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!
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.