Frederick Keys Game Notes 8-22-14
Friday, August 22, 2014 · Game #125 · Road Game #67
Frederick Keys (58-66/26-31) vs Potomac Nationals (70-53/32-22)
RHP Sebastian Vader (2-4, 5.25) vs. LHP Matthew Spann (8-5, 4.43)
LEFTY LOCKDOWN: Southpaws Steven Brault and Lex Rutledge collaborated on a two-hit shutout of the Carolina Mudcats, as the Frederick Keys topped their Southern foe 5-0 on Thursday night at Five County Stadium. The win helped the orange and black avoid a three-game sweep, while a loss by Wilmington moved the Keys within 2.5 games of the Blue Rocks for the CL North wildcard spot. Making his Carolina League debut, Brault dazzled, tossing six shutout innings of one-hit baseball. He faced just one over the minimum through five innings and allowed only two baserunners. Rutledge gave up only one hit over three innings to pick up his third straight save. Frederick recorded single markers in the second in third on a solo homer by Brenden Webb and a double-play ball by Lucas Herbst. In the eighth, the Keys batted around, utilizing a sac-fly by Jason Esposito and four walks to score three additional times.
FIRING BLANKS: Thursday was Frederick’s eighth shutout win of the season and the club’s first in nearly a month. On July 22, the Keys blanked Myrtle Beach 4-0 on the Grand Strand, as Dylan Bundy earned his first win since coming back from Tommy John surgery. In that contest, Frederick used the same formula as it did on Thursday, as Bundy and Matt Hobgood issued only three combined hits. This season, the Keys shutout record (8-11) rates fifth, but the team has been held off the board more than any other club.
NOT A BAD FIRST IMPRESSION: Steven Brault excelled in his Advanced-A debut, tossing six shutout innings. The only hit he allowed was a single to James Roberts, while he was highly efficient, tossing just 74 pitches (48 strikes over the course of his outing). Going back to his final two starts with Low-A Delmarva, Brault has won three in-a-row, and has allowed just one run over his last 19 innings (0.47) on nine hits. Taking the rotation spot of Branden Kline (who was promoted to Double-A Bowie on Wednesday), Brault has been one the organization’s elite pitchers in 2014. Entering Friday, Brault paces all full-season O’s farmhands in ERA (2.91) and is tied for second in wins (10).
TWO-HIT MAGIC: Since the second game of last Wednesday’s doubleheader at Potomac, Keys pitchers have collaborated on three different two-hitters. Two of those have been of the nine-inning variety (both wins) while the back-end of a doubleheader last Tuesday at Frawley Stadium, the staff limited Wilmington to two hits over seven innings (it was a 1-0 Keys loss). The fewest hits allowed by Frederick pitchers in a game this year is one. Occurring on May 13, Parker Bridwell and Jesse Beal limited Potomac to just one knock, as Bridwell carried a no-hitter into the ninth inning.
POWER SURGE: Over their last seven games, the Keys have hit eight home runs. After Brenden Webb’s 10th home run in the second inning on Thursday, the club’s total is up to 80. That mark ranks second in the Carolina League (only Myrtle Beach at 102 has more) but is still well short of last year’s total (109). Since 2011, Frederick has hit 99 home runs or more in a season. Of the eight deep flies, two have come from Trey Mancini and Tucker Nathans. Mancini homered last Friday and Saturday, while Nathans went long last Saturday and Sunday. Making these home runs more destructive is that four of them have come with men on base.
MORE NEW FACES: Gene Escat was officially promoted to Double-A Bowie on Friday, becoming the second member of the orange and black to move up to the Eastern League in the last three days. On Wednesday, Branden Kline got called up, and made his debut against the Reading Phillies. Including Kline and Escat, nine Keys have been promoted to Double-A this year (Michael Burgess, Glynn Davis, Mychal Givens, Mike Yastrzemski, Zane Chavez, Sammie Starr and Ashur Tolliver were the others). In 31 games with Frederick, Escat went 2-5 with one save and a 3.49 ERA. Taking Escat’s place on the roster is Dylan Rheault, who moves up from Low-A Delmarva. In 34 games, the 6-9 right-hander went 8-4 with three saves and a 2.82 ERA. At the time of his promotion, he had not allowed any earned runs in August (10 IP).
GO JOHNNY GO!: Johnny Ruettiger has been in a groove at the plate over the last week. The former Arizona State Sun Devil has hit safely in six of his last seven games. During that time, he is batting .375 (12-for-32) with a home run, a double, six RBIs and four runs scored and has seen his batting average climb 68 points (.155 to .223). In four of the six games, Ruettiger has two hits or more, while on Wednesday, he posted a season-high three hits going 3-for-5, with a run scored and a stolen base.
HO-HUM: Mark Blackmar now leads all active Keys pitchers with eight wins thanks to seven more strong innings in the season finale against Salem. Handing out only two unearned runs, Blackmar cut his ERA from 3.21 to 3.02, the lowest it has been all season. He currently sits fifth in the CL in ERA, and sports the second-lowest mark for a right-hander. Undefeated as a starter, the Texan is 7-0 with a 2.53 ERA as a rotation-hand, while he has a 0.45 ERA in three August starts (20.0 IP/7R/1ER). Currently, he is second among all Orioles full-season farmhands in ERA.
BUNDY TO THE DL: Just before Thursday’s game against Wilmington, Dylan Bundy was placed on the seven-day disabled list with a right latissimus strain. Taking his spot on the roster was Branden Kline, who was received from Short-Season Aberdeen. In six starts with the orange and black, Bundy is 1-2 with a 4.78 ERA. In his last start 10 days ago, the Oklahoma native tossed 4.1 innings of shutout baseball against Carolina and struck out seven.
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.
TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Left-hander Matthew Spann makes his 20th appearance with the Nationals on Friday as well as his 15th start. His most recent outing came last Friday against Carolina. Working four innings, the southpaw allowed three runs on three hits while he walked three and struck out four in a no-decision. Prior to that contest, Spann had worked six innings in each of his two prior starts. A member of the rotation since late-May, Spann is 4-4 with a 4.85 ERA as a starter and 3-0 with one save to go along with a 2.03 ERA in five games as a relief pitcher. A pitcher who is still getting acclimated to Advanced-A, the lefty posted a 6.04 ERA in June and a 5.68 mark in July. Friday will be his fourth appearance against the Keys and his second start. Against the orange and black, Spann is 1-0 with a 3.38 ERA (10.2 IP/4R). He vultured the win in his lone start against Frederick, giving up four runs on seven hits over five innings. His counterpart in that start was tonight’s Keys starter Sebastian Vader. Spann began the year at Low-A Hagerstown, and recorded a 2-0 record and a 1.20 ERA over 20 relief appearances. In 15 innings, he gave up just two runs and 13 hits, while opponents hit .228 against him. Selected by the Rays in the 25th round of the 2010 MLB Draft out of Columbia Central High School (TN), Spann was acquired by Washington in late-August of 2013 as part of a trade which sent veteran MLB outfielder David DeJesus from Washington to Tampa Bay. Before joining Washington, Spann was 4-3 with a 2.87 ERA over 19 games for Low-A Bowling Green. He spent 2012 with Short-Season Hudson Valley. A native of Columbia, Tennessee, Spann’s hometown is known as the “Mule Capital of the World.” It is roughly one hour south of Nashville.