Keys Game Notes 5-10-14

Good evening Keys fans!

The team takes the field tonight at 6:00 for the third of four games against the Winston Salem Dash. Dominant pitching has been the theme of the series and the primary recipe for success as each team has earned a win behind the performance of their starting pitcher. Thursday night, the Dash sent Mark Recchia (4-2, 2.97 ERA) to the mound who pitched seven innings and striking out nine Keys on way to a 7-2 victory. The Keys answered on Friday night with a 4-0 victory as starter Matt Taylor (4-1, 1.09 ERA) and reliever Jesse Beal combined for the shutout. Taylor went 7.1 innings, allowing nine hits and only one walk. His 7.1 inning performance was the longest by a Keys pitcher since August 3, 2013.

RHP Joe Van Meter hopes last night’s success will carry over to this evening as he makes his first start of the season for the Keys.

Outfielder Michael Burgess and designated hitter Lucas Herbst each drove in two runs Friday’s win, accounting for all four of the Keys runs. Glynn Davis remained hot by tripling in his first at bat. Davis is now batting .350 on the season and has recorded at hit in 24 of his last 30 games played.

The Keys sit in third place in the Carolina League Northern Division, just 4.5 games behind the Potomac Nationals, who have lost three straight.

As noted yesterday, Orioles slugger Chris Davis will begin his minor league rehab stint this weekend. Unfortunately, it will not be in Frederick. Davis was sent to Double-A Bowie in preparation for his major league return that should occur in the coming days.

The Orioles continue their three-game set against the Houston Astros tonight in Baltimore.

Below are some of the notes for tonight’s game at Harry Grove Stadium.

Saturday, May 10, 2014 · Game #33 · Home Game #15

Frederick Keys (14-18) vs Winston-Salem Dash (12-20)

RHP Joe Van Meter (0-0, –) vs. RHP Francellis Montas (0-0, 1.80)

LEANING TO THE LEFT: Matt Taylor was superb over 7.1 innings, while the Frederick Keys used a quick start to defeat the Winston-Salem Dash 4-0 on Friday night at Harry Grove Stadium. It was Frederick’s second shutout win of the season. On the mound, Taylor put together the longest start by a Keys starter this season. He walked one and struck out three, and has now gone 22.1 innings without allowing an earned run. In the process, it trimmed his ERA to 1.09, the best mark in the Carolina League. Michael Burgess and Lucas Herbst each recorded a pair of RBIs to pace the home team at the plate, while Herbst hit his first Advanced-A home run.

MATTY ICE: Despite a 25-pitch first inning, Matt Taylor’s put together the longest outing a Frederick pitcher in 2014, and the longest since August 3, 2013, when Brady Wager tossed a nine-inning complete game shutout against the Carolina Mudcats. A model of efficiency from the second inning on, the Georgian never threw more than 12 pitches in an individual frame after the first. Taylor has now gone 22.1 innings without allowing an earned run (going back to April 21), and 15.1 stanzas without allowing a run of any kind. The lefty has the 11th best ERA in minor league baseball, and paces all Orioles farm-hands in ERA by 60 pts (next closest is Hunter Harvey of Delmarva with a 1.69).

FIRING BLANKS: The 4-0 win was the Keys second of the season, and the club’s second against the Winston-Salem Dash. Previously, the Keys blanked their Southern Division counterpart 2-0 on April 16 in the second game of a doubleheader. The two shutout victories equals the Keys total from the 2013 season. In contrast, Frederick was shutout 10 times last season, the second-most shutout defeats in the Carolina League.

EARLY BIRD GETS THE WORM: Half of Frederick’s four runs came in the first inning last night. Facing Dash righty J.B. Wendelken, the orange and black opened the game with four straight hits, including a triple from Glynn Davis on the first pitch out of Wendelken’s hand. That staked the home team to a 2-0 lead. From there, the Keys would only manage four more hits, while the club would be outhit 9-8 on the game. Prior to Friday’s win, the Keys had gone 0-10 when recording fewer hits than their opposition.

HO-HUM: Michael Burgess recorded an RBI for the fourth straight game on Friday night, and has driven in five during that stretch. The Tampa native currently leads the Keys in RBIs (20), and sits just outside the top five in the Carolina League in that category. In the middle game against the Dash, Burgess finished 2-for-4 with two RBIs, his fifth multi-RBI effort of the campaign.

FEELING THE BREEZE: Over the last two nights, Frederick has struck out a combined 22 times. On Friday, Frederick whiffed 12 times, as Dash starter J.B. Wendelken recorded a career-high 10 strikeouts. That was the most strikeouts by an opponent starting pitcher against the Keys this season. Frederick also struck out 10 times on Thursday (with Mike Recchia recording nine). Despite the last two games, the orange and black are in the middle of the pack in terms of strikeouts (254).

A HOUSE BUT NOT A HOME: Despite Friday’s win, the Keys are just 4-10 at Harry Grove Stadium this year. The 10 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.

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. On Friday, he went 1-for-3 with a run scored. Activated from the disabled list before the game, Webb had not played since April 20 on account of a right shoulder strain. Through 17 games this year, he is batting .299 with a home run and nine RBIs to go along with six doubles.   

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 13-2. That mark improves to 9-1 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 24 of 30 games this season that he has played. Currently, the Baltimore rates second in the Carolina League in batting average (.350), hits (43) and runs scored (27), while he is third in total bases (58). 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 week. During that time, the Keys have hit into eight twin-killings. That has ticked the club’s season-total up to 27, the most in the Carolina League this season. Nearly one-fifth of the Keys twin killings have come from Jason Esposito, who has hit into five.

FREDERICK VS WINSTON-SALEM: Friday gave the Keys their fourth win over Winston-Salem this season. 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:The 21-year-old Francellis Montas, the 29th ranked prospect in the Chicago White Sox organization according to Baseball America, has one game under his belt in 2014. This past Monday, the righty last five innings at home against Myrtle Beach, while allowing three hits and one run. He struck out four and walked one in the win. Just like J.B. Wendelken, yesterday’s Dash starter, Montas was acquired in the three-team Jake Peavy trade with the Red Sox at the 2013 trade deadline. Boston signed the Dominican Republic native for $75,000 in 200 and saw his fastball hit 100 mph. In 2013, made 23 starts between Greenville (Boston) and Kannapolis (White Sox), while learning to dial back his fastball and pace himself. Had 2-9 record and 5.70 ERA in 19 games with Greenville, and a 3-2, 4.56 ERA with the Intimidators. Coming into this season, holds a 6-20 record and 5.41 ERA in 54 career minor league appearances (42 starts). Has spotty command at times, sits 91-95 mph on the heater, and can touch 97 regularly. Montas throws a slider and curveball (mid 80’s) along with a changeup, but that pitch lacks conviction and lefties have smacked a .276/.369/.529 line against the off-speed delivery.

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