Frederick Keys Game Notes 8-25-14
Monday, August 25, 2014 · Game #128 · Road Games #70
Frederick Keys (59-68/27-33) vs Potomac Nationals (72-54/34-23)
RHP Parker Bridwell (5-10, 4.79) vs. RHP Brian Rauh (2-2, 4.00)
SPLITSVILLE: The Frederick Keys split a Sunday doubleheader with Potomac at Pfitzner Stadium, claiming the front end 4-3, before falling 12-1 in the nightcap. In game one, Mark Blackmar was superb, tossing a seven-inning complete game. He gave up just three runs en route to his third straight win, while he was helped out by a three-run Keys second, highlighted by a two-run homer from Brenden Webb. Things did not go as smoothly in game two, as the Keys were no-hit until the seventh inning by Nationals righty Ian Dickson. Chih-Hsien Chiang broke up the no-no and the shutout by homering off Jake Walsh in the seventh, but that was the only offense the Keys would muster. Potomac scored runs in five of its six innings, while Keys pitchers walked 10 and threw six wild pitches.
BLACKMAR STRIKES AGAIN: Mark Blackmar tossed the first complete game of his career on Sunday, and the third by a Keys starting pitcher this season. Over seven innings, Blackmar scattered three runs on four hits, while he struck out a career-high seven, two more than he had ever punched out in a professional game. Winner of nine games, Blackmar paces Frederick in victories and is fourth in the Carolina League in that department. Meanwhile, he is fifth in ERA (3.06). In his three prior pro seasons, the Texan had won 11 games combined.
CHIANG TO THE RESUCE: Chih-Hsien Chiang bailed the Keys out in game two of the doubleheader, with a solo homer on the first pitch of the seventh inning. Playing for the first time in eight days, the Taiwan native finished a combined 2-for-4 with a homer, a double, an RBI. a run scored and two walks over both ends of yesterday’s twinbill. That pushed his hitting streak to eight games (it started on August 9). During that time, he is batting .296 (8-for-27) with a homer, a double, an RBI and a run scored. In each game he has recorded just one hit, but has seen his average jump by 36 points (.175 to .211).
WALK THIS WAY: In the second game of the doubleheader, Keys pitchers threw six wild pitches and walked 10 Potomac batters. Nearly half of that total came in the third inning, when the duo of Dennis Torres and Jimmy Yacabonis combined on four free passes. It was the second time this week that Frederick arms had walked 10 in a ballgame, after the club gave out 10 free rides to Carolina last Tuesday. Frederick’s season-high for walks is 11 (that occurred on April 23 against Myrtle Beach), while the Keys have walked 463 for the year, second-most in the Carolina League.
BRAULT NAMED PITCHER OF THE WEEK: On Monday afternoon, Steven Brault was named the Carolina League “Pitcher of the Week” for August 18-24. He becomes the fifth Keys player to take home a weekly honor this year, and the second pitcher to receive the award. Parker Bridwell (May 12-19) was the last pitcher to earn pitcher of the week honors, while Michael Burgess, Mike Yastrzemski and Adrian Marin were all named “Players of the Week.” It is the first weekly award of Brault’s professional career. Promoted from Low-A Delmarva on Thursday, Brault dazzled in his Advanced-A debut that same night, tossing six innings of shutout, one-hit baseball. Rated the No. 14 prospect in the Baltimore system according to Baseball America, Brault leads all Orioles farmhands in ERA (2.91) and is tied for second in wins (10).
POWER SURGE: Over their last 10 games, the Keys have hit 11 home runs, after Brenden Webb and Chih-Hsien Chiang each finished with longballs during the doubleheader. This season, the team has hit 83, a mark which 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 11 deep flies, six have come with men on base.
LEATHER TROUBLES: On Friday, the Keys committed four errors, tying a season-high. Previously, the team had made four errors on only one occasion this season. Coming off an overnight bus trip from Myrtle Beach, the orange and black made four defensive miscues en route to an 11-1 loss (including three in the first inning). A team that is well-regarded for its defense, Frederick has made 13 errors in its last 12 games, and has made at least one miscue in nine of the 11 contests. Currently, the team is tied with Wilmington for the CL lead in fielding percentage (.978), while the Keys have made the second-fewest errors (107).
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).
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: Right-hander Brian Rauh makes his 16th appearance of the year as well as his 11th start. His last outing came on August 14. Tossing a season-high 6.1 innings, the righty gave up two unearned runs on four hits. He struck out a season-high seven and did not walk a batter but was hit with his second loss. Owner of back-to-back quality starts, Rauh has given up just two unearned runs in his last 12.1 inning and scattered seven hits. Over 10 second-half games (six starts) he is 1-1 with a 3.74 ERA, after missing a sizable chunk of the first-half. After making five appearances in April, he was on the disabled list from May 2-June 21 on account of shoulder tendinitis. In 15 games this year, opponents are batting .250 against Rauh, who has fared better as a reliever (2.08 ERA) than as a starter (4.65 ERA). He has not faced the Keys this year, after his scheduled start against Frederick on April 14 was postponed due to rain. Rauh split 2013 between Low-A Hagerstown, Double-A Harrisburg and Potomac. In 31 games (12 starts) he went 7-4 with a 4.50 ERA over 106 frames. He went 4-2 with a 4.22 mark over 16 games with the Nationals. Selected by Washington in the 11th round of the 2012 Draft out of Chapman University, Rauh dominated Division III competition in his three years at the school, going 30-1 with a 1.78 ERA. A pitcher who refined his mechanics and increased his lower body strength once he got to college, Rauh went from throwing 83-84 mph in high school to touching 90 mph by the end of his freshman year at Chapman. His 2010 season was outstanding, as he went 11-0 with 100 strikeouts in 83.1 innings pitched, en route to being named the NCAA Division III Pitcher of the Year. In 2011, he set the school’s all-time single-season strikeout record (133). Not the only member of his family to advance to the professional ranks, Brian’s brother. Jeff, currently plays for the St. Louis Cardinal organization. He throws a fastball (low-90s), a curveball, a slider and a change.