Frederick Keys Game Notes 7-8-14

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

The orange and black try and tie their longest winning streak of the season on Tuesday night, as Brady Wager takes the mound against Salem lefty Cody Kukuk.

First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m, and the broadcast can be heard on 1450 AM The Source. Some game notes are below.

Shake your Keys!


Tuesday, July 8, 2014 · Game #86 · Road Game #46

Frederick Keys (39-46/7-11) vs Salem Red Sox (42-44/9-9)

RHP Brady Wager (3-7, 5.62) vs. LHP Cody Kukuk (2-6, 7.30)

NO FINGERNAILS LEFT:The Salem Red Sox mounted a late rally, scoring the final five runs of the game, however the Frederick Keys managed to hang on for a 9-8 win on Monday night at LewisGale Field. Trailing 9-3, the Sox gradually chipped away, scoring one run in the seventh, before batting around in the eighth. Utilizing an RBI single by Matt Gedman, three straight walks, a wild pitch, and a two-run base knock by Reed Gragnani, the Sox pulled within one, but Matt Price struck out Jantzen Witte with the tying run at third. In the ninth though, Price retired the Sox in order to give the Keys their third straight win. On Tuesday, the club tries to tie its longest winning streak of the season, a four-game stretch from April 16-18 against Winston-Salem and Carolina. Since that time, the Keys have put together three three-game winning streaks (with the most recent coming from June 13-15 against Myrtle Beach), but the team has not earned four straight victories.

GIVE AND TAKE: In the series opener, the Keys handed out eight walks, the second-most the Keys pitching staff had handed out in a game this year. Mark Blackmar and Matt Price each issued three walks and Matt Hobgood issued a pair. All three of the free tickets by Price came in succession in the bottom of the eighth, while Blackmar walked three for the second straight start. Entering his start yesterday, the Texan had not allowed multiple walks in back-to-back games all year. The eight free passes came three short of the club’s season-high of 11 on April 23 against Myrtle Beach. Fortunately, the Keys were beneficiaries of five Salem errors, tied for the most committed by an opponent this year. Three were pinned on Aneury Tavarez, including two on one play.

BOOMER: Trey Mancini led the way for the Keys offensively on Tuesday, going 2-for-5 with three RBIs. That included a two-run double in the fifth. Promoted to the Keys on June 19 from Low-A Delmarva, the former Big East batting champion has recorded an RBI in three straight games and a total of 16 over his first 18 Carolina League games. That includes two three-RBI games, as well as a four-RBI game in his CL debut. A player equipped with plenty of power, nine of Mancini’s 19 Advanced-A hits have gone for extra-bases.

YASTRZEMSKI NAMED PLAYER OF WEEK:On Monday morning, Mike Yastrzemski was named the Carolina League “Player of the Week” for June 30-July 6. The first weekly honor of his professional career, the 23-year-old hit .400 (12-for-22) over six games with a home run, a triple, four doubles, eight RBIs and nine runs scored. The nine runs scored were the most by a Carolina League player over the last week, while only Michael Burgess (12) ended with more RBIs. The majority of Yastrzemski’s damage came on Saturday night, when he became the 12th minor leaguer to hit for the cycle in 2014. In total, four Keys players have now earned weekly honors this season. Burgess and Adrian Marin also received player of the week recognition, while Parker Bridwell was named the CL’s pitcher of the week for May 12-19. The four weekly winners eclipses last year’s total of three, when Michael Ohlman (twice) and Christian Walker took home player of the week honors three weeks in-a-row.

BIG MIKE: Although Yastrzemski’s last week was a memorable one, Michael Burgess also put together a fine showing. Over six games, the Floridian hit .400 (10-for-25) with three homers, 12 RBIs, four doubles and seven extra-base hits. The 12 RBIs were tied for the most by an Advanced-A ballplayer, and were tied for the second-most by a minor leaguer. Burgess was outstanding on Saturday, going 4-for-6 with two homers, a double, four RBIs and four runs scored, while he became the first Keys player to hit multiple home runs in a game this year. It was his ninth game of two homers or more since 2008, and the first multi-homer game by a Frederick player since August 26, 2013, when Michael Mosby hit a pair of longballs at Lynchburg. Currently, Burgess leads the Carolina League in RBIs (63), and is the active leader in home runs (15). He also leads the loop in extra-base hits (44) and total bases (164) while rating second in slugging percentage (.599) and third in doubles (25). A hitter that torched Carolina League pitching in June, Burgess hit .371 over 23 contests during the season’s third month. During that time, he hit nine homers, three triples, seven doubles and drove in 22. The nine longballs was the most by a Carolina League player and tied for the fourth-most by a minor leaguer in June. His 22 RBIs were also third-most by a CL player in the month of June.

TYSON FINALIST FOR HALL OF FAME: Keys hitting coach Torre Tyson has been named a finalist for the Charleston Baseball Hall of Fame on Monday by the organization’s advisory committee. The winningest manager in Charleston Riverdogs history (Yankees Low-A), Tyson put together a 232-186 record during his tenure with the Riverdogs from 2007-09. Currently, Tyson is in his second year with the Keys as hitting coach, after serving as the Yankees minor league defensive coordinator from 2011-12. Three individuals will be selected for enshrinement, with two being voted on by the fans and one being voted on by the committee. The three individuals will be inducted on August 15, prior to Charleston Riverdogs’ game against the Rome Braves. Notable members of the Charleston Baseball Hall of Fame include Roberto Alomar, David Cone and Willie Randolph.

BUNDY BLURBS:On Friday, Dylan Bundy made his fourth rehab start since undergoing “Tommy John” surgery last June, and his first with the Keys. Limited to 75 pitches, the right-hander allowed three runs on four hits over 4.2 innings. He exited after allowing a sac-fly to Jose Martinez, and received a no-decision. It was the Oklahoma native’s first appearance in a Frederick uniform since August 8, 2012. Prior to joining the Keys on Thursday, Bundy made three rehab starts with Short-Season Aberdeen. Working five innings in each outing, the right-hander went 0-1 with a 0.60 ERA. In 15 innings, Bundy allowed only one run on 10 hits while he walked three and struck out 22. Opponents were hitting just .189 against him.

LONELY ISLAND: Since the start of the second-half, the Keys pitching staff has taken its lumps. Over the first 18 games of the second-half, Keys arms have posted a 6.46 ERA (153.1 IP/110ER) and allowed 191 hits during that time as well as 19 home runs. This year, Frederick arms have given up 59 home runs, the second-most longballs allowed by a CL pitching staff.

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: Cody Kukuk makes his 12h start of the season and his third against Frederick. Rated the No. 21 prospect in the Red Sox system according to Baseball America, the lefty’s most recent start came last Wednesday against the Keys. Earning his first win since May 8, the southpaw gave up one unearned run and just two hits over five innings. He hit one, walked three and struck out six. It was his longest outing since May 20. A pitcher who has battled command issues, the three walks was a vast improvement over the seven he allowed on June 27. Still, he has walked 19 in his last 10 innings (four starts). Over 40.2 stanzas in the Carolina League, he has walked 40 and struck out 40, giving him the third-most free passes among CL pitchers. Promoted to Salem on May 3 from Low-A Greensville, Kukuk went 3-0 with a 1.88 ERA over five games with the Drive. Dominant over 24 innings, he handed out 18 hits and struck out 29. Opponents batted just .217 against him, though he did walk 12. Kukuk spent all of 2013 at Greensville, where he went 4-13 with a 4.63 ERA over 26 games (24 starts). In 107 innings, the lefty walked 81, but gave up only 77 hits, struck out 113 and held opponents to a .197 batting average. His first true professional season, Kukuk threw only 10 innings in 2012 following an arrest for a suspicion of DUI. The charges were later dismissed. A pitcher that has drawn physical comparisons to Boston starter Jon Lester, Kukuk was selected by the Red Sox in the seventh round of the 2011 draft out of Lawrence Free State High School. As a senior, he went 7-1 with a 2.89 ERA and was named a Louisville Slugger All-American. Originally committed to play at the University of Kansas, he was swayed by an $800,000 signing bonus. Kukuk throws a low-90s fastball that can reach the mid-90s, a slider and a changeup.


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