Frederick Keys Game Notes 8-25-14

Monday, August 25, 2014 · Game #128 · Road Games #70

Frederick Keys (59-68/27-33) vs Potomac Nationals (72-54/34-23)

RHP Parker Bridwell (5-10, 4.79) vs. RHP Brian Rauh (2-2, 4.00)

SPLITSVILLE: The Frederick Keys split a Sunday doubleheader with Potomac at Pfitzner Stadium, claiming the front end 4-3, before falling 12-1 in the nightcap. In game one, Mark Blackmar was superb, tossing a seven-inning complete game. He gave up just three runs en route to his third straight win, while he was helped out by a three-run Keys second, highlighted by a two-run homer from Brenden Webb. Things did not go as smoothly in game two, as the Keys were no-hit until the seventh inning by Nationals righty Ian Dickson. Chih-Hsien Chiang broke up the no-no and the shutout by homering off Jake Walsh in the seventh, but that was the only offense the Keys would muster. Potomac scored runs in five of its six innings, while Keys pitchers walked 10 and threw six wild pitches.

BLACKMAR STRIKES AGAIN: Mark Blackmar tossed the first complete game of his career on Sunday, and the third by a Keys starting pitcher this season. Over seven innings, Blackmar scattered three runs on four hits, while he struck out a career-high seven, two more than he had ever punched out in a professional game. Winner of nine games, Blackmar paces Frederick in victories and is fourth in the Carolina League in that department. Meanwhile, he is fifth in ERA (3.06). In his three prior pro seasons, the Texan had won 11 games combined.

CHIANG TO THE RESUCE: Chih-Hsien Chiang bailed the Keys out in game two of the doubleheader, with a solo homer on the first pitch of the seventh inning. Playing for the first time in eight days, the Taiwan native finished a combined 2-for-4 with a homer, a double, an RBI. a run scored and two walks over both ends of yesterday’s twinbill. That pushed his hitting streak to eight games (it started on August 9). During that time, he is batting .296 (8-for-27) with a homer, a double, an RBI and a run scored. In each game he has recorded just one hit, but has seen his average jump by 36 points (.175 to .211).

WALK THIS WAY: In the second game of the doubleheader, Keys pitchers threw six wild pitches and walked 10 Potomac batters.  Nearly half of that total came in the third inning, when the duo of Dennis Torres and Jimmy Yacabonis combined on four free passes. It was the second time this week that Frederick arms had walked 10 in a ballgame, after the club gave out 10 free rides to Carolina last Tuesday. Frederick’s season-high for walks is 11 (that occurred on April 23 against Myrtle Beach), while the Keys have walked 463 for the year, second-most in the Carolina League.

BRAULT NAMED PITCHER OF THE WEEK: On Monday afternoon, Steven Brault was named the Carolina League “Pitcher of the Week” for August 18-24. He becomes the fifth Keys player to take home a weekly honor this year, and the second pitcher to receive the award. Parker Bridwell (May 12-19) was the last pitcher to earn pitcher of the week honors, while Michael Burgess, Mike Yastrzemski and Adrian Marin were all named “Players of the Week.” It is the first weekly award of Brault’s professional career. Promoted from Low-A Delmarva on Thursday, Brault dazzled in his Advanced-A debut that same night, tossing six innings of shutout, one-hit baseball. Rated the No. 14 prospect in the Baltimore system according to Baseball America, Brault leads all Orioles farmhands in ERA (2.91) and is tied for second in wins (10).

POWER SURGE: Over their last 10 games, the Keys have hit 11 home runs, after Brenden Webb and Chih-Hsien Chiang each finished with longballs during the doubleheader. This season, the team has hit 83, a mark which ranks second in the Carolina League (only Myrtle Beach at 102 has more) but is still well short of last year’s total (109). Since 2011, Frederick has hit 99 home runs or more in a season. Of the 11 deep flies, six have come with men on base.

LEATHER TROUBLES: On Friday, the Keys committed four errors, tying a season-high. Previously, the team had made four errors on only one occasion this season. Coming off an overnight bus trip from Myrtle Beach, the orange and black made four defensive miscues en route to an 11-1 loss (including three in the first inning). A team that is well-regarded for its defense, Frederick has made 13 errors in its last 12 games, and has made at least one miscue in nine of the 11 contests. Currently, the team is tied with Wilmington for the CL lead in fielding percentage (.978), while the Keys have made the second-fewest errors (107).

MORE NEW FACES: Gene Escat was officially promoted to Double-A Bowie on Friday, becoming the second member of the orange and black to move up to the Eastern League in the last three days. On Wednesday, Branden Kline got called up, and made his debut against the Reading Phillies. Including Kline and Escat, nine Keys have been promoted to Double-A this year (Michael Burgess, Glynn Davis, Mychal Givens, Mike Yastrzemski, Zane Chavez, Sammie Starr and Ashur Tolliver were the others). In 31 games with Frederick, Escat went 2-5 with one save and a 3.49 ERA. Taking Escat’s place on the roster is Dylan Rheault, who moves up from Low-A Delmarva. In 34 games, the 6-9 right-hander went 8-4 with three saves and a 2.82 ERA. At the time of his promotion, he had not allowed any earned runs in August (10 IP).

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

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Right-hander Brian Rauh makes his 16th appearance of the year as well as his 11th start. His last outing came on August 14. Tossing a season-high 6.1 innings, the righty gave up two unearned runs on four hits. He struck out a season-high seven and did not walk a batter but was hit with his second loss. Owner of back-to-back quality starts, Rauh has given up just two unearned runs in his last 12.1 inning and scattered seven hits. Over 10 second-half games (six starts) he is 1-1 with a 3.74 ERA, after missing a sizable chunk of the first-half. After making five appearances in April, he was on the disabled list from May 2-June 21 on account of shoulder tendinitis. In 15 games this year, opponents are batting .250 against Rauh, who has fared better as a reliever (2.08 ERA) than as a starter (4.65 ERA). He has not faced the Keys this year, after his scheduled start against Frederick on April 14 was postponed due to rain. Rauh split 2013 between Low-A Hagerstown, Double-A Harrisburg and Potomac. In 31 games (12 starts) he went 7-4 with a 4.50 ERA over 106 frames. He went 4-2 with a 4.22 mark over 16 games with the Nationals. Selected by Washington in the 11th round of the 2012 Draft out of Chapman University, Rauh dominated Division III competition in his three years at the school, going 30-1 with a 1.78 ERA. A pitcher who refined his mechanics and increased his lower body strength once he got to college, Rauh went from throwing 83-84 mph in high school to touching 90 mph by the end of his freshman year at Chapman. His 2010 season was outstanding, as he went 11-0 with 100 strikeouts in 83.1 innings pitched, en route to being named the NCAA Division III Pitcher of the Year. In 2011, he set the school’s all-time single-season strikeout record (133). Not the only member of his family to advance to the professional ranks, Brian’s brother. Jeff, currently plays for the St. Louis Cardinal organization.  He throws a fastball (low-90s), a curveball, a slider and a change.

 

Frederick Keys Game Notes 8-24-14

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

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

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

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

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

TOUGH DAY WITH THE LEATHER: On Friday, the Keys committed four errors, tying a season-high. Previously, the team had made four errors on only one occasion this season. Coming off an overnight bus trip from Myrtle Beach, the orange and black made four defensive miscues en route to an 11-1 loss (including three in the first inning). A team that is well-regarded for its defense, Frederick has made 12 errors in its last 10 games, and has made at least one miscue in eight of the 10 contests. Currently, the team is tied with Wilmington for the CL lead in fielding percentage (.977), while the Keys have made the second-fewest errors (107).

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

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

MORE NEW FACES: Gene Escat was officially promoted to Double-A Bowie on Friday, becoming the second member of the orange and black to move up to the Eastern League in the last three days. On Wednesday, Branden Kline got called up, and made his debut against the Reading Phillies. Including Kline and Escat, nine Keys have been promoted to Double-A this year (Michael Burgess, Glynn Davis, Mychal Givens, Mike Yastrzemski, Zane Chavez, Sammie Starr and Ashur Tolliver were the others). In 31 games with Frederick, Escat went 2-5 with one save and a 3.49 ERA. Taking Escat’s place on the roster is Dylan Rheault, who moves up from Low-A Delmarva. In 34 games, the 6-9 right-hander went 8-4 with three saves and a 2.82 ERA. At the time of his promotion, he had not allowed any earned runs in August (10 IP).

NOT A BAD FIRST IMPRESSION: Steven Brault excelled in his Advanced-A debut, tossing six shutout innings. The only hit he allowed was a single to James Roberts, while he was highly efficient, tossing just 74 pitches (48 strikes over the course of his outing). Going back to his final two starts with Low-A Delmarva, Brault has won three in-a-row, and has allowed just one run over his last 19 innings (0.47) on nine hits. Taking the rotation spot of Branden Kline (who was promoted to Double-A Bowie on Wednesday), Brault has been one the organization’s elite pitchers in 2014. Entering Saturday, Brault paces all full-season O’s farmhands in ERA (2.91) and is tied for second in wins (10).

POWER SURGE: Over their last eight games, the Keys have hit nine home runs. After Wynston Sawyer’s fourth home run in the ninth inning on Friday, the club’s total is up to 81. That mark ranks second in the Carolina League (only Myrtle Beach at 102 has more) but is still well short of last year’s total (109). Since 2011, Frederick has hit 99 home runs or more in a season. Of the nine deep flies, two have come from Trey Mancini and Tucker Nathans. Mancini homered last Friday and Saturday, while Nathans went long last Saturday and Sunday. Making these home runs more destructive is that five of them have come with men on base.

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

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

 

Frederick Keys Game Notes 8-23-14

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

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

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

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

TOUGH DAY WITH THE LEATHER: On Friday, the Keys committed four errors, tying a season-high. Previously, the team had made four errors on only one occasion this season. Coming off an overnight bus trip from Myrtle Beach, the orange and black made four defensive miscues en route to an 11-1 loss (including three in the first inning). A team that is well-regarded for its defense, Frederick has made 12 errors in its last 10 games, and has made at least one miscue in eight of the 10 contests. Currently, the team is tied with Wilmington for the CL lead in fielding percentage (.977), while the Keys have made the second-fewest errors (107).

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

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

MORE NEW FACES: Gene Escat was officially promoted to Double-A Bowie on Friday, becoming the second member of the orange and black to move up to the Eastern League in the last three days. On Wednesday, Branden Kline got called up, and made his debut against the Reading Phillies. Including Kline and Escat, nine Keys have been promoted to Double-A this year (Michael Burgess, Glynn Davis, Mychal Givens, Mike Yastrzemski, Zane Chavez, Sammie Starr and Ashur Tolliver were the others). In 31 games with Frederick, Escat went 2-5 with one save and a 3.49 ERA. Taking Escat’s place on the roster is Dylan Rheault, who moves up from Low-A Delmarva. In 34 games, the 6-9 right-hander went 8-4 with three saves and a 2.82 ERA. At the time of his promotion, he had not allowed any earned runs in August (10 IP).

NOT A BAD FIRST IMPRESSION: Steven Brault excelled in his Advanced-A debut, tossing six shutout innings. The only hit he allowed was a single to James Roberts, while he was highly efficient, tossing just 74 pitches (48 strikes over the course of his outing). Going back to his final two starts with Low-A Delmarva, Brault has won three in-a-row, and has allowed just one run over his last 19 innings (0.47) on nine hits. Taking the rotation spot of Branden Kline (who was promoted to Double-A Bowie on Wednesday), Brault has been one the organization’s elite pitchers in 2014. Entering Saturday, Brault paces all full-season O’s farmhands in ERA (2.91) and is tied for second in wins (10).

POWER SURGE: Over their last eight games, the Keys have hit nine home runs. After Wynston Sawyer’s fourth home run in the ninth inning on Friday, the club’s total is up to 81. That mark ranks second in the Carolina League (only Myrtle Beach at 102 has more) but is still well short of last year’s total (109). Since 2011, Frederick has hit 99 home runs or more in a season. Of the nine deep flies, two have come from Trey Mancini and Tucker Nathans. Mancini homered last Friday and Saturday, while Nathans went long last Saturday and Sunday. Making these home runs more destructive is that five of them have come with men on base.

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

BUNDY TO THE DL: Just before last Thursday’s game against Wilmington, Dylan Bundy was placed on the seven-day disabled list with a right latissimus strain. Taking his spot on the roster was Branden Kline, who was received from Short-Season Aberdeen. In six starts with the orange and black, Bundy is 1-2 with a 4.78 ERA. In his last start 10 days ago, the Oklahoma native tossed 4.1 innings of shutout baseball against Carolina and struck out seven.

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

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

Frederick Keys Game Notes 8-22-14

Friday, August 22, 2014 · Game #125 · Road Game #67

Frederick Keys (58-66/26-31) vs Potomac Nationals (70-53/32-22)

RHP Sebastian Vader (2-4, 5.25) vs. LHP Matthew Spann (8-5, 4.43)

LEFTY LOCKDOWN: Southpaws Steven Brault and Lex Rutledge collaborated on a two-hit shutout of the Carolina Mudcats, as the Frederick Keys topped their Southern foe 5-0 on Thursday night at Five County Stadium. The win helped the orange and black avoid a three-game sweep, while a loss by Wilmington moved the Keys within 2.5 games of the Blue Rocks for the CL North wildcard spot. Making his Carolina League debut, Brault dazzled, tossing six shutout innings of one-hit baseball. He faced just one over the minimum through five innings and allowed only two baserunners. Rutledge gave up only one hit over three innings to pick up his third straight save. Frederick recorded single markers in the second in third on a solo homer by Brenden Webb and a double-play ball by Lucas Herbst. In the eighth, the Keys batted around, utilizing a sac-fly by Jason Esposito and four walks to score three additional times.

FIRING BLANKS: Thursday was Frederick’s eighth shutout win of the season and the club’s first in nearly a month. On July 22, the Keys blanked Myrtle Beach 4-0 on the Grand Strand, as Dylan Bundy earned his first win since coming back from Tommy John surgery. In that contest, Frederick used the same formula as it did on Thursday, as Bundy and Matt Hobgood issued only three combined hits. This season, the Keys shutout record (8-11) rates fifth, but the team has been held off the board more than any other club.

NOT A BAD FIRST IMPRESSION: Steven Brault excelled in his Advanced-A debut, tossing six shutout innings. The only hit he allowed was a single to James Roberts, while he was highly efficient, tossing just 74 pitches (48 strikes over the course of his outing). Going back to his final two starts with Low-A Delmarva, Brault has won three in-a-row, and has allowed just one run over his last 19 innings (0.47) on nine hits. Taking the rotation spot of Branden Kline (who was promoted to Double-A Bowie on Wednesday), Brault has been one the organization’s elite pitchers in 2014. Entering Friday, Brault paces all full-season O’s farmhands in ERA (2.91) and is tied for second in wins (10).

TWO-HIT MAGIC: Since the second game of last Wednesday’s doubleheader at Potomac, Keys pitchers have collaborated on three different two-hitters. Two of those have been of the nine-inning variety (both wins) while the back-end of a doubleheader last Tuesday at Frawley Stadium, the staff limited Wilmington to two hits over seven innings (it was a 1-0 Keys loss). The fewest hits allowed by Frederick pitchers in a game this year is one. Occurring on May 13, Parker Bridwell and Jesse Beal limited Potomac to just one knock, as Bridwell carried a no-hitter into the ninth inning.

POWER SURGE: Over their last seven games, the Keys have hit eight home runs. After Brenden Webb’s 10th home run in the second inning on Thursday, the club’s total is up to 80. That mark ranks second in the Carolina League (only Myrtle Beach at 102 has more) but is still well short of last year’s total (109). Since 2011, Frederick has hit 99 home runs or more in a season. Of the eight deep flies, two have come from Trey Mancini and Tucker Nathans. Mancini homered last Friday and Saturday, while Nathans went long last Saturday and Sunday. Making these home runs more destructive is that four of them have come with men on base.

MORE NEW FACES: Gene Escat was officially promoted to Double-A Bowie on Friday, becoming the second member of the orange and black to move up to the Eastern League in the last three days. On Wednesday, Branden Kline got called up, and made his debut against the Reading Phillies. Including Kline and Escat, nine Keys have been promoted to Double-A this year (Michael Burgess, Glynn Davis, Mychal Givens, Mike Yastrzemski, Zane Chavez, Sammie Starr and Ashur Tolliver were the others). In 31 games with Frederick, Escat went 2-5 with one save and a 3.49 ERA. Taking Escat’s place on the roster is Dylan Rheault, who moves up from Low-A Delmarva. In 34 games, the 6-9 right-hander went 8-4 with three saves and a 2.82 ERA. At the time of his promotion, he had not allowed any earned runs in August (10 IP).

GO JOHNNY GO!: Johnny Ruettiger has been in a groove at the plate over the last week. The former Arizona State Sun Devil has hit safely in six of his last seven games. During that time, he is batting .375 (12-for-32) with a home run, a double, six RBIs and four runs scored and has seen his batting average climb 68 points (.155 to .223). In four of the six games, Ruettiger has two hits or more, while on Wednesday, he posted a season-high three hits going 3-for-5, with a run scored and a stolen base.

HO-HUM: Mark Blackmar now leads all active Keys pitchers with eight wins thanks to seven more strong innings in the season finale against Salem. Handing out only two unearned runs, Blackmar cut his ERA from 3.21 to 3.02, the lowest it has been all season. He currently sits fifth in the CL in ERA, and sports the second-lowest mark for a right-hander. Undefeated as a starter, the Texan is 7-0 with a 2.53 ERA as a rotation-hand, while he has a 0.45 ERA in three August starts (20.0 IP/7R/1ER). Currently, he is second among all Orioles full-season farmhands in ERA.

BUNDY TO THE DL: Just before Thursday’s game against Wilmington, Dylan Bundy was placed on the seven-day disabled list with a right latissimus strain. Taking his spot on the roster was Branden Kline, who was received from Short-Season Aberdeen. In six starts with the orange and black, Bundy is 1-2 with a 4.78 ERA. In his last start 10 days ago, the Oklahoma native tossed 4.1 innings of shutout baseball against Carolina and struck out seven.

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

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Left-hander Matthew Spann makes his 20th appearance with the Nationals on Friday as well as his 15th start. His most recent outing came last Friday against Carolina. Working four innings, the southpaw allowed three runs on three hits while he walked three and struck out four in a no-decision. Prior to that contest, Spann had worked six innings in each of his two prior starts. A member of the rotation since late-May, Spann is 4-4 with a 4.85 ERA as a starter and 3-0 with one save to go along with a 2.03 ERA in five games as a relief pitcher. A pitcher who is still getting acclimated to Advanced-A, the lefty posted a 6.04 ERA in June and a 5.68 mark in July. Friday will be his fourth appearance against the Keys and his second start. Against the orange and black, Spann is 1-0 with a 3.38 ERA (10.2 IP/4R). He vultured the win in his lone start against Frederick, giving up four runs on seven hits over five innings. His counterpart in that start was tonight’s Keys starter Sebastian Vader. Spann began the year at Low-A Hagerstown, and recorded a 2-0 record and a 1.20 ERA over 20 relief appearances. In 15 innings, he gave up just two runs and 13 hits, while opponents hit .228 against him. Selected by the Rays in the 25th round of the 2010 MLB Draft out of Columbia Central High School (TN), Spann was acquired by Washington in late-August of 2013 as part of a trade which sent veteran MLB outfielder David DeJesus from Washington to Tampa Bay. Before joining Washington, Spann was 4-3 with a 2.87 ERA over 19 games for Low-A Bowling Green. He spent 2012 with Short-Season Hudson Valley. A native of Columbia, Tennessee, Spann’s hometown is known as the “Mule Capital of the World.” It is roughly one hour south of Nashville.

 

Frederick Keys Game Notes 8-21-14

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

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

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

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

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

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

POWER SURGE: Over their last six games, the Keys have hit seven home runs. After Steel Russell’s first professional home run in the fifth inning on Thursday, the club’s total is up to 79. That mark ranks second in the Carolina League (only Myrtle Beach at 101 has more) but is still well short of last year’s total (109). Since 2011, Frederick has hit 99 home runs or more in a season. Of the seven deep flies, two have come from Trey Mancini and Tucker Nathans. Mancini homered on Friday and Saturday, while Nathans went long on Saturday and hit another blast on Sunday. Making these home runs more destructive is that four of them have come with men on base.

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

GO JOHNNY GO!: Johnny Ruettiger has been in a groove at the plate over the last week. The former Arizona State Sun Devil has hit safely in five of his last six games. During that time, he is batting .407 (11-for-27) with a home run, a double, six RBIs and four runs scored and has seen his batting average climb 69 points (.155 to .224).. In four of the six games, Ruettiger has two hits or more, while on Wednesday, he posted a season-high three hits going 3-for-5, with a run scored and a stolen base.

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

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

HO-HUM: Mark Blackmar now leads all active Keys pitchers with eight wins thanks to seven more strong innings in the season finale against Salem. Handing out only two unearned runs, Blackmar cut his ERA from 3.21 to 3.02, the lowest it has been all season. He currently sits fifth in the CL in ERA, and sports the second-lowest mark for a right-hander. Undefeated as a starter, the Texan is 7-0 with a 2.53 ERA as a rotation-hand, while he has a 0.45 ERA in three August starts (20.0 IP/7R/1ER). Currently, he paces all full-season Orioles farmhands in ERA as well.

BUNDY TO THE DL: Just before Thursday’s game against Wilmington, Dylan Bundy was placed on the seven-day disabled list with a right latissimus strain. Taking his spot on the roster was Branden Kline, who was received from Short-Season Aberdeen. In six starts with the orange and black, Bundy is 1-2 with a 4.78 ERA. In his last start 10 days ago, the Oklahoma native tossed 4.1 innings of shutout baseball against Carolina and struck out seven.

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

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

Frederick Keys Game Notes 8-20-14

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

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

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

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

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

POWER SURGE: Over their last five games, the Keys have hit six home runs. That has moved the club’s yearly total to 78, a mark which ranks second in the Carolina League (only Myrtle Beach at 100 has more) but is still well short of last year’s total (109). Since 2011, Frederick has hit 99 home runs or more in a season. Of the six deep flies, two have come from Trey Mancini and Tucker Nathans. Mancini homered on Friday and Saturday, while Nathans went long on Saturday and hit another blast on Sunday. Making these home runs more destructive is that four of them have come with men on base.

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

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

HO-HUM: Mark Blackmar now leads all active Keys pitchers with eight wins thanks to seven more strong innings in the season finale against Salem. Handing out only two unearned runs, Blackmar cut his ERA from 3.21 to 3.02, the lowest it has been all season. He currently sits sixth in the CL in ERA, and sports the third-lowest mark for a right-hander. Undefeated as a starter, the Texan is 7-0 with a 2.53 ERA as a rotation-hand, while he has a 0.45 ERA in three August starts (20.0 IP/7R/1ER). Currently, he paces all full-season Orioles farmhands in ERA as well.

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

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

BUNDY TO THE DL: Just before Thursday’s game against Wilmington, Dylan Bundy was placed on the seven-day disabled list with a right latissimus strain. Taking his spot on the roster was Branden Kline, who was received from Short-Season Aberdeen. In six starts with the orange and black, Bundy is 1-2 with a 4.78 ERA. In his last start 10 days ago, the Oklahoma native tossed 4.1 innings of shutout baseball against Carolina and struck out seven.

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

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

Frederick Keys Game Notes 8-19-14

Tuesday, August 19, 2014 · Game #122 · Road Game #64

Frederick Keys (57-64/25-29) vs Carolina Mudcats (54-68/25-30)

RHP Parker Bridwell (5-9, 4.51) vs. LHP Ryan Merritt (12-3, 2.55)

BREAK OUT THE BROOMS!: Mark Blackmar tossed seven innings for the second straight start, while the Frederick Keys used two three-run innings to top the Lynchburg Hillcats 7-2 on Sunday afternoon at Harry Grove Stadium. The win gave the orange and black the three-game sweep, and moved the club within 2.5 games of Lynchburg for the CL North wildcard spot. Frederick has now claimed four straight games, going back to Thursday night. Blackmar was superb for the fourth straight Sunday. Scattering five hits, the righty allowed only two unearned runs to pick up his eighth win of the year. Offensively, five of the club’s seven runs came via the homer. Joel Hutter provided the decisive blow in the third, with a three-run shot off Lynchburg lefty Blair Walters. In the eighth, Tucker Nathans added a two-run shot.

SWEEP COMPLETE: On Sunday, the Keys earned their fourth sweep of the season and their second at home. Prior to Sunday, the Keys had earned a three-game sweep at Winston-Salem (April 16-17) and a four-game sweep (July 7-10) and a two-game sweep (June 10-11) of Salem. The only other home sweep was the two-game sweep of the Red Sox (the third game of the set was cancelled due to rain). Thanks to Sunday’s sweep, the team extended its winning streak to four games, tying the club’s second-longest winning streak of the year (the longest streak lasted six games from July 5-10).

POWER SURGE: Over their last four games, the Keys have hit six home runs. That has moved the club’s yearly total to 78, a mark which ranks second in the Carolina League (only Myrtle Beach at 100 has more) but is still well short of last year’s total (109). Since 2011, Frederick has hit 99 home runs or more in a season. Of the six deep flies, two have come from Trey Mancini and Tucker Nathans. Mancini homered on Friday and Saturday, while Nathans went long on Saturday and hit another blast on Sunday. Making these home runs more destructive is that four of them have come with men on base.

HO-HUM: Mark Blackmar pulled into a tie for the team wins lead with Branden Kline (eight) thanks to seven more strong innings in the season finale against Salem. Handing out only two unearned runs, Blackmar cut his ERA from 3.21 to 3.02, the lowest it has been all season. He currently sits sixth in the CL in ERA, and sports the third-lowest mark for a right-hander. Undefeated as a starter, the Texan is 7-0 with a 2.53 ERA as a rotation-hand, while he has a 0.45 ERA in three August starts (20.0 IP/7R/1ER). Currently, he paces all full-season Orioles farmhands in ERA as well.

NATHANS FAMOUS: Tucker Nathans registered his fourth three-hit game of the year on Sunday and his second in four contests. Over that stretch, he is batting .467 (7-for-15) with two homers, a double, four RBIs and two runs scored. In the process, Nathans has seen his average climb from .256 to .267, the third-highest it has been all year, and the farthest north it has been since April 4 (second day of the season) when Nathans was hitting .300. Equally effective from both sides of the plate, he is hitting .267 against lefties and righties, while over 13 games in August, he is hitting .326.

GO JOHNNY GO!: Johnny Ruettiger has been one of the team’s top run producers over the last week. On Thursday and Friday, he tied his career-high with three RBIs, while he has driven in 11 in his first 22 games with the orange and black. Thanks to a three-hit effort in the series opener against the Hillcats he is 6 for his last 18 with a homer, six RBIs and two runs scored, to move his batting average from .155 to .200.

MULTI-HIT MAN: Jerome Pena has tallied multiple hits in three straight games, going 2-for-4 on Friday-Sunday against Lynchburg. The strong homestand at the plate moved his average up 12 points (.246 to .258), while it marks the first time all season that he has registered three straight games of two hits or more. Last season, Pena recorded multiple hits in three straight games on two separate occasions. He has done it six times in his career, while he has recorded multiple hits in four straight games twice. Both instances came when he was playing for the GCL O’s in 2011 (with the last time coming August 17-23 of that year).

SCORELESS STREAK SNAPPED: Wynston Sawyer’s sac-fly in the fourth inning on Thursday ended a string of 20 scoreless innings for the Keys. Held off the scoreboard in both games of their doubleheader on Wednesday, the run was the Keys first since the fifth inning on Sunday, when Sawyer recorded a two-run single of Yender Caramo. The 20 innings marks the Keys longest scoring drought of the year. Frederick’s previous high without a run scored was 17.2 innings, which stretched from July 27-30 against Lynchburg and Winston-Salem.

BUNDY TO THE DL: Just before Thursday’s game against Wilmington, Dylan Bundy was placed on the seven-day disabled list with a right latissimus strain. Taking his spot on the roster was Branden Kline, who was received from Short-Season Aberdeen. In six starts with the orange and black, Bundy is 1-2 with a 4.78 ERA. In his last start 10 days ago, the Oklahoma native tossed 4.1 innings of shutout baseball against Carolina and struck out seven.

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

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Left-hander Ryan Merritt makes his 23rd start of the season on Tuesday and his third against the Keys. The Carolina League leader in wins (12), Merritt’s latest victory came last Wednesday at Myrtle Beach. Tossing seven innings, he gave up two runs (one earned) on five hits to go along with five strikeouts and no walks. The starting pitcher for the CL in the Carolina League-California League All-Star Game, Merritt is third in ERA (2.55) and has displayed superb command (113 SO/24 BB). Currently, he leads the league in innings pitched (141.1) is second in batting average against (.201), WHIP (0.93) and fifth in strikeouts (113). The author of the CL’s first complete game this season, Merritt tossed seven innings of one-run baseball against Frederick on April 21. Pitching the second game of a doubleheader, the lefty allowed one unearned run on four hits over seven stanzas. He struck out four and did not walk a batter. Against the Keys he is 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA (13IP/3R/2ER) in two starts. Merritt made a cameo with the Mudcats in 2013, posting a 5.00 ERA (9IP/5ER) over two late-August starts. He spent the bulk of his year at Low-A Lake County, where he went 6-9 with a 3.42 ERA over 24 games (23 starts). His ERA was the fourth-best among Indians farmhands. Utilizing pinpoint command, Merritt walked only 18 over 126.1 innings, the second fewest in the Midwest League last year. Closing out the year strong, the Texan allowed only 14 earned runs over his final 53.2 frames. Selected by Cleveland in the 16th round of the 2011 draft, Merritt was taken out of McLennan Community College. There, he posted a 1.23 ERA and struck out 88 over 88 innings. A second-team All-State selection out of Celina High School (TX), he tallied a 0.98 ERA and hit .455. A three-pitch pitcher, Merritt throws an upper-80s fastball, a curveball and a changeup.

Frederick Keys Game Notes 8-17-14

Good afternoon Keys fans!

Frederick topped Lynchburg for the second time in a row last night thanks to Sebastian Vader’s six-inning performance in which he allowed only one run off two hits, walking three and striking out four. Dennis Torres replaced Vader in the seventh inning and delivered three innings of perfect relief.

Home runs from Tucker Nathans and Trey Mancini, in the fourth and sixth innings respectively, led what was another solid night at the plate for the Keys. Frederick recorded 11 hits, at least one from each member of the starting lineup.

The Keys take to Harry Grove Stadium early today, looking to close out a three-game series sweep against the Lynchburg Hillcats. RHP Mark Blackmar, who is 7-1 on the season, gets the start for the Keys today against Lynchburg lefty Blair Walters, who is 4-0. This would be the Keys first series sweep since their July 7-10 series against the Salem Red Sox.

Below are the game notes for today’s outing:

Sunday, August 17, 2014 · Game #121 · Home Game #58

Frederick Keys (56-64/24-29) vs Lynchburg Hillcats (62-62/28-26)

RHP Mark Blackmar (7-1, 3.21) vs. LHP Blair Walters (4-0, 2.79)

LANDING THE EARLY TKO: The duo of Sebastian Vader and Dennis Torres held the Lynchburg Hillcats to only two hits, while the Frederick Keys used a pair of home runs to earn a 6-1 victory on Saturday night at Harry Grove Stadium. Playing in front of the third-largest crowd of the season (9,013), the Keys extended their winning streak to three, and are now within 3.5 games of Lynchburg for the CL North wildcard spot. On the mound, Sebastian Vader tossed his third straight quality start, handing out just two hits over six innings, while Dennis Torres faced the minimum over three innings to garner his sixth save. Tucker Nathans and Trey Mancini each hit home runs and Jerome Pena drove in a pair to pace the offense.

 IT’S CALLED A (HOME) WINNING STREAK: With a win on Saturday, the Keys picked up their third straight home wins for the first time in the second-half. Coming into the game, Frederick was 6-18 at the Grove in the second-half, while the club had not won three straight home tilts since June 13-15. A team that has fared better on the road (their 17 second-half road wins pace the CL North) the Keys seven home wins since the All-Star break are the fewest in the circuit. A problem all season, Frederick it 23-34 in home games and 33-30 in road tilts.

MR RELIABLE: Mark Blackmar takes the mound on Sunday and is coming off an outstanding performance last Sunday. Facing Wilmington, the righty carried a no-hitter into the seventh before Raul Mondesi hit a seventh inning homer with one outs. This year, two Keys pitchers have carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning or later. Parker Bridwell was the first to do it, holding the Potomac Nationals hitless until the ninth inning on May 13. Only two outs away, the Texan surrendered a single to Tony Renda to break things up. Giving up only two hits, Blackmar tied a career-high for innings pitched. The seven innings equaled his output on July 27 against Lynchburg, and marked the second time in three starts that he had lasted seven frames. On the afternoon, he allowed only one run on two hits, walked one and struck out three. In the process, Blackmar earned his seventh win, currently the second-most on the team. One of the circuit’s biggest surprises, he is sixth in ERA (3.21).

GO JOHNNY GO!: On Saturday, Johnny Ruettiger extended his mini hitting streak to three with a first inning single. Finishing 1-for-5, the Keys outfielder has been one of the team’s top run producers over the last five days. On Thursday and Friday, he tied his career-high with three RBIs, while he has driven in 11 in his first 21 games with the orange and black. Thanks to a three-hit effort in the series opener against the Hillcats he is 6 for his last 14 with a homer, six RBIs and two runs scored, to move his batting average from .155 to .200.

SCORELESS STREAK SNAPPED: Wynston Sawyer’s sac-fly in the fourth inning on Thursday ended a string of 20 scoreless innings for the Keys. Held off the scoreboard in both games of their doubleheader on Wednesday, the run was the Keys first since the fifth inning on Sunday, when Sawyer recorded a two-run single of Yender Caramo. The 20 innings marks the Keys longest scoring drought of the year. Frederick’s previous high without a run scored was 17.2 innings, which stretched from July 27-30 against Lynchburg and Winston-Salem.

MAKING A SNOW MAN: Branden Kline became the first Keys pitcher to reach eight wins on Thursday night thanks to 5.1 innings of one-run baseball. He walked two and struck out four. With the victory, Kline takes solo possession of the team wins lead. He came into the game tied with Mark Blackmar (7-1). A pitcher who has been difficult on the road all year, the right-hander is 7-0 away from the friendly confines and sports a 2.79 ERA.

BUNDY TO THE DL: Just before Thursday’s game against Wilmington, Dylan Bundy was placed on the seven-day disabled list with a right latissimus strain. Taking his spot on the roster was Branden Kline, who was received from Short-Season Aberdeen. In six starts with the orange and black, Bundy is 1-2 with a 4.78 ERA. In his last start 10 days ago, the Oklahoma native tossed 4.1 innings of shutout baseball against Carolina and struck out seven.

JASON, JASON, HE’S OUR MAN: Although the calendar has flipped to August, Jason Esposito has maintained the torrid pace he set in July. After hitting .354 with four homers and 16 RBIs last month, the former Vanderbilt Commodore is batting .327 (17-for-52) over his first 14 August tilts to go along with a home run, six doubles and seven RBIs. He has multiple hits in five of his last 11 games (and seven of his last 15 tilts). During that time, he has seen his batting average climb 13 pts (.258 to .271).

 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. Pitcher Dylan Bundy (1) and shortstop Adrian Marin (12) highlight the list and are joined by right-handed pitchers Parker Bridwell (19) and Branden Kline (20). Jon Keller (17) and Trey Mancini (25) joined the club after the All-Star break, while Mychal Givens (23) and Glynn Davis (29) opened the year with the Keys but were promoted in the second-half. Of the five players, only Givens (one game in 2010) and Davis played at the Advanced-A level prior to 2014.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Left-hander Blair Walters makes sixth appearance on Sunday and his fifth start. Earning the win in his last outing on Tuesday, the southpaw tossed six innings of two-run baseball at Winston-Salem. He scattered six hits, walked one and struck out three. All four of his Carolina League starts have been quality outings, while he has won four of his five games pitched. Walters lone start against the Keys came on July 25. Over seven innings he gave up just one run on three hits and struck out a season-high seven. Prior to that game, he had made one start against the Keys in his career, when he was with the White Sox organization in 2012. In Winston-Salem, he allowed four runs in six innings and was handed the loss. Signed by Atlanta on July 15, the lefty was playing for the Independent Joliet Slammers before the Braves picked him up. Walters was originally selected by the White Sox in the 11th round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Hawaii, where he went 9-3 with a 5.49 ERA in 50 relief appearances over two seasons. In 2011, his first year of professional baseball, he led the Pioneer League in wins (9-0), ranked fourth in ERA (4.03) and fifth in opponents’ batting average (.257) and was named Pioneer League Pitcher of the Year. In July of 2012, he was acquired by the Houston Astros from the Chicago White Sox along with RHP Matt Heidenreich and RHP Chris Devenski in exchange for RHP Brett Myers. In March of this year, he was released by the Astros after a combined 7.18 ERA with High-A Lancaster and Triple-A Oklahoma City (one game). He pitched with the Joliet Slammers of the Independent Frontier League this season until the Braves signed him, and had earned an All-Star nod by pitching to a 2.74 ERA in 75 2/3 innings. He allowed just 59 hits and struck out 54. Walters throws a 89-92 mph fastball with good sinking action, a breaking ball with slider/cutter action, and a changeup.

Frederick Keys Game Notes 8-16-14

Saturday, August 16, 2014 · Game #120 · Home Game #57

Frederick Keys (55-64/23-29) vs Lynchburg Hillcats (62-61/28-25)

RHP Sebastian Vader (1-4, 6.00) vs. RHP Jarrett Miller (8-7, 3.82)

HANGING TOUGH: The Frederick Keys sent eight men to bat in the bottom of the eighth to rally back and defeat the Lynchburg Hillcats 8-7 on Friday night at Harry Grove Stadium. It was the team’s second win in as many nights and helped the Keys snap a three-game losing streak to the Hillcats. Down by a run entering the inning, the orange and black loaded the bases against Navery Moore. From there, Johnny Ruettiger tied the game with his third RBI single of the night and Trey Mancini coaxed a four-pitch walk to put the Keys up for good. Ruettiger and Mancini accounted for seven of the eight RBIs, while Jesse Beal picked up the win despite suffering his first blown save of the year.

IT’S CALLED A (HOME) WINNING STREAK: With a win on Friday, the Keys picked up back-to-back home wins for the first time in the second-half. Coming into the game, Frederick was 5-18 at the Grove in the second-half, while the club had not won consecutive home games since June 14-15. A team that has fared better on the road (their 17 second-half road wins pace the CL North) the Keys six home wins since the All-Star break are the fewest in the circuit. Wilmington (9-15) is the only other club without at least 10 second-half home wins. A problem all season, Frederick it 22-34 in home games and 33-30 in road tilts.

CLOSE CALLS: With a win on Friday night, the Keys improved to 16-16 in one-run games this season. That mark is fourth-best in the Carolina League, as the team trails only Potomac (26-11), Lynchburg (25-18) and Salem (17-15). Since the All-Star break, Frederick is 6-5 in games hinging on a single run. This season, the Keys and Hillcats have played six one-run games, but until last night, all five had gone Lynchburg’s way.

BOOMER: Trey Mancini tied his career-high with four RBIs on Friday. Going 1-for-4, the former Notre Dame product slugged a three-run homer in the sixth which wiped away a three-run deficit. Mancini recorded his first four RBI game on June 19-his Carolina League debut-going 2-for-5 with a homer and a double. Including his time with Low-A Delmarva, Mancini has hit nine home runs this season, while he is batting .280 over 13 games in August.

GO JOHNNY GO!: For the second straight night, Johnny Ruettiger tied his career-high with three RBIs. Finishing 3-for-4, all three of the RBIs he recorded came off singles. On Thursday at Wilmington, the former Arizona State Sun Devil went 2-for-5 with a single and a homer to snap a string of 14 hitless at-bats. In his last four games, Ruettiger has seven RBIs (he has 11 total in 20 games with the Keys). Additionally on Friday, he tied his season-high with three hits. He posted three hits three times with Double-A Bowie this season, most recently on July 5.

SCORELESS STREAK SNAPPED: Wynston Sawyer’s sac-fly in the fourth inning on Thursday ended a string of 20 scoreless innings for the Keys. Held off the scoreboard in both games of their doubleheader on Wednesday, the run was the Keys first since the fifth inning on Sunday, when Sawyer recorded a two-run single of Yender Caramo. The 20 innings marks the Keys longest scoring drought of the year. Frederick’s previous high without a run scored was 17.2 innings, which stretched from July 27-30 against Lynchburg and Winston-Salem.

MAKING A SNOW MAN: Branden Kline became the first Keys pitcher to reach eight wins on Thursday night thanks to 5.1 innings of one-run baseball. He walked two and struck out four. With the victory, Kline takes solo possession of the team wins lead. He came into the game tied with Mark Blackmar (7-1). A pitcher who has been difficult on the road all year, the right-hander is 7-0 away from the friendly confines and sports a 2.79 ERA.

BUNDY TO THE DL: Just before Thursday’s game against Wilmington, Dylan Bundy was placed on the seven-day disabled list with a right latissimus strain. Taking his spot on the roster was Branden Kline, who was received from Short-Season Aberdeen. In six starts with the orange and black, Bundy is 1-2 with a 4.78 ERA. In his last start 10 days ago, the Oklahoma native tossed 4.1 innings of shutout baseball against Carolina and struck out seven.

NORTHERN EXPOSURE: Intra-division competition for the Keys has often been problematic. Against Wilmington, Lynchburg and Potomac, Frederick is just 19-31, while the orange and black do not have a winning record against any CL North club. Frederick is the only team without at least 20 wins against divisional competition. This season, 24 of the Keys 31 losses in northern play have come to Wilmington and Lynchburg. The Keys have been defeated by each team 12 times, though Frederick has a worse winning percentage against the Hillcats (6-12).

JASON, JASON, HE’S OUR MAN: Although the calendar has flipped to August, Jason Esposito has maintained the torrid pace he set in July. After hitting .354 with four homers and 16 RBIs last month, the former Vanderbilt Commodore is batting .333 (16-for-48) over his first 13 August tilts to go along with a home run, six doubles and seven RBIs. He has multiple hits in five of his last 10 games (and seven of his last 14 tilts). During that time, he has seen his batting average climb 13 pts (.258 to .271).

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. Pitcher Dylan Bundy (1) and shortstop Adrian Marin (12) highlight the list and are joined by right-handed pitchers Parker Bridwell (19) and Branden Kline (20). Jon Keller (17) and Trey Mancini (25) joined the club after the All-Star break, while Mychal Givens (23) and Glynn Davis (29) opened the year with the Keys but were promoted in the second-half. Of the five players, only Givens (one game in 2010) and Davis played at the Advanced-A level prior to 2014.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Jarrett Miller makes his 26th appearance of the year and his 25th start. His most recent start came last Sunday against Winston-Salem. Over six innings, he allowed one run on five hits in a no-decision. A winner in four of his last six starts, Miller has also registered six quality starts in his last seven trips to the mound. Currently 10th in the CL in ERA (3.82), Miller will become just the second pitcher in the league to make his 25th start on Saturday. He is third in innings pitched (132.0) and fourth in strikeouts (111). Coming off a terrific July (2.79 ERA), the righty is 5-1 with a 3.08 ERA in the second-half. Against the Keys this year, he is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA. This is Miller’s second year in the Carolina League, after the righty went 9-8 with a 3.73 ERA over 30 games (25 starts) last season. He finished fifth in the CL in strikeouts (122) and fourth in innings pitched (147.0), but occasionally struggled with command, as he ended third-overall in walks (63). Although his walk/nine inning ratio has improved this season (3.3), in his career, Miller averages 4.1 free tickets per nine innings. The right-hander spent all of 2011-12 with Low-A Rome. Selected by Atlanta in the 21st round out of UNC-Greensboro, Miller went 4-2 with a 4.08 ERA in 28 games (four starts) as a junior. He is trying to become the first Spartans pitcher to reach the Major Leagues since Brian Moehler, who made his big league debut with Detroit in 1996, and pitched 14 years with the Tigers, Reds, Astros and Marlins. Miller throws a low-mid 90s fastball, a curve, a slider and a changeup. He hails from Easley, South Carolina which is the home of the Big League World Series. Big League is a section of Little League for 15-18 males. Easley will hosted its 14th Big League World Series in July.

Frederick Keys Game Notes 8-15-14

Good evening Keys fans!

Frederick won 4-1  last night in the final game of their three-game set with the Wilmington Blue Rocks. The Keys took the lead with a three-run fourth inning behind RBI’s from Wynston Sawyer and John Ruettiger. Ruettiger, who finished 2-5 with 3 RBI’s on the night, homered in the sixth inning to extend the Frederick lead to 4-1. Branden Kline allowed only one run in 5.1 innings pitched, striking out four and walking two. 3.2 innings of scoreless relief from Miguel Chalas and Dennis Torres clinched the Frederick victory.

The Keys take to Harry Grove Stadium tonight against the Lynchburg Hillcats to begin a three-game series that will mark the end of the teams’ regular season series. Frederick is 5-12 against the Hillcats this season, their last win coming in Lynchburg on July 6.

LHP Matt Taylor gets the nod for the Keys tonight, making his second start in Frederick after a rehab stint in the Gulf Coast League following a back injury. Taylor got the start last week against Wilmington, giving up three runs off of seven hits in 3.1 innings of action. Lynchburg righty Cody Scarpetta gets the start for the Hillcats tonight.

Here’s a look at the game notes for tonight’s matchup:

Friday, August 15, 2014 · Game #119 · Home Game #56

Frederick Keys (54-64/22-29) vs Lynchburg Hillcats (62-60/28-24)

LHP Matt Taylor (5-2, 2.36) vs. RHP Cody Scarpetta (3-6, 4.25)

BOUNCE BACK: The Frederick Keys used a big fourth inning and strong pitching from Branden Kline, Miguel Chalas and Dennis Torres to top the Wilmington Blue Rocks 4-1 on Thursday night at Frawley Stadium. With the win, the Keys were able to avoid a three-game sweep. Shutout in both ends of a doubleheader on Wednesday, the Keys tallied 12 hits, while four members of the starting lineup finished with two knocks or more. Frederick did the brunt of its damage in the fourth inning, sending all nine to bat against the duo of Johnny Walter and Andrew Edwards. Wynston Sawyer brought home the first Keys run with a sac-fly to right. That made it 1-1 after Raul Mondesi opened the scoring with an RBI double in the home-third. Following the sac-fly by Sawyer, Brenden Webb (single) and Jerome Pena (walk) reached to load the bases. Johnny Ruettiger followed with a two-run single to left to put the Keys on top for good. In the sixth, Ruettiger also hit his first home run of the year. On the mound, Branden Kline allowed one run over 5.1 innings to pick up the win. Chalas and Torres closed the door with 3.2 innings of shutout relief.

AVOIDING THE SWEEP: Thanks to a win in the season finale, the Keys avoided being swept for the seventh time. Since the All-Star break, the Keys have been swept four times by four different teams (Wilmington, Winston-Salem, Potomac and Lynchburg). However, all four of those broomings have taken place at Harry Grove Stadium. This season, the Keys have been swept only once on the road-something accomplished by Lynchburg from May 27-29.

SCORELESS STREAK SNAPPED: Wynston Sawyer’s sac-fly in the fourth inning on Thursday ended a string of 20 scoreless innings for the Keys. Held off the scoreboard in both games of their doubleheader on Wednesday, the run was the Keys first since the fifth inning on Sunday, when Sawyer recorded a two-run single of Yender Caramo. The 20 innings marks the Keys longest scoring drought of the year. Frederick’s previous high without a run scored was 17.2 innings, which stretched from July 27-30 against Lynchburg and Winston-Salem.

GO JOHNNY GO!: Johnny Ruettiger tied his career-high with three RBIs on Thursday night, thanks to a two-run single and a solo homer. Ending the night 2-for-5, the former Arizona State Sun Devil also snapped a string of 14 at-bats without recording a hit. Although the outfielder is batting just .171 over 19 games with the Keys, he has recorded three RBIs in a game on two occasions. On July 24, he established a new career-high for runs batted in, when he finished 2-for-5 with a triple at Myrtle Beach.

MAKING A SNOW MAN: Branden Kline became the first Keys pitcher to reach eight wins on Thursday night thanks to 5.1 innings of one-run baseball. He walked two and struck out four. With the victory, Kline takes solo possession of the team wins lead. He came into the game tied with Mark Blackmar (7-1). A pitcher who has been difficult on the road all year, the right-hander is 7-0 away from the friendly confines and sports a 2.79 ERA.

BUNDY TO THE DL: Just before Thursday’s game against Wilmington, Dylan Bundy was placed on the seven-day disabled list with a right latissimus strain. Taking his spot on the roster was Branden Kline, who was received from Short-Season Aberdeen. In six starts with the orange and black, Bundy is 1-2 with a 4.78 ERA. In his last start 10 days ago, the Oklahoma native tossed 4.1 innings of shutout baseball against Carolina and struck out seven.

NORTHERN EXPOSURE: Intra-division competition for the Keys has often been problematic. Against Wilmington, Lynchburg and Potomac, Frederick is just 18-31, while the orange and black do not have a winning record against any CL North club. Frederick is the only team without at least 20 wins against divisional competition. This season, 24 of the Keys 31 losses in northern play have come to Wilmington and Lynchburg. The Keys have been defeated by each team 12 times, though Frederick has a worse winning percentage against the Hillcats (5-12).

THE FEW, THE PROUD, THE MARIN: Adrian Marin’s season-high eight game hitting streak came to an end on Thursday. Over the eight-game jaunt, he hit .375 (12-for-32) with two homers, four doubles, eight RBIs and six runs scored, while he saw his batting average jump from .236 to .248. During the streak, Marin also tallied four two-hit games. After hitting .242 over 23 games in July, the Miami native has looked good in August, batting .308 over 10 games. His best month of the season was May, when he hit .289 over 27 games, and won Carolina League “Player of the Week” for May 26-June 2.

JASON, JASON, HE’S OUR MAN: Although the calendar has flipped to August, Jason Esposito has maintained the torrid pace he set in July. After hitting .354 with four homers and 16 RBIs last month, the former Vanderbilt Commodore is batting .364 (16-for-44) over his first 12 August tilts to go along with a home run, six doubles and seven RBIs. He has multiple hits in five of his last nine games (and seven of his last 13 tilts). During that time, he has seen his batting average climb 16 pts (.258 to .274).

 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. Pitcher Dylan Bundy (1) and shortstop Adrian Marin (12) highlight the list and are joined by right-handed pitchers Parker Bridwell (19) and Branden Kline (20). Jon Keller (17) and Trey Mancini (25) joined the club after the All-Star break, while Mychal Givens (23) and Glynn Davis (29) opened the year with the Keys but were promoted in the second-half. Of the five players, only Givens (one game in 2010) and Davis played at the Advanced-A level prior to 2014.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Right-hander Cody Scarpetta makes his 11th start of the season on Friday and his second against the Keys. His most recent outing came last Thursday at Salem. Tagged with the loss, the righty allowed four runs on four hits over 3.1 innings. He walked two, struck out two and gave up a homer. Scarpetta has received the loss in two of his last three games, while he has struggled in his first two August outings. In two games, he is 0-2 with a 13.50 ERA (6IP/9R). His only start against the Keys came on July 27, where he allowed one run on three hits over six innings in a no-decision. Signed by the Braves as a free agent on June 9, Scarpetta’s best outing came on June 27, when the Illinois native combined with Benito Pruneda to pitch back-to-back no-hitters. The night prior, Lucas Sims and Alex Wilson combined on a no-hitter against the Wilmington Blue Rocks. Scarpetta’s performance helped earn him Carolina League “Pitcher of the Week” honors. Prior to joining the Braves, Scarpetta was playing for the Lancaster Barnstormers in the independent Atlantic League, where he went 0-2 with a 5.13 ERA. Originally selected by the Brewers in the 11th round of the 2007 draft, Scarpetta spent all of 2013 with Milwaukee’s Advanced-A affiliate, Brevard County. Pitching 12 games (11 starts) he went 0-5 with a 7.15 ERA. He made his debut on June 2, after missing all of 2012 due to “Tommy John” surgery. Not the only member of his family to play professional baseball, Scarpetta’s dad, Dan, pitched in the Brewers organization for seven years, making it as high as Triple-A

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