Frederick Keys Game Notes 4-21-14
Good Afternoon Keys Fans!
Frederick and Carolina wrap up their four-game series on a beautiful day in Zebulon, NC. Matt Taylor goes for his second win in game one, and will be matched up by Michael Peoples. In the nightcap, Jesse Beal toes the hill against lefty Ryan Merritt, who paces the Carolina league with a 0.52 ERA.
Broadcast starts at 4:45, with first pitch slated for 5 p.m.
Some game notes are below.
Chat in a few hours!
Monday, Apr. 21, 2014 · Game #17/18 · Road Game #10/11
Frederick Keys (7-9) vs Carolina Mudcats (9-7)
G1: LHP Matt Taylor (1-0, 1.13) vs. RHP Michael Peoples (0-0, 4.91)
G2: RHP Jesse Beal (0-0, 4.35) vs. LHP Ryan Merritt (2-0, 0.52)
FUN WHILE IT LASTED: The Frederick Keys four-game winning streak came to a close on Sunday afternoon, as the Carolina Mudcats earned a 6-1 triumph at Five County Stadium. In the game, the home team used a pair of two-run innings as well as excellent starting pitching from Shawn Morimando to hand the Keys their first loss in nearly a week. Frederick’s only run came on a solo homer to left by Creede Simpson in the top of the fourth.
STREAK NOTES: The Keys four-game winning streak was the team’s longest of the season, and equaled the team’s longest swing since May 3-6, 2013. During that streak, Frederick won also four in a row against, Winston-Salem and Carolina (though three of the four victories came against the Mudcats). A fifth straight victory would have given the team its longest streak since July 2011. The recent four-game stretch often contained close games, with the Keys taking three of the four by two runs. To keep leads safe, manager Luis Pujols leaned on his bullpen and got excellent results. Over 13 innings, Keys relievers gave up only one run on four hits and struck out 13.
ROAD WARRIORS: Through 16 games, the Keys have preferred the road rather than the friendly confines. In nine road road tilts this season, Frederick is 6-3, and has won five of its last six away from Harry Grove Stadium. Currently, the club is tied with Lynchburg for the third-best road mark in the Carolina League (behind only Myrtle Beach who is 7-0 and Salem who is 7-3). Nonetheless, road success has been the norm so far throughout the league. Entering Monday’s action, only Carolina (5-4) and Potomac (4-3) have winning records in home contests. In games at Harry Grove this season, Frederick is league-worst 1-6, while in 2013, the Keys went 29-40 at home and 32-38 on the road.
OUT OF BLANKS:The bullpen’s scoreless inning streak came to a close on Sunday, when Carolina’s Alex Monsalve doubled home two in the seventh off Miguel Chalas. That ended a string of 11 frames where Keys relievers did not allow a run. During that stretch, club bullpen-hands allowed only four hits and struck out 14. Prior to Monsalve’s RBI double, the bullpen had not allowed a run since game one of Wednesday’s doubleheader at Winston-Salem.
LET’S PLAY LONGBALL!:For the third straight game, Frederick picked up a home run. It is the only time all season the club has gone deep in back-to-back-to-back games On Sunday, Creede Simpson did the trick, with a solo shot to left off Shawn Morimando. All three dingers have come without runners on base, as Michael Burgess struck for a solo shot on Thursday night and Adrian Marin took Mudcats starter D.J. Brown deep on Friday. Burgess currently leads all Keys with a pair of dingers, one-third of the club’s total (six). That total is tied for the second-fewest by a CL team (along with Salem and Winston-Salem). Wilmington (three) has hit the fewest, while Potomac (14) paces the loop.
SLICK WITH THE LEATHER: Since making two errors on April 12 against Lynchburg, the Keys have played error-free baseball over the last seven games. The team currently ranks second in the Carolina League in team-defense (.978 fielding percentage), trailing only Wilmington (.979). Meanwhile, Jason Esposito (1.000) leads all third baseman in fielding percentage. 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.
TOP DOG: For only the second time all season, Glynn Davis was held without a hit on Sunday, going 0-for-4. Even without a base-hit in two of his last three games, the Baltimore native still leads the Carolina League in hitting (.414) and remains one of only two players in Advanced-A with an average north of .400 (Kyle Waldrop of Bakersfield is the other at .419).Additionally, Davis leads the CL in hits (24) while he places second in on-base percentage (.460) and runs scored (13). Last Wednesday, he wrapped up an 11-game hitting streak, where he hit .458 (22-48) with four doubles, a triple and eight RBIs.
FREDERICK VS CAROLINA 2014: Sunday’s loss dropped Frederick to 1-4 against Carolina this season, with the Keys only victory coming in 11 innings on Friday. 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.
NAME THAT PUJOLS!: Luis Pujols becomes the 20th manager in Keys history, after spending 2013 as the skipper at Low-A Delmarva. He takes the reins from Ryan Minor, who went 61-78 in his lone season as Frederick’s head man. The cousin of Angels star, Albert Pujols, the 58-year-old has considerable experience as a player, manager and coach in the majors and minors. Since spending nine years as a big league catcher with Houston, Kansas City and Texas, Pujols has worked as a bench/first base coach for Montreal (1993-00) and San Francisco (2003-06), while he served as interim manager for the Detroit Tigers in 2002, after Phil Garner was fired six games into the season. He has also managed for Double-A affiliates in the Detroit and Houston systems.
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: Right-hander Michael Peoples makes his third start of the season and his second against the Keys. The Texan’s last start came against Frederick on April 10, when he tossed six innings and allowed three runs. This is Peoples’ second year in the Carolina League, after splitting 2013 between Low-A and Advanced-A. In eight games with the Mudcats, he went 1-4 with a 5.27 ERA over 41.0 innings. Prior to joining Carolina in late-May, Peoples spent the majority of the first two months as a bullpen-hand for Low-A Lake County. In nine relief appearances with the Captains, he was 1-2 with a 1.59 ERA. The Texan also made a pair of starts, allowing five runs in eight innings. Selected by Cleveland in the 14th round of the 2012 draft, Peoples played his college baseball at Western Oklahoma State College. As a freshman, he was part of a ballclub that won the NJCAA Division II National Championship. Some of WSOC’s alumni include Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons and Giants outfielder Juan Perez. Peoples throws a fastball, curveball and a changeup. Originally from Weatherford, Texas, Peoples hails from the same hometown as current Orioles reliever and ex-Frederick Key Zach Britton. Former Cubs pitcher Hippo Vaughn was also born in Weatherford. Pitching for Chicago in the 1910s, the left-hander won over 20 games in five seasons (that includes a National League-leading 22 in 1918.