Frederick Keys Game Notes 4-17-14
Good Afternoon Keys Fans!
Frederick wraps up its three-game series with Winston-Salem on Thursday night with thoughts of a sweep on their minds. Yesterday, the team scored five times in the first four innings of game one and benefited from three Dash errors, while in game two, it was the three-headed monster on the mound that got the job done. Jesse Beal, Gene Escat and Matt Price collaborated on a four-hit shutout, and struck out 13 of the 21 batters they faced.
Tonight, Brady Wager goes for his second win of the season. He comes off an excellent performance last Friday against Lynchburg, where he allowed one run over six innings. Unfortunately, his counterpart that night, Wes Parsons, was even better, tossing six shutout innings, as the Hillcats earned a 1-0 victory.
Wager will tangle with Tony Bucciferro, who walked only SIX batters in 90.2 IP last season. First pitch is slated for 7:00 p.m. from the Triad. Pregame show starts at 6:45.
A fresh batch of game notes is below. Talk soon!
Harry Grove Stadium · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703
Thursday, Apr. 17, 2014 · Game #14 · Road Game #7
Frederick Keys (5-8) vs Winston-Salem Dash (4-9)
RHP Brady Wager (1-1, 1.64) vs. RHP Tony Bucciferro (0-1, 3.00)
BREAK OUT THE BROOMS!:Frederick swept Tuesday’s twinbill against the Winston-Salem Dash, to give the Keys their first series victory of 2014. It was also the club’s first sweep of a road doubleheader since June 8, 2012, when the club swept Lynchburg in a doubleheader. In game one, the Keys benefited from three Dash fielding errors, as the visitors scored at least once in each of the first four innings. Matt Taylor also earned his first win on the mound, as Frederick claimed a 5-3 win. In game two, pitching reigned supreme. The trio of Jesse Beal, Gene Escat and Matt Price collaborated on a four-hit shutout, while the Keys used a productive second inning to secure a 2-0 triumph.
FIRING BLANKS:After being shut out twice during the recent seven-game homestand, Frederick blanked Winston-Salem in the second game of Wednesday’s twinbill. In the game, the Dash advanced only three runners to second base, while Keys pitching limited their opposition to only two hits over the final six innings. It was the club’s first shutout victory since August 3, 2013, when Brady Wager blanked the Carolina Mudcats 2-0 in nine innings and retired the final 18 batters he faced.
BRING A TENNIS RACKET NEXT TIME: In the game two, Frederick arms leaned heavily on the strikeout. Keys pitching recorded 13 of its 21 outs via the punch-out, one short of its season-high (set on April 9 vs Carolina). Gene Escat led the way, fanning six over three innings. Not normally reliant on the strikeout, the six whiffs establishes a new career-high for the former Fresno State Bulldog, who also struck out the side in the fourth.
ALL GOOD THINGS MUST COME TO AN END: Glynn Davis’s 11-gamehitting streak came to an end in game oneon Wednesday, as he finished 0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored. The longest streak of its kind in the Carolina League this season, the Baltimore native hit .458 (22-48) during the 11-game swing with four doubles, a triple and eight RBIs. Quickly putting the 0-for-3 game behind him, Davis finished 2-for-3 in the second contest, to maintain his league-best .444 batting average. That mark also paces Advanced-A, as the Keys leadoff man leads the circuit by 11 pts (Salem’s Kevin Heller is hitting .433). Additionally, Davis leads the CL in hits (24) and runs scored (13), is second in total bases (30), third in RBIs (nine) and fourth in slugging percentage (.556).
SEND IT IN JEROME!: Jerome Pena made his 2014 debut on Wednesday, after starting the season on the disabled list. Playing at second base in both contests, the former TCU Horned Frog also went 3-for-8 at the plate with two doubles and two runs scored. In his third season with the Keys, Pena hit .222 with 11 home runs and 52 RBIs last season (both career-bests). He also finished with a career-high 21 doubles, and led the club in games played (120).
ROAD WARRIORS: Through 13 games, the Keys have preferred the road rather than the friendly confines. In six road tilts this season, Frederick is 4-2, and has won each of its last three games away from Harry Grove Stadium. In contrast, the Keys are 1-6 in home games. That includes being swept in three games by the Carolina Mudcats. This reverse home-road trend was the norm in 2013, with the Keys going 29-40 in home games and 32-38 in road games.
THE TIMES THEY ARE A’CHANGIN: On Tuesday, the Keys roster received a bit of a shakeup. Outfielder Trent Mummey and infielder Michael Mosby were both released, while infielder Jerome Pena was activated from the seven-day disabled list and outfielder Lucas Herbst was promoted from Low-A Delmarva. In seven games with Frederick this season, Mummey hit .182 (4-for-22) with a run scored. Mosby was 0-for-12 at the plate in three games. As for Herbst, he was hitting .250 (3-for-12) with two RBIs over four games with the Shorebirds. Starting the second game of the doubleheader in rightfield, he finished 1-for-3 with a run scored.
FREDERICK VS WINSTON-SALEM 2013: The Dash controlled the 2013 season series, winning 12 of the 20 meetings. Still, the games were often close. Of the 20 matchups, half were decided by two runs or less, while six came down to only one run. To add a little more excitement, this year’s Winston-Salem team is skippered by former Frederick manager Tommy Thompson. From 2007-08, he posted a 97-96 record, while he led the 2007 Keys to the club’s third Mills Cup title.
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 have played at the Advanced-A level.
TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Tony Bucciferro makes his third Carolina League start and his first against the Frederick Keys on Thursday night. The right-hander last pitched on Friday at Wilmington, suffering the loss after allowing four runs on six hits over six innings. All four runs allowed by Bucciferro came in the fourth inning, as he allowed just one hit over the other five stanzas. His other start also came against Wilmington. In his Carolina League debut, the Floridian tossed six innings and allowed one unearned run, but received a no-decision. Last season, Bucciferro split the year between Rookie-Bristol and Low-A Kannapolis, appearing in 16 combined games. A majority of that time came with the Intimidators, where he went 3-5 with a 2.50 ERA over 12 games (12 starts). Armed with laser-like command, Bucciferro struck out a combined 96 batters in 2013 and walked only six over 90.2 innings. He played his first season with Rookie-Bristol, tallying a 2.57 ERA, but only pitched in six games due to a shoulder injury. Selected by Chicago in the 14th round of the 2012 draft, Bucciferro played his college baseball at Michigan State, where he was teammates with former Keys outfielder Torsten Boss. A team captain his senior season, the 24-year-old closed out his career as the Spartans all-time leader in innings pitched (372.1) and starts (55). Twice an All-Big Ten selection, he led the conference in strikeouts as a senior. During his college career he also pitched in the Cape Cod League for the Brewster Whitecaps in 2011, and got to play at Fenway Park during the Cape Cod League All-Star game that season. Not overpowering, Bucciferro throws both a four-seam (89-91 mph) and two-seam (88-90 mph) fastball, a slider (81-84 mph) and a changeup (78-82).