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Frederick Keys Game Notes 6-13-14

Good Evening Keys Fans!

In the spirit of the season, it is World Cup Night at the Ballpark! It should be a ton of fun, with plenty of fun games going on between innings. We’ll also have some baseball for the Grove, as Branden Kline goes for his first win at the ballpark he attended as a kid. The righty will be opposed by Sam Wolff.

Doug Raftery (in soccer jersey BTW) and I will have the call beginning at 6:45 on 1450 AM The Source. Among the pregame highlights, is an interview with Keys groundskeeper Mike Soper. He talks about working around some nasty weather, as well as his thoughts on the team’s grounds crew (you may be surprised who it consists of).

Some game notes are attached below. Talk soon and shake your keys!

Geoff

 

 

Friday, June 13, 2014 · Game #65 · Home Game #29

Frederick Keys (29-35) vs Myrtle Beach Pelicans (44-21)

RHP Branden Kline (3-2, 2.92) vs. RHP Sam Wolff (6-3, 2.78)

DOING THE LYON’S SHARE OF THE WORK: Down by three runs entering the ninth inning, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans scored five times off Mychal Givens and Ashur Tolliver to stun the Frederick Keys 8-6 on Thursday night at Harry Grove Stadium. David Lyon provided the decisive blow with a three-run double to left which put the visitors on top to stay. In the bottom of the ninth inning, the Keys got a double by Jason Esposito, but Will Lamb struck out a pair and got a strike out to end the game. A one-man wrecking crew at the plate, Lyon ended with a career-high five RBIs after also recording a two-run double in the first.

IT’S NOT OVER UNTIL THE FAT LADY SINGS: On Thursday, Frederick lost only its third game all season when leading after eight innings. Prior to the series opener against Myrtle Beach, the Keys previous loss when leading after eight stanzas came on May 23 at Wilmington. Armed with a 2-1 lead going into the bottom of the ninth at Frawley Stadium, Ashur Tolliver allowed doubles to Cam Gallagher and Terrance Gore to even the count before Kenny Diekroeger stroked a walk-off single in the 10th inning off Matt Price. Tagged with the loss on Thursday, Mychal Givens gave up five runs over 1.2 innings, but only one was earned on account of an error by Joel Hutter at second. This season Givens has struggled mightily against the Birds. Over six innings, the Floridian has allowed 14 runs (10 earned) on 13 hits (15.00 ERA). Meanwhile, Givens has allowed only two runs over 25.1 stanzas (0.71 ERA) when pitching against the rest of the league.

LITTLE HELP!!: Although the Keys tallied six runs, the team passed up a number of run scoring opportunities. Frederick left a total of 10 men on base, while the orange and black went just 3-for-18 with runners in scoring position. A point of emphasis all season, the Keys are batting only .243 with men at second and third base. That is the third-worst mark in the CL, as only Wilmington (.218) and Carolina (.233) hit at a lower clip. With the bases loaded, Frederick hits at only .216, while the team holds a .196 mark with runners in scoring position and two outs.

STRUGGLES WITH THE LEATHER: Despite being one of the Carolina League’s better defensive teams, Frederick has committed six errors in its last three games. The club has two errors in each of its last three contests, while the team has made at least one error in four straight affairs. That has dropped the Keys to third in the Carolina League in defense. On the season, Frederick has posted a .976 fielding percentage and has committed the third-fewest errors in the league (57). Lynchburg and Wilmington are tied for the best fielding percentage in the eight-team circuit (.977). Winston-Salem is last in the Carolina League (.960) and has committed a league-high 95 errors.

SLUMP BUSTING: Stuck in a 4-for-56 funk coming into Thursday’s action, Jason Esposito busted out in a big way. Ending 3-for-5 with two doubles, the former Vanderbilt Commodore raised his average from .215 to .224. It was his first three-hit game since May 17, and his fourth game of three hits or more this season. Not known for drawing a lot of walks, Esposito has also drawn more free passes of late, working five walks in his last eight games (he drew only one walk in his first 49 ballgames).

MIKE CHECK 1,2,3: Since returning from Aberdeen last Tuesday, Michael Burgess has hit safely in seven of his last 10 games. During that time, he is batting .371 (13-for-35) with two home runs, two triples, two doubles, seven RBIs and eight runs scored. The hot stretch has bumped his batting average from .278 to .295. The boost can be attributed to three multi-hit games, including a four-hit effort last Friday, where the outfielder went 4-for-5 with a homer, triple, three RBIs and three runs scored. It was his first four-hit effort since July 8, 2010, when he was a member of the Potomac Nationals, playing against the Frederick Keys. Meanwhile, it was the second time that Burgess had come one hit away from a cycle in a game this year. On May 18 at Winston-Salem, the Floridian came within a triple of the cycle. Currently, Burgess is second in the Carolina League in slugging percentage (.503) and tied for hird in RBIs (40).

LIKE A ROCK:  After hitting in 10 straight from May 6-31, Zane Chavez has hit safely in his last six in-a-row. On Thursday he extended his streak, going 2-for-5 with a home run, RBI, and run scored. During the six-game jaunt, the Californian is batting .304 (7-for-23) with three home runs, a double, six RBIs and three runs scored. Chavez has also hit home runs in three straight games, the first time he has accomplished that feat in his affiliated career. In his second season of affiliated baseball, Chavez has six RBIs in his last four games and 12 over 26 games with the orange and black this season.

HEY NOW YOU’RE AN ALL-STAR: Last Wednesday afternoon, it was announced that Glynn Davis and Matt Taylor had been named to the Carolina League All-Star team. It marked the second professional all-star selection for Davis and the first for Taylor. On Tuesday, June 17, the Carolina League All Stars will play the California League All-Stars in the two leagues annual clash. The No. 29 prospect in the Orioles system according to Baseball America, Davis enters Wednesday’s action with the fourth-best batting average in the Carolina League (.313). He ranks second in hits (65), runs scored (46) and is third in doubles (16). The Baltimore native also paces the Keys with 19 multi-hit games. Although Taylor was named to the All-Star squad, he will not play in the game due to injury. Still, the Georgian has impressed this season, going 5-1 with a 1.94 ERA in eight games. He is second in the league in ERA and is tied for second in wins. This year’s Carolina League All-Star team will be managed by Blue Rocks skipper Darryl Kennedy, while Wilmington’s Steve Luebber will serve as pitching coach.

NAME THAT PUJOLS!: Luis Pujols becomes the 20th manager in Keys history, after spending 2013 as the skipper at Low-A Delmarva. He takes the reins from Ryan Minor, who went 61-78 in his lone season as Frederick’s head man. The cousin of Angels star, Albert Pujols, the 58-year-old has considerable experience as a player, manager and coach in the majors and minors. Since spending nine years as a big league catcher with Houston, Kansas City and Texas, Pujols has worked as a bench/first base coach for Montreal (1993-00) and San Francisco (2003-06), while he served as interim manager for the Detroit Tigers in 2002, after Phil Garner was fired six games into the season. He has also managed for Double-A affiliates in the Detroit and Houston systems.

PROSPECTING: This year’s Keys team does not lack for talent. Frederick’s Opening Day roster features five of Baltimore’s Top 30 prospects according to Baseball America. Shortstop Adrian Marin (12) highlights the list and is joined by right-handed pitchers Parker Bridwell (19), Branden Kline (20) and Mychal Givens (23). Glynn Davis (29) rounds out the group. Of the five players, only Givens (one game in 2010) and Davis played at the Advanced-A level prior to 2014.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER:Right-hander Sam Wolff makes his 14th appearance and his 13th start of the season. Winner of back-to-back outings, the right-hander tossed six shutout innings against the Keys last Sunday on the Grand Strand. During that time he allowed only two hits, and walked a pair. It was his longest outing since May 14, when he turned in seven innings of three-run baseball against Winston-Salem in a winning effort. The righty is tied for the Carolina League lead in wins (six) is sixth in ERA (2.78), second in batting average against (.205) and is tied for fourth in WHIP (1.10). Wolff has not allowed a run in his last 12 innings, while he has pitched well the last two times he has faced the Keys. In addition to throwing six shutout innings on Sunday, the South Dakota native tossed seven innings and gave up only three earned runs on May 4. Friday will be Wolff’s second start at Harry Grove Stadium, a venue that was not kind to him on April 23. Although the righty earned his third win, he surrendered a career-high five runs, as well as two homers, the first two longballs he had given up in his professional career. Selected by the Rangers in the sixth round of the 2013 draft, the South Dakota native split 2013 between Short-Season Spokane and Low-A Hickory. In 21 total games (all in relief), he went 4-0 with a 0.60, surrendering only two earned runs over 30 innings. In his time with Hickory, Wolff did not allow any runs over 13.2 innings. Drafted three different times, the 22-year-old split his college career between the University of San Diego, the College of Southern Nevada and the University of New Mexico. Ending his career with the Lobos, Wolff went 7-3 with a 2.90 ERA as a starter, and was an Academic All-Mountain West selection. A player with good baseball bloodlines, his father, Steve, was a second baseman and shortstop in the San Diego Padres farm system. Wolff throws a 92-96 mph fastball, a 12-6 curveball (mid-70s) as well as a changeup.

 

Frederick Keys Game Notes 6-12-14

Hello Keys fans!

Last night’s series finale against the Salem Red Sox was cancelled as a result of heavy rain before a pitch was even thrown. Tonight, the Keys are set to begins a three game set against the Carolina League-leading Myrtle Beach Pelicans, who come in with a record of 43-21. The Keys took two of three from the Pelicans last week.

Yesterday’s scheduled starter, Mark Blackmar, will take the mound for the Keys tonight against Myrtle Beach starter Luis Parra.

This is the final series for the Frederick before the All-Star break so we hope to see plenty of you out at Harry Grove Stadium this weekend cheering on your Keys!

Take a look below at some of tonight’s game notes:

 

Thursday, June 12, 2014 · Game #64 · Home Game #28

Frederick Keys (29-34) vs Myrtle Beach Pelicans (43-21)

RHP Mark Blackmar (4-1, 3.91) vs. LHP Luis Parra (5-4, 4.33)

RAIN, RAIN, GO AWAY: Mother Nature did not cooperate on Wednesday night, as the Frederick Keys and the Salem Red Sox were cancelled due to rain. Since it was the final meeting between the two clubs in the first-half, the game will not be made up. By default, the Keys earned their second sweep of the season, and their first at home since April 7, 2013, when the club took three straight against Salem to open the year. In 2014, the Keys have had three games cancelled on account of rain. A morning doubleheader between Frederick and Carolina was cancelled on April 29.

 

WEIRD, WILD, STUFF:In a game that featured a plethora of twists and turns, the Frederick Keys found a way to win on Tuesday night against the Salem Red Sox at Harry Grove Stadium. Coming away with a 9-7 triumph, the orange and black were kept afloat by an eight-run second, where 11 men came to bat against Sox pitchers Cody Kukuk and Justin Haley. Despite ranking as the most productive inning of the year, the pesky Red Sox would not back down. Utilizing 14 hits, three home runs and solid relief pitching by Haley, Salem got within a run in the sixth, before an RBI single by Joel Hutter put the Keys on top 9-7. That is how things would remain, as the visitors stranded the tying run on base in each the last three innings.

JACKPOT: Tuesday’s eight-run second inning was Frederick’s most profitable of the season. Sending 11 men to bat, the Keys pounded out eight runs on six hits. The eight-run inning eclipses the seven-run frame the Keys put together against the Potomac Nationals on May 14. All seven runs came off MLB rehabber Ross Ohlendorf, while Frederick recorded a season-high 20 hits, and tied its season-high with 12 runs scored. On Tuesday, seven of the nine Keys starters tallied at least one hit, and three (Michael Burgess, Adrian Marin and Pedro Perez) ended with multi-hit games.

MIKE CHECK 1,2,3: Since returning from Aberdeen last Tuesday, Michael Burgess has hit safely in seven of his last nine games. During that time, he is batting .370 (13-for-31) with two home runs, two triples, two doubles, seven RBIs and eight runs scored. The hot stretch has bumped his batting average from .278 to .302, the highest it has been all season. The boost can be attributed to three multi-hit games, including a four-hit effort last Friday, where the outfielder went 4-for-5 with a homer, triple, three RBIs and three runs scored. It was his first four-hit effort since July 8, 2010, when he was a member of the Potomac Nationals, playing against the Frederick Keys. Meanwhile, it was the second time that Burgess had come one hit away from a cycle in a game this year. On May 18 at Winston-Salem, the Floridian came within a triple of the cycle. Burgess is tied for eighth in the Carolina League in hitting (.302), is second in slugging percentage (.513) and third in RBIs (40).

LIKE A ROCK:  After recording his first multi-RBI game on Sunday, Zane Chavez was back at work on Monday night. Finishing 1-for-2 with two RBIs, the Californian tied the series opener with a solo homer to right in the second, before giving Frederick the lead for good with a sacrifice fly in the fourth. In his second season of affiliated baseball, Chavez has five RBIs in his last three games and 11 over 25 games with the orange and black this season. Between the Keys and Double-A Bowie, he is batting .259 with three homers and 12 RBIs this season.

SCORELESS STREAK SNAPPED:An RBI single by Christopher Bostick in the bottom of the first on Sunday snapped a string of 20.2 innings where Keys pitching had not allowed a run. Beginning in the sixth inning of Thursday night’s regularly scheduled game at Salem, Frederick blanked Myrtle Beach 6-0 on Friday before earning a 1-0 win in 10 innings on Saturday. The 20.2 frames ranks as the longest scoreless innings streak by Frederick pitching this season. Additionally, the shutout wins on Friday and Saturday marked the first time all year that the orange and black had blanked an opponent on back-to-back days.

WALK THIS WAY: Keys third baseman Jason Esposito has walked just six times in 220 plate appearances this season, but two of them came on Sunday night. It was the first time Esposito had walked twice in a game since April 23, 2013. Four of Esposito’s six walks came during the recent six-game roadtrip, while two of them came at critical moments. Last Thursday, the former Vanderbilt Commodore earned a base on balls in the 12th inning in the suspended game continuation, and ended up scoring the go-ahead run. Then on Saturday, Esposito walked with one out against Jose Leclerc and was the only run of the game after he tagged up from third on a sacrifice fly from Pedro Perez.

NO MORE BULLPEN BLUES?: After two tough months, the Keys bullpen may have turned it around through the first week of June. Relievers recorded a 4.40 ERA in April and 4.95 ERA in 30 games in May, but have only allowed nine runs in 32.2 innings through June (2.48 ERA). In their last five games, Keys relievers have allowed three runs over 14.1 innings with 17 strikeouts and nine hits against.

HEY NOW YOU’RE AN ALL-STAR: Last Wednesday afternoon, it was announced that Glynn Davis and Matt Taylor had been named to the Carolina League All-Star team. It marked the second professional all-star selection for Davis and the first for Taylor. On Tuesday, June 17, the Carolina League All Stars will play the California League All-Stars in the two leagues annual clash. The No. 29 prospect in the Orioles system according to Baseball America, Davis enters Wednesday’s action with the fourth-best batting average in the Carolina League (.313). He ranks second in hits (65), runs scored (46) and is third in doubles (16). The Baltimore native also paces the Keys with 19 multi-hit games. Although Taylor was named to the All-Star squad, he will not play in the game due to injury. Still, the Georgian has impressed this season, going 5-1 with a 1.94 ERA in eight games. He is second in the league in ERA and is tied for second in wins. This year’s Carolina League All-Star team will be managed by Blue Rocks skipper Darryl Kennedy, while Wilmington’s Steve Luebber will serve as pitching coach.

NAME THAT PUJOLS!: Luis Pujols becomes the 20th manager in Keys history, after spending 2013 as the skipper at Low-A Delmarva. He takes the reins from Ryan Minor, who went 61-78 in his lone season as Frederick’s head man. The cousin of Angels star, Albert Pujols, the 58-year-old has considerable experience as a player, manager and coach in the majors and minors. Since spending nine years as a big league catcher with Houston, Kansas City and Texas, Pujols has worked as a bench/first base coach for Montreal (1993-00) and San Francisco (2003-06), while he served as interim manager for the Detroit Tigers in 2002, after Phil Garner was fired six games into the season. He has also managed for Double-A affiliates in the Detroit and Houston systems.

PROSPECTING: This year’s Keys team does not lack for talent. Frederick’s Opening Day roster features five of Baltimore’s Top 30 prospects according to Baseball America. Shortstop Adrian Marin (12) highlights the list and is joined by right-handed pitchers Parker Bridwell (19), Branden Kline (20) and Mychal Givens (23). Glynn Davis (29) rounds out the group. Of the five players, only Givens (one game in 2010) and Davis played at the Advanced-A level prior to 2014.

 TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER:Left-hander Luis Parra makes his 14th appearance of the year and his 12th start of the season on Thursday. Stellar last Saturday night against the Keys at TicketReturn.com Field, Parra was saddled with a no-decision despite throwing eight shutout innings and allowing only three hits. Going toe-to-toe with Branden Kline, Parra and his Keys counterpart accounted for 16 strikeouts and only eight hits, as neither side scored until the 10th inning, when Pedro Perez recorded a sac-fly off Jose Leclerc. This season, Parra has worked into the seventh inning or later on five occasions. That includes a nine-inning complete game on May 12 against Winston-Salem, where the southpaw gave up only five hits and one run (one of only two nine-inning complete games in the CL this season). Parra ranks fifth in the circuit in innings pitched, but is also fourth in free passes (29). In his career, the 22-year-old average four walks per nine innings. Parra opened the season in a piggybacking role with fellow lefty Andrew Faulkner. As a starter, Para is 4-4 with a 4.46 ERA (66.2IP/33ER) and is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA as a reliever (6IP/2ER). The 22-year-old split 2013 between Myrtle Beach and Low-A Hickory. In 20 games (all starts) Parra went a combined 5-6 with a 2.68 ERA, while he went 0-2 with a 3.71 ERA as a member of the Pelicans and delivered a quality start in three of his five outings with the Birds. He received a promotion to Advanced-A on August 6. With Low-A Hickory, Parra collaborated with Ryan Bores, Keone Kella and Alex Claudio on a seven-inning no-hitter, the Crawdads first in four seasons. Parra was the starting pitcher, working three no-hit innings. The no-no came against Low-A Delmarva, and came on the heels of a C.J. Edwards complete game one-hitter. Signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2008, Para hails from Altamira, Dominican Republic, the same hometown as Mets starting pitcher Bartolo Colon.

Frederick Keys Game Notes 6-11-14

Hello Keys fans!

Tonight is Celtic night at Harry Grove Stadium! There will be plenty of Irish music played as well as performances from Irish dancers and bagpipers! Don’t forget your kilt!

The Keys have hit a bit of a roll as of late, winning four of their last five games including last night’s win over the Salem Red Sox. Frederick tallied eight runs in the second inning, the most they have amassed in a single inning this season. Eight runs would have been enough for the victory, but Frederick added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth and eventually went on to win, 9-7.

Righty Mark Blackmar takes the mound for Frederick tonight, looking to build off of his last start where he pitched 6.2 scoreless innings, allowing only five hits and striking out four. It was the longest Blackmar has pitched into a game since July 3, 2012.

A win tonight would give the Keys their second home sweep of the season.

Take a look below at the game notes for tonight:

Wednesday, June 11, 2014 · Game #64 · Home Game #28

Frederick Keys (29-34) vs Salem Red Sox (30-34)

RHP Mark Blackmar (4-1, 3.91) vs. RHP Luis Diaz (5-3, 3.65)

WEIRD, WILD, STUFF:In a game that featured a plethora of twists and turns, the Frederick Keys found a way to win on Tuesday night against the Salem Red Sox at Harry Grove Stadium. Coming away with a 9-7 triumph, the orange and black were kept afloat by an eight-run second, where 11 men came to bat against Sox pitchers Cody Kukuk and Justin Haley. Despite ranking as the most productive inning of the year, the pesky Red Sox would not back down. Utilizing 14 hits, three home runs and solid relief pitching by Haley, Salem got within a run in the sixth, before an RBI single by Joel Hutter put the Keys on top 9-7. That is how things would remain, as the visitors stranded the tying run on base in each the last three innings.

POLISH OFF THE BROOMS: On Wednesday, the Keys will try for their second sweep of the season and their first at Harry Grove Stadium in 2014. Frederick’s only sweep came on April 17, when the orange and black completed a three-game sweep of the Winston-Salem Dash at BB&T Ballpark. In their last three series, the Keys have twice come within a game of brooming their opponent. After winning back-to-back games via shutout at Myrtle Beach last Friday and Saturday, the team fell to the Pelicans 7-4 in Sunday’s finale. During the previous homestand, Frederick also dropped the final game of the series, after winning the first three against Wilmington. The Keys last three-game home sweep came on April 7, 2013, when the club took three straight against Salem to begin the year.

JACKPOT: Tuesday’s eight-run second inning was Frederick’s most profitable of the season. Sending 11 men to bat, the Keys pounded out eight runs on six hits. The eight-run inning eclipses the seven-run frame the Keys put together against the Potomac Nationals on May 14. All seven runs came off MLB rehabber Ross Ohlendorf, while Frederick recorded a season-high 20 hits, and tied its season-high with 12 runs scored. On Tuesday, seven of the nine Keys starters tallied at least one hit, and three (Michael Burgess, Adrian Marin and Pedro Perez) ended with multi-hit games.

MIKE CHECK 1,2,3: Since returning from Aberdeen last Tuesday, Michael Burgess has hit safely in seven of his last nine games. During that time, he is batting .370 (13-for-31) with two home runs, two triples, two doubles, seven RBIs and eight runs scored. The hot stretch has bumped his batting average from .278 to .302, the highest it has been all season. The boost can be attributed to three multi-hit games, including a four-hit effort last Friday, where the outfielder went 4-for-5 with a homer, triple, three RBIs and three runs scored. It was his first four-hit effort since July 8, 2010, when he was a member of the Potomac Nationals, playing against the Frederick Keys. Meanwhile, it was the second time that Burgess had come one hit away from a cycle in a game this year. On May 18 at Winston-Salem, the Floridian came within a triple of the cycle. Burgess is tied for eighth in the Carolina League in hitting (.302), is second in slugging percentage (.513) and third in RBIs (40).

LIKE A ROCK:  After recording his first multi-RBI game on Sunday, Zane Chavez was back at work on Monday night. Finishing 1-for-2 with two RBIs, the Californian tied the series opener with a solo homer to right in the second, before giving Frederick the lead for good with a sacrifice fly in the fourth. In his second season of affiliated baseball, Chavez has five RBIs in his last three games and 11 over 25 games with the orange and black this season. Between the Keys and Double-A Bowie, he is batting .259 with three homers and 12 RBIs this season.

SCORELESS STREAK SNAPPED:An RBI single by Christopher Bostick in the bottom of the first on Sunday snapped a string of 20.2 innings where Keys pitching had not allowed a run. Beginning in the sixth inning of Thursday night’s regularly scheduled game at Salem, Frederick blanked Myrtle Beach 6-0 on Friday before earning a 1-0 win in 10 innings on Saturday. The 20.2 frames ranks as the longest scoreless innings streak by Frederick pitching this season. Additionally, the shutout wins on Friday and Saturday marked the first time all year that the orange and black had blanked an opponent on back-to-back days.

WALK THIS WAY: Keys third baseman Jason Esposito has walked just six times in 220 plate appearances this season, but two of them came on Sunday night. It was the first time Esposito had walked twice in a game since April 23, 2013. Four of Esposito’s six walks came during the recent six-game roadtrip, while two of them came at critical moments. Last Thursday, the former Vanderbilt Commodore earned a base on balls in the 12th inning in the suspended game continuation, and ended up scoring the go-ahead run. Then on Saturday, Esposito walked with one out against Jose Leclerc and was the only run of the game after he tagged up from third on a sacrifice fly from Pedro Perez.

NO MORE BULLPEN BLUES?: After two tough months, the Keys bullpen may have turned it around through the first week of June. Relievers recorded a 4.40 ERA in April and 4.95 ERA in 30 games in May, but have only allowed nine runs in 32.2 innings through June (2.48 ERA). In their last five games, Keys relievers have allowed three runs over 14.1 innings with 17 strikeouts and nine hits against.

HEY NOW YOU’RE AN ALL-STAR: Last Wednesday afternoon, it was announced that Glynn Davis and Matt Taylor had been named to the Carolina League All-Star team. It marked the second professional all-star selection for Davis and the first for Taylor. On Tuesday, June 17, the Carolina League All Stars will play the California League All-Stars in the two leagues annual clash. The No. 29 prospect in the Orioles system according to Baseball America, Davis enters Wednesday’s action with the fourth-best batting average in the Carolina League (.313). He ranks second in hits (65), runs scored (46) and is third in doubles (16). The Baltimore native also paces the Keys with 19 multi-hit games. Although Taylor was named to the All-Star squad, he will not play in the game due to injury. Still, the Georgian has impressed this season, going 5-1 with a 1.94 ERA in eight games. He is second in the league in ERA and is tied for second in wins. This year’s Carolina League All-Star team will be managed by Blue Rocks skipper Darryl Kennedy, while Wilmington’s Steve Luebber will serve as pitching coach.

NAME THAT PUJOLS!: Luis Pujols becomes the 20th manager in Keys history, after spending 2013 as the skipper at Low-A Delmarva. He takes the reins from Ryan Minor, who went 61-78 in his lone season as Frederick’s head man. The cousin of Angels star, Albert Pujols, the 58-year-old has considerable experience as a player, manager and coach in the majors and minors. Since spending nine years as a big league catcher with Houston, Kansas City and Texas, Pujols has worked as a bench/first base coach for Montreal (1993-00) and San Francisco (2003-06), while he served as interim manager for the Detroit Tigers in 2002, after Phil Garner was fired six games into the season. He has also managed for Double-A affiliates in the Detroit and Houston systems.

PROSPECTING: This year’s Keys team does not lack for talent. Frederick’s Opening Day roster features five of Baltimore’s Top 30 prospects according to Baseball America. Shortstop Adrian Marin (12) highlights the list and is joined by right-handed pitchers Parker Bridwell (19), Branden Kline (20) and Mychal Givens (23). Glynn Davis (29) rounds out the group. Of the five players, only Givens (one game in 2010) and Davis played at the Advanced-A level prior to 2014.

 TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER::Right-hander Luis Diaz makes his 13th start of the season and his first against Frederick in 2014. His most recent start came last Friday at Lynchburg, and was his best outing of the year. Tying a season-high with seven innings pitched, the right-hander gave up one run on six hits, while he struck out four and did not walk a batter. Although he received a no-decision, Friday’s start ended a bumpy stretch for Diaz, where he allowed nine runs (six earned) on 14 hits over 8.1 frames. The Venezuelan’s other seven-inning outing came on May 14 at Wilmington, a game where he issued only two runs and struck out six. Diaz’s best month was April, where he posted a 2.91 ERA in five starts. In 21.2 frames, he gave up 10 runs (seven earned). Although his ERA was 90 points higher in May, Diaz exhibited better command, walking just three in 28.1 innings. Diaz comes off an excellent 2013, where he registered a combined 1.96 ERA over 101 innings between Low-A Greenville and Salem. Despite not making his 2013 debut until late-May due to a DL stint, the righty posted nine wins, tied for fourth-most among Red Sox farmhands. Seven of those wins came as a member of the Drive, where he went 7-4 with a 2.05 ERA. Promoted to Salem on August 20, Diaz continued his dominance in the Carolina League. Making his second CL start against the Keys on August 29 at LewisGale Field, he twirled seven shutout innings and gave up only five hits. From there, Diaz tossed eight scoreless innings in Salem’s postseason opener against Myrtle Beach. Signed by the Red Sox as a 16-year-old in August 2008, the righty hails from Valencia, Venezuela, the third largest city in the country, and the hometown of MLB All-Stars Salvador Perez and Felix Hernandez. The right-hander throws a low-mid 90s fastball, a curveball, a slider and a changeup.

Frederick Keys Game Notes 6-9-14

Hello Keys fans!

The Keys are back at Harry Grove Stadium following a six-game road trip that featured three game sets against the Salem Red Sox and the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. Frederick went 3-3 on the trip, taking one from Salem and two of three from the Pelicans.

The Keys send righty Parker Bridwell to the mound to square off against William Cuevas, the beneficiary of a late rotation change by Salem.

Below are some of the game notes for tonight’s matchup!

 

Monday, June 9, 2014 · Game #62 · Home Game #26

Frederick Keys (27-34) vs Salem Red Sox (30-32)

RHP Parker Bridwell (2-6, 4.98) vs. RHP Simon Mercedes (2-5, 4.06)

TOO LITTLE TOO LATE:The Frederick Keys mounted a ninth inning rally thanks to back-to-back homers by Zane Chavez and Brenden Webb, but a three-run first by Myrtle Beach as well as six shutout innings by Sam Wolff was too much to overcome, as the Keys fell 7-4 on Sunday night at TicketReturn.com Field. With the loss, the Keys are within a game of elimination from the first-half Northern Division playoff race. Should the Keys lose or Potomac win on Monday, Frederick’s playoff chances would be over. Brady Wager received a rude greeting in the bottom of the first, as a two-run double by Nick Vickerson and an RBI single by Christopher Bostick made it 3-0 Pelicans. That would be plenty of support for Wolff, who allowed only one hit through the first five innings en route to his sixth Carolina League win.

SCORELESS STREAK SNAPPED:An RBI single by Christopher Bostick in the bottom of the first on Sunday snapped a string of 20.2 innings where Keys pitching had not allowed a run. Beginning in the sixth inning of Thursday night’s regularly scheduled game at Salem, Frederick blanked Myrtle Beach 6-0 on Friday night before earning a 1-0 win in 10 innings on Saturday. The 20.2 frames ranks as the longest scoreless innings streak by Frederick pitching this season. Additionally, the shutout wins on Friday and Saturday marked the first time all year that the orange and black had blanked an opponent on back-to-back days.

MIKE CHECK 1,2,3: Since returning from Aberdeen last Tuesday, Michael Burgess has hit safely in five of his last six games. During that time, he is batting .409 (9-for-22) with a home run, two triples, two doubles, four RBIs and six runs scored. The hot stretch has bumped his batting average from .281 to .297, the highest it has been all season. The boost can be largely attributed to a four-hit night on Friday, where the outfielder went 4-for-5 with a homer, triple, three RBIs and three runs scored. It was his first four-hit effort since July 8, 2010, when he was a member of the Potomac Nationals, playing against the Frederick Keys. Meanwhile, it was the second time that Burgess had come one hit away from a cycle in a game this year. On May 18 at Winston-Salem, the Floridian came within a triple of the cycle. Burgess is second in the Carolina League in slugging percentage (.500) and is tied for fourth in RBIs (37).

FORE!!: In addition to recording back-to-back shutout victories for the first time during their trip to Myrtle Beach, the Keys also tallied back-to-back home runs in a game for the first time. Zane Chavez and Brenden Webb did the trick on Sunday night against Pelicans lefty Sam Stafford, accounting for all three runs in the top of the ninth. Prior to Sunday, Frederick had not hit back-to-back longballs since August 20, 2012 when Jeremy Nowak and Steve Bumbry did it against Wilmington.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Frederick has struggled mightily in series openers this year. In 2014, the orange and black are just 5-13 in the first game of a series, while the Keys have lost 11 of their last 13 series openers. Recently, the Keys have gotten things off on the right foot though, posting a win in the first game of the series on two of the last three occasions.

WALK THIS WAY: Keys third baseman Jason Esposito has walked just five times in 213 plate appearances this season, but two of them came on Sunday night. It was the first time Esposito had walked twice in a game since April 23, 2013. Four of Esposito’s five walks came during the recent six-game roadtrip, while two of them came at critical moments within the last five games. On Thursday, the former Vanderbilt Commodore earned a base on balls in the 12th inning in the suspended game continuation, and he ended up scoring the go-ahead run. Then on Saturday, Esposito walked with one out against Jose Leclerc and was the only run of the game after he tagged up from third on a sacrifice fly from Pedro Perez.

SWING AND A MISS: The trio of Branden Kline, Mychal Givens, and Matt Price struck out a combined 17 Myrtle Beach Pelicans on Saturday night, the highest amount this season for the keys staff. They whiffed 14 against the Carolina Mudcats at Harry Grove Stadium on April 9. It was the most times Myrtle Beach has struck out this season as well, as their previous high was 15 against Wilmington on April 8.

NO MORE BULLPEN BLUES?: After two tough months, the Keys bullpen may have turned it around through the first week of June. Relievers recorded a 4.40 ERA in April and 4.95 ERA in 30 games in May, but have only allowed eight runs in 26.2 innings through June (2.70 ERA). In the two games against Myrtle Beach, Keys relievers have thrown a combined 5.1 scoreless innings with seven strikeouts and two hits against.

HEY NOW YOU’RE AN ALL-STAR: On Wednesday afternoon, it was announced that Glynn Davis and Matt Taylor had been named to the Carolina League All-Star team. It marks the first time in their professional careers that the duo had been named to an all-star team. On Tuesday, June 17, the Carolina League All Stars will play the California League All-Stars in the two leagues annual clash. The No. 29 prospect in the Orioles system according to Baseball America, Davis enters Wednesday’s action with the fourth-best batting average in the Carolina League (.313). He ranks second in hits (65), runs scored (46) and is third in doubles (16). The Baltimore native also paces the Keys with 19 multi-hit games. Although Taylor was named to the All-Star squad, he will not play in the game due to injury. Still, the Georgian has impressed this season, going 5-1 with a 1.94 ERA in eight games. He is second in the league in ERA and is tied for second in wins. This year’s Carolina League All-Star team will be managed by Blue Rocks skipper Darryl Kennedy, while Wilmington’s Steve Luebber will serve as pitching coach.

NAME THAT PUJOLS!: Luis Pujols becomes the 20th manager in Keys history, after spending 2013 as the skipper at Low-A Delmarva. He takes the reins from Ryan Minor, who went 61-78 in his lone season as Frederick’s head man. The cousin of Angels star, Albert Pujols, the 58-year-old has considerable experience as a player, manager and coach in the majors and minors. Since spending nine years as a big league catcher with Houston, Kansas City and Texas, Pujols has worked as a bench/first base coach for Montreal (1993-00) and San Francisco (2003-06), while he served as interim manager for the Detroit Tigers in 2002, after Phil Garner was fired six games into the season. He has also managed for Double-A affiliates in the Detroit and Houston systems.

PROSPECTING: This year’s Keys team does not lack for talent. Frederick’s Opening Day roster features five of Baltimore’s Top 30 prospects according to Baseball America. Shortstop Adrian Marin (12) highlights the list and is joined by right-handed pitchers Parker Bridwell (19), Branden Kline (20) and Mychal Givens (23). Glynn Davis (29) rounds out the group. Of the five players, only Givens (one game in 2010) and Davis played at the Advanced-A level prior to 2014.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER::Right-hander Simon Mercedes makes his 12th appearance of the season his seventh start and his second appearance against the Keys. Rated the No. 24 prospect in the Red Sox system according to Baseball America, Mercedes last pitched against Frederick on June 4, but lasted only 3.2 frames. During that time he gave up four runs (three earned) on four hits. He struck out four but also walked four, which was one short of a season-high. A pitcher that has been tough to hit at times, Mercedes is holding opponents to a .232 batting average, and lefties are batting just .172 against him. He also averages nearly a strikeout per nine innings (44.1 IP/43 SO). Mercedes opened the year as a piggyback starter, before moving into the rotation on May 12 at Wilmington. Dominant in that outing, the righty allowed only one earned run in five innings and struck out a season-high seven. Mercedes jumped to Advanced-A from Short-Season Lowell. In 13 games with the Spinners last season (three starts), the Dominican went 2-2 with a 3.13 ERA. There he was also used as a piggyback starter, and led the club in innings pitched (63) and strikeouts (57). Signed by the Red Sox for a reported $800,000 bonus in March 2012, the 22-year-old had agreed to a $400,000 deal with the Giants in 2011, but a background investigation by Major League Baseball showed inconsistencies with Mercedes’ documentation. The deal was voided, and MLB declared Mercedes ineligible for one year. A pitcher that can reach the high 90s with his fastball, the righty throws a fastball, a curveball and a changeup.

Frederick Keys Game Notes 6-6-14

Good Evening Keys Fans!

After dropping 2 of 3 to the Salem Red Sox, the Keys continue south to Myrtle Beach, where the club will play three games against the Pelicans.

First pitch tonight is slated for 7:05 p.m. from the Grand Strand, and Doug Raftery has got you covered on 1450 AM The Source.

Also, don’t forget to tune in to the Keys Corner tomorrow! You can catch it all on 1450 AM The Sources starting at 1 p.m. This week’s guests include: Carolina League All-Star Glynn Davis, Keys starting pitcher and local product Branden Kline, as well as Keys General Manager Dave Ziedelis. It should make for an exciting show, so don’t forget to tune in!

A fresh batch of game notes are below.

Shake your Keys!

Geoff

Friday, June 6, 2014 · Game #59 · Road Game #33

Frederick Keys (25-33) vs Myrtle Beach Pelicans (40-18)

RHP Mark Blackmar (3-1, 4.50) vs. LHP Victor Payano (3-2, 4.50)

MOMENTUM ISN’T EVERYTHING: After Wednesday night’s game was suspended due to rain, the Frederick Keys and the Salem Red Sox played to a thrilling finish on Thursday night, before Justin Haley dazzled in the nightcap. Picking things up in the bottom of the fourth with the things the game even at four, Frederick grabbed a two-run lead thanks to a double by Glynn Davis which plated Jerome Pena and Sammie Starr. A double by Lucas Herbst and a single by Jason Esposito stretched the Keys lead to 7-4 after 6.5 stanzas, but Salem evened the score in the home-half of the inning. After allowing three straight men to reach, Gene Escat surrendered a three-run triple to Mario Martinez, while neither side scored again in regulation. In the 12th, the Keys broke the deadlock. Once again Davis came through, this time with a two-run single to right off Kyle Stroup. Salem scratched across one run in the bottom of the 12th, however Miguel Chalas did not allow any more as the Keys held on for a 9-8 win. Unfortunately, the orange and black could not capitalize off the 12-inning win. Tossing six shutout innings, Haley scattered only four hits and struck out seven, as the Red Sox claimed the seven-inning finale 4-0.

FREE BASEBALL FUN: Frederick’s 9-8 victory in 12 innings on Thursday was only the club’s second win in games stretching past regulation this year. The team’s only other extra-inning win came on April 18 at Carolina. Additionally, it marked the second time in 2014 that the Keys had won a game previously suspended on account of Mother Nature. After Winston-Salem and Frederick were halted due to rain on May 10, the orange and black scored the final four runs, as the Keys won 4-3 on a walk-off single by Brenden Webb.

TOO MANY DOUGHNUT HOLES: The 4-0 defeat in the series finale, was the Keys fifth shutout defeat of the season. It also marked the second time in four games that the Frederick had been shutout. On Monday night, the orange and black were limited to just three hits against the Wilmington Blue Rocks, who secured a 3-0 win. In the process, the Keys were denied their second series sweep of the year. Frederick’s five shutout losses are tied for the second-most in the Carolina League (Carolina has also been blanked five times), while only Winston-Salem (seven) has been shutout more times. Aside from the Keys, Mudcats and Dash, all five other Carolina League clubs have been shutout only once or twice.

ONE GAME SHORT!: Glynn Davis equaled his season-high 11 game hitting streak thanks to a monster performance in the middle game against Salem. Finishing 3-for-7 with two doubles and three RBIs, Davis tallied his 20th multi-hit game of the year, as well as sixth game of two or more RBIs. Sadly, Davis’ streak would come to a close in the series finale, as he finished 0-for-2. Over the 11 game jaunt, Davis hit .288 with eight doubles, a triple, seven RBIs and eight runs scored. The Baltimore native also put together an 11-game hitting streak from April 3-14.

STARTING STREAK SNAPPED: Frederick’s string of quality starts came to an end on Tuesday night. After the rotation posted five straight quality starts, Brady Wager failed to make it through five innings on Tuesday night. Over 4.2 innings the righty gave up two runs on four hits, he walked five and struck out four. A streak which started last Thursday at Lynchburg,Wager got the ball rolling with six innings of two-run baseball. Parker Bridwell and Joe Van Meter followed with seven frames of one-run and two-run baseball respectively, while Mark Blackmar allowed just one run over six innings on Sunday. On Monday, Branden Kline closed out the streak, by giving up one run over 6.2 innings. One of the team’s strengths in the month of May, Frederick’s starting rotation posted a 3.58 over 30 games.

HEY NOW YOU’RE AN ALL-STAR: On Wednesday afternoon, it was announced that Glynn Davis and Matt Taylor had been named to the Carolina League All-Star team. It marks the first time in their professional careers that the duo had been named to an all-star team. On Tuesday, June 17, the Carolina League All Stars will play the California League All-Stars in the two leagues annual clash. The No. 29 prospect in the Orioles system according to Baseball America, Davis enters Wednesday’s action with the fourth-best batting average in the Carolina League (.313). He ranks second in hits (65), runs scored (46) and is third in doubles (16). The Baltimore native also paces the Keys with 19 multi-hit games. Although Taylor was named to the All-Star squad, he will not play in the game due to injury. Still, the Georgian has impressed this season, going 5-1 with a 1.94 ERA in eight games. He is second in the league in ERA and is tied for second in wins. This year’s Carolina League All-Star team will be managed by Blue Rocks skipper Darryl Kennedy, while Wilmington’s Steve Luebber will serve as pitching coach.

HOIST THE HARDWARE:On Monday, Adrian Marin was named the Carolina League’s “Player of the Week” for May 26-June 2. It is the first time the Miami native has earned a player of the week honor in his pro career, while he becomes the second member of the Keys to receive a weekly award in 2014. In mid-May, Parker Bridwell was named the Carolina League “Pitcher of the Week” after throwing a near no-hitter against Potomac. Owner of three mutli-RBI games in last six contests, Marin led all of Advanced-A in runs batted in last week, posted the second-most among Orioles farmhands (Delmarva’s Trey Mancini recorded 12), while his 11 RBIs were tied for the sixth-most in all of minor league baseball. Mark Minicozzi of Triple-A Fresno and Brad Snyder of Triple-A Round Rock also finished with 11, while Frank Schwindel of Low-A Lexington paced all the minors with 16. Thanks to the 11 RBIs output, Marin has more than doubled his season output. Over his past six games, he is batting .429 (9-for-21) while eight of his nine hits have gone for extra-bases (seven doubles and one homer).

NAME THAT PUJOLS!: Luis Pujols becomes the 20th manager in Keys history, after spending 2013 as the skipper at Low-A Delmarva. He takes the reins from Ryan Minor, who went 61-78 in his lone season as Frederick’s head man. The cousin of Angels star, Albert Pujols, the 58-year-old has considerable experience as a player, manager and coach in the majors and minors. Since spending nine years as a big league catcher with Houston, Kansas City and Texas, Pujols has worked as a bench/first base coach for Montreal (1993-00) and San Francisco (2003-06), while he served as interim manager for the Detroit Tigers in 2002, after Phil Garner was fired six games into the season. He has also managed for Double-A affiliates in the Detroit and Houston systems.

PROSPECTING: This year’s Keys team does not lack for talent. Frederick’s Opening Day roster features five of Baltimore’s Top 30 prospects according to Baseball America. Shortstop Adrian Marin (12) highlights the list and is joined by right-handed pitchers Parker Bridwell (19), Branden Kline (20) and Mychal Givens (23). Glynn Davis (29) rounds out the group. Of the five players, only Givens (one game in 2010) and Davis played at the Advanced-A level prior to 2014.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Left-hander Victor Payano makes his 13th start of the season on Friday and his fourth against Frederick in 2014. His most recent start came on June 1 against Potomac. Over six stanzas, he allowed only two runs on five hits. He walked five and struck out five. In the process, Payano put together his third quality start in four outings. When Payano has gotten into trouble this year, walks have often been the problem. The Carolina League’s leader in free tickets, the 21-year-old leads the eight-team circuit in free passes (48). A problem throughout his entire career, Payano has walked 218 over 344.2 innings as a professional, or roughly six per nine innings. The lefty spent all of 2013 with Myrtle Beach, going 5-7 with a 6.67 ERA over 21 games (20 starts). In 82.1 innings, he allowed 82 hits, walked 54 and surrendered a career-high 11 home runs. Payano’s best season came with Low-A Hickory in 2012. As a 19-year-old that season, he went 6-8 with a 4.63 ERA over 25 games (20 starts). The Pelicans opening day starter this season, Payano was originally signed as a non-drafted free agent by Texas in February 2010. Clocked in the upper 80s as a 16-year-old, the Dominican originally agreed to terms with Boston for $900,000, but failed his physical. That allowed Texas to swoop in and sign him for a reported $75,000. Payano throws a low-mid 90s fastball, a curveball and a changeup.

 

Frederick Keys Game Notes 6-5-14

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

Well Mother Nature refused to cooperate last night as the Keys and the Red Sox were halted in the bottom of the fourth inning. The game is tied 4-4 with two outs, and a runner at third for Salem.

When the two sides get back underway at 5 p.m., the Keys will be fighting for their 25th win. At the moment, the Keys are 6 games back with 12 (including the suspended game) left to play in the first half. With very little margin for error, and no games left against Northern Division competition, the 0range and black will need to win and get some help from the rest of its Division mates.

Neither side has said who will throw when the suspended game resumes this evening. Meanwhile, Joe Van Meter and Justin Haley will make their regularly scheduled starts in tonight’s regularly scheduled game. It will be a seven-inning contest.

Some game notes are below. Doug Raftery will have all the play-by-play starting at 4:45 on 1450 AM The Source and frederickkeys.com.

Shake your keys!

Geoff

 

Thursday, June 5, 2014 · Game #57/58 · Road Game #31/32

Frederick Keys (24-32) vs Salem Red Sox (28-29)

RHP Joe Van Meter (2-0, 3.04) vs. RHP Justin Haley (4-2, 2.20)

SUSPENDED: The Frederick Keys and the Salem Red Sox were suspended due to rain on Wednesday night at LewisGale Field. The game was halted with two outs in the bottom of the fourth, a runner at third and the game tied 4-4. The Keys grabbed a 1-0 lead in the second, after walks to Jerome Pena and Sammie Starr, a wild pitch, and an error by Red Sox third baseman Dreily Guerrero. Frederick stretched its lead to 3-0 in the third on a solo homer by Creede Simpson, and back-to-back doubles by Michael Burgess and Wynston Sawyer. Salem tied the score in the third after a two-bagger by Matty Johnson, a walk to Ryan Dent, an RBI double by Reed Gragnani and a two-run single by Carson Blair. Both sides then exchanged runs in the fourth, before the game was stopped. The contest will resume at 5 p.m., with the remainder of the game being completed. Afterwards, the two sides will play a seven-inning contest to wrap up the series.

NOT THE FIRST TIME: Wednesday night was not the first time the Keys had been suspended in 2014 due to rain. On May 10, Frederick and Winston-Salem were halted with one out in the bottom of the fifth at Harry Grove Stadium with the visitors ahead 3-0. The stoppage proved beneficial, as the Keys came away with a walk-off win. Trailing 3-1 to start the ninth, Sammie Starr tied the game with a two-run homer off Euclides Leyer. Glynn Davis then reach on an infield single and moved to second on a balk, before Brenden Webb stroked a walk-off single to right.

STARTING STREAK SNAPPED: Frederick’s string of quality starts came to an end on Tuesday night. After the rotation posted five straight quality starts, Brady Wager failed to make it through five innings on Tuesday night. Over 4.2 innings the righty gave up two runs on four hits, he walked five and struck out four. A streak which started last Thursday at Lynchburg,Wager got the ball rolling with six innings of two-run baseball. Parker Bridwell and Joe Van Meter followed with seven frames of one-run and two-run baseball respectively, while Mark Blackmar allowed just one run over six innings on Sunday. On Monday, Branden Kline closed out the streak, by giving up one run over 6.2 innings. One of the team’s strengths in the month of May, Frederick’s starting rotation posted a 3.58 over 30 games.

HEY NOW YOU’RE AN ALL-STAR: On Wednesday afternoon, it was announced that Glynn Davis and Matt Taylor had been named to the Carolina League All-Star team. It marks the first time in their professional careers that the duo had been named to an all-star team. On Tuesday, June 17, the Carolina League All Stars will play the California League All-Stars in the two leagues annual clash. The No. 29 prospect in the Orioles system according to Baseball America, Davis enters Wednesday’s action with the fourth-best batting average in the Carolina League (.313). He ranks second in hits (65), runs scored (46) and is third in doubles (16). The Baltimore native also paces the Keys with 19 multi-hit games. Although Taylor was named to the All-Star squad, he will not play in the game due to injury. Still, the Georgian has impressed this season, going 5-1 with a 1.94 ERA in eight games. He is second in the league in ERA and is tied for second in wins. This year’s Carolina League All-Star team will be managed by Blue Rocks skipper Darryl Kennedy, while Wilmington’s Steve Luebber will serve as pitching coach.

WELCOME BACK MIKE!: Michael Burgess returned to the Keys lineup on Tuesday night after being transferred from Aberdeen earlier in the day. Playing in his first game with the Keys since June 3, the Tampa native went 1-for-4 with a double, an RBI and two strikeouts. The team leader with 34 RBIs, Burgess is also tied for fifth in the Carolina League. Formerly a first round pick by Washington in 2007, Burgess is batting .280 over 43 games with the orange and black this season, his first with the Orioles organization. Tough to get out in the month of May, Burgess hit .289 over 21 games to go along with a home run, seven doubles, a triple and 19 RBIs.

HOIST THE HARDWARE:On Monday, Adrian Marin was named the Carolina League’s “Player of the Week” for May 26-June 2. It is the first time the Miami native has earned a player of the week honor in his pro career, while he becomes the second member of the Keys to receive a weekly award in 2014. In mid-May, Parker Bridwell was named the Carolina League “Pitcher of the Week” after throwing a near no-hitter against Potomac. Owner of three mutli-RBI games in last six contests, Marin led all of Advanced-A in runs batted in last week, posted the second-most among Orioles farmhands (Delmarva’s Trey Mancini recorded 12), while his 11 RBIs were tied for the sixth-most in all of minor league baseball. Mark Minicozzi of Triple-A Fresno and Brad Snyder of Triple-A Round Rock also finished with 11, while Frank Schwindel of Low-A Lexington paced all the minors with 16. Thanks to the 11 RBIs output, Marin has more than doubled his season output. Over his past six games, he is batting .429 (9-for-21) while eight of his nine hits have gone for extra-bases (seven doubles and one homer).

FREDERICK V SALEM 2013: The Keys posted an 11-9 record against the Red Sox last season. One of only two head-to-head series Frederick won all season (the Keys went 12-8 against Carolina), Salem was also one of only two clubs that the orange and black swept in 2013. The two teams split the 20 game season-series in 2012, while the Keys manhandled the Sox in 2011, going 15-5. Despite being June 3, Tuesday goes down as the first time that the Keys and the Red Sox have met all year. The last head-to-head battle took place last August 30, when Salem took three of four at LewisGale Field.

NAME THAT PUJOLS!: Luis Pujols becomes the 20th manager in Keys history, after spending 2013 as the skipper at Low-A Delmarva. He takes the reins from Ryan Minor, who went 61-78 in his lone season as Frederick’s head man. The cousin of Angels star, Albert Pujols, the 58-year-old has considerable experience as a player, manager and coach in the majors and minors. Since spending nine years as a big league catcher with Houston, Kansas City and Texas, Pujols has worked as a bench/first base coach for Montreal (1993-00) and San Francisco (2003-06), while he served as interim manager for the Detroit Tigers in 2002, after Phil Garner was fired six games into the season. He has also managed for Double-A affiliates in the Detroit and Houston systems.

PROSPECTING: This year’s Keys team does not lack for talent. Frederick’s Opening Day roster features five of Baltimore’s Top 30 prospects according to Baseball America. Shortstop Adrian Marin (12) highlights the list and is joined by right-handed pitchers Parker Bridwell (19), Branden Kline (20) and Mychal Givens (23). Glynn Davis (29) rounds out the group. Of the five players, only Givens (one game in 2010) and Davis played at the Advanced-A level prior to 2014.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER:Right-hander Justin Haley makes his 12th appearance of the season and his fifth start. His most recent outing came last Saturday at Potomac. Pitching out of the bullpen, the right-hander allowed a career-high seven runs (two earned) on five hits over three innings. He walked one and struck out one. Haley is currently third in the Carolina League in ERA (2.20), and leads all CL right-handers in that department. He places fourth in the eight-team circuit in WHIP (1.14), is fifth in batting average against (.230), while he is one of only two Carolina League pitchers to record a complete game shutout this year. Pitching in the second game of the doubleheader on May 16 at Carolina, Haley blanked the Mudcats for seven innings, tying a career-high with nine strikeouts and scattering only three hits. It was the first complete game shutout of his career. In his first year at Advanced-A, Haley spent all of 2013 at Low-A Greensville. In 26 games (24 starts) with the Drive, he went 7-11 with a 3.68 ERA. There, he held opponents to a .219 batting average, fifth-lowest in the South Atlantic League. Still, walks were a problem at times, as the Californian surrendered 74 in 124.2 frames, third-most in the league. The 22-year-old was selected by Boston in the sixth round of the 2012 draft out of Fresno State University. There, he was teammates with current Keys reliever Gene Escat. In two years with the Bulldogs, Haley went 8-4 with a 3.08 ERA in over 33 games. In 125.2 total innings, he struck out 122. Haley was also drafted by Cleveland in the 46th round of the 2010 draft out of Sierra College but did not sign. The right-hander throws a low-90s fastball, a slider and a changeup.

 

Frederick Keys Game Notes 6-4-14

Good Evening Keys Fans!

The Keys try and force a rubber game on Wednesday night, when the team plays its second game against the Salem Red Sox.

Although it’s in today’s game notes, GREAT NEWS for Glynn Davis and Matt Taylor who were selected to the Carolina League All-Star Team. Here is a look at the full release.

First pitch tonight is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. from LewisGale Field, and the talented Doug Raftery has you covered on the radio. Pregame coverage kicks off at 6:50 p.m.

Some game notes are below. Talk soon and shake your keys!

Geoff

Wednesday, June 4, 2014 · Game #57 · Road Game #31

Frederick Keys (24-32) vs Salem Red Sox (28-29)

RHP Parker Bridwell (2-6, 4.70) vs. RHP Simon Mercedes (2-5, 3.76)

ONE BAD INNING: The Frederick Keys scored the first three runs of the ballgame on Tuesday night, but the Salem Red Sox scored the final four, as the home team used a big seventh inning to secure a 6-4 win at LewisGale Field. It was Frederick’s second straight defeat, and pushed the team to eight games below .500. With 12 games left to play in the first-half, the Keys find themselves 5.5 games out of first place. Down 4-2 to begin the bottom of the seventh, Salem got its leadoff man, Matty Johnson, aboard to open the inning. He moved to second on a wild pitch by Matt Hauser and scored on an error in leftfield by Brenden Webb. Ryan Dent and Carson Blair each coaxed walks out of Hauser before a two-run double by Aneury Tavarez put the Red Sox on top to stay.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Frederick has struggled mightily in series openers this year. In 2014, the orange and black are just 4-13 in the first game of a series, while the Keys have lost 11 of their last 12 series openers. Frederick departed from this trend during its recent homestand, when the orange and black crushed Wilmington 8-1, and tallied 15 hits. Although openers have been problematic, the Keys have often fared well in the middle game, capturing game two in five of the last seven sets they have played.

STARTING STREAK SNAPPED: Frederick’s string of quality starts came to an end last night. After the rotation posted five straight quality starts, Brady Wager failed to make it through five innings on Tuesday night. Over 4.2 innings the righty gave up two runs on four hits, he walked five and struck out four. A streak which started last Thursday at Lynchburg,Wager got the ball rolling with six innings of two-run baseball. Parker Bridwell and Joe Van Meter followed with seven frames of one-run and two-run baseball respectively, while Mark Blackmar allowed just one run over six innings on Sunday. On Monday, Branden Kline closed out the streak, by giving up one run over 6.2 innings. One of the team’s strengths in the month of May, Frederick’s starting rotation posted a 3.58 over 30 games.

HEY NOW YOU’RE AN ALL-STAR: On Wednesday afternoon, it was announced that Glynn Davis and Matt Taylor had been named to the Carolina League All-Star team. It marks the first time in their professional careers that the duo had been named to an all-star team. On Tuesday, June 17, the Carolina League All Stars will play the California League All-Stars in the two leagues annual clash. The No. 29 prospect in the Orioles system according to Baseball America, Davis enters Wednesday’s action with the fourth-best batting average in the Carolina League (.313). He ranks second in hits (65), runs scored (46) and is third in doubles (16). The Baltimore native also paces the Keys with 19 multi-hit games. Although Taylor was named to the All-Star squad, he will not play in the game due to injury. Still, the Georgian has impressed this season, going 5-1 with a 1.94 ERA in eight games. He is second in the league in ERA and is tied for second in wins. This year’s Carolina League All-Star team will be managed by Blue Rocks skipper Darryl Kennedy, while Wilmington’s Steve Luebber will serve as pitching coach.

WELCOME BACK MIKE!: Michael Burgess returned to the Keys lineup on Tuesday night after being transferred from Aberdeen earlier in the day. Playing in his first game with the Keys since June 3, the Tampa native went 1-for-4 with a double, an RBI and two strikeouts. The team leader with 34 RBIs, Burgess is also tied for fifth in the Carolina League. Formerly a first round pick by Washington in 2007, Burgess is batting .280 over 43 games with the orange and black this season, his first with the Orioles organization. Tough to get out in the month of May, Burgess hit .289 over 21 games to go along with a home run, seven doubles, a triple and 19 RBIs.

HOIST THE HARDWARE:On Monday, Adrian Marin was named the Carolina League’s “Player of the Week” for May 26-June 2. It is the first time the Miami native has earned a player of the week honor in his pro career, while he becomes the second member of the Keys to receive a weekly award in 2014. In mid-May, Parker Bridwell was named the Carolina League “Pitcher of the Week” after throwing a near no-hitter against Potomac. Owner of three mutli-RBI games in last six contests, Marin led all of Advanced-A in runs batted in last week, posted the second-most among Orioles farmhands (Delmarva’s Trey Mancini recorded 12), while his 11 RBIs were tied for the sixth-most in all of minor league baseball. Mark Minicozzi of Triple-A Fresno and Brad Snyder of Triple-A Round Rock also finished with 11, while Frank Schwindel of Low-A Lexington paced all the minors with 16. Thanks to the 11 RBIs output, Marin has more than doubled his season output. Over his past six games, he is batting .429 (9-for-21) while eight of his nine hits have gone for extra-bases (seven doubles and one homer).

FREDERICK V SALEM 2013: The Keys posted an 11-9 record against the Red Sox last season. One of only two head-to-head series Frederick won all season (the Keys went 12-8 against Carolina), Salem was also one of only two clubs that the orange and black swept in 2013. The two teams split the 20 game season-series in 2012, while the Keys manhandled the Sox in 2011, going 15-5. Despite being June 3, Tuesday goes down as the first time that the Keys and the Red Sox have met all year. The last head-to-head battle took place last August 30, when Salem took three of four at LewisGale Field.

NAME THAT PUJOLS!: Luis Pujols becomes the 20th manager in Keys history, after spending 2013 as the skipper at Low-A Delmarva. He takes the reins from Ryan Minor, who went 61-78 in his lone season as Frederick’s head man. The cousin of Angels star, Albert Pujols, the 58-year-old has considerable experience as a player, manager and coach in the majors and minors. Since spending nine years as a big league catcher with Houston, Kansas City and Texas, Pujols has worked as a bench/first base coach for Montreal (1993-00) and San Francisco (2003-06), while he served as interim manager for the Detroit Tigers in 2002, after Phil Garner was fired six games into the season. He has also managed for Double-A affiliates in the Detroit and Houston systems.

PROSPECTING: This year’s Keys team does not lack for talent. Frederick’s Opening Day roster features five of Baltimore’s Top 30 prospects according to Baseball America. Shortstop Adrian Marin (12) highlights the list and is joined by right-handed pitchers Parker Bridwell (19), Branden Kline (20) and Mychal Givens (23). Glynn Davis (29) rounds out the group. Of the five players, only Givens (one game in 2010) and Davis played at the Advanced-A level prior to 2014.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER:Right-hander Simon Mercedes makes his 11th appearance of the season his sixth start and his first appearance against the Keys. Rated the No. 24 prospect in the Red Sox system according to Baseball America, Mercedes was tagged with the loss in his most recent start at Myrtle Beach. Facing the Pelicans last Wednesday, the right-hander allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits over six frames. He walked two and struck out four, while it was his second straight quality start. A pitcher that has been tough to hit at times, Mercedes is holding opponents to a .228 batting average, and lefties are batting just .173 against him. He also averages nearly a strikeout per nine innings (40.2 IP/39 SO). Mercedes opened the year as a piggyback starter, before moving into the rotation on May 12 at Wilmington. Dominant in that outing, the righty allowed only one earned run in five innings and struck out a season-high seven. Like last night’s starter Corey Littrell, Mercedes jumps to Advanced-A from Short-Season Lowell. In 13 games with the Spinners last season (three starts), the Dominican went 2-2 with a 3.13 ERA. There he was also used as a piggyback starter, and led the club in innings pitched (63) and strikeouts (57). Signed by the Red Sox for a reported $800,000 bonus in March 2012, the 22-year-old had agreed to a $400,000 deal with the Giants in 2011, but a background investigation by Major League Baseball showed inconsistencies with Mercedes documentation. The deal was voided, and MLB declared Mercedes ineligible for one year. A pitcher that can reach the high 90s with his fastball, the righty throws a fastball, a curveball and a changeup.

Game Notes 6-3-14

Good Evening Keys Fans!

Hope you are all enjoying your day. It may be hard to believe, but for the FIRST TIME ALL SEASON the Keys will play the Salem Red Sox. First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m, from LewisGale Field, as Frederick gets its first crack at the defending Carolina League champs. Salem has struggled mightily of late, dropping six games in a row. On the other hand, the Keys are coming off a successful homestand, where the club took 3 of 4 against Wilmington.

In addition to the Keys getting a couple of big wins, it was also a fun weekend at the ballpark. Saturday’s crowd of 9,517 was the largest to see a Keys game all year, while Sunday’s Candy Drop was a huge hit! Here is a link to a story done by the Washington Post on the event. We’ve got plenty of great promotions on the horizon including a Military Card Set giveaway as well as World Cup Night, but we’ll be detailing those in the next couple of days.

Doug Raftery has got the radio call of tonight’s game on 1450 AM The Source. Be sure to join him at 6:45 for the pregame show. First pitch comes your way at 7:05 p.m.

I’ve attached some game notes below. Enjoy the game and shake your keys!

Geoff

 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014 · Game #56 · Road Game #30

Frederick Keys (24-31) vs Salem Red Sox (27-29)

RHP Brady Wager (2-4, 5.80) vs. LHP Corey Littrell (3-3, 4.03)

ONE GAME SHORT: Despite getting great pitching from Branden Kline, the Frederick Keys could not figure out Wilmington’s Glenn Sparkman or Daniel Stumpf, as the Blue Rocks shutout the orange and black 3-0 on Monday night at Harry Grove Stadium. The loss snapped the Keys three game winning streak, and denied the club its second sweep of the year. Held to only three hits, Frederick did not record a base knock from the fifth inning on, as the duo of Sparkman and Stumpf retired 13 straight Keys to end the game. With 13 games remaining in the first half, Frederick sits 5.5 games out of first.

FIRING BLANKS: Making a bid for their first four-game sweep since May 27-29, 2011, the Keys shutout for the fourth time on Monday. It was the first time the Keys had been blanked in nearly a month. Prior to Monday night’s finale, Frederick had not been shutout since May 5 when the orange and black fell to Potomac 4-0. The Keys also have three shutout wins, including a pair in May. The Keys 3-4 shutout record puts the team near the middle of the pack. Salem owns the top record at 6-2, while Winston-Salem has the worst mark at 2-7, and has been shutout more than any other Carolina League club.

EARLY HIBERNATION: Over their last two games, Frederick has been very quiet offensively from the fifth inning on. Over a nine-inning stretch, the orange and black have been limited to only two hits, while on Monday Frederick was set down 13 in-a-row to end the game. The Keys experienced the same problems last Monday-Wednesday, going a collective 1-for-30 against Wilmington and Lynchburg from the seventh inning through the completion of the game.

ROTATION RULES: Frederick’s run of outstanding starting pitching continued on Monday night. Although he was tagged with his second loss, Branden Kline gave up only one run over 6.2 innings. It was Kline’s sixth quality start of the season (team-high), while it was the fifth straight quality outing by a Keys starting pitcher, the first time the rotation has accomplished that feat all year. Brady Wager got the ball rolling last Thursday afternoon with six innings of two-run baseball, while Parker Bridwell and Joe Van Meter followed with seven frames of one-run and two-run baseball respectively. Keeping the streak alive, Mark Blackmar tossed six innings while giving up only one run on Sunday before Kline’s performance on Monday. One of the team’s strengths in the month of May, Frederick’s starting rotation posted a 3.58 over 30 games.

WHERE’S THE LOVE?: Branden Kline has worked at least 6.2 innings in each of his last three starts and allowed no more than four runs, but has not picked up a win since May 7. Over that stretch, he is 0-1 with a 2.61 ERA (20.2 IP/6ER). Monday was one of Kline’s best home starts all season. Entering the game with a 4.29 ERA at Harry Grove Stadium, the former Governor Thomas Johnson standout posted his first quality start at home since April 24. Although half of Kline’s six starts at the Grove have been quality outings, the right-hander has received two no-decisions and a loss. The first pitcher in the Carolina League to log 70 innings this season, Kline paces the eight-team circuit in innings pitched and is 10th in ERA (3.21).

HOIST THE HARDWARE:On Monday, Adrian Marin was named the Carolina League’s “Player of the Week” for May 26-June 2. It is the first time the Miami native has earned a player of the week honor in his pro career, while he becomes the second member of the Keys to receive a weekly award in 2014. In mid-May, Parker Bridwell was named the Carolina League “Pitcher of the Week” after throwing a near no-hitter against Potomac. Owner of three mutli-RBI games in last six contests, Marin led all of Advanced-A in runs batted in last week, posted the second-most among Orioles farmhands (Delmarva’s Trey Mancini recorded 12), while his 11 RBIs were tied for the sixth-most in all of minor league baseball. Mark Minicozzi of Triple-A Fresno and Brad Snyder of Triple-A Round Rock also finished with 11, while Frank Schwindel of Low-A Lexington paced all the minors with 16. Thanks to the 11 RBIs output, Marin has more than doubled his season output. Over his past six games, he is batting .429 (9-for-21) while eight of his nine hits have gone for extra-bases (seven doubles and one homer).

FREDERICK V SALEM 2013: The Keys posted an 11-9 record against the Red Sox last season. One of only two head-to-head series Frederick won all season (the Keys went 12-8 against Carolina), Salem was also one of only two clubs that the orange and black swept in 2013. The two teams split the 20 game season-series in 2012, while the Keys manhandled the Sox in 2011, going 15-5. Despite being June 3, Tuesday goes down as the first time that the Keys and the Red Sox have met all year. The last head-to-head battle took place last August 30, when Salem took three of four at LewisGale Field.

NAME THAT PUJOLS!: Luis Pujols becomes the 20th manager in Keys history, after spending 2013 as the skipper at Low-A Delmarva. He takes the reins from Ryan Minor, who went 61-78 in his lone season as Frederick’s head man. The cousin of Angels star, Albert Pujols, the 58-year-old has considerable experience as a player, manager and coach in the majors and minors. Since spending nine years as a big league catcher with Houston, Kansas City and Texas, Pujols has worked as a bench/first base coach for Montreal (1993-00) and San Francisco (2003-06), while he served as interim manager for the Detroit Tigers in 2002, after Phil Garner was fired six games into the season. He has also managed for Double-A affiliates in the Detroit and Houston systems.

PROSPECTING: This year’s Keys team does not lack for talent. Frederick’s Opening Day roster features five of Baltimore’s Top 30 prospects according to Baseball America. Shortstop Adrian Marin (12) highlights the list and is joined by right-handed pitchers Parker Bridwell (19), Branden Kline (20) and Mychal Givens (23). Glynn Davis (29) rounds out the group. Of the five players, only Givens (one game in 2010) and Davis played at the Advanced-A level prior to 2014.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER:Left-hander Corey Littrell makes his 10th start of the year and his first against Frederick. The Kentucky native comes off the worst start of his professional career, where he allowed a career-high eight runs over 3.1 innings at Myrtle Beach last Tuesday. He tied his career-high with seven hits allowed, walked three and struck out five. That jolted his ERA from 2.61 to 4.03, the highest it has been all season. Normally a reliable member of the Red Sox rotation, Littrell has tallied four quality starts this season, while he is holding opponents to a .248 batting average against. In his first season at Advanced-A, the lefty made the jump to Salem from Short-Season Lowell. With the Spinners, Littrell went 0-3 with a 1.74 ERA over 12 games (10 starts). He gave up only six earned runs in 31 innings and held opponents to a .237 batting average. In eight of his 12 appearances with Lowell, Littrell did not allow a run. Selected in the fifth round of the 2013 draft out of the University of Kentucky, the 22-year-old signed for a reported $300,000, $40,500 below the recommended slot bonus. In three seasons with the Wildcats, he went 21-13, while his best season at UK came in 2012, when he was 9-2 with a 2.74 ERA. That summer, Littrell pitched for Harwich in the Cape Cod League and raised eyebrows by striking out 52 in 39 frames. A four-pitch pitcher, the lefty throws an upper-80s to low-90s fastball, a curveball, a cutter, and a changeup. A pitcher with a good pedigree, Littrell’s father Jack pitched four season in the minors, while his grandfather Jack Sr., appeared in 111 major league games with Philadelphia, Kansas City and Chicago in the 1950s.

 

 

Game Notes 6-2-14

Happy Monday Keys fans!

Now two days into June, the weather isn’t all that’s heating up in Frederick; your Keys have won three straight and will take to Harry Grove Stadium tonight to vie for their first four-game home winnings streak since May of 2011. Tonight marks the end of their series against the Wilmington Blue Rocks in which the Keys have showcased lights-out pitching on way to their three consecutive victories. Mark Blackmar was on the mound last night, pitching six innings and allowing only one run, lead the Frederick victory. Branden Kline takes the mound tonight looking to keep the streak alive. Read more about the Keys pitching in the game notes below.

The recent Keys success can’t all be attributed to pitching; shortstop Adrian Marin won the Carolina League “Player of the Week” award this past week. Marin has posted three multi-RBI performances in his last six contests. He is the second Frederick player to win a weekly award this season.

Below are some of the game notes for tonight’s game.

Hope to see plenty of you out at the Grove tonight!

Monday, June 2, 2014 · Game #55 · Home Game #26

Frederick Keys (24-30) vs Wilmington Blue Rocks (27-28)

RHP Branden Kline (3-1, 3.41) vs. RHP Glenn Sparkman (2-1, 1.67)

DON’T STOP NOW BOYS!: The Frederick Keys used one big inning, as well as excellent starting pitching from Mark Blackmar to claim a 4-1 victory on Sunday afternoon at Harry Grove Stadium. It was the Keys third straight triumph, and secured a series victory for the orange and black. After leaving five stranded through the first three frames, Frederick got to Wilmington lefty Sean Manaea with two outs in the fourth. After Creede Simpson doubled to lead-off the inning, Sam Kimmel drove him home with a soft single to right. Sammie Starr was then hit by a pitch, to send up Brenden Webb, who singled home Kimmel. Tucker Nathans completed the scoring with the fourth base knock of the inning. On the mound, Blackmar put together his best start of the season, tossing six innings of one-run baseball.

LET’S GO STREAKING!: Winners of their last three games, the Keys are on their second-longest winning streak of the year. From April 16-18, Frederick took four straight against Winston-Salem and Carolina, while Sunday marked the first time since April 5-7, 2013 that the orange and black had won three straight home games. On Monday, the Keys play for their second sweep of the season and their first four-game brooming of another club since May 27-29, 2011 when Frederick claimed four straight against Salem. Frederick’s last four-game sweep at home came two weeks before that, when Orlando Gomez’s club claimed four straight against Wilmington.

ROTATION RULES: Frederick’s run of outstanding starting pitching continued on Sunday afternoon. This time it was Mark Blackmar’s turn.  Making his fourth start of the season, the Texas native put forth his best effort of the year. Working six innings, the righty gave up only one run on six hits, struck out four and did not walk a batter. It was Blackmar’s longest start since June 23, 2013, when he was pitching for Low-A Delmarva.  Frederick pitchers have now put together four straight quality outings, the most in succession by the rotation this year. Brady Wager got the ball rolling on Thursday afternoon with six innings of two-run baseball, while Parker Bridwell and Joe Van Meter followed with seven frames of one-run and two-run baseball respectively. Branden Kline tries to make it five straight on Monday night, and is the club leader in quality starts (five).

ONE GAME AWAY: Zane Chavez saw his 10-game hitting streak conclude on Sunday afternoon, after going 0-for-4 with a strikeout. Coming up one game short of his career-high 11-gamer last season, the Californian hit .405 (15-for-37) with three doubles, four RBIs, and five runs scored during the swing which ran from May 6-31. The length of the streak can be attributed to Chavez’s promotion to Double-A Bowie on May 8. He returned to the club on May 22. This season, only Jason Esposito (12) and Glynn Davis (11) have put together longer streaks.

HOIST THE HARDWARE: Adrian Marin was named the Carolina League’s “Player of the Week” for the period from May 26-June 2. It is the first time the Miami native has earned a player of the week honor in his pro career, while he becomes the second member of the Keys to receive a weekly award in 2014. In mid-May, Parker Bridwell was named the Carolina League “Pitcher of the Week” after throwing a near no-hitter against Potomac. Owner of three mutli-RBI games in last six contests, Marin led all of Advanced-A in runs batted in last week, posted the second-most among Orioles farmhands (Delmarva’s Trey Mancini recorded 12), while his 11 RBIs were tied for the sixth-most in all of minor league baseball. Mark Minicozzi of Triple-A Fresno and Brad Snyder of Triple-A Round Rock also finished with 11, while Frank Schwindel of Low-A Lexington paced all the minors with 16. Thanks to the 11 RBIs output, Marin has more than doubled his season output. Over his past six games, he is batting .429 (9-for-21) while eight of his nine hits have gone for extra-bases (seven doubles and one homer).

NOT THE BAND: Creede Simpson posted his fourth three-hit effort of the year on Sunday, going 3-for-3 with two doubles, two runs scored and a stolen base. He reached in all four of his plate appearances, as he was also hit by a pitch in the bottom of the seventh. The former Auburn Tiger has now hit safely in his last three games, while he is batting .545 over the homestand (6-for-11) with two doubles, two RBIs and four runs scored. A player who has enjoyed the friendly confines of Harry Grove Stadium, Simpson is hitting .329 in 20 games at home, compared to batting just .143 on the road.

NAME THAT PUJOLS!: Luis Pujols becomes the 20th manager in Keys history, after spending 2013 as the skipper at Low-A Delmarva. He takes the reins from Ryan Minor, who went 61-78 in his lone season as Frederick’s head man. The cousin of Angels star, Albert Pujols, the 58-year-old has considerable experience as a player, manager and coach in the majors and minors. Since spending nine years as a big league catcher with Houston, Kansas City and Texas, Pujols has worked as a bench/first base coach for Montreal (1993-00) and San Francisco (2003-06), while he served as interim manager for the Detroit Tigers in 2002, after Phil Garner was fired six games into the season. He has also managed for Double-A affiliates in the Detroit and Houston systems.

PROSPECTING: This year’s Keys team does not lack for talent. Frederick’s Opening Day roster features five of Baltimore’s Top 30 prospects according to Baseball America. Shortstop Adrian Marin (12) highlights the list and is joined by right-handed pitchers Parker Bridwell (19), Branden Kline (20) and Mychal Givens (23). Glynn Davis (29) rounds out the group. Of the five players, only Givens (one game in 2010) and Davis played at the Advanced-A level prior to 2014.

 TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER:Right-hander Glenn Sparkman makes his 14th appearance of the season and his third start. After posting a 2.28 ERA in 11 games as a reliever, the right-hander the first start of his professional career on May 21 against Carolina. Pitching in the second game of a doubleheader, the righty tossed 3.2 scoreless innings, scattered three hits and struck out six. After the game, Blue Rocks manager Darryl Kennedy announced that he would be keeping Sparkman in the rotation while also turning to him in piggyback situations. The Ganado, TX native still has not allowed a run as a starter after tossing a season-high five frames at Carolina on May 27. During that time he did not allow a run, gave up three hits and struck out four. Selected by the Royals in the 20th round of the 2013 draft out of Wharton County Junior College, Sparkman spent all of last season at Rookie-Idaho Falls. In 20 relief appearances, he was 1-0 with a pair of saves and a 1.72 ERA. In 36.2 frames, he surrendered only 25 hits, walked 10 and struck out 47, while he held opponents to a .194 batting average. A standout pitcher for three seasons at Wharton County Junior College, Sparkman went 5-5 with a 2.80 in his final season to go along with 63 strikeouts on 83.2 frames. Besides earning a degree in Agriculture, Sparkman saw his velocity tick up during his time playing at the Texas JUCO level. Described by pitching coach Stephen Flora as “a little chubby and a little soft” when he arrived, the righty saw his velocity jump from the mid-80s to the low-90s thanks to a refined workout regimen and throwing program. To convince the Royals to draft him, Sparkman and his mom drove from their home in Ganado to Kanas City (roughly 12:30 hours) to throw a bullpen session. Sparkman throws a fastball, a slider and a changeup.

Keys Game Notes 6-1-14

Happy June Keys Fans!

It’s hard to believe we are there already! On Sunday, Frederick will play for a series victory over the Blue Rocks. Last night the team won 5-4, as the team was eventually able to crack Luis Santos who threw 5.1 no-hit innings.

Sunday should be a ton of fun, with a meet the team event beforehand as well as a postgame candy drop afterwards! It is also Macy’s American Family Day, so come on out and take in some baseball!

Some game notes are below. Talk soon and shake your keys!

Geoff

                                       Sunday, June 1, 2014 · Game #54 · Home Game #25

                                 Frederick Keys (23-30) vs Wilmington Blue Rocks (27-27)

                                RHP Mark Blackmar (2-1, 4.97) vs. LHP Sean Manaea (2-3, 4.91)

IT’S CALLED A WINNING STREAK: No-hit through 5.1 innings by Wilmington righty Luis Santos, Frederick turned the tables in the sixth. With one out and the Keys down 2-0, Jerome Pena broke up the no-hit bid with an infield single, before Glynn Davis roped a double to right placing runners at second and third. Brenden Webb brought Pena home on a fielder’s choice, while a passed ball tied the game. In the seventh, Adrian Marin put the orange and black on top for good with a solo homer. Frederick added two more tallies in the eighth, but the Blue Rocks used an RBI double by Cam Gallagher and an RBI single by Daniel Rockett to make it a one-run game. Staying calm, Matt Hobgood got Raul Mondesi to pop up to shortstop to close out Frederick’s 5-4 win. It was the first time the Keys had won back-to-back games in two weeks. The team has not claimed three in a row since April 16-18, when the team took four straight at Winston-Salem and Carolina (Frederick’s longest winning streak of the year).

NO-HIT NOTES: In 2014, the Keys have been no-hit through five innings on three occasions. Carolina’s Dylan Baker was the first to accomplish the feat, firing six perfect innings on April 8 (opening night at Harry Grove Stadium). Baker exited after six stanzas due to pitch count, while Glynn Davis broke up the no-no in the seventh with a triple to the right-center gap. Myrtle Beach’s Chi Chi Gonzalez also posted six no-hit innings against the Keys on May 20, before Michael Burgess broke things up with a seventh inning single. Saturday’s win marks the first time all year where the orange and black have been held hitless through at least five frames, but still managed to win. On April 8, the Mudcats won 7-0, while the Pelicans claimed a 3-1 victory on May 20.

METER READER: Joe Van Meter tossed a career-high seven innings on Saturday night to earn back-to-back wins first time in his professional career. Over seven stanzas, the right-hander allowed two runs on four hits, he walked three and struck out four. Both of Van Meter’s victories have come against the Blue Rocks this year, while he has put together back-to-back quality starts against Wilmington. Pitching on Memorial Day at Frawley Stadium, the Virginian gave up only one run on six hits. Signed by the Orioles as a free agent in March, Van Meter is 2-0 with a 3.04 ERA in his first five games. Brutal against both lefties and righties, he is holding opponents to a .196 batting average.

ROTATION RULES: Frederick used several outstanding performances from its starters to close out May strong. The night before Joe Van Meter tossed seven innings of two-run baseball, Parker Bridwell went seven stanzas and allowed only one run. Brady Wager also kept the Keys close on Thursday afternoon at Lynchburg, going six innings and allowing only two runs (one earned). Thanks to Van Meter’s effort on Saturday, it marked the first time all season that Frederick had received three straight quality starts. Meanwhile, Frederick’s starter has gone six innings or more in four straight games (with three of the outings lasting seven innings). In the month of May, the Keys rotation tallied a 3.58 ERA.

LIKE A ROCK: Zane Chavez extended his hitting streak to a season-high 10 games on Saturday, thanks to a 1-for-4 effort. During his 10 game jaunt, the Californian is batting .405 (15-for-37) with three doubles, four RBIs, and five runs scored. Chavez’s streak extends back to May 6, as the catcher was promoted to Double-A Bowie on May 8 and later returned to the club on May 22. The longest streak of Chavez’s affiliated career came last August 14-26, when he hit in 11 straight with the Keys.

ADRIAN!: Adrian Marin has been on a tear of late. On Saturday, he gave the Keys the lead for good with a solo homer to rightfield off Wilmington reliever Kyle Bartsch. That performance comes on the heels of a monster Friday, where he drove in a career-high four runs, going 3-for-4. Over his last 10 contests, Marin is batting .378 (14-for-37) with a home run, seven doubles, 11 RBIs and four runs scored. That includes multiple hits in five of those games. During that stretch, he has moved his batting average from .221 to .256, the second-highest it has been all season.

NORTHERN EXPOSURE: Despite posting wins in back-to-back games against the Blue Rocks, Frederick has not fared well against their closest geographic rivals this season. The Keys are a combined 9-14 against Wilmington, Potomac and Lynchburg this season, while the orange black are even or below .500 against all three clubs. The team’s recent roadtrip did not help matters. Over a seven game swing, the Keys lost six of the seven contests they played. That includes being swept in a three-game series against Lynchburg. This season, the Keys are 3-3 against Wilmington. The Blue Rocks took last year’s season-set, winning 12 of the 20 games played between the two teams.

NAME THAT PUJOLS!: Luis Pujols becomes the 20th manager in Keys history, after spending 2013 as the skipper at Low-A Delmarva. He takes the reins from Ryan Minor, who went 61-78 in his lone season as Frederick’s head man. The cousin of Angels star, Albert Pujols, the 58-year-old has considerable experience as a player, manager and coach in the majors and minors. Since spending nine years as a big league catcher with Houston, Kansas City and Texas, Pujols has worked as a bench/first base coach for Montreal (1993-00) and San Francisco (2003-06), while he served as interim manager for the Detroit Tigers in 2002, after Phil Garner was fired six games into the season. He has also managed for Double-A affiliates in the Detroit and Houston systems.

PROSPECTING: This year’s Keys team does not lack for talent. Frederick’s Opening Day roster features five of Baltimore’s Top 30 prospects according to Baseball America. Shortstop Adrian Marin (12) highlights the list and is joined by right-handed pitchers Parker Bridwell (19), Branden Kline (20) and Mychal Givens (23). Glynn Davis (29) rounds out the group. Of the five players, only Givens (one game in 2010) and Davis played at the Advanced-A level prior to 2014.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER:Left-hander Sean Manaea makes his 10 start of the season and his second against Frederick. He is the No. 6 prospect in the Royals system according to Baseball America, and is the top Royals left-handed pitching prospect. Manaea is one of three top 10 prospects in Kansas City system to make a start against the Keys this series, with righties Miguel Almonte (No. 5) and Christian Binford (No. 10) pitching a combined three times against the orange and black. Manaea’s most recent start came on Monday against the Keys at Frawley Stadium. Over five innings, the right-hander allowed six runs on seven hits while walking one and striking out five. Despite giving up six runs, only one was earned on account of a third inning error by Hunter Dozier. A pitcher who has been hittable thus far, Manaea has allowed 47 hits in 36.2 innings, while opponents are batting .305 against him. After a challenging April where he posted a 6.46 ERA, Manaea was better in May, recording a 3.80 ERA in five May starts. 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.

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