October 27, 2016

Washington Wizards Game 44 Review: Wiz drop another close one at home


Danilo Gallinari scored 26 points, including four 3-pointers, and the Denver Nuggets held off the Washington Wizards 117-113 on Thursday night at Verizon Center.

The Nuggets made 50 percent (9 of 18) from beyond the arc, handing the Wizards yet another close loss at home. Emmanuel Mudiay scored 20 points, Nikola Jokic had 15 points with 10 rebounds, and Will Barton added 15.

The Wizards (20-24) were led by Garrett Temple with 20 points. John Wall had 17 points with nine assists and seven rebounds, Bradley Beal had 17 points, and Nene added 15 points and seven boards. Marcin Gortat finished with had 12 points and 10 rebounds, his 22nd double-double of the season.

Denver started with a 10-2 run right off the opening tip and the Wizards were forced to play catch-up all night long.

The Wizards erased a 12-point deficit to start the fourth quarter, but just couldn’t finish.

Down 91-79 to start the fourth quarter, Washington used an 8-2 run to close to within six at 93-87 with 10:45 left on Jared Dudley’s running layup. A six-point spurt, capped by Dudley’s jumper with 7:34 to go cut it to two, 97-95, and Ramon Sessions’ 3-point play with 5:41 left tied it at 99.

But Gallinari responded on the next possession with a 3-pointer, and a few moments later got loose for another one.

A 3 by Temple, and 1 of 2 at the line from Wall, made it a two-point game again with 1:53. But Gallinari hit a fadeaway and Mudiay hit a pair from the line to make it 111-105.

Beal’s free throws with 12.5 seconds to go cut it to four at 113-109, but Gallinari and Barton both made a pair from the line and the Wizards ran out of time.

Coach Randy Wittman asked and answered his own questions at the press conference afterward.

“What was it 10-2 a minute and a half in? Coming out of the locker room we lost it. We dig ourselves a hole before we come out and playing the way we’re capable of defensively. We are down 18 and come all the way back, or down 11 and come all the way back and we are waiting until the point of being embarrassed before we start playing hard from a defensive standpoint. We aren’t going to outscore anybody and until we take playing defense as first priority, were going to continue having nights like this.”

Beal lamented the wasted comeback.

“It’s always tough, we spend a great amount of energy coming back but it’s unfortunate because you just run out of gas and you spend all your time, energy, and focus on getting back from being down by 18 but we shouldn’t have been in that position from the get-go.”

NEXT GAME: Saturday at Houston at 8 p.m. Eastern

Capitals game against Ducks postponed

The NHL has postponed Friday’s game between the Capitals and Anaheim Ducks due to the blizzard that is beginning to impact the Washington metro area. A decision on the Sunday afternoon game against Pittsburgh will be announced Saturday morning. No makeup date has yet been determined for the Ducks game.

Saturday’s game between the Wizards and Jazz had already been postponed as well.

(Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)

(Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)

Washington Wizards Game 24 Review: Wiz start strong but Spurs prove too much


(Courtesy Monumental Network)

(Courtesy Monumental Network)

The Washington Wizards had a hard enough time of the first few visits of their four-game road trip, but the last was probably the most daunting — facing a San Antonio Spurs team that had won its previous 22 straight on its home court.

The Wizards started out fine, leading after 12 minutes. But the Spurs found their footing and overwhelmed the still undermanned Wizards, and cruised to a 114-95 win, setting a franchise mark for consecutive home wins.

Kahwi Leonard scored 27 points for San Antonio (22-5). LaMarcus Aldridge added 14 points while Manu Ginobli and Patty Mills had 11 apiece for the Spurs.

The Wizards (10-14) were led by John Wall and Marcin Gortat with 20 points apiece. Wall had 11 assists and Gortat pulled down 10 boards. [Read more…]

Washington Wizards 2015-16 Season Position Outlook: Power Forward

The Wizards’ power forward position may be the most talked-about position on the team (and perhaps around the league) this offseason. It also may be the biggest mystery. The Wizards experienced success vs. the Raptors and the Hawks in the postseason by utilizing Paul Pierce, Drew Gooden, and Otto Porter as a “stretch 4” alongside Marcin Gortat, rather than putting Nene at the 4 for a more slow, powerful offense.

With the emergence of Porter during the playoffs, the emphasis Kris Humphries has made on shooting 3-pointers, and the acquisition of veteran Jared Dudley, Ernie Grunfeld and Randy Wittman are obviously going for a more modern, stretch 4 design. This Golden State Warriors-esque strategy showed so much success with players like Draymond Green, a guy who could body up in the paint and defend, but also step back and hit from 25 feet. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Minor League Report for August 26

Compiled from team press releases:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League): The Syracuse Chiefs were shut out 6-0 by the Rochester Red Wings on Wednesday night at NBT Bank Stadium. Jose Berrios struck out 12 Chiefs and allowed only three hits in seven shutout innings of work. Matt Skole had two hits against the Red Wings in the loss.

The Chiefs and Red Wings continue their five-game home-and-home series on Thursday night at Frontier Field in Rochester. Syracuse sends right-hander Taylor Jordan to the mound against right-hander Michael Bowden. The game is set to start at 7:05 p.m.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern): The Harrisburg Senators got shutout at Richmond 3-0.  The Senators will travel to Erie for a four game series beginning tonight at 7:05

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): On Wednesday night at Pfitzner Stadium, the Potomac Nationals (60-68 Overall, 31-32 Home, 27-31 Second Half) rocked the Frederick Keys (61-68 Overall, 28-38 Road, 29-30 Second Half) 10-0 in their rubber match series finale.

The Nationals’ triumph represented their 15th shutout victory this season (most in the Carolina League).

This was the final meeting between the Northern Division “Battle of the Beltway” rivals in 2015.

Potomac pounded out 11 base hits and scored in each of the first four innings of the game while Frederick scattered just six base knocks in the clash.

The Nationals jumped out to a 4-0 lead against Keys starter, LHP Luis Gonzalez (5-11), the losing pitcher, in the opening inning as Potomac 1B Grant DeBruin smacked an RBI double down the left field line that scored the leadoff single of CF Rafael Bautista. P-Nats RF Narciso Mesa, who collected four RBIs in the affair, cranked his second home run of the season, a three-run shot off the very top of the left field foul pole. Rehabbing Washington Nationals 2B Dan Uggla (back spasms), who ripped a first-pitch single into left field, and DeBruin were both summoned home on the blast.

Uggla went 1-for-4 with one run scored and one strikeout. Washington Nationals LF Tyler Moore, who like Uggla was down with Potomac on rehab (left ankle sprain), walked twice while going 0-for-2 with one run scored.

Potomac plated three runs in the 2nd inning to make it a 7-0 game courtesy of a throwing error committed by Frederick 1B Yaisel Mederos, a DeBruin RBI walk, and a sacrifice fly from Mesa.

The home club added one run in the 3rd on a run-scoring double raked by Bautista before the Nationals brought home two runs in the 4th on a pair of wild pitches hurled by Frederick RHP Dylan Rheault. Moore, who walked, came around to score along with DeBruin, who doubled.

Gonzalez lasted just 2.2 innings and gave up eight runs (six earned runs) on eight hits, two walks, and a wild pitch in suffering his 11th loss in ‘15.

Washington Nationals RHP Tanner Roark, who was optioned yesterday to Potomac, was stellar through 4.0 scoreless frames in his first career start for the P-Nats. Roark allowed three singles, walked no one, and struck out five batters.

Roark did not go the minimum 5.0 innings to qualify for the win. P-Nats RHP Brian Dupra (3-0) came out of the bullpen to capture his third win and stay undefeated in the circuit. Dupra tossed 4.0 scoreless innings and turned in a near-identical line to Roark’s performance. Like Roark, Dupra fanned five and allowed three hits. Dupra walked only one.

Keys LHP Matt Taylor, RHP Stefan Crichton, LHP Donnie Hart, and LHP Cody Wheeler each dealt 1.0 innings of relief per arm and did not allow a run.

Nationals RHP Derek Self worked a perfect 9th inning to finish the game.

This evening in Salem, VA, the Potomac Nationals begin their final road series of the 2015 regular season, a four-gamer against the Salem Red Sox (Boston) at Salem Memorial Ballpark.

The set opener begins with a 7:05pm first pitch on LewisGale Field.

Nationals RHP Austen Williams (4-4, 2.62) opposes Red Sox RHP Kevin McAvoy (9-9, 4.08) in series Game One.

HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic):  After making the South Atlantic League playoffs for three straight seasons, 2015 has been an uncharacteristic waltz around the .500 mark for the Hagerstown Suns.  Never this year has the team been better than four games over the break-even mark or worse than four games under.

Wednesday night at Lakewood, Hagerstown’s gravitational pull toward .500 continued with a 7-6 loss to the BlueClaws.  After 126 games, Hagerstown (63-63, 28-30 second half) is right where it has been for much of the season — stuck in neutral and unable to put together any kind of definitive streak, positive or negative.

Hagerstown got all of the runs back in the top of the second inning, scoring them with one swing of the bat.  After Raudy Read and Matthew Page singled and Bryan Mejia reached on an error, Jeff Gardner ripped a grand slam home run to right off Lakewood starter Elniery Garcia.

The Suns obliged with a Mejia solo home run in the fourth inning and a run-scoring single an inning later from SAL RBI leader Jose Marmolejos which tied it 6-6.  Hagerstown will try to salvage the final two games of the series, playing tonight and Friday in New Jersey.

Washington Nationals Minor League Report for August 25

Compiled from team press releases:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League): The Syracuse Chiefs beat the Rochester Red Wings, 4-1, on Tuesday night. Syracuse starter A.J. Cole pitched a gem for the Chiefs, striking out seven and only giving up three hits. The win improved Syracuse to an International-League-best 17-6 in August.

Syracuse (59-72) scored first against Rochester after being shut out in Monday’s game. Second baseman Scott Sizemore led off the bottom of the third with a double to deep right-center field, his second hit in as many Chiefs at-bats. The next batter, Steve Lerud, flied out to center, deep enough to advance Sizemore to third. With one out, Darin Mastroianni singled in Sizemore to give the Chiefs an early 1-0 lead.

The Chiefs continued the scoring in the bottom of the fourth off of Rochester starter Pat Dean. With one out, Jason Martinson singled. Following Martinson, Matt Skole singled to center and advanced Martinson to third. Ricky Hague continued the rally with an RBI single to left that scored Martinson and pushed Skole to third. Mario Lisson then stepped to the plate, grounding into a fielder’s choice that scored Skole to bring the Chiefs’ lead to 3-0. With two outs, Sizemore walked to put runners on first and second, and then Lerud lined a single to right field that scored Lisson.

Rochester (67-64) ran into myriad trouble against Cole. The right-hander pitched six and two-thirds innings, allowing one run and striking out seven while only allowing three hits and one walk. This was Cole’s fifth straight start in which he left the game with a lead.

Syracuse and Rochester will play the final game between the two teams at NBT Bank Stadium on Wednesday night before the series shifts to Rochester for two games. Right-hander Taylor Hill will be on the hill for the Chiefs to face right-hander Jose Berrios with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern): For the second night in a row, the Senators entered the ninth inning trailing and for the second night in a row, they put two runners on with no outs but on Tuesday they couldn’t move the runners around the bases and lost 2-1. Richmond evened the series with the win, improved to 63-64 on the season while the Sens dropped to 62-67.

Lucas Giolito started for the Senators and went 6.2 innings allowing two runs, both earned, while striking out eight. He was bettered by Kelvin Marte of the Flying Squirrels who went eight innings and struck out a career high in moving to 10-5 on the season. Brian Harper retired the only batter he faced and Wander Suero pitched a scoreless eighth for Harrisburg.

Trailing 1-0 in the fourth, the Senators scored their lone run on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Reegie Corona, scoring Chris Bostic which tied the game. Richmond came right back with a run in the bottom of the fourth to take a 2-1 lead and from there, the pitchers really took over. The Senators went oh-for-six with runners in scoring position while Richmond was one-for-eight. Both teams stranded six on the bases and both teams stranded three runners in scoring position. The Senators managed just four hits, all singles.

The rubber game of the three-game series is Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. at the Diamond in Richmond. RH Colin Bates is on the hill for the Senators against LH Matt Lujan for Richmond.

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): The Nationals (59-68-Overall, 30-32-Home, 26-31-Second Half) and the Keys (61-67-Overall, 28-37-Road, 29-29-Second Half) traded shutout victories in the twin bill with Frederick picking up a Game One 4-0 win and Potomac coming back with a Game Two 7-0 win on Tuesday night at Pfitzner Stadium.

RHP Taylor Mapes (4-3, 2.70) made the start in Game One that featured Washington Nationals 2B Dan Uggla and OF Tyler Moore in the lineup behind him.

Uggla made three trips to the plate, finishing 0-for-3 with a strikeout but did make three defensive plays in the field at second base. Moore started at first base and finished 0-for-2, reaching on an error and then flying out to left field.

RHP David Hess (9-3, 3.58) was brilliant for the Keys, logging the first complete game victory in his professional career in the 4-0 shutout win for Frederick. Hess gave up just one hit in his seven innings of work while issuing one walk and striking out five Nationals and improving his second half record to 7-0 with an ERA of 1.34.

The game was scoreless until the top of the third when Frederick scored three times when SS Adrian Marin walked to kick off the rally. 1B Yaisel Mederos singled, putting men on first and second. After a DH Conor Bierfeldt comebacker, 3B Derek Peterson lined a two-run single into centerfield for a 2-0 Keys advantage. LF Josh Hart then put a double into the left-centerfield gap bringing home Peterson for a 3-0 lead.

Frederick added an unearned run in the top of the third when C Wynston Sawyer struck out against Mapes but was able to reach base on a passed ball charged to C Craig Manuel. A RF Tad Gold groundout moved Sawyer to second base and Mederos reached on an error charged to 3B David Masters that brought home Sawyer from second base, an unearned run, that gave Frederick a 4-0 advantage.

Mapes lasted five innings, giving up four runs (three earned) on four hits, two walks and he struck out three. Mapes hurled 85 pitches with 55 hitting the zone in the loss.

LHP Justin Thomas came out of the bullpen and was exceptional for Potomac. Thomas pitched two perfect innings and of the six men he retired he struck out five of them.

Potomac mustered only one hit against Hess and he issued one free pass. The Nationals also had two men reach on errors in the ballgame but both were erased on the base paths.

Game Two saw RHP Ian Dickson (3-2, 3.57) make the start against RHP Mikey O’Brien (3-5, 1.94), who was coming off a seven inning no-hit effort against the Lynchburg Hillcats.

Potomac cracked the scoreboard first in the bottom of the third when LF Estarlin Martinez reached on an error charged to 3B Anthony Caronia and then scooted to second base on a CF Rafael Bautista groundout. After a wild pitch from O’Brien moved Martinez to third, DH Alec Keller brought home Martinez with an RBI infield single for a 1-0 advantage.

The Nationals added two runs in the bottom of fifth, which proved to be O’Brien’s last inning, when 2B Khayyan Norfork walked. Two batters later Martinez hit an RBI double into the left-centerfield gap that scored Norfork from first base and pushed the National advantage to 2-0. Martinez moved to third on a Bautista infield single and then scored on a wild pitch, the second of the ballgame, by O’Brien for 3-0 lead.

O’Brien didn’t last the fifth inning, pitching 4.2 frames and three runs (two earned) scored against him on three hits with three walks and five strikeouts in the loss.

Dickson danced through five innings of work just allowing one hit but walking four and setting a new season high with six strikeouts, throwing 85 pitches with 44 in the strike zone.

LHP R.C Orlan pitched a scoreless sixth inning, issuing two, two-out walks but ultimately ending the inning.

RHP Garrett Cortright entered the game and the Nationals, in the bottom of the sixth, blew the game open with four runs in the inning. With two outs and a runner, RF Brendon Webb, on second base after doubling, SS Stephen Perez snuck a ball through the right side for an RBI single to make it 4-0 Nats’. Norfork then walked and C Zach Wright lined an RBI single into left field for a 5-0 lead. Martinez hit a little comebacker and Cortright air-mailed the ball over the first baseman allowing both Norfork and Wright to score for a 7-0 lead for the Nationals.

That was the final as RHP Phillips Valdez entered in the top of the seventh and faced four men closing out the 7-0 nightcap victory for the Nationals.

Potomac is now 14-9 in shutout ballgames and 8-8 in double header games in 2015. The Nationals are now 8-13 against the Frederick Keys and their elimination number is down to 6.

The rubber match series finale tonight will see the newest member of the Potomac Nationals, RHP Tanner Roark (0-0, 0.00) make his first start in the Carolina League this season against LHP Luis Gonzalez (5-10, 6.79) for the Keys.

First pitch is set for 7:05 pm from Pfitzner Stadium.

HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic): The Hagerstown Suns are on the verge of elimination from the postseason in the South Atlantic League.  On Tuesday night they showed why as they were out-hit, out-pitched and out-fielded by the Lakewood BlueClaws in a 6-3 loss.

Lakewood got nine hits to five for Hagerstown and played flawlessly in the field while the Suns made two errors, both coming in run-scoring frames for the BlueClaws.

Lakewood (64-61, 31-26 second half) got all the runs it needed in the second inning when its first five hitters reached via base hits off Suns’ starter Will Amlung (3-3).  Lakewood starter Austin Davis (4-5) got the win, giving up four hits in five innings and surviving a momentary fitof wildness in the fifth when he surrendered all of the Suns’ runs.

On consecutive at-bats, Davis hit Austin Davidson and Stevenson with pitches and then issued a bases-loaded walk to Osvaldo Abreu. Jose Marmolejos followed with a two-run single, expanding his RBI lead in the SAL.

Entering the evening, the first baseman had driven in 77 runs, seven more than any player in the league.   In the final four innings, Hagerstown (63-61, 28-29) went quietly getting only two men on base against Jairo Munoz, who fanned four in three innings, and Matt Hockenberry, who pitched a perfect ninth for his 15th save.  The series continues tonight at 7:05 p.m.

Washington Nationals Minor League Report for June 2

Compiled from team press releases:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League): The Syracuse Chiefs lost both games of a doubleheader against the Louisville Bats on Tuesday evening at NBT Bank Stadium. Scott McGregor threw six and two-thirds strong innings in game one, but Syracuse fell 8-5 in nine innings. The Bats held the Chiefs to just two hits in game two and won by a score of 6-1.

There was no score in game one until the bottom of the fifth inning when Syracuse (17-35) finally tallied first with two runs in the frame against right-hander Dylan Axelrod. Caleb Ramsey chopped a soft ground ball to second and beat it out for an infield single with one away in the inning. Josh Johnson followed with a single to right field to put two runners on. Two batters later, Darin Mastroianni drove a double into deep right-center field to plate two to give Syracuse a 2-0 lead.

Scott McGregor put together his sixth quality start in a row in on Tuesday. The right-hander kept Louisville scoreless until the final inning when he surrendered a two-out home run over the left-center field fence to Eugenio Suarez to end his bid for a shutout. In six and two-thirds, McGregor allowed two runs on only four hits and struck out one Louisville hitter.

After Louisville (27-25) made a comeback in the top of the seventh, Syracuse fought back in the bottom half of the seventh against Nate Adcock to tie the game at five. Johnson led off the inning with an infield single and advanced to second on a throwing error by the shortstop Suarez. After Adcock retired the next two Chiefs, Tony Gwynn Jr. kept the game alive and shot a single into left field to plate Johnson and close the gap to 5-3. Emmanuel Burriss followed Gwynn with a single to center field to put runners on the corners. The next batter, Mark Minicozzi, dunked a line drive in the right-center field gap to plate Gwynn from third and Burriss from first to tie the game at five and send the game into extra innings.

The game remained tied until the ninth inning when the Bats broke loose for three runs against Evan Meek. Final score 8-5.

In game two, Louisville got out to a 6-0 lead.  Syracuse scored its only run of game two in the final inning against Carlos Contreras. The right-hander struggled with his control in the bottom of the seventh and walked three hitters in the frame. With one out and the bases loaded, Gwynn lifted a sacrifice fly to center field to score Butler for the Chiefs’ only run.

The Chiefs and Bats finish off this three-game set on Wednesday at 10:35 a.m. at NBT Bank Stadium. Syracuse sends Bruce Billings to the mound against Louisville starter Josh Smith to try and salvage the final game of the series.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern): The game scheduled for Tuesday, June 2 between the Harrisburg Senators and Akron RubberDucks has been postponed due to rain.

The game on Tuesday will be made up as part of a doubleheader on Wednesday, June 3 beginning at 5:00 p.m. The doubleheader will consist of two seven-inning games with a break of approximately 30 minutes between games.

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): Potomac (23-29-Overall, 14-14-Home), after a game suspension an evening ago, walked it off in the bottom of the 11th courtesy of SS Stephen Perez’s RBI single. The Nationals then picked up back-to-back 4-3 wins over the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (31-18-Overall, 20-8-Road) in the nightcap when SS Christopher Bostick gave Potomac the lead in the bottom of the eighth to close out the series and earn the split at Pfitzner Stadium on Tuesday night.

The defacto doubleheader began on Monday evening with RHP Lucas Giolito on the mound against the righty for Myrtle Jen-Ho Tseng. Neither starter factored in the decision as the ballgame was scoreless through five frames.

Gio, after walking back-to-back hitters in the fourth, proceeded to strike out the side of the Pelicans in the frame. The Santa Monica, CA native finished with nine strikeouts under his belt in his five innings of work. He allowed two hits and he walked two batters in addition to the strikeouts.

LHP Matthew Spann came out of the bullpen for the first time in 2015 in the sixth inning in relief of Giolito. Spanner walked RF Mark Zagunis to begin his day of work. After a sacrifice bunt and then a DH Chesney Young single, 3B Jeimer Candelario walked to load the bases. The C Victor Caratini knocked in two with a double for a 2-0 Pelican lead.

In the bottom of the sixth against Tseng Potomac tied the ballgame after back-to-back singles with one out. The equalizers came off the bat 1B John Wooten, scoring C Spencer Kieboom and 3B Drew Ward, and the two-bagger chased Tseng from the affair tying it at 2-2.
The contest remained tied at two runs apiece until the top of the tenth when the rain began to fall. LHP Nick Lee came into the game with a runner on first courtesy of a CF Pin-Chieh Chen single and allowed another one by Young. The next hitter Candelario put the ball into the air towards Bostick in the rain drops. Bostick had the ball go off the leather for an error and scoring was Young to give Myrtle a 3-2 lead.

The baseball gods gave Bostick an opportunity to atone for his sins immediately, as he led-off the bottom of the tenth. The former Pelican tripled to start the frame RHP Jasvir Rakkar (1-1, 2.29) in his first inning of work. Bostick enthusiastically scored on Perez’s sacrifice fly to knot the game at 3-3 in the tenth.

LF Isaac Ballou, the next hitter, had a 2-2 count when the game was suspended until tonight, being resumed at The Pfitz on Tuesday.

Once play resumed RHP Derek Self (2-0, 1.86) pitched a scoreless top of the 11th and it headed to the home half. RF Estarlin Martinez singled with one out for Potomac to begin the frame. CF Narciso Mesa then singled behind Martinez and with two outs Perez knocked in Martinez for the 4-3 walk-off win.

Self picked up the win in the walk-off and Rakkar took the loss for his 1.2 innings allowing six hits and a run. Self allowed two hits but nothing else in his one-inning of work for Potomac.

The nightcap, after the suspended game was finished, began shortly thereafter with RHP John Simms on the mound against RHP Jonathan Martinez.

Mesa, for Potomac, in the fifth connected for his first home run of 2015, a solo shot, to cut the Myrtle Beach lead in half at 2-1.

Simmsy went 6.1 for Potomac giving up six hits and two runs, he walked two and struck out a season-high tying four strikeouts.

RHP Josh Conway entered the game against Potomac in the sixth and a run after two straight singles from Potomac. DH Brandon Miller knocked in Kieboom, who walked to reach the bases and the game was tied at two.

Myrtle took the lead in the top of the eighth when SS Carlos Penalver doubled to begin the inning against Potomac’s RHP Wander Suero (5-2, 2.85). Two batters later Zagunis singled into right field bringing home Penalver for a 3-2 ‘Birds lead. For Suero the run allowed snapped a consecutive scoreless streak of 13.1 innings in six appearances out of the bullpen.

RHP Zach Cates (1-1, 1.50) came in for the Pelicans in the eighth and Wooten led-off the inning with a double, his third two-bagger in two games. Martinez, two batters later, hit a fielder’s choice ball to first base. 1B Jacob Rogers came to the plate with a high throw and the ball went off the glove of the backstop Caratini allowing Wooten to slide in safely for a 3-3 tie. Martinez ended up at second base and after a Mesa infield single Bostick drove in Martinez for a 4-3 Potomac lead on a single.

Suero remained in the game and picked up a double play ball off the bat of Caratini to seal the second consecutive 4-3 Potomac win of the day.

Potomac earned the series split against the first-place ballclub and now, after an off-day on Wednesday, will open up an eight game road trip with four in Salem and four in Carolina.

Both clubs are to be determined regarding the starting pitchers in the opener and first pitch is set for 7:05 pm in Salem, VA.

HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic): The Hagerstown Suns (25-25) game against the Hickory Crawdads (34-16) scheduled for tonight (June 2) has been cancelled due to rain/wet grounds. The teams will play a double-header as part of a shortened two-game series at Municipal Stadium on Wednesday June 3. The first game of the double-header will begin at 11:05am. In the South Atlantic League double-headers consist of two seven-inning games.

Washington Nationals Pregame Notes: Rendon to rehab, Cedeno to Dodgers

Before tonight’s matchup between the Washington Nationals and St. Louis Cardinals, featuring Doug Fister (1-0, 0.69) against John Lackey (1-0, 2.77), manager Matt Williams conducted his usual pregame press conference. The big news was 3B Anthony Rendon played five innings in a simulated game at extended spring training in Viera, Florida and will fly to DC to work out with the Nats tomorrow before starting a rehab assignment with AA-Harrisburg on Friday.

Williams said Rendon will mostly play third, but might see some time at second base as well.

When he will return to the Nats lineup is still in question.

“He’s got to get to nine innings for sure,” Williams said. “So, five innings today, day off, we’ll start that process again and go five [innings] and seven in back-to-back games and then another day off and then go seven, nine and see where he’s at.

“As long as he feels good, that’s all we’re concerned about.”

The Nats start a three-game series at the Braves on Monday, then travel to New York for a four-game series with the Mets on Thursday. If all goes well with Rendon over the weekend, he could be activated in advance of either series.

The other pregame news from Nats Park concerned left-handed reliever Xavier Cedeno, who was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for “cash considerations.” Cedeno was designated for assignment last week after pitching poorly the first week of the season, allowing two earned runs on three hits and two walks in three innings.

Cedeno is a classic AAAA pitcher; able to play well in AAA but unable to achieve long-term success in the Major Leagues. The Nats recalled Felipe Rivero, a promising young arm, to function out of the pen as the second lefty, and still have veteran Rich Hill in Syracuse, though Hill is not on the 40-man roster and would require a move should the Nats want to bring him to DC.


Joel Ward hasn’t seen his own Reebok ads, wants to keep them “on the downlow”

Earlier today, on my way back from Nationals Park, I couldn’t help but be distracted by the giant banners that were smattered around the Navy Yard metro station. The ads, by Reebok, depict Joel Ward engaging in a plethora of manly activities, all while sporting a Reebok Winter Classic toque.

The one that got the most attention showed Ward, shirtless, sitting in a hole in an iced-over lake in the middle of nowhere.


So many questions.

I had a hunch that he’d already gotten some guff from his teammates about the ads, namely his linemate, Jason Chimera, also know as his “twin”.

joel-ward-winter-classic-ads5-550x1024 joel-ward-winter-classic-ads3-607x345

As it turns out, Ward hasn’t even seen the ads, and isn’t in a rush for his teammates to find out, either.

“The best thing about it is no one’s said a word except for you,” said Ward. “If we could keep that on the downlow, that’d be great. I’m sure I’ll hear at some point.”

The Reebok campaign also features Chicago Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa in similar poses to Ward.


So far, the only place these ads have been seen is at the Navy Yard Metro at the Half Street entrance, which is the one you’ll be taking to get to Nationals Park if you’re attending the 2015 Winter Classic.

Check out our friends at RMNB for a full gallery of the toques. Photos by yours truly.

Washington Nationals acquire Trea Turner, Joe Ross from Padres; send Steven Souza to Rays

According to multiple sources, the Washington Nationals completed a three-way deal with the San Diego Padres and the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Nats will acquire SS Trea Turner and RHP Joe Ross from San Diego and sent OF Steven Souza, Jr. and LHP Travis Ott to Tampa. Tampa sent Wil Myers and others to San Diego.

Turner and Ross are both former first round picks and were on the Padres Top 10 Prospect List.

Since Turner was drafted this past summer, he will have to be included in the deal as a “player to be named later” and will most likely play in extended spring training next season until the deal can be consummated.

Turner, 21, was the 13th overall pick by the Padres in last summer’s amateur draft. He hit .323/.406/.448 with four home runs and 23 steals in 27 opportunities between low- and high-A last year in 321 plate appearances. He grades out with 80 speed according to MLB scouts with the defensive ability to stick at shortstop.

Ross, 21, was the 25th overall pick in the 2011 draft by the Padres. In 62 minor league appearances (60 starts) he’s 15-18 with a 3.90 ERA, 1.308 WHIP, 7.2 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9. His strikeout numbers took a tick up last season moving from low- to high-A and he made four appearances in AA at the end of last season. According to one report, Ross features a plus fastball in the low 90’s with heavy life, a slider that projects as above average, and a changeup that is still mostly a show-me pitch.

Souza, 26 on opening day, enjoyed his career last season in Syracuse, hitting .350/.432/.590 with 18 home runs in 407 plate appearances. He will forever be remembered by Nats fans for making the spectacular diving catch to save Jordan Zimmermann’s no-hitter on the last day of the 2014 season.

Ott, 19, is a former 25th round pick in the 2013 draft. He’s 4-4 with a 3.96 ERA, 1.310 WHIP, 6.8 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in 23 appearances, mostly in rookie league and short-season A ball. He’s a soft-tossing lefty with limited MLB upside.

This trade, as with last season’s deal for Doug Fister, is a bona fide and clear win for Nats GM Mike Rizzo. He moved an older prospect and a fringe at best lefty for two of the Padres top minor league prospects, both legitimate MLB talents. Turner obviously becomes the Nats best middle infield prospect, providing strong insurance if the Nats can’t — or won’t — re-sign Ian Desmond to a long-term contract. Ross is added to an already crowded stable of hard-throwing right-handed starters in the Nats minor league system.

Souza was clearly a fan favorite for his catch and power potential, but he had no place in the Nats outfield and, frankly, has limited MLB potential. He owns a long swing and is not a quality defender, despite his tremendous diving catch. The Nats got two of the three best players in this 11-player deal and didn’t give up the third. The Nats got better for the future without giving up any of the present.

Win-win for Rizzo and the Nats.

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