Keys Game Notes 4-20-14

Good Morning Keys Fans!

And a Happy Easter to everybody. I hope the Easter Bunny was extra-kind to you this year. Here in Zebulon, Mother Nature provided the Keys with pseudo off-day on Saturday, after the rains rendered Five County Stadium unplayable. That allowed the team to relax, while we all took a late-afternoon trip to the mall to stretch our legs, do some shopping, and get something to eat. For all of you wondering (and I doubt you’d care, but I’m telling you anyways), I spent the majority of my time at the Barnes and Noble (decent size, multiple floors and not a bad selection either). Everyone seemed to have a good time.

However today it is back to work. Frederick goes for its fifth straight win and sixth straight on the road, when the team plays the second game of four against the Mudcats. Saturday’s rainout will be made up as part of a Monday doubleheader starting at 5 p.m. Some notes and nuggets are attached below. I’d pay special attention to #2, which discusses the last time the Keys posted five straight victories (hint: it was a VERY good year to be a Keys fan).

Talk to you on the radio!

Geoff

Sunday, Apr. 20, 2014 · Game #16 · Road Game #9

Frederick Keys (7-8) vs Carolina Mudcats (8-7)

RHP Parker Bridwell (0-1, 7.53) vs. LHP Shawn Morimando (1-0, 2.81)

 

RAIN DROPS KEEP FALLING ON MY HEAD: On Saturday night, the Frederick Keys and the Carolina Mudcats were rained out. It marks the second time that Mother Nature has reared her ugly head this season, and on this roadtrip. The game has been rescheduled as part of a doubleheader on Monday night starting at 5 p.m. Frederick has swept the only twinbill it has played in 2014.

WALK THIS WAY:Tied 1-1 in the top of the 11th inning, the Frederick Keys made use of two walks and a wild pitch by Mudcats reliever Elvis Araujo, as well as two sacrifice flies from Michael Burgess and Wynston Sawyer, to defeat Carolina 3-1 in 11 innings on Friday night at Five County Stadium. It was the club’s first extra-inning win of 2014, and first against the Mudcats, who swept the Keys in three games at Harry Grove Stadium from April 8-10. With a win on Saturday, Frederick can get back to .500 on the year for the first time since April 6, when the Keys defeated Lynchburg 6-2.

LET’S GO STREAKING!: With Friday’s victory the Keys have now won four straight games, the team’s longest string of success this season. That four-game streak, equals Frederick’s longest winning streak of the 2013 campaign, when Ryan Minor’s club took four in-a-row from May 3-May 6 against, go-figure, Carolina and Winston-Salem. Frederick has not won five straight since the 2011 season, when the team rattled off that amount against Myrtle Beach and Salem from July 22-26. Under manager Orlando Gomez that season, the Keys won the Mills Cup Championship, three games to one, defeating the Kinston Indians (the precursor to the Carolina Mudcats).

ROAD WARRIORS: Through 15 games, the Keys have preferred the road rather than the friendly confines. In eight road road tilts this season, Frederick is 6-2, and has won each of its last five games away from Harry Grove Stadium. That road mark is third-best in the Carolina League (trailing only Myrtle Beach who is 7-0 and Salem who is 7-2). Nonetheless, road success has been the norm so far throughout the league. Entering Sunday’s action, only the Potomac Nationals (4-3) have a winning record in home contests. In games at Harry Grove this season, Frederick is 1-6, while in 2013, the Keys went 29-40 at home and 32-38 on the road.

LOCAL FLAVOR: Branden Kline made one mistake on Friday night, but was excellent otherwise. In his fourth Carolina League start, the right-hander tossed a career-high seven innings, allowing one run on four hits. He walked one and struck out four. Saddled with a no-decision, Kline surrendered a game-tying home run to Erik Gonzalez in the seventh inning, while the Keys did not score again until the 11th. A former standout at Governor Thomas Johnson High School, Kline has posted two quality starts (both against Carolina) to go along with a 1-1 record and a 3.27 ERA. He has tossed a league-high 22.0 IP. An early strength of the ballclub, Frederick starters have posted a collective 3.35 ERA, and put together six quality starts (half of which have come this week).

ROLAIDS RELIEF:Things may have gotten off to a shaky start, but the Keys bullpen has been lights out of the current roadtrip. Frederick bullpen-hands have not allowed a run over their last 11 innings, while they’ve allowed only three hits and struck out 13. The last run given up by a Keys reliever was by Mychal Givens in game one of Wednesday’s doubleheader at Winston-Salem.

LET’S PLAY LONGBALL!:For the first time all season, the Keys recorded home runs in back-to-back nights. After Michael Burgess struck for a solo shot on Thursday night, Adrian Marin added his first Carolina League home run off D.J. Brown on Friday. Burgess currently leads all Keys with a pair of dingers, a little less than half of the team’s total (five). Only Winston-Salem (four) and Wilmington (three) have hit fewer home runs as a team.

SLICK WITH THE LEATHER: Since making two errors last Saturday at Lynchburg, the Keys have played error-free baseball over the last six games. The team currently ranks second in the Carolina League in team-defense (.977 fielding percentage), trailing only Wilmington (.980). Meanwhile, Creede Simpson (.992) leads all first baseman in fielding and Jason Esposito (1.000) is tied for the lead at third base.  During the recent series at Winston-Salem, the Keys saw first-hand how poor defensive play can hurt a team. Over three games, the Dash committed eight errors, resulting in seven unearned runs.

ALL GOOD THINGS MUST COME TO AN END:  Glynn Davis’s 11-gamehitting streak came to an end in game one of Wednesday’s doubleheader, as he finished 0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored. Tied for the longest streak in the Carolina League this season, the Baltimore native hit .458 (22-48) during the 11-game swing with four doubles, a triple and eight RBIs. Quickly putting the 0-for-3 game behind him, Davis finished 2-for-3 in the second contest, to bump his average back up to .444. That mark paces all Advanced-A hitters. Additionally, Davis leads the CL in hits (24) and on-base percentage (.492) while he is second in runs scored (13). He also rates fifth in slugging percentage (.556) and is tied for fifth in total bases (30).

THE TIMES THEY ARE A’CHANGIN: On Tuesday, the Keys roster received a bit of a shakeup. Outfielder Trent Mummey and infielder Michael Mosby were both released, while infielder Jerome Pena was activated from the seven-day disabled list and outfielder Lucas Herbst was promoted from Low-A Delmarva. In seven games with Frederick this season, Mummey hit .182 (4-for-22) with a run scored. Mosby was 0-for-12 at the plate in three games. As for Herbst, he was hitting .250 (3-for-12) with two RBIs over four games with the Shorebirds. Starting the second game of the doubleheader in right field, he finished 1-for-3 with a run scored.

FREDERICK VS CAROLINA 2014: Despite an extra-inning victory, the Keys still trail Carolina in the season series 3-1. In the first game between the two clubs in 2014, Dylan Baker tossed six perfect innings, as the Keys were shutout 7-0. In game two, it was Shawn Morimando’s turn to shine. Over six strong innings, the southpaw allowed only three hits and one unearned run, while the Mudcats exploded for five runs in the fifth to win 8-1. In the final game, the Keys held a 3-1 lead going into the eighth, but Miguel Chalas could not protect it, as Carolina posted three runs and batted around to complete the sweep, 5-4. The early results represent a departure from 2013, when the Keys went 12-8 record against the Mudcats, the most wins Frederick earned against a CL opponent last year.

PROSPECTING: This year’s Keys team does not lack for talent. Frederick’s Opening Day roster features five of Baltimore’s Top 30 prospects according to Baseball America. Shortstop Adrian Marin (12) highlights the list and is joined by right-handed pitchers Parker Bridwell (19), Branden Kline (20) and Mychal Givens (23). Glynn Davis (29) rounds out the group. Of the five players, only Givens (one game in 2010) and Davis have played at the Advanced-A level.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Lefty Shawn Morimando makes the start for the Carolina Mudcats and is the No. 22 prospect in the Cleveland farm system according to Baseball America. In his last start at Potomac this past Monday, Morimando surrendered three runs on five hits over five innings. He walked one, struck out three and gave up two home runs. In his lone start against Frederick this season, Morimando earned the win, going six innings and allowing one unearned run on three hits. The Virginian spent all of 2013 with the Mudcats, going 8-13 with a 3.73 ERA over 27 starts. The 13 defeats were the most in the Carolina League, while he finished second in walks (76). Still, the lefty enjoyed his share of success last season. The high point was a 23.2 innings scoreless streak which spanned five starts (May 17-June 8). During that time, he was named Carolina League Pitcher of the Week (May 27-June 3). Additionally, he finished with second lowest batting average against (.231).  In his fourth professional season, Morimando spent 2012 at Low-A Lake County (22 games, 7-6, 3.59 ERA) and made three starts for the AZL Indians in 2011. Selected by Cleveland in the 19th round of the 2011 draft, the southpaw was committed to East Carolina, but was lured away by the Indians with a $350,000 signing bonus. According to Baseball America, Morimando’s fastball sat between 87-91 mph as a high school pitcher. However the organization’s strength and conditioning programs have allowed him to sit between 90-92 mph as a professional. He also throws a curveball, a slider and a changeup.

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