Game Notes 6-3-14

Good Evening Keys Fans!

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

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

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

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

Geoff

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Game Notes 6-2-14

Happy Monday Keys fans!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keys Game Notes 6-1-14

Happy June Keys Fans!

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

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

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

Geoff

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER:Left-hander Sean Manaea makes his 10 start of the season and his second against Frederick. He is the No. 6 prospect in the Royals system according to Baseball America, and is the top Royals left-handed pitching prospect. Manaea is one of three top 10 prospects in Kansas City system to make a start against the Keys this series, with righties Miguel Almonte (No. 5) and Christian Binford (No. 10) pitching a combined three times against the orange and black. Manaea’s most recent start came on Monday against the Keys at Frawley Stadium. Over five innings, the right-hander allowed six runs on seven hits while walking one and striking out five. Despite giving up six runs, only one was earned on account of a third inning error by Hunter Dozier. A pitcher who has been hittable thus far, Manaea has allowed 47 hits in 36.2 innings, while opponents are batting .305 against him. After a challenging April where he posted a 6.46 ERA, Manaea was better in May, recording a 3.80 ERA in five May starts. In his first professional season, the Indiana native was selected in the competitive balance round of the 2013 draft (34th overall) and received a 3.55 million dollar signing bonus, the second-highest bonus ever given to a player not selected in the first round. Considered a top-five pick after dominating in the Cape Cod League in 2012, Manaea hurt his hip while pitching in a game at the Metrodome for Indiana State. To compensate for the pain, he changed his delivery causing a drop in velocity. It also caused his draft stock to plummet, allowing the Royals to swoop in. Manaea missed all of last season as he recovered from labrum surgery on his hip. A three-pitch pitcher, the 22-year-old throws a low-mid 90s fastball, an above-average slider and a changeup.

Keys Game Notes 5-31-2014

Good evening Keys fans!

The team takes to Harry Grove Stadium again tonight against the Wilmington Blue Rocks at 6:00. Joe Van Meter takes the mound for the Keys tonight. Van Meter won his last start, going six innings and allowing only one earned run in a win in Wilmington. Righty Luis Santos, who gets the start for the Blue Rocks, is making his Advanced-A debut. Santos was promoted from Low-A Lexington on Monday.

Below are some more game notes for tonight’s game.

 

Saturday, May 31, 2014 · Game #53 · Home Game #24

Frederick Keys (22-30) vs Wilmington Blue Rocks (27-26)

RHP Joe Van Meter (1-0, 3.20) vs. RHP Luis Santos (0-0, –)

R-O-C-K IN THE GROVE: The Frederick Keys pounded out 15 hits and received outstanding starting pitching from Parker Bridwell, as the orange and black cruised past the Wilmington Blue Rocks 8-1 on Friday night at Harry Grove Stadium. The victory snapped a three-game losing streak for Frederick, who had dropped six of seven on its recent roadtrip. Five Keys players finished with multiple hits, while the Keys used three multi-run innings to pull away. Adrian Marin led the way with three hits and four RBIs. Zane Chavez also tallied his first three-hit effort of the year.

HIT PARADE: The 15 hits recorded by the Keys on Friday, go down as the team’s third-largest hit output of the season. The team’s best offensive showing came on May 14 against Potomac, when Frederick posted a season-high 20 hits and equaled its season-high with 12 runs scored in a 12-5 triumph over the P-Nats. April 13 was also an excellent day for the Keys offense. Taking on Lynchburg, the orange and black ended with 12 runs on 16 hits. Frederick’s three most productive games offensively have all come at home, and all three have come at the expense of Northern Division rivals. As an additional feather in the Keys cap, the 15 hits on Friday were the most allowed by Blue Rocks pitching all season, which entered Friday with the top ERA in the Carolina League, saw a 25.1 inning scoreless streak on Thursday.

MAKE A GOOD FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Frederick’s win on Friday night snapped a string of 10 straight losses in series openers. Prior to the game, the Keys had not claimed the first game of a series since April 18, when the team defeated Carolina 3-1 in 11 innings. Still a problem area, Frederick is now 4-12 in series openers this year. Lately, the orange and black have fared well in the middle game, capturing game two in four of the last six sets they have played.

TEXAS THREE-STEP: Parker Bridwell continued his dominance in the month of May on Friday night. Tossing seven innings of one-run baseball, the right-hander picked up his second win of the season. He scattered four hits, struck out a season-high nine, and did not walk a batter for the second time all season. In six May starts, Bridwell is 2-3 with a 2.72 ERA. Over 36.1 frames, he has allowed 11 runs on 25 hits, struck out 38 and walked 14. In the process, he has seen has ERA sliced from 7.56 to 4.70, the lowest it has been all season.

LIKE A ROCK: Zane Chavez extended his hitting streak to a season-high nine games on Friday, thanks to a 3-for-4 effort. One of two players to finish with three knocks, the California native drove in a run and scored three times as well. During his nine-game jaunt, the Californian is batting .424 (14-for-33) with three doubles, four RBIs, and five runs scored. Chavez’s streak extends back to May 6, as the catcher was promoted to Double-A Bowie on May 8 and later returned to the club on May 22. The longest streak of Chavez’s affiliated career came last August 14-26, when he hit in 11 straight with the Keys.

ADRIAN: Adrian Marin has been on a tear of late. On Friday, he drove in a career-high four runs, going 3-for-4. Two of the three hits were two-baggers, giving the Miami native six in his last four games  Over his last nine contests, Marin is batting .382 (13-for-34) with seven doubles, 10 RBIs and three runs scored, and has multiple hits in five of those games. During that stretch, he has moved his batting average from .221 to .255, the second-highest it has been all season.

NORTHERN EXPOSURE: QUICK HITS:   Frederick has not fared well against their closest geographic rivals this season. The Keys are a combined 8-14 against Wilmington, Potomac and Lynchburg this season, while the orange black are even or below .500 against all three clubs. The team’s recent roadtrip did not help matters. Over a seven game swing, the Keys lost six of the seven contests they played. That includes being swept in a three-game series against Lynchburg. This season, the Keys are 2-3 against Wilmington. The Blue Rocks took last year’s season-set, winning 12 of the 20 games played between the two teams.

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

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

 TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER:Right-hander Luis Santos makes his Advanced-A debut on Saturday night, after being promoted from Low-A Lexington on Memorial Day. Santos takes the roster spot of Blue Rocks reliever Ali Williams who was sent to Double-A Northwest Arkansas. Santos pitched in nine games with the Legends prior to his promotion, including six starts. During that time, he went 4-1 with two saves and a 1.76 ERA. That mark was good for sixth-best in the South Atlantic League, while he paced the circuit with a 0.83 WHIP. In 46 innings, Santos walked only five batters, and surrendered just nine earned runs (11 total). He scattered 33 hits, struck out 34, and held opponents to a .198 batting average putting him just outside the top five in the league. Delmarva’s Hunter Harvey currently leads the way, limiting opponents to a .170 mark. Last season, Santos was named the Burlington Royals “Pitcher of the Year” after going 4-1 with a 2.25 ERA in seven starts in the Appalachian League. He also went 3-0 with a 1.40 ERA in three games with Rookie Idaho Falls. Originally signed by Pittsburgh as an international free agent in April 2011, Santos was acquired by Kansas City in 2012 as part of the deal that sent Vin Mazzaro and Clint Robinson to the Pirates. The Royals also received Luis Rico in the deal. A three-pitch pitcher, the Bonao, Dominican Republic native throws a fastball, a curveball and a changeup.

Game Notes 5-30-14

Good Evening Keys Fans!

Frederick and Wilmington get underway at the top of the hour from the Grove! Parker Bridwell makes the start for the Keys and will be countered by righty Christian Binford. Pregame coverage starts at 6:45 p.m, with Doug Raftery and myself. Some game notes are below.

Talk soon and shake your keys!

Geoff

                             Friday, May 30, 2014 · Game #52 · Home Game #23

                         Frederick Keys (21-30) vs Wilmington Blue Rocks (27-25)

                 RHP Parker Bridwell (1-6, 5.13) vs. RHP Christian Binford (3-2, 2.21)

BROOMED: Lynchburg used a three-run eighth to earn a 6-3 victory over Frederick on Thursday afternoon at Calvin Falwell Field, as the Hillcats completed a three-game sweep of the orange and black. It marked the second time all season that the Keys had come away from a series winless, and the first time since April 8-10, when the club dropped three straight to Carolina. On Thursday, Glynn Davis put Frederick up 3-2 in the top of the seventh, but the Hillcats scored the final four runs off Frederick right-hander Miguel Chalas. In the home-seventh, Joe Odom evened the contest with a single to centerfield, before Edison Sanchez stroked a two-run double in the eighth to put Lynchburg up for good. The loss drops Frederick to nine games below .500, the most the team has been below sea-level all year.

EARLY BIRD DOESN’T ALWAYS GET THE WORM: Thursday marked the second straight game where Frederick had grabbed the lead first, but ultimately could not hold on. In the series finale against the Hillcats, the Keys grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first, but ultimately came up short 6-3. Wednesday was even harder to swallow, as Frederick took a 4-0 lead after four stanzas only to see Lynchburg prevail 5-4. This season, the Keys are 16-12 when scoring first, tied for the worst mark in the Carolina League. Lynchburg also checks in at 16-12, while Myrtle Beach has the top mark when christening the scoreboard. When the Pelicans score first, they are 24-4.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Frederick has struggled mightily in series openers this year. In 2014, the orange and black are just 3-12 in the first game of a series, while the Keys have lost 10 straight series openers. The last time Frederick started off a series on the right foot came on April 18, when the team defeated Carolina 3-1 in 11 innings. The Keys have often fared well in the middle game though, capturing game two in four of the last six sets they have played.

LIKE A ROCK: Zane Chavez extended his hitting streak to a season-high eight games on Thursday afternoon, thanks to an RBI double in the top of the first off Lay Batista. Over the eight-game jaunt, the Californian is batting .367 (11-for-30) with three doubles, three RBIs, and two runs scored. Chavez’s streak extends back to May 6, as the catcher was promoted to Double-A Bowie on May 8 and later returned to the club on May 22. The longest streak of Chavez’s affiliated career came last August 14-26, when he hit in 11 straight with the Keys.

ADRIAN!: Adrian Marin has been on a tear of late. On Tuesday he finished 2-for-4 with two doubles and a pair of RBIs. That performance came on the heels of a monster Memorial Day, where the Miami native tied a career-high with three RBIs going 2-for-3 with a pair of two baggers. His first double on Monday proved to be the dagger against Wilmington as it wrapped up a six-run third inning. Over his last eight contests, Marin is batting .333 (10-for-30) with five doubles, six RBIs and three runs scored, and has multiple hits in four of those games. During that stretch, he has moved his batting average from .221 to .242.

NORTHERN EXPOSURE:  Frederick has not fared well against their closest geographic rivals this season. The Keys are a combined 7-14 against Wilmington, Potomac and Lynchburg this season, while the orange black are even or below .500 against all three clubs. The team’s recent roadtrip did not help matters. Over a seven game roadtrip, the Keys lost six of the seven contests they played. That includes being swept in a three-game series against Lynchburg. This season, the Keys are 1-3 against Wilmington. The Blue Rocks took last year’s season-set, winning 12 of the 20 games played between the two teams.

MOVING AND SHAKING: Frederick’s roster has gotten a bit of a shakeup over the last week. On Tuesday, Joel Hutter was transferred to Aberdeen and Sam Kimmel added to the roster. That move comes after Michael Burgess was transferred to Aberdeen on Saturday, while Pedro Perez was received from the Ironbirds. Before Thursday’s morning game, Sammie Starr rejoined the Keys from Aberdeen and Zane Chavez returned from Double-A Bowie. Meanwhile, Perez was transferred to Aberdeen, while Lucas Herbst was also sent to the Ironbirds. On Friday, one additional roster move was announced, as lefty reliever Ashur Tolliver joined the Keys from Aberdeen, and Lex Rutledge was transferred.

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 10th Carolina League start second straight against the Frederick Keys on Friday. Rated the No. 10 prospect in the Royals system according to Baseball America, the Hagerstown, MD native drew a no-decision on Sunday against the Keys, despite posting his fourth quality start of the year. Over seven stanzas, the right-hander allowed one run on five hits, walked one and struck out eight. The CL’s leader in punchouts (64), Binford has struck out eight in back-to-back starts. His command has also been pinpoint. Rated as the top control pitcher in the Kansas City farm system by Baseball America, Binford is second in the Carolina League in WHIP (1.02), while he is limiting opponents to a .215 batting average (.229 left/.205 right) the fourth-lowest mark in the eight-team circuit. A pitcher who has been outstanding over both months of the season, Binford has a 1.99 ERA in the month of May, and has given up only seven runs in 31.2 innings pitched. 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 5-25

Good Morning Keys Fans!

The Keys and the Blue Rocks play the third of four games on Sunday afternoon. First pitch is slated for 1:35 as the Keys try and avoid their fourth straight loss.

First pitch is slated for 1:35 p.m., and some game notes are below.

Talk soon and shake your keys!

Geoff

Sunday, May 25, 2014 · Game #47 · Road Game #25

Frederick Keys (20-26) vs Wilmington Blue Rocks (24-23)

RHP Parker Bridwell (1-6, 5.47) vs. RHP Christian Binford (3-2, 2.35)

STUBBING YOUR TOE: Cody Stubbs was a one-man wrecking crew on Saturday night. Ending with five RBIs, Wilmington’s first baseman triggered a four-run Blue Rocks fourth, as the Frederick Keys dropped their third straight game, 8-4 at Frawley Stadium. One of the best offensive performances of the year against the Keys, Stubbs went 3-for-4 with five RBIs. That included a two-run double in the second and a three-run homer in the third. This season, only Myrtle Beach’s Joey Gallo has recorded more RBIs off of Frederick pitching in a game (on April 23 he tallied six RBIs via three home runs). Saturday’s loss moves Frederick to six games below .500 for the first time all season, while the Keys are 3.5 games behind Potomac and Wilmington who are tied for first in the Carolina League Northern Division.

MOVING OFF THE TRACKS: Frederick is in the midst of its second-longest losing streak of the season. The club’s longest slide went from April 8-12, when the orange and black lost five straight to Carolina and Lynchburg. Since that time, the Keys have not dropped any more than two in a row until Saturday. A team that has normally fared well on the road this season, the Keys have lost each of their last three road tilts going back to last Sunday at Winston-Salem.

HIT AROUND: Brady Wager allowed only one run over seven innings in his lone start at Frawley Stadium in 2013, however his first outing in 2014 against the Blue Crew was not as smooth. Pitching for the first time in nearly two weeks (Wager was scratched from his start last Saturday at Winston-Salem), the righty surrendered seven runs on seven hits. He walked one and struck out three. The seven runs were the second-most Wager had allowed in a game all season, however only three of them were earned. Prior to Cody Stubbs’ three-run homer in the fourth, Adrian Marin committed a two-out error which enabled a run to score. Since the defensive miscue would have ended the inning, none of the four runs in the third were charged to the Arizona native. Over his last two outings, the Arizona native is 0-2 and has allowed 12 runs (eight earned) on 17 knocks over nine frames.

READY FOR BUSINESS: Jason Esposito got quite a workout at third base on Saturday. Over nine innings, the former Vanderbilt Commodore recorded eight putouts, while he recorded every out in the bottom of the third. The top defensive third baseman in the Carolina League, Esposito has handled 121 total chances and made only one error. That came in the series opener on Friday night, and snapped a string of 42 straight games (dating back to 2013) where the Connecticut native did not make an error. One of the anchors of the Keys defense this season, Frederick is tied for the league-lead in fielding percentage (.978) with Wilmington (.978).

CLOSE CALLS: Lately, the Keys have played a number of nailbiters. Five of the club’s last six games have come down to one or two runs, while Saturday’s defeat ended a string of three straight one-run affairs. Frederick’s last one-run win came on Wednesday night against Myrtle Beach, when the Keys won 5-4 thanks to a three-run sixth, and an unearned run in the seventh. Less than 24 hours later, the Pelicans answered back with a 4-3 win, as Preston Beck’s two-run homer in the eighth inning off Lex Rutledge proved to be the decisive blow. On the season, Frederick is 5-10 in one-run games, the worst mark in the Carolina League. That can be partially attributed to the Keys dropping their first five one-run games of the year. Salem owns the best record in one-run tilts in the CL (8-2/.800).

STILL KNOCKIN: Tucker Nathans will be sad to see the month of May come to an end. After hitting only .148 in April, the New York native is batting .367 over the season’s second month. During that time he has gone 22-for-60 with four doubles, seven RBIs and six runs scored. A majority of that damage came during a five-game hitting streak (which ended Tuesday), where the former Fairfield star went 10-for-20 with three doubles, five RBIs and two runs scored. Nathans has recorded multiple hits in three of his last four games, to raise his batting average to .257, the highest it has been since April 4 (the second game of the year).

MOVING AND SHAKING: Frederick’s roster has gotten a bit of a shakeup over the last few days. On Saturday, Michael Burgess was transferred to Aberdeen, while Pedro Perez was received from the Ironbirds. Before Thursday’s morning game, Sammie Starr rejoined the Keys from Aberdeen and Zane Chavez returned from Double-A Bowie. Meanwhile, Perez was transferred to Aberdeen, while Lucas Herbst was also sent to the Ironbirds. On Friday, one additional roster move was announced, as lefty reliever Ashur Tolliver joined the Keys from Aberdeen, and Lex Rutledge was transferred.

TAYLOR TO THE DL: On Monday left-hander Matt Taylor was placed on the seven-day disabled list retroactive to May 19. One of the Carolina League’s top starting pitchers this season, the Georgian rates second in ERA (1.94) and is tied for second in wins (five). Winner of three straight starts, Taylor’s most recent triumph came last Wednesday against Potomac, when he allowed five runs over five innings.

ON THE WAY HOME: Although Glynn Davis is only 3 for his last 20 at the plate, the Keys centerfielder still ranks among the Carolina League’s top offensive performers. Third in the league in batting average (.320), Davis’ most valuable asset has been his ability to get on base and score runs. Over his last 18 contests, the speedster has scored 15 runs. In the process it has moved his season-tally up to 38, second-most in the Carolina League (he trails only Myrtle Beach’s Joey Gallo who has 44). He has at least one hit in 33 of the 44 games he has played this season, while he leads the team in multi-hit games (17).

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 ninth Carolina League start and his first against the Frederick Keys. Rated the No. 10 prospect in the Royals system according to Baseball America, the Hagerstown, MD native picked up his third win of the year on Tuesday. Facing Carolina, the right-hander allowed two runs on six hits over 5.2 innings, he struck out eight, but tied his season-high with three walks allowed. A pitcher whose control has been rated as the best in the Kansas City farm system by Baseball America, Binford is fourth in the Carolina League in WHIP (1.04), while he is limiting opponents to a .217 batting average (.225 left/.212 right) the fifth-lowest mark in the eight-team circuit. A pitcher who has been outstanding over both months of the season, Binford has a 2.19 ERA in the month of May, and has given up only six runs in 24.2 innings pitched. 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

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

The orange and black try and even the series tonight with the Wilmington Blue Rocks at 7:05 p.m. Branden Kline was dominant toward the later end of his first start in the First State (insert applause). Over seven innings he allowed one run and struck out six. Kline now paces Frederick pitchers with five quality starts.

Tonight the Keys turn to Brady Wager. He will be opposed by Jonathan Dziedzic, who enters with the third-best ERA in the Carolina League (2.11). In his first Carolina League season, Dziedzic has a very unique nickname. I’ll be discussing where it came from during the broadcast tonight, so make sure and tune in! First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m. and we’ll hit the air on 1450 AM The Source at 6:50. So tune in via computer, smart phone, or…..even by plain old radio tonight.

Some game notes are below.

Talk soon and shake your keys!

Geoff

Saturday, May 24, 2014 · Game #46 · Road Game #24

Frederick Keys (20-25) vs Wilmington Blue Rocks (23-23)

RHP Brady Wager (2-3, 6.43) vs. LHP Jonathan Dziedzic (4-2, 2.11)

27 OUTS IS NOT AN EASY GAME TO PLAY: Kenny Diekroeger stroked a game-winning single through the left side in the bottom of the 10th, as Wilmington handed Frederick a 3-2 walk-off defeat on Friday night at Frawley Stadium. Ahead 2-1 going into the ninth inning, Ashur Tolliver retired Tyler Chism, but doubles by Cam Gallagher and Terrance Gore forced an extra-frame. In the 10th, Matt Price loaded the bases (two walks and an intentional free pass), before Diekroeger sent the home crowd away happy.  The series opening loss to the Blue Rocks marks the second straight day where the Keys had lost a game when leading after seven innings, and only the second time all season where the orange and black had come up short when going into the ninth frame with an advantage (entering Friday the Keys were 13-1). On Saturday, Frederick tries to avoid falling six games below .500 for the first time all year.

WALK-OFF WOES: Through 45 games this season, the Keys have suffered five walk-off defeats. Two of those have come over the last five days. On Sunday, Frederick lost in a walk-off at Winston-Salem, when Courtney Hawkins doubled to the leftfield corner with two outs and eventually come home on a groundball to the right side by Grant Buckner. This season, the orange and black have only two walk-off wins, with the most recent coming against the Dash on May 10, when Brenden Webb stroked a ninth inning single to right off Winston-Salem’s Euclides Leyer.

FREE BASEBALL ISN’T ALWAYS FUN BASEBALL: The loss in the series opener dropped Frederick to 1-3 in extra-inning games this season. The three defeats in games stretching past regulation are tied for the most in the Carolina League with Potomac, who is 0-3 in those contests. All three of Frederick’s losses in extra-inning ballgames have come to Northern Division competition, with Lynchburg defeating the Keys 6-5 in 10 innings on April 4, and then again in 12 innings on April 14 by a 5-4 tally. Frederick’s lone extra-inning triumph came at Carolina on April 18, when the Keys won 3-1 in 11 innings. Friday was the first time all season that the Blue Rocks had played an extra-inning game.

CLOSE CALLS: Lately, the Keys have played a number of nailbiters. The team’s last five games have all come down to one or two runs, while each of the last three games have hinged on a single tally. During the five-game stretch, the orange and black have gone 2-3. Frederick’s last one-run win came on Wednesday night against Myrtle Beach, when the Keys won 5-4 thanks to a three-run sixth, and an unearned run in the seventh. Less than 24 hours later, the Pelicans answered back with a 4-3 win, as Preston Beck’s two-run homer in the eighth inning off Lex Rutledge proved to be the decisive blow. With back-to-back losses, Frederick is now 5-10 in one-run games, the worst mark in the Carolina League. That can be partially attributed to the Keys dropping their first five one-run games of the year. Salem owns the best record in one-run tilts in the CL (7-2/.778).

BACK ON TRACK: After allowing 10 runs and 17 hits over his previous nine innings, Branden Kline looked like his old self on Friday. In his 10th start of the season, the Frederick native tossed seven innings of one-run baseball in a no-decision. He allowed seven hits, struck out six and did not walk a batter. All seven hits Kline allowed came over the first three innings, while the right-hander faced only one over the minimum in his final four frames of work. The seven inning effort is the 22-year-old’s fifth quality start of the year, while he has worked seven innings or more on three occasions.

STILL KNOCKIN: Tucker Nathans will be sad to see the month of May come to an end. After hitting only .148 in April, the New York native is batting .364 over the season’s second month. During that time he has gone 20-for-55 with four doubles, seven RBIs and five runs scored. A majority of that damage came during a five-game hitting streak (which ended Tuesday), where the former Fairfield star went 10-for-20 with three doubles, five RBIs and two runs scored. Nathans has recorded multiple hits in three of his last four games, to raise his batting average to .257, the highest it has been since April 4 (the second game of the year).

MOVING AND SHAKING: Frederick’s roster has gotten a bit of a shakeup over the last 72 hours. On Saturday, Michael Burgess was transferred to Aberdeen, while Pedro Perez was received from the Ironbirds. Before Thursday’s morning game, Sammie Starr rejoined the Keys from Aberdeen and Zane Chavez returned from Double-A Bowie. Meanwhile, Perez was transferred to Aberdeen, while Lucas Herbst was also sent to the Ironbirds. On Friday, one additional roster move was announced, as lefty reliever Ashur Tolliver joined the Keys from Aberdeen, and Lex Rutledge was transferred.

TAYLOR TO THE DL: On Monday left-hander Matt Taylor was placed on the seven-day disabled list retroactive to May 19. One of the Carolina League’s top starting pitchers this season, the Georgian rates second in ERA (1.94) and is tied for second in wins (five). Winner of three straight starts, Taylor’s most recent triumph came last Wednesday against Potomac, when he allowed five runs over five innings.

ON THE WAY HOME: Although Glynn Davis is only 2 for his last 16 at the plate, the Keys centerfielder still ranks among the Carolina League’s top offensive performers. Fifth in the league in batting average (.321), Davis’ most valuable asset has been his ability to get on base and score runs. Over his last 17 contests, the speedster has scored 15 runs. In the process it has moved his season-tally up to 38, second-most in the Carolina League (he trails only Myrtle Beach’s Joey Gallo who has 44). He has at least one hit in 32 of the 43 games he has played this season, while he leads the team in multi-hit games (17).

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 ninth start of the season and his first against the Keys. Owner of the third-best ERA in the Carolina League (2.11), the Humble, Texas native trails only Frederick’s Matt Taylor (1.94) and Carolina’s Ryan Merritt (1.60) for the top spot. His most recent start came at Lynchburg last Sunday. Lasting a season-low three innings, Dziedzic allowed three runs on five hits. He struck out one and walked four, a mark which was a season-high and tied a career-high (he also walked four last June 30 vs Ogden, his second professional outing). Despite not having overpowering stuff, Dziedzic is fourth in the Carolina League in strikeout/9 IP ratio (9.78). His month of April was outstanding (4G, 3-1, 1.64), while he has been brutal against hitters from both sides of the plate. Dziedzic is holding opponents to a .224 average, while lefties are batting only .161 against him (5-for-31, 10 SO). 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.

 

 

 

Keys Game Notes 5-22-14

Rise and shine Keys fans!

The guys are hitting the field early this morning for the rubber match of a three game set with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. The Keys won last night, taking the lead in the sixth inning when three consecutive hits from Tucker Nathans, Michael Burgess, and Creede Simpson gave Frederick a 3-2 lead. The Keys tacked on another in the inning when Adrian Marin singled to drive in Simpson. Frederick didn’t look back, tallying another run in the seventh inning and eventually winning 5-4.

Today’s first pitch is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. at Harry Grove Stadium. Keys starter right-hander Mark Blackmar will face off against Pelicans’ lefty Victor Payano.

Below are some notes in reference to today’s game.

Thursday, May 22, 2014 · Game #44 · Home Game #22

Frederick Keys (20-23) vs Myrtle Beach Pelicans (28-16)

RHP Mark Blackmar (2-1, 4.66) vs. LHP Victor Payano (3-2, 4.26)

SIXTH INNING SURGE: Held to only one run on three hits through their first five trips to bat, the Frederick Keys sent eight men to bat and plated three runs in the sixth, as the orange and black defeated the Myrtle Beach Pelicans 5-4 on Wednesday night at Harry Grove Stadium. In the inning, Tucker Nathans led off with a single and scored on a double to left-center by Michael Burgess. That tied the game at two, while an RBI single by Creede Simpson gave the Keys their first lead. Later in the frame, Adrian Marin added insurance with a single to center which scored Simpson. The Pelicans made a comeback bid in the eighth thanks to a two-run homer by Christopher Bostick, but Mychal Givens retired the final five batters he faced to earn his third save.

MEAT AND POTATOES: Tuesday proved to be a good night for the heart of the Keys order. Five of the team’s nine hits and three of the five RBIs came courtesy of the three-five hole, while Tucker Nathans (2-for-2, R) and Michael Burgess (2-for-4, 2RBI, R) each finished with multi-hit games. For Burgess, it was his 11th multi-hit game of the year and moved his average up to .284 on the campaign, the highest it has been all season. Meanwhile, it was Nathans third multi-game in his last four contests.

ADRIAN!: Adrian Marin enjoyed a strong night at the plate after being stuck in a 2-for-23 slump over his previous six games. On Wednesday, the Miami native tied his season-high for hits, going 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored. The Keys shortstop also finished with three hits against Winston-Salem on May 11. Thanks to his performance in the middle game of the series, Marin moved his batting average up to .237, the highest it has been in a week. Only 20 years old, he is batting .266 over 18 games in May after hitting just .211 over 19 April contests.

CLOSE CALLS: Frederick’s win on Wednesday was their fifth one-run victory of the campaign. On the season, the team is 5-8 in ballgames decided by a single tally. After dropping their first five one-run ballgames to begin the year, the orange and black have come out victorious in three of their last four games hinging on a single run. So far, Potomac and Lynchburg have the most wins in one-run games in the Carolina League (nine), while Salem has the best winning percentage in game coming down to one run (7-2).

THE FLORIDIAN FORCE: Michael Burgess extended his hitting streak to a season-high seven games on Wednesday. After closing the book on the no-hit bid by Chi Chi Gonzalez on Tuesday, the power-hitting lefty ended 2-for-4 with a double, two RBIs and a run scored last night. Over the seven game stretch, he is batting .444 (12-for-27) with a home run, five doubles, 11 RBIs and five runs scored. One of the slugger’s best games of the year came on Sunday at Winston-Salem, when he finished 3-for-3, and became the third Keys player to drive in four runs this year. It was the most runs Burgess had brought home in a game since last May 13, when he tallied eight RBIs as a member of the Corpus Christi Hooks. Currently third in the Carolina League in RBIs, Burgess trails only Winston-Salem’s Courtney Hawkins (35) and Myrtle Beach’s Joey Gallo (39).

NATHANS KNOCKING: Tucker Nathans saw his season-high five game hitting streak end on Tuesday, but the New York native bounced back with his eighth multi-hit effort on Wednesday night. In the process it moved his batting average up to .248, the third-highest it has been all season. Over his last seven games, Nathans is batting .500 (12-for-24) with three doubles, five RBIs and four runs scored. One-third of that output came on Saturday at Winston-Salem, when the infielder his career-high for hits (four) and RBIs (three) in a game. After a dismal April where he hit only .148 over 14 games, Nathans is batting .353 over 15 games in May.

PELICAN BRIEFS:. Wednesday’s triumph was just the team’s second win over the Birds at Harry Grove Stadium this season. The 2014 head-to-head series got off to an inauspicious start for Frederick, who fell 21-6 on April 23, the club’s worse loss since June 11, 2006. Frederick bounced back the following night with their first walk-off win of the season, courtesy of Wynston Sawyer, but Pelicans pitchers combined on a 16 strikeout performance the following night to take the three-game set. Meeting on the Grand Strand to open the month of May, the two sides split the next four games. Pitching was the main storyline, with Chi Chi Gonzalez tossing eight shutout innings in the third game of the set, before Matt Taylor spun seven shutout frames in the series finale. A one-sided affair over the last two years, Frederick went 6-14 against Myrtle Beach in both 2013 and 2012. Both seasons, it marked the team’s worse showing against a CL opponent.

TAYLOR TO THE DL/HOBGOOD RETURNS: On Monday left-hander Matt Taylor was placed on the seven-day disabled list retroactive to May 19. One of the Carolina League’s top starting pitchers this season, the Georgian is currently tied for the circuit’s lead in wins (five) and is third in ERA (1.94). Winner of three straight starts, Taylor’s most recent triumph came last Wednesday against Potomac, when he allowed five runs over five innings. In a corresponding move on Wednesday afternoon, reliever Matt Hobgood was reinstated from the seven-day DL after missing nearly two weeks with right shoulder inflammation. In eight games this season, the California native is 2-1 with a 3.38 ERA.

 ON THE WAY HOME: Glynn Davis sawhis string of games with a run scored come to an end on Friday. Entering game one of the doubleheader with a run scored in nine straight, Davis never advanced past second base. He made up for it in the backend of the twinbill though, scoring twice. The Baltimore native has now come home 14 times in his last 14 contests, while he is second in the league in that department (37). One of the CL’s top threats at the plate, Davis is third in batting average (.331) and second in hits (53). He has at least one hit in 31 of the 41 games he has played this season.

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 10th start of the season on Thursday morning and his third against Frederick in 2014. His most recent start came against Potomac last Saturday, and was his second quality outing of the year. Over six stanzas, he allowed only two runs on four hits. He walked four and struck out three. In each of his last three starts he has tossed five innings or more and allowed two runs or less. 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 (36). A problem throughout his entire career, Payano has walked 206 over 328.2 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.

Keys Game Notes 5-21-14

The Frederick Keys and Myrtle Beach Pelicans take to Harry Grove Stadium tonight for their second of three games this week. The Pelicans took game one of the series last night when starter Chi Chi Gonzalez took a  perfect game into the fifth inning and a no-hitter into the seventh. Keys starter Parker Bridwell, who nearly threw a no hitter in his last outing, was solid as well. Bridwell gave up a run in the first inning, but recovered by retiring 10 of 11 batters. At night’s end, he allowed three runs over six innings pitched, striking out eight Myrtle Beach batters. The Pelicans scored a run in the fifth and sixth inning and eventually went on to win the game 3-1.

Tonight right-hander Joe Van Meter gets the start for the Keys, facing off against Myrtle Beach starter Andrew Faulkner.

Tonight’s game against the Pelicans also features Kid’s Courtesy Admission! If a child shows up (with a paying adult) wearing a little league baseball uniform that child will receive a free ticket to the game! Hope to see plenty of future Frederick Keys in the stands tonight!

Below are some game notes about tonight’s game.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014 · Game #43 · Home Game #21

Frederick Keys (19-23) vs Myrtle Beach Pelicans (28-15)

RHP Joe Van Meter (0-0, 4.15) vs. LHP Andrew Faulkner (2-0, 2.79)

LUMBER LIQUIDATOR: Chi Chi Gonzalez carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning, while the Frederick Keys were held to only one hit on the game, as the Myrtle Beach Pelicans earned a 3-1 victory on Tuesday night at Harry Grove Stadium. It was the fewest hits Frederick had recorded in a game all season. After tossing eight shutout innings against the orange and black on May 3, Gonzalez was even sharper on Monday. Over the first six innings, the Rangers No. 5 prospect allowed only four runners to reach base, while the team did not record its first hit until the seventh on an opposite field single by Michael Burgess. The Keys lone run came later that inning on a wild pitch. Parker Bridwell kept the Keys close over six innings, surrendering only three runs, but was tagged for his sixth loss of the season.

CHECKMATE: On Tuesday, Frederick was one-hit for the first time since April 20, 2013, when Potomac’s Taylor Hill shutout the Keys over seven innings at Pfitzner Stadium. Prior to yesterday, the Keys season-low for hits in a game had been two. Facing Dylan Baker on April 8, the Mudcats right-hander retired 18 in-a-row before Glynn Davis tripled to begin the seventh. This season the Keys have struggled mightily against Gonzalez. In two starts against the Keys, the right-hander has gone 2-0 with a 0.60 ERA (15IP/1R).

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Frederick has struggled terribly in series openers this year. Since winning of the first game of a four-game set at Carolina on April 18, the orange and black have dropped eight straight games to begin a series. In the first game of a series this year, the Keys are 3-10. That has contributed to only two series victories all year (to go with four defeats and six splits). Frederick’s last series win came during its last homestand, when the team took two of three against the Potomac National, the top club in the CL North.

PELICAN BRIEFS: The Keys have not fared well against the Pelicans at Harry Grove Stadium. Frederick has dropped three of its four home games to Myrtle Beach, while Tuesday’s loss was the team’s fifth to the Birds this season. The 2014 head-to-head series got off to an inauspicious start for Frederick, who fell 21-6 on April 23, the club’s worse loss since June 11, 2006. The Keys bounced back the following night with their first walk-off win of the season, courtesy of Wynston Sawyer, but Pelicans pitchers combined on a 16 strikeout performance the following night to take the three-game set. Meeting on the Grand Strand to open the month of May, the two sides split the next four games. Pitching was the main storyline, with Chi Chi Gonzalez tossing eight shutout innings in the third game of the set, before Matt Taylor spun seven shutout frames in the series finale. A one-sided affair over the last two years, Frederick went 6-14 against Myrtle Beach in both 2013 and 2012. Both seasons, it marked the team’s worse showing against a CL opponent.

THE FLORIDIAN FORCE: Michael Burgess closed the book on the no-hit bid by Chi Chi Gonzalez on Tuesday with a single to left in the top of the seventh. Additionally, it allowed the Tampa native to extend his hitting streak to six games, tying his longest swing of the year (he also hit in six straight from April 23-May 1). Over the current six-gamer he is batting .435 (10-for-23) with a home run, four doubles, nine RBIs and four runs scored. One of the slugger’s best games of the year came on Sunday at Winston-Salem, when he finished 3-for-3, and became the third Keys player to drive in four runs this year. It was the most runs Burgess had brought home in a game since last May 13, when he tallied eight RBIs as a member of the Corpus Christi Hooks. Currently third in the Carolina League in RBIs, Burgess trails only Winston-Salem’s Courtney Hawkins (34) and Myrtle Beach’s Joey Gallo (39).

NATHANS KNOCKING: Tucker Nathans saw his season-high five game hitting streak end on Tuesday. During the five-game jaunt he hit .500 (10-for-20) with three doubles, five RBIs and two runs scored. Four of Nathans hits came on Saturday at Winston-Salem, when he tied his career-high for hits (four) and RBIs (three) in a game. Although the streak is over, the New York native is still batting .327 over 14 games in May.

TEXAS TOAST: Parker Bridwell turned in his second straight quality start in the series opener against the Pelicans, but was tagged with his sixth loss. Coming off a near no-hitter, the reigning Carolina League “Pitcher of the Week” allowed three runs on six hits over six stanzas. He walked two and tied his season-high with eight strikeouts. The six losses is tied for the most in the CL, but is not indicative of how well Bridwell has pitched of late. After posting a 7.56 ERA in the month of April, the right-hander has tallied a 3.33 ERA (24.1 IP/9R) in four May starts.

 TAYLOR TO THE DL: On Monday left-hander Matt Taylor was placed on the seven-day disabled list retroactive to May 19. One of the Carolina League’s top starting pitchers this season, the Georgian is currently tied for the circuit’s lead in wins (five) and is third in ERA (1.94). Winner of three straight starts, Taylor’s most recent triumph came last Wednesday against Potomac, where he allowed five runs over five innings. The Orioles have not made a corresponding roster move.

 ON THE WAY HOME: Glynn Davis sawhis string of games with a run scored come to an end on Friday. Entering game one of the doubleheader with a run scored in nine straight, Davis never advanced past second base. He made up for it in the backend of the twinbill though, scoring twice. The Baltimore native has now come home 14 times in his last 13 contests, while he is second in the league in that department (37). One of the CL’s top threats at the plate, Davis is also tied for fourth (.331), is second in hits (53) and fifth in total bases (72). He has at least one hit in 31 of the 40 games he has played this season.

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 Andrew Faulkner makes his 10h appearance of the year on Wednesday as well as his seventh start. The 21-year-old’s most recent start came against Potomac last Friday. Earning the win, Faulkner allowed four runs on nine hits over six innings. He walked three and struck out four. That snapped a string of back-to-back quality starts by Faulkner, though he has tossed six innings in each of his last three outings. Currently, the southpaw is ninth in the Carolina League in ERA (2.79), and is one of two Pelicans pitchers among the 10 best (Chi Chi Gonzalez rates fifth with a 2.38 mark). Faulkner has split the season between the rotations and the bullpen. He began the year piggybacking with fellow lefty Luis Parra (alternating starting and relief roles) and has pitched almost exclusively out the rotation since Cody Buckel was placed on the disabled list in mid-April, and later moved to the bullpen. In his first year with the Pelicans, Faulkner spent all of 2012-13 with Low-A Hickory. Despite not joining the team until May 15 last year, the South Carolina native posted the second most starts on the staff (19). In 21 total games, he went 6-5 with a 3.48 ERA over 111.1 frames. The only member of the Pelicans who hails from the Palmetto State, Faulkner was selected by Texas in the 14th round of the 2011 draft out of South Aiken High School. As a senior, he went 6-2 with a 2.32 ERA with 81 strikeouts in 48 innings, becoming only the second player in his high school’s history to be drafted. He was signed by the Rangers for a reported $125,000 signing bonus. A four-pitch pitcher, Faulkner throws a fastball (89-92), curveball, changeup and split.

Keys Game Notes 5-20-14

The Keys open up a three-game homestand against the Myrtle Beach this evening. The Keys have won four of six and will look to continue the success against the league-leading Pelicans, who come into the series boasting a 27-15 record and a 15-5 record on the road.

Frederick sends Carolina League Pitcher of the Week Parker Bridwell to the mound, who nearly threw a no-hitter in his last outing. The Keys are also getting hot at the plate, especially Tucker Nathans, who is coming off one of his best weekends of the year, going 9-16 in four games, and Michael Burgess, who comes into the series on a five-game hitting streak.

Tonight is also GUARANTEE WIN NIGHT! We GUARANTEE that the Keys will win, but if they don’t, your ticket from tonight’s game can be redeemed at the box office for a Monday-Thursday regular-season home game (based on availability) later in the season. Tonight is also Peanut Free Night, and no peanut products will be sold at the game.

Hope to see plenty of you out at Harry Grove Stadium tonight!

Below are some of tonight’s game notes.

TWIN-CITY TORMENT: Needing only one more out to force extra-innings, Matt Hauser misfired on a breaking ball to Winston-Salem’s Courtney Hawkins, while two batters later, Grant Buckner delivered an RBI single to right, as the Keys fell to the Dash 7-6 on Sunday afternoon at BB&T Ballpark. The walk-off defeat forced Frederick to settle for a series-split, after winning the two middle games of the four-game affair. In a contest that featured a combined 23 hits, Michael Burgess was the star. Ending a triple shy of the cycle, the Floridian went 3-for-3 with four RBIs. Seen as a possible pitching duel at the onset, Branden Kline tied a career-high with six runs as well as a career-worst 11 hits. His opponent Tyler Danish did not fare well either. Entering Sunday with the third-best ERA in minor league baseball (0.71), the righty allowed five runs on seven hits as well as two home runs.

TOUGH EXIT: The Frederick Keys suffered their fourth walk-off loss of the season on Sunday. It was the team’s first walk-off defeat since May 7 at Potomac, when Randolph Oduber stroked a game-winning double to give the Nationals a 4-3 triumph. Frederick also suffered a pair of walk-off defeats to the Lynchburg Hillcats on back-to-back nights in April. The walk-off single by Buckner served as payback of sorts, as the Keys earned a walk-off victory over Winston-Salem on May 10.

THE FLORIDIAN FORCE: Michael Burgess put together his third three-hit game of the season on Sunday afternoon. Going 3-for-3, the Tampa native finished a triple shy of the cycle, and became only the third Keys player to drive in four runs in a game this year. It was the most runs Burgess had recorded in a game since last May 13, when he tallied eight RBIs as a member of the Corpus Christi Hooks. The four RBI effort pushed the outfielder’s tally up to 31 for the season. He is currently third in the Carolina League, trailing only Winston-Salem’s Courtney Hawkins (34) and Myrtle Beach’s Joey Gallo (39). Additionally, Burgess has hit safely in each of his last five games. During that time he is batting.473 (9-for-19) with a home run, four doubles, nine RBIs and four runs scored.

NATHANS KNOCKING: Tucker Nathans recorded multiple hits for the third time in four games on Sunday. Finishing 2-for-5 with a run scored, Nathans also extended his hitting streak to a season-high five games. Over that stretch, he is hitting .500 (10-for-20) with three doubles, five RBIs and two runs scored. The two-hit effort comes on the heels of an outstanding Saturday for Nathans, who tied his career-high for hits (four) and RBIs (three) in a game. Thanks to the five-game jaunt, Nathans has seen his average jump from 173 to .238. In 13 May ballgames, the former Fairfield standout is batting .340 (he hit only .148 over 14 games in April).

KNOCKED AROUND: Although Branden Kline receiveda no-decisionon Sunday, it was another challenging day for the right-hander. Over five-plus innings, the Frederick native surrendered a career-high 11 hits, and tied a career-high with six runs allowed. It was the most runs Kline had given up in a game since last May 12, when he was pitching for Low-A Delmarva. Since tossing six shutout innings at Potomac on May 7, the righty has given up 10 runs on 17 hits over his last nine frames. That has pushed his ERA from 2.01 to 3.47, the second-highest it has been all year.

 TAYLOR TO THE DL: On Monday left-hander Matt Taylor was placed on the seven-day disabled list retroactive to May 19. No reason was given for the DL move. One of the Carolina League’s top starting pitchers this season, the Georgian is currently tied for the circuit’s lead in wins (five) and is third in ERA (1.94). Winner of three straight starts, Taylor’s most recent triumph came last Wednesday against Potomac, where he allowed five runs over five innings. The Orioles have not made a corresponding roster move.

ATTACK OF THE BATS: The last six days have been very good for the Keys offensively. During that stretch, the Keys have averaged seven runs a game, earned a shutout victory, and set a new season-high for hits in a game. Frederick’s run of good luck started on Tuesday night. In addition to Parker Bridwell throwing a near no-hitter, Frederick touched up P-Nats lefty Brett Mooneyham for seven runs over five innings. On Wednesday morning, the Keys ambushed MLB rehabber Ross Ohlendorf. In only 2.1 of an inning, the orange and black tallied 11 hits and seven runs, as Frederick equaled its largest scoring output of the season (a 12-5 win). Additionally, seven of the nine starters ended with two hits or more. Following a setback in game one of Friday’s doubleheader, the Keys bounced back with an 8-2 win courtesy of five Winston-Salem errors, before tallying 13 knocks on Saturday in a 5-1 triumph. Frederick also recorded 10 hits on Sunday, but fell in the series finale to the Dash. In the month of May, Frederick is hitting .270 as a club over 18 games.

 ON THE WAY HOME: Glynn Davis sawhis string of games with a run scored come to an end on Friday. Entering game one of the doubleheader with a run scored in nine straight, Davis never advanced past second base. He made up for it in the backend of the twinbill though, scoring twice. The Baltimore native has now come home 14 times in his last 12 contests, while he is second in the league in that department (37). One of the CL’s top threats at the plate, Davis is also tied for third in the league in batting average (.338), is second in hits (53) and fourth in total bases (72). He has at least one hit in 31 of the 39 games he has played this season.

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 Alex “Chi Chi” Gonzalez makes his ninth start of the season and his second against the Keys in  2014. The No. 5 prospect in the Texas farm system according to Baseball America as well as the Rangers top pitching prospect, Gonzalez has won each of his last four starts. His most recent victory came last Tuesday against Winston-Salem. Over six shutout innings, the right-hander allowed only three hits, walked one and struck out five. Over the four-start stretch, Gonzalez has given up only four runs in 27.2 innings, cutting his ERA from 3.92 to 2.42. He is currently sixth in the Carolina League in ERA and fifth in WHIP (1.03). Not new to the Carolina League, the former Southland Conference Pitcher of the Year pitched in five games for the Pelicans in 2013. Splitting time between the Birds and Short-Season Spokane, Gonzalez went 0-4 with a 3.80 ERA. Selected by Texas with the 23rd pick in the 2013 draft out of Oral Roberts, the 22-year-old went 9-5 with a 1.83 in 15 starts. During that time he struck out 126 and walked only 27. Gonzalez throws both a four-seam and two-seam fastball, a curveball, slider, cutter and changeup. The cutter is his bread and butter pitch, and was described by ESPN’s Keith Law as the best cutter in the 2013 draft. He developed the pitch his sophomore year in college with then-head coach Rob Walton. Known as “Chi Chi” by his teammates, Gonzalez received the nickname from his great uncle who also gave nicknames to Chi Chi’s sisters (nina and nene).

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