Frederick Keys Game Notes 6-23-14

Good evening Keys fans!

We are back at the Grove tonight looking to rebound from last night’s extra-inning loss to the Wilmington Blue Rocks. The Keys got six shutout innings from starter Parker Bridwell, solid enough to maintain a 1-0 lead gained in the first inning off of another Michael Burgess home run, his fifth home run in his last six games. The Blue Rocks got on the board in the eighth inning when Terrance Gore was walked home to tie the game at one. After a scoreless ninth inning, Wilmington center fielder Bubba Starling homered to lead off extra innings, extending the Blue Rocks’ lead to 2-1. Frederick newcomer Trey Mancini was just feet short of what would have been a walk-off home run as Starling grabbed the game ending out on the warning track.

Tonight the Keys send righty Branden Kline to the mound to right the ship against the Blue Rocks. This will be Kline’s first start of the second half after going 3-2 with a 3.33 ERA in the first half . Wilmington counters with righty Christian Binford.

Kids eat free tonight at Harry Grove so come hungry and get loud for your Keys. If you can’t make it to the stadium tonight, you can listen to Doug Raftery and Geoff Arnold on the call on 1450 AM The Source.

Go Keys!

Below are the game notes for tonight’s match-up:

Monday, June 23, 2014 · Game #72 · Home Game #34

Frederick Keys (33-38/1-3) vs Wilmington Blue Rocks (35-37/2-2)

RHP Branden Kline (3-2, 3.33) vs. RHP Christian Binford (4-3, 2.19)

GAME OF INCHES: Trey Mancini came only feet shy of a game-winning three-run homer, but it was a Bubba Starling longball that proved the difference, as the Wilmington Blue Rocks defeated the Frederick Keys 2-1 in 10 innings on Sunday night at Harry Grove Stadium. Armed with a plethora of chances to win in regulation, Frederick finished 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position and left 10 on base. The Keys took an early lead on a Michael Burgess solo homer in the second, but the Blue Rocks tied the game in the eighth. Making his Advanced-A debut, Jimmy Yacabonis issued four walks to force home Terrance Gore, before Starling broke the deadlock in extra-innings. It was Frederick’s third loss in its last four contests.

EXTRA-TIME: Sunday marked the second time in three games that the Keys had gone extra-innings. Entering the contest with back-to-back wins in games stretching past regulation, the Keys dropped their first extra-inning tilt since May 28, when the club fell to Lynchburg 5-4 in 10 innings. This season, Frederick is 4-5 in games going 10 frames or more. All four extra-inning wins for the Keys have come on the road, while Luis Pujols’ team is 0-2 in extra-inning games at home.

LITTLE HELP!: Frederick’s one run loss on Sunday can largely be attributed to issues with runners in scoring position. Ending the game 0-for-11 with men at second and third base, the orange and black also left 10 stranded, the most runners the team had left behind since June 12. Over their last two contests, the Keys are a combined 1-for-18 with men in scoring position. A point of emphasis all season, the Keys are batting a collective .240 with men closest to home this season and only .198 with men in scoring position and two outs.

CAN’T TOUCH THIS: Parker Bridwell continued his hot stretch on the mound, tossing six innings of two-hit baseball. He walked two and struck out five in a no-decision. It was the Texan’s sixth straight quality start, and seventh overall. He is tied with Branden Kline for the team-lead in quality outings, while all seven have come at Harry Grove Stadium. Over his last three starts, Bridwell is 2-0 with a 0.95 ERA (19.0 IP/2ER) and has allowed only nine hits during that stretch. In the process, he has seen his ERA sliced by nearly a point (4.98-4.07), the lowest it has been all season.

 MOVING ON UP!: On Saturday night after the Keys game at Carolina, Mychal Givens received word that he had been promoted to the Double-A Bowie Baysox. The right-hander becomes the first member of the Keys to be promoted in 2014, and the first to climb the ladder since Johnny Ruettiger was called up to the Baysox last August 31. One of the league’s most dominant relief pitchers, Givens was 1-2 with a 3.24 ERA over 18 games with the orange and black. Utilizing a hard sinker and sweeping changeup, the Floridian held opponents to a paltry .147 batting average. The lowest batting average against for either a starter or reliever in the eight-team loop. In a corresponding move, the Keys received right-hander Dennis Torres from Low-A Delmarva. In 17 games with the Shorebirds he went 1-3 with a 3.31 ERA. He made his CL debut on Saturday, giving up two runs on five hits over two stanzas.

ALMANZAR JOINS KEYS ON MLB REHAB:On Sunday, the Orioles transferred infielder Michael Almanzar to the Frederick Keys as part of an MLB rehab assignment. Getting the start at third base, the 23-year-old played six innings and went 0-for-3. Almanzar is the second MLB rehabber Frederick has housed this year, joining Manny Machado, who hit .667 with a triple, four doubles and two RBIs over three games with the Keys from April 25-27. Selected by Baltimore in the MLB phase of the Rule 5 draft last year from Boston, Almanzar has been rehabbing from a left knee injury. In his first rehab game on Friday with the GCL Orioles he went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and two errors at third. He is scheduled to be with the Keys through Thursday.

 UP, UP AND AWAY!: Lately, Frederick has been scoring runs via the home run ball. Sunday marked the fifth time in six games that the Keys had hit a longball after Michael Burgess slugged a solo shot in the second. Frederick is second in the Carolina League in homers with 45. Only Myrtle Beach (62) has hit more this season. Over their last six games, the Keys have hit 12 home runs, with eight coming over the final two games of the first-half. Currently, Burgess paces the Keys with 11 deep flies, and is tied for third in the CL in that department. The Floridian has homered in five of his last six contests, and is one longball away from equaling his 2013 total at Double-A Corpus Christi.

NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK: On Thursday, the Baltimore Orioles made a series of roster moves affecting the Keys. Frederick received outfielder Mike Yastrzemski, infielder Trey Mancini, and relief pitcher Jimmy Yacabonis from Low-A Delmarva. Meanwhile, the Keys transferred infielder Creede Simpson and outfielder Lucas Herbst to the Shorebirds. On Monday, the Orioles released right-handed reliever Matt Hauser. Yastrzemski, Mancini and Yacabonis were all members of the South Atlantic Northern Division All-Star squad. At the midway break, Yastrzemski was first in the league in total bases (143), second in runs (52), tied for second in slugging (.554) and extra-base hits (34) and third in hits (79), while he sported a .306 batting average to go along with 12 steals in 16 tries over 63 games. Mancini led the Shorebirds in hitting in the first half, batting .317 in 68 games (tied for 2nd-most in the SAL). The .317 mark was good for seventh-best overall, while he finished second in hits (85). Out of the bullpen, Yacabonis was 14 of 15 in save opportunities and registered a 1-1 mark to go along with a 1.07 ERA over 21games (25.1 IP). He did not allow a run over his first 19 outings (spanning 24 innings).

ALL-STAR NOTES: Glynn Davis and Branden Kline each participated in the Carolina League-California League All-Star game on Tuesday night at Frawley Stadium in Wilmington Delaware. Batting sixth and making the start in centerfield, Davis went 0-for-2 with an RBI. He drove in the Carolina League’s first run with a groundout to short, after Jorge Alfaro tripled to begin the fifth. Kline tossed a scoreless eighth, needing just 16 pitches (10 strikes) to dispose of Chris Jacobs, Roberto Pena and Trevor Story in order. The California League earned a 3-2 win. Bakersfield’s Kyle Waldrop led the charge for the westcoasters, with an RBI single in the second and then a two-run blast off Wilmington’s Christian Binford in the fourth. Waldrop was named the Cal League’s MVP, while Kyle Wren took home Carolina League MVP honors going 2-for-3 with an RBI and a pair of steals.

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 Christian Binford makes his 13th Carolina League start and his third against Frederick. Rated the No. 10 prospect in the Royals system according to Baseball America, the Hagerstown, MD native is making his first start of the second-half. In his last outing of the first-half, Binford tossed six shutout innings of three-hit baseball against Carolina in a winning effort. He struck out five and hit a batter. A Carolina League All-Star, the righty allowed two runs on a hit while pitching the fourth inning. Binford is tied for the CL lead in strikeouts (79) with Parker Bridwell and rates third in the CL in ERA (2.19). Opponents are batting just .223 off him this year, the league’s fifth-lowest mark. Rated as the top control pitcher in the Kansas City farm system by Baseball America, Binford is also second in WHIP (1.00). The right-hander was also dominant at Low-A Lexington in 2013. Named the Lexington Pitcher of the Year as well as a South Atlantic League All-Star, Binford was 8-7 with a 2.67 ERA to go along with 130 strikeouts and just 25 walks over 135 frames. His ERA was third-best in the SAL, while he placed fifth in WHIP (1.14) and sixth in strikeouts. Binford spent 2012 at Rookie-Burlington, after being selected by Kansas City in the 30th round of the 2011 draft. He received a well over-slot bonus of $575,000 which swayed him from attending the University of Virginia (if he attended he would have been teammates with Branden Kline). As a high school senior at Mercersburg (PA) Academy, Binford posted a 0.64 ERA in 55 frames. As a sophomore he underwent Tommy John Surgery. Not a hard thrower, Binford used his 6 foot 7 frame to create a good downhill angle on his pitches. He throws a 88-93 mph fastball, a slider, curveball and changeup.

Frederick Keys Game Notes 6-22-14

Good afternoon Keys fans!

Tonight is Faith Night at the Grove as the Keys are opening their first home series of the second half, a three game set against the Wilmington Blue Rocks. Parker Bridwell, who went 4-6 with a 4.38 ERA in the first half of the season, will get the start for the Keys tonight and face off against Blue Rocks’ lefty Jonathan Dziedzic.

The Keys welcome Michael Almanzar to the team this week. Almanzar, who has spent the season with the Orioles, was placed on the 60-day disabled list due to a patella tendon tendinitis and is playing in Frederick as a part of his rehab assignment.

See our previous blog post summarizing some of the roster moves made during the All-Star Break.

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

Sunday, June 22, 2014 · Game #71 · Road Game #38

Frederick Keys (33-37/1-2) vs Wilmington Blue Rocks (34-37/1-2)

RHP Parker Bridwell (4-6, 4.38) vs. LHP Jonathan Dziedzic (5-4, 2.80)

CAROLINA’S REVENGE: The Carolina Mudcats tied their season-high with 17 hits, while a five-run Muddies fourth sealed a 12-2 Frederick Keys defeat on Saturday night at Five County Stadium. Saturday’s setback ended a string of three straight series wins by the orange and black. All nine members of the Mudcats order recorded at least one hit, while LeVon Washington and Todd Hankins paced the hosts offensively. Washington tallied four hits, equaling the most by an individual player against the Keys this season, and Hankins drove in four RBIs. Frederick was led by Trey Mancini, who went 2-for-4 with an RBI and run scored in his third Carolina League game. On the mound, Brady Wager gave up eight runs (six earned) on seven hits over only 3.1 frames.

SOMETIMES YOU’RE THE HAMMER, SOMETIMES YOU’RE THE NAIL: Saturday was Frederick’s second-most lopsided defeat of the season, and marks the second time in three games that Frederick pitching has surrendered 10 runs or more in a game. The Keys worst loss came on April 23, when the team fell to Myrtle Beach 21-6, the club’s worst setback since June 11, 2006. During the club’s three-game series at Carolina, Frederick’s pitching staff struggled mightily tallying a 9.23 ERA (26.1 IP/27ER) while allowing 44 hits. The Keys are currently fifth in the CL with a 4.19 staff ERA.

ICE TREY: Trey Mancini was one of the few bright spots for the Keys on Saturday night. The only Keys player with multiple hits in the series finale, the former Notre Dame standout went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored. Over his first three Carolina League games, Mancini has driven in five runs and is batting .286 (4-for-14). He made quite an impression in his Carolina League debut on Thursday, going 2-for-5 with a home run, a double and four RBIs. The four driven-in equaled a career-high. Named a South Atlantic League All-Star while playing at Low-A Delmarva, Mancini was seventh in the league in hitting (.317) at the time of his promotion and second in hits (85).

 MOVING ON UP!: On Saturday night after the Keys game at Carolina, Mychal Givens received word that he had been promoted to the Double-A Bowie Baysox. The right-hander becomes the first member of the Keys to be promoted in 2014, and the first to climb the ladder since Johnny Ruettiger was called up to the Baysox last August 31. One of the league’s most dominant relief pitchers, Givens was 1-2 with a 3.24 ERA over 18 games with the orange and black. Utilizing a hard sinker and sweeping changeup, the Floridian held opponents to a paltry .147 batting average. The lowest batting average against for either a starter or reliever in the eight-team loop. In a corresponding move, the Keys received right-hander Dennis Torres from Low-A Delmarva. In 17 games with the Shorebirds he went 1-3 with a 3.31 ERA. He made his CL debut on Saturday, giving up two runs on five hits over two stanzas.

ALMANZAR JOINS KEYS ON MLB REHAB: In one other player personnel move, the Baltimore Orioles transferred infielder Michael Almanzar to the Frederick Keys as part of an MLB rehab assignment. He becomes the second MLB rehabber Frederick has housed this year, joining Manny Machado, who hit .667 with a triple, four doubles and two RBIs over three games with the Keys from April 25-27. Selected by Baltimore in the MLB phase of the Rule 5 draft last year from Boston, Almanzar has been rehabbing from a left knee injury. In his first rehab game on Friday with the GCL Orioles he went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and two errors at third. He is scheduled to be with the Keys through Thursday.

 UP, UP AND AWAY!: Saturday’s game ended a string of four straight games with a longball by the Keys. Still, the team is tied with Winston-Salem for the second most dingers in the CL (44). Only Myrtle Beach (62) has whacked more longballs. Over their last five games, the Keys have hit 11 home runs, as the orange and black hit four homers last Saturday and four more on Sunday to close the first-half. Currently, Michael Burgess paces the Keys with 10 deep flies, and is tied for fifth in the circuit in that department. The Floridian has homered in four of his last five contests.

 TAKE HOME SOME HARDWARE:  On Monday, Michael Burgess was named the Carolina League “Player of the Week.”  It marked the third time in 2014 that a member of the Keys had received a weekly honor, while it was the first time Burgess had received a player of the week honor since 2008, when he earned South Atlantic League Player of the Week accolades in late April of that season. Over six games, Burgess hit .500 (11-for-22) with three homers, one triple, two doubles nine RBIs and four runs scored. The three homers were tied for the most by an Advanced-A player last week and the nine RBIs were good for third-best across the Advanced-A classification. He also placed seventh across the minors in slugging percentage (1.091). Thanks to the huge week, Burgess pushed his average to .319, the highest it has been all season. That stat is good for fourth-best in the Carolina League, while he tied for second in RBIs (46), second in slugging (.564) and extra-base hits (30) and tied for third in total bases (115).

NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK: On Thursday, the Baltimore Orioles made a series of roster moves affecting the Keys. Frederick received outfielder Mike Yastrzemski, infielder Trey Mancini, and relief pitcher Jimmy Yacabonis from Low-A Delmarva. Meanwhile, the Keys transferred infielder Creede Simpson and outfielder Lucas Herbst to the Shorebirds. On Monday, the Orioles released right-handed reliever Matt Hauser. Yastrzemski, Mancini and Yacabonis were all members of the South Atlantic Northern Division All-Star squad. At the midway break, Yastrzemski was first in the league in total bases (143), second in runs (52), tied for second in slugging (.554) and extra-base hits (34) and third in hits (79), while he sported a .306 batting average to go along with 12 steals in 16 tries over 63 games. Mancini led the Shorebirds in hitting in the first half, batting .317 in 68 games (tied for 2nd-most in the SAL). The .317 mark was good for seventh-best overall, while he finished second in hits (85). Out of the bullpen, Yacabonis was 14 of 15 in save opportunities and registered a 1-1 mark to go along with a 1.07 ERA over 21games (25.1 IP). He did not allow a run over his first 19 outings (spanning 24 innings).

ALL-STAR NOTES: Glynn Davis and Branden Kline each participated in the Carolina League-California League All-Star game on Tuesday night at Frawley Stadium in Wilmington Delaware. Batting sixth and making the start in centerfield, Davis went 0-for-2 with an RBI. He drove in the Carolina League’s first run with a groundout to short, after Jorge Alfaro tripled to begin the fifth. Kline tossed a scoreless eighth, needing just 16 pitches (10 strikes) to dispose of Chris Jacobs, Roberto Pena and Trevor Story in order. The California League earned a 3-2 win. Bakersfield’s Kyle Waldrop led the charge for the westcoasters, with an RBI single in the second and then a two-run blast off Wilmington’s Christian Binford in the fourth. Waldrop was named the Cal League’s MVP, while Kyle Wren took home Carolina League MVP honors going 2-for-3 with an RBI and a pair of steals.

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 Jonathan Dziedzic makes his 13th start of the season and his second against the Keys. Owner of the seventh-best ERA in the Carolina League (2.80), the Humble, Texas last pitched at Winston-Salem on June 10. Pitching the second game of a doubleheader, the lefty gave up two unearned runs on four hits over four innings. He walked three and struck out six. A Carolina League All-Star, Dziedzic tossed a clean fifth inning on Tuesday night in the Carolina League’s 3-2 defeat to their California League brethren. Although he does not possess overpowering stuff, the Texan is third in the league in strikeout/nine inning ratio (9.15). The all-time strikeout leader in Lamar University history (317), Dziedzic spent his first professional season with Rookie-Idaho Falls. In 12 games (11 starts), he went 2-0 with a 2.68 ERA. A player who hit his stride at the end of the season, Dziedzic posted a 0.87 ERA over five starts in August (5G/20.2/2R/9H). That carried over to the Pioneer League Championship Series. Facing Helena, the Texan tossed a season-high six innings in a game one victory, as he helped lead the Chukars to their first Pioneer League title since 2000. Selected by the Royals in the 13th round of the 2013 draft out of Lamar, the 23-year-old was also selected by the Red Sox out of Atascocita High School (TX) but did not sign. He throws a fastball in the upper-80s, a curveball and a changeup. A pitcher with one of the Carolina League’s better nicknames, Dziedzic is known by his teammates as “eye chart” due to the difficult spelling of his last name.

The Keys Are Back!

Good Morning Keys Fans!

Well after a three-game roadtrip to open the second-half it is good to be back at the Grove. The team’s quick trip south to Carolina was highlighted by an 8-6 victory on Friday night, where the orange and black scored seven runs over their final three trips to bat. Tucker Nathans landed the final blow with a two-run single to center, as the team earned its second extra-inning win of the year over the Mudcats.

Thursday and Saturday were not as kind to the Keys. In the second-half opener, Frederick saw an eight-run lead vanish, while on Saturday Carolina tallied a season-high 17 hits en route to a 12-2 win. It was the club’s second-most lopsided defeat of the season.

Some news and notes from the trip to Zebulon (and post-All Star Break)

-Mike Yastrzemski, Trey Mancini, Jimmy Yacabonis and Dennis Torres were all promoted to the Keys from Low-A Delmarva. To create roster space, Creede Simpson and Lucas Herbst were transferred to the Shorebirds while Matt Hauser was released by the Orioles. Mancini made a good impression in the series opener, tying his career-high with four RBIs. Yastrzemski wasn’t bad either, going 4-for-12 in three games with three RBIs and four runs scored. And if you’re wondering, yes, he is the grandson of Red Sox legend and Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski. Here is a little bit more about him.

-Sammie Starr went 6-for-13 over three games during the trip. Half of those hits came on Friday, as the Canadian finished only a home run short of the cycle. On Saturday, he made the defensive play of the night, robbing Yhoxian Medina of a single in the fifth (spoiler: it may or may not be the Play of the Game you hear on the pregame show Sunday).

- Michael Burgess saw his string of four straight games with a homer conclude on Saturday, after just missing on a solo-blast in the fifth (it went off the  center field fence). Still, it has been a great week for the Tampa native who has hit in six straight games and was also named the Carolina League “Player of the Week” on Monday, Over the week, he put up video game-like numbers: 11-for-22, 3HR, 3B, 2 2B, 9RBI. The three homers were tied for the most by a player in Advanced-A (Carolina, California and Florida State Leagues taken into account) last week.

On Sunday, the Keys will entertain the Wilmington Blue Rocks, as Frederick begins a six-game homestand. Remember, the last time the Rocks visited Frederick, the orange and black took three out of four. The Keys are hoping for similar results this time around. Wilmington will throw two Carolina League All-Stars in the series plus a top-5 prospect in the Royals farm system. Lefty Jonathan Dziedzic will toe the mound first and will be matched up by the red-hot Parker Bridwell. The Texan has tossed five straight quality starts at home, and will be trying for his fifth win of the year. Christian Binford faces Branden Kline on Monday, while Joe Van Meter tangles with Miguel Almonte on Tuesday night.

After the Blue Rocks, the Keys will host Winston-Salem for three games.

No doubt plenty of exciting baseball will be played, but there will also be a ton of great promotions. The fun starts on Sunday with “Faith Night.” Prior to the 6 p.m. first pitch there will be a special pregame concert (beginning at 3) by the Waterboyz for Jesus and the Grace Community Church Youth Band. Several players will also be giving testimonials, while after the game there will be fireworks!

Monday is a Kids Eat Free Night, and Tuesday is a Guaranteed Win Night! Here is how it works folks: We GUARANTEE a Keys victory. But, if things don’t play out like expected, fans can redeem their ticket stubs for any future Monday-Thursday regular season home game. On Tuesday there will also be a Bordeleau Wine Pairing Diner in the Mattress Warehouse Club. Six great wines and six great courses it what you’ll have to choose from, so don’t miss out!

Wednesday is a belly buster picnic as well as Greek Night at the Grove, while Thursday will be especially fun: SUPER SPLASH DAY!! Gametime is at noon, and we’ll be turning the Giant Eagle Funzone into a splash zone. The highlight will be the Big Kahuna Water Slide, so make sure to bring your bathing suits!

Then on Friday we’ll wrap things up with Fredneck Night. It’s one of the best nights of the year to come out to the Grove, and will be headlined by Ted DiBiase, better known as “The Million Dollar Man.” He’ll be on hand to chat with fans, while the Keys will be wearing special camo hats that will be auctioned off after the game in support of Heartly House’s “Safe at Home” night.

And there you have it folks. A ton of fun at the ballpark on the docket, so stop on by this upcoming week!

See you at the Grove and shake your keys!

Geoff

 

 

 

 

Frederick Keys Game Notes 6-21-14

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

Frederick concludes its three-game set with Carolina on Saturday night at 6:00 p.m. The orange and black will send Brady Wager to the mound, while lefty Shawn Morimando gets the ball for the Muddies. First pitch is at 6 p.m.

Saturday’s batch of game notes are below. Talk soon, and shake your keys!

Geoff

Saturday, June 21, 2014 · Game #70 · Road Game #38

Frederick Keys (33-36/1-1) vs Carolina Mudcats (30-39/1-1)

RHP Brady Wager (2-5, 5.40) vs. LHP Shawn Morimando (6-2, 3.13)

NEVER SAY DIE: One night after the Frederick Keys saw an eight-run lead slip away, the orange and black turned the tables. Trailing the Carolina Mudcats 4-1 through six innings, Frederick tied the game twice, before the Keys broke the deadlock for good in the 10th to earn an 8-6 win at Five County Stadium. Tucker Nathans provided the decisive blow on Friday night, with a two-run single to centerfield. In total, the Keys scored seven runs over their final three trips to bat. Three of those runs came in the eighth courtesy of a two-run double by Sammie Starr and a sacrifice fly by Mike Yastrzemski. Carolina briefly regained the lead in bottom of the eighth, after four walks by Matt Hobgood and a balk made it 6-4 Muddies. Frederick then evened the score in the ninth on a solo homer by Michael Burgess, and an opposite field single by Zane Chavez to force extra innings. Matt Price worked two scoreless innings to pick up his third win of the year. A victory on Saturday would give the team its fourth straight series victory.

FREE BASEBALL!: On Friday, the Keys earned their fourth extra-inning win of the season. Frederick has now won back-to-back games stretching past regulation, after the club defeated Salem 9-8 in 12 innings on June 4 at LewisGale Field. Meanwhile, half of the orange and black’s extra-inning wins have come against the Mudcats. On April 18, the club topped the Muddies 3-1 in 11 stanzas. The Keys sports the third-best extra-inning record in the Carolina League at 4-4, with only Myrtle Beach (3-1) and Lynchburg (5-1) holding better marks.

SLAMMIN SAMMIE: Sammie Starr continued his tear at the plate on Friday night, going 3-for-5 with a triple, a double, two RBIs and two runs scored. It was the Canadian’s third straight multi-hit game and moved his average up to .263, the highest it has been since May 1. Riding a mini four-game hitting streak, Starr is batting .500 (8-for-16) during that time with two homers, a triple, a double, six RBIs and four runs scored. Over 13 games in June, the infielder is hitting .295 with two homers, a triple, three doubles and six RBIs.

NO NAIL IN THE COFFIN YET: Friday’s victory marked only the third time all season that Frederick had won a game when trailing after eight innings. Down 6-4 entering the ninth, the Keys picked up a pair of runs to force extras before taking the lead for good in the 10th. Two of the three wins when playing from behind after eight have come over the last week, as the orange and blacked topped Myrtle Beach 7-6 last Friday at Harry Grove Stadium. Down 6-4 entering the bottom of the ninth, the Keys scored three times of Cody Ege, as a two-run throwing error and a bloop single to right by Zane Chavez gave the Keys the win.

UP, UP AND AWAY!: In the middle game against Carolina, the Keys continued to rack up runs via the longball. A Michael Burgess solo shot in the ninth frame marked the fourth straight game where the Keys had homered, while it pushed the team’s total up to 43. That figure is tied for second-most in the CL with Winston-Salem. Only Myrtle Beach (61) has whacked more longballs. Over their last four games, the Keys have hit 11 home runs, as the orange and black hit four homers last Saturday and four more on Sunday to close the first-half. Currently, Michael Burgess paces the Keys with 10 deep flies, and is tied for fourth in the circuit in that department. The Floridian has homered in four straight games.

WHAT AN ENTRANCE!: Playing in his first Carolina League game on Thursday, Trey Mancini did not show any signs of nerves. Going 2-for-5, the former Notre Dame doubled and hit a three-run homer while he drove in four RBIs. The four RBIs tied a career-high for Mancini, who registered four on May 30 at Lakewood as a member of the Delmarva Shorebirds. Mike Yastrzemski also enjoyed a fine Keys debut, ending 2-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored. Both players were named South Atlantic League All-Stars prior to their promotion on Thursday.

TAKE HOME SOME HARDWARE:  On Monday, Michael Burgess was named the Carolina League “Player of the Week.”  It marked the third time in 2014 that a member of the Keys had received a weekly honor, while it was the first time Burgess had received a player of the week honor since 2008, when he earned South Atlantic League Player of the Week accolades in late April of that season. Over six games, Burgess hit .500 (11-for-22) with three homers, one triple, two doubles nine RBIs and four runs scored. The three homers were tied for the most by an Advanced-A player last week and the nine RBIs were good for third-best across the Advanced-A classification. He also placed seventh across the minors in slugging percentage (1.091). Thanks to the huge week, Burgess pushed his average to .319, the highest it has been all season. That stat is good for fourth-best in the Carolina League, while he tied for second in RBIs (46), second in slugging (.564) and extra-base hits (30) and tied for third in total bases (115).

NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK: On Thursday, the Baltimore Orioles made a series of roster moves affecting the Keys. Frederick received outfielder Mike Yastrzemski, infielder Trey Mancini, and relief pitcher Jimmy Yacabonis from Low-A Delmarva. Meanwhile, the Keys transferred infielder Creede Simpson and outfielder Lucas Herbst to the Shorebirds. On Monday, the Orioles released right-handed reliever Matt Hauser. Yastrzemski, Mancini and Yacabonis were all members of the South Atlantic Northern Division All-Star squad. At the midway break, Yastrzemski was first in the league in total bases (143), second in runs (52), tied for second in slugging (.554) and extra-base hits (34) and third in hits (79), while he sported a .306 batting average to go along with 12 steals in 16 tries over 63 games. Mancini led the Shorebirds in hitting in the first half, batting .317 in 68 games (tied for 2nd-most in the SAL). The .317 mark was good for seventh-best overall, while he finished second in hits (85). Out of the bullpen, Yacabonis was 14 of 15 in save opportunities and registered a 1-1 mark to go along with a 1.07 ERA over 21games (25.1 IP). He did not allow a run over his first 19 outings (spanning 24 innings).

ALL-STAR NOTES: Glynn Davis and Branden Kline each participated in the Carolina League-California League All-Star game on Tuesday night at Frawley Stadium in Wilmington Delaware. Batting sixth and making the start in centerfield, Davis went 0-for-2 with an RBI. He drove in the Carolina League’s first run with a groundout to short, after Jorge Alfaro tripled to begin the fifth. Kline tossed a scoreless eighth, needing just 16 pitches (10 strikes) to dispose of Chris Jacobs, Roberto Pena and Trevor Story in order. The California League earned a 3-2 win. Bakersfield’s Kyle Waldrop led the charge for the westcoasters, with an RBI single in the second and then a two-run blast off Wilmington’s Christian Binford in the fourth. Waldrop was named the Cal League’s MVP, while Kyle Wren took home Carolina League MVP honors going 2-for-3 with an RBI and a pair of steals.

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: Lefty Shawn Morimando makes his 14th start for the Mudcats on Saturday night and is the No. 22 prospect in the Cleveland farm system according to Baseball America. In his final first-half start last Saturday at Wilmington, Morimando was dominant, tossing six innings of one-hit baseball. He walked two, struck out six and surrendered one hit. Author of five straight quality starts, the southpaw has not given up any more than two runs during those five outings. Currently, Morimando is tied for second in the circuit in wins, and has the lowest batting average against (.183). He is also third in WHIP (1.07) and allows just over 10 base runners per nine innings. Promoted to Double-A Akron on May 30, Morimando made one start with the RubberDucks, tossing six scoreless innings in a win over Harrisburg. Two days later, he was sent back to Carolina. This will be the fourth time Morimando has faced the Keys this year. In that span, he is 3-0 with a 0.48 ERA (18.2 IP/ER).  The Virginian spent all of 2013 with the Mudcats, going 8-13 with a 3.73 ERA over 27 starts. The 13 defeats were the most in the Carolina League, while he finished second in walks (76). Still, the lefty enjoyed his share of success last season. The high point was a 23.2 innings scoreless streak which spanned five starts (May 17-June 8). During that time, he was named Carolina League Pitcher of the Week (May 27-June 3). Additionally, he finished with second lowest batting average against (.231).  In his fourth professional season, Morimando spent 2012 at Low-A Lake County (22 games, 7-6, 3.59 ERA) and made three starts for the AZL Indians in 2011. Selected by Cleveland in the 19th round of the 2011 draft, the southpaw was committed to East Carolina, but was lured away by the Indians with a $350,000 signing bonus. According to Baseball America, Morimando’s fastball sat between 87-91 mph as a high school pitcher. However the organization’s strength and conditioning programs have allowed him to sit between 90-92 mph as a professional. He also throws a curveball, a slider and a changeup.

Frederick Keys Game Notes 6-14-14

Good afternoon Keys fans!

The sun is out and shining at Harry Grove Stadium as the Keys continue their series against the Myrtle Beach Pelicans! The Keys leveled the series at one game a piece last night when they beat the Pelicans 7-6 on a walk-off single by catcher Zane Chavez. Frederick trailed 6-1 entering the seventh inning before their comeback began. The Keys scored three runs in the ninth inning to cap their comeback. Jason Esposito and Joel Hutter scored on throwing error following a sac bunt from center fielder Glynn Davis. Davis advanced to third on the play and was driven home two batters later on the Chavez single.

Tonight, Brady Wager takes the mound for Frederick.  Lefty Alexander Claudio will get the start for the Pelicans.

Hope to see plenty of you out here enjoying this beautiful weather at the Grove!

Below are some of the game notes for tonight:

Saturday, June 14, 2014 · Game #66 · Home Game #30

Frederick Keys (30-35) vs Myrtle Beach Pelicans (44-22)

RHP Brady Wager (2-5, 5.93) vs. LHP Alexander Claudio (4-0, 1.05)

COMEBACK KIDS:The Frederick Keys scored three times in the bottom of the ninth off Cody Ege, while Zane Chavez delivered the final blow to lead the orange and black to a 7-6 win on Friday night at Harry Grove Stadium. Delayed one hour and 14 minutes due to rain, Frederick was limited to one run on three hits over the first six stanzas, before a bout of wildness by Pelicans lefty Sam Stafford helped the Keys regroup in the seventh. Entering for Sam Wolff, Stafford allowed an RBI single to Jason Esposito, before Joel Hutter plated another run with a single to center. Glynn Davis and Lucas Herbst then coaxed walks to pull the Keys within a pair. In the ninth, Esposito and Hutter reached to open the inning against Ege, while both scored on a throwing error by the Birds pitcher. Davis advanced to third, but pinch-hitter Sammie Starr struck out. Electing to walk the next two batters, it loaded the bases for Chavez, who floated a game-winning single down the rightfield line.      

IT’S NOT OVER UNTIL THE FAT LADY SINGS: Friday was the Keys third walk-off win of the season and their second against the Pelicans. Frederick’s first walk-off win came against Myrtle Beach on April 24, when Wynston Sawyer stroked a game-winning double off Keone Kella in the bottom of the ninth inning. Friday’s victory also went down as the team’s biggest comeback win of the year. Prior to eliminating a five-run deficit yesterday, Frederick’s biggest comeback margin was three runs.

BREAK THROUGH THE GLASS CEILING: Friday was only the Keys second win all season when trailing after eight innings. Coming into Friday’s game, Frederick was 1-24 when playing from behind after eight stanzas, while things were equally as dire when having to make up ground after seven innings (1-23). The team’s only other win when trailing after seven or eight innings came on May 10 during a quasi-doubleheader against Winston-Salem. With the Dash ahead 3-0 in the fifth inning of a previously suspended contest, the orange and black scored the final four runs, as Brenden Webb stroked a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth.

THERE’S THE LEATHER!: On Friday, Frederick snapped a string of four straight games with an error, as well as three consecutive contests with two errors. It was the team’s first game of error-free baseball since last Saturday night in Myrtle Beach. Tied for the top fielding percentage in the Carolina League, Frederick has posted a .977 mark and has committed the second-fewest errors in the league (57). The Keys are tied for the top fielding percentage with Wilmington, while the Blue Rocks have made four-fewer errors. Winston-Salem is last in the Carolina League in fielding percentage (.961) and errors (95).

MIKE CHECK 1,2,3:,Michael Burgess came within a home run of the cycle on Friday, going 3-for-4 with an RBI. Scalding hot at the plate, the Tampa native as hit safely in eight of his last 11 games. During that time, he is batting .410 (16-for-39) with two home runs, three triples, three doubles, eight RBIs and eight runs scored. The hot stretch has bumped his batting average from .278 to .305, the highest it has been all season.  This year, Burgess has come one hit away from the cycle on three occasions. On June 6 at Myrtle Beach he was a double short, while on May 18 at Winston-Salem he needed only a triple to accomplish the feat. Coming into Saturday, Burgess is tied for fifth in the Carolina League in hitting (.305), sits second in slugging percentage (.523), third in extra-base hits (27) and fourth in RBIs (41).

LIKE A ROCK:  After hitting in 10 straight from May 6-31, Zane Chavez has hit safely in his last seven in-a-row. On Friday, stroked the game-winning single in the bottom of the ninth to cap-off a 3-for-5 day where he also doubled and scored a run. During the seven-game jaunt, the Californian is batting .357 (10-for-28) with three home runs, two doubles, seven RBIs and four runs scored. Chavez has also hit home runs in three of his last four games.

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 Alexander Claudio makes his 15th appearance of the season and his second start on Saturday night. His last outing came on Monday against Lynchburg, and was his first start since 2012 when he was pitching for the AZL Rangers. Tossing a season-high five innings, the lefty scattered a season-high six hits but did not allow a run. He walked two and struck out three. Named a Carolina League All-Star, the southpaw has proven to be one of the toughest pitchers to face in the Carolina League this season. As a reliever, he averages almost 10 strikeouts per nine innings, while he gives out less than 1.5 walks per nine frames. Limiting opponents to a .220 average, Claudio has been equally as difficult against righties (.223) and lefties (.211). This season, Claudio has not suffered a defeat and has not allowed any more than three runs in a given outing. Rated the No. 27 prospect in the Rangers system according to Baseball America, Claudio’s success has hinged upon good command as well as an excellent changeup which has been rated as the best in the Rangers farm system. The pitch was developed at the Rangers Academy with the help of John Burgos in 2012. He was originally selected by Texas in the 27th round of the 2010 draft out of Juncos, Puerto Rico. A pitcher without overpowering stuff, Claudio’s changeup is complemented by a mid-80s fastball and a mid-70s slider.

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.

 

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