Living less than 25 miles away from Washington DC has meant I’ve been able to go to a lot of Nationals games but tonight, for the first time, I took advantage of the fact that I live only 3 miles away from the Potomac Nationals, Washington’s Advanced A affiliate. I hadn’t been to a minor league game in close to 15 years so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Well, I’m glad that I went because the atmosphere was amazing. It’s safe to say that I will be catching plenty more P-Nat games in the future in hopes of seeing the future stars of the Nationals.
Tonight’s game pitted the first place Potomac Nationals against the Winston-Salem Dash, a Chicago White Sox affiliate. It was the first start at the Advanced A level for the Nationals’ 2009 3rd round pick Trevor Holder and he made the most of it. Holder went five strong innings, allowing one earned run on one hit with five strikeouts to earn the victory in the 4-1 contest. He showed excellent command and managed to force several ground ball outs. I only wish I had access to a radar gun so I could have seen how hard he was throwing. If I had to guess I’d have to say he topped out in the low 90s with his fastball but really had an impressive offspeed pitch to fool hitters.
As good as Holden was, Nationals reliever Cole Kimball was even better. Kimball threw 3 shutout, no-hit innings in which he recorded an amazing seven strikeouts. Kimball looked to be the hardest thrower in the game, routinely overpowering opposing hitters and forcing a lot of swinging strikes. He looked like he had the stuff to be a potential closing candidate.
On the offensive side, 2006 first round pick Chris Marrero crushed a solo home run in the second inning and center fielder Jesus Valdez went 2-3 with a double and a run scored. Overall, none of the hitters looked ready to move up to Harrisburg but I’d imagine they’ll look to move Marrero up by the end of the season.
On the whole, I came away impressed with this team’s pitching and defense and it looked as if the future is bright in the Nationals farm system.