Game Preview: Fredericksburg Nationals chase their first win of the second half tonight against the Red Sox.
After going just 3-8 on the longest road trip of the year and dropping the opener last night to Salem, the Fredericksburg Nationals will try to break their season-long five-game losing streak and win their first game of the second half against Salem. This is the second five-game losing streak of the season for Fredericksburg, and the team is already in a three-game hole in the second half.
Tonight, lefty Erik Tolman makes his Fredericksburg Nationals debut after being called up from the Complex League a couple of days ago.
Eight walks that were issued last night was the fourth-most in a game this year for the Fredericksburg Nationals which contributed largely to Salem’s offensive success in a 7-4 win for the Red Sox in the series opener. Six out of the seven runs scored by Salem were on base due to a walk. Daylen Lile hit a two-run triple in the 7th inning to make it interesting, but ultimately the Red Sox held steady for the win in the series opener.
What to look for tonight
Relief from the heat: Fredericksburg Nationals reliever Kevin Rodriguez has been one of the best relief pitchers in the Carolina League this year. He’s allowed just two earned runs in the month of June, and just three earned runs since April 15. He’s fourth in the Carolina League with 21 relief appearances, and he’s done everything - long relief, closing games, piggybacking a starter.
Welcome to the Show: Erik Tolman is making his full-season debut tonight, after a brief stint in the Florida Complex League to begin his 2023. The left-hander was largely effective in three starts with the FCL Nats. Tolman worked eight innings altogether, giving up just one earned run while striking out eight batters. Most recently, against the Mets FCL club, Tolman tossed three scoreless innings with a pair of strikeouts and no walks.
Tolman spent three seasons at Arizona State, enrolling in 2019 and ultimately getting drafted in the 14th round after his junior campaign in 2021. Tolman was primarily a reliever with the Sun Devils, although he did make 10 starts out of 31 appearances. He worked to a 3.29 ERA, with 93 strikeouts in 79.1 innings pitched. Tolman was also a bona fide two-way threat his first year with the Sun Devils. He played left field for ASU, launching three home runs and driving in seven runs while clocking a .761 OPS.
Lefty magic: Since joining the Fredericksburg Nationals on April 27, lefty reliever Franklin Marquez has been a stalwart in the Fredericksburg Nationals bullpen. He’s 4-0 and has not allowed an earned run in 18 2/3 innings pitched. His strikeout-to-walk ratio is 15/10, and opponents are hitting less than .240 against him. In another quirk, Marquez is currently the only left-handed pitcher on the Fredericksburg Nationals staff after the promotion of Jake Bennett to High-A Wilmington earlier this month.