Author Archive

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.

Keys Update 5-11-14

Good morning Keys fans and happy Mother’s Day!

As a result of Saturday night’s rain-induced suspension, we will pick up last night’s game against the Winston-Salem Dash in the bottom of the fifth inning at 1:00 this afternoon followed by today’s scheduled game, which has been reduced to seven innings. The forecast calls for a beautiful afternoon so come on out and celebrate Mother’s Day with a little baseball!

The Keys will have only 4.2 innings to mount a comeback in the opener of today’s doubleheader. Dash starting pitcher Francellis Montas struck out six Keys, allowing zero earned runs before play was suspended. Keys starter Joe Van Meter, making his first appearance with the team, was pulled after 3.2 innings, where he allowed two runs off of three hits and four walks. He was relieved by right-hander Mark Blackmar who pitched 1.1 innings, giving up one run off five hits before the rain came pouring down.

The second game of today’s doubleheader will mark the end of the Keys four game series with the Dash. The Keys will send right-hander Brady Wager (2-2, 6.00 ERA) to the mound to face off against Dash right-hander Tony Bucciferro (2-3, 4.34 ERA). Wager won his matchup against Winston-Salem earlier  this season, allowing three runs in six innings pitched, but has not tallied another win since, going 0-1 in three starts.

The Orioles walked-off in the bottom of the tenth inning last night as catcher Steve Clevenger’s RBI double propelled the team to a 5-4 victory over the Houston Astros. With the Yankees losing to the Brewers Saturday night, the O’s lead in the AL East now sits at 1.5 games with the highly-anticipated return of slugger Chris Davis set to take place any day now. Davis went 1-4 with two strikeouts in his first rehab game with the Double-A Bowie Baysox.

Once again happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there and we hope to see plenty of you this afternoon at Harry Grove Stadium!

 

Keys Game Notes 5-10-14

Good evening Keys fans!

The team takes the field tonight at 6:00 for the third of four games against the Winston Salem Dash. Dominant pitching has been the theme of the series and the primary recipe for success as each team has earned a win behind the performance of their starting pitcher. Thursday night, the Dash sent Mark Recchia (4-2, 2.97 ERA) to the mound who pitched seven innings and striking out nine Keys on way to a 7-2 victory. The Keys answered on Friday night with a 4-0 victory as starter Matt Taylor (4-1, 1.09 ERA) and reliever Jesse Beal combined for the shutout. Taylor went 7.1 innings, allowing nine hits and only one walk. His 7.1 inning performance was the longest by a Keys pitcher since August 3, 2013.

RHP Joe Van Meter hopes last night’s success will carry over to this evening as he makes his first start of the season for the Keys.

Outfielder Michael Burgess and designated hitter Lucas Herbst each drove in two runs Friday’s win, accounting for all four of the Keys runs. Glynn Davis remained hot by tripling in his first at bat. Davis is now batting .350 on the season and has recorded at hit in 24 of his last 30 games played.

The Keys sit in third place in the Carolina League Northern Division, just 4.5 games behind the Potomac Nationals, who have lost three straight.

As noted yesterday, Orioles slugger Chris Davis will begin his minor league rehab stint this weekend. Unfortunately, it will not be in Frederick. Davis was sent to Double-A Bowie in preparation for his major league return that should occur in the coming days.

The Orioles continue their three-game set against the Houston Astros tonight in Baltimore.

Below are some of the notes for tonight’s game at Harry Grove Stadium.

Saturday, May 10, 2014 · Game #33 · Home Game #15

Frederick Keys (14-18) vs Winston-Salem Dash (12-20)

RHP Joe Van Meter (0-0, –) vs. RHP Francellis Montas (0-0, 1.80)

LEANING TO THE LEFT: Matt Taylor was superb over 7.1 innings, while the Frederick Keys used a quick start to defeat the Winston-Salem Dash 4-0 on Friday night at Harry Grove Stadium. It was Frederick’s second shutout win of the season. On the mound, Taylor put together the longest start by a Keys starter this season. He walked one and struck out three, and has now gone 22.1 innings without allowing an earned run. In the process, it trimmed his ERA to 1.09, the best mark in the Carolina League. Michael Burgess and Lucas Herbst each recorded a pair of RBIs to pace the home team at the plate, while Herbst hit his first Advanced-A home run.

MATTY ICE: Despite a 25-pitch first inning, Matt Taylor’s put together the longest outing a Frederick pitcher in 2014, and the longest since August 3, 2013, when Brady Wager tossed a nine-inning complete game shutout against the Carolina Mudcats. A model of efficiency from the second inning on, the Georgian never threw more than 12 pitches in an individual frame after the first. Taylor has now gone 22.1 innings without allowing an earned run (going back to April 21), and 15.1 stanzas without allowing a run of any kind. The lefty has the 11th best ERA in minor league baseball, and paces all Orioles farm-hands in ERA by 60 pts (next closest is Hunter Harvey of Delmarva with a 1.69).

FIRING BLANKS: The 4-0 win was the Keys second of the season, and the club’s second against the Winston-Salem Dash. Previously, the Keys blanked their Southern Division counterpart 2-0 on April 16 in the second game of a doubleheader. The two shutout victories equals the Keys total from the 2013 season. In contrast, Frederick was shutout 10 times last season, the second-most shutout defeats in the Carolina League.

EARLY BIRD GETS THE WORM: Half of Frederick’s four runs came in the first inning last night. Facing Dash righty J.B. Wendelken, the orange and black opened the game with four straight hits, including a triple from Glynn Davis on the first pitch out of Wendelken’s hand. That staked the home team to a 2-0 lead. From there, the Keys would only manage four more hits, while the club would be outhit 9-8 on the game. Prior to Friday’s win, the Keys had gone 0-10 when recording fewer hits than their opposition.

HO-HUM: Michael Burgess recorded an RBI for the fourth straight game on Friday night, and has driven in five during that stretch. The Tampa native currently leads the Keys in RBIs (20), and sits just outside the top five in the Carolina League in that category. In the middle game against the Dash, Burgess finished 2-for-4 with two RBIs, his fifth multi-RBI effort of the campaign.

FEELING THE BREEZE: Over the last two nights, Frederick has struck out a combined 22 times. On Friday, Frederick whiffed 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). Despite the last two games, the orange and black are in the middle of the pack in terms of strikeouts (254).

A HOUSE BUT NOT A HOME: Despite Friday’s win, the Keys are just 4-10 at Harry Grove Stadium this year. The 10 losses is 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 good for second-best in the CL. In general, home wins have been tough to come by in the Carolina League this season. Only Potomac (9-6) and Salem (9-8) have winning records at their home parks this season, while host clubs are a collective 54-70 in CL tilts this season.

WELCOME BACK WEBB!: Playing for the first time in more than two weeks, Brenden Webb showed little rust on Thursday night.Ending the game 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI, it was the San Diego native’s sixth multi-hit effort of the season. On Friday, he went 1-for-3 with a run scored. Activated from the disabled list before the game, Webb had not played since April 20 on account of a right shoulder strain. Through 17 games this year, he is batting .299 with a home run and nine 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 Keys have had no success playing from behind late in games. In games where Frederick trails after seven innings, the club is 0-14. That mark also holds true when the Keys are 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 24 of 30 games this season that he has played. Currently, the Baltimore rates second in the Carolina League in batting average (.350), hits (43) and runs scored (27), while he is third in total bases (58). Davis’ 14 games of two-hits or more also lead the ballclub.

TWIN KILLINGS:Frederick has been susceptible to the double-play ball over the last week. During that time, the Keys have hit into eight twin-killings. That has ticked the club’s season-total up to 27, the most in the Carolina League this season. Nearly one-fifth of the Keys twin killings have come from Jason Esposito, who has hit into five.

FREDERICK VS WINSTON-SALEM: Friday gave the Keys their fourth win over Winston-Salem this season. Frederick swept the earlier series down in the Triad, taking three straight 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). The good start comes on the heels of a one-sided head-to-head series in 2013, where the Dash took 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:The 21-year-old Francellis Montas, the 29th ranked prospect in the Chicago White Sox organization according to Baseball America, has one game under his belt in 2014. This past Monday, the righty last five innings at home against Myrtle Beach, while allowing three hits and one run. He struck out four and walked one in the win. Just like J.B. Wendelken, yesterday’s Dash starter, Montas was acquired in the three-team Jake Peavy trade with the Red Sox at the 2013 trade deadline. Boston signed the Dominican Republic native for $75,000 in 200 and saw his fastball hit 100 mph. In 2013, made 23 starts between Greenville (Boston) and Kannapolis (White Sox), while learning to dial back his fastball and pace himself. Had 2-9 record and 5.70 ERA in 19 games with Greenville, and a 3-2, 4.56 ERA with the Intimidators. Coming into this season, holds a 6-20 record and 5.41 ERA in 54 career minor league appearances (42 starts). Has spotty command at times, sits 91-95 mph on the heater, and can touch 97 regularly. Montas throws a slider and curveball (mid 80’s) along with a changeup, but that pitch lacks conviction and lefties have smacked a .276/.369/.529 line against the off-speed delivery.

Keys Game Notes 5-9-14

Hello Keys Fans!

My name is Jake and this is my first blog post with the Keys. I attend the University of South Carolina but am home for the summer and will be working with the Keys to make your experience as fans as enjoyable and accessible as possible!

The Keys are looking to rebound from last night’s 7-2 loss to Winston-Salem. This was the team’s first loss to the Dash this season after sweeping their three game set in mid-April. Lefty Matt Taylor takes the mound for the Keys tonight and looks to continue his scorching hot start to the season. Taylor hasn’t allowed an earned run in four of his six starts this season.

Below are some further game notes with regard to tonight’s game.

Rumors continue to swirl about the possibility of a Frederick-based rehab stint for Orioles slugger Chris Davis. With Davis eligible to come off the disabled list this Sunday, manager Buck Showalter said a weekend rehab assignment for the first baseman is an option. Both the Keys and the Double-A Bowie Baysox are home this weekend and would be the most likely destinations for Davis.

Come out at 7:00 to Harry Grove Stadium to support your Frederick Keys!

Friday, May 9, 2014 · Game #32 · Home Game #14

Frederick Keys (13-18) vs Winston-Salem Dash (12-19)

                 LHP Matt Taylor (3-1, 1.32) vs. RHP J.B. Wendelken (3-2, 4.46)

DASHED: The Winston-Salem Dash used excellent starting pitching from Mike Recchia as well as a four-run second inning to defeat the Frederick Keys, 7-2 on Thursday night at Harry Grove Stadium. Tied for the Carolina League lead in strikeouts entering the game, Recchia struck out nine over seven innings, and allowed only two runs (one earned). The right-hander allowed only one hit over his final five innings of work, while the Keys were limited to four hits on the night. Half of those came from Brenden Webb, who finished 2-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI. The loss returned the orange and black to five games below .500, equaling the most games Frederick has been below sea-level in 2014.

A HOUSE BUT NOT A HOME: Thursday’s defeat was Frederick’s 10th in 13 games at Harry Grove Stadium this year. The 10 home losses is 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 good for second-best in the CL. In general, home wins have been tough to come by in the Carolina League this season. Only Potomac (9-6) and Salem (9-8) have winning records at their home parks this season, while host clubs are a collective 54-70 in CL tilts this season.

SEND UP A SIGNAL I’LL THROW YOU A LINE: Besides mustering only four hits on the night, Frederick finished the night 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position. Over the last two days, the orange and black are a combined 1-for-12 with men at second and third base, while over the last four games the team is just 5-for-28 in that category. This season, the Keys are batting .228 as a club with runners in scoring position, the third-worst mark in the Carolina League. Only Wilmington (.183) and Carolina (.199) have fared worse.

WELCOME BACK WEBB!: Playing for the first time in more than two weeks, Brenden Webb showed little rust on Thursday night.Ending the game 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI, it was the San Diego native’s sixth multi-hit effort of the season. Activated from the disabled list before the game, Webb had not played since April 20 on account of a right shoulder strain. Through 16 games this year, he is batting .297 with a home run and nine RBIs to go along with six doubles.   

LEFTY: Matt Taylor makes his seventh start of the season on Friday night, and has been lights out this season. The Carolina League’s ERA leader (1.32), the southpaw has allowed only five earned runs over 34 innings, while he has not surrendered an earned run in his last 15 frames. Meanwhile he has not allowed an earned run in any of his home starts this year (2GS/11IP).

SOMETIMES YOU’RE THE HAMMER, SOMETIMES YOU’RE THE NAIL: Parker Bridwell was tagged with his fifth Carolina League loss in the series opener against Winston-Salem. Over five innings, the Texan allowed five runs on six hits, he walked two and struck out six. It was Bridwell’s fourth straight defeat dating back to April 20. Not normally home run prone, the right-hander allowed a pair of long balls, including a three-run shot by Adam Heisler in the top of the second. In seven starts this season, Bridwell is 0-5 with a 6.94 ERA.

ROAD NOTES: After going 5-2 during their second roadtrip, the Keys struggled a bit during the weeklong sojourn to Myrtle Beach and Potomac. Frederick went 3-4 against the Carolina League’s two best clubs, earning a split with the Pelicans, before dropping two of three to the Nationals. When the orange and black came up short, it was usually due to one bad inning. On Tuesday night at Potomac, the Keys suffered their third walk-off loss, after seeing a three-run lead vanish in the sixth inning. That was also the case in the series opener at Myrtle Beach. Ahead 5-2 after six frames, Frederick saw things slip away when Mychal Givens allowed seven runs in the bottom of the seventh. Not at its best, the bullpen posted a 7.25 ERA (22.1 IP/18 ER) during the roadtrip.

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 12-2. That mark improves to 8-1 when Frederick is ahead going into the ninth. In contrast, the Keys have had no success playing from behind late in games. In games where Frederick trails after seven innings, the club is 0-14. That mark also holds true when the Keys are 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 23 of 29 games this season that he has played. Currently, the Baltimore rates second in the Carolina League in batting average (.353), hits (42) and runs scored (26), while he is fourth in total bases (55). Davis’ 14 games of two-hits or more also lead the ballclub.

TWIN KILLINGS:Frederick has been susceptible to the double-play ball over the last six days. During that time, the Keys have hit into seven twin-killings. That has ticked the club’s season-total up to 26, the most in the Carolina League this season. Salem is the only other club that has hit into at least 20 or more double plays (24). Nearly one-fifth of the Keys twin killings have come from Jason Esposito, who has hit into five.

FREDERICK VS WINSTON-SALEM: Thursday gave the Dash their first win over the Keys in 2014. Frederick swept the earlier series down in the Triad, taking three straight 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). The good start comes on the heels of a one-sided head-to-head series in 2013, where the Dash took 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 J.B. Wendelken makes his seventh start of the season and his first against Frederick in 2014. His most recent outing came last Sunday against Potomac. Tagged with his second loss of the year, Wendelken allowed six runs (five earned) on a season-high 11 hits over six innings. He also gave up three home runs, after surrendering only one deep fly in his previous five starts. The loss to the Nationals snapped a two-game winning streak for Wendelken, and accounted for the most runs he had given up in a game this year. A pitcher who has not fared well at the friendly confines of BB&T Ballpark, the Georgian is 2-0 with a 2.95 ERA in road games (18.1 IP/6ER) and 1-2 with a 6.19 ERA (16IP/11ER) in home games. Just 21 years old, Wendelken made his Dash debut in 2013. Working exclusively out of the bullpen, he went 0-1 with a 4.82 ERA in six games. He also pitched three games for Low-A Kannapolis, going 0-1 with two saves and a 9.64 ERA. Originally selected by Boston in the 13th round of the 2012 Draft out of Middle Georgia College, Wendelken was named the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association Player of the Year as a member of the Knights. That season, he went 6-0 with a 0.20 ERA over 21 appearances (0.20). Tonight’s starter for the Keys, Matt Taylor, also pitched for Middle Georgia, but was a member of the team the year before Wendelken arrived. The righty was dealt to the White Sox last July 30 as part of the trade that sent Jake Peavy to Boston. In addition to Wendelken, the White Sox received Avisail Garcia, Francellis Montas and Cleuluis Rondon. In 40 games as a member of the Red Sox system, Wendelken went 4-0 with a 2.40 ERA. He throws a 90-93 mph fastball, a curveball (high 70s) and a changeup.

The Keys are Back!

Good Morning Keys Fans!

Well after more than a week the Keys are back! The team returns from a seven-game road trip to Myrtle Beach and Potomac, where the Keys saw the top 2 teams in the Carolina League. Frederick held its own against the Pelicans, earning a four-game split. However the historic confines of Pfitzner Stadium were not as kind, with the P-Nats taking two of the three games.

The good news is that the orange and black won’t have to wait long for another crack at Potomac, who returns on Monday night. In the meantime, the Keys will get their second look at the Winston-Salem Dash. So far, Frederick is UNDEFEATED against the boys from the Triad, thanks to a three-game sweep down at BB&T Ballpark (the team’s first road sweep since May 2013).

Over the three days, Frederick got lockdown relief pitching (9IP/1ER), plenty of offense (14 runs), and some help from Winston-Salem’s defense (eight errors) to broom the Dash on their home turf.

Defensively, Winston-Salem has made some strides. Until making a pair of errors yesterday, the Dash made only one defensive miscue over five games. The team has also gotten great production out of Courtney Hawkins. Back in the Carolina League after a rocky 2013, Hawkins has turned the page in a big way. He leads the league in RBIs (30) and is tied for second in home runs (7). He has helped fill the void left by Tim Anderson. Rated the N0. 3 prospect in the White Sox system according to Baseball America, the shortstop has been on the disabled list since April 29 with a left shoulder injury.

Speaking of injuries, the Baltimore Orioles got some good news on in regards to Matt Wieters. The O’s catcher will NOT need Tommy John surgery and should be able to DH while he takes some time off behind the plate. In turn, it has meant a long-awaited dream has finally come true for Caleb Joseph. A player that has more than paid his dues, Joseph made his MLB debut behind the plate on Tuesday after starting the year at Triple-A Norfolk.

Congratulations Caleb. Read more about how the 27-year-old learned he was joining the Orioles.

Moving off the field, we’ve had some great promotions at the Grove this season, and we’ve only hit the tip of the iceberg. Personally, I’ve enjoyed Hockey Day and Star Wars Day the most. I mean, it’s not everyday that Slapshot pays you a visit…

Slapshot visits

Don’t worry. No blood was shed. And whatever punishment Doug received was fully deserved. After all, you shouldn’t go waving a Devils towel in front of the Caps mascot…

Alright enough of the old, it’s time for a look at this homestand’s promotional calendar!

Thursday night should be plenty of fun, as not only are YOU invited, but so is your favorite canine friend. That’s right, it’s BARK IN THE PARK NIGHT! Presented by CARE Veterinary Centers, we hope you and your dogs will join us for a fun night of baseball.  There will be a pre-game dog parade, doggie photo booth AND a special postgame dog/owner base run.

That leads right into Family Fitness Weekend which begins on Friday night. Over three days, Toothman Orthodontics will be sponsoring a number of fun giveaways. That includes a t-shirt  for the first 1,000 kids on Friday, as well as a fireworks extravaganza after the game!

Saturday should also be a blast. Starting at 2 p.m., there will be a pre-game Roller Derby Bout, as the Key City Roller Derby comes to town. Even if I could hypothetically roller skate, there is NO WAY I’d mess with any of these girls:

Should be a ton of fun. Saturday’s game will be at 6:00 p.m. and will also feature postgame fireworks.

Then on Sunday, bring your mom out for Mother’s Day! There will be a special Mother’s Day Brunch in the Mattress Warehouse Club and plenty more surprises throughout the day. After the game, there will also be a 1K Fun Run, as well as a water bottle giveaway courtesy of Toothman Orthodontics.

Word is that Doug Raftery will be partaking in the Fun Run after the game. So if you hear only me on the postgame show, that would be why…

One final note about Sunday: we will be collecting baseballs/softballs/gloves/bats/whiffleballs/etc…in support of Baseball Miracles, a non-profit organization which provides equipment and training to children across the globe who would otherwise not be able to play baseball. All of Sunday’s donations will go towards the group’s upcoming trip to Kenya this fall. As an added incentive, fans that bring a piece of new/used equipment will receive a free general admission ticket to Sunday’s game.

One of the individuals that will be visiting Kenya this fall, is the Keys’ Director of Marketing, Bridget McCabe. A former softball player herself, Bridget serves as the organization’s Softball Coordinator.

All in all, it should be a fun week. Hope to see you at the Grove!

Shake your Keys!

Geoff

Frederick Keys Game Notes 5-7

Good Evening!

The Keys try and avoid a three-game sweep at the hands of the Potomac Nationals on Wednesday night. First pitch is moments away, but here are some game notes to comb through this evening! Local boy, Branden Kline makes the start for the Keys and will be going for his third win.

Shake your Keys!

Geoff

                                  Wednesday, May 7, 2014 · Game #30 · Road Game #18

                                    Frederick Keys (12-17) vs Potomac Nationals (18-10)

                          RHP  Branden Kline (2-1, 2.36) vs. RHP Ronald Pena (2-0, 6.23)

SOME ENDINGS AREN’T MEANT FOR HOLLYWOOD: Ahead 3-0 after five innings, the Frederick Keys saw their lead and eventually the game slip away on Tuesday night at Pfitzner Stadium. In the bottom of the sixth, the Potomac Nationals tied things up on a three-run homer by Oscar Tejeda, which set the table for a dramatic finish. Down to their final at-bats, the P-Nats got a one-out baserunner, after Gene Escat walked Justin Miller. The Keys right-hander retired Narciso Mesa, but Randolph Oduber doubled to right-center to give Potomac a 4-3 walk-off victory. It was the Nationals first walk-off win of 2014, and dropped Frederick to a season-worst five games below .500. On Wednesday, the Keys will try and avoid being swept for the second time this season.

KISS IT GOODBYE: Tuesday marked the third time in 2014 that Frederick had suffered a walk-off defeat. The other two came during the first series of the year at Lynchburg, when the Hillcats won via a walk-off on back-to-back nights. On April 5, Kyle Wren recorded a game-winning single off Lex Rutledge, while the night prior, Daniel Castro victimized Matt Price with a base-hit down the third baseline. Frederick has one walk-off win in 2014. Coming during the last homestand, Wynston Sawyer played the role of hero with a walk-off double off Myrtle Beach’s Keone Kela on April 25.

NORTHERN EXPOSURE: So far, the Keys have not fared well against Northern Division competition. The club has dropped two of its three intra-division series this year, while the orange and black have now lost three straight games against a team from the north. After a four-game split at Lynchburg to open the year, the Hillcats took three of four at Harry Grove Stadium, before Frederick’s struggles resumed this week. Through 10 games, the Keys are 3-7 against divisional competition. In 2013, the Keys went 24-35 against teams from the CL North, the worst divisional mark in the league.

HERBST HELD IN CHECK: On Tuesday, Lucas Herbst’s nine-game hitting streak came to an end. He finished the night 0-for-3 with a sacrifice, making it the first time since April 23 that the Californian had not tallied a base hit. The nine-game swing is tied for the sixth-longest hitting streak in the Carolina League this season. Over that stretch, Herbst hit .389 (14-for-36) with three doubles, seven RBIs and five runs scored. In the process, his batting average climbed from .286 to .351 (65 points). Now batting at .333, Herbst is second on the team in hitting next to Glynn Davis. The .333 mark would put Herbst among the league’s top 10 in hitting, but he does not have enough plate appearances to qualify.

CATCHING SOME ZZZSSSS: Zane Chavez put together his third multi-hit effort in four games on Tuesday. Going 2-for-4, he finished with a double and a run scored, and is now 6 for his last 16 at the dish, with a double an RBI and a run scored. The hot stretch has pushed Chavez’s average from .167 to .286. A player that has found his stroke since joining the Keys, the 27-year-old hit just .158 over six games at Double-A Bowie (3-for-21) to open the year. Last season, Chavez hit .295 with seven homers and 49 RBIs with Frederick, and was named a CL All-Star.

TOP DOG: Despite failing to record a hit on Tuesday, Glynn Davis still ranks among the league’s top hitters. After 27 games,he rates second in the Carolina League in batting average (.357), hits (40) and runs scored (24), while he is currently fourth in on-base percentage (.410) and total bases (50). Davis’ 14 games of two-hits or more also lead the ballclub.

ARMS RACE: Over the roadtrip, Frederick has received a number of good performances from its starting rotation. Brady Wager (6IP/2R) and Matt Taylor (7IP/0R) have each put together quality starts, while Branden Kline and Parker Bridwell each allowed only one earned run in their respective outings. Taylor and Kline have been the Keys best performers out of the rotation so far. Taylor leads all Orioles minor leaguers in ERA (1.32), and Kline rates third (2.36). Both individuals are also in the top 10 in the CL in ERA, with Taylor’s mark leading the loop. The Georgian is also tied for second in the CL in wins (three). Kline tries to equal Taylor’s total tonight, when he makes his seventh start of the season. In each of his last three, he has allowed one run or less.

TWIN KILLINGS: Frederick has been susceptible to the double-play ball over the last four days. During that time, the Keys have hit into six twin-killings. That has ticked the club’s season-total up to 25, the most in the Carolina League this season. Salem is the only other club that has hit into at least 20 or more double plays (22). One-fifth of the Keys twin killings have come from Jason Esposito, who is tied for the CL lead in double-play balls.

FREDERICK VS POTOMAC: Tuesday’s defeat was Frederick’s 15th in its last 22 games against Potomac, stretching back to last year. The Keys went 7-13 against the Nationals in both 2012 and 2013, while the orange and black have 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.

PENA TO DL, HAUSER JOINS KEYS: Last Tuesday, Jerome Pena was placed on the seven-day DL with a left wrist sprain. The move is retroactive to April 28. Taking his place on the roster is RHP Matt Hauser. Originally drafted by Minnesota out of the University of San Diego in 2010, Hauser was signed as a free-agent by Baltimore in mid-April. He spent each of the last four years as a Twins farmhand, reaching as High as Double-A. Splitting last season between New Britain and High-A Ft Myers, Hauser went 4-5 with a 5.09 ERA over 30 games.

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 seventh start of the season on Wednesday night and his first against the Keys. His most recent outing came last Friday at Winston-Salem. Over five innings, the right-hander received a no-decision allowing three runs on a season-high nine hits. He walked two, surrendered a home run and did not strike anyone out. So far, Pena has not worked any deeper than 5.1 innings, while he has allowed three or more runs in four of his six starts (including five runs on two occasions). 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.

Frederick Keys Game Notes 5-6-14

Good Evening Keys Fans!

I hope you enjoyed some of Chris’s factoids this afternoon. As he mentioned, the Keys have gotten some strong individual performances of late. Now, it’s time to put it all together. Tonight, the Keys will try and pick up their first win at Potomac this season. Off a quality start, Brady Wager takes the mound. He will be countered by the former Rice Owl John Simms, who makes his second Advanced-A start.

Some game notes are below, while Doug Raftery will have the call starting at 6:45 tonight.

Talk soon!

Geoff

 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014 · Game #29 · Road Game #17

Frederick Keys (12-16) vs Potomac Nationals (17-10)

RHP Brady Wager (2-2, 6.12) vs. RHP John Simms (0-0, 1.80)

NATITUDINAL ADJUSTMENT: The Frederick Keys were shutout by the Potomac Nationals 4-0 on Monday night at Pfitzner Stadium. Limited to seven hits on the affair, the orange and black had no answer for either Ian Dickson or Matthew Spann. Making his first Advanced-A start, Dickson tossed five innings of three-hit baseball to earn his first Carolina League win, while Spann went the final four, striking out five. On the Keys side, Jesse Beal was tagged with his first loss, allowing two runs on three hits over three innings. At the plate, Lucas Herbst and Glynn Davis finished with two hits apiece.

SHUTOUT: On Monday night, the Keys were shutout for the third time this season. It was the first time Frederick had been blanked since April 11, and the first time it had occurred on the road. The three shutout losses are the second-most in the Carolina League, with the Keys trailing only Winston-Salem (four). Meanwhile, the series opener gave Potomac its first shutout win of 2014. Last season, the Keys failed to score a run on 10 occasions, resulting in the second-most shutout defeats in the Carolina League (Wilmington was blanked 13 times).

HITMAN HERBST: Since being called up from Low-A Delmarva, Lucas Herbst has worn out opposing pitchers. On Monday, the song remained the same, as the Californian went 2-for-4. It was his third straight two-hit contest, and extended his hitting streak to nine games. During that time, he is hitting .389 (14-for-36) with three doubles, seven RBIs and five runs scored. In the process, Herbst’s batting average has climbed 65 points from .286 to .351. That mark would be good for third-best in the Carolina League, however the Keys outfielder is roughly 14 plate appearances short of qualifying. Herbst was promoted from Low-A Delmarva on April 15.

JUST ANOTHER TWO-HIT NIGHT:  Glynn Davis turned in his 14th multi-hit game of the year in the series opener against Potomac. Ending the night 2-for-4, it was his fourth multi-hit effort in five games. The Baltimore native’s 14 games of two-hits or more lead the ballclub. Lucas Herbst (6) is next closest. Entering Tuesday, Davis leads the Carolina League in hits (40), while he is second in in batting average (.370), runs scored (23) and on-base percentage (.424), as well as third in total bases (50).

ARMS RACE: Over the roadtrip, Frederick has received a number of good performances from its starting rotation. Brady Wager (6IP/2R) and Matt Taylor (7IP/0R) have each put together quality starts, while Branden Kline and Parker Bridwell each allowed only one earned run in their respective starts. Taylor and Kline have been the Keys best performers out of the rotation so far. Taylor leads all Orioles minor leaguers in ERA (1.32), and Kline rates third (2.36). Both individuals are also in the top 10 in the CL in ERA and top five in innings pitched, while Taylor is tied for second in the CL in wins (three). The Georgian’s most recent victory came on Sunday, when he tossed seven innings of shutout baseball at Myrtle Beach.

MEET MARK BLACKMAR: Since a challenging performance on April 23 against Myrtle Beach, Mark Blackmar has provided a nice boost to the Keys bullpen. Pitching in relief of Jesse Beal on Monday, the Texan tossed five innings of two-run baseball. He walked one, struck out four and scattered four hits. The five innings are the second-most Blackmar has tossed in a game this year. His longest outing came in his previous time out on April 27, when he allowed only one run over 5.2 innings. The right-hander is limiting opponents to a .209 batting average, and has made heavy use of the groundball out, averaging almost three groundouts for every flyout.

TWIN KILLINGS: Frederick has been susceptible to the double-play ball over the last three days. During that time, the Keys have hit into six twin-killings. That has ticked the club’s season-total up to 25, the most in the Carolina League this season. Salem is the only other club that has hit into at least 20 or more double plays (22). One-fifth of the Keys twin killings have come from Jason Esposito, who leads the CL in that department.

FREDERICK VS POTOMAC: Monday’s defeat was Frederick’s 14th in its last 21 games against Potomac, stretching back to last year. The Keys went 7-13 against the Nationals in both 2012 and 2013, while the orange and black have 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.

PENA TO DL, HAUSER JOINS KEYS: Last Tuesday, Jerome Pena was placed on the seven-day DL with a left wrist sprain. The move is retroactive to April 28. Taking his place on the roster is RHP Matt Hauser. Originally drafted by Minnesota out of the University of San Diego in 2010, Hauser was signed as a free-agent by Baltimore in mid-April. He spent each of the last four years as a Twins farmhand, reaching as High as Double-A. Splitting last season between New Britain and High-A Ft Myers, Hauser went 4-5 with a 5.09 ERA over 30 games.

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 John Simms makes his second for Potomac on Tuesday, and his first against Frederick. In his Carolina League debut last Thursday, the Texan drew a no-decision, despite tossing five innings of one-run baseball. He scattered four hits, walked two and struck out one. Simms was promoted to the Nationals from Low-A Hagerstown on April 28. With the Suns, he was used exclusively as a reliever, tallying a 0.98 ERA with three saves in five games. Over 18.1 innings, he allowed only two runs on 13 hits, walked two and struck out 20. Opponents were batting only .194 against him. Selected by the Nationals in the 11th round of the 2013 Draft, Simms split 2013 between the GCL Nationals and Short-Season Auburn. In 12 games (two starts), he went 0-4 with a 5.70 ERA. Also selected by Washington in the 39th round of the 2010 Draft out of College Park High School (TX), Simms elected to attend Rice University after graduation. With the Owls, he split time between the rotation and the bullpen. In his final season, he went 8-4 over 23 games (14 starts) with a 2.61 ERA. Prior to his first season at Rice, Simms pitched for the United State U-18 squad. In four international starts, he was 4-0 with a 0.96 ERA and held opponents to a .133 batting average. Simms throws a low-90s fastball, a slider, a curveball and a splitter.

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: