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Game Notes 5-30-14

Good Evening Keys Fans!

Frederick and Wilmington get underway at the top of the hour from the Grove! Parker Bridwell makes the start for the Keys and will be countered by righty Christian Binford. Pregame coverage starts at 6:45 p.m, with Doug Raftery and myself. Some game notes are below.

Talk soon and shake your keys!

Geoff

                             Friday, May 30, 2014 · Game #52 · Home Game #23

                         Frederick Keys (21-30) vs Wilmington Blue Rocks (27-25)

                 RHP Parker Bridwell (1-6, 5.13) vs. RHP Christian Binford (3-2, 2.21)

BROOMED: Lynchburg used a three-run eighth to earn a 6-3 victory over Frederick on Thursday afternoon at Calvin Falwell Field, as the Hillcats completed a three-game sweep of the orange and black. It marked the second time all season that the Keys had come away from a series winless, and the first time since April 8-10, when the club dropped three straight to Carolina. On Thursday, Glynn Davis put Frederick up 3-2 in the top of the seventh, but the Hillcats scored the final four runs off Frederick right-hander Miguel Chalas. In the home-seventh, Joe Odom evened the contest with a single to centerfield, before Edison Sanchez stroked a two-run double in the eighth to put Lynchburg up for good. The loss drops Frederick to nine games below .500, the most the team has been below sea-level all year.

EARLY BIRD DOESN’T ALWAYS GET THE WORM: Thursday marked the second straight game where Frederick had grabbed the lead first, but ultimately could not hold on. In the series finale against the Hillcats, the Keys grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first, but ultimately came up short 6-3. Wednesday was even harder to swallow, as Frederick took a 4-0 lead after four stanzas only to see Lynchburg prevail 5-4. This season, the Keys are 16-12 when scoring first, tied for the worst mark in the Carolina League. Lynchburg also checks in at 16-12, while Myrtle Beach has the top mark when christening the scoreboard. When the Pelicans score first, they are 24-4.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Frederick has struggled mightily in series openers this year. In 2014, the orange and black are just 3-12 in the first game of a series, while the Keys have lost 10 straight series openers. The last time Frederick started off a series on the right foot came on April 18, when the team defeated Carolina 3-1 in 11 innings. The Keys have often fared well in the middle game though, capturing game two in four of the last six sets they have played.

LIKE A ROCK: Zane Chavez extended his hitting streak to a season-high eight games on Thursday afternoon, thanks to an RBI double in the top of the first off Lay Batista. Over the eight-game jaunt, the Californian is batting .367 (11-for-30) with three doubles, three RBIs, and two runs scored. Chavez’s streak extends back to May 6, as the catcher was promoted to Double-A Bowie on May 8 and later returned to the club on May 22. The longest streak of Chavez’s affiliated career came last August 14-26, when he hit in 11 straight with the Keys.

ADRIAN!: Adrian Marin has been on a tear of late. On Tuesday he finished 2-for-4 with two doubles and a pair of RBIs. That performance came on the heels of a monster Memorial Day, where the Miami native tied a career-high with three RBIs going 2-for-3 with a pair of two baggers. His first double on Monday proved to be the dagger against Wilmington as it wrapped up a six-run third inning. Over his last eight contests, Marin is batting .333 (10-for-30) with five doubles, six RBIs and three runs scored, and has multiple hits in four of those games. During that stretch, he has moved his batting average from .221 to .242.

NORTHERN EXPOSURE:  Frederick has not fared well against their closest geographic rivals this season. The Keys are a combined 7-14 against Wilmington, Potomac and Lynchburg this season, while the orange black are even or below .500 against all three clubs. The team’s recent roadtrip did not help matters. Over a seven game roadtrip, the Keys lost six of the seven contests they played. That includes being swept in a three-game series against Lynchburg. This season, the Keys are 1-3 against Wilmington. The Blue Rocks took last year’s season-set, winning 12 of the 20 games played between the two teams.

MOVING AND SHAKING: Frederick’s roster has gotten a bit of a shakeup over the last week. On Tuesday, Joel Hutter was transferred to Aberdeen and Sam Kimmel added to the roster. That move comes after Michael Burgess was transferred to Aberdeen on Saturday, while Pedro Perez was received from the Ironbirds. Before Thursday’s morning game, Sammie Starr rejoined the Keys from Aberdeen and Zane Chavez returned from Double-A Bowie. Meanwhile, Perez was transferred to Aberdeen, while Lucas Herbst was also sent to the Ironbirds. On Friday, one additional roster move was announced, as lefty reliever Ashur Tolliver joined the Keys from Aberdeen, and Lex Rutledge was transferred.

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:Right-hander Christian Binford makes his 10th Carolina League start second straight against the Frederick Keys on Friday. Rated the No. 10 prospect in the Royals system according to Baseball America, the Hagerstown, MD native drew a no-decision on Sunday against the Keys, despite posting his fourth quality start of the year. Over seven stanzas, the right-hander allowed one run on five hits, walked one and struck out eight. The CL’s leader in punchouts (64), Binford has struck out eight in back-to-back starts. His command has also been pinpoint. Rated as the top control pitcher in the Kansas City farm system by Baseball America, Binford is second in the Carolina League in WHIP (1.02), while he is limiting opponents to a .215 batting average (.229 left/.205 right) the fourth-lowest mark in the eight-team circuit. A pitcher who has been outstanding over both months of the season, Binford has a 1.99 ERA in the month of May, and has given up only seven runs in 31.2 innings pitched. The right-hander was also dominant at Low-A Lexington in 2013. Named the Lexington Pitcher of the Year as well as a South Atlantic League All-Star, Binford was 8-7 with a 2.67 ERA to go along with 130 strikeouts and just 25 walks over 135 frames. His ERA was third-best in the SAL, while he placed fifth in WHIP (1.14) and sixth in strikeouts. Binford spent 2012 at Rookie-Burlington, after being selected by Kansas City in the 30th round of the 2011 draft. He received a well over-slot bonus of $575,000 which swayed him from attending the University of Virginia (if he attended he would have been teammates with Branden Kline). As a high school senior at Mercersburg (PA) Academy, Binford posted a 0.64 ERA in 55 frames. As a sophomore he underwent Tommy John Surgery. Not a hard thrower, Binford used his 6 foot 7 frame to create a good downhill angle on his pitches. He throws a 88-93 mph fastball, a slider, curveball and changeup.

 

Frederick Keys Game Notes 5-25

Good Morning Keys Fans!

The Keys and the Blue Rocks play the third of four games on Sunday afternoon. First pitch is slated for 1:35 as the Keys try and avoid their fourth straight loss.

First pitch is slated for 1:35 p.m., and some game notes are below.

Talk soon and shake your keys!

Geoff

Sunday, May 25, 2014 · Game #47 · Road Game #25

Frederick Keys (20-26) vs Wilmington Blue Rocks (24-23)

RHP Parker Bridwell (1-6, 5.47) vs. RHP Christian Binford (3-2, 2.35)

STUBBING YOUR TOE: Cody Stubbs was a one-man wrecking crew on Saturday night. Ending with five RBIs, Wilmington’s first baseman triggered a four-run Blue Rocks fourth, as the Frederick Keys dropped their third straight game, 8-4 at Frawley Stadium. One of the best offensive performances of the year against the Keys, Stubbs went 3-for-4 with five RBIs. That included a two-run double in the second and a three-run homer in the third. This season, only Myrtle Beach’s Joey Gallo has recorded more RBIs off of Frederick pitching in a game (on April 23 he tallied six RBIs via three home runs). Saturday’s loss moves Frederick to six games below .500 for the first time all season, while the Keys are 3.5 games behind Potomac and Wilmington who are tied for first in the Carolina League Northern Division.

MOVING OFF THE TRACKS: Frederick is in the midst of its second-longest losing streak of the season. The club’s longest slide went from April 8-12, when the orange and black lost five straight to Carolina and Lynchburg. Since that time, the Keys have not dropped any more than two in a row until Saturday. A team that has normally fared well on the road this season, the Keys have lost each of their last three road tilts going back to last Sunday at Winston-Salem.

HIT AROUND: Brady Wager allowed only one run over seven innings in his lone start at Frawley Stadium in 2013, however his first outing in 2014 against the Blue Crew was not as smooth. Pitching for the first time in nearly two weeks (Wager was scratched from his start last Saturday at Winston-Salem), the righty surrendered seven runs on seven hits. He walked one and struck out three. The seven runs were the second-most Wager had allowed in a game all season, however only three of them were earned. Prior to Cody Stubbs’ three-run homer in the fourth, Adrian Marin committed a two-out error which enabled a run to score. Since the defensive miscue would have ended the inning, none of the four runs in the third were charged to the Arizona native. Over his last two outings, the Arizona native is 0-2 and has allowed 12 runs (eight earned) on 17 knocks over nine frames.

READY FOR BUSINESS: Jason Esposito got quite a workout at third base on Saturday. Over nine innings, the former Vanderbilt Commodore recorded eight putouts, while he recorded every out in the bottom of the third. The top defensive third baseman in the Carolina League, Esposito has handled 121 total chances and made only one error. That came in the series opener on Friday night, and snapped a string of 42 straight games (dating back to 2013) where the Connecticut native did not make an error. One of the anchors of the Keys defense this season, Frederick is tied for the league-lead in fielding percentage (.978) with Wilmington (.978).

CLOSE CALLS: Lately, the Keys have played a number of nailbiters. Five of the club’s last six games have come down to one or two runs, while Saturday’s defeat ended a string of three straight one-run affairs. Frederick’s last one-run win came on Wednesday night against Myrtle Beach, when the Keys won 5-4 thanks to a three-run sixth, and an unearned run in the seventh. Less than 24 hours later, the Pelicans answered back with a 4-3 win, as Preston Beck’s two-run homer in the eighth inning off Lex Rutledge proved to be the decisive blow. On the season, Frederick is 5-10 in one-run games, the worst mark in the Carolina League. That can be partially attributed to the Keys dropping their first five one-run games of the year. Salem owns the best record in one-run tilts in the CL (8-2/.800).

STILL KNOCKIN: Tucker Nathans will be sad to see the month of May come to an end. After hitting only .148 in April, the New York native is batting .367 over the season’s second month. During that time he has gone 22-for-60 with four doubles, seven RBIs and six runs scored. A majority of that damage came during a five-game hitting streak (which ended Tuesday), where the former Fairfield star went 10-for-20 with three doubles, five RBIs and two runs scored. Nathans has recorded multiple hits in three of his last four games, to raise his batting average to .257, the highest it has been since April 4 (the second game of the year).

MOVING AND SHAKING: Frederick’s roster has gotten a bit of a shakeup over the last few days. On Saturday, Michael Burgess was transferred to Aberdeen, while Pedro Perez was received from the Ironbirds. Before Thursday’s morning game, Sammie Starr rejoined the Keys from Aberdeen and Zane Chavez returned from Double-A Bowie. Meanwhile, Perez was transferred to Aberdeen, while Lucas Herbst was also sent to the Ironbirds. On Friday, one additional roster move was announced, as lefty reliever Ashur Tolliver joined the Keys from Aberdeen, and Lex Rutledge was transferred.

TAYLOR TO THE DL: On Monday left-hander Matt Taylor was placed on the seven-day disabled list retroactive to May 19. One of the Carolina League’s top starting pitchers this season, the Georgian rates second in ERA (1.94) and is tied for second in wins (five). Winner of three straight starts, Taylor’s most recent triumph came last Wednesday against Potomac, when he allowed five runs over five innings.

ON THE WAY HOME: Although Glynn Davis is only 3 for his last 20 at the plate, the Keys centerfielder still ranks among the Carolina League’s top offensive performers. Third in the league in batting average (.320), Davis’ most valuable asset has been his ability to get on base and score runs. Over his last 18 contests, the speedster has scored 15 runs. In the process it has moved his season-tally up to 38, second-most in the Carolina League (he trails only Myrtle Beach’s Joey Gallo who has 44). He has at least one hit in 33 of the 44 games he has played this season, while he leads the team in multi-hit games (17).

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:Right-hander Christian Binford makes his ninth Carolina League start and his first against the Frederick Keys. Rated the No. 10 prospect in the Royals system according to Baseball America, the Hagerstown, MD native picked up his third win of the year on Tuesday. Facing Carolina, the right-hander allowed two runs on six hits over 5.2 innings, he struck out eight, but tied his season-high with three walks allowed. A pitcher whose control has been rated as the best in the Kansas City farm system by Baseball America, Binford is fourth in the Carolina League in WHIP (1.04), while he is limiting opponents to a .217 batting average (.225 left/.212 right) the fifth-lowest mark in the eight-team circuit. A pitcher who has been outstanding over both months of the season, Binford has a 2.19 ERA in the month of May, and has given up only six runs in 24.2 innings pitched. The right-hander was also dominant at Low-A Lexington in 2013. Named the Lexington Pitcher of the Year as well as a South Atlantic League All-Star, Binford was 8-7 with a 2.67 ERA to go along with 130 strikeouts and just 25 walks over 135 frames. His ERA was third-best in the SAL, while he placed fifth in WHIP (1.14) and sixth in strikeouts. Binford spent 2012 at Rookie-Burlington, after being selected by Kansas City in the 30th round of the 2011 draft. He received a well over-slot bonus of $575,000 which swayed him from attending the University of Virginia (if he attended he would have been teammates with Branden Kline). As a high school senior at Mercersburg (PA) Academy, Binford posted a 0.64 ERA in 55 frames. As a sophomore he underwent Tommy John Surgery. Not a hard thrower, Binford used his 6 foot 7 frame to create a good downhill angle on his pitches. He throws a 88-93 mph fastball, a slider, curveball and changeup.

Frederick Keys Game Notes

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

The orange and black try and even the series tonight with the Wilmington Blue Rocks at 7:05 p.m. Branden Kline was dominant toward the later end of his first start in the First State (insert applause). Over seven innings he allowed one run and struck out six. Kline now paces Frederick pitchers with five quality starts.

Tonight the Keys turn to Brady Wager. He will be opposed by Jonathan Dziedzic, who enters with the third-best ERA in the Carolina League (2.11). In his first Carolina League season, Dziedzic has a very unique nickname. I’ll be discussing where it came from during the broadcast tonight, so make sure and tune in! First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m. and we’ll hit the air on 1450 AM The Source at 6:50. So tune in via computer, smart phone, or…..even by plain old radio tonight.

Some game notes are below.

Talk soon and shake your keys!

Geoff

Saturday, May 24, 2014 · Game #46 · Road Game #24

Frederick Keys (20-25) vs Wilmington Blue Rocks (23-23)

RHP Brady Wager (2-3, 6.43) vs. LHP Jonathan Dziedzic (4-2, 2.11)

27 OUTS IS NOT AN EASY GAME TO PLAY: Kenny Diekroeger stroked a game-winning single through the left side in the bottom of the 10th, as Wilmington handed Frederick a 3-2 walk-off defeat on Friday night at Frawley Stadium. Ahead 2-1 going into the ninth inning, Ashur Tolliver retired Tyler Chism, but doubles by Cam Gallagher and Terrance Gore forced an extra-frame. In the 10th, Matt Price loaded the bases (two walks and an intentional free pass), before Diekroeger sent the home crowd away happy.  The series opening loss to the Blue Rocks marks the second straight day where the Keys had lost a game when leading after seven innings, and only the second time all season where the orange and black had come up short when going into the ninth frame with an advantage (entering Friday the Keys were 13-1). On Saturday, Frederick tries to avoid falling six games below .500 for the first time all year.

WALK-OFF WOES: Through 45 games this season, the Keys have suffered five walk-off defeats. Two of those have come over the last five days. On Sunday, Frederick lost in a walk-off at Winston-Salem, when Courtney Hawkins doubled to the leftfield corner with two outs and eventually come home on a groundball to the right side by Grant Buckner. This season, the orange and black have only two walk-off wins, with the most recent coming against the Dash on May 10, when Brenden Webb stroked a ninth inning single to right off Winston-Salem’s Euclides Leyer.

FREE BASEBALL ISN’T ALWAYS FUN BASEBALL: The loss in the series opener dropped Frederick to 1-3 in extra-inning games this season. The three defeats in games stretching past regulation are tied for the most in the Carolina League with Potomac, who is 0-3 in those contests. All three of Frederick’s losses in extra-inning ballgames have come to Northern Division competition, with Lynchburg defeating the Keys 6-5 in 10 innings on April 4, and then again in 12 innings on April 14 by a 5-4 tally. Frederick’s lone extra-inning triumph came at Carolina on April 18, when the Keys won 3-1 in 11 innings. Friday was the first time all season that the Blue Rocks had played an extra-inning game.

CLOSE CALLS: Lately, the Keys have played a number of nailbiters. The team’s last five games have all come down to one or two runs, while each of the last three games have hinged on a single tally. During the five-game stretch, the orange and black have gone 2-3. Frederick’s last one-run win came on Wednesday night against Myrtle Beach, when the Keys won 5-4 thanks to a three-run sixth, and an unearned run in the seventh. Less than 24 hours later, the Pelicans answered back with a 4-3 win, as Preston Beck’s two-run homer in the eighth inning off Lex Rutledge proved to be the decisive blow. With back-to-back losses, Frederick is now 5-10 in one-run games, the worst mark in the Carolina League. That can be partially attributed to the Keys dropping their first five one-run games of the year. Salem owns the best record in one-run tilts in the CL (7-2/.778).

BACK ON TRACK: After allowing 10 runs and 17 hits over his previous nine innings, Branden Kline looked like his old self on Friday. In his 10th start of the season, the Frederick native tossed seven innings of one-run baseball in a no-decision. He allowed seven hits, struck out six and did not walk a batter. All seven hits Kline allowed came over the first three innings, while the right-hander faced only one over the minimum in his final four frames of work. The seven inning effort is the 22-year-old’s fifth quality start of the year, while he has worked seven innings or more on three occasions.

STILL KNOCKIN: Tucker Nathans will be sad to see the month of May come to an end. After hitting only .148 in April, the New York native is batting .364 over the season’s second month. During that time he has gone 20-for-55 with four doubles, seven RBIs and five runs scored. A majority of that damage came during a five-game hitting streak (which ended Tuesday), where the former Fairfield star went 10-for-20 with three doubles, five RBIs and two runs scored. Nathans has recorded multiple hits in three of his last four games, to raise his batting average to .257, the highest it has been since April 4 (the second game of the year).

MOVING AND SHAKING: Frederick’s roster has gotten a bit of a shakeup over the last 72 hours. On Saturday, Michael Burgess was transferred to Aberdeen, while Pedro Perez was received from the Ironbirds. Before Thursday’s morning game, Sammie Starr rejoined the Keys from Aberdeen and Zane Chavez returned from Double-A Bowie. Meanwhile, Perez was transferred to Aberdeen, while Lucas Herbst was also sent to the Ironbirds. On Friday, one additional roster move was announced, as lefty reliever Ashur Tolliver joined the Keys from Aberdeen, and Lex Rutledge was transferred.

TAYLOR TO THE DL: On Monday left-hander Matt Taylor was placed on the seven-day disabled list retroactive to May 19. One of the Carolina League’s top starting pitchers this season, the Georgian rates second in ERA (1.94) and is tied for second in wins (five). Winner of three straight starts, Taylor’s most recent triumph came last Wednesday against Potomac, when he allowed five runs over five innings.

ON THE WAY HOME: Although Glynn Davis is only 2 for his last 16 at the plate, the Keys centerfielder still ranks among the Carolina League’s top offensive performers. Fifth in the league in batting average (.321), Davis’ most valuable asset has been his ability to get on base and score runs. Over his last 17 contests, the speedster has scored 15 runs. In the process it has moved his season-tally up to 38, second-most in the Carolina League (he trails only Myrtle Beach’s Joey Gallo who has 44). He has at least one hit in 32 of the 43 games he has played this season, while he leads the team in multi-hit games (17).

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:Left-hander Jonathan Dziedzic makes his ninth start of the season and his first against the Keys. Owner of the third-best ERA in the Carolina League (2.11), the Humble, Texas native trails only Frederick’s Matt Taylor (1.94) and Carolina’s Ryan Merritt (1.60) for the top spot. His most recent start came at Lynchburg last Sunday. Lasting a season-low three innings, Dziedzic allowed three runs on five hits. He struck out one and walked four, a mark which was a season-high and tied a career-high (he also walked four last June 30 vs Ogden, his second professional outing). Despite not having overpowering stuff, Dziedzic is fourth in the Carolina League in strikeout/9 IP ratio (9.78). His month of April was outstanding (4G, 3-1, 1.64), while he has been brutal against hitters from both sides of the plate. Dziedzic is holding opponents to a .224 average, while lefties are batting only .161 against him (5-for-31, 10 SO). 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.

 

 

 

Keys Game Notes 5-22-14

Rise and shine Keys fans!

The guys are hitting the field early this morning for the rubber match of a three game set with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. The Keys won last night, taking the lead in the sixth inning when three consecutive hits from Tucker Nathans, Michael Burgess, and Creede Simpson gave Frederick a 3-2 lead. The Keys tacked on another in the inning when Adrian Marin singled to drive in Simpson. Frederick didn’t look back, tallying another run in the seventh inning and eventually winning 5-4.

Today’s first pitch is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. at Harry Grove Stadium. Keys starter right-hander Mark Blackmar will face off against Pelicans’ lefty Victor Payano.

Below are some notes in reference to today’s game.

Thursday, May 22, 2014 · Game #44 · Home Game #22

Frederick Keys (20-23) vs Myrtle Beach Pelicans (28-16)

RHP Mark Blackmar (2-1, 4.66) vs. LHP Victor Payano (3-2, 4.26)

SIXTH INNING SURGE: Held to only one run on three hits through their first five trips to bat, the Frederick Keys sent eight men to bat and plated three runs in the sixth, as the orange and black defeated the Myrtle Beach Pelicans 5-4 on Wednesday night at Harry Grove Stadium. In the inning, Tucker Nathans led off with a single and scored on a double to left-center by Michael Burgess. That tied the game at two, while an RBI single by Creede Simpson gave the Keys their first lead. Later in the frame, Adrian Marin added insurance with a single to center which scored Simpson. The Pelicans made a comeback bid in the eighth thanks to a two-run homer by Christopher Bostick, but Mychal Givens retired the final five batters he faced to earn his third save.

MEAT AND POTATOES: Tuesday proved to be a good night for the heart of the Keys order. Five of the team’s nine hits and three of the five RBIs came courtesy of the three-five hole, while Tucker Nathans (2-for-2, R) and Michael Burgess (2-for-4, 2RBI, R) each finished with multi-hit games. For Burgess, it was his 11th multi-hit game of the year and moved his average up to .284 on the campaign, the highest it has been all season. Meanwhile, it was Nathans third multi-game in his last four contests.

ADRIAN!: Adrian Marin enjoyed a strong night at the plate after being stuck in a 2-for-23 slump over his previous six games. On Wednesday, the Miami native tied his season-high for hits, going 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored. The Keys shortstop also finished with three hits against Winston-Salem on May 11. Thanks to his performance in the middle game of the series, Marin moved his batting average up to .237, the highest it has been in a week. Only 20 years old, he is batting .266 over 18 games in May after hitting just .211 over 19 April contests.

CLOSE CALLS: Frederick’s win on Wednesday was their fifth one-run victory of the campaign. On the season, the team is 5-8 in ballgames decided by a single tally. After dropping their first five one-run ballgames to begin the year, the orange and black have come out victorious in three of their last four games hinging on a single run. So far, Potomac and Lynchburg have the most wins in one-run games in the Carolina League (nine), while Salem has the best winning percentage in game coming down to one run (7-2).

THE FLORIDIAN FORCE: Michael Burgess extended his hitting streak to a season-high seven games on Wednesday. After closing the book on the no-hit bid by Chi Chi Gonzalez on Tuesday, the power-hitting lefty ended 2-for-4 with a double, two RBIs and a run scored last night. Over the seven game stretch, he is batting .444 (12-for-27) with a home run, five doubles, 11 RBIs and five runs scored. One of the slugger’s best games of the year came on Sunday at Winston-Salem, when he finished 3-for-3, and became the third Keys player to drive in four runs this year. It was the most runs Burgess had brought home in a game since last May 13, when he tallied eight RBIs as a member of the Corpus Christi Hooks. Currently third in the Carolina League in RBIs, Burgess trails only Winston-Salem’s Courtney Hawkins (35) and Myrtle Beach’s Joey Gallo (39).

NATHANS KNOCKING: Tucker Nathans saw his season-high five game hitting streak end on Tuesday, but the New York native bounced back with his eighth multi-hit effort on Wednesday night. In the process it moved his batting average up to .248, the third-highest it has been all season. Over his last seven games, Nathans is batting .500 (12-for-24) with three doubles, five RBIs and four runs scored. One-third of that output came on Saturday at Winston-Salem, when the infielder his career-high for hits (four) and RBIs (three) in a game. After a dismal April where he hit only .148 over 14 games, Nathans is batting .353 over 15 games in May.

PELICAN BRIEFS:. Wednesday’s triumph was just the team’s second win over the Birds at Harry Grove Stadium this season. The 2014 head-to-head series got off to an inauspicious start for Frederick, who fell 21-6 on April 23, the club’s worse loss since June 11, 2006. Frederick bounced back the following night with their first walk-off win of the season, courtesy of Wynston Sawyer, but Pelicans pitchers combined on a 16 strikeout performance the following night to take the three-game set. Meeting on the Grand Strand to open the month of May, the two sides split the next four games. Pitching was the main storyline, with Chi Chi Gonzalez tossing eight shutout innings in the third game of the set, before Matt Taylor spun seven shutout frames in the series finale. A one-sided affair over the last two years, Frederick went 6-14 against Myrtle Beach in both 2013 and 2012. Both seasons, it marked the team’s worse showing against a CL opponent.

TAYLOR TO THE DL/HOBGOOD RETURNS: On Monday left-hander Matt Taylor was placed on the seven-day disabled list retroactive to May 19. One of the Carolina League’s top starting pitchers this season, the Georgian is currently tied for the circuit’s lead in wins (five) and is third in ERA (1.94). Winner of three straight starts, Taylor’s most recent triumph came last Wednesday against Potomac, when he allowed five runs over five innings. In a corresponding move on Wednesday afternoon, reliever Matt Hobgood was reinstated from the seven-day DL after missing nearly two weeks with right shoulder inflammation. In eight games this season, the California native is 2-1 with a 3.38 ERA.

 ON THE WAY HOME: Glynn Davis sawhis string of games with a run scored come to an end on Friday. Entering game one of the doubleheader with a run scored in nine straight, Davis never advanced past second base. He made up for it in the backend of the twinbill though, scoring twice. The Baltimore native has now come home 14 times in his last 14 contests, while he is second in the league in that department (37). One of the CL’s top threats at the plate, Davis is third in batting average (.331) and second in hits (53). He has at least one hit in 31 of the 41 games he has played this season.

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:Left-hander Victor Payano makes his 10th start of the season on Thursday morning and his third against Frederick in 2014. His most recent start came against Potomac last Saturday, and was his second quality outing of the year. Over six stanzas, he allowed only two runs on four hits. He walked four and struck out three. In each of his last three starts he has tossed five innings or more and allowed two runs or less. When Payano has gotten into trouble this year, walks have often been the problem. The Carolina League’s leader in free tickets, the 21-year-old leads the eight-team circuit in free passes (36). A problem throughout his entire career, Payano has walked 206 over 328.2 innings as a professional, or roughly six per nine innings. The lefty spent all of 2013 with Myrtle Beach, going 5-7 with a 6.67 ERA over 21 games (20 starts). In 82.1 innings, he allowed 82 hits, walked 54 and surrendered a career-high 11 home runs. Payano’s best season came with Low-A Hickory in 2012. As a 19-year-old that season, he went 6-8 with a 4.63 ERA over 25 games (20 starts). The Pelicans opening day starter this season, Payano was originally signed as a non-drafted free agent by Texas in February 2010. Clocked in the upper 80s as a 16-year-old, the Dominican originally agreed to terms with Boston for $900,000, but failed his physical. That allowed Texas to swoop in and sign him for a reported $75,000. Payano throws a low-mid 90s fastball, a curveball and a changeup.

Keys Game Notes 5-21-14

The Frederick Keys and Myrtle Beach Pelicans take to Harry Grove Stadium tonight for their second of three games this week. The Pelicans took game one of the series last night when starter Chi Chi Gonzalez took a  perfect game into the fifth inning and a no-hitter into the seventh. Keys starter Parker Bridwell, who nearly threw a no hitter in his last outing, was solid as well. Bridwell gave up a run in the first inning, but recovered by retiring 10 of 11 batters. At night’s end, he allowed three runs over six innings pitched, striking out eight Myrtle Beach batters. The Pelicans scored a run in the fifth and sixth inning and eventually went on to win the game 3-1.

Tonight right-hander Joe Van Meter gets the start for the Keys, facing off against Myrtle Beach starter Andrew Faulkner.

Tonight’s game against the Pelicans also features Kid’s Courtesy Admission! If a child shows up (with a paying adult) wearing a little league baseball uniform that child will receive a free ticket to the game! Hope to see plenty of future Frederick Keys in the stands tonight!

Below are some game notes about tonight’s game.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014 · Game #43 · Home Game #21

Frederick Keys (19-23) vs Myrtle Beach Pelicans (28-15)

RHP Joe Van Meter (0-0, 4.15) vs. LHP Andrew Faulkner (2-0, 2.79)

LUMBER LIQUIDATOR: Chi Chi Gonzalez carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning, while the Frederick Keys were held to only one hit on the game, as the Myrtle Beach Pelicans earned a 3-1 victory on Tuesday night at Harry Grove Stadium. It was the fewest hits Frederick had recorded in a game all season. After tossing eight shutout innings against the orange and black on May 3, Gonzalez was even sharper on Monday. Over the first six innings, the Rangers No. 5 prospect allowed only four runners to reach base, while the team did not record its first hit until the seventh on an opposite field single by Michael Burgess. The Keys lone run came later that inning on a wild pitch. Parker Bridwell kept the Keys close over six innings, surrendering only three runs, but was tagged for his sixth loss of the season.

CHECKMATE: On Tuesday, Frederick was one-hit for the first time since April 20, 2013, when Potomac’s Taylor Hill shutout the Keys over seven innings at Pfitzner Stadium. Prior to yesterday, the Keys season-low for hits in a game had been two. Facing Dylan Baker on April 8, the Mudcats right-hander retired 18 in-a-row before Glynn Davis tripled to begin the seventh. This season the Keys have struggled mightily against Gonzalez. In two starts against the Keys, the right-hander has gone 2-0 with a 0.60 ERA (15IP/1R).

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Frederick has struggled terribly in series openers this year. Since winning of the first game of a four-game set at Carolina on April 18, the orange and black have dropped eight straight games to begin a series. In the first game of a series this year, the Keys are 3-10. That has contributed to only two series victories all year (to go with four defeats and six splits). Frederick’s last series win came during its last homestand, when the team took two of three against the Potomac National, the top club in the CL North.

PELICAN BRIEFS: The Keys have not fared well against the Pelicans at Harry Grove Stadium. Frederick has dropped three of its four home games to Myrtle Beach, while Tuesday’s loss was the team’s fifth to the Birds this season. The 2014 head-to-head series got off to an inauspicious start for Frederick, who fell 21-6 on April 23, the club’s worse loss since June 11, 2006. The Keys bounced back the following night with their first walk-off win of the season, courtesy of Wynston Sawyer, but Pelicans pitchers combined on a 16 strikeout performance the following night to take the three-game set. Meeting on the Grand Strand to open the month of May, the two sides split the next four games. Pitching was the main storyline, with Chi Chi Gonzalez tossing eight shutout innings in the third game of the set, before Matt Taylor spun seven shutout frames in the series finale. A one-sided affair over the last two years, Frederick went 6-14 against Myrtle Beach in both 2013 and 2012. Both seasons, it marked the team’s worse showing against a CL opponent.

THE FLORIDIAN FORCE: Michael Burgess closed the book on the no-hit bid by Chi Chi Gonzalez on Tuesday with a single to left in the top of the seventh. Additionally, it allowed the Tampa native to extend his hitting streak to six games, tying his longest swing of the year (he also hit in six straight from April 23-May 1). Over the current six-gamer he is batting .435 (10-for-23) with a home run, four doubles, nine RBIs and four runs scored. One of the slugger’s best games of the year came on Sunday at Winston-Salem, when he finished 3-for-3, and became the third Keys player to drive in four runs this year. It was the most runs Burgess had brought home in a game since last May 13, when he tallied eight RBIs as a member of the Corpus Christi Hooks. Currently third in the Carolina League in RBIs, Burgess trails only Winston-Salem’s Courtney Hawkins (34) and Myrtle Beach’s Joey Gallo (39).

NATHANS KNOCKING: Tucker Nathans saw his season-high five game hitting streak end on Tuesday. During the five-game jaunt he hit .500 (10-for-20) with three doubles, five RBIs and two runs scored. Four of Nathans hits came on Saturday at Winston-Salem, when he tied his career-high for hits (four) and RBIs (three) in a game. Although the streak is over, the New York native is still batting .327 over 14 games in May.

TEXAS TOAST: Parker Bridwell turned in his second straight quality start in the series opener against the Pelicans, but was tagged with his sixth loss. Coming off a near no-hitter, the reigning Carolina League “Pitcher of the Week” allowed three runs on six hits over six stanzas. He walked two and tied his season-high with eight strikeouts. The six losses is tied for the most in the CL, but is not indicative of how well Bridwell has pitched of late. After posting a 7.56 ERA in the month of April, the right-hander has tallied a 3.33 ERA (24.1 IP/9R) in four May starts.

 TAYLOR TO THE DL: On Monday left-hander Matt Taylor was placed on the seven-day disabled list retroactive to May 19. One of the Carolina League’s top starting pitchers this season, the Georgian is currently tied for the circuit’s lead in wins (five) and is third in ERA (1.94). Winner of three straight starts, Taylor’s most recent triumph came last Wednesday against Potomac, where he allowed five runs over five innings. The Orioles have not made a corresponding roster move.

 ON THE WAY HOME: Glynn Davis sawhis string of games with a run scored come to an end on Friday. Entering game one of the doubleheader with a run scored in nine straight, Davis never advanced past second base. He made up for it in the backend of the twinbill though, scoring twice. The Baltimore native has now come home 14 times in his last 13 contests, while he is second in the league in that department (37). One of the CL’s top threats at the plate, Davis is also tied for fourth (.331), is second in hits (53) and fifth in total bases (72). He has at least one hit in 31 of the 40 games he has played this season.

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:Left-hander Andrew Faulkner makes his 10h appearance of the year on Wednesday as well as his seventh start. The 21-year-old’s most recent start came against Potomac last Friday. Earning the win, Faulkner allowed four runs on nine hits over six innings. He walked three and struck out four. That snapped a string of back-to-back quality starts by Faulkner, though he has tossed six innings in each of his last three outings. Currently, the southpaw is ninth in the Carolina League in ERA (2.79), and is one of two Pelicans pitchers among the 10 best (Chi Chi Gonzalez rates fifth with a 2.38 mark). Faulkner has split the season between the rotations and the bullpen. He began the year piggybacking with fellow lefty Luis Parra (alternating starting and relief roles) and has pitched almost exclusively out the rotation since Cody Buckel was placed on the disabled list in mid-April, and later moved to the bullpen. In his first year with the Pelicans, Faulkner spent all of 2012-13 with Low-A Hickory. Despite not joining the team until May 15 last year, the South Carolina native posted the second most starts on the staff (19). In 21 total games, he went 6-5 with a 3.48 ERA over 111.1 frames. The only member of the Pelicans who hails from the Palmetto State, Faulkner was selected by Texas in the 14th round of the 2011 draft out of South Aiken High School. As a senior, he went 6-2 with a 2.32 ERA with 81 strikeouts in 48 innings, becoming only the second player in his high school’s history to be drafted. He was signed by the Rangers for a reported $125,000 signing bonus. A four-pitch pitcher, Faulkner throws a fastball (89-92), curveball, changeup and split.

Keys Game Notes 5-20-14

The Keys open up a three-game homestand against the Myrtle Beach this evening. The Keys have won four of six and will look to continue the success against the league-leading Pelicans, who come into the series boasting a 27-15 record and a 15-5 record on the road.

Frederick sends Carolina League Pitcher of the Week Parker Bridwell to the mound, who nearly threw a no-hitter in his last outing. The Keys are also getting hot at the plate, especially Tucker Nathans, who is coming off one of his best weekends of the year, going 9-16 in four games, and Michael Burgess, who comes into the series on a five-game hitting streak.

Tonight is also GUARANTEE WIN NIGHT! We GUARANTEE that the Keys will win, but if they don’t, your ticket from tonight’s game can be redeemed at the box office for a Monday-Thursday regular-season home game (based on availability) later in the season. Tonight is also Peanut Free Night, and no peanut products will be sold at the game.

Hope to see plenty of you out at Harry Grove Stadium tonight!

Below are some of tonight’s game notes.

TWIN-CITY TORMENT: Needing only one more out to force extra-innings, Matt Hauser misfired on a breaking ball to Winston-Salem’s Courtney Hawkins, while two batters later, Grant Buckner delivered an RBI single to right, as the Keys fell to the Dash 7-6 on Sunday afternoon at BB&T Ballpark. The walk-off defeat forced Frederick to settle for a series-split, after winning the two middle games of the four-game affair. In a contest that featured a combined 23 hits, Michael Burgess was the star. Ending a triple shy of the cycle, the Floridian went 3-for-3 with four RBIs. Seen as a possible pitching duel at the onset, Branden Kline tied a career-high with six runs as well as a career-worst 11 hits. His opponent Tyler Danish did not fare well either. Entering Sunday with the third-best ERA in minor league baseball (0.71), the righty allowed five runs on seven hits as well as two home runs.

TOUGH EXIT: The Frederick Keys suffered their fourth walk-off loss of the season on Sunday. It was the team’s first walk-off defeat since May 7 at Potomac, when Randolph Oduber stroked a game-winning double to give the Nationals a 4-3 triumph. Frederick also suffered a pair of walk-off defeats to the Lynchburg Hillcats on back-to-back nights in April. The walk-off single by Buckner served as payback of sorts, as the Keys earned a walk-off victory over Winston-Salem on May 10.

THE FLORIDIAN FORCE: Michael Burgess put together his third three-hit game of the season on Sunday afternoon. Going 3-for-3, the Tampa native finished a triple shy of the cycle, and became only the third Keys player to drive in four runs in a game this year. It was the most runs Burgess had recorded in a game since last May 13, when he tallied eight RBIs as a member of the Corpus Christi Hooks. The four RBI effort pushed the outfielder’s tally up to 31 for the season. He is currently third in the Carolina League, trailing only Winston-Salem’s Courtney Hawkins (34) and Myrtle Beach’s Joey Gallo (39). Additionally, Burgess has hit safely in each of his last five games. During that time he is batting.473 (9-for-19) with a home run, four doubles, nine RBIs and four runs scored.

NATHANS KNOCKING: Tucker Nathans recorded multiple hits for the third time in four games on Sunday. Finishing 2-for-5 with a run scored, Nathans also extended his hitting streak to a season-high five games. Over that stretch, he is hitting .500 (10-for-20) with three doubles, five RBIs and two runs scored. The two-hit effort comes on the heels of an outstanding Saturday for Nathans, who tied his career-high for hits (four) and RBIs (three) in a game. Thanks to the five-game jaunt, Nathans has seen his average jump from 173 to .238. In 13 May ballgames, the former Fairfield standout is batting .340 (he hit only .148 over 14 games in April).

KNOCKED AROUND: Although Branden Kline receiveda no-decisionon Sunday, it was another challenging day for the right-hander. Over five-plus innings, the Frederick native surrendered a career-high 11 hits, and tied a career-high with six runs allowed. It was the most runs Kline had given up in a game since last May 12, when he was pitching for Low-A Delmarva. Since tossing six shutout innings at Potomac on May 7, the righty has given up 10 runs on 17 hits over his last nine frames. That has pushed his ERA from 2.01 to 3.47, the second-highest it has been all year.

 TAYLOR TO THE DL: On Monday left-hander Matt Taylor was placed on the seven-day disabled list retroactive to May 19. No reason was given for the DL move. One of the Carolina League’s top starting pitchers this season, the Georgian is currently tied for the circuit’s lead in wins (five) and is third in ERA (1.94). Winner of three straight starts, Taylor’s most recent triumph came last Wednesday against Potomac, where he allowed five runs over five innings. The Orioles have not made a corresponding roster move.

ATTACK OF THE BATS: The last six days have been very good for the Keys offensively. During that stretch, the Keys have averaged seven runs a game, earned a shutout victory, and set a new season-high for hits in a game. Frederick’s run of good luck started on Tuesday night. In addition to Parker Bridwell throwing a near no-hitter, Frederick touched up P-Nats lefty Brett Mooneyham for seven runs over five innings. On Wednesday morning, the Keys ambushed MLB rehabber Ross Ohlendorf. In only 2.1 of an inning, the orange and black tallied 11 hits and seven runs, as Frederick equaled its largest scoring output of the season (a 12-5 win). Additionally, seven of the nine starters ended with two hits or more. Following a setback in game one of Friday’s doubleheader, the Keys bounced back with an 8-2 win courtesy of five Winston-Salem errors, before tallying 13 knocks on Saturday in a 5-1 triumph. Frederick also recorded 10 hits on Sunday, but fell in the series finale to the Dash. In the month of May, Frederick is hitting .270 as a club over 18 games.

 ON THE WAY HOME: Glynn Davis sawhis string of games with a run scored come to an end on Friday. Entering game one of the doubleheader with a run scored in nine straight, Davis never advanced past second base. He made up for it in the backend of the twinbill though, scoring twice. The Baltimore native has now come home 14 times in his last 12 contests, while he is second in the league in that department (37). One of the CL’s top threats at the plate, Davis is also tied for third in the league in batting average (.338), is second in hits (53) and fourth in total bases (72). He has at least one hit in 31 of the 39 games he has played this season.

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:Right-hander Alex “Chi Chi” Gonzalez makes his ninth start of the season and his second against the Keys in  2014. The No. 5 prospect in the Texas farm system according to Baseball America as well as the Rangers top pitching prospect, Gonzalez has won each of his last four starts. His most recent victory came last Tuesday against Winston-Salem. Over six shutout innings, the right-hander allowed only three hits, walked one and struck out five. Over the four-start stretch, Gonzalez has given up only four runs in 27.2 innings, cutting his ERA from 3.92 to 2.42. He is currently sixth in the Carolina League in ERA and fifth in WHIP (1.03). Not new to the Carolina League, the former Southland Conference Pitcher of the Year pitched in five games for the Pelicans in 2013. Splitting time between the Birds and Short-Season Spokane, Gonzalez went 0-4 with a 3.80 ERA. Selected by Texas with the 23rd pick in the 2013 draft out of Oral Roberts, the 22-year-old went 9-5 with a 1.83 in 15 starts. During that time he struck out 126 and walked only 27. Gonzalez throws both a four-seam and two-seam fastball, a curveball, slider, cutter and changeup. The cutter is his bread and butter pitch, and was described by ESPN’s Keith Law as the best cutter in the 2013 draft. He developed the pitch his sophomore year in college with then-head coach Rob Walton. Known as “Chi Chi” by his teammates, Gonzalez received the nickname from his great uncle who also gave nicknames to Chi Chi’s sisters (nina and nene).

Road Notes and the Keys Upcoming Homestand

Good Evening Keys Fans!

I hope everybody had a solid weekend, and that you’re all ready for Keys baseball at the Grove on Tuesday night! Frederick will play a three-game set with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans with first pitch slated for 7:00 p.m. Parker Bridwell makes the start for the Keys, and will be countered by Birds right-hander Alex “Chi Chi” Gonzalez.

It promises to be an exciting evening of baseball. Bridwell nearly threw a no-hitter has last time out, while Gonzalez has turned in 4 straight quality starts. During that stretch, he has allowed only four runs over 27.2 frames (1.30 ERA) and won four straight times. In his only start against the orange and black this season, Gonzalez tossed eight shutout innings, walking three and striking out five.

The good news is that the Keys bats have been hot of late. Despite falling 7-6 to Winston-Salem on Sunday, the club has averaged seven runs of offense over its last five games. The team is also hitting .270 as a team over the month of May.

Some other news and notes:

  • Parker Bridwell was named Carolina League “Pitcher of the Week” on Monday after throwing a near no-hitter last Tuesday at Potomac. Tony Renda broke it up with one out in the ninth via single to center. It marks the first time that a Keys pitcher has won a pitcher of the week award since September 2012, when Tyler Wilson took the honor. here is the full article
  • Tucker Nathans had an outstanding series against Winston-Salem. In four games he went 9-for-16 with two doubles, four RBIs and two runs scored. His best game of the year came on Saturday night, when he went 4-for-4 with three RBIs and a double, tying career-highs for hits and RBIs. He has now hit safely in a season-high five games and is batting .340 in the month of May.  A former baseball AND soccer standout at Fairfield University, here is a quick interview that Tucker did with Greg Swatek of the Frederick News Post last year.
  • Michael Burgess has also hit safely in 5 straight games, and has seen his batting average climb nearly 30 pts over that stretch. On Sunday, he finished a triple short of the cycle, going 3-for-3 with a homer, four RBIs and two runs scored. Right now, the Tampa native is sitting at .279, the highest his average has been all season.
  • Gene Escat made his first professional start on Saturday, while Mark Blackmar made his first Carolina League start on Friday. Both were sharp, with Escat dealing four scoreless innings and striking out five, while Blackmar put together five innings of two-run baseball.

In short, plenty of positives to be taken from the roadtrip. Now if Frederick can get a sweep of the Pelicans over the next three days, than the team can get back to .500 on the season. It won’t be easy though, as Myrtle Beach comes in with the best record in the Carolina League (27-15). After the Birds, no team in the Carolina League is any more than four games over sea-level.

At the moment, the orange and black are tied for second in the CL North with Lynchburg and Wilmington, all of whom are 19-22 on the season. Potomac holds the top spot at 22-18.

We hope you’ll be joining us at Harry Grove Stadium over the next few days, here are some things to look forward to during the quick homestand!

- Tuesday night at 7 p.m. is GUARANTEE WIN NIGHT! It’s pretty simple, tomorrow night we GUARANTEE a Keys win. But, if things don’t go according to plan, than your Tuesday night ticket can be redeemed at the box office for a future Monday-Thursday regular-season home game (based on availability). It will also be Peanut Free Night, and no peanut products will be sold

- Wednesday night there will be a Brewer’s Alley Beer Pairing in the Mattress Warehouse Club. So come on out and enjoy Kolsch, India Pale Ale, Maibock. Trinity Stout and Nut Brown Ale as well as wings, sausages and more. First pitch is at 7 p.m.

- For the second straight homestand, the Keys will play at 11 a.m., when Frederick and Myrtle Beach conclude their series on Thursday. It’s also History Day at the ballpark, where we’ll hop into the time machine and give fans and students a look back at American History. Then later that day, it’s Meet the Keys at Downtown Frederick Partnerships “Alive at Five.” The event runs from 5-8 p.m. at the Carroll Creek Amphitheater, and fans will be able to mingle with Keys players and coaches.

One final note, during tonight’s “Monday Night Baseball” on ESPN, the Keys may get some type of mention…tune in and see if you can spot it!

Alright folks, that’s all for now. Talk to you tomorrow night!

Shake Your Keys!

Geoff

 

 

Keys Game Notes 5-18-14

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

Frederick tries for its third series win of the year, and its second against the Dash at BB&T Ballpark. Last night, the team pounded out 13 hits en route to a 5-1 win. We’ll get underway at 1:45 on 1450 AM The Source with first pitch scheduled for 2:00 p.m. Some game notes are below.

Talk soon and shake your Keys!

Geoff

                                                              Sunday, May 18, 2014 · Game #41 · Road Game #22

                                                        Frederick Keys (19-21) vs Winston-Salem Dash (14-26)

                                                 RHP Branden Kline (3-1, 2.64) vs. RHP Tyler Danish (0-0, –)

A NATHANS KINDA NIGHT: Tucker Nathans tied a career-high with four hits and drove home three of the Frederick Keys five runs, as the orange and black scored a 5-1 win over the Winston-Salem Dash on Saturday night at BB&T Ballpark. An all-around good effort by the Keys, eight of the nine members of the starting lineup finished with at least one hit, while the quartet of Gene Escat, Lex Rutledge, Matt Price and Matt Hauser combined on nine innings of five-hit, one-run baseball. The victory moves Frederick to 19-21 on the season, the first time the Keys have been two games below .500 since April 25.

NATHANS KNOCKING: After recording three hits over two ends of a doubleheader on Friday, Tucker Nathans remained hot on Saturday. Finishing 4-for-4 with a double, three RBIs and a run scored, the New York native tied his career-high for hits and runs batted in. The four-hit effort was his first since last May 22, when he was playing for Low-A Delmarva, while the three RBI effort was his first since last August 1, when he drove in three at Carolina. Over his last seven games, Nathans is batting .333 (11-for-25) to move his batting average from .155 to .229, the highest it has been since April 4 (the second day of the season).

ATTACK OF THE BATS: The last five days have been very good for the Keys offensively. During that stretch, the Keys have averaged seven runs a game, earned a shutout victory, and set a new season-high for hits in a game. Frederick’s run of good luck started on Tuesday night. In addition to Parker Bridwell throwing a near no-hitter, Frederick touched up P-Nats lefty Brett Mooneyham for seven runs over five innings. On Wednesday morning, the Keys ambushed MLB rehabber Ross Ohlendorf. In only 2.1 of an inning, the orange and black tallied 11 hits and seven runs, as Frederick equaled its largest scoring output of the season (a 12-5 win). Additionally, seven of the nine starters ended with two hits or more. Following a setback in game one of Friday’s doubleheader, the Keys bounced back with an 8-2 win courtesy of five Winston-Salem errors, before tallying 13 knocks on Saturday in a 5-1 triumph. In the month of May, Frederick is hitting .270 as a club over its first 17 games.

THE FLORIDIAN FORCE: Michael Burgess picked up an RBI for the third game in a row to push his season total to 27. That mark is good for third-best in the Carolina League, with only Joey Gallo (39) and Courtney Hawkins (34) having more. Over the current series, Burgess has driven in five runs, and has one double in each game. Over his last nine games, Burgess is batting .352 (12-for-34) with a triple, three doubles, nine RBIs and three runs scored.

GENO!: On Saturday night, Gene Escat made his first professional start, filling in on late-notice for Brady Wager. Prior to the game, the former Fresno State Bulldog had made 76 straight appearances out of the bullpen. Despite the unfamiliar role, Escat was sharp, tossing a season-high four innings of scoreless baseball. During that time he allowed only two hits, walked one and struck out five. Entering the game having not allowed a hit to a left-handed batter all season (0-for-22 coming in), Joey DeMichele finally bucked the trend in the second, with a double down the third base line. Among the top relievers in the Carolina League, Escat is fifth among CL bullpen hands in strikeouts per nine innings (10.80) and fourth in lowest batting average against (.148). The right-hander has not allowed a run over his last eight innings, while he has a 1.61 ERA for the year.

ON THE WAY HOME: Glynn Davis sawhis string of games with a run scored come to an end on Friday. Entering game one of the doubleheader with a run scored in nine straight, Davis never advanced past second base. He made up for it in the backend of the twinbill though, scoring twice. The Baltimore native has now comes home 13 times in his last 11 contests, while he second in the league in that department (36). One of the CL’s top threats at the plate, Davis is also third in the league in batting average (.342), second in hits (52), fourth in total bases (68) and fifth in total bases (71). He has at least one hit in 30 of the 38 games he has played this season.

FIVE COUNT: His eighth start may not have been his best, but Matt Taylor found a way to earn his fifth win of the season in the series finale against Potomac. That pulled him into a tie for the league-lead with Carolina’s Ryan Merritt. The five victories eclipses his 2013 total with Low-A Delmarva, and ties his career-high for wins in a season (he last won five with the Shorebirds in 2012). Beginning Wednesday as the Carolina League’s ERA leader, the Georgian allowed three runs in the first, snapping a string of 22.1 frames where he did not allow an earned run (and 15.1 where he did not allow any runs). In total, he allowed five runs (the most he had surrendered in a Carolina League start) over five innings, while he also gave up a season-high nine hits. Despite the numbers, Taylor  remains one of only four CL starters with a sub-2.00 ERA (1.94), and has the fourth-best mark overall.

FREDERICK VS WINSTON-SALEM: Frederick has a 7-3 mark against Winston-Salem this season, the team’s best mark against an opponent so far. On Sunday Frederick will try for its third series win of the season, and its second against the Dash. In April, the orange and black pulled a three-game sweep at BB&T Ballpark from April 16-17. During the set, Frederick benefited from eight Dash errors, got great production from its offense (14 runs) and lockdown relief (9IP/ER). Last year’s series was controlled by Winston-Salem, with the Dash taking 12 of the 20 meetings. Adding a little more drama to this year’s series, Winston-Salem is skippered by former Frederick manager Tommy Thompson. From 2007-08, he posted a 97-96 record, while he led the 2007 Keys to the club’s third Mills Cup title.

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:Right-hander Tyler Danish makes his Carolina League debut on Sunday afternoon, and is the No. 10 rated prospect in the Chicago White Sox system according to Baseball America.  Promoted to Winston-Salem on Thursday, Danish takes the rotation spot of Mike Recchia who was called up to Double-A Birmingham. One of minor league baseball’s most dominant arms this season, the right-hander posted a 3-1 record with a 0.71 ERA (38 IP/3ER) over seven games at Low-A Kannapolis. Over 38 innings, Danish allowed only 28 hits, walked 10 and struck out three. He trails only Chase Anderson of Double-A Mobile (0.69) and Caleb Smith of Low-A Charleston (0.70) for the minor league ERA lead. In his minor league career (going back to last season), Danish is 4-0 with a 0.93 ERA over 22 games (eight starts) and has handed out only seven earned runs over 68 stanzas. Selected by the White Sox in the second round of the 2013 draft out of Durant High School (FL), the 19-year-old split 2013 between Rookie-Bristol and Kannapolis. Used primarily out of the bullpen (15G/1GS), Danish was a combined 1-0 with a 1.20 ERA, allowing only four earned runs over 30 innings. Danish was taken by the White Sox after an outstanding senior year of high school. Pitching in Florida’s highest classification, the righty pitched 94 innings without allowing an earned run. He signed as the 55th pick for just over $1 million. An individual who has overcome adversity in his life, Danish lost his father, Mike, just after Christmas in 2010. At the time, he was serving part of an eight-and-a-half year prison sentence for fraud. Compared by some to former White Sox starter Jake Peavy due to his size and low-release point, the right-hander throws from a low-three quarters arm slot and gets heavy sink on his fastball (resulting in a 3.58 groundout to airout ratio). In addition to his sinker, Danish throws a standard four-seam fastball, a slider with late break as well as a changeup.

Keys Game Notes 5-13-14

Good evening Keys fans!

Come out to Harry Grove Stadium tonight to check out your Keys take on the Potomac Nationals in the second of a three game series. The Nationals took the series opener last night by a score of 8-4.

Right-hander Parker Bridwell gets the start for the Keys tonight against the Nationals, who will start lefty Brett Mooneyham.

Below are some of the game notes for tonight’s matchup.

Hope to see plenty of you here tonight! Shake your keys!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014 · Game #36 · Home Game #18

Frederick Keys (15-20) vs Potomac Nationals (20-14)

RHP Parker Bridwell (0-5, 6.94) vs. LHP Brett Mooneyham (2-3, 7.06)

MOST WANTED MAN: Brandon Miller broke an eighth inning tie, then provided insurance for the Potomac Nationals, who defeated the Frederick Keys 8-4 on Monday night at Harry Grove Stadium. Tied at four entering the eighth, Miller led-off the inning with a deep home run to left off Matt Hauser, then doubled home two more in the ninth. Branden Kline struggled with command, walking a season-high three over four innings of work, while he allowed four runs in his final frame. In the inning, the Nationals batted around as Kline needed 44 pitches to escape. The loss returns the Keys to a season-worst five games below .500, and drops the team into last place in the Carolina League Northern Division standings.

FOURTH INNING FRUSTRATION: Branden Kline allowed only one hit through his first three innings, but was tagged for four runs on five hits in the fourth inning. In the frame, the Nationals batted around while the right-hander needed 44 pitches to retire the side. Exiting after four stanzas, Kline allowed four runs on six hits, he walked three and struck out one. The four innings equals a season-low for Kline, who also allowed four runs over four innings against Lynchburg on April 13. Monday’s start bumped Kline’s ERA from 2.01 to 2.64, but he still boasts the seventh-best ERA in the Carolina League.

LITTLE HELP!: Despite splitting their past series with Winston-Salem, the Keys struggled mightily with runners in scoring position. Over the four game series, the team went a combined 4-for-30 with men at second or third base. On the season, Frederick is hitting .223 with men closest to home, .171 with men at second and third and two outs, and only .190 with the bases loaded.

FEELING THE BREEZE: Over the last four days, Frederick has struck out a combined 35 times. During the final two games of the series, the Keys went down on strikes 13 times. On Friday, the orange and black went down 12 times, as Dash starter J.B. Wendelken recorded a career-high 10 strikeouts. That was the most strikeouts by an opponent starting pitcher against the Keys this season. Frederick also struck out 10 times on Thursday (with Mike Recchia recording nine punchouts). Currently, the Keys are fourth in the Carolina League in strikeouts (267).

A HOUSE BUT NOT A HOME: After Sunday’s split, the Keys are just 5-11 at Harry Grove Stadium this year. The 11 losses is tied for the second-most in the Carolina League, with the Keys trailing only Winston-Salem (6-12) in setbacks at home. In contrast, Frederick’s 10 road wins are tops in the Northern Division and third-most in the CL. In general, home wins have been tough to come by in the Carolina League this season. Only Potomac (10-8) has a winning record at home, while every other club excluding Salem (10-10) is below the .500 at their home venue.

TURN OUT THE LIGHTS, THE PARTY’S OVER: When the Keys have opened the eighth inning with a lead, the results have often been favorable for the orange and black. In games where the team has the lead after seven innings, the Keys are 13-2. That mark improves to 9-1 when Frederick is ahead going into the ninth. In contrast, the team’s success late in games has been limited. Prior to Brenden Webb’s walk-off RBI single in the penultimate game of the series, the Keys were 0-14 when playing from behind entering the ninth.

TOP DOG: A staple of consistency at the top of the lineup, Glynn Davis has recorded at least one hit in 26 of 32 games this season that he has played. Currently, the Baltimore native rates second in the Carolina League in batting average (.351), hits (46) and runs scored (29), while he is third in total bases (62). Davis’ 15 games of two-hits or more also lead the ballclub.

TWIN KILLINGS:Frederick has been susceptible to the double-play ball over the last eight days. During that time, the Keys have hit into 10 twin-killings. That has ticked the club’s season-total up to 29, the most in the Carolina League this season. Nearly one-third of that total has come from Jason Esposito and Wynston Sawyer who have each hit into five apiece.

FREDERICK VS POTOMAC: Frederick has dropped 15 of its last 23 games to Potomac stretching back to last year. This season, the orange and black are 1-2 against their Northern Division rival after the P-Nats pulled a 4-0 shutout in game one, and shocked the Keys by a 4-3 margin in game two, thanks to a walk-off double by Randolph Oduber. Luis Pujols’ club salvaged a win in the series finale, as Branden Kline tossed six scoreless innings and Matt Hauser worked around trouble for his second save. The Keys went 7-13 against the Nationals in both 2012 and 2013, while Frederick has not claimed a season series against the Nationals since 2010. Potomac earned three shutout wins over the Keys last season, while an 8-0 Nationals victory on June 13 gave the P-Nats the first-half CL North title.

 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.

Keys Game Notes 5-12-14

Good evening Keys fans!

The Keys concluded their four game series against the Winston-Salem Dash this weekend at Harry Grove Stadium, giving the over 5,000 fans who came out on Mother’s Day quite a show. After splitting the first two game of the series, heavy rain on Saturday night forced a suspension of the third game. When play picked up in the bottom of the fifth inning, the Keys trailed the dash 3-0. Tucker Nathans drove in Michael Burgess in the bottom of the sixth inning, giving the Keys their first run of the game. Trailing 3-1 with one out in the bottom of the ninth, Sammie Starr blasted his first homer of the year over the center field wall. The two-run shot tied the game at three and set the table for someone to be a hero. Brenden Webb was just that, driving in Glynn Davis with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to give the Keys a 4-3 walk-off victory.

The success did not carry over to second game of the day; however, as the Keys fell 5-2 to the Dash. Winston-Salem first baseman Keon Barnum was 2-3 on the day, including a home run and two RBI’s. Adrian Marin provided a bright spot for the Keys, going 3-3 on the day including a ground rule double in the fourth inning.

The split series put the Keys in a three-way tie for second in the Northern division of the Carolina League, 4.5 games back of the Potomac Nationals.

Speaking of Potomac, guess who the Keys begin a three game set with tonight? That’s right. The Nationals travel to Harry Grove Stadium to take on the Keys, who look to close the gap in the division before hitting the road for a series at Winston-Salem.

They Keys send Frederick native Branden Kline to the mound, who comes in boasting a .745 ERA in his last four starts. The Nationals, who took two of three from the Keys earlier in the season, will start righty Ronald Pena who is 2-1 with a 5.63 ERA.

Below are some game notes in reference to tonight’s game.

 

Monday, May 12, 2014 · Game #35 · Home Game #17

Frederick Keys (15-19) vs Potomac Nationals (15-19)

RHP Branden Kline (3-1, 2.01) vs. RHP Ronald Pena (2-1, 5.63)

SPLITTSVILLE: The Frederick Keys earned a four-game split against the Winston-Salem Dash, after the two sides completed a suspended game as well as a seven-inning affair on Sunday afternoon. After Saturday’s game was halted with one out in the bottom of the fifth, the two sides picked things up at 1 o’clock Sunday. Trailing 3-0 when the game was resumed, Frederick scored one run in the sixth, before plating three in the ninth off Euclides Leyer to give the club their first ninth inning come-from-behind win of the season. Sammie Starr evened the score with a two-run homer, while Brenden Webb drove in Glynn Davis to give the home team a walk-off win. In the series finale, the Dash used home runs from Courtney Hawkins and Keon Barnum as well as six-innings of two-run baseball from starter Tony Bucciferro to hand the visitors a 5-2 triumph.

COMEBACK KIDS: The Keys recorded their second walk-off victory on Sunday afternoon, as Brenden Webb drove home Glynn Davis to cap-off a three-run ninth inning. The other walk-off win came on April 24, when Wynston Sawyer doubled off Myrtle Beach’s Keone Kella to lift the Keys to a 5-4 victory. Sunday’s walk-off win was extra special, as it marked the first time all season that the Keys had secured a win when trailing after eight innings. Prior to the game, Frederick had gone 0-14 when playing behind to start the ninth.

SLAMMIN SAMMY: Sammie Starr was one of the heroes in Frederick’s ninth inning rally on Sunday. His first home run of the season evened the score against the Dash, before Brenden Webb stroke the game-winner later in the inning. Starr also played second base in the second game of the day, finishing a collective 2-for-7 with a home run, two RBIs and a run scored. The Canadian has now hit safely in back-to-back games for the first time all year, while the dinger was his first since September 1, 2013, the penultimate game of last season. A year ago, five of Starr’s six homers came at Harry Grove Stadium.

LITTLE HELP!: Despite splitting their past series with Winston-Salem, the Keys struggled mightily with runners in scoring position. Over the four game series, the team went a combined 4-for-30 with men at second or third base. On the season, Frederick is hitting .223 with men closest to home, .171 with men at second and third and two outs, and only .190 with the bases loaded.

FEELING THE BREEZE: Over the last four days, Frederick has struck out a combined 35 times. During the final two games of the series, the Keys went down on strikes 13 times. On Friday, the orange and black went down 12 times, as Dash starter J.B. Wendelken recorded a career-high 10 strikeouts. That was the most strikeouts by an opponent starting pitcher against the Keys this season. Frederick also struck out 10 times on Thursday (with Mike Recchia recording nine punchouts). Currently, the Keys are fourth in the Carolina League in strikeouts (267).

A HOUSE BUT NOT A HOME: After Sunday’s split, the Keys are just 5-11 at Harry Grove Stadium this year. The 11 losses is tied for the second-most in the Carolina League, with the Keys trailing only Winston-Salem (6-12) in setbacks at home. In contrast, Frederick’s 10 road wins are tops in the Northern Division and third-most in the CL. In general, home wins have been tough to come by in the Carolina League this season. Only Potomac (10-8) has a winning record at home, while every other club excluding Salem (10-10) is below the .500 at their home venue.

WELCOME BACK WEBB!:Sincebeing activated from the disabled list on Thursday, Brenden Webb has looked sharp at the plate. In his first three games back following a right shoulder strain, the Californian is 4-for-12 with two doubles, two RBIs and a run scored. The hero in the third game of the series, Webb stroked a walk-off single down the rightfield line to give the Keys a 4-3 come-from-behind win on Sunday. Through 18 games this year, he is batting .292 with a home run and 10 RBIs to go along with six doubles.   

TURN OUT THE LIGHTS, THE PARTY’S OVER: When the Keys have opened the eighth inning with a lead, the results have often been favorable for the orange and black. In games where the team has the lead after seven innings, the Keys are 13-2. That mark improves to 9-1 when Frederick is ahead going into the ninth. In contrast, the team’s success late in games has been limited. Prior to Brenden Webb’s walk-off RBI single in the penultimate game of the series, the Keys were 0-14 when playing from behind entering the ninth.

TOP DOG: A staple of consistency at the top of the lineup, Glynn Davis has recorded at least one hit in 26 of 32 games this season that he has played. Currently, the Baltimore native rates second in the Carolina League in batting average (.351), hits (46) and runs scored (29), while he is third in total bases (62). Davis’ 15 games of two-hits or more also lead the ballclub.

TWIN KILLINGS:Frederick has been susceptible to the double-play ball over the last eight days. During that time, the Keys have hit into 10 twin-killings. That has ticked the club’s season-total up to 29, the most in the Carolina League this season. Nearly one-third of that total has come from Jason Esposito and Wynston Sawyer who have each hit into five apiece.

FREDERICK VS POTOMAC: Frederick has dropped 15 of its last 23 games to Potomac stretching back to last year. This season, the orange and black are 1-2 against their Northern Division rival after the P-Nats pulled a 4-0 shutout in game one, and shocked the Keys by a 4-3 margin in game two, thanks to a walk-off double by Randolph Oduber. Luis Pujols’ club salvaged a win in the series finale, as Branden Kline tossed six scoreless innings and Matt Hauser worked around trouble for his second save. The Keys went 7-13 against the Nationals in both 2012 and 2013, while Frederick has not claimed a season series against the Nationals since 2010. Potomac earned three shutout wins over the Keys last season, while an 8-0 Nationals victory on June 13 gave the P-Nats the first-half CL North title.

 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:Right-hander Ronald Pena makes eighth start of the season on Monday and his second against the Keys in 2014. His most recent outing came last Wednesday against Frederick at Pfitzner Stadium. Tagged with the loss, the right-hander put together his first quality start of the season. He allowed two runs on four hits, walked one struck out one and gave up a homer. It equaled the longest outing of his career. year, Pena also tossed six innings  last May 21, when he tossed six innings of three-run baseball as a member of the Hagerstown Suns. In his third professional season, Pena spent all of 2013 at Low-A Hagerstown. In 28 games (10 starts), he went 4-3 with a 3.48 ERA. He performed better as a reliever (2.25 ERA) than as a starter (4.70). Selected by Washington in the 16th round of the 2012 draft out of Palm Beach State College (FL), Pena was 9-2 with a 2.72 ERA. That season, he hit 95 mph during the JUCO state tournament. The righty transferred to Palm Beach State from the College of Charleston after his freshman season, due to financial reasons. Pena throws a 90-92 mph fastball, which can reach 94. He also throws a curveball and a changeup.

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