Frederick Keys Game Notes: 5-2-14

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

I hope everybody is excited for the weekend. Sadly, the Keys and the Orioles are both on the road. The Keys will be in Myrtle Beach until Sunday, while the O’s are in Minnesota for the next three nights. But that’s what radio and TV are for right? (note: that preceding statement DID in fact come from a broadcaster who likes people to listen to him every once in awhile). But I digress..

Hopefully the momentum from Thursday’s doubleheader sweep of the Pirates will follow the club to the Twin Cities. Former Key Matt Wieters secured the sweep with a walk-off long ball at around 1 a.m. The nightcap also marked the return of Manny Machado. After tearing the cover off the ball during a three-game rehab assignment with the Keys, Machado received a standing ovation prior to his first at-bat. The Floridian ought to provide a nice spark to an Orioles lineup which is without Matt Wieters on account of a left-oblique strain.

In other Orioles news, best wishes to former Key Kevin Gausman. The No. 2 pitching prospect in the Baltimore farm system according to Baseball America, Gausman woke up early Thursday morning with discomfort in his rib cage. The pain was so sharp, that Gausman thought he was having a heart attack. He underwent an MRI earlier today, and will miss his scheduled start in Norfolk tonight.

On the Keys front, the normally sharp Mychal Givens had a rough night Thursday. Over 0.1 of an inning, the righty allowed a career-high seven runs in the shortest relief stint of his career. In the process, the Keys lost a three-run lead and ultimately fell 9-5. Frederick is still trying to figure out the Pelicans. The orange and black have lost three of four to their  Southern Division counterpart this season, as well as 31 of the last 44 dating back to 2012. Every year the Pelicans seem to reload. A Texas Rangers affiliate, Myrtle Beach has been the beneficiary of a major talent wave over the last few years.

Frederick will try and even the series up tonight with Branden Kline on the hill. The Keys most consistent starter this season, the former Virginia Cavalier has allowed just one earned run over his last 14 innings. He will be opposed by lefty Luis Parra.

Some game notes are attached. Broadcast time is at 6:45 on 1450 AM The Source and The talented Brick, NJ native, Doug Raftery, will keep you company from the Grand Strand. Have a good weekend and shake your keys!

      Friday, May 2, 2014 · Game #25 · Road Game #13

      Frederick Keys (10-14) vs Myrtle Beach Pelicans (16-9)

     RHP Branden Kline (1-1, 2.48) vs. LHP Luis Parra (3-0, 4.64)

UNLUCKY SEVENTH: Ahead 5-2 going to the bottom of the seventh inning, Frederick was victim to a seven-run outburst by Myrtle Beach. In the inning, the Pelicans pounded out seven hits and sent 11 men bat. That proved to be the decisive frame, as the Birds claimed a 9-5 victory, their third against the Keys this season. The normally reliable Mychal Givens was tagged for the loss, allowing a career-high seven runs in the seventh. Meanwhile, the Pelicans bullpen trio of Andrew Faulkner, Alex Claudio and Jose Leclerc collaborated on five innings of shutout relief.

CHINK IN THE CHAIN: When things have gone off the rails for Frederick this season, it has often been due to a rough seventh inning. Over 24 games this year, the Keys have been outscored 26-3 in the game’s third-to-last stanza. The 26 runs is the most Frederick pitching has given up in an individual inning this year. The next worst inning for the club is the second, where Keys arms have served up 22 runs. When the orange and black have braved the seventh though, it has often meant victory. When holding a lead through seven innings, Frederick is 9-2 this year.

GIVEN(S)/ TAKE: One of the Carolina League’s most reliable relief pitchers, Mychal Givens endured a rocky night on the mound. Entering the game for Brady Wager in the seventh, the Floridian allowed seven runs and retired only one batter. The seven runs eclipsed Givens’ previous career-high of six runs allowed in an outing. That occurred last season, when the righty surrendered six runs on five hits over just 0.2 of an inning. Prior to Thursday, Givens had issued only one earned run in 11 innings, and had scattered only four hits (entering Thursday’s action, opponents were hitting only .108 against him-the third-lowest mark in the CL at the time).

PELICAN BRIEFS: In four games against Myrtle Beach this season, Frederick is 1-3. On Thursday, the Keys endured their biggest lost lead of the season, after the team coughed up a four-run advantage. Meanwhile, Frederick’s worst defeat of the season also came at the hands of the Pelicans. On April 23, Myrtle Beach thumped the Keys 21-6, the orange and black’s most lopsided defeat since June 11, 2006. In the game, the Birds pounded out 23 hits, the most in a game by a Carolina League team this season. A club that has given Frederick headaches in recent years, the Keys went a combined 12-28 against the Pelicans from 2012-13.

LET’S MAKE A WAGER: After allowing a career-high 10 runs in his start on April 23 against Myrtle Beach, Brady Wager returned to form on Thursday. Over six innings, the Arizona native allowed two runs on four hits in a no-decision. He struck out four, allowed a home run and did not walk a batter. It was Wager’s third quality start of the season. He and Branden Kline are tied for the most quality appearances on the team (three). Excluding Wager’s first start against the Pelicans, the right-hander has allowed three runs or less when he has been on the mound this year.

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 11 games, raising his batting average from .194-.273, the highest it has been since April 8. The 11-game streak is tied for the third longest in the Carolina League this season. Teammate Glynn Davis also hit safely in 11 games earlier this year, while only Salem’s Matty Johnson (12) and Carolina’s Erik Gonzalez (16) sport longer streaks. 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 51 chances that have come his way.

SLAMMIN SAMMIE: On Thursday, Sammie Starr tied his career-high for hits in a game, going 3-for-4 with a double, two RBIs and a run scored. It was the Canadian’s first three-hit game since May 21, 2013, as well his first multi-hit game of the year. In the Keys first series against Myrtle Beach, Starr did not get any at-bats, but he did make his professional debut on the mound. Serving in a mop-up role with the Keys down 21-5, Starr got a groundball out to end the top of the ninth.

MULTI-DIMENSIONAL:  Glynn Davis turned in his 11th multi-hit game of the year on Thursday night, going 2-for-4 with a double, two runs scored and a stolen base. The 11 multi-hit games paces the club. Next closest are Michael Burgess and Adrian Marin who have each posted two hits or more on five occasions this year. Currently, Davis is third in the Carolina League in hitting (.356). He is also second in hits (32) and runs scored (21).

I WANNA BE LIKE MIKE!:After getting off to a slow start, Michael Burgess has found his groove over the last two weeks. The Keys outfielder has hit safely in six straight, as well as in 10 of his last 11 games, to jolt his average from .209 to .273 (the second-highest it has been all season). A force in the middle of the order, 10 of Burgess’ 24 hits have gone for extra-bases. Currently, the Tampa native leads the team in homers (three) and RBIs (15).

SOUTHPAW STRUGGLES: This season, Frederick is 1-6 when facing a lefty starter, while the Keys are hitting just .241 off southpaws this year. On Thursday, the Keys fared well against lefty starter Victor Payano, tallying five runs on seven hits over four innings. However, Frederick’s lineup did not have as much luck against Pelicans lefties Andrew Faulkner and Alex Claudio, who held the visitors to just two hits over three stanzas.

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 Luis Parra makes his sixth appearance of the year, his fourth start of the season on Friday. His most recent outing came at Frederick last Thursday. Earning the start, Para received a no-decision. Over five innings, the Dominican allowed three runs on eight hits. He walked two, hit a batter, struck out four and threw a wild pitch. He is currently tied for second in the Carolina League lead in wins (three). Until recently, Parra was serving in a piggybacking role with fellow lefty Andrew Faulkner. As a starter, Para is 2-0 with a 5.28 ERA (15.1 IP/9ER) and is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA as a reliever (6IP/2ER). Walks have occasionally been an issue at times, as Parra has handed out 11 free passes in 21.1 innings. The 22-year-old split 2013 between Myrtle Beach and Low-A Hickory. In 20 games (all starts) Parra went a combined 5-6 with a 2.68 ERA, while he went 0-2 with a 3.71 ERA as a member of the Pelicans and delivered a quality start in three of his five outings with the Birds. Signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2008, Para hails from Altamira, Dominican Republic, the same hometown as Mets starting pitcher Bartolo Colon.



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