Frederick Keys Game Notes 8-5-14

Good Evening Keys Fans!

The Frederick Keys are back home tonight and the Carolina Mudcats are in town! First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. and Dylan Bundy will be on the mound. His counterpart is Cole Sulser.

Doug Raftery and I will have all the play by play beginning at 6:45 on 1450 AM The Source.

Some game notes are below. Shake your keys!

Geoff

Tuesday, August 5, 2014 · Game #110 · Home Game #50

Frederick Keys (51-58/19-23) vs Carolina Mudcats (50-60/21-22)

RHP Dylan Bundy (1-2, 5.73) vs. RHP Cole Sulser (4-9, 5.23)

RALLY TIME IN THE FIRST STATE: The Frederick Keys scored three times off Wilmington Blue Rocks reliever Andrew Edwards in the top of the eighth inning to earn a 5-4 win on Sunday night at Frawley Stadium. With the victory, the orange and black claimed the three-game series and finished up their six-game roadtrip 3-3. Trailing 4-2 after seven innings, the Keys rallied quickly against Edwards. Jerome Pena and Johnny Ruettiger both singled to open up the inning, while Adrian Marin stroked an RBI double to left. After a strikeout by Trey Mancini, Blue Rocks manager Daryl Kennedy turned to his bullpen to get a lefty-lefty matchup against Chih-Hsien Chiang. Facing Kyle Bartsch, Chiang grounded out to the right side to bring home Ruettiger. That advanced Marin to third, and a Bartsch wild pitch brought in the go-ahead run. Making his first relief appearance since 2012, Brady Wager shutdown Wilmington in the eighth and Dennis Torres pitched a scoreless ninth to complete the one-run win.

NORTH ON NORTH CRIME:  Sunday marked Frederick’s first series win over an intra-division rival in nearly a month. Taking two out of three against Wilmington, the Keys had not taken a series against a northern rival since July 6, when the orange and black claimed a three-game series at Lynchburg. This season, Frederick has struggled against its closest geographic rivals, going 16-27. In contrast, Luis Pujols’ club has gone 35-31 against teams from the CL South. Unfortunately, the majority of the last 28 games will come against teams from the north. Over the next four weeks, the Keys will play 17 games against the north and 11 contests against the south.

MUDDY TALES: Although Frederick has fared well against the CL South this season, Carolina has been the lone exception. The Keys are just 4-8 against the Mudcats this season, the only south team that Frederick is below .500 against. In the first-half, the Muddies took six of the nine meetings (two games were also cancelled) while Carolina took the only series between these two clubs in the second-half. Against Carolina, Frederick is batting only .222 and the pitching staff has a 5.14 ERA. Conversely, the Mudcats are hitting .284 against the Keys and the pitching staff has a 3.14 ERA. LeVon Washington has torched Keys pitching, hitting .579 (11-for-19) with a homer, a double and three RBIs. On the mound, Shawn Morimando was all but unhittable, going 4-0 with a 1.09 ERA against the Keys, but has been promoted to Double-A. This season, the Keys are 1-4 against Carolina at Harry Grove Stadium.

MEET OUR NEW SECRET WEAPON: Brady Wager made his first relief appearance as a member of the Keys on Sunday, and was rewarded with his sixth win, establishing a new career-high. Coming on in the seventh for Mark Blackmar, Wager tossed two scoreless innings, scattered two hits and struck out two. It was his first relief appearance since July 12, 2012, when he was a member of the GCL Orioles, and only the fourth of his career (56 games/52 starts).

BUNDY BLURBS: Coming off his first post-Tommy John surgery win (and first since August 28, 2012) Dylan Bundy struggled with command last Tuesday. Walking a career-high five batters, the 21-year-old eclipsed his previous high-water mark of four (also set on August 28, 2012). Lasting 4.1 innings, Bundy allowed two runs on five hits and struck out one. In five starts with the orange and black, the former first rounder is 1-2 with a 5.73 ERA, while he has walked 13 and struck only eight. 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.

SEND IT IN JEROME!: Following a rough Wednesday where he struck out a season-high four times, Jerome Pena fared much better in the series finale against Winston-Salem on Thursday and is batting 7-for-18 (.389) over his last six games. His best game of the roadtrip came on Thursday, where he finished  3-for-3 with two doubles and a triple, drove in a pair of runs and scored four times. The four runs matched a career-high for Pena, who had not scored four times since August 8, 2011, when he was playing for the Orioles rookie-affiliate in the Gulf Coast League. Following a disappointing June where he hit .207 and was limited to only 10 games because of injury, Pena hit .293 over 27 contests in July. He stroked eight doubles and scored 16 runs.

MY KIND OF MONTH: Jason Esposito will be sad to watch the calendar flip to August. Finishing 3-for-5 on Thursday, the former Vanderbilt Commodore hit .354 over 26 games in July to go along with four home runs and 16 RBIs. It was a nice bounce back month for Esposito, who hit only .205 over 23 games in June. The 16 RBIs nearly equaled his combined total through June (18). Currently, he is batting .266, and is 4-for-11 (.364) with a home run, a double, and three RBIs to begin the month of August.

MOVING ON UP!!: Following last Monday’s game, Michael Burgess and Glynn Davis received word they had been promoted to Double-A Bowie. The duo become the third and fourth members of the Keys to move to Double-A this season, joining Mychal Givens and Mike Yastrzemski. Sammie Starr was promoted to Triple-A Norfolk on June 27 and later transferred to Bowie, while Zane Chavez and Ashur Tolliver opened the year with the Baysox and have shuttled between Advanced-A and Double-A. One of the league’s top offensive threats, Burgess hit .315 over 83 games to go along with 15 homers, 68RBIs, 32 doubles and four triples. At the time of his promotion, Burgess led the league in RBIs, doubles, slugging percentage (.579), extra-base hits (51), total bases (186) and intentional walks (four). He was tied for second in home runs and was third in batting average and hits (101). Burgess was named Carolina League Player of the Month for June and CL “Player of the Week” for June 9-15. Meanwhile, Davis gets his first crack at Double-A. A mid-season Carolina League All-Star, the 22-year-old hit .295 over 89 games. He heads to the Eastern League tied for the Carolina League lead in hits (104), while he was second in runs scored and tied for eighth in batting average (.295).

NEWCOMERS: Taking the roster spots of Burgess and Davis are Johnny Ruettiger and Chih-Hsien Chang who both come down from Double-A Bowie. In 61 games with the Baysox this season, Ruettiger was batting .282 with a triple, six doubles and eight stolen bases. No stranger to the Keys, the former Arizona State product hit .246 over 106 games with the orange and black last season, while he stole 43 bases, a career-high, and the seventh-most by a Keys player all-time. Chiang struggled with the Baysox, hitting .219 with three home runs and 20 RBIs. This is the first time that he has been at the Advanced-A level since 2009, when he was a member of the Salem Red Sox. Originally signed by Boston as an international free agent out of Taiwan in 2005, the outfielder spent all of 2013 with the Rangers Double-A club in Frisco. There, he hit .263 over 124 games, led the club in doubles (36) and placed second in hits (125). Chiang has also spent time with the Mariners organization, advancing as high as Triple-A Tacoma in 2012.

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) joined the club after the All-Star break, while Mychal Givens (23) and Glynn Davis (29) opened the year with the Keys but were promoted in the second-half. 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 Cole Sulser makes his 21st start of the season and his second against the Keys. In his most recent outing last Wednesday at Salem, the righty earned the win tossing 6.1 innings of three-run baseball. His only start against the Keys in June did not go so well, as he allowed 10 runs (nine earned) on 10 hits over 4.1 innings. Despite not being equipped with overpowering stuff, Sulser averages nearly a strikeout per inning (103.1 IP/101 SO) and is fifth in the CL in punchouts. He also sports the league’s second-best strikeout/nine inning ratio (8.80). Called up to Double-A Akron for one start in mid-July, he tossed six innings at Trenton and allowed one run in a no-decision. Still, after a passable first-half, Sulser has struggled mightily in the second-half, posting a 6.81 ERA in seven games.  Selected by Cleveland in the 25th round of the 2013 draft out of Dartmouth College, Sulser went 3-2 with a 1.83 ERA over 15 games (nine starts) at Short-Season Mahoning Valley. There, he sported a strikeout-walk ratio of better than 6:1. Over 54 innings, he punched out 60 and walked only nine. At Dartmouth, Sulser was an all-Ivy League pitcher. He finished with a 20-6 record, tallying the second-most victories in program history. He accomplished that feat despite having his junior season cut short on account of Tommy John surgery. Missing his senior season, Sulser redshirted, using the time to recover and purse a second degree in engineering. A four-pitch pitcher, the 24-year-old throws a fastball, a curveball, a slider and a changeup.

 

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