Frederick Keys Game Notes 4-27-14

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

Manny Machado is back in the lineup at third base today. Since joining the Keys on an MLB rehab assignment Friday, he is 4-for-8 with two doubles, a triple and a run scored.

Some game notes are attached for today’s Sunday Funday tilt which gets underway at 2:00 p.m.

Sunday, Apr. 27, 2014 · Game #23 · Home Game #12

Frederick Keys (9-13) vs Carolina Mudcats (12-9)

                 RHP Jesse Beal (0-0, 4.15) vs. RHP Michael Peoples (0-1, 5.14)

NO LUCK WITH THE LEATHER: Frederick tied a season-high with three errors, while Carolina lefty Shawn Morimando tossed six innings of two-hit, one-run baseball, as the Mudcats doubled up the Keys 4-2 on Saturday afternoon at Harry Grove Stadium. It was the second time in three games that Frederick had made three defensive miscues, and resulted in no earned runs being charged to Matt Taylor or Mychal Givens. With the loss, the Keys drop to 2-9 in home games, and 0-4 in contests at the Grove against Carolina.

MANNY MANIA: Continuing his MLB rehab on Saturday, Manny Machado played his first game at third base after serving as the DH on Friday. Defensively, the 21-year-old executed six of his seven chances. He was tagged with an error in the fifth inning, after a throw pulled first baseman Creede Simpson off the bag. At the plate, Machado went 1-for-4. In two games with the Keys he is 4-for-8 with two doubles, a triple and a run scored. 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.

WE PLAY THE ROAD: After going 1-6 over the first homestand of 2014, things have not been much easier since returning from Zebulon, NC. Saturday’s loss to Carolina dropped Frederick to 2-9 in games at the Grove this season, while the Keys have lost three of four over the current homestand. The two home wins are the fewest by a CL team, while Winston-Salem is second with just three wins on its home turf. Strangely, only two Carolina League clubs have winning records at home this season. Potomac sports a 6-4 mark at Pfitzner Stadium, and Carolina has a 6-5 record at Five County Stadium.

TROUBLE WITH THE LEATHER: Despite having a Gold Glove third baseman in the lineup, the Keys committed three errors on Saturday. Machado was tagged with one, while Mychal Givens and Matt Taylor were hit for the other two. Over the last four games, Frederick has committed eight errors in the field. In the process, the Keys have dropped to fourth in the league in fielding percentage (.973). The recent struggles come on the heels of a seven-game stretch (April 13-20) where the team did not make a defensive miscue.

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 four straight, as well as in eight of his last nine games, to jolt his average from .209 to .266. A force in the middle of the order, nearly half (10 of 21) of Burgess’ hits have gone for extra-bases. Currently, the Tampa native is tied for fifth in the league in homers (5) sits just outside the top five in doubles (seven), while he leads the club in RBIs (11).

SOUTHPAW STRUGGLES: For the second straight day, the Keys could not diagnose a left-handed starting pitcher. Facing Shawn Morimando, the Frederick was limited to one run on two hits over 6.2 frames. This season, the club is only 1-5 when facing a lefty starter, while the Keys are hitting just .233 off southpaws this year. Morimando has been particularly difficult to crack. The No. 22 prospect in the Indians system according to Baseball America, the lefty is 3-0 with a 0.48 ERA (18.2IP/3R/1ER) against the Keys in 2014. After facing Michael Peoples today, Frederick will see another southpaw, Ryan Merritt, on Monday. He paces the Carolina League with a 0.37 ERA.

CAUGHT IN A TRAP:  For time all season, Glynn Davis has gone hitless in three straight games. After going 0-for-4 on Saturday, the Keys leadoff man is now hitless in his last 15 at-bats (stretching back to Wednesday). In the process, it has dropped his batting average from .414 to .345, the second-lowest it has been all season. Currently fifth in the Carolina League in hitting (.345), Davis is tied for the CL lead in hits (29) with Carolina’s Erik Gonzalez and Lynchburg’s Jose Peraza. He is also tied for fourth in runs scored (16).

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). 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.

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.

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: Right-hander Michael Peoples makes his fourth start of the season and his third against the Keys. The Texan’s last start came against Frederick on April 21, when he tossed three innings and allowed four runs (two earned) on five hits. Peoples’ best start of the season came against the Keys on April 10, when he allowed three runs on seven hits over six innings. This is the righty’s 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.

 

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