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Former Keys Help Back the Birds

Good Morning Keys Fans!

Tuesday was an exciting night to be an O’s fan. For the first time since 1997, the Orioles are AL East champs! Even more thrilling was that the club was able to accomplish the feat in Baltimore for the first time in 1969. And while I’m sure that celebration was fun, how could it top this?

That’s how you make a lifelong connection!

Then there were those that celebrated the more traditional way…

Orioles Clinch 1

Orioles Clinch 2

Orioles Clinch 3

Orioles clinch 4

No matter how you celebrated, it was a night that that won’t be forgotten anytime soon.

What has been most impressive is how the O’s have done it. Without guys such as Matt Wieters and Manny Machado, the club was still able to book a trip to the postseason with more than a week to spare. Tuesday night’s clincher really underscores this point, with the Orioles getting a quick lift from Steve Pearce (three-run homer), insurance from Jimmy Paredes (solo homer) and a dagger from Alejandro De Aza (bases clearing triple).

That may be the headline of the season. However for Frederick fans, one additional storyline has been the number of former Keys that have contributed to the Orioles success:

Zach Britton (’09 Keys)-One of the league’s biggest surprises. Since taking the closer’s reins from Tommy Hunter, Britton has posted a 1.74 ERA, and is fourth in the American League with 35 saves, while he has the most in the Majors since May 15. Not bad for the Keys single-season ERA leader (he had a 2.70 ERA in ’09)

Kevin Gausman (’12 Keys)-Although his stay in Frederick was short, his dominating stuff left a quick impression. Now in Baltimore to stay, the former LSU Tiger has turned it on down the stretch. In each of his last three starts he has worked at least seven innings, and given up just six combined runs during that span. His ERA is a very respectable 3.57.

Caleb Joseph (’09 Keys)-After hitting .284 with the orange and black in ’09, Joseph seemed to stall at Double-A. Then an injury to Matt Wieters provided a golden opportunity. Since making his Major League debut on May 7, he has provided stability behind the plate, and has worked his way into the gold glove conversation. With the Orioles has thrown out 41% of all attempted base stealers, a mark that would be the best in the Majors if he qualified.

Brian Matusz (’09 Keys/’11 on rehab)-Like Gausman, Matusz has turned it on for the O’s down the stretch. In his last 23 appearances he has been virtually lights out, recording a 0.96 ERA (18.2 IP/2ER).

Jonathan Schoop (’10-’11 Keys)-Despite some recent struggles at the plate, Schoop has shown signs of what he is capable of. A few weeks ago, he homered in 3 consecutive games. Just 22 years old, Schoop last won a championship with the Keys in 2011, when his double-play partner was none other than Manny Machado.

Nick Markakis (’05 Keys)-One of the leader’s of the O’s, Markakis has tallied 50 multi-hit games this year. There was little doubt after last night’s clinch he would get his first pie in the face:

Markakis Pied

Although Steve Pearce and Ryan Flaherty have only been with the Keys on rehab assignments, both have played integral roles in the O’s Division title. Pearce especially,  who has had a career year, batting .294 over 96 games (that includes 18 home runs).

Even Alejandro De Aza has a Keys connection. A member of the White Sox until late August, he was traded to the O’s in exchange for two guys with Keys connections: Mark Blackmar and Miguel Chalas. Although the loss of Blackmar was particularly tough for Frederick fans, De Aza has provided a huge spark. He has hit safely in 11 of 12 games with the Orioles, hitting .327 during that time with seven extra-base hits. And oh by the way, the O’s have won 11 of the 12 games where he has been the lineup.

In short, this season for the O’s has been special, but for Keys fans it’s even more special because of all the Frederick connections.

So in the words of O’s GM Dan Duquette, keep on partying like it’s 1969

Shake Your Keys!

Geoff

 

Frederick Keys Top 10 Moments of 2014

Good Evening Keys Fans!

It’s hard to believe the offseason has finally arrived. April-August seemed like it completely flew by. However that typically happens when you’re having fun, and this year’s team provided plenty of great moments and memories.

Over the next few weeks, we will be counting down the top 10 moments of the 2014 season. Doug Raftery and I have racked our brains, and put together a list which encompasses some of the top plays and performances of the 2014 slate.

So without further or do…

#10-April 24 Frederick vs Myrtle Beach (Harry Grove Stadium)

Wynston Sawyer Walks it Off:

Sawyer104

It may have been only April 24, but it was a game the orange and black needed to win. Following a 21-6 defeat the following night to the Pelicans, the Keys needed a win to get back on track and force a Friday rubber game (where the team would have the services of platinum glover Manny Machado).

Branden Kline turned in a great performance on the mound, twirling seven innings and allowing one unearned run, while Frederick grabbed a 3-1 advantage in the fifth thanks to an RBI double by Jerome Pena and a single by Lucas Herbst which plated Creede Simpson from third.

It looked to be the Keys game, but the eventual first-half south champs would not go down without a fight. After adding a run in the seventh on a Herbst double play, the Keys saw the Pelicans plate three in the eighth off Matt Hobgood. Sending eight men to bat, Myrtle Beach leveled the count on a bunt single by Hanser Alberto.

With the contest tied 4-4, the Pelicans turned to flamethrower Keone Kela. Entering the game with a 2.35 ERA, Kela struck out two of the three he faced in the eighth, and flashed a fastball which occasionally hit triple digits.

Back for the ninth after his team was held scoreless, Kela got Pena to pop out, but walked Simpson. A single by Michael Burgess advanced his teammate into scoring position, to set the table for Wynston Sawyer:

It was the club’s first walk-off victory of the year, but it would not be the club’s last against the Pelicans. On June 13, Frederick battled back from a 6-1 deficit to top the Birds 7-6, as another catcher, Zane Chavez,  played the role of hero with a dunk single down the right field line. That victory was also the team’s biggest come-from-behind win of the season…

But the question is, will it make the top 10 list? Find out in the coming days!

Shake your Keys and let’s go O’s!!

Geoff

Frederick Keys Game Notes 8-31-14

Sunday, August 31, 2014 · Game #135/#136 · Home Game #65/#66

Frederick Keys (65-69/33-34) vs Potomac Nationals (75-58/37-27)

LHP Matt Taylor (6-2, 3.13) vs. RHP Ross Ohlendorf (0-1, 27.00)

CLOSER TO CLINCHING: The Frederick Keys earned their third straight win on Saturday night, utilizing a three-run second inning to defeat the Potomac Nationals 4-3 at Harry Grove Stadium. Coupled with a loss by the Lynchburg Hillcats, Frederick is now tied for the CL North wildcard spot with three games remaining in the regular season. Receiving a boost from the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, the Keys pulled into a tie after a grand slam by Ryan Cordell which gave the Birds a 5-2 win last night. Utilizing several defensive mistakes by the Nationals, the orange and black scored three times off Brian Rauh. Following a leadoff walk to Chih-Hsien Chiang, he advanced to third on a single by Tucker Nathans before Austin Wynns brought Chiang home with a short grounder to second which was misplayed by Khayyan Norfork. An RBI single by Jerome Pena and a fielder’s choice by Johnny Ruettiger rounded out the scoring. Parker Bridwell endured a long second inning, but allowed only two runs through six innings to earn his seventh win.

PLAYOFF SCENARIOS: Any number of scenarios would help Frederick reach the playoffs. Entering today, the Keys and the Lynchburg Hillcats are tied for the wildcard, but the orange and black have three games left and the Hillcats have only two. Should the Keys sweep Sunday’s doubleheader, they would clinch a playoff berth with a Lynchburg loss, while if Frederick dropped both ends of the twinbill, a Hillcats win would send them to the postseason. A Keys sweep of the doubleheader and a Hillcats win would put the Keys a half-game up. If Frederick splits, a Lynchburg lead would drop the Keys a half-game behind, but a Hillcats loss would put the orange and black a half-game ahead. Losses by all parties on Sunday, gives Lynchburg a half-game edge going into Monday. Wilmington hangs on by a thread going into Sunday against Salem. For the Blue Rocks to make the postseason, they would need to win out and the Keys and the Hillcats would need to lose all their remaining games.

PLAYOFFS, PLAYOFFFS?: On Sunday, Frederick will have a chance to reach postseason play for the first time since 2011. That season, Frederick won its fourth Carolina League title, defeating the Kinston Indians for the Mills Cup. Should the Keys advance to the postseason, it would mark the club’s sixth trip to the playoffs in 10 seasons.

BLACKMAR TRADED TO WHITE SOX: The Keys playoff hopes took a blow on Saturday night, as Mark Blackmar was traded to the White Sox in a trade for outfielder Alejandro De Aza.  Former Keys pitcher Miguel Chalas was also sent to Chicago in the deal. One of Baltimore top minor league arms this season, Blackmar went 10-1 with one save and a 3.18 ERA over 26 games (18 starts). At the time of the trade, he was fifth in the CL in ERA, third in WHIP (1.08) and fourth in batting average against (.229). His ERA was also second-best among Orioles farmhands. De Aza was hitting .243 with five home runs and 31 RBIs to go along with 15 stolen bases at the time of the deal.

HOME COOKING?: Despite problems at home all year long, Frederick has won nine of its last 10 home games. That included a six-game home winning streak from August 10-27. That is the club’s longest home winning streak of the year, and represents a monumental turnaround from the club’s abysmal second-half start at the Grove, where the Keys went 1-10 in the first 11 second-half home games. This season, the Frederick is 3-4 against Potomac at the friendly confines.

ALL GOOD THINGS MUST COME TO AN END: Chih-Hsien Chiang saw his 12-game hitting streak come to an end on Thursday after going 0-for-3 with a run, two walks and two strikeouts. It was the first time he had failed to record a hit since August 8 against Wilmington. Over the 12-gamer, Chiang hit .325 (13-for-40) with a homer, two doubles, four RBIs and three runs scored. In the process, he saw his average jump 58 points (.175 to .233). This year, two members of the Keys have posted 12-game hitting streaks, as Jason Esposito hit in 12 in-a-row from April 14-May 2.

BURGESS NAMED POSTSEASON CL ALL-STAR: On Thursday morning, Michael Burgess was named a Carolina League postseason All-Star. The only Frederick player selected for the squad, it marked the third time that the Floridian had been named to a CL mid-season or postseason All-Star squad. As a member of the Potomac Nationals, Burgess won midseason accolades in 2009 and 2010. One of the league’s top hitters this season, the 25-year-old hit .315 over 83 games-and still qualifies as the league’s leader in batting average. He was promoted to Double-A Bowie on July 22, but was limited to only seven games due to injury.

NATIONALS KILLER: Once again, Parker Bridwell shutdown the Nationals, working eight innings of shutout baseball on Monday night. Carrying a perfect game into the seventh, Tony Renda broke it up with a single to right. Still, it was a great night for Bridwell who ended with 13 strikeouts, one short of his career-high (which occurred last August 14 against Lakewood). Meanwhile, the eight innings was one out short of the 23-year-old’s personal-best, which he set in his first outing against Potomac. In that ballgame, Bridwell carried a no-hitter into the ninth, before Renda singled to center. This season, Renda is the only Potomac hitter to record a hit off of Bridwell. In 16.1 shutout innings, the righty is 2-0 with 21 strikeouts and two walks.   

KEYS NAMED TO THE ARIZONA FALL LEAGUE: Late on Tuesday afternoon, two members of the Keys roster as well as four former Frederick players were named to the Arizona Fall League. Parker Bridwell and Jason Esposito were selected to the Glendale Desert Dogs preliminary roster, while past Keys Mychal Givens, Ashur Tolliver, Michael Ohlman, Zach Davies and Dariel Alvarez were also selected to the squad. Coming off eight shutout innings on Monday, Bridwell is 6-10 with a 4.51 ERA over 25 games this season. Rated the No. 19 prospect in the Orioles system according to Baseball America, the Hereford, TX native tallied seven straight quality home starts from May 13-June 27. Esposito also gets the call after a terrific second-half. Over 59 games since the All-Star break, he is batting .314 with six homers and 30 RBIs, while he is hitting .266 in 119 games.

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).

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Right-hander Ross Ohlendorf joins the Nationals on a Major League rehab assignment and is making his second appearance against the Keys. Currently, Ohlendorf is on the 60-day disabled list with a right lumbar strain. This season, he has pitched in just four games, going a combined 1-1 with a 6.00 ERA between Potomac, Triple-A Syracuse and the GCL Nationals. In his lone start against Frederick on May 14, Ohlendorf was tagged for seven runs on 11 hits. He struck out two and did not walk a batter. His most recent outing came on Tuesday in the GCL. There, he allowed one run on two hits over 1.2 frames. This season, Ohlendorf has not thrown any more than five innings in a start. A player with just over four years of Major League service time, Ohlendorf has pitched for the Yankees, Pirates, Padres and Nationals. In the big leagues, he is 22-33 with a 4.88 ERA. He last pitch with the Washington Nationals in 2013, going 4-1 with a 3.28 ERA in 16 games (seven starts).

Frederick Keys Game Notes 8-29-14

Friday, August 29, 2014 · Game #133 · Home Game #63

Frederick Keys (63-69/31-34) vs Salem Red Sox (65-66/32-31)

RHP Mark Blackmar (9-1, 3.06) vs. RHP Jacob Dahlstrand (3-0, 2.08)

EARLY BIRD GETS THE WORM: The Frederick Keys scored five times off Salem Red Sox starter Cody Kukuk in the first inning, while the Sox squandered multiple bases loaded opportunities to help the orange and black earn a 10-3 win on Thursday night at Harry Grove Stadium. It was the Keys fourth win in five games, and helped the club keep pace in the CL North wildcard race. Unfortunately, Frederick did not gain any ground on Thursday though, as Lynchburg used six shutout innings by Blair Walters and a three-RBI game by Kevin Ahrens to top the Carolina Mudcats 6-2. With five games remaining on the Keys schedule, they trail the Hillcats by one game. After Sebastian Vader stranded the bases loaded in the first, the orange and black batted around against Kukuk. In the inning, Frederick put the first five men on base and used RBI doubles by Adrian Marin, Trey Mancini, singles by Jason Esposito and Jerome Pena and a sac-fly by Austin Wynns to put the Keys ahead. Frederick would add two runs in the fourth, one in the sixth and two more in the seventh to complete the scoring. On the night, Salem went 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position and left 11 on base.

QUICK-START KEYS: In three of their last four games Frederick has scored in the first inning. In addition to the club’s five-run first on Thursday, the Keys scored twice in the first inning on Tuesday, and three times in game one of the doubleheader on Wednesday. Those 10 runs account for just less than half of the club’s runs scored in this series (22 total). This season, the first inning has been Keys third-most productive inning, behind only the sixth (79 runs) and the third (78 runs).

NOT A BAD FIRST IMPRESSION: After a long day of travel from Greensboro to Frederick, Austin Wynns shined in his Keys debut. Taking the roster spot of Matt Price (who was placed on the DL Thursday), Wynns went 2-for-3 in his Advanced-A debut with a double and three RBIs. The three driven in equaled a season-high for Wynns, who served as a catcher at Low-A Delmarva. In 85 games in the South Atlantic League, the former Fresno State product hit .252 with a home run and 33 RBIs.

ALL GOOD THINGS MUST COME TO AN END: Chih-Hsien Chiang saw his 12-game hitting streak come to an end after going 0-for-3  with a run, two walks and two strikeouts last night. It was the first time he had failed to record a hit since August 8 against Wilmington. Over the 12-gamer, Chiang hit .325 (13-for-40) with a homer, two doubles, four RBIs and three runs scored. In the process, he saw his average jump 58 points (.175 to .233). This year, two members of the Keys have posted 12-game hitting streaks, as Jason Esposito hit in 12 in-a-row from April 14-May 2.

LORENZO JOINS KEYS: On Friday, outfielder Gregory Lorenzo was promoted from Low-A Delmarva. He takes the roster spot of Brenden Webb, who was placed on the disabled list after coming out of the game in the sixth inning on Thursday. Originally signed by the Orioles as an international free agent on July 4, 2009, Lorenzo hit .263 over 125 games with the Shorebirds to go along with a home run and 34 RBIs. At the time of his promotion he was third in the South Atlantic League in stolen bases (42). He was hitting .311 over 24 games in August.

BURGESS NAMED POSTSEASON CL ALL-STAR: On Thursday morning, Michael Burgess was named a Carolina League postseason All-Star. The only Frederick player selected for the squad, it marked the third time that the Floridian had been named to a CL mid-season or postseason All-Star squad. As a member of the Potomac Nationals, Burgess won midseason accolades in 2009 and 2010. One of the league’s top hitters this season, the 25-year-old hit .315 over 83 games-and still qualifies as the league’s leader in batting average. He was promoted to Double-A Bowie on July 22, but was limited to only seven games due to injury.

NATIONALS KILLER: Once again, Parker Bridwell shutdown the Nationals, working eight innings of shutout baseball on Monday night. Carrying a perfect game into the seventh, Tony Renda broke it up with a single to right. Still, it was a great night for Bridwell who ended with 13 strikeouts, one short of his career-high (which occurred last August 14 against Lakewood). Meanwhile, the eight innings was one out short of the 23-year-old’s personal-best, which he set in his first outing against Potomac. In that ballgame, Bridwell carried a no-hitter into the ninth, before Renda singled to center. This season, Renda is the only Potomac hitter to record a hit off of Bridwell. In 16.1 shutout innings, the righty is 2-0 with 21 strikeouts and two walks.   

CHALAS GETS THE CALL TO NORFOLK: Right before Monday’s game, Keys reliever Miguel Chalas was officially promoted to Triple-A Norfolk. He becomes the 10th Frederick player to receive a call-up to Double-A or Triple-A this season, while he is the third Keys pitcher to receive a promotion in the last six days. Last Wednesday, Branden Kline was moved up to Double-A Bowie, before Gene Escat was officially moved on Friday. In 28 games with the orange and black this season, Chalas was 2-3 with a 4.80 ERA. Taking his roster spot is Ivan Hernandez, who joins the team from Short-Season Aberdeen. In 18 games with the Ironbirds, he was 1-2 with four saves and a 3.47 ERA in 18 games. It is Hernandez’s first promotion to the Carolina League.

KEYS NAMED TO THE ARIZONA FALL LEAGUE: Late on Tuesday afternoon, two members of the Keys roster as well as four former Frederick players were named to the Arizona Fall League. Parker Bridwell and Jason Esposito were selected to the Glendale Desert Dogs preliminary roster, while past Keys Mychal Givens, Ashur Tolliver, Michael Ohlman, Zach Davies and Dariel Alvarez were also selected to the squad. Coming off eight shutout innings on Monday, Bridwell is 6-10 with a 4.51 ERA over 25 games this season. Rated the No. 19 prospect in the Orioles system according to Baseball America, the Hereford, TX native tallied seven straight quality home starts from May 13-June 27. Esposito also gets the call after a terrific second-half. Over 59 games since the All-Star break, he is batting .314 with six homers and 30 RBIs, while he is hitting .266 in 119 games.

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).

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Right-hander Jacob Dahlstrand makes his sixth appearance with the Salem as well as his fifth start. His most recent start came last Sunday against Wilmington. Receiving a no-decision, the righty allowed three runs (two earned) on six hits over seven innings of work. He surrendered a homer and struck out two. Friday marks his first outing against the Keys after he was promoted from Low-A Greenville on July 27. Over 22 games with the Drive he went 5-5 with a 2.93 ERA, but made only one start. Dominant before his call-up, Dahlstrand posted a 1.61 ERA over eight games following the All-Star break. In his fifth professional season, Dahlstrand spent all of 2013 at Low-A Greenville, going 4-8 with a 4.65 ERA over 18 games (15 starts). Originally selected by Boston in the 10th round of the 2010 Draft out of Memorial (TX) High School, the Texan went 7-2 as a senior with a 3.83 ERA. Originally committed to the University of Houston, he was lured away by a reported $150,000 signing bonus. He throws a fastball, a curveball and a slider.

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.

 

Frederick Keys Game Notes 8-24-14

Sunday, August 24, 2014 · Game #126/127 · Road Games #68/69

Frederick Keys (58-67/26-32) vs Potomac Nationals (71-53/33-22)

RHP Mark Blackmar (8-1, 3.02) vs. LHP Hector Silvestre (1-1, 4.57)

RAIN MEANS ANOTHER DOUBLEHEADER: After some afternoon showers and an additional cell of rain right before first pitch, the Frederick Keys and the Potomac Nationals were postponed on account of rain. Saturday’s game will be made up as part of a doubleheader on Sunday starting at 5 p.m. Both games will be seven innings in length. Over the final week of the season, the orange and black will play three doubleheaders, including two against Potomac (with one taking place next Sunday in Frederick). The Keys most recent twinbill came last Wednesday in Wilmington, a set which was swept by the Blue Rocks (both via shutout). Potomac swept its last doubleheader on Wednesday in Lynchburg. Frederick holds a 4-4 record in doubleheaders (third-best in CL), Potomac is in fifth (10-10).

IT WAS THERE FOR THE TAKING:  The Frederick Keys committed four errors, including a pair in the ninth inning alone, which allowed the Potomac Nationals to rally for a 4-3 win on Friday night at Pfitzner Stadium. Down to their final out in the ninth, the Keys grabbed a 3-2 lead on a two-run homer by Wynston Sawyer. However, back-to-back errors by Jason Esposito at third and Matt Hobgood on the mound kept the door open in the bottom of the ninth. Taking advantage, Tony Renda riffled a single up the middle to force extra innings. After Gilberto Mendez held the Keys off the board in the top of the 10th, the Nationals loaded the bases against Dylan Rheault. Making his Advanced-A debut, Rheault walked the leadoff batter, before a sacrifice bunt, an intentional walk and a hit-by-pitch set up a chance for Estarlin Martinez. Grounding a ball slowly to third, Esposito’s throw hit Shawn Pleffner in the back to give Potomac a walk-off victory. Despite the loss, the Keys did not lose any ground in the second-half wildcard race, as Wilmington was also a 4-3 loser in 10 innings to Salem.

TOUGH DAY WITH THE LEATHER: 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 12 errors in its last 10 games, and has made at least one miscue in eight of the 10 contests. Currently, the team is tied with Wilmington for the CL lead in fielding percentage (.977), while the Keys have made the second-fewest errors (107).

FREE BASEBALL IS NOT ALWAYS FUN: The series opener was the Keys 12th extra-inning game on the year. This year, the club is 5-7 in games stretching past regulation, giving Frederick the third-worst mark in the Carolina League. Only Carolina (3-8) and Winston-Salem (3-5) have fared worse, while Lynchburg leads the circuit with a 7-1 record. Friday was the first extra-inning tilt for the Keys since July 13, when Potomac earned a 2-1 victory at the Grove in 13 innings.

SPEAK SOFTLY, BUT CARRY A BIG STICK: Wynston Sawyer paced the Keys offensively, accounting for all three of the team’s RBIs on Friday. Going 2-for-3 with a double a two-run homer and three RBIs, the Californian briefly gave Frederick the lead in the ninth with a longball off Gilberto Mendez. The three RBIs were a new season-high for Sawyer, and gave him his first three RBI game since last August 19, when he was playing for Low-A Delmarva.

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).

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 Saturday, Brault paces all full-season O’s farmhands in ERA (2.91) and is tied for second in wins (10).

POWER SURGE: Over their last eight games, the Keys have hit nine home runs. After Wynston Sawyer’s fourth home run in the ninth inning on Friday, the club’s total is up to 81. 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 nine 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 five of them have come with men on base.

BOOMER: Trey Mancini has posted three straight multi-hit games. During that stretch he is batting .354 (7-for-15) with two doubles, two RBIs, and two runs scored. In the process, he has seen his average climb from .245 to .260, the highest it has been since July 12. Following a challenging July where Mancini hit only .229, the former Big East batting champ is hitting .303 over 19 games in August.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Left-hander Hector Silvestre makes his 23rd start of the season and his fifth as a member of the Nationals. His most recent outing came on Tuesday at Lynchburg, as part of game one of a doubleheader (the second game was later postponed due to rain). Receiving a no-decision, Silvestre went four innings and allowed one run on six hits. He struck out two and did not walk a batter. Sunday will mark the fourth time in five games that the southpaw has pitched in one end of a scheduled doubleheader. The first time that occurred proved to be a memorable outing. Facing Carolina on August 3 in Zebulon, Silvestre came within one out of a seventh inning no-hitter, before a triple by Yandy Diaz broke it up. He lost the shutout one batter later, as Jeremy Lucas followed with a homer and LeVon Washington and Luigi Rodriguez contributed singles before Silvestre was taken out. A pitcher who has commanded his stuff extremely well, the lefty has walked just two in 21.2 innings and has not walked any more than one in an individual outing. Since signing with the Nationals, Silvestre’s BB/9 IP ratio is just 2.6 (and a combined 1.8 this year). Promoted to Potomac on July 26, the 21-year-old opened the year at Low-A Hagerstown, where he went 6-7 with a 4.14 ERA (91. 1 IP/42ER). Prior to his call-up, he was 3-1 with a 1.80 ERA over four games in July. Signed as an international free agent by Washington out of the Dominican Republic in 2011, Silvestre signed as an 18-year-old. He spent 2011-12 with the DSL Nationals before moving stateside to the GCL Nationals in 2013. A postseason GCL All-Star, he ranked second in ERA (1.82) and WHIP (0.82) and tied for second in wins (seven). He also made one start for Potomac. Originally from San Pedro de Macoris, DR, the baseball rich town in the Dominican has produced Major League stars such as Robinson Cano, Johnny Cueto, Starlin Castro, Sammy Sosa, Tony Fernandez and Julio Franco.

 

Frederick Keys Game Notes 8-23-14

Saturday, August 23, 2014 · Game #126 · Road Game #68

Frederick Keys (58-67/26-32) vs Potomac Nationals (71-53/33-22)

RHP Mark Blackmar (8-1, 3.02) vs. RHP Ian Dickson (4-8, 4.78)

IT WAS THERE FOR THE TAKING:  The Frederick Keys committed four errors, including a pair in the ninth inning alone, which allowed the Potomac Nationals to rally for a 4-3 win on Friday night at Pfitzner Stadium. Down to their final out in the ninth, the Keys grabbed a 3-2 lead on a two-run homer by Wynston Sawyer. However, back-to-back errors by Jason Esposito at third and Matt Hobgood on the mound kept the door open in the bottom of the ninth. Taking advantage, Tony Renda riffled a single up the middle to force extra innings. After Gilberto Mendez held the Keys off the board in the top of the 10th, the Nationals loaded the bases against Dylan Rheault. Making his Advanced-A debut, Rheault walked the leadoff batter, before a sacrifice bunt, an intentional walk and a hit-by-pitch set up a chance for Estarlin Martinez. Grounding a ball slowly to third, Esposito’s throw hit Shawn Pleffner in the back to give Potomac a walk-off victory. Despite the loss, the Keys did not lose any ground in the second-half wildcard race, as Wilmington was also a 4-3 loser in 10 innings to Salem.

TOUGH DAY WITH THE LEATHER: 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 12 errors in its last 10 games, and has made at least one miscue in eight of the 10 contests. Currently, the team is tied with Wilmington for the CL lead in fielding percentage (.977), while the Keys have made the second-fewest errors (107).

FREE BASEBALL IS NOT ALWAYS FUN: The series opener was the Keys 12th extra-inning game on the year. This year, the club is 5-7 in games stretching past regulation, giving Frederick the third-worst mark in the Carolina League. Only Carolina (3-8) and Winston-Salem (3-5) have fared worse, while Lynchburg leads the circuit with a 7-1 record. Friday was the first extra-inning tilt for the Keys since July 13, when Potomac earned a 2-1 victory at the Grove in 13 innings.

SPEAK SOFTLY, BUT CARRY A BIG STICK: Wynston Sawyer paced the Keys offensively, accounting for all three of the team’s RBIs on Friday. Going 2-for-3 with a double a two-run homer and three RBIs, the Californian briefly gave Frederick the lead in the ninth with a longball off Gilberto Mendez. The three RBIs were a new season-high for Sawyer, and gave him his first three RBI game since last August 19, when he was playing for Low-A Delmarva.

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).

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 Saturday, Brault paces all full-season O’s farmhands in ERA (2.91) and is tied for second in wins (10).

POWER SURGE: Over their last eight games, the Keys have hit nine home runs. After Wynston Sawyer’s fourth home run in the ninth inning on Friday, the club’s total is up to 81. 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 nine 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 five of them have come with men on base.

BOOMER: Trey Mancini has posted three straight multi-hit games. During that stretch he is batting .354 (7-for-15) with two doubles, two RBIs, and two runs scored. In the process, he has seen his average climb from .245 to .260, the highest it has been since July 12. Following a challenging July where Mancini hit only .229, the former Big East batting champ is hitting .303 over 19 games in August.

BUNDY TO THE DL: Just before last 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: Right-hander Ian Dickson makes his 28th appearance of the year, and his 13th Carolina League start. His last outing was the best of his career. Working a career-high eight innings, Dickson did not allow any runs and gave up one hit. He walked two and struck out eight to earn his second win in three starts. For his effort, Dickson was named the Carolina League “Pitcher of the Week” becoming the second Potomac pitcher to earn the weekly honor (Austin Voth won the award in back-to-back weeks earlier this year). Following a rocky first-half (6.25 ERA), Dickson has registered a 3.12 ERA over 12 games (seven starts) in the second-half). He has a 1.93 ERA over three games in August (18.2 IP/4ER) and has given up two runs or less in each outing. Saturday will be Dickson’s third game against the Keys and his second start. During that time he is 1-0 with a 0.69 ERA (13 IP/R/10H). Pitching against Mark Blackmar on July 13, Dickson tossed five shutout innings the last time he saw the Keys and picked up a no-decision, as the Nationals won 2-1 in 13 innings. Originally a 35th round draft pick of the Cubs in 2011, Dickson split 2013 between two Low-A clubs (Kane County and Hagerstown). Over 27 games (13 starts), he went 7-5 with a 5.26 ERA over 101 innings. During that time, he showed a propensity for picking up the strikeout (103). Dickson was acquired from the Chicago Cubs last June in exchange for Nationals right-hander Henry Rodriguez (who was designated for assignment by Washington right before the trade took place). When he received word he had been traded he was rushing to meet his girlfriend. Selected by the Cubs out of Lafayette College, Dickson went 1-4 with a 7.00 ERA in two seasons (2009-10) with the Leopards. He did not play during the 2011 season due to injury.

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.

 

Frederick Keys Game Notes 8-21-14

Thursday, August 21, 2014 · Game #124 · Road Game #66

Frederick Keys (57-66/25-31) vs Carolina Mudcats (56-68/27-30)

LHP Steven Brault (0-0, –) vs. RHP Adam Plutko (3-8, 4.33)

MUDDIES GET THE LAST WORD: A Jerrud Sabourin walk in the bottom of the eighth forced home the go-ahead run, as the Carolina Mudcats overcame a four-run Frederick Keys seventh to win 6-5 on Wednesday night at Harry Grove Stadium. It was the Keys fourth straight loss to the Mudcats, while it pushed Frederick 3.5 games behind Wilmington for the second-half CL wildcard spot. After an RBI double by Eric Haase tied the game at five in the seventh, Carolina went on top for good in the eighth. Logan Vick gave the Mudcats a one-out baserunner, before Dennis Torres plunked Yhoxian Medina to put two on base. Yandy Diaz then hit a groundball to Jason Esposito at third. Looking like a double play ball, Esposito misplayed it to load the bags for Sabourin, who coaxed a five-pitch walk to bring home the eventual winning run.

CLOSE CALLS: Wednesday’s loss dropped the orange and black to 16-17 in one-run games this year. That mark puts the Keys in fourth place in the CL. Potomac owns the best record in games decided by a single marker at 29-11. This season, five of the 17 games between Frederick and Carolina have hinged on a single run, with the Muddies taking four of the five contests (even though Carolina has the second-worst record in one-run games in the league). Since the All-Star break, the Keys are .500 (6-6) in one-run contests.

KEEP THE BROOMS IN THE CLOSET: Frederick tries to avoid being swept for the seventh time this season on Thursday. Since the All-Star break, the Keys have been swept four times by four different teams (Wilmington, Winston-Salem, Potomac and Lynchburg). However, all four of those broomings have taken place at Harry Grove Stadium. This season, the Keys have been swept only once on the road-something accomplished by Lynchburg from May 27-29. Carolina swept the Keys from April 8-10.

POWER SURGE: Over their last six games, the Keys have hit seven home runs. After Steel Russell’s first professional home run in the fifth inning on Thursday, the club’s total is up to 79. That mark ranks second in the Carolina League (only Myrtle Beach at 101 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 seven deep flies, two have come from Trey Mancini and Tucker Nathans. Mancini homered on Friday and Saturday, while Nathans went long on Saturday and hit another blast on Sunday. Making these home runs more destructive is that four of them have come with men on base.

AVOID THE BACKSLIDE: Oftentimes this season, Keys winning streaks have been followed by backslides. In the second-half, Frederick has enjoyed a season-best six-game winning streak (July 5-10) but it was followed by a four-game losing streak. This also occurred during the team’s most recent three-game winning streak (July 21-23). Following a win over Winston-Salem and two against Myrtle Beach, the team dropped six in-a-row to Lynchburg and Winston-Salem. The most extreme example though, came at onset of the second-half. Going into the All-Star break on a three-game streak, the Keys dropped eight of their first nine to open second-half play (that included a season-worst seven-game losing streak).

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 five of his last six games. During that time, he is batting .407 (11-for-27) with a home run, a double, six RBIs and four runs scored and has seen his batting average climb 69 points (.155 to .224).. 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.

CALLED UP: On Wednesday, Branden Kline was officially called up to Double-A Bowie, becoming the eighth member of the Keys to advanced to the Eastern League in 2014 (Michael Burgess, Glynn Davis, Mychal Givens, Mike Yastrzemski, Zane Chavez, Sammie Starr and Ashur Tolliver were the others). Originally scheduled to pitch for the Keys last night, Kline made his Double-A debut instead against the Reading Phillies. Although he received the loss, Kline gave up just one run on three hits to go along with two walks and two strikeouts. Rated the No. 20 prospect in Orioles system according to Baseball America, Kline went 8-6 with a 3.84 ERA over 23 starts. At the time of his call-up, the Frederick native ranked ninth in ERA (3.84) and four among starters in walk/nine innings pitch ratio (2.27).

NEW FACES: Taking the place of Branden Kline in the Keys rotation is left-hander Steven Brault, who will make his Carolina League debut on Thursday. Rated the No. 14 prospect in the Orioles system according to Baseball America, the Californian joins Frederick from Low-A Delmarva. It is his first promotion to the Carolina League. One of the South Atlantic League’s top arms, Brault led the circuit in WHIP (1.04), was second in strikeouts (115) and batting average against (.227) and sixth in ERA (3.05). Two-thirds of Brault’s starts (14 of 21) also ranked as quality outings. Originally from El Cajon, CA, Brault was an 11th round selection by Baltimore out of Division II Regis (CO) University last season.

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 paces all full-season Orioles farmhands in ERA as well.

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: Right-hander Adam Plutko makes his 26th start of the season and his 15th with Carolina on Thursday. Rated the No. 18 prospect in the Indians system according to Baseball America, the right-hander’s most recent outing came last Thursday at Myrtle Beach and was one of his best with the Mudcats. Despite suffering the loss, Plutko gave up just one run on two hits over seven innings to go along with a walk and four strikeouts. Provided no run support, the righty saw the Pelicans duo of Sam Wolff and Luis Parra limit his offense to just three hits in a 1-0 Pelicans win. It was the fourth time he had completed seven innings with the Muddies and dropped his ERA to 4.33. In three August starts, he is 0-3 with a 4.15 ERA In his first professional season, Plutko was promoted from Low-A Lake County on May 29. Over 10 starts with the Captains, the 22-year-old went 3-1 with a 3.93 ERA over 10 games. A strikeout machine, Plutko registered 66 punchouts in 52.2 stanzas. His best start came against Bowling Green on May 8, when the Californian tossed eight shutout innings and struck out 13 while scattering only three hits. At Lake County, he held opponents to a .241 batting average against. Selected by Cleveland in the 11th round of the 2013 draft out of UCLA, Plutko headlined the Bruins pitching staff last season, as he led the team to its first national championship. Named the “Most Outstanding Player” at the College World Series, Plutko received a reported $300,000 signing bonus (fourth-largest given to a member of the Indians draft class last year). Plutko found out he had been drafted by the Indians right before the Bruins NCAA Super Regional game against Cal State Fullerton. The righty was also drafted by the Astros in the sixth run out of high school but did not sign. A four-pitch pitcher, Plutko throws a fastball (87-91), a curveball, a slider and a changeup.

Frederick Keys Game Notes 8-20-14

Wednesday, August 20, 2014 · Game #123 · Road Game #65

Frederick Keys (57-65/25-30) vs Carolina Mudcats (55-68/26-30)

LHP Matt Taylor (5-2, 2.83) vs. RHP Dylan Baker (3-2, 5.27)

STREAK SNAPPED: The Carolina Mudcats halted the Frederick Keys four-game winning streak on Tuesday night, thanks to a terrific start from Carolina League wins leader Ryan Merritt and an early offensive surge. Aided by five walks from Parker Bridwell, the Mudcats jumped out to a 5-0 lead after two innings. Ex-Key Torsten Boss provided the initial blow, with a two-run ground rule double off the Texan. One inning later, Jerrud Sabourin stroked a three-run homer over the short porch in right. That was plenty for Merritt of support for Merritt, who gave up just one run on four hits over seven innings. Only one of those hits left the infield. Going back to the club’s last encounter in Frederick, the Mudcats have won three straight against the Keys, and own an 11-5 edge in the season series.   

WALK THIS WAY: On Tuesday, Frederick handed out 10 walks, one-shy of the club’s season-high. Parker Bridwell handed out five free tickets (one short of his career-high) while Brady Wager and Jimmy Yacabonis walked five over six innings of relief. The only game this year where the Keys have give away more free rides came on April 23, when the team walked 11 in a 21-6 defeat. The primary beneficiary of the Keys wildness was the Mudcats Yandy Diaz, who walked four times (tied for the most times an opponent batter has walked against Frederick this year) and scored a pair of runs. This season, the orange and black have walked 444 as a staff, second-most in the CL (Myrtle Beach leads the way with 521 free tickets).  

POWER SURGE: Over their last five games, the Keys have hit six home runs. That has moved the club’s yearly total to 78, a mark which ranks second in the Carolina League (only Myrtle Beach at 100 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 six deep flies, two have come from Trey Mancini and Tucker Nathans. Mancini homered on Friday and Saturday, while Nathans went long on Saturday and hit another blast on Sunday. Making these home runs more destructive is that four of them have come with men on base.

AVOID THE BACKSLIDE: Oftentimes this season, Keys winning streaks have been followed by backslides. In the second-half, Frederick has enjoyed a season-best six-game winning streak (June 5-10) but it was followed by a four-game losing streak. This also occurred during the team’s most recent three-game winning streak (July 21-23). Following a win over Winston-Salem and two against Myrtle Beach, the team dropped six in-a-row to Lynchburg and Winston-Salem. The most extreme example though, came at onset of the second-half. Going into the All-Star break on a three-game streak, the Keys dropped eight of their first nine to open second-half play (that included a season-worst seven-game losing streak).

CALLED UP: On Wednesday, Branden Kline was officially called up to Double-A Bowie, becoming the eighth member of the Keys to advanced to the Eastern League in 2014 (Michael Burgess, Glynn Davis, Mychal Givens, Mike Yastrzemski, Zane Chavez, Sammie Starr and Ashur Tolliver were the others). It is Kline’s first promotion to Double-A. Rated the No. 20 prospect in Orioles system according to Baseball America, Kline went 8-6 with a 3.84 ERA over 23 starts. At the time of his call-up, the Frederick native ranked ninth in ERA (3.84) and four among starters in walk/nine innings pitch ratio (2.27).

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 sixth in the CL in ERA, and sports the third-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 paces all full-season Orioles farmhands in ERA as well.

NATHANS FAMOUS: Tucker Nathans has registered multiple hits in three of his last five games. Over that stretch, he is batting .473 (9-for-19) with two homers, a double, four RBIs and four runs scored. In the process, Nathans has seen his average climb from .256 to .270, the third-highest it has been all year, and the farthest north it has been since April 4 (second day of the season) when Nathans was hitting .300. Equally effective from both sides of the plate, he is hitting .269 against lefties and .271 against righties, while over 14 games in August, he is hitting .340.

GO JOHNNY GO!: Johnny Ruettiger has been one of the team’s top run producers over the last week. On Thursday and Friday, he tied his career-high with three RBIs, while he has driven in 11 in his first 23 games with the orange and black. Thanks to a three-hit effort in the series opener against the Hillcats he is 8 for his last 22 with a homer, six RBIs and three runs scored, to move his batting average from .155 to .204. On Tuesday, he was one of three players who finished with two hits, as Ruettiger, Nathans and Esposito accounted for six of the team’s seven knocks.

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: Right-hander Dylan Baker makes his seventh Carolina League start and his third against the Keys. His most recent outing came last Wednesday at Myrtle Beach. Picking up the win, Baker tossed 5.1 innings, surrendering four runs on five hits. He walked three and struck out five. It was the Alaskan’s second straight victory, after defeating the Keys six days before. In that start on August 7, he gave up two runs on five hits over six innings. In two contests against the orange and black, the righty is 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA (12 IP/2R). Taking the Carolina League by storm, the 22-year-old retired all 18 Keys he faced in his Carolina League debut, an outing where he sat between 98-101 mph on the radar gun. However in his next start at Potomac, Baker never took the mound, as he fractured his right ankle while taking the field on April 3.  The injury cost him more than 3.5 months. The right-hander spent all of 2013 at Low-A Lake County righty allowed only 124 hits, while in the second-half he was nearly untouchable, going 5-1 with a 2.93 ERA in 15 games. Baker made his professional debut with the AZL Indians in 2012, ending 0-1 with a 4.13 ERA. A virtual unknown from Juneau, AL, the 22-year-old went undrafted out of Douglas High School. Following graduation, he moved to Tacoma (WA) Community College, and compiled a 3-3 record and a 3.47 ERA. Staying only one season, Baker’s stock soared when he transferred to Western Nevada Community College for his sophomore year. There, pitching coach Jeremy Beard helped the right-hander increase his velocity by tweaking his mechanics and introducing him to a new long toss program. Armed with better command and more effective secondary pitches as well, the results were immediate. Putting together the best season in WNC history, Baker went 13-0 with a 1.91 ERA to go along with 126 strikeouts in 84.2 innings. Named the Scenic West Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year, Baker was selected by Cleveland in the fifth round of the 2012 draft, making him the highest selection in WNC history. He also just missed becoming the highest drafted player in Alaska history (Brian Montalbo was selected by Atlanta in the fourth round of the 2000 draft). Baker throws a mid-90s fastball, a slider, a curveball and a changeup.

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