hits, including two doubles. Among the thirteen hits Laffey allowed on the night and the twenty hits the Chiefs staff allowed, the biggest blow was a Brett Wallace double to left that scored Mastroianni and Cole Gilespie and put Syracuse down, 4-0. The Chiefs responded with an RBI double by Alabaman Destin Hood that scored Greg Dobbs. Laffey would give up two more runs on four hits and a sacrifice fly in the 4th before departing down 6-1. Sam Runion came on to start the 5th and was rudely greeted by a single, a double, and two more singles that put Syracuse down 8-1 before they put some lipstick on the pig with a Greg Dobbs ground-rule double and Will Rhymes RBI single off Brandon Morrow in the 9th.
Roster moves: Activated C Jeff Howell from 7-Day DL, CF Eury Perez from 3-Day TIL; Washington recalled C Sandy Leon, 1B-OF Tyler Moore, RHPs Blake Treinen, Aaron Barrett, LHP Xavier Cedeno; OF Steven Souza removed from roster, MLB rehab assignment ended (activated from MLB 15-Day DL).

Harrisburg 3 Portland 0
• Demny 3IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Simmons (W, 3-4) 3IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, K, HBP
• Bates (SV, 3) 1IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Tejeda 2-3, 2R, BB, CS
• Latimore 2-5, R, SB

Harrisburg avoided a tie for its worst record ever with a 3-0 whitewash of Portland in the season finale. Five Senators relievers combined on the shutout the Sea Dogs, beginning with Paul Demny, who threw three innings with two hits and two whiffs. Harrisburg scored an unearned run in the 2nd when Oscar Tejeda walked, took second on an error as Portland 2B Sean Coyle dropped the throw from the catcher, and scored on an RBI single by Adrian Sanchez. Tejeda and Sanchez teamed up again in the 4th as Oscar singled with one out to start the rally and Adrian beat out a double-play ball for his second RBI. James Simmons went the next three innings and earned the win by working around a one-out double in the 4th, an error in the 5th, and two-out double in the 6th. The Sens got their final tally of the 2014 campaign with a Drew Vettleson RBI single to score Quincy “The Dude” Latimore in the 7th. Robert Benincasa put up a zero the 8th to earn his first hold while Colin Bates closed it out in the 9th for his third save.

Potomac 6 Frederick 1
• Spann 3IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 0K
• Henke (W, 5-2) 4IP, 5H, 1R, 1ER, BB, K
• Martinez 3-4, R
• Oduber 2-4, R, RBI, SB
• Norfork 2-5, RBI

The Frederick fans that waited out the 104-minute rain delay might have left soon afterwards as the Keys relievers were unlocked for six runs over their first three full innings of work in a 6-1 loss to Potomac. P-Nats starter Matthew Spann threw three no-hit innings, needing just 23 pitches to go through the Frederick lineup once, as the one baserunner he allowed (walk) was erased on a double play. Travis Henke took over after the rain stopped play with one out in the top of the 4th and went the next four frames, giving up a run on five hits and a walk to earn his fifth win. Estarlin Martinez went 3-for-4 to lead the hit column while Pedro Severino went deep with a two-run blast to break the 0-0 deadlock in the 5th.
Roster move: RHP Ross Ohlendorf removed from roster, assignment with Potomac completed.

Lakewood 9 Hagerstown 8
• Cooper 3IP, 4H, 3R, 3ER, BB, K, 2HR
• Johns (BS, 3; L, 3-2) 1IP, 3H, 3R, 3ER, BB, K, HR
• Kieboom 2-3, 2R, 2HR, 2RBI
• Yezzo 3-4, 2R, 2B, HR, 3RBI
• Mesa 3-5, 2R, 2B, RBI

In an apparent effort to keep the starters rested, the Suns used all relievers and blew a 7-3 lead to lose the final game of the regular season, 9-8. Andrew Cooper was barreled up for three runs on a pair of 2nd-inning homers and four hits total over three innings. Spencer Kieboom got two runs back via solo HRs as Hagerstown piled up five runs over 3rd, 4th, and 5th innings to take the aforementioned 7-3 lead. Ryan Ullmann gave up three in the 7th and 8th innings while Samuel Johns was pinched for the final three Lakewood runs for his second loss and third blown save. James Yezzo and Narciso Mesa combined for six hits, four runs, two doubles, a homer (Yezzo) and four RBI to lead the Hagerstown offense.

Auburn 4 Batavia 3
• Bourque (W, 3-5) 5IP, 5H, 3R, 3ER, BB, 4K, HBP, WP
• Bach (H, 5) 3IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 0K
• Gardner 3-4, 2B, CS
• Abreu 2-3, 2R, SB(10)

The Doubledays rallied from an early 3-1 deficit with three runs in the bottom of the 3rd and neutered the Muckdogs over the final six innings for a 4-3 win to close out the season. Starter James Bourque gave up all three Batavia runs on five hits and a walk while striking out four to earn his third win. Connor Bach followed with three scoreless innings for his fifth hold while Tyler Mapes worked around a hit in the ninth to notch his fifth save. Jeff Gardner singled twice and doubled once to lead Auburn’s 11-hit parade.