As you can probably tell by now, Ron does a great job of previewing and discussing the happenings in the NATS organization. For this reason I will not include the NATS game in my daily previews as he normally does one as well. I will instead focus in on our farm system, something that I am very passionate about. I hope to share our prospects and minor league teams with you well.
- Chiefs pitcher Meyers during his short time in AA with Harrisburg.
Chiefs (66-73) vs. IronPigs (79-64)
Here we are folks, the final game of the Chiefs season. They look to end their season on a high note by avoiding the sweep against Lehigh Valley. The IronPigs send SP Nate Bump (4-9, 5.09 ERA) to the mound to face off against Syracuse’s Brad Meyers (6-4, 3.46 ERA). The last few games of AAA ball are always interesting due to September big league call ups, prospects reaching the pitching limits, etc. The bottom line for the Chiefs is that they need to produce runs. Bump has been hit all season (.320 opp BA) and we need to give him one good last shellacking for the fans in Syracuse. Heart, not stats is going to win this game. Chiefs are 6-4 in their last 10 while Lehigh Valley is 4-6. Let’s take the final game of the season and series by not repeating today when we squandered a 4-1 lead by giving up runs in the 7th, 8th, and 9th innings.
Prediction: Chiefs get out of the season with a win behind a good shutdown performance by Meyers. I figure he will go 6 innings or so and give up 5-6 hits. Chiefs win if their bats put 4 or 5 runs on the board.
Senators (79-62) vs. Akron (73-68)
The Senators look to end their regular season on a high note. After clinching the division and a spot in the AA Eastern League Playoffs, it can be hard at times for teams to keep up the heat and end the season strong before entering the post season. They did lose yesterday to the Aeros by a score of 6-4 and they need to remember the importance of finishing. After all, the champion is usually the team who ends playing the best ball, not necessarily the one who starts off hot. Early game time tomorrow (2 PM) with Steven Wright (2-3, 5.62 ERA) on the hill for the Aeros against Oliver Perez (3-5, 3.27 ERA) for the Sens. The big story in Harrisburg is whether or not Bryce Harper will be allowed to play in the upcoming playoffs. Regardless, this game is of extreme importance to set the tempo for the Senators in the playoff matchups. A win tonight will show they mean business and are ready to win some playoff ball games.
Prediction: Both SP’s get knocked around early, pulled by 5th. High scoring game. Sens pull off the win if they can put 7 or 8 on the board. This is going to be a good old fashioned wild west baseball shoot out.
PNats (67-71) vs. Kinston Indians (76-61)
- Can the PNats rally and defend their 2010 Carolina League Title?
The PNats end their regular season today against the same Indians that took two games from them yesterday. However, their end of season break will be short as they begin their playoff series against Frederick on Wednesday. The truth is, the hope of defending that Carolina League title is slim at best. The record says it all. However, we are only 1 game back on the division leading Keys, our opponent next week. I guess there is always some hope, no matter how small. I think the main issue is not the record but rather our inconsistency. We go through too many cycles of a few wins here, a few losses there to put together a deep playoff run. I hope I am wrong. The one thing they have going for them is that they have practically the same record at home and on the road (19-15 and 19-16 respectively) while the Keys are 23-13 at home and 16-17 on the road. Alright back to today’s game. At posting time, there was no official release of tomorrow’s starters, however the same logic I applied to the Sens applies here in that ending the season on a good note is crucial.
Prediction: Either team can win this one. I will update once I see who is pitching for both teams. That will be a huge factor as both teams want to get this final W.
Suns (74-64) vs. BlueClaws (68-68)
The Suns send Matt Swynenberg (6-3, 3.77 ERA) to the mound to face off against Austin Wright (1-1, 1.50 ERA) after winning yesterday thanks to big homeruns from Keyes (17 HR) and Martinson (19 HR). Wright will present a challenge to the Suns lineup as he has struck out 36 in his 30.0 IP with Lakewood and has an opp BA of .224. The Suns Swynenberg has also posted decent outings, having an opp BA of .262. If today gives us any indication of the Suns’ performance against the ‘Claws we should expect another defensive game tomorrow. Low Scoring offense, probably powered by the long ball rather than stringing together a few hits here and there.
Prediction: I think Wright will give the Suns lineup a lot of trouble and will go deep into the game, but I really am buying into Keyes and Martinson’s ability two hit jacks despite both of them having a BA in the mid .200s. Low scoring game, powered by one of the two Suns players mentioned getting another homerun to their total. Suns win tight game 3-2.
Again these predictions are somewhat based on stats and trends but mainly on gut feelings and my experience having followed these teams.
- Marco, the NATS Farm System Correspondent