Marmolejos, Simms, and Read named to Eastern League All-Star team

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In conjunction with the Eastern League, the Harrisburg Senators are pleased to announce that INF/OF Jose Marmolejos, RHP John Simms and C Raudy Read have been named to the Eastern League Western Division All-Star team for Eastern League All-Star Game at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium in Manchester, New Hampshire on July 12.

Marmolejos, 24, is hitting .307 with seven home runs and 26 RBIs. Jose didn’t join the team until May 12, but is tied for the current team lead in home runs and is fourth in runs batted in. He’s also scored thirty runs which is second to Alec Keller. He made an immediate impact on the Senators, going five-for-six, five RBIs and a go-ahead two-out grand slam in the ninth inning to beat Erie on May 22. He’s considered the #26 prospect according to Baseball Americain the Nationals organization.

Simms, 25, is the only starter remaining in the season opening rotation for the Senators. He’s in his fifth professional season and the fourth with the Senators. He has been steady at 3-4 with a 3.44 ERA. Prior to the start Wednesday afternoon against Reading, he was 1-0 with a 1.35 ERA over his last three starts. He struck out a season-high eight batters at New Hampshire on June 22. He was the Houston Chronicle’s Pitcher of the Year as a junior in high school in 2009.

Read, 23, is in his first season with the Senators and his seventh in the Nationals organization. He’s hitting .279 with seven home runs and 33 RBIs. Raudy (pronounced Rowdy) has played in 58 of the Senators 76 games to date. His 33 RBIs are second on the Senators and his 16 doubles lead the team. He hit a one-out two-run home run on Saturday, June 24 at Portland to give the Senators 6-5 lead. He’s considered the Nationals #22 prospect according to Baseball America.

Game 77 vs. Reading: Lineup and Notes

GAME NOTES 06/28/2017

FOLLOW ALONG

TODAY’S GAMES

The Senators and Reading Fightin Phils play game four of the five game series Wednesday afternoon at FNB Field. The Senators took game one of Tuesday’s doubleheader 4-3 before falling 4-1 in game two. Reading has won four of the first five meetings between the two clubs so far this season. The two teams play a total of 14 times in 2017, with seven games at each ballpark.

DON’T SCORE FIRST

The team that has scored first has lost each of the first three games of the series. The Senators are 24-13 when scoring first while Reading is 29-11, the third highest winning percentages in those situations in the Eastern League.

SELF-RELIANT

Derek Self tossed three innings of hitless baseball in a spot start during game two of the doubleheader Tuesday, extending his scoreless inning streak to eight and a third innings dating back to June 9 against Binghamton. Opponents are just two for 27 with two walks against Self over that stretch.

STARTING PITCHERS

John Simms gets the call for the Senators in game four of the series. The right-hander is 3-4 with a 3.44 ERA across 14 starts this season. Simms is the lone starter remaining from the Senators’ opening day starting rotation. The 25-year-old has limited opponents to three runs or less in 12 of his 14 starts this season. Over his previous two starts combined, Simms has allowed just two runs on six hits while striking out 16 over 14.1 innings.

The Fightins counter with starter Cole Irvin, who is making his Double-A debut. The right-hander went 4-6 with a 2.55 ERA across 11 starts with Single-A Clearwater prior to his promotion. This is just Irvin’s second Minor League season after he was drafted in the fifth round of the 2016 draft from the University of Oregon.

Missed opportunities in nightcap tarnish come from behind win in doubleheader opener for Senators

Stephen Perez (Sam Getty / Harrisburg Senators)

Losing is not fun. But players and coaches know baseball teams, even great ones, are going to lose at least one-third of the games they play. This is not a case of accepting losing, but rather learning to live with failure so they can turn the page on a bad day at the plate, a poor outing, or just an ugly loss. It’s why the mood in the clubhouse after a 9-1 blowout loss is sometimes difficult to differentiate from a victory.

But there was no denying that after Tuesday night’s doubleheader split, the coaching staff and players were down much more than usual knowing they had multiple opportunities to sweep the Fightin’ Phils.

Behind 3-1, the Senators put together rallies in the fourth, fifth, and six innings but couldn’t break through. Six of their seven hitless at-bats with runners in scoring position came during that stretch.

“If we got some guys in from third, we’d be right there in the end,” manager Matt LeCroy said. “That killed us.”

***

In the twinbill opener, the Senators posted a 4-3 come from behind victory on a clutch single from Stephen Perez.

Harrisburg starter Wirkin Estevez labored through five innings allowing three runs on 10 hits. The Phils put the leadoff batter on base each inning against the 25-year-old right-hander as he dealt with traffic each frame.

“His fastball really got hit hard tonight,” LeCroy said. “He was just a little bit elevated with the heater.”

Reading starter Drew Anderson on the other hand made it look easy posting four zeroes. That is until the fifth inning when Yadiel Hernandez snuck a solo shot, his third homer of the season, over the bullpen wall inside the rightfield foul pole. Darian Sandford’s pinch-hit single later in the frame cut the Reading lead down to 3-2.

The runs chased Anderson from the game and put Harrisburg into the Reading bullpen, specifically southpaw Austin Davis, for the sixth inning. A leadoff walk from Raudy Read and a single from Hernandez put the tying and go ahead runs on base with one out. The baserunners moved up 90 feet on a fielder’s choice to bring Perez to the plate. The second baseman delivered a flare into right field that easily plated Read and after Reading first baseman Kyle Martin cut the relay throw allowed Hernandez to score without a play at the plate.

***

LeCroy on playing a doubleheader the night before a quick turnaround day game: “The worst part is the 12 o’clock game. When you have to deal with a 12 o’clock game the next day, you know you are going to be light. You try to figure out how you can use the least amount of pitchers. So you do things you normally wouldn’t do or think about.”

***

Jimmy Cordero worked a scoreless sixth and seventh to nail down the victory and pick up his second win of the season…called on to make spot start in the second game, Derek Self threw three hitless and scoreless innings…Senators’ batters fourth through ninth in the batting order went 0-for-15 in the nightcap.

Games 75 & 76 vs. Reading: Lineup and Notes

GAME NOTES 06/27/2017

FOLLOW ALONG

TODAY’S GAMES

The Senators and Reading Fightin Phils play a doubleheader Tuesday night in games two and three of a five game series. Game two is a make-up for the April 27 game between the two teams that was postponed due to weather. Reading took the series opener 5-3, highlighted by Mitch Walding’s go-ahead two run home run in the seventh inning. The Senators are 2-6 in doubleheaders this season, while the Fightins are 4-2 in twin bills. Reading captured both games between them and the Senators earlier this season on April 24 and 26. The two clubs play a total of 14 times in 2017, with seven games at each ballpark.

RAUDY BATTING CLEAN UP

Raudy Read is six for his last 14 at the plate with two home runs and eight RBI and he has recorded a hit in 16 of his previous 19 games overall. The 23-year-old has hit cleanup each of his past two games and he is 11 for 24 with two home runs and 11 RBI in six games in that spot the order this season.

STARTING PITCHERS

Wirkin Estevez starts game one of the twin bill for the Senators. The right-hander won each of his first two starts as a Senator, including limiting New Hampshire to just one run on three hits in his last start on June 21. Derek Self makes a spot start in game two. The right-hander starts his second game of his career, after starting his first game on June 3 against Erie as part of a doubleheader where he allowed three runs in three innings.

The Fightins counter with starter Drew Anderson in game one. The right-hander is making his first start against the Senators this season and is the 21st ranked prospect in the Phillies organization by MLB.com. John Richy gets the call in game two. The former 3rd round pick of the Dodgers has started four games this season in seven total appearances with Reading. Richy was added to the roster prior to the series opener after a brief stint in Triple-A.

Senators drop third straight series opener despite Raudy Read raking from the clean-up spot

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After the first three innings on Monday night, the Harrisburg Senators looked ready to mark another game in the win column. But the Reading Fightin’ Phils proved you need to play nine innings, even with an hour-plus rain delay, before you can make it official.

The Senators jumped out to an early lead with a three-run inning fueled by a pair of home runs from Alec Keller and Raudy Read. And with Harrisburg starter Matthew Crownover in cruise control, the game appeared well in hand against the Phils. Crownover made easy work of the Reading lineup the first time through the order as the southpaw retired the first nine batters he faced on only 26 pitches. But the Phils would answer the Senators’ three-run third with two of their own in the next half-inning to pull within one.

“I think what’s really been getting him is the shutdown inning,” manager Matt LeCroy said. “They’re not necessarily tying it back up, but they’re getting back in the ballgame. It keeps them too close.”

Both teams traded zeroes until the seventh inning when Crownover walked the leadoff hitter Jiandido Tromp and then hung a full-count slider to Mitch Walding who deposited it over the fence to give the Phils a lead they would never relinquish.

“I thought he threw the ball well,” LeCroy said of Crownover. “He just got into trouble with the walks. Up here they come back to get you.”

“To his credit, he goes out and battles. He’s not afraid of contact, I think he just thinks he needs to be perfect. When you try to be perfect, you run deep counts.”

***

Read had yet another monster night at the plate as the catcher slugged his seventh homer of the season along with two singles. Since being moved to the cleanup spot in the batting order after Neftali Soto’s promotion to Syracuse, all Read has done is go 6-for-10 with two home runs and eight RBI in three games.

“He’s staying in his legs a lot better,” LeCroy said. “Early on he was really struggling with the slider because he was coming up and out of his legs and not in a good position. But now he’s staying in it more and not missing that pitch they’re giving him.”

***

Keller’s home run that started the scoring for Harrisburg came on the 12th pitch of his at-bat against Reading starter Ranfi Casimiro…Harrisburg had runners thrown out at home in both the fifth and seventh innings…the Senators outhit Reading 9-6 but left nine men on base in the loss.

Game 74 vs. Reading: Lineup and Notes

GAME NOTES 06/26/2017

FOLLOW ALONG

TODAY’S GAMES

The Senators return home to play the Reading Fightin Phils for a five game series beginning Monday night. The Senators have won three consecutive series after finishing their road trip 4-2 against both New Hampshire and Portland. The Fightins arrives Harrisburg following a 4-2 homestand that included a three game series win against first place Trenton. Reading captured both games between them and the Senators earlier this season on April 24 and 26, with the scheduled second game of the series postponed due to rain. The two clubs play a total of 14 times in 2017, with seven games at each ballpark.

OFFENSIVE IMPROVEMENT

The Senators offense is tied for fourth in the Eastern League in runs scored (319) and is averaging 4.36 runs per game. The offensive numbers have spiked over the past 16 games, where the Senators have scored 84 runs and are averaging 5.25 runs each ballgame. The Senators offense scored double digit runs just three times the first 62 games of the season, while the Senators have reached that mark three times over the past 11 contests.

STARTING PITCHERS

Matthew Crownover starts the homestand opener for the Senators. The left-hander is 0-2 with a 6.04 ERA across four starts with the Senators since being promoted from Potomac. Crownover surrendered six runs in six innings in his previous start on June 20 against New Hampshire. The 24-year-old limited the opposition to three runs in each of his first three starts before facing the Fisher Cats.

The Fightins counter with starter Ranfi Casimiro. The right-hander is making just his second appearance and first start with Reading after being added to the roster from Advanced-A Clearwater on June 22. Casimiro pitched two scoreless innings out of the bullpen in his lone other appearance for Reading on June 22.

Mountz Jewelers Diamond Dig on Thursday night highlights five-game homestand against Reading

Monday, June 26, at 6:30 p.m. vs. the Reading Fightin Phils (AA Phillies), gates open at 5:30 p.m.

  • Military Monday presented by WHP580. To say ‘thank you’ for all you’ve done serving our country, we’re offering all current members and veterans of the military a free box seat ticket to the game. Their families are welcome to half-price box seat tickets. Ticket promotion is only valid at the box office.

Tuesday, June 27, doubleheader at 6:00 p.m. vs. the Reading Fightin Phils (AA Phillies), gates open at 5:00 p.m.

  • Karns Max Saver Tuesday presented by Karns! Bring your Karns receipt to the box office for buy 1, get 1 free tickets for that night’s game! Tickets must be purchased at the box office. Ticket offer excludes Club seats. Max four tickets per receipt.
  • Tasty Tuesday! An $8 ticket add-on is available for purchase which includes a hot dog, popcorn, nachos, soda, and a mighty mini ice cream sandwich! Tasty Tuesday add-ons are available online, over the phone, or at the FNB Field box office!

Wednesday, June 28, at 12:00 p.m. vs. the Reading Fightin Phils (AA Phillies), gates open at 11:00 a.m.

  • Wet-Nose Wednesday presented by Rossmoyne Animal Emergency Trauma Center. Your favorite four-legged friend is invited to the park with you every Wednesday!
  • Winning Wednesday! If the Senators win the game, your ticket is good for a free Ollie’s or LB Smith Ford Lincoln Value seat for the Friday, July 7 game against the Erie SeaWolves! Plus, one fan wins a Pennsylvania Lottery / Harrisburg Senators Prize Pack!

Thursday, June 29, at 7:00 p.m. vs. the Reading Fightin Phils (AA Phillies), gates open at 6:00 p.m.

  • Diamond Dig presented by Mountz Jewelers! All women 18 & older are invited post-game to dig for a diamond pendant on the infield dirt! One lucky lady will win a beautiful diamond pendant courtesy of Mountz Jewelers!
  • Thirsty Thursday presented by Coors Light and 105.7 The X. Enjoy $2 Coors Light drafts on the boardwalk!
  • Community Aid Free Parking presented by Community Aid. Bring a full bag of clothes to donate and park for free! Donations will be accepted at City Island as you are parking.
  • Throwback Thursday– Diva Edition! It’s time for another Throwback Thursday, this time saluting the best divas in music. We’ll have a night filled with Diana, Whitney, Mariah, Celine, and so many more!

The Senators box office is open Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Tickets are available via telephone during the same hours as the box office hours. Tickets are also available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, online at www.senatorsbaseball.com. You can find the Senators on Facebook at facebook.com/senatorsbaseball or @hbgsenators on Twitter.

With a little peace of mind for his mind, Andrew Robinson is on the forefront of wearable pitcher protection

Andrew Robinson (Samuel Getty / Harrisburg Senators)

Since being assigned to the Harrisburg Senators from Extended Spring Training on May 16, reliever Andrew Robinson has picked up right where he left off from last year. The 29-year-old right-hander is still striking out over 10 batters per nine innings and is once again a reliable arm in the bullpen for manager Matt LeCroy. Saturday night in Portland, Robinson pocketed his second save of the season when he worked a perfect ninth to secure the one-run victory over the Sea Dogs.

Although Robinson has looked like the same pitcher he did in 2016, that’s not entirely true. All season he has taken the mound with a piece of molded carbon fiber and Kevlar tucked inside the brim of his cap above his right ear to potentially protect him from fierce comebackers.

It’s the latest evolution, three years in development, to come up with something both protective and functional for pitchers to wear. Recent years have seen a handful of pitchers try out an oversized foam hat or the half-helmet during parts of spring training, but this is definitely much less cumbersome and imperceptible to the human eye than those attempts.

Robinson was turned onto the product from his off-season workout partner, Houston Astros’ pitcher Collin McHugh, who wears one and is big advocate for the inner hat head protection created and sold by SaferSports Technologies.

“This year when I was down in Florida I started wearing it to just get comfortable with it,” Robinson said. “The first time I wore it after about ten minutes I forgot I had it on. I don’t notice it on the mound. The only thing is I used to take my hat off a lot. If you do that, it will slide around.”

SaferSports Technologies and founder Matt Meier put the guards through a very comprehensive set of tests on a dummy head with pitches ranging from 49 to 93 MPH. They determined that using the guards and the way it disperses energy on impact cut the level of force in half when compared to being hit without the guard.

Robinson knows the guard still leaves him vulnerable to head injuries off of batted balls, but he also knows it will reduce the damage. “It’s still going to hurt, but it may save your life,” the reliever said. “For me, it’s a little peace of mind.”

Professional pitchers only have about one-third of a second to react to a batted ball, but youth pitchers throwing at a shorter distance may have even less. With skull fractures occurring at an exit velocity of only 58 miles per hour, Robinson sees the benefits not just for himself and his teammates but also for making baseball safer for the younger set.

Earlier this season, he went on social media praising the product in hopes of raising awareness of its existence. “That’s why I posted it on Instagram for whatever kids are following me to say if you or your parents are looking for something along those lines where you don’t look goofy, check it out.”

“It’s a really cool thing. You can’t even tell I’m wearing it.”

Game 73 at New Hampshire: Lineup and Notes

GAME NOTES 06/25/2017

FOLLOW ALONG

TODAY’S GAMES

The Senators and Portland Sea Dogs play the rubber match of the three game series Sunday afternoon. The Senators evened the series with their come-from-behind 6-5 victory in game two, propelled by Raudy Read’s go-ahead two-run home run in the ninth inning. The Senators look to win their third consecutive series and secure a winning road trip. The two teams play seven games total this season, three in Portland and four at FNB field.

SATURDAY NIGHT HEROICS

Raudy Read’s go-ahead two-run home run in the ninth inning of Saturday’s game led the Senators to their third win this season when trailing after eight innings, the most in the Eastern League. Read became just the fourth Senators player to record four or more RBI in a game and the four RBI tied a career-high, marking the first time he’s accomplished the feat since August 10, 2014 when he played for Auburn.

STARTING PITCHERS

Taylor Hill gets the call in the rubber match for the Senators. The right-hander is 2-1 with a 6.00 ERA in six games and five starts with the Senators this season. Hill made a spot start with Triple-A Syracuse in his last outing, allowing six runs in four and two thirds innings against Scranton Wilkes-Barre on June 20. The 28-year-old last pitched for the Senators on June 14 against Akron and surrendered seven runs across five and two-thirds frames.

The Sea Dogs counter with starter Elih Villanueva. The right-hander is making his fourth start of the season after being signed by Boston as a minor league free agent on June 4. Villanueva is 1-02 with a 10.67 ERA, and has allowed 18 runs in 14.1 innings. The 30-year-old is in his ninth minor league season and has one Major League appearance with the Marlins in 2011.

 

Game 72 at New Hampshire: Lineup and Notes

GAME NOTES 06/24/2017

FOLLOW ALONG

TODAY’S GAMES

The Senators continue their road trip with a three game series against the Portland Sea Dogs. The Senators have now played every team in the Eastern League at least once this season. The Senators look to even the series after Portland took the series opener 9-2. The two teams play seven games total this season, three in Portland and four at FNB field. The Senators come into the series having won each of their last two series.

NEFTALI TO TRIPLE-A

Infielder Neftali Soto was added to triple-A Syracuse prior to Friday night’s game. Soto was on a 12 game hitting streak prior to being promoted, his third hitting streak this year of 11 games or more, including his Eastern League high 16-game streak from May 10 to May 29. The 28-year-old reached safely on either a hit or a walk in 63 of the 67 games he played this season and leads the team with 23 multi-hit games. Soto is second in the Eastern League in batting average (.329) and fourth in hits (83).

KELLER IN JUNE

Alec Keller has 23 hits in the month of June which leads all current Senators players. The 25-year-old is also second on the club with a .324 batting average during the month.

STARTING PITCHERS

Derek Eitel makes the game two start for the Senators. The right-hander is 2-2 with a 3.26 ERA across seven games and five starts. Eitel began his career with the Senators in the starting rotation before moving to the bullpen earlier this month and he has not allowed a run in two appearances and five and a third innings of relief. The 29-year-old last started a game on June 9 against Binghamton, and he surrendered five runs across three and a third innings.

The Sea Dogs counter with starter Teddy Stankiewicz. The right-hander is 2-3 with a 4.41 ERA across 12 starts this season. Stankiewicz allowed four runs in two and two-thirds innings in his last start on June 19 against Erie. The 23-year-old is in his second season with Portland after spending all of 2016 with the Sea Dogs. Stankiewicz is the 24th rated prospect in the Red Sox organization according to MLB.com.