Frederick Keys Game Notes 8-13-14
Good Afternoon Keys Fans!
After the Keys and the Blue Rocks were rained out on Tuesday night, the two sides will play a doubleheader on Wednesday starting at 5:05 p.m. Parker Bridwell takes the mound in game one while Brady Wager gets the ball for game two. Left-hander Sean Manaea makes the game one start for the Blue Rocks. In game two, Carolina League ERA leader, Glenn Sparkman will take the mound.
Both broadcasts can be heard on 1450 AM The Source. The pregame show starts at 4:50.
Some notes are below. Chat soon and shake your keys!
Wednesday, August 13, 2014 · Game #116/#117 · Road Game #61/#62
Frederick Keys (53-62/21-27) vs Wilmington Blue Rocks (55-60/22-25)
RHP Parker Bridwell (5-8, 4.44) vs. LHP Sean Manaea (4-8, 3.49)
RAIN, RAIN, GO AWAY: The Keys and the Wilmington Blue Rocks were washed out on Tuesday night. Both games have been rescheduled as part of a Wednesday night doubleheader, with the first contest getting underway at 5:05 p.m. Tuesday’s rainout provided the Keys with a pseudo off-day after the team received its second-to-last scheduled off-day on Monday. Counting Wednesday, the orange and black will play three doubleheaders over the final three weeks of the season.
KEYS AVOID SWEEP: Mark Blackmar carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning, while the Frederick Keys scored in four of their first five trips to bat, to earn a 5-2 victory over the Wilmington Blue Rocks on Sunday afternoon at Harry Grove Stadium. The win snapped a four-game losing streak, and helped the Keys avoid a three-game losing streak. Blackmar faced the minimum through six, and retired the first batter of the seventh, before Raul Mondesi wrecked the no-hitter and the shutout with a solo homer to right. Still, the Rocks offense could not keep pace with the Keys in the finale. Pounding out 12 hits, Frederick got tremendous production from the bottom-third of its order, as Wynston Sawyer, Joel Hutter and Lucas Herbst each tallied two hits. Meanwhile, Trey Mancini came within a triple of the cycle.
THINKING NO-NO: On Sunday, Mark Blackmar became the second Keys pitcher in 2014 to carry a no-hitter into the seventh inning or later. Parker Bridwell was the first to do it, holding the Potomac Nationals hitless until the ninth inning on May 13. Only two outs away, the Texan surrendered a single to Tony Renda to break things up. Although Raul Mondesi broke up Blackmar’s bid, the right-hander’s 15th start was still marvelous. Giving up only two hits, Blackmar tied a career-high for innings pitched. The seven innings equaled his output on July 27 against Lynchburg, and marked the second time in three starts that Blackmar had lasted seven frames. On the afternoon, he allowed only one run on two hits, walked one and struck out three. In the process, he earned his seventh win, the most by a Keys pitcher. One of the circuit’s biggest surprises, he is eighth in ERA (3.21).
ON THE ROAD AGAIN: After a six-game homestand, Frederick begins its second-to-last roadtrip of the year on Tuesday. Only three games in length, the team will return to Harry Grove Stadium on Friday for a three-game series with Lynchburg, before embarking on its final journey of the season. Six games in length, the orange and black will conclude their roadtrip with three games at Carolina and four at Potomac. Owner of the third-best road record in the league, the Keys are 32-28 away from home. In contrast, the Keys are 21-34 at home, the worst mark in the CL. Those troubles have been magnified in the second-half, as the Keys are just 5-18 in second-half home tilts (their road record is 16-9).
BACK ON TRACK: Coming off a challenging July, Trey Mancini has gotten back on track in August. Over nine games, he is batting .306 with a home run, three doubles and three RBIs. Excellent in Sunday’s finale, the former Notre Dame standout came only a triple short of the cycle, ending 3-for-4 with a home run, a double, an RBI and three runs scored. He has tallied back-to-back multi-hit games, and has two or more knocks in three of his last four contests. During that time he is 7-for-17 with a homer, two doubles, two RBIs and three runs scored, while his batting average has climbed from .236 to .251.
NOT THE NICEST NEIGHBORS: This season, the Keys have struggled against intra-division rivals, going 17-29 against fellow Northern clubs. Frederick has a losing record against all three of its fellow division rivals, while the orange and black have been swept at least once by Wilmington, Potomac and Lynchburg. The Keys are only 7-16 against northern teams at Harry Grove Stadium, and just 7-10 against Wilmington in 2014.
THE FEW, THE PROUD, THE MARIN: Thanks to a first inning home run, Adrian Marin was able to extend his hitting streak to a season-high eight games on Saturday. During that time he is batting .375 (12-for-32) with two homers, four doubles, eight RBIs and six runs scored, while he has seen his batting average jump from .236 to .248. The Florida native tries to close the year strong after hitting just .242 over 23 games in July and only .184 in June.
JASON, JASON, HE’S OUR MAN: Although the calendar has flipped to August, Jason Esposito has maintained the torrid pace he set in July. After hitting .354 with four homers and 16 RBIs last month, the former Vanderbilt Commodore is batting .382 (13-for-34) over his first nine August tilts to go along with a home run, four doubles and seven RBIs. He has multiple hits in four of his last six games (and six of his last 10 tilts). During that time, he has seen his batting average climb 15 pts (.258 to .273). It is the highest Esposito’s average has been since May 18 (when he was hitting .276).
CALL HIM THE K MAN: After making five starts on the road, Dylan Bundy did not disappoint in his Frederick homecoming last Tuesday. Working into the fifth inning, the Oklahoma native did not allow a run while he scattered five hits. The seven strikeouts were tied for the second-most he had registered in a post-Tommy John start, and were two shy of a career-high. Entering Tuesday’s action, Bundy had struck out only eight combined over his previous five starts with Frederick. Limited to only 75 pitches, Bundy was highly efficient through two frames (24 pitches) but saw his pitch count skyrocket due to one very long at-bat in the third. Facing Yhoxian Medina, the righty needed 14 pitches to set down the Muddies leadoff batter. Still, the successful start cut Bundy’s ERA by nearly a point (5.73 to 4.78). He is 1-2 in six starts with the Keys and has allowed 14 runs in 26.1 innings to go along with 13 walks and 15 strikeouts.
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) and Branden Kline (20). Jon Keller (17) and Trey Mancini (25) joined the club after the All-Star break, while Mychal Givens (23) and Glynn Davis (29) opened the year with the Keys but were promoted in the second-half. 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 Sean Manaea makes his 22nd start of the year and his fourth against the Keys. He is the No. 6 prospect in the Royals system according to Baseball America, and is the top Royals left-handed pitching prospect. His most recent outing came against Myrtle Beach last Thursday. Tossing 5.2 innings, the southpaw was hit with the loss, allowing five runs (one earned) on five hits to go along with two walks and five strikeouts. In the game, Manaea received little help from his defense, which committed a season-high five errors on the game. Against the orange and black this year, Manaea is 1-2 with a 2.20 ERA. Facing the Keys at Frawley Stadium on August 2, the lefty tossed a career-high 7.1 innings of shutout baseball and surrendered only four hits. Currently ninth in the Carolina League in ERA (3.49), Manaea also paces the CL in strikeouts (114) and SO/9IP ratio (10.76). He is the only starter in the league who averages 10 or more strikeouts per nine innings. After an up-and-down first-half, the former Indiana State product has dazzled in the second-half. In his first 12 starts, he was 2-5 with a 4.84 ERA, while since the All-Star break he is 2-3 with a 2.11 mark. Excellent in July, Manaea went 1-0 with a 1.59 ERA. In his first professional season, the Indiana native was selected in the competitive balance round of the 2013 draft (34th overall) and received a 3.55 million dollar signing bonus, the second-highest bonus ever given to a player not selected in the first round. Considered a top-five pick after dominating in the Cape Cod League in 2012, Manaea hurt his hip while pitching in a game at the Metrodome for Indiana State. To compensate for the pain, he changed his delivery causing a drop in velocity. It also caused his draft stock to plummet, allowing the Royals to swoop in. Manaea missed all of last season as he recovered from labrum surgery on his hip. A three-pitch pitcher, the 22-year-old throws a low-mid 90s fastball, an above-average slider and a changeup.