Frederick Keys Game Notes: Thursday, May 1
Good Afternoon Keys Fans!
Well after no baseball since Sunday, the Frederick Keys are back in action tonight! The team arrived in Myrtle Beach yesterday, and will play four against the Pelicans before shooting north to Potomac for three more. This will be the Keys second look at the Birds, a team that claimed two out of three against Frederick over the recent homestand.
Without a doubt, Myrtle Beach is a beautiful venue, however it has not been a fun place to visit if you’re a Frederick player. Since becoming a Texas Rangers affiliate, the Pelicans are 22-7 against the Keys at TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Park.
This season, the Keys will try and put a dent in that winning percentage. Brady Wager gets the ball tonight, and will be opposed by left-hander Victor Payano. The Dominican comes off his finest outing of 2014. Against the Keys last Friday, Payano allowed two runs over five frames and struck out eight. In contrast, Wager comes off his worst start of the year. In two-plus innings the Arizona native surrendered a career-high 10 runs on nine hits, in a game where the Keys fell 21-6.
Doug Raftery will keep you company tonight from the Grand Strand. He will have all the play-by-play as well as the pregame show starting at 6:45 on 1450 AM The Source and on frederickkeys.com. Also, don’t forget to catch Doug and I on Saturday afternoon from 1-1:30, when we’ll have the latest installment of the Keys Corner. It figures to be a fun show, with Manny Machado slated to join us.
Some game notes are attached below. Talk tomorrow and….SHAKE YOUR KEYS!
Thursday, May 1, 2014 · Game #24 · Road Game #12
Frederick Keys (10-13) vs Myrtle Beach Pelicans (15-9)
RHP Brady Wager (2-2, 7.11) vs. LHP Victor Payano (1-1, 5.29)
RAIN DANCE: The Keys have not played a game since Sunday, as Frederick and Carolina were rained out on back-to-back days. After Mother Nature washed out Monday’s game, Tuesday’s doubleheader was also rained out. Since it marked the last time the two teams will meet in the first half, the games will not be made up. In nine games against Carolina in the first-half, Frederick went 3-6.
LAST TIME OUT: The Frederick Keys used a five-run third, outstanding relief pitching by Mark Blackmar, and the hot bat of Manny Machado to defeat the Carolina Mudcats 10-3 on Sunday afternoon at Harry Grove Stadium. The five-run frame was the most profitable stanza of the season for the Keys, who also equaled their season-high total for hits in an inning (five). On the mound, Blackmar tossed a season-high 5.1 innings of one-run baseball, while Machado paced everyone at the plate, going 4-for-4 with two RBIs and three runs scored. Sunday’s win was the first at home against Carolina this season, after the Mudcats won the previous four matchups at the Grove.
MANNY MANIA: In his final day of an MLB rehab on Sunday, Manny Machado was unstoppable. Playing third base for the second straight day, the Miami native went 4-for-4 with two doubles, two RBIs and three runs scored. The four hits equaled the most by an individual in a Keys uniform this season, while it marked the second time in three games that Machado had recorded a pair of two-baggers in a contest. Added back to the Orioles roster on Thursday, the 21-year-old hit .667 (8-for-12) with four doubles, a triple, two RBI, five runs scored and a stolen base in his time with the Keys. It was his first time in a Frederick uniform since 2011m when he was part of the Keys team that won the Mills Cup.
EVERYBODY HITS: Frederick posted its second largest run output of the season on Sunday. The 10 runs were two-short of the club’s season-high on April 13, when the Keys notched 12 against Lynchburg. One big inning got the ball rolling, as the Keys scored half of their runs in the third inning. In the frame, 10 men came to bat, making it the third time all season the team had batted around in an inning. Frederick also sent nine men to bat in the sixth, leading to three runs. In total, eight of the nine starters recorded at least one hit, while Michael Burgess (three), Manny Machado (two) and Lucas Herbst (two) each drove in multiple runs.
BLACKJACK: Mark Blackmar gave the Keys valuable innings out of the bullpen on Saturday. Tossing 5.2 innings, the Texan allowed one run of five hits, walking one and striking out three. It was the longest outing by a Frederick bullpen-hand this season (eclipsing the four-inning stint by Miguel Chalas on April 14 against Lynchburg). Meanwhile, it was Blackmar’s longest outing since June 23, 2013, when he tossed six innings of three-run baseball as a member of Low-A Delmarva’s starting rotation. The right-hander currently leads all Keys relievers in innings pitched (17.2).
OUT OF THE DARKNESS, INTO THE LIGHT: Glynn Davis endeda three-game hitless stretch on Sunday, going 1-for-2 with three runs and three walks.Hitless in his previous 16 at-bats (stretching back to Wednesday), Davis snapped the skid in the third with a single to left. Although the recent slump has cut his batting average from .414 to .349, the Baltimore native is still third in Carolina League in hitting. He is also fourth in hits (30) and fourth in runs scored (19).
SOUTHPAW STRUGGLES: Saturday marked the second straight day where the Keys could not diagnose a left-handed starting pitcher. Facing Shawn Morimando, 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. Tonight the team sees another southpaw in Victor Payano, who defeated the Keys last Friday.
I WANNA BE LIKE MIKE!:After getting off to a slow start, Michael Burgess has been red-hot over the last week and a half. The Keys outfielder has hit safely in five straight, as well as in nine of his last 10 games, to jolt his average from .209 to .274 (the highest it has been all season). A force in the middle of the order, 10 of Burgess’ 23 hits have gone for extra-bases. Currently, the Tampa native leads the team in homers (three), doubles (seven), and RBIs (14).
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 tied for 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.
PENA TO DL, HAUSER JOINS KEYS: On Tuesday, Jerome Pena was placed on the seven-day DL with a left wrist sprain. The move is retroactive to April 28. Taking his place on the roster is RHP Matt Hauser. Originally drafted by Minnesota out of the University of San Diego in 2010, Hauser was signed as a free-agent by Baltimore in mid-April. He spent each of the last four years as a Twins farmhand, reaching as High as Double-A. Splitting last season between New Britain and High-A Ft Myers, Hauser went 4-5 with a 5.09 ERA over 30 games.
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: Left-hander Victor Payano makeshis sixth start of the season on Thursday and his second against Frederick in 2014. Pitching against the Keys last Friday at Harry Grove Stadium, Payano turned in his best start of the season. Over five innings, he allowed two runs on eight hits and struck out eight. Additionally, he walked only one, after handing out five or more free passes in his four prior starts. The Carolina League leader in walks, Payano has given out 23 free tickets in 17 stanzas this season. A problem throughout his career, Payano has walked 193 over 307.2 innings as a professional, or roughly six per nine innings. The lefty spent all of 2013 with Myrtle Beach, going 5-7 with a 6.67 ERA over 21 games (20 starts). In 82.1 innings, he allowed 82 hits, walked 54 and surrendered a career-high 11 home runs. Payano’s best season came with Low-A Hickory in 2012. As a 19-year-old that season, he went 6-8 with a 4.63 ERA over 25 games (20 starts). The Pelicans opening day starter this season, Payano was originally signed as a non-drafted free agent by Texas in February 2010. Clocked in the upper 80s as a 16-year-old, the Dominican originally agreed to terms with Boston for $900,000, but failed his physical. That allowed Texas to swoop in and sign him for a reported $75,000. Payano throws a low-mid 90s fastball, a curveball and a changeup.