Frederick Keys Game Notes 5-6-14
Good Evening Keys Fans!
I hope you enjoyed some of Chris’s factoids this afternoon. As he mentioned, the Keys have gotten some strong individual performances of late. Now, it’s time to put it all together. Tonight, the Keys will try and pick up their first win at Potomac this season. Off a quality start, Brady Wager takes the mound. He will be countered by the former Rice Owl John Simms, who makes his second Advanced-A start.
Some game notes are below, while Doug Raftery will have the call starting at 6:45 tonight.
Tuesday, May 6, 2014 · Game #29 · Road Game #17
Frederick Keys (12-16) vs Potomac Nationals (17-10)
RHP Brady Wager (2-2, 6.12) vs. RHP John Simms (0-0, 1.80)
NATITUDINAL ADJUSTMENT: The Frederick Keys were shutout by the Potomac Nationals 4-0 on Monday night at Pfitzner Stadium. Limited to seven hits on the affair, the orange and black had no answer for either Ian Dickson or Matthew Spann. Making his first Advanced-A start, Dickson tossed five innings of three-hit baseball to earn his first Carolina League win, while Spann went the final four, striking out five. On the Keys side, Jesse Beal was tagged with his first loss, allowing two runs on three hits over three innings. At the plate, Lucas Herbst and Glynn Davis finished with two hits apiece.
SHUTOUT: On Monday night, the Keys were shutout for the third time this season. It was the first time Frederick had been blanked since April 11, and the first time it had occurred on the road. The three shutout losses are the second-most in the Carolina League, with the Keys trailing only Winston-Salem (four). Meanwhile, the series opener gave Potomac its first shutout win of 2014. Last season, the Keys failed to score a run on 10 occasions, resulting in the second-most shutout defeats in the Carolina League (Wilmington was blanked 13 times).
HITMAN HERBST: Since being called up from Low-A Delmarva, Lucas Herbst has worn out opposing pitchers. On Monday, the song remained the same, as the Californian went 2-for-4. It was his third straight two-hit contest, and extended his hitting streak to nine games. During that time, he is hitting .389 (14-for-36) with three doubles, seven RBIs and five runs scored. In the process, Herbst’s batting average has climbed 65 points from .286 to .351. That mark would be good for third-best in the Carolina League, however the Keys outfielder is roughly 14 plate appearances short of qualifying. Herbst was promoted from Low-A Delmarva on April 15.
JUST ANOTHER TWO-HIT NIGHT: Glynn Davis turned in his 14th multi-hit game of the year in the series opener against Potomac. Ending the night 2-for-4, it was his fourth multi-hit effort in five games. The Baltimore native’s 14 games of two-hits or more lead the ballclub. Lucas Herbst (6) is next closest. Entering Tuesday, Davis leads the Carolina League in hits (40), while he is second in in batting average (.370), runs scored (23) and on-base percentage (.424), as well as third in total bases (50).
ARMS RACE: Over the roadtrip, Frederick has received a number of good performances from its starting rotation. Brady Wager (6IP/2R) and Matt Taylor (7IP/0R) have each put together quality starts, while Branden Kline and Parker Bridwell each allowed only one earned run in their respective starts. Taylor and Kline have been the Keys best performers out of the rotation so far. Taylor leads all Orioles minor leaguers in ERA (1.32), and Kline rates third (2.36). Both individuals are also in the top 10 in the CL in ERA and top five in innings pitched, while Taylor is tied for second in the CL in wins (three). The Georgian’s most recent victory came on Sunday, when he tossed seven innings of shutout baseball at Myrtle Beach.
MEET MARK BLACKMAR: Since a challenging performance on April 23 against Myrtle Beach, Mark Blackmar has provided a nice boost to the Keys bullpen. Pitching in relief of Jesse Beal on Monday, the Texan tossed five innings of two-run baseball. He walked one, struck out four and scattered four hits. The five innings are the second-most Blackmar has tossed in a game this year. His longest outing came in his previous time out on April 27, when he allowed only one run over 5.2 innings. The right-hander is limiting opponents to a .209 batting average, and has made heavy use of the groundball out, averaging almost three groundouts for every flyout.
TWIN KILLINGS: Frederick has been susceptible to the double-play ball over the last three days. During that time, the Keys have hit into six twin-killings. That has ticked the club’s season-total up to 25, the most in the Carolina League this season. Salem is the only other club that has hit into at least 20 or more double plays (22). One-fifth of the Keys twin killings have come from Jason Esposito, who leads the CL in that department.
FREDERICK VS POTOMAC: Monday’s defeat was Frederick’s 14th in its last 21 games against Potomac, stretching back to last year. The Keys went 7-13 against the Nationals in both 2012 and 2013, while the orange and black have not claimed a season series against the Nationals since 2010. Potomac earned three shutout wins over the Keys last season, while an 8-0 Nationals victory on June 13 gave the P-Nats the first-half CL North title.
PENA TO DL, HAUSER JOINS KEYS: Last 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: Right-hander John Simms makes his second for Potomac on Tuesday, and his first against Frederick. In his Carolina League debut last Thursday, the Texan drew a no-decision, despite tossing five innings of one-run baseball. He scattered four hits, walked two and struck out one. Simms was promoted to the Nationals from Low-A Hagerstown on April 28. With the Suns, he was used exclusively as a reliever, tallying a 0.98 ERA with three saves in five games. Over 18.1 innings, he allowed only two runs on 13 hits, walked two and struck out 20. Opponents were batting only .194 against him. Selected by the Nationals in the 11th round of the 2013 Draft, Simms split 2013 between the GCL Nationals and Short-Season Auburn. In 12 games (two starts), he went 0-4 with a 5.70 ERA. Also selected by Washington in the 39th round of the 2010 Draft out of College Park High School (TX), Simms elected to attend Rice University after graduation. With the Owls, he split time between the rotation and the bullpen. In his final season, he went 8-4 over 23 games (14 starts) with a 2.61 ERA. Prior to his first season at Rice, Simms pitched for the United State U-18 squad. In four international starts, he was 4-0 with a 0.96 ERA and held opponents to a .133 batting average. Simms throws a low-90s fastball, a slider, a curveball and a splitter.