Game Notes 5-30-14

Good Evening Keys Fans!

Frederick and Wilmington get underway at the top of the hour from the Grove! Parker Bridwell makes the start for the Keys and will be countered by righty Christian Binford. Pregame coverage starts at 6:45 p.m, with Doug Raftery and myself. Some game notes are below.

Talk soon and shake your keys!

Geoff

                             Friday, May 30, 2014 · Game #52 · Home Game #23

                         Frederick Keys (21-30) vs Wilmington Blue Rocks (27-25)

                 RHP Parker Bridwell (1-6, 5.13) vs. RHP Christian Binford (3-2, 2.21)

BROOMED: Lynchburg used a three-run eighth to earn a 6-3 victory over Frederick on Thursday afternoon at Calvin Falwell Field, as the Hillcats completed a three-game sweep of the orange and black. It marked the second time all season that the Keys had come away from a series winless, and the first time since April 8-10, when the club dropped three straight to Carolina. On Thursday, Glynn Davis put Frederick up 3-2 in the top of the seventh, but the Hillcats scored the final four runs off Frederick right-hander Miguel Chalas. In the home-seventh, Joe Odom evened the contest with a single to centerfield, before Edison Sanchez stroked a two-run double in the eighth to put Lynchburg up for good. The loss drops Frederick to nine games below .500, the most the team has been below sea-level all year.

EARLY BIRD DOESN’T ALWAYS GET THE WORM: Thursday marked the second straight game where Frederick had grabbed the lead first, but ultimately could not hold on. In the series finale against the Hillcats, the Keys grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first, but ultimately came up short 6-3. Wednesday was even harder to swallow, as Frederick took a 4-0 lead after four stanzas only to see Lynchburg prevail 5-4. This season, the Keys are 16-12 when scoring first, tied for the worst mark in the Carolina League. Lynchburg also checks in at 16-12, while Myrtle Beach has the top mark when christening the scoreboard. When the Pelicans score first, they are 24-4.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Frederick has struggled mightily in series openers this year. In 2014, the orange and black are just 3-12 in the first game of a series, while the Keys have lost 10 straight series openers. The last time Frederick started off a series on the right foot came on April 18, when the team defeated Carolina 3-1 in 11 innings. The Keys have often fared well in the middle game though, capturing game two in four of the last six sets they have played.

LIKE A ROCK: Zane Chavez extended his hitting streak to a season-high eight games on Thursday afternoon, thanks to an RBI double in the top of the first off Lay Batista. Over the eight-game jaunt, the Californian is batting .367 (11-for-30) with three doubles, three RBIs, and two runs scored. Chavez’s streak extends back to May 6, as the catcher was promoted to Double-A Bowie on May 8 and later returned to the club on May 22. The longest streak of Chavez’s affiliated career came last August 14-26, when he hit in 11 straight with the Keys.

ADRIAN!: Adrian Marin has been on a tear of late. On Tuesday he finished 2-for-4 with two doubles and a pair of RBIs. That performance came on the heels of a monster Memorial Day, where the Miami native tied a career-high with three RBIs going 2-for-3 with a pair of two baggers. His first double on Monday proved to be the dagger against Wilmington as it wrapped up a six-run third inning. Over his last eight contests, Marin is batting .333 (10-for-30) with five doubles, six RBIs and three runs scored, and has multiple hits in four of those games. During that stretch, he has moved his batting average from .221 to .242.

NORTHERN EXPOSURE:  Frederick has not fared well against their closest geographic rivals this season. The Keys are a combined 7-14 against Wilmington, Potomac and Lynchburg this season, while the orange black are even or below .500 against all three clubs. The team’s recent roadtrip did not help matters. Over a seven game roadtrip, the Keys lost six of the seven contests they played. That includes being swept in a three-game series against Lynchburg. This season, the Keys are 1-3 against Wilmington. The Blue Rocks took last year’s season-set, winning 12 of the 20 games played between the two teams.

MOVING AND SHAKING: Frederick’s roster has gotten a bit of a shakeup over the last week. On Tuesday, Joel Hutter was transferred to Aberdeen and Sam Kimmel added to the roster. That move comes after Michael Burgess was transferred to Aberdeen on Saturday, while Pedro Perez was received from the Ironbirds. Before Thursday’s morning game, Sammie Starr rejoined the Keys from Aberdeen and Zane Chavez returned from Double-A Bowie. Meanwhile, Perez was transferred to Aberdeen, while Lucas Herbst was also sent to the Ironbirds. On Friday, one additional roster move was announced, as lefty reliever Ashur Tolliver joined the Keys from Aberdeen, and Lex Rutledge was transferred.

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 Christian Binford makes his 10th Carolina League start second straight against the Frederick Keys on Friday. Rated the No. 10 prospect in the Royals system according to Baseball America, the Hagerstown, MD native drew a no-decision on Sunday against the Keys, despite posting his fourth quality start of the year. Over seven stanzas, the right-hander allowed one run on five hits, walked one and struck out eight. The CL’s leader in punchouts (64), Binford has struck out eight in back-to-back starts. His command has also been pinpoint. Rated as the top control pitcher in the Kansas City farm system by Baseball America, Binford is second in the Carolina League in WHIP (1.02), while he is limiting opponents to a .215 batting average (.229 left/.205 right) the fourth-lowest mark in the eight-team circuit. A pitcher who has been outstanding over both months of the season, Binford has a 1.99 ERA in the month of May, and has given up only seven runs in 31.2 innings pitched. The right-hander was also dominant at Low-A Lexington in 2013. Named the Lexington Pitcher of the Year as well as a South Atlantic League All-Star, Binford was 8-7 with a 2.67 ERA to go along with 130 strikeouts and just 25 walks over 135 frames. His ERA was third-best in the SAL, while he placed fifth in WHIP (1.14) and sixth in strikeouts. Binford spent 2012 at Rookie-Burlington, after being selected by Kansas City in the 30th round of the 2011 draft. He received a well over-slot bonus of $575,000 which swayed him from attending the University of Virginia (if he attended he would have been teammates with Branden Kline). As a high school senior at Mercersburg (PA) Academy, Binford posted a 0.64 ERA in 55 frames. As a sophomore he underwent Tommy John Surgery. Not a hard thrower, Binford used his 6 foot 7 frame to create a good downhill angle on his pitches. He throws a 88-93 mph fastball, a slider, curveball and changeup.

 

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