Game Notes 4-26-14
Good morning Keys Fans!
Coming off a three-hit game, Manny Machado continues his MLB rehab on Saturday afternoon against the Carolina Mudcats. He is scheduled to play third base.
Some game notes are attached below. Chat soon!
Saturday, Apr. 26, 2014 · Game #22 · Home Game #11
Frederick Keys (9-12) vs Carolina Mudcats (11-9)
LHP Matt Taylor (2-0, 2.14) vs. LHP Shawn Morimando (2-0, 2.45)
KEYS FALL IN MACHADO’S RETURN: Playing in a Frederick Keys uniform for the first time since the 2011 season, Manny Machado showed little rust in his first game of an MLB rehab assignment. On the night, the 21-year-old went 3-for-4 with two doubles, a triple and two runs scored, however the Keys fell to Myrtle Beach 5-3 in the series finale. Hanser Alberto led the way for the Pelicans, going 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs, while Victor Payano tossed five innings of two-run baseball, tallying eight strikeouts.
MANNY MANIA: The three hits by Manny Machado led all Keys on Friday, while it marked the first time all season that a member of the Keys had recorded three extra-base hits in a game. Originally slated to play third base, the Floridian was moved to DH on account of wet field conditions. Machado is expected to spend the entire weekend at Harry Grove Stadium, and is slated to play third on Saturday. He is currently recovering from offseason surgery on his left knee. An American League All-Star with Baltimore in 2013, the Florida native hit .283 with 14 home runs and 71 RBIs over 156 games with the O’s last season. Selected by Baltimore with the third overall pick in the 2010 draft, Machado was part of the 2011 Keys team that won the Mills Cup. The fourth title in team history, he was named series MVP after posting four RBIs in the series-clinching win.
I WANNA BE LIKE MIKE!:After getting off to a slow start, Michael Burgess has found his groove over the last week. The Keys outfielder has hit safely in seven of his last eight games, to jolt his average from .209 to .267 (the highest it has been since April 6). On Thursday, Burgess went 3-for-3 with a double and a run scored, his first three-hit game since June 21, 2013, when the Floridian was playing for the Corpus Christi Hooks, the Houston Astros Double-A affiliate. Over the last three nights, Burgess has hit .462 (6-for-13) with a homer, two doubles, three runs scored and two RBIs. He is currently tied for fifth in the CL in homers, while he leads the club in RBIs (11).
SOUTHPAW STRUGGLES:On Friday, the Keys came up short against a left-handed starting pitcher. Facing Pelicans lefty Victor Payano, Frederick managed only two runs over five innings, despite banging out eight hits. This season, the club is only 1-4 when facing a lefty starter, while the Keys are batting a collective .248 against southpaws this year. Three of the four losses have come against Carolina left-handers, while the Frederick has not fared well against today’s starter Shawn Morimando. Against the orange and black, the former East Carolina commit is 2-0 with a 0.75 ERA (12IP/1ER).
WELCOME BACK ZANE!:A Carolina League All-Star in 2013, Zane Chavez got off to a great start in his first Keys at-bat of the season. Pinch-hitting for Manny Machado in the ninth, the San Diego native homered off Jose LeClerc to pull the Keys within two runs. Opening the season at Double-A Bowie, Chavez hit only .158 (3-for-19) over six games, with a triple, an RBI and a run scored. He spent nearly all of last season at Frederick, batting .295 with seven homers, 49 RBIs and 20 doubles.
FORE!: Harry Grove Stadium turned into a launching pad on Wednesday, with the Keys and the Pelicans collaborating on seven longballs. On the Frederick side, Jason Esposito, Michael Burgess and Creede Simpson all went yard. It was the most home runs the team has hit in a game this year. However, Myrtle Beach cleanup hitter Joey Gallo equaled the Keys total himself, becoming the first player to hit three home runs off Keys pitching since June 13, 2013, when Jason Martinson clubbed three for Potomac. Gallo is currently second in all of minor league baseball in home runs (nine), trailing only Toledo’s J.D. Martinez. The other Pelicans homer on Wednesday was by Nick Williams.
WEBB TO THE DL: On Tuesday, Brenden Webb was placed on the seven-day disabled list with a right shoulder sprain. The move is retroactive to April 21. Over 15 games, Webb is batting .283 with one home run, eight RBIs and four doubles.
JASON, JASON, HE’S OUR MAN!: Jason Esposito has been swinging a hot bat over the last week. The former Vanderbilt Commodore has hit safely in his last 10 games, raising his batting average from .194-.260. The 10-game streak is the third longest by a player in the Carolina League this season, as the Connecticut native trails only Glynn Davis (11 games) and Erik Gonzalez (16). Gonzalez’s streak is currently active. Esposito has also been sharp at third. He currently leads all Carolina League third baseman in fielding percentage (1.000), and has successfully executed all 50 chances that have come his way.
TOP DOG: For time all season, Glynn Davis has gone hitless in back-to-back games. After going 0-for-5 on Friday, the Keys leadoff man is hitless in his last 11 at-bats (stretching back to Wednesday). In the process, it has dropped his batting average from .414 to .363, the second-lowest it has been all season. Currently third in the Carolina League in hitting (.363), Davis is tied for the CL lead in hits (29) and is tied for fourth in runs scored (16).
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 played at the Advanced-A level prior to 2014.
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 against Frederick six days ago, the lefty tossed six innings of one-run baseball to earn his second victory. He struck out five and did not walk a batter. This season against the Keys, Morimando is 2-0 with a 0.75 ERA. That includes a win at Harry Grove Stadium on April 9 (6IP/3H/1R/0ER). 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.