Frederick Keys Game Notes 7-20-14

Good afternoon Keys fans!

The team takes to the Grove again tonight against the Winston-Salem Dash for the second outing of their three-game series.

The Keys won last night’s series opener 5-3 behind the pitching of righty Branden Kline. Despite Kline’s status as one of the Keys most effective starters, he had yet to record a win at home this season. Kline, who is now 6-4 with a 3.79 ERA this season, pitched six innings, allowing one run off of five hits. He struck out four and did not record a walk.

Michael Burgess got the scoring started for the Keys in the first inning when he doubled in Glynn Davis, who singled earlier in the inning. Jason Esposito batted in Trey Mancini later in the inning to extend the Keys early lead to 2-0. Tucker Nathans hit his first home run of the year in the second inning to give the Keys a 3-0 advantage.

Frederick got three innings of relief from Matt Hobgood and Lex Rutledge. Hobgood pitched innings seven and eight, giving up two unearned runs on four Winston-Salem hits. Rutledge allowed a hit and struck out one in the ninth inning on way to being credited with the save.

Tonight’s Keys starter is RHP Sebastian Vader, who is making only his third appearance with Frederick. Winston Salem sends RHP Tony Bucciferro to the mound looking to even the series at one.

Below are the game notes for tonight’s matchup:

Sunday, July 20, 2014 · Game #96 · Home Game #45

Frederick Keys (45-50/13-15) vs Winston-Salem Dash (44-55/14-16)

RHP Sebastian Vader (1-1, 7.45) vs. RHP Tony Bucciferro (6-9, 4.33)

WE MUST PROTECT THIS HOUSE!: Branden Kline earned his first home win, tossing six innings of one-run baseball, while the Frederick Keys used some early offense to defeat the Winston-Salem Dash 5-3 on Saturday night at Harry Grove Stadium. It was the Keys third straight win, and only the club’s second victory at home in the second-half. Frederick grabbed a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first, courtesy of a double by Michael Burgess which scored Glynn Davis, and an RBI fielder’s choice by Jason Esposito. Tucker Nathans stretched the lead to a field goal in the second, homering off J.B. Wendelken on the first pitch of the at-bat. That would be all the support Kline needed, as the Frederick native allowed only a pair of two-baggers in the second and five hits on the game. The Keys plated single tallies on a passed ball and an error by shortstop Zach Voight to take a 5-1 lead after six innings, before the Dash followed with a pair of unearned runs off Matt Hobgood. However, Lex Rutledge closed the door in the ninth, to secure a series opening win.

HOMETOWN LOVE: Saturday marked the first Keys home win since July 1, when Frederick earned a 3-0 rain-shortened win against Salem. Only the club’s second win at the Grove in the second-half, the team had dropped 10 of its previous 11 home games. Despite the win last night, Frederick’s 2-10 home record remains the worst in the Carolina League in the second-half. Wilmington has the next-worse mark (3-6), but the Blue Rocks have played the fewest second-half home games. The Keys have not won back-to-back games at home since June 13-15, when the team took three straight from Myrtle Beach to close out the first-half. Overall Frederick is 18-26 in home games, the worst mark in the Carolina League. Wilmington’s 22 home victories are the next fewest. In contrast, the Keys road record is tied for the second-best in the league with Potomac (24-21), with only Myrtle Beach (33-17) faring better in road tilts.

THE STARS FINALLY ALIGN: It took nine tries, but Branden Kline finally earned his first home win on Saturday night. The righty has now earned a win in three of his last four starts, while he paces the team with six victories. Saturday’s win was also Kline’s first quality start since the All-Star break, after he allowed three runs on more in each of his four prior outings (2-2, 6.04 ERA). One of the Carolina’s League’s top innings eaters, Kline rates third in the loop in innings pitched (109.1), trailing only Carolina’s Ryan Merritt (118.1) and Winston-Salem’s Tony Bucciferro (114.1).

WINNING THE HIT WAR: Since the Keys were shutout by Potomac’s Austin Voth, Richie Mirowski and Jake Walsh last Friday, the orange and black have outhit their opponent in five of the last six games they have played. Meanwhile, in the other contest on July 16, Frederick equaled its opponents output. Over the six-game stretch, the Keys have outhit Potomac, Salem and Winston-Salem by a 61-53 margin. Although the Keys are just 3-3 during that time, in most cases, the Keys have done very well when they record more hits than their opposition. When the Keys tally more hits their record is 31-10, compared to going 6-32 when being outhit or 8-8 when both sides push. Additionally, when the Keys outhit their counterpart at home, the team’s record is 18-3.

MULTI-HIT MAN: Glynn Davis’ run of hot-hitting continued in the series opener. Going 2-for-4, with a run scored, it was Davis eighth multi-hit effort in his last 11 affairs. In the process, he has seen his batting average climb 16 points (.278 to .294). Over the 11 games, he is batting .396 (19-for-48) with two doubles, two RBIs and 11 runs scored (he has also scored a run in nine of his last 11 games). Trying to rebound after a lackluster June, Davis is batting .345 over 15 games in July after hitting only .220 in 21 tilts the month prior.

HORSES FOR COURSES: Tucker Nathans has beat up Winston-Salem this season, and Saturday night was no exception. Ending 2-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI, the former Fairfield star also clubbed his first home run of 2014, and his first dinger since August 4, 2013 at Myrtle Beach. This season against the Dash, Nathans is batting a team-best .372 with a home run, three doubles, six RBIs and six runs scored. Of his 17 multi-hit games, five have come against Winston-Salem.

NO RELATION TO TOM: Wynston Sawyer extended his on-base streak to 27 games on Friday night thanks to a single in the seventh inning. That is the longest active swing in the Carolina League, and rates as the second-longest overall. Salem’s Carson Blair saw his league-best 28 game jaunt come to an end on Friday. Over the 27 games, Sawyer is batting .259 with one homer, six RBIs, four doubles and 15 walks. On Thursday, Sawyer wrapped up a six-game hitting streak. During that time he hit .348 (8-for-23) with a home run, three RBIs and three runs scored.

KELLER JOINS THE KEYS: On Friday, Jon Keller was promoted to Frederick from Low-A Delmarva. He takes the roster spot of Matt Price, who was placed on the disabled list on Wednesday. In 24 relief appearances, Keller went 3-0 with a 1.59 ERA and tallied five saves in eight opportunities. Over 56.2 stanzas, he gave up just 39 hits, walked 14 and struck out 66. Rated the No. 17 prospect in the Orioles system according to Baseball America, the 21-year-old limited opponents to a .192 average, the fourth-lowest mark by a South Atlantic League reliever. Drafted by Baltimore in the 22nd round of the 2013 MLB Draft out of the University of Tampa, Keller helped lead the Spartans to the 2013 Division II College World Series.

BUNDY BLURBS: Dylan Bundy struggled in his third rehab start with the Keys on Wednesday. Working four-plus innings, the Oklahoma native allowed a career-high six runs on six hits. In the process, Bundy was tagged with his first loss as a member of the Keys. Limited to 75 pitches for the duration of the season, the former fourth-overall pick has struggled in three outings with the orange and black. In 11.2 innings he has given up 12 runs (9.26 ERA) and has surrendered 15 hits and walked six. Opponents are hitting .326 against Bundy, while he has not completed five innings in any of his Advanced-A outings. Prior to joining Frederick, the righty made three rehab starts with Short-Season Aberdeen. Working five innings in each outing, Bundy went 0-1 with a 0.60 ERA. In 15 innings, he allowed only one run on 10 hits while he walked three and struck out 22. Opponents were hitting just .189 against him.

MOVING ON UP!: Mike Yastrzemski was promoted to Double-A Bowie after a sterling 23-game stretch with the Keys. During that time, he hit .312 with a home run, 19 RBIs, seven doubles, two triples and 21 runs scored. The grandson of Hall of Famer and former Red Sox great, Carl Yastrzemski, the former Vanderbilt Commodore becomes the second Frederick player to advance to Double-A for the first time this season. Mychal Givens was moved up to Bowie on June 21. At his best during the first week of July, Yastrzemski became the 12th minor leaguer to hit for the cycle in 2014, when he accomplished the feat on July 5 at Lynchburg. Going 5-for-6 with a homer, a triple, two doubles and five RBIs, the Massachusetts native became the first Keys player to hit for the cycle since May 2, 2005, when Jeff Fiorentino did it against Winston-Salem. In a corresponding move, Frederick received Lucas Herbst from Low-A Delmarva.

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) and Branden Kline (20). Jon Keller (17) and Trey Mancini (25) have joined the club since the All-Star break, while Mychal Givens (23) opened the season with the Keys, but was moved up to Double-A on June 21. 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: Tony Bucciferro makes his 20th Carolina League start and his fourth against the Keys this season. His most recent outing came on Monday at Carolina. Tagged with his fourth straight loss, the righty allowed six runs on eight hits over 5.2 innings, while he walked a career-high three. A control wizard, Monday’s outing marked only the second time his career that Bucciferro had walked more than one in a pro game. His last three outings have been rough, as he has tallied a 9.60 ERA (15IP/16ER/30H) during that time. As a result, he is tied for the CL lead in defeats with Carolina’s Cole Sulser. When he has been on, Bucciferro has provided plenty of relief to the bullpen though, working 114.1 innings, the second-most in the circuit. If he works four innings today, he will pull into a tie with Ryan Merritt of the Mudcats for the league lead. Last season, Bucciferro split the year between Rookie-Bristol and Low-A Kannapolis, appearing in 16 combined games. A majority of that time came with the Intimidators, where he went 3-5 with a 2.50 ERA over 12 games (12 starts). Armed with laser-like command, Bucciferro struck out a combined 96 batters in 2013 and walked only six over 90.2 innings. He played his first season with Rookie-Bristol, tallying a 2.57 ERA, but only pitched in six games due to a shoulder injury. Selected by Chicago in the 14th round of the 2012 draft, Bucciferro played his college baseball at Michigan State, where he was teammates with former Keys outfielder Torsten Boss. A team captain his senior season, the 24-year-old closed out his career as the Spartans all-time leader in innings pitched (372.1) and starts (55). Twice an All-Big Ten selection, he led the conference in strikeouts as a senior. During his college career he also pitched in the Cape Cod League for the Brewster Whitecaps in 2011, and got to play at Fenway Park during the Cape Cod League All-Star game that season. Not overpowering, Bucciferro throws both a four-seam (89-91 mph) and two-seam (88-90 mph) fastball, a slider (81-84 mph) and a changeup (78-82).

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