Frederick Keys Game Notes 8-10-14

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

It’s a Sunday Funday at the Grove, and a beautiful day for baseball. It should be a lot of fun, as there will be a team photo giveaway courtesy of the Great Frederick Fair.

The pitching matchup is also terrific as Mark Blackmar, owner of the Carolina League’s eight-best ERA tangles with Blue Rocks lefty Jonathan Dziedzic, who sports the third-lowest mark in the circuit.

First pitch is slated for 2:00 p.m. from the Grove, and Doug Raftery and I have got you covered on 1450 AM The Source beginning at 1:45.

Some game notes are below. Shake your Keys!

Geoff

Sunday, August 10, 2014 · Game #115 · Home Game #55

Frederick Keys (52-62/20-27) vs Wilmington Blue Rocks (55-59/22-24)

RHP Mark Blackmar (6-1, 3.34) vs. LHP Johnathan Dziedzic (5-6, 2.42)

RUNS DON’T GROW ON TREES: The Wilmington Blue Rocks used a two-run seventh and strong relief pitching to top the Frederick Keys 3-1 on Saturday night at Harry Grove Stadium. Armed with chances to tie the game or take the lead, the Keys finished 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position. Saturday’s win gives the Blue Crew the series, while it marks the third straight set Frederick has lost at home. Both sides traded runs in the first, as Raul Mondesi and Adrian Marin each connected on solo homers. That would be the last the scoring until the seventh, when Wilmington took the lead for good on a bunt single by Logan Davis and an RBI knock by Mondesi. On the mound, the Blue Rocks bullpen trio of Tripp Davis, Aroni Nina and Kyle Bartsch collaborated on six shutout innings on five-hit baseball.

A HOUSE BUT NOT A HOME: The Keys continued their struggles at home, dropping their fourth straight home game on Saturday.  In the second-half, the Keys are just 4-18 at the Grove. In contrast, the Keys are 16-9 away from the friendly confines in the second-half.  Overall, the Keys are 20-34 at home, with 16 of those victories occurring in the first-half. The Keys are one of three teams in the Carolina League with fewer than 30 home victories (Wilmington and Carolina).  Just two of the Orioles’ Minor League affiliates have winning records at their home ballpark: Norfolk Tides (32-31) and Delmarva Shorebirds (31-28).  Of all the affiliates, the Keys have lowest home winning percentage at .307, while the Shorebirds own the highest home win percentage of all the affiliates with a .525 mark.

THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK: Entering last night’s start with an 8.53 ERA (12.2 IP/12ER) in Saturday home games, Sebastian Vader was very effective, tossing six innings of one-run baseball and allowing only four hits. It was his third quality start in the Carolina League. Despite the strong effort, he received a no-decision, marking only the second time in 19 total starts this year (taking into account his time with Delmarva) that he has not factored into a decision.  

BIG INNING BLUES: Over the Keys last two homestands, the team has often been burned by one bad inning. In their last eight home tilts, the orange and black have seen their opponent bat around in an inning six times, while on nine occasions Frederick has been snake-bit by an individual inning of three or more runs. As a result, the Keys have dropped seven of their last eight home games.

NOT THE NICEST NEIGHBORS: This season, the Keys have struggled against intra-division rivals, going 16-29 against fellow Northern clubs. Frederick has a losing record against all three of its fellow division rivals, while the orange and black have been swept at least once by Wilmington, Potomac and Lynchburg. The Keys are only 6-16 against northern teams at Harry Grove Stadium, and just 6-10 against Wilmington in 2014.

THE FEW, THE PROUD, THE MARIN: Thanks to a first inning home run, Adrian Marin was able to extend his hitting streak to a season-high eight games. During that time he is batting .375 (12-for-32) with two homers, four doubles, eight RBIs and six runs scored, while he has seen his batting average jump from .236 to .248. The Florida native tries to close the year strong after hitting just .242 over 23 games in July and only .184 in June.

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 .367 (11-for-30) over his first eight August tilts to go along with a home run, three doubles and six RBIs. He has multiple hits in three of his last four games (and five of his last eight tilts). During that time, he has seen his batting average climb 13 pts (.258 to .271).

CALL HIM THE K MAN: After making five starts on the road, Dylan Bundy did not disappoint in his Frederick homecoming on Tuesday. 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). He is 1-2 in six starts with the Keys and has allowed 14 runs in 26.1 innings to go along with 13 walks and 15 strikeouts.

NEWCOMERS: Johnny Ruettiger and Chih-Hsien Chang took the roster spots of Glynn Davis and Michael Burgess who were promoted to Double-A Bowie on July 22.. 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 Jonathan Dziedzic makes his 21st start of the season and his third against the Keys. Owner of the third-best ERA in the Carolina League (2.42), the Humble, Texas native last pitched on Tuesday against Myrtle Beach. Tossing six innings, Dziedzic allowed two runs (one earned) over six innings but was tagged with the loss. Performances like that have become the norm for the lefty, who tallied a 1.04 ERA in July (26 IP/3ER). Entering August, Dziedzic has not posted an ERA above 3.90 in any individual month. The all-time strikeout leader in Lamar University history (317), Dziedzic spent his first professional season with Rookie-Idaho Falls. In 12 games (11 starts), he went 2-0 with a 2.68 ERA. A player who hit his stride at the end of the season, Dziedzic posted a 0.87 ERA over five starts in August (5G/20.2/2R/9H). That carried over to the Pioneer League Championship Series. Facing Helena, the Texan tossed a season-high six innings in a game one victory, as he helped lead the Chukars to their first Pioneer League title since 2000. Selected by the Royals in the 13th round of the 2013 draft out of Lamar, the 23-year-old was also selected by the Red Sox out of Atascocita High School (TX) but did not sign. He throws a fastball in the upper-80s, a curveball and a changeup. A pitcher with one of the Carolina League’s better nicknames, Dziedzic is known by his teammates as “eye chart” due to the difficult spelling of his last name.

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