Frederick Keys Game Notes 6-26-14

Good morning Keys fans!

We’re up bright and early for a long day of baseball today! After attempting to hold off through a couple innings of light rain, lightning struck and heavy rain began to fall in the bottom of the fourth inning. Quick work by the Keys’ grounds crew saved the field from damage that could very well have delayed play for a couple of days. After about twenty minutes of delay, the remainder of last night’s season opener with the Winston-Salem Dash was suspended until this afternoon where we will pick up in the fourth inning and finish through nine innings. The game will be followed by a 30 minute break and today’s scheduled game, which will be played to seven innings.

When play was suspended last night, the Keys led the Dash 3-2. Trey Mancicni’s RBI double brought in Glynn Davis and Michael Almanzar to give the Keys their one-run lead. Mancini has six RBI in the six games he has played with Frederick.

Gene Escat will take the mound for the Keys when the game resumes, countered by Winston-Salem lefty Sean Hagan. In today’s second game, right-hander Brady Wager gets the start for the Keys and face off against Dash starter Frank Montas, who will be a part of the Futures Game for the White Sox organization. Baltimore’s representatives in the Futures Game are RHP Hunter Harvey and OF Dariel Alvarez.

The sun is out and shining today at the Grove so it should be a great day for Super Splash Day! Come on out for some fun in the sun and a great day with lots of baseball! Shake your keys!

Take a look at some of the notes for today’s game below:

Thursday, June 26, 2014 · Game #74/#75 · Home Game #36/#37

Frederick Keys (33-40/1-5) vs Winston-Salem Dash (33-42/3-3)

RHP Brady Wager (2-6, 5.95) vs. RHP Frank Montas (3-0, 1.64)

TARP PLEASE: On Wednesday night, Frederick and Winston-Salem were halted in the bottom of the fourth due to rain. After a quick fourth inning by Mark Blackmar, home plate umpire Brian Peterson called for the tarp with the Keys leading 3-2. After a sac-fly by Courtney Hawkins put Winston-Salem up 1-0 in the first, the Dash used a double by Omar Narvaez, a sac-bunt by Keenyn Walker and an RBI fielder’s choice by Tim Anderson to make it 2-0. Frederick grabbed the lead in the home-third though, following a sac-fly by Mike Yastrzemski and a two-run double by Trey Mancini with men at first and third. Wednesday’s game will be picked up in the bottom of the fourth, and all nine innings will be completed. Afterwards, the two clubs will play a seven-inning ballgame.

 SWEPT AWAY: The Wilmington Blue Rocks used four home runs as well as five innings of shutout baseball from Miguel Almonte to complete a three-game sweep of the Frederick Keys on Tuesday night by a 5-1 count. The four longballs equaled a season-high allowed by Keys pitching, while half came from Cody Stubbs, who recorded the first multi-homer game of his career. Unable to counter, Frederick finished without a hit with runners in scoring position for the third straight game. The Keys have now fallen in four straight, which is tied for the team’s second-longest slide of the season. Previously, the Keys dropped four in-a-row from May 22-25 against Myrtle Beach and Wilmington. The club’s longest losing streak of 2014 is five straight (occurring between April 8-12).

 A LITTLE HELP!:During the club’s three-game series against Wilmington, Frederick did not record a hit with runners in scoring position. Finishing a combined 0-for-20 with men closest to home, the Keys went 0-for-7 on Tuesday, after going 0-for-2 on Monday and 0-for-11 on Sunday. The orange and black also left a combined 20 on base during the series. Going back to the series finale at Carolina, Frederick is just 1-for-27 with men in scoring position over their last four games. A point of emphasis all season, the Keys are batting a collective .236 with men closest to home this season and only .195 with men in scoring position and two outs. Joel Hutter (.344), Michael Burgess (.323) and Glynn Davis (.317) have fared the best with runners in scoring position this year.

 ON A SLIDE:Tuesday marked the third time that the Keys had been swept this season, while it was the first time that the Keys had been broomed since May 29. Visiting Calvin Falwell Field, the orange and black lost three straight to the Lynchburg, after losses in three of four games to Wilmington. Meanwhile, Tuesday’s loss was the second time this season that Frederick had been swept at home. Besides struggling with runners in scoring position, the Keys pitching staff has also taken its lumps. Since the start of the second-half, Frederick arms have posted a 7.12 ERA (54.1 IP/43ER) and allowed 69 hits.

LONGBALL BLUES: Wilmington’s four home runs were tied for the most given up by Frederick’s pitching staff this year. On April 23, Keys pitchers gave up four home runs to Myrtle Beach, as the Pelicans won in a 21-6 rout. Three of the home runs were hit by Joey Gallo, the ex-Birds slugger who is currently tied for the MiLB home run lead (27). All four Blue Rocks homers came off Joe Van Meter. Prior to Tuesday, the Virginia native had never allowed more than three home runs in a game.

 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. In his first three games with the Keys, the 23-year-old is 1-for-11 with a double and three strikeouts. He has split time between third base and DH. 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.

 UP, UP AND AWAY!: Although the Keys did not homer on Tuesday, Frederick has favored the longball lately. Frederick has hit a home run in six of their last eight games after Jason Esposito slugged a solo shot in the seventh on Monday. Frederick is tied for second in the Carolina League in homers with 46, along with Winston-Salem and Potomac. Only Myrtle Beach (64) has hit more this season. Over their last eight games, the Keys have hit 13 home runs, with eight coming over the final two games of the first-half. Currently, Michael Burgess paces the Keys with 11 deep flies, and is fourth in the CL in that department. The Floridian has homered in five of his last seven contests, and is one longball away from equaling his 2013 total at Double-A Corpus Christi.

NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK: Last 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). On Saturday, Dennis Torres joined the club from Delmarva. A relief pitcher, the righty went 1-3 with a 3.31 ERA over 17 games to go along with three saves in three attempts.

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:21-year-old Frank Montas makes his 10th start with the Dash this season, and his third appearance against Frederick. His most recent outing came last Saturday against Salem. Receiving a no-decision, Montas tossed four innings of scoreless baseball and allowed only two hits in a rain-shortened start. Named to the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game on Tuesday, Montas has worked at least six innings in six of his last seven games and his turned in quality starts in five of his last seven tilts. He is holding opponents to a .193 batting average against, while his 1.64 ERA would rank second-best in the CL if Montas had enough innings to qualify. Against the Keys this season, the righty is 1-0 with a 1.74 ERA. Acquired by the White Sox as part of the three-team Jake Peavy deal, which sent Peavy to the Red Sox in exchange for J.B. Wendelken, Avisail Garcia, and Cleuluis Rondon, Montas split 2013 between Low-A Kannapolis and Low-A Greensville (both in the South Atlantic League). Over 24 games (23 starts), the Dominican went a combined 5-11 with a 5.43 ERA. Over 111 innings, he allowed 114 hits, 50 walks and 11 home runs, but struck out 127. A pitcher who has handed out an average of four walks per nine innings, Montas really struggled with command after being traded. Over 25.2 frame with Low-A Kannapolis, he gave out 18 free tickets in 25.2 innings.  Signed by the Red Sox in 2009 as an international free agent for $75,000, Montas was clocked as high as 100 mph at the time of his signing. A pitcher with a wide-hipped frame, Montas’ build has drawn some comparisons to Livan Hernandez. The right-hander can touch the mid-90s with regularity, but will sit between 91-95 mph with his fastball. He throws both a slider and a curveball, but both pitches lack consistency, while his changeup is still in the development stages.

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