Keys Game Notes 5-18-14

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

Frederick tries for its third series win of the year, and its second against the Dash at BB&T Ballpark. Last night, the team pounded out 13 hits en route to a 5-1 win. We’ll get underway at 1:45 on 1450 AM The Source with first pitch scheduled for 2:00 p.m. Some game notes are below.

Talk soon and shake your Keys!


                                                              Sunday, May 18, 2014 · Game #41 · Road Game #22

                                                        Frederick Keys (19-21) vs Winston-Salem Dash (14-26)

                                                 RHP Branden Kline (3-1, 2.64) vs. RHP Tyler Danish (0-0, –)

A NATHANS KINDA NIGHT: Tucker Nathans tied a career-high with four hits and drove home three of the Frederick Keys five runs, as the orange and black scored a 5-1 win over the Winston-Salem Dash on Saturday night at BB&T Ballpark. An all-around good effort by the Keys, eight of the nine members of the starting lineup finished with at least one hit, while the quartet of Gene Escat, Lex Rutledge, Matt Price and Matt Hauser combined on nine innings of five-hit, one-run baseball. The victory moves Frederick to 19-21 on the season, the first time the Keys have been two games below .500 since April 25.

NATHANS KNOCKING: After recording three hits over two ends of a doubleheader on Friday, Tucker Nathans remained hot on Saturday. Finishing 4-for-4 with a double, three RBIs and a run scored, the New York native tied his career-high for hits and runs batted in. The four-hit effort was his first since last May 22, when he was playing for Low-A Delmarva, while the three RBI effort was his first since last August 1, when he drove in three at Carolina. Over his last seven games, Nathans is batting .333 (11-for-25) to move his batting average from .155 to .229, the highest it has been since April 4 (the second day of the season).

ATTACK OF THE BATS: The last five 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. In the month of May, Frederick is hitting .270 as a club over its first 17 games.

THE FLORIDIAN FORCE: Michael Burgess picked up an RBI for the third game in a row to push his season total to 27. That mark is good for third-best in the Carolina League, with only Joey Gallo (39) and Courtney Hawkins (34) having more. Over the current series, Burgess has driven in five runs, and has one double in each game. Over his last nine games, Burgess is batting .352 (12-for-34) with a triple, three doubles, nine RBIs and three runs scored.

GENO!: On Saturday night, Gene Escat made his first professional start, filling in on late-notice for Brady Wager. Prior to the game, the former Fresno State Bulldog had made 76 straight appearances out of the bullpen. Despite the unfamiliar role, Escat was sharp, tossing a season-high four innings of scoreless baseball. During that time he allowed only two hits, walked one and struck out five. Entering the game having not allowed a hit to a left-handed batter all season (0-for-22 coming in), Joey DeMichele finally bucked the trend in the second, with a double down the third base line. Among the top relievers in the Carolina League, Escat is fifth among CL bullpen hands in strikeouts per nine innings (10.80) and fourth in lowest batting average against (.148). The right-hander has not allowed a run over his last eight innings, while he has a 1.61 ERA for the year.

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 comes home 13 times in his last 11 contests, while he second in the league in that department (36). One of the CL’s top threats at the plate, Davis is also third in the league in batting average (.342), second in hits (52), fourth in total bases (68) and fifth in total bases (71). He has at least one hit in 30 of the 38 games he has played this season.

FIVE COUNT: His eighth start may not have been his best, but Matt Taylor found a way to earn his fifth win of the season in the series finale against Potomac. That pulled him into a tie for the league-lead with Carolina’s Ryan Merritt. The five victories eclipses his 2013 total with Low-A Delmarva, and ties his career-high for wins in a season (he last won five with the Shorebirds in 2012). Beginning Wednesday as the Carolina League’s ERA leader, the Georgian allowed three runs in the first, snapping a string of 22.1 frames where he did not allow an earned run (and 15.1 where he did not allow any runs). In total, he allowed five runs (the most he had surrendered in a Carolina League start) over five innings, while he also gave up a season-high nine hits. Despite the numbers, Taylor  remains one of only four CL starters with a sub-2.00 ERA (1.94), and has the fourth-best mark overall.

FREDERICK VS WINSTON-SALEM: Frederick has a 7-3 mark against Winston-Salem this season, the team’s best mark against an opponent so far. On Sunday Frederick will try for its third series win of the season, and its second against the Dash. In April, the orange and black pulled a three-game sweep 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). Last year’s series was controlled by Winston-Salem, with the Dash taking 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 Tyler Danish makes his Carolina League debut on Sunday afternoon, and is the No. 10 rated prospect in the Chicago White Sox system according to Baseball America.  Promoted to Winston-Salem on Thursday, Danish takes the rotation spot of Mike Recchia who was called up to Double-A Birmingham. One of minor league baseball’s most dominant arms this season, the right-hander posted a 3-1 record with a 0.71 ERA (38 IP/3ER) over seven games at Low-A Kannapolis. Over 38 innings, Danish allowed only 28 hits, walked 10 and struck out three. He trails only Chase Anderson of Double-A Mobile (0.69) and Caleb Smith of Low-A Charleston (0.70) for the minor league ERA lead. In his minor league career (going back to last season), Danish is 4-0 with a 0.93 ERA over 22 games (eight starts) and has handed out only seven earned runs over 68 stanzas. Selected by the White Sox in the second round of the 2013 draft out of Durant High School (FL), the 19-year-old split 2013 between Rookie-Bristol and Kannapolis. Used primarily out of the bullpen (15G/1GS), Danish was a combined 1-0 with a 1.20 ERA, allowing only four earned runs over 30 innings. Danish was taken by the White Sox after an outstanding senior year of high school. Pitching in Florida’s highest classification, the righty pitched 94 innings without allowing an earned run. He signed as the 55th pick for just over $1 million. An individual who has overcome adversity in his life, Danish lost his father, Mike, just after Christmas in 2010. At the time, he was serving part of an eight-and-a-half year prison sentence for fraud. Compared by some to former White Sox starter Jake Peavy due to his size and low-release point, the right-hander throws from a low-three quarters arm slot and gets heavy sink on his fastball (resulting in a 3.58 groundout to airout ratio). In addition to his sinker, Danish throws a standard four-seam fastball, a slider with late break as well as a changeup.

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