Game Notes 6-3-14
Good Evening Keys Fans!
Hope you are all enjoying your day. It may be hard to believe, but for the FIRST TIME ALL SEASON the Keys will play the Salem Red Sox. First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m, from LewisGale Field, as Frederick gets its first crack at the defending Carolina League champs. Salem has struggled mightily of late, dropping six games in a row. On the other hand, the Keys are coming off a successful homestand, where the club took 3 of 4 against Wilmington.
In addition to the Keys getting a couple of big wins, it was also a fun weekend at the ballpark. Saturday’s crowd of 9,517 was the largest to see a Keys game all year, while Sunday’s Candy Drop was a huge hit! Here is a link to a story done by the Washington Post on the event. We’ve got plenty of great promotions on the horizon including a Military Card Set giveaway as well as World Cup Night, but we’ll be detailing those in the next couple of days.
Doug Raftery has got the radio call of tonight’s game on 1450 AM The Source. Be sure to join him at 6:45 for the pregame show. First pitch comes your way at 7:05 p.m.
I’ve attached some game notes below. Enjoy the game and shake your keys!
Tuesday, June 3, 2014 · Game #56 · Road Game #30
Frederick Keys (24-31) vs Salem Red Sox (27-29)
RHP Brady Wager (2-4, 5.80) vs. LHP Corey Littrell (3-3, 4.03)
ONE GAME SHORT: Despite getting great pitching from Branden Kline, the Frederick Keys could not figure out Wilmington’s Glenn Sparkman or Daniel Stumpf, as the Blue Rocks shutout the orange and black 3-0 on Monday night at Harry Grove Stadium. The loss snapped the Keys three game winning streak, and denied the club its second sweep of the year. Held to only three hits, Frederick did not record a base knock from the fifth inning on, as the duo of Sparkman and Stumpf retired 13 straight Keys to end the game. With 13 games remaining in the first half, Frederick sits 5.5 games out of first.
FIRING BLANKS: Making a bid for their first four-game sweep since May 27-29, 2011, the Keys shutout for the fourth time on Monday. It was the first time the Keys had been blanked in nearly a month. Prior to Monday night’s finale, Frederick had not been shutout since May 5 when the orange and black fell to Potomac 4-0. The Keys also have three shutout wins, including a pair in May. The Keys 3-4 shutout record puts the team near the middle of the pack. Salem owns the top record at 6-2, while Winston-Salem has the worst mark at 2-7, and has been shutout more than any other Carolina League club.
EARLY HIBERNATION: Over their last two games, Frederick has been very quiet offensively from the fifth inning on. Over a nine-inning stretch, the orange and black have been limited to only two hits, while on Monday Frederick was set down 13 in-a-row to end the game. The Keys experienced the same problems last Monday-Wednesday, going a collective 1-for-30 against Wilmington and Lynchburg from the seventh inning through the completion of the game.
ROTATION RULES: Frederick’s run of outstanding starting pitching continued on Monday night. Although he was tagged with his second loss, Branden Kline gave up only one run over 6.2 innings. It was Kline’s sixth quality start of the season (team-high), while it was the fifth straight quality outing by a Keys starting pitcher, the first time the rotation has accomplished that feat all year. Brady Wager got the ball rolling last Thursday afternoon with six innings of two-run baseball, while Parker Bridwell and Joe Van Meter followed with seven frames of one-run and two-run baseball respectively. Keeping the streak alive, Mark Blackmar tossed six innings while giving up only one run on Sunday before Kline’s performance on Monday. One of the team’s strengths in the month of May, Frederick’s starting rotation posted a 3.58 over 30 games.
WHERE’S THE LOVE?: Branden Kline has worked at least 6.2 innings in each of his last three starts and allowed no more than four runs, but has not picked up a win since May 7. Over that stretch, he is 0-1 with a 2.61 ERA (20.2 IP/6ER). Monday was one of Kline’s best home starts all season. Entering the game with a 4.29 ERA at Harry Grove Stadium, the former Governor Thomas Johnson standout posted his first quality start at home since April 24. Although half of Kline’s six starts at the Grove have been quality outings, the right-hander has received two no-decisions and a loss. The first pitcher in the Carolina League to log 70 innings this season, Kline paces the eight-team circuit in innings pitched and is 10th in ERA (3.21).
HOIST THE HARDWARE:On Monday, Adrian Marin was named the Carolina League’s “Player of the Week” for May 26-June 2. It is the first time the Miami native has earned a player of the week honor in his pro career, while he becomes the second member of the Keys to receive a weekly award in 2014. In mid-May, Parker Bridwell was named the Carolina League “Pitcher of the Week” after throwing a near no-hitter against Potomac. Owner of three mutli-RBI games in last six contests, Marin led all of Advanced-A in runs batted in last week, posted the second-most among Orioles farmhands (Delmarva’s Trey Mancini recorded 12), while his 11 RBIs were tied for the sixth-most in all of minor league baseball. Mark Minicozzi of Triple-A Fresno and Brad Snyder of Triple-A Round Rock also finished with 11, while Frank Schwindel of Low-A Lexington paced all the minors with 16. Thanks to the 11 RBIs output, Marin has more than doubled his season output. Over his past six games, he is batting .429 (9-for-21) while eight of his nine hits have gone for extra-bases (seven doubles and one homer).
FREDERICK V SALEM 2013: The Keys posted an 11-9 record against the Red Sox last season. One of only two head-to-head series Frederick won all season (the Keys went 12-8 against Carolina), Salem was also one of only two clubs that the orange and black swept in 2013. The two teams split the 20 game season-series in 2012, while the Keys manhandled the Sox in 2011, going 15-5. Despite being June 3, Tuesday goes down as the first time that the Keys and the Red Sox have met all year. The last head-to-head battle took place last August 30, when Salem took three of four at LewisGale Field.
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 Corey Littrell makes his 10th start of the year and his first against Frederick. The Kentucky native comes off the worst start of his professional career, where he allowed a career-high eight runs over 3.1 innings at Myrtle Beach last Tuesday. He tied his career-high with seven hits allowed, walked three and struck out five. That jolted his ERA from 2.61 to 4.03, the highest it has been all season. Normally a reliable member of the Red Sox rotation, Littrell has tallied four quality starts this season, while he is holding opponents to a .248 batting average against. In his first season at Advanced-A, the lefty made the jump to Salem from Short-Season Lowell. With the Spinners, Littrell went 0-3 with a 1.74 ERA over 12 games (10 starts). He gave up only six earned runs in 31 innings and held opponents to a .237 batting average. In eight of his 12 appearances with Lowell, Littrell did not allow a run. Selected in the fifth round of the 2013 draft out of the University of Kentucky, the 22-year-old signed for a reported $300,000, $40,500 below the recommended slot bonus. In three seasons with the Wildcats, he went 21-13, while his best season at UK came in 2012, when he was 9-2 with a 2.74 ERA. That summer, Littrell pitched for Harwich in the Cape Cod League and raised eyebrows by striking out 52 in 39 frames. A four-pitch pitcher, the lefty throws an upper-80s to low-90s fastball, a curveball, a cutter, and a changeup. A pitcher with a good pedigree, Littrell’s father Jack pitched four season in the minors, while his grandfather Jack Sr., appeared in 111 major league games with Philadelphia, Kansas City and Chicago in the 1950s.