Frederick Keys Game Notes 8-6-14

Good evening Keys fans!

The Keys are back in action against at the Grove tonight against the Carolina Mudcats in the second of their three-game series. Frederick took the series opener last night, 7-3. Dylan Bundy got the start, striking out seven and allowing no earned runs in 4.1 innings pitched. Frederick tallied 16 hits with five players recording multiple hits, including Trey Mancini and Wynston Sawyer, who each recorded three hits. The game was called in the top of the eighth inning after a 47 minute rain delay.

RHP Parker Bridwell takes the mound for the Keys tonight, facing off against Mudcats’ starter, LHP Ryan Merritt.

Below are the notes for tonight’s game:

Wednesday, August 6, 2014 · Game #111 · Home Game #51

Frederick Keys (52-58/20-23) vs Carolina Mudcats (50-61/21-23)

RHP Parker Bridwell (5-7, 4.20) vs. LHP Ryan Merritt (10-3, 2.59)

ALL ENGINES FIRING: Dylan Bundy was dominant in his first start at Grove in 2014, while the Frederick Keys pounded out 16 hits, en route to a 7-3 rain-shortened win over the Carolina Mudcats on Tuesday night at Harry Grove Stadium. Following a 47-minute rain delay in the top of the eighth, the two sides completed the frame, before a second delay forced the game to be called just after 11:00 p.m. Pitching in Frederick for the first time since August 8, 2012, Bundy struck out seven over 4.1 innings, the most strikeouts he had recorded in a Carolina League game all season. Offensively, all nine members of the starting lineup recorded at least one hit, while five registered multi-hit efforts. Trey Mancini and Wynston Sawyer each finished 3-for-4 and Adrian Marin and Jason Esposito recorded multiple RBIs.

CALL HIM THE K MAN: After making five starts on the road, Dylan Bundy did not disappoint in his Frederick homecoming. Working into the fifth inning, the Oklahoma native did not allow a run while he scattered five hits. The seven strikeouts were tied for the second-most he had registered in a post-Tommy John start, and were two shy of a career-high. Entering Tuesday’s action, Bundy had struck out only eight combined over his previous five starts with Frederick. Limited to only 75 pitches, Bundy was highly efficient through two frames (24 pitches) but saw his pitch count skyrocket due to one very long at-bat in the third. Facing Yhoxian Medina, the righty needed 14 pitches to set down the Muddies leadoff batter. Still, the successful start cut Bundy’s ERA by nearly a point (5.73 to 4.78).

RIP CITY:  Frederick received balanced production from its offense on Tuesday, scoring seven runs on 16 hits. The 16 hits were the most Frederick had recorded in a game this month, and were the most the team had tallied since July 8, when the orange and black scored a 7-6 victory over Salem in 10 innings. Trey Mancini and Wynston Sawyer each tied their season-highs in hits with three each, while the club improved to 28-12 when posting 10 or more hits in a game this season.

MUDDY TALES: Although Frederick has fared well against the CL South this season, Carolina has been the lone exception. The Keys are just 5-8 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 .240 and the pitching staff has a 5.01 ERA. Conversely, the Mudcats are hitting .282 against the Keys and the pitching staff has a 3.47 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 2-4 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).

JASON, JASON, HE’S OUR MAN: Although the calendar has flipped to August, Jason Esposito has maintained the torrid pace he set in July. After hitting .354 with four homers and 16 RBIs last month, the former Vanderbilt Commodore is batting .429 (6-for-14) over his first four August tilts to go along with a home run, a double and five RBIs. On Tuesday, he was up to his usual tricks, going 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored. Esposito has tallied multiple hits in three of his last five games, and during that time he has seen his batting average climb 11 pts (.258 to .269). On Wednesday, he will try and get his batting average north of .270 for the first time since May 22.

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: Left-hander Ryan Merritt makes his 21st start of the season on Wednesday and his second against the Keys. His most recent outing came last Thursday at Salem. Receiving a no-decision, Merritt tossed five innings and allowed three runs (two earned) on four hits. He walked three and struck out six. One of the CL’s top pitchers this season, Merritt received the start in the Carolina League-California League All-Star game, while he is fourth in the circuit in ERA (2.59). A pitcher with excellent command (123 SO/23 BB), Merritt leads the league in WHIP (0.94), is second in batting average against (.207), tied for second in innings pitched (128.1) and tied for fourth in strikeouts. The author of the CL’s first complete game this season, Merritt tossed seven innings of one-run baseball against Frederick on April 21. Pitching the second game of a doubleheader, the lefty allowed one unearned run on four hits over seven stanzas. He struck out four and did not walk a batter. Merritt made a cameo with the Mudcats in 2013, posting a 5.00 ERA (9IP/5ER) over two late-August starts. He spent the bulk of his year at Low-A Lake County, where he went 6-9 with a 3.42 ERA over 24 games (23 starts). His ERA was the fourth-best among Indians farmhands. Utilizing pinpoint command, Merritt walked only 18 over 126.1 innings, the second fewest in the Midwest League last year. Closing out the year strong, the Texan allowed only 14 earned runs over his final 53.2 frames. Selected by Cleveland in the 16th round of the 2011 draft, Merritt was taken out of McLennan Community College. There, he posted a 1.23 ERA and struck out 88 over 88 innings. A second-team All-State selection out of Celina High School (TX), he tallied a 0.98 ERA and hit .455. A three-pitch pitcher, Merritt throws an upper-80s fastball, a curveball and a changeup.

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