Frederick Keys Game Notes 6-14-14

Good afternoon Keys fans!

The sun is out and shining at Harry Grove Stadium as the Keys continue their series against the Myrtle Beach Pelicans! The Keys leveled the series at one game a piece last night when they beat the Pelicans 7-6 on a walk-off single by catcher Zane Chavez. Frederick trailed 6-1 entering the seventh inning before their comeback began. The Keys scored three runs in the ninth inning to cap their comeback. Jason Esposito and Joel Hutter scored on throwing error following a sac bunt from center fielder Glynn Davis. Davis advanced to third on the play and was driven home two batters later on the Chavez single.

Tonight, Brady Wager takes the mound for Frederick.  Lefty Alexander Claudio will get the start for the Pelicans.

Hope to see plenty of you out here enjoying this beautiful weather at the Grove!

Below are some of the game notes for tonight:

Saturday, June 14, 2014 · Game #66 · Home Game #30

Frederick Keys (30-35) vs Myrtle Beach Pelicans (44-22)

RHP Brady Wager (2-5, 5.93) vs. LHP Alexander Claudio (4-0, 1.05)

COMEBACK KIDS:The Frederick Keys scored three times in the bottom of the ninth off Cody Ege, while Zane Chavez delivered the final blow to lead the orange and black to a 7-6 win on Friday night at Harry Grove Stadium. Delayed one hour and 14 minutes due to rain, Frederick was limited to one run on three hits over the first six stanzas, before a bout of wildness by Pelicans lefty Sam Stafford helped the Keys regroup in the seventh. Entering for Sam Wolff, Stafford allowed an RBI single to Jason Esposito, before Joel Hutter plated another run with a single to center. Glynn Davis and Lucas Herbst then coaxed walks to pull the Keys within a pair. In the ninth, Esposito and Hutter reached to open the inning against Ege, while both scored on a throwing error by the Birds pitcher. Davis advanced to third, but pinch-hitter Sammie Starr struck out. Electing to walk the next two batters, it loaded the bases for Chavez, who floated a game-winning single down the rightfield line.      

IT’S NOT OVER UNTIL THE FAT LADY SINGS: Friday was the Keys third walk-off win of the season and their second against the Pelicans. Frederick’s first walk-off win came against Myrtle Beach on April 24, when Wynston Sawyer stroked a game-winning double off Keone Kella in the bottom of the ninth inning. Friday’s victory also went down as the team’s biggest comeback win of the year. Prior to eliminating a five-run deficit yesterday, Frederick’s biggest comeback margin was three runs.

BREAK THROUGH THE GLASS CEILING: Friday was only the Keys second win all season when trailing after eight innings. Coming into Friday’s game, Frederick was 1-24 when playing from behind after eight stanzas, while things were equally as dire when having to make up ground after seven innings (1-23). The team’s only other win when trailing after seven or eight innings came on May 10 during a quasi-doubleheader against Winston-Salem. With the Dash ahead 3-0 in the fifth inning of a previously suspended contest, the orange and black scored the final four runs, as Brenden Webb stroked a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth.

THERE’S THE LEATHER!: On Friday, Frederick snapped a string of four straight games with an error, as well as three consecutive contests with two errors. It was the team’s first game of error-free baseball since last Saturday night in Myrtle Beach. Tied for the top fielding percentage in the Carolina League, Frederick has posted a .977 mark and has committed the second-fewest errors in the league (57). The Keys are tied for the top fielding percentage with Wilmington, while the Blue Rocks have made four-fewer errors. Winston-Salem is last in the Carolina League in fielding percentage (.961) and errors (95).

MIKE CHECK 1,2,3:,Michael Burgess came within a home run of the cycle on Friday, going 3-for-4 with an RBI. Scalding hot at the plate, the Tampa native as hit safely in eight of his last 11 games. During that time, he is batting .410 (16-for-39) with two home runs, three triples, three doubles, eight RBIs and eight runs scored. The hot stretch has bumped his batting average from .278 to .305, the highest it has been all season.  This year, Burgess has come one hit away from the cycle on three occasions. On June 6 at Myrtle Beach he was a double short, while on May 18 at Winston-Salem he needed only a triple to accomplish the feat. Coming into Saturday, Burgess is tied for fifth in the Carolina League in hitting (.305), sits second in slugging percentage (.523), third in extra-base hits (27) and fourth in RBIs (41).

LIKE A ROCK:  After hitting in 10 straight from May 6-31, Zane Chavez has hit safely in his last seven in-a-row. On Friday, stroked the game-winning single in the bottom of the ninth to cap-off a 3-for-5 day where he also doubled and scored a run. During the seven-game jaunt, the Californian is batting .357 (10-for-28) with three home runs, two doubles, seven RBIs and four runs scored. Chavez has also hit home runs in three of his last four games.

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:Left-hander Alexander Claudio makes his 15th appearance of the season and his second start on Saturday night. His last outing came on Monday against Lynchburg, and was his first start since 2012 when he was pitching for the AZL Rangers. Tossing a season-high five innings, the lefty scattered a season-high six hits but did not allow a run. He walked two and struck out three. Named a Carolina League All-Star, the southpaw has proven to be one of the toughest pitchers to face in the Carolina League this season. As a reliever, he averages almost 10 strikeouts per nine innings, while he gives out less than 1.5 walks per nine frames. Limiting opponents to a .220 average, Claudio has been equally as difficult against righties (.223) and lefties (.211). This season, Claudio has not suffered a defeat and has not allowed any more than three runs in a given outing. Rated the No. 27 prospect in the Rangers system according to Baseball America, Claudio’s success has hinged upon good command as well as an excellent changeup which has been rated as the best in the Rangers farm system. The pitch was developed at the Rangers Academy with the help of John Burgos in 2012. He was originally selected by Texas in the 27th round of the 2010 draft out of Juncos, Puerto Rico. A pitcher without overpowering stuff, Claudio’s changeup is complemented by a mid-80s fastball and a mid-70s slider.

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