Frederick Keys Game Notes 6-13-14
Good Evening Keys Fans!
In the spirit of the season, it is World Cup Night at the Ballpark! It should be a ton of fun, with plenty of fun games going on between innings. We’ll also have some baseball for the Grove, as Branden Kline goes for his first win at the ballpark he attended as a kid. The righty will be opposed by Sam Wolff.
Doug Raftery (in soccer jersey BTW) and I will have the call beginning at 6:45 on 1450 AM The Source. Among the pregame highlights, is an interview with Keys groundskeeper Mike Soper. He talks about working around some nasty weather, as well as his thoughts on the team’s grounds crew (you may be surprised who it consists of).
Some game notes are attached below. Talk soon and shake your keys!
Friday, June 13, 2014 · Game #65 · Home Game #29
Frederick Keys (29-35) vs Myrtle Beach Pelicans (44-21)
RHP Branden Kline (3-2, 2.92) vs. RHP Sam Wolff (6-3, 2.78)
DOING THE LYON’S SHARE OF THE WORK: Down by three runs entering the ninth inning, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans scored five times off Mychal Givens and Ashur Tolliver to stun the Frederick Keys 8-6 on Thursday night at Harry Grove Stadium. David Lyon provided the decisive blow with a three-run double to left which put the visitors on top to stay. In the bottom of the ninth inning, the Keys got a double by Jason Esposito, but Will Lamb struck out a pair and got a strike out to end the game. A one-man wrecking crew at the plate, Lyon ended with a career-high five RBIs after also recording a two-run double in the first.
IT’S NOT OVER UNTIL THE FAT LADY SINGS: On Thursday, Frederick lost only its third game all season when leading after eight innings. Prior to the series opener against Myrtle Beach, the Keys previous loss when leading after eight stanzas came on May 23 at Wilmington. Armed with a 2-1 lead going into the bottom of the ninth at Frawley Stadium, Ashur Tolliver allowed doubles to Cam Gallagher and Terrance Gore to even the count before Kenny Diekroeger stroked a walk-off single in the 10th inning off Matt Price. Tagged with the loss on Thursday, Mychal Givens gave up five runs over 1.2 innings, but only one was earned on account of an error by Joel Hutter at second. This season Givens has struggled mightily against the Birds. Over six innings, the Floridian has allowed 14 runs (10 earned) on 13 hits (15.00 ERA). Meanwhile, Givens has allowed only two runs over 25.1 stanzas (0.71 ERA) when pitching against the rest of the league.
LITTLE HELP!!: Although the Keys tallied six runs, the team passed up a number of run scoring opportunities. Frederick left a total of 10 men on base, while the orange and black went just 3-for-18 with runners in scoring position. A point of emphasis all season, the Keys are batting only .243 with men at second and third base. That is the third-worst mark in the CL, as only Wilmington (.218) and Carolina (.233) hit at a lower clip. With the bases loaded, Frederick hits at only .216, while the team holds a .196 mark with runners in scoring position and two outs.
STRUGGLES WITH THE LEATHER: Despite being one of the Carolina League’s better defensive teams, Frederick has committed six errors in its last three games. The club has two errors in each of its last three contests, while the team has made at least one error in four straight affairs. That has dropped the Keys to third in the Carolina League in defense. On the season, Frederick has posted a .976 fielding percentage and has committed the third-fewest errors in the league (57). Lynchburg and Wilmington are tied for the best fielding percentage in the eight-team circuit (.977). Winston-Salem is last in the Carolina League (.960) and has committed a league-high 95 errors.
SLUMP BUSTING: Stuck in a 4-for-56 funk coming into Thursday’s action, Jason Esposito busted out in a big way. Ending 3-for-5 with two doubles, the former Vanderbilt Commodore raised his average from .215 to .224. It was his first three-hit game since May 17, and his fourth game of three hits or more this season. Not known for drawing a lot of walks, Esposito has also drawn more free passes of late, working five walks in his last eight games (he drew only one walk in his first 49 ballgames).
MIKE CHECK 1,2,3: Since returning from Aberdeen last Tuesday, Michael Burgess has hit safely in seven of his last 10 games. During that time, he is batting .371 (13-for-35) with two home runs, two triples, two doubles, seven RBIs and eight runs scored. The hot stretch has bumped his batting average from .278 to .295. The boost can be attributed to three multi-hit games, including a four-hit effort last Friday, where the outfielder went 4-for-5 with a homer, triple, three RBIs and three runs scored. It was his first four-hit effort since July 8, 2010, when he was a member of the Potomac Nationals, playing against the Frederick Keys. Meanwhile, it was the second time that Burgess had come one hit away from a cycle in a game this year. On May 18 at Winston-Salem, the Floridian came within a triple of the cycle. Currently, Burgess is second in the Carolina League in slugging percentage (.503) and tied for hird in RBIs (40).
LIKE A ROCK: After hitting in 10 straight from May 6-31, Zane Chavez has hit safely in his last six in-a-row. On Thursday he extended his streak, going 2-for-5 with a home run, RBI, and run scored. During the six-game jaunt, the Californian is batting .304 (7-for-23) with three home runs, a double, six RBIs and three runs scored. Chavez has also hit home runs in three straight games, the first time he has accomplished that feat in his affiliated career. In his second season of affiliated baseball, Chavez has six RBIs in his last four games and 12 over 26 games with the orange and black this season.
HEY NOW YOU’RE AN ALL-STAR: Last Wednesday afternoon, it was announced that Glynn Davis and Matt Taylor had been named to the Carolina League All-Star team. It marked the second professional all-star selection for Davis and the first for Taylor. On Tuesday, June 17, the Carolina League All Stars will play the California League All-Stars in the two leagues annual clash. The No. 29 prospect in the Orioles system according to Baseball America, Davis enters Wednesday’s action with the fourth-best batting average in the Carolina League (.313). He ranks second in hits (65), runs scored (46) and is third in doubles (16). The Baltimore native also paces the Keys with 19 multi-hit games. Although Taylor was named to the All-Star squad, he will not play in the game due to injury. Still, the Georgian has impressed this season, going 5-1 with a 1.94 ERA in eight games. He is second in the league in ERA and is tied for second in wins. This year’s Carolina League All-Star team will be managed by Blue Rocks skipper Darryl Kennedy, while Wilmington’s Steve Luebber will serve as pitching coach.
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 Sam Wolff makes his 14th appearance and his 13th start of the season. Winner of back-to-back outings, the right-hander tossed six shutout innings against the Keys last Sunday on the Grand Strand. During that time he allowed only two hits, and walked a pair. It was his longest outing since May 14, when he turned in seven innings of three-run baseball against Winston-Salem in a winning effort. The righty is tied for the Carolina League lead in wins (six) is sixth in ERA (2.78), second in batting average against (.205) and is tied for fourth in WHIP (1.10). Wolff has not allowed a run in his last 12 innings, while he has pitched well the last two times he has faced the Keys. In addition to throwing six shutout innings on Sunday, the South Dakota native tossed seven innings and gave up only three earned runs on May 4. Friday will be Wolff’s second start at Harry Grove Stadium, a venue that was not kind to him on April 23. Although the righty earned his third win, he surrendered a career-high five runs, as well as two homers, the first two longballs he had given up in his professional career. Selected by the Rangers in the sixth round of the 2013 draft, the South Dakota native split 2013 between Short-Season Spokane and Low-A Hickory. In 21 total games (all in relief), he went 4-0 with a 0.60, surrendering only two earned runs over 30 innings. In his time with Hickory, Wolff did not allow any runs over 13.2 innings. Drafted three different times, the 22-year-old split his college career between the University of San Diego, the College of Southern Nevada and the University of New Mexico. Ending his career with the Lobos, Wolff went 7-3 with a 2.90 ERA as a starter, and was an Academic All-Mountain West selection. A player with good baseball bloodlines, his father, Steve, was a second baseman and shortstop in the San Diego Padres farm system. Wolff throws a 92-96 mph fastball, a 12-6 curveball (mid-70s) as well as a changeup.