Frederick Keys Game Notes 6-23-14

Good evening Keys fans!

We are back at the Grove tonight looking to rebound from last night’s extra-inning loss to the Wilmington Blue Rocks. The Keys got six shutout innings from starter Parker Bridwell, solid enough to maintain a 1-0 lead gained in the first inning off of another Michael Burgess home run, his fifth home run in his last six games. The Blue Rocks got on the board in the eighth inning when Terrance Gore was walked home to tie the game at one. After a scoreless ninth inning, Wilmington center fielder Bubba Starling homered to lead off extra innings, extending the Blue Rocks’ lead to 2-1. Frederick newcomer Trey Mancini was just feet short of what would have been a walk-off home run as Starling grabbed the game ending out on the warning track.

Tonight the Keys send righty Branden Kline to the mound to right the ship against the Blue Rocks. This will be Kline’s first start of the second half after going 3-2 with a 3.33 ERA in the first half . Wilmington counters with righty Christian Binford.

Kids eat free tonight at Harry Grove so come hungry and get loud for your Keys. If you can’t make it to the stadium tonight, you can listen to Doug Raftery and Geoff Arnold on the call on 1450 AM The Source.

Go Keys!

Below are the game notes for tonight’s match-up:

Monday, June 23, 2014 · Game #72 · Home Game #34

Frederick Keys (33-38/1-3) vs Wilmington Blue Rocks (35-37/2-2)

RHP Branden Kline (3-2, 3.33) vs. RHP Christian Binford (4-3, 2.19)

GAME OF INCHES: Trey Mancini came only feet shy of a game-winning three-run homer, but it was a Bubba Starling longball that proved the difference, as the Wilmington Blue Rocks defeated the Frederick Keys 2-1 in 10 innings on Sunday night at Harry Grove Stadium. Armed with a plethora of chances to win in regulation, Frederick finished 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position and left 10 on base. The Keys took an early lead on a Michael Burgess solo homer in the second, but the Blue Rocks tied the game in the eighth. Making his Advanced-A debut, Jimmy Yacabonis issued four walks to force home Terrance Gore, before Starling broke the deadlock in extra-innings. It was Frederick’s third loss in its last four contests.

EXTRA-TIME: Sunday marked the second time in three games that the Keys had gone extra-innings. Entering the contest with back-to-back wins in games stretching past regulation, the Keys dropped their first extra-inning tilt since May 28, when the club fell to Lynchburg 5-4 in 10 innings. This season, Frederick is 4-5 in games going 10 frames or more. All four extra-inning wins for the Keys have come on the road, while Luis Pujols’ team is 0-2 in extra-inning games at home.

LITTLE HELP!: Frederick’s one run loss on Sunday can largely be attributed to issues with runners in scoring position. Ending the game 0-for-11 with men at second and third base, the orange and black also left 10 stranded, the most runners the team had left behind since June 12. Over their last two contests, the Keys are a combined 1-for-18 with men in scoring position. A point of emphasis all season, the Keys are batting a collective .240 with men closest to home this season and only .198 with men in scoring position and two outs.

CAN’T TOUCH THIS: Parker Bridwell continued his hot stretch on the mound, tossing six innings of two-hit baseball. He walked two and struck out five in a no-decision. It was the Texan’s sixth straight quality start, and seventh overall. He is tied with Branden Kline for the team-lead in quality outings, while all seven have come at Harry Grove Stadium. Over his last three starts, Bridwell is 2-0 with a 0.95 ERA (19.0 IP/2ER) and has allowed only nine hits during that stretch. In the process, he has seen his ERA sliced by nearly a point (4.98-4.07), the lowest it has been all season.

 MOVING ON UP!: On Saturday night after the Keys game at Carolina, Mychal Givens received word that he had been promoted to the Double-A Bowie Baysox. The right-hander becomes the first member of the Keys to be promoted in 2014, and the first to climb the ladder since Johnny Ruettiger was called up to the Baysox last August 31. One of the league’s most dominant relief pitchers, Givens was 1-2 with a 3.24 ERA over 18 games with the orange and black. Utilizing a hard sinker and sweeping changeup, the Floridian held opponents to a paltry .147 batting average. The lowest batting average against for either a starter or reliever in the eight-team loop. In a corresponding move, the Keys received right-hander Dennis Torres from Low-A Delmarva. In 17 games with the Shorebirds he went 1-3 with a 3.31 ERA. He made his CL debut on Saturday, giving up two runs on five hits over two stanzas.

ALMANZAR JOINS KEYS ON MLB REHAB:On Sunday, the Orioles transferred infielder Michael Almanzar to the Frederick Keys as part of an MLB rehab assignment. Getting the start at third base, the 23-year-old played six innings and went 0-for-3. Almanzar is the second MLB rehabber Frederick has housed this year, joining Manny Machado, who hit .667 with a triple, four doubles and two RBIs over three games with the Keys from April 25-27. Selected by Baltimore in the MLB phase of the Rule 5 draft last year from Boston, Almanzar has been rehabbing from a left knee injury. In his first rehab game on Friday with the GCL Orioles he went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and two errors at third. He is scheduled to be with the Keys through Thursday.

 UP, UP AND AWAY!: Lately, Frederick has been scoring runs via the home run ball. Sunday marked the fifth time in six games that the Keys had hit a longball after Michael Burgess slugged a solo shot in the second. Frederick is second in the Carolina League in homers with 45. Only Myrtle Beach (62) has hit more this season. Over their last six games, the Keys have hit 12 home runs, with eight coming over the final two games of the first-half. Currently, Burgess paces the Keys with 11 deep flies, and is tied for third in the CL in that department. The Floridian has homered in five of his last six contests, and is one longball away from equaling his 2013 total at Double-A Corpus Christi.

NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK: On Thursday, the Baltimore Orioles made a series of roster moves affecting the Keys. Frederick received outfielder Mike Yastrzemski, infielder Trey Mancini, and relief pitcher Jimmy Yacabonis from Low-A Delmarva. Meanwhile, the Keys transferred infielder Creede Simpson and outfielder Lucas Herbst to the Shorebirds. On Monday, the Orioles released right-handed reliever Matt Hauser. Yastrzemski, Mancini and Yacabonis were all members of the South Atlantic Northern Division All-Star squad. At the midway break, Yastrzemski was first in the league in total bases (143), second in runs (52), tied for second in slugging (.554) and extra-base hits (34) and third in hits (79), while he sported a .306 batting average to go along with 12 steals in 16 tries over 63 games. Mancini led the Shorebirds in hitting in the first half, batting .317 in 68 games (tied for 2nd-most in the SAL). The .317 mark was good for seventh-best overall, while he finished second in hits (85). Out of the bullpen, Yacabonis was 14 of 15 in save opportunities and registered a 1-1 mark to go along with a 1.07 ERA over 21games (25.1 IP). He did not allow a run over his first 19 outings (spanning 24 innings).

ALL-STAR NOTES: Glynn Davis and Branden Kline each participated in the Carolina League-California League All-Star game on Tuesday night at Frawley Stadium in Wilmington Delaware. Batting sixth and making the start in centerfield, Davis went 0-for-2 with an RBI. He drove in the Carolina League’s first run with a groundout to short, after Jorge Alfaro tripled to begin the fifth. Kline tossed a scoreless eighth, needing just 16 pitches (10 strikes) to dispose of Chris Jacobs, Roberto Pena and Trevor Story in order. The California League earned a 3-2 win. Bakersfield’s Kyle Waldrop led the charge for the westcoasters, with an RBI single in the second and then a two-run blast off Wilmington’s Christian Binford in the fourth. Waldrop was named the Cal League’s MVP, while Kyle Wren took home Carolina League MVP honors going 2-for-3 with an RBI and a pair of steals.

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 13th Carolina League start and his third against Frederick. Rated the No. 10 prospect in the Royals system according to Baseball America, the Hagerstown, MD native is making his first start of the second-half. In his last outing of the first-half, Binford tossed six shutout innings of three-hit baseball against Carolina in a winning effort. He struck out five and hit a batter. A Carolina League All-Star, the righty allowed two runs on a hit while pitching the fourth inning. Binford is tied for the CL lead in strikeouts (79) with Parker Bridwell and rates third in the CL in ERA (2.19). Opponents are batting just .223 off him this year, the league’s fifth-lowest mark. Rated as the top control pitcher in the Kansas City farm system by Baseball America, Binford is also second in WHIP (1.00). 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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