Washington Nationals: Down on the Triple-A Farm - Jim Negrych's average skyrockets, run support in Chiefsville, notes

Ben Meyers, For FederalBaseball.com - Jim Negrych raised his average from .218 to .305 in a matter of weeks for Syracuse as the Chiefs are in the playoff hunt.

In 15 days, Jim Negrych pushed his average up 87 points.

The kind of jump is expected in April. Negrych did his work from June 19 to July 4.

"It is a mixture of cage work, BP routine, swinging at good pitches you can hit, and hoping they drop. There is a little luck involved too," Negrych said.

"Nothing superstitious wise," he said.

It seems like there has to be though.

Hitting .218 on June 19, Negrych had a two-run single to help lift Syracuse to a 4-3 win over the then North Division leading Pawtucket Red Sox. It was the kick start of a run that included a 27-for-52 mark and had him up to .305 on the year.

With the departure of International League leading hitter Xavier Paul to free agency and Josh Johnson still on the restricted list, the Syracuse lineup has and will include Negrych on a more consistent basis. Playing every day has gotten him into a heck of a groove.

Negrych had an eight-game hit streak broken on July 8, which dropped him back to .294, but over the last 11 days he had seven multi-hit games and was hitting a tidy .545 for a spell.

"Seeing pitching on an everyday basis and not being overwhelmed day in and day out all helps," Negrych said. "There was time, when I first got here, that I was trying too hard to show these guys that I belong here. Over time everyone gets comfortable. Everyone needs to be comfortable in their own skin."

After winning 11 of 12 at the end of June, and getting up to 43-38, the Chiefs were within two games of a playoff spot. They have lost six of seven to drop back to .500 this week, but are still in the playoff hunt as the All-Star break looms next week.

Syracuse is 10-0 with Negrych as the designated hitter.

And there is nothing superstitious about that?

Of note in Chiefsville

Zach Duke leads the International League in wins at 10-3 and also leads Syracuse starters in run support with 75 runs in his 17 starts (4.41 runs per start).

Often maligned John Lannan (6-8) has gotten 60 runs scored for him in his 17 starts this year (3.52 runs per start). Lannan actually has more quality starts than Duke, 9-8.

July 7 starter Tanner Roark (4-10) has the least run support this season with 27 runs in 14 starts (1.93 runs per start), while July 8 starter Yunesky Maya has gotten 52 runs in 17 starts (3.06).

Mini Subway Series

Stadiumless Scranton-Wilkes Barre and Buffalo - the Triple A affiliates of the Yankees and Mets - play a two-game series at Alliance Bank Stadium this weekend (July 7, 8)

All-Star Game

The Triple-A All-Star game will be played in Buffalo on July 11. Zach Duke and Corey Brown will represent Syracuse. The 2013 Triple-A All-Star game is in Reno, Nevada.

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