Frederick Keys Game Notes 6-11-14

Hello Keys fans!

Tonight is Celtic night at Harry Grove Stadium! There will be plenty of Irish music played as well as performances from Irish dancers and bagpipers! Don’t forget your kilt!

The Keys have hit a bit of a roll as of late, winning four of their last five games including last night’s win over the Salem Red Sox. Frederick tallied eight runs in the second inning, the most they have amassed in a single inning this season. Eight runs would have been enough for the victory, but Frederick added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth and eventually went on to win, 9-7.

Righty Mark Blackmar takes the mound for Frederick tonight, looking to build off of his last start where he pitched 6.2 scoreless innings, allowing only five hits and striking out four. It was the longest Blackmar has pitched into a game since July 3, 2012.

A win tonight would give the Keys their second home sweep of the season.

Take a look below at the game notes for tonight:

Wednesday, June 11, 2014 · Game #64 · Home Game #28

Frederick Keys (29-34) vs Salem Red Sox (30-34)

RHP Mark Blackmar (4-1, 3.91) vs. RHP Luis Diaz (5-3, 3.65)

WEIRD, WILD, STUFF:In a game that featured a plethora of twists and turns, the Frederick Keys found a way to win on Tuesday night against the Salem Red Sox at Harry Grove Stadium. Coming away with a 9-7 triumph, the orange and black were kept afloat by an eight-run second, where 11 men came to bat against Sox pitchers Cody Kukuk and Justin Haley. Despite ranking as the most productive inning of the year, the pesky Red Sox would not back down. Utilizing 14 hits, three home runs and solid relief pitching by Haley, Salem got within a run in the sixth, before an RBI single by Joel Hutter put the Keys on top 9-7. That is how things would remain, as the visitors stranded the tying run on base in each the last three innings.

POLISH OFF THE BROOMS: On Wednesday, the Keys will try for their second sweep of the season and their first at Harry Grove Stadium in 2014. Frederick’s only sweep came on April 17, when the orange and black completed a three-game sweep of the Winston-Salem Dash at BB&T Ballpark. In their last three series, the Keys have twice come within a game of brooming their opponent. After winning back-to-back games via shutout at Myrtle Beach last Friday and Saturday, the team fell to the Pelicans 7-4 in Sunday’s finale. During the previous homestand, Frederick also dropped the final game of the series, after winning the first three against Wilmington. The Keys last three-game home sweep came on April 7, 2013, when the club took three straight against Salem to begin the year.

JACKPOT: Tuesday’s eight-run second inning was Frederick’s most profitable of the season. Sending 11 men to bat, the Keys pounded out eight runs on six hits. The eight-run inning eclipses the seven-run frame the Keys put together against the Potomac Nationals on May 14. All seven runs came off MLB rehabber Ross Ohlendorf, while Frederick recorded a season-high 20 hits, and tied its season-high with 12 runs scored. On Tuesday, seven of the nine Keys starters tallied at least one hit, and three (Michael Burgess, Adrian Marin and Pedro Perez) ended with multi-hit games.

MIKE CHECK 1,2,3: Since returning from Aberdeen last Tuesday, Michael Burgess has hit safely in seven of his last nine games. During that time, he is batting .370 (13-for-31) with two home runs, two triples, two doubles, seven RBIs and eight runs scored. The hot stretch has bumped his batting average from .278 to .302, the highest it has been all season. The boost can be attributed to three multi-hit games, including a four-hit effort last Friday, where the outfielder went 4-for-5 with a homer, triple, three RBIs and three runs scored. It was his first four-hit effort since July 8, 2010, when he was a member of the Potomac Nationals, playing against the Frederick Keys. Meanwhile, it was the second time that Burgess had come one hit away from a cycle in a game this year. On May 18 at Winston-Salem, the Floridian came within a triple of the cycle. Burgess is tied for eighth in the Carolina League in hitting (.302), is second in slugging percentage (.513) and third in RBIs (40).

LIKE A ROCK:  After recording his first multi-RBI game on Sunday, Zane Chavez was back at work on Monday night. Finishing 1-for-2 with two RBIs, the Californian tied the series opener with a solo homer to right in the second, before giving Frederick the lead for good with a sacrifice fly in the fourth. In his second season of affiliated baseball, Chavez has five RBIs in his last three games and 11 over 25 games with the orange and black this season. Between the Keys and Double-A Bowie, he is batting .259 with three homers and 12 RBIs this season.

SCORELESS STREAK SNAPPED:An RBI single by Christopher Bostick in the bottom of the first on Sunday snapped a string of 20.2 innings where Keys pitching had not allowed a run. Beginning in the sixth inning of Thursday night’s regularly scheduled game at Salem, Frederick blanked Myrtle Beach 6-0 on Friday before earning a 1-0 win in 10 innings on Saturday. The 20.2 frames ranks as the longest scoreless innings streak by Frederick pitching this season. Additionally, the shutout wins on Friday and Saturday marked the first time all year that the orange and black had blanked an opponent on back-to-back days.

WALK THIS WAY: Keys third baseman Jason Esposito has walked just six times in 220 plate appearances this season, but two of them came on Sunday night. It was the first time Esposito had walked twice in a game since April 23, 2013. Four of Esposito’s six walks came during the recent six-game roadtrip, while two of them came at critical moments. Last Thursday, the former Vanderbilt Commodore earned a base on balls in the 12th inning in the suspended game continuation, and ended up scoring the go-ahead run. Then on Saturday, Esposito walked with one out against Jose Leclerc and was the only run of the game after he tagged up from third on a sacrifice fly from Pedro Perez.

NO MORE BULLPEN BLUES?: After two tough months, the Keys bullpen may have turned it around through the first week of June. Relievers recorded a 4.40 ERA in April and 4.95 ERA in 30 games in May, but have only allowed nine runs in 32.2 innings through June (2.48 ERA). In their last five games, Keys relievers have allowed three runs over 14.1 innings with 17 strikeouts and nine hits against.

HEY NOW YOU’RE AN ALL-STAR: Last Wednesday afternoon, it was announced that Glynn Davis and Matt Taylor had been named to the Carolina League All-Star team. It marked the second professional all-star selection for Davis and the first for Taylor. On Tuesday, June 17, the Carolina League All Stars will play the California League All-Stars in the two leagues annual clash. The No. 29 prospect in the Orioles system according to Baseball America, Davis enters Wednesday’s action with the fourth-best batting average in the Carolina League (.313). He ranks second in hits (65), runs scored (46) and is third in doubles (16). The Baltimore native also paces the Keys with 19 multi-hit games. Although Taylor was named to the All-Star squad, he will not play in the game due to injury. Still, the Georgian has impressed this season, going 5-1 with a 1.94 ERA in eight games. He is second in the league in ERA and is tied for second in wins. This year’s Carolina League All-Star team will be managed by Blue Rocks skipper Darryl Kennedy, while Wilmington’s Steve Luebber will serve as pitching coach.

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 Luis Diaz makes his 13th start of the season and his first against Frederick in 2014. His most recent start came last Friday at Lynchburg, and was his best outing of the year. Tying a season-high with seven innings pitched, the right-hander gave up one run on six hits, while he struck out four and did not walk a batter. Although he received a no-decision, Friday’s start ended a bumpy stretch for Diaz, where he allowed nine runs (six earned) on 14 hits over 8.1 frames. The Venezuelan’s other seven-inning outing came on May 14 at Wilmington, a game where he issued only two runs and struck out six. Diaz’s best month was April, where he posted a 2.91 ERA in five starts. In 21.2 frames, he gave up 10 runs (seven earned). Although his ERA was 90 points higher in May, Diaz exhibited better command, walking just three in 28.1 innings. Diaz comes off an excellent 2013, where he registered a combined 1.96 ERA over 101 innings between Low-A Greenville and Salem. Despite not making his 2013 debut until late-May due to a DL stint, the righty posted nine wins, tied for fourth-most among Red Sox farmhands. Seven of those wins came as a member of the Drive, where he went 7-4 with a 2.05 ERA. Promoted to Salem on August 20, Diaz continued his dominance in the Carolina League. Making his second CL start against the Keys on August 29 at LewisGale Field, he twirled seven shutout innings and gave up only five hits. From there, Diaz tossed eight scoreless innings in Salem’s postseason opener against Myrtle Beach. Signed by the Red Sox as a 16-year-old in August 2008, the righty hails from Valencia, Venezuela, the third largest city in the country, and the hometown of MLB All-Stars Salvador Perez and Felix Hernandez. The right-hander throws a low-mid 90s fastball, a curveball, a slider and a changeup.

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