Keys Game Notes 5-9-14

Hello Keys Fans!

My name is Jake and this is my first blog post with the Keys. I attend the University of South Carolina but am home for the summer and will be working with the Keys to make your experience as fans as enjoyable and accessible as possible!

The Keys are looking to rebound from last night’s 7-2 loss to Winston-Salem. This was the team’s first loss to the Dash this season after sweeping their three game set in mid-April. Lefty Matt Taylor takes the mound for the Keys tonight and looks to continue his scorching hot start to the season. Taylor hasn’t allowed an earned run in four of his six starts this season.

Below are some further game notes with regard to tonight’s game.

Rumors continue to swirl about the possibility of a Frederick-based rehab stint for Orioles slugger Chris Davis. With Davis eligible to come off the disabled list this Sunday, manager Buck Showalter said a weekend rehab assignment for the first baseman is an option. Both the Keys and the Double-A Bowie Baysox are home this weekend and would be the most likely destinations for Davis.

Come out at 7:00 to Harry Grove Stadium to support your Frederick Keys!

Friday, May 9, 2014 · Game #32 · Home Game #14

Frederick Keys (13-18) vs Winston-Salem Dash (12-19)

                 LHP Matt Taylor (3-1, 1.32) vs. RHP J.B. Wendelken (3-2, 4.46)

DASHED: The Winston-Salem Dash used excellent starting pitching from Mike Recchia as well as a four-run second inning to defeat the Frederick Keys, 7-2 on Thursday night at Harry Grove Stadium. Tied for the Carolina League lead in strikeouts entering the game, Recchia struck out nine over seven innings, and allowed only two runs (one earned). The right-hander allowed only one hit over his final five innings of work, while the Keys were limited to four hits on the night. Half of those came from Brenden Webb, who finished 2-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI. The loss returned the orange and black to five games below .500, equaling the most games Frederick has been below sea-level in 2014.

A HOUSE BUT NOT A HOME: Thursday’s defeat was Frederick’s 10th in 13 games at Harry Grove Stadium this year. The 10 home losses is the second-most in the Carolina League, with the Keys trailing only Winston-Salem (6-12) in setbacks at home. In contrast, Frederick’s 10 road wins are good for second-best in the CL. In general, home wins have been tough to come by in the Carolina League this season. Only Potomac (9-6) and Salem (9-8) have winning records at their home parks this season, while host clubs are a collective 54-70 in CL tilts this season.

SEND UP A SIGNAL I’LL THROW YOU A LINE: Besides mustering only four hits on the night, Frederick finished the night 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position. Over the last two days, the orange and black are a combined 1-for-12 with men at second and third base, while over the last four games the team is just 5-for-28 in that category. This season, the Keys are batting .228 as a club with runners in scoring position, the third-worst mark in the Carolina League. Only Wilmington (.183) and Carolina (.199) have fared worse.

WELCOME BACK WEBB!: Playing for the first time in more than two weeks, Brenden Webb showed little rust on Thursday night.Ending the game 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI, it was the San Diego native’s sixth multi-hit effort of the season. Activated from the disabled list before the game, Webb had not played since April 20 on account of a right shoulder strain. Through 16 games this year, he is batting .297 with a home run and nine RBIs to go along with six doubles.   

LEFTY: Matt Taylor makes his seventh start of the season on Friday night, and has been lights out this season. The Carolina League’s ERA leader (1.32), the southpaw has allowed only five earned runs over 34 innings, while he has not surrendered an earned run in his last 15 frames. Meanwhile he has not allowed an earned run in any of his home starts this year (2GS/11IP).

SOMETIMES YOU’RE THE HAMMER, SOMETIMES YOU’RE THE NAIL: Parker Bridwell was tagged with his fifth Carolina League loss in the series opener against Winston-Salem. Over five innings, the Texan allowed five runs on six hits, he walked two and struck out six. It was Bridwell’s fourth straight defeat dating back to April 20. Not normally home run prone, the right-hander allowed a pair of long balls, including a three-run shot by Adam Heisler in the top of the second. In seven starts this season, Bridwell is 0-5 with a 6.94 ERA.

ROAD NOTES: After going 5-2 during their second roadtrip, the Keys struggled a bit during the weeklong sojourn to Myrtle Beach and Potomac. Frederick went 3-4 against the Carolina League’s two best clubs, earning a split with the Pelicans, before dropping two of three to the Nationals. When the orange and black came up short, it was usually due to one bad inning. On Tuesday night at Potomac, the Keys suffered their third walk-off loss, after seeing a three-run lead vanish in the sixth inning. That was also the case in the series opener at Myrtle Beach. Ahead 5-2 after six frames, Frederick saw things slip away when Mychal Givens allowed seven runs in the bottom of the seventh. Not at its best, the bullpen posted a 7.25 ERA (22.1 IP/18 ER) during the roadtrip.

TURN OUT THE LIGHTS, THE PARTY’S OVER: When the Keys have opened the eighth inning with a lead, the results have often been favorable for the orange and black. In games where the team has the lead after seven innings, the Keys are 12-2. That mark improves to 8-1 when Frederick is ahead going into the ninth. In contrast, the Keys have had no success playing from behind late in games. In games where Frederick trails after seven innings, the club is 0-14. That mark also holds true when the Keys are behind entering the ninth.

TOP DOG: A staple of consistency at the top of the lineup, Glynn Davis has recorded at least one hit in 23 of 29 games this season that he has played. Currently, the Baltimore rates second in the Carolina League in batting average (.353), hits (42) and runs scored (26), while he is fourth in total bases (55). Davis’ 14 games of two-hits or more also lead the ballclub.

TWIN KILLINGS:Frederick has been susceptible to the double-play ball over the last six days. During that time, the Keys have hit into seven twin-killings. That has ticked the club’s season-total up to 26, the most in the Carolina League this season. Salem is the only other club that has hit into at least 20 or more double plays (24). Nearly one-fifth of the Keys twin killings have come from Jason Esposito, who has hit into five.

FREDERICK VS WINSTON-SALEM: Thursday gave the Dash their first win over the Keys in 2014. Frederick swept the earlier series down in the Triad, taking three straight at BB&T Ballpark from April 16-17. During the set, Frederick benefited from eight Dash errors, got great production from its offense (14 runs) and lockdown relief (9IP/ER). The good start comes on the heels of a one-sided head-to-head series in 2013, where the Dash took 12 of the 20 meetings. Adding a little more drama to this year’s series,  Winston-Salem 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 played at the Advanced-A level prior to 2014.

 TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Right-hander J.B. Wendelken makes his seventh start of the season and his first against Frederick in 2014. His most recent outing came last Sunday against Potomac. Tagged with his second loss of the year, Wendelken allowed six runs (five earned) on a season-high 11 hits over six innings. He also gave up three home runs, after surrendering only one deep fly in his previous five starts. The loss to the Nationals snapped a two-game winning streak for Wendelken, and accounted for the most runs he had given up in a game this year. A pitcher who has not fared well at the friendly confines of BB&T Ballpark, the Georgian is 2-0 with a 2.95 ERA in road games (18.1 IP/6ER) and 1-2 with a 6.19 ERA (16IP/11ER) in home games. Just 21 years old, Wendelken made his Dash debut in 2013. Working exclusively out of the bullpen, he went 0-1 with a 4.82 ERA in six games. He also pitched three games for Low-A Kannapolis, going 0-1 with two saves and a 9.64 ERA. Originally selected by Boston in the 13th round of the 2012 Draft out of Middle Georgia College, Wendelken was named the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association Player of the Year as a member of the Knights. That season, he went 6-0 with a 0.20 ERA over 21 appearances (0.20). Tonight’s starter for the Keys, Matt Taylor, also pitched for Middle Georgia, but was a member of the team the year before Wendelken arrived. The righty was dealt to the White Sox last July 30 as part of the trade that sent Jake Peavy to Boston. In addition to Wendelken, the White Sox received Avisail Garcia, Francellis Montas and Cleuluis Rondon. In 40 games as a member of the Red Sox system, Wendelken went 4-0 with a 2.40 ERA. He throws a 90-93 mph fastball, a curveball (high 70s) and a changeup.

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