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Frederick Keys Game Notes 8-16-14

Saturday, August 16, 2014 · Game #120 · Home Game #57

Frederick Keys (55-64/23-29) vs Lynchburg Hillcats (62-61/28-25)

RHP Sebastian Vader (1-4, 6.00) vs. RHP Jarrett Miller (8-7, 3.82)

HANGING TOUGH: The Frederick Keys sent eight men to bat in the bottom of the eighth to rally back and defeat the Lynchburg Hillcats 8-7 on Friday night at Harry Grove Stadium. It was the team’s second win in as many nights and helped the Keys snap a three-game losing streak to the Hillcats. Down by a run entering the inning, the orange and black loaded the bases against Navery Moore. From there, Johnny Ruettiger tied the game with his third RBI single of the night and Trey Mancini coaxed a four-pitch walk to put the Keys up for good. Ruettiger and Mancini accounted for seven of the eight RBIs, while Jesse Beal picked up the win despite suffering his first blown save of the year.

IT’S CALLED A (HOME) WINNING STREAK: With a win on Friday, the Keys picked up back-to-back home wins for the first time in the second-half. Coming into the game, Frederick was 5-18 at the Grove in the second-half, while the club had not won consecutive home games since June 14-15. A team that has fared better on the road (their 17 second-half road wins pace the CL North) the Keys six home wins since the All-Star break are the fewest in the circuit. Wilmington (9-15) is the only other club without at least 10 second-half home wins. A problem all season, Frederick it 22-34 in home games and 33-30 in road tilts.

CLOSE CALLS: With a win on Friday night, the Keys improved to 16-16 in one-run games this season. That mark is fourth-best in the Carolina League, as the team trails only Potomac (26-11), Lynchburg (25-18) and Salem (17-15). Since the All-Star break, Frederick is 6-5 in games hinging on a single run. This season, the Keys and Hillcats have played six one-run games, but until last night, all five had gone Lynchburg’s way.

BOOMER: Trey Mancini tied his career-high with four RBIs on Friday. Going 1-for-4, the former Notre Dame product slugged a three-run homer in the sixth which wiped away a three-run deficit. Mancini recorded his first four RBI game on June 19-his Carolina League debut-going 2-for-5 with a homer and a double. Including his time with Low-A Delmarva, Mancini has hit nine home runs this season, while he is batting .280 over 13 games in August.

GO JOHNNY GO!: For the second straight night, Johnny Ruettiger tied his career-high with three RBIs. Finishing 3-for-4, all three of the RBIs he recorded came off singles. On Thursday at Wilmington, the former Arizona State Sun Devil went 2-for-5 with a single and a homer to snap a string of 14 hitless at-bats. In his last four games, Ruettiger has seven RBIs (he has 11 total in 20 games with the Keys). Additionally on Friday, he tied his season-high with three hits. He posted three hits three times with Double-A Bowie this season, most recently on July 5.

SCORELESS STREAK SNAPPED: Wynston Sawyer’s sac-fly in the fourth inning on Thursday ended a string of 20 scoreless innings for the Keys. Held off the scoreboard in both games of their doubleheader on Wednesday, the run was the Keys first since the fifth inning on Sunday, when Sawyer recorded a two-run single of Yender Caramo. The 20 innings marks the Keys longest scoring drought of the year. Frederick’s previous high without a run scored was 17.2 innings, which stretched from July 27-30 against Lynchburg and Winston-Salem.

MAKING A SNOW MAN: Branden Kline became the first Keys pitcher to reach eight wins on Thursday night thanks to 5.1 innings of one-run baseball. He walked two and struck out four. With the victory, Kline takes solo possession of the team wins lead. He came into the game tied with Mark Blackmar (7-1). A pitcher who has been difficult on the road all year, the right-hander is 7-0 away from the friendly confines and sports a 2.79 ERA.

BUNDY TO THE DL: Just before Thursday’s game against Wilmington, Dylan Bundy was placed on the seven-day disabled list with a right latissimus strain. Taking his spot on the roster was Branden Kline, who was received from Short-Season Aberdeen. In six starts with the orange and black, Bundy is 1-2 with a 4.78 ERA. In his last start 10 days ago, the Oklahoma native tossed 4.1 innings of shutout baseball against Carolina and struck out seven.

NORTHERN EXPOSURE: Intra-division competition for the Keys has often been problematic. Against Wilmington, Lynchburg and Potomac, Frederick is just 19-31, while the orange and black do not have a winning record against any CL North club. Frederick is the only team without at least 20 wins against divisional competition. This season, 24 of the Keys 31 losses in northern play have come to Wilmington and Lynchburg. The Keys have been defeated by each team 12 times, though Frederick has a worse winning percentage against the Hillcats (6-12).

JASON, JASON, HE’S OUR MAN: Although the calendar has flipped to August, Jason Esposito has maintained the torrid pace he set in July. After hitting .354 with four homers and 16 RBIs last month, the former Vanderbilt Commodore is batting .333 (16-for-48) over his first 13 August tilts to go along with a home run, six doubles and seven RBIs. He has multiple hits in five of his last 10 games (and seven of his last 14 tilts). During that time, he has seen his batting average climb 13 pts (.258 to .271).

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. Pitcher Dylan Bundy (1) and shortstop Adrian Marin (12) highlight the list and are joined by right-handed pitchers Parker Bridwell (19) and Branden Kline (20). Jon Keller (17) and Trey Mancini (25) joined the club after the All-Star break, while Mychal Givens (23) and Glynn Davis (29) opened the year with the Keys but were promoted in the second-half. Of the five players, only Givens (one game in 2010) and Davis played at the Advanced-A level prior to 2014.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Jarrett Miller makes his 26th appearance of the year and his 25th start. His most recent start came last Sunday against Winston-Salem. Over six innings, he allowed one run on five hits in a no-decision. A winner in four of his last six starts, Miller has also registered six quality starts in his last seven trips to the mound. Currently 10th in the CL in ERA (3.82), Miller will become just the second pitcher in the league to make his 25th start on Saturday. He is third in innings pitched (132.0) and fourth in strikeouts (111). Coming off a terrific July (2.79 ERA), the righty is 5-1 with a 3.08 ERA in the second-half. Against the Keys this year, he is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA. This is Miller’s second year in the Carolina League, after the righty went 9-8 with a 3.73 ERA over 30 games (25 starts) last season. He finished fifth in the CL in strikeouts (122) and fourth in innings pitched (147.0), but occasionally struggled with command, as he ended third-overall in walks (63). Although his walk/nine inning ratio has improved this season (3.3), in his career, Miller averages 4.1 free tickets per nine innings. The right-hander spent all of 2011-12 with Low-A Rome. Selected by Atlanta in the 21st round out of UNC-Greensboro, Miller went 4-2 with a 4.08 ERA in 28 games (four starts) as a junior. He is trying to become the first Spartans pitcher to reach the Major Leagues since Brian Moehler, who made his big league debut with Detroit in 1996, and pitched 14 years with the Tigers, Reds, Astros and Marlins. Miller throws a low-mid 90s fastball, a curve, a slider and a changeup. He hails from Easley, South Carolina which is the home of the Big League World Series. Big League is a section of Little League for 15-18 males. Easley will hosted its 14th Big League World Series in July.

Frederick Keys Game Notes 8-15-14

Good evening Keys fans!

Frederick won 4-1  last night in the final game of their three-game set with the Wilmington Blue Rocks. The Keys took the lead with a three-run fourth inning behind RBI’s from Wynston Sawyer and John Ruettiger. Ruettiger, who finished 2-5 with 3 RBI’s on the night, homered in the sixth inning to extend the Frederick lead to 4-1. Branden Kline allowed only one run in 5.1 innings pitched, striking out four and walking two. 3.2 innings of scoreless relief from Miguel Chalas and Dennis Torres clinched the Frederick victory.

The Keys take to Harry Grove Stadium tonight against the Lynchburg Hillcats to begin a three-game series that will mark the end of the teams’ regular season series. Frederick is 5-12 against the Hillcats this season, their last win coming in Lynchburg on July 6.

LHP Matt Taylor gets the nod for the Keys tonight, making his second start in Frederick after a rehab stint in the Gulf Coast League following a back injury. Taylor got the start last week against Wilmington, giving up three runs off of seven hits in 3.1 innings of action. Lynchburg righty Cody Scarpetta gets the start for the Hillcats tonight.

Here’s a look at the game notes for tonight’s matchup:

Friday, August 15, 2014 · Game #119 · Home Game #56

Frederick Keys (54-64/22-29) vs Lynchburg Hillcats (62-60/28-24)

LHP Matt Taylor (5-2, 2.36) vs. RHP Cody Scarpetta (3-6, 4.25)

BOUNCE BACK: The Frederick Keys used a big fourth inning and strong pitching from Branden Kline, Miguel Chalas and Dennis Torres to top the Wilmington Blue Rocks 4-1 on Thursday night at Frawley Stadium. With the win, the Keys were able to avoid a three-game sweep. Shutout in both ends of a doubleheader on Wednesday, the Keys tallied 12 hits, while four members of the starting lineup finished with two knocks or more. Frederick did the brunt of its damage in the fourth inning, sending all nine to bat against the duo of Johnny Walter and Andrew Edwards. Wynston Sawyer brought home the first Keys run with a sac-fly to right. That made it 1-1 after Raul Mondesi opened the scoring with an RBI double in the home-third. Following the sac-fly by Sawyer, Brenden Webb (single) and Jerome Pena (walk) reached to load the bases. Johnny Ruettiger followed with a two-run single to left to put the Keys on top for good. In the sixth, Ruettiger also hit his first home run of the year. On the mound, Branden Kline allowed one run over 5.1 innings to pick up the win. Chalas and Torres closed the door with 3.2 innings of shutout relief.

AVOIDING THE SWEEP: Thanks to a win in the season finale, the Keys avoided being swept for the seventh time. Since the All-Star break, the Keys have been swept four times by four different teams (Wilmington, Winston-Salem, Potomac and Lynchburg). However, all four of those broomings have taken place at Harry Grove Stadium. This season, the Keys have been swept only once on the road-something accomplished by Lynchburg from May 27-29.

SCORELESS STREAK SNAPPED: Wynston Sawyer’s sac-fly in the fourth inning on Thursday ended a string of 20 scoreless innings for the Keys. Held off the scoreboard in both games of their doubleheader on Wednesday, the run was the Keys first since the fifth inning on Sunday, when Sawyer recorded a two-run single of Yender Caramo. The 20 innings marks the Keys longest scoring drought of the year. Frederick’s previous high without a run scored was 17.2 innings, which stretched from July 27-30 against Lynchburg and Winston-Salem.

GO JOHNNY GO!: Johnny Ruettiger tied his career-high with three RBIs on Thursday night, thanks to a two-run single and a solo homer. Ending the night 2-for-5, the former Arizona State Sun Devil also snapped a string of 14 at-bats without recording a hit. Although the outfielder is batting just .171 over 19 games with the Keys, he has recorded three RBIs in a game on two occasions. On July 24, he established a new career-high for runs batted in, when he finished 2-for-5 with a triple at Myrtle Beach.

MAKING A SNOW MAN: Branden Kline became the first Keys pitcher to reach eight wins on Thursday night thanks to 5.1 innings of one-run baseball. He walked two and struck out four. With the victory, Kline takes solo possession of the team wins lead. He came into the game tied with Mark Blackmar (7-1). A pitcher who has been difficult on the road all year, the right-hander is 7-0 away from the friendly confines and sports a 2.79 ERA.

BUNDY TO THE DL: Just before Thursday’s game against Wilmington, Dylan Bundy was placed on the seven-day disabled list with a right latissimus strain. Taking his spot on the roster was Branden Kline, who was received from Short-Season Aberdeen. In six starts with the orange and black, Bundy is 1-2 with a 4.78 ERA. In his last start 10 days ago, the Oklahoma native tossed 4.1 innings of shutout baseball against Carolina and struck out seven.

NORTHERN EXPOSURE: Intra-division competition for the Keys has often been problematic. Against Wilmington, Lynchburg and Potomac, Frederick is just 18-31, while the orange and black do not have a winning record against any CL North club. Frederick is the only team without at least 20 wins against divisional competition. This season, 24 of the Keys 31 losses in northern play have come to Wilmington and Lynchburg. The Keys have been defeated by each team 12 times, though Frederick has a worse winning percentage against the Hillcats (5-12).

THE FEW, THE PROUD, THE MARIN: Adrian Marin’s season-high eight game hitting streak came to an end on Thursday. Over the eight-game jaunt, he hit .375 (12-for-32) with two homers, four doubles, eight RBIs and six runs scored, while he saw his batting average jump from .236 to .248. During the streak, Marin also tallied four two-hit games. After hitting .242 over 23 games in July, the Miami native has looked good in August, batting .308 over 10 games. His best month of the season was May, when he hit .289 over 27 games, and won Carolina League “Player of the Week” for May 26-June 2.

JASON, JASON, HE’S OUR MAN: Although the calendar has flipped to August, Jason Esposito has maintained the torrid pace he set in July. After hitting .354 with four homers and 16 RBIs last month, the former Vanderbilt Commodore is batting .364 (16-for-44) over his first 12 August tilts to go along with a home run, six doubles and seven RBIs. He has multiple hits in five of his last nine games (and seven of his last 13 tilts). During that time, he has seen his batting average climb 16 pts (.258 to .274).

 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. Pitcher Dylan Bundy (1) and shortstop Adrian Marin (12) highlight the list and are joined by right-handed pitchers Parker Bridwell (19) and Branden Kline (20). Jon Keller (17) and Trey Mancini (25) joined the club after the All-Star break, while Mychal Givens (23) and Glynn Davis (29) opened the year with the Keys but were promoted in the second-half. Of the five players, only Givens (one game in 2010) and Davis played at the Advanced-A level prior to 2014.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Right-hander Cody Scarpetta makes his 11th start of the season on Friday and his second against the Keys. His most recent outing came last Thursday at Salem. Tagged with the loss, the righty allowed four runs on four hits over 3.1 innings. He walked two, struck out two and gave up a homer. Scarpetta has received the loss in two of his last three games, while he has struggled in his first two August outings. In two games, he is 0-2 with a 13.50 ERA (6IP/9R). His only start against the Keys came on July 27, where he allowed one run on three hits over six innings in a no-decision. Signed by the Braves as a free agent on June 9, Scarpetta’s best outing came on June 27, when the Illinois native combined with Benito Pruneda to pitch back-to-back no-hitters. The night prior, Lucas Sims and Alex Wilson combined on a no-hitter against the Wilmington Blue Rocks. Scarpetta’s performance helped earn him Carolina League “Pitcher of the Week” honors. Prior to joining the Braves, Scarpetta was playing for the Lancaster Barnstormers in the independent Atlantic League, where he went 0-2 with a 5.13 ERA. Originally selected by the Brewers in the 11th round of the 2007 draft, Scarpetta spent all of 2013 with Milwaukee’s Advanced-A affiliate, Brevard County. Pitching 12 games (11 starts) he went 0-5 with a 7.15 ERA. He made his debut on June 2, after missing all of 2012 due to “Tommy John” surgery. Not the only member of his family to play professional baseball, Scarpetta’s dad, Dan, pitched in the Brewers organization for seven years, making it as high as Triple-A

The Keys Second-to-Last Homestand Starts Tonight!

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

It’s the second-to-last homestand of the year, and it should be a ton of fun. One of the wildest promotions of the year comes to the Grove on Saturday night, while on the field the Keys try and stay in the hunt for a CL North playoff spot.

In case you missed it, some notes from the last three days on the road:

-The big news item that everyone was wondering about: Dylan Bundy has been placed on the Keys disabled list with a right latisimus strain. As a result, he did not make his scheduled start on Wednesday against Wilmington.

-Parker Bridwell tossed the second complete game of his career, and the second by a Frederick pitcher this season (Brady Wager tossed a five-inning complete game earlier this year). It marked the first time Bridwell had gone the distance since July 21, 2012. Although he gave up only three hits, Wilmington lefty Sean Manaea was even better, giving up just two knocks in a complete-game shutout

-Frederick dropped both ends of a doubleheader via shutout on Wednesday, the first time the club had been shutout in back-to-back games since  June 13-14 of last season, when the Potomac Nationals blanked the Keys in back-to-back nights. The second game ended in bizarre fashion, as the Blue Rocks won on a strikeout wild pitch. During tonight’s pregame show on 1450 AM The Source, Keys hitting coach Torre Tyson will talk about where it ranks on his list of strange endings (pregame coverage starts at 6:45).

-Frederick native Branden Kline became the first Keys pitcher to reach eight wins. He worked 5.1 innings last night, giving up one run on six hits.

-Johnny Ruettiger ended an 0-for-14 slump on Thursday thanks to a two-run single in the fourth. That was the big blow in the Keys three-run inning, where everyone came to bat. Ruettiger also knocked a homer later in the game, his first of the season (taking into account his time with (Double-A Bowie and Frederick)

-Tucker Nathans tallied his third three-hit game of the year on Thursday. Going 3-for-4, the former Fairfield star also ended with a double and a run scored

This next series is HUGE, as Lynchburg and Potomac both lost last night (the Nationals dropped both ends of a doubleheader to Salem). Frederick has only three games left against the Hillcats this year. Currently the Keys are 5.5 games behind Lynchburg and Potomac who are tied for first in the CL North second-half standings.

So plenty at stake, but the Keys are not the only show at the Grove this weekend. There are a number of terrific promotions on the docket starting tonight!

We’ll kick things off with Going Green Night! The first 1,000 fans through the gates will receive a Keys Reusable bag presented by TransIT and Francis Scott Key Mall. Gates open at 6 p.m. First pitch is at 7, while afterwards there will be fireworks presented by FSK Mall and TransIT.

One last note for tonight, anyone who brings a donation for Goodwill will receive a ticket voucher for the game. So if you’ve got something lying around the house you want to get rid of bring it! And get a free ticket to the game.

Personally, Saturday is one of my favorite days of the year as these guys will be making an appearance:

That’s a piece done by ESPN on one of the wildest attractions that you will ever see: The Cowboy Monkey rodeo!

It’s a little hard to describe, but here goes: Monkeys dressed as cowboys, riding dogs like they were horses, all the while herding sheep.

In other words it is something you need to see to be able to believe. Tim “Wild Thang” Lepard as at the helm of Team Ghostriders so don’t miss out! First pitch is at 6 p.m, while afterwards there will be fireworks courtesy Precision Heating and Cooling

Team Ghostriders

One more fun fact about the Cowboy Monkey Rodeo: The owner, Tim Lepard comes from the same hometown as Keys pitcher Lex Rutledge-Tupelo, Mississippi

Lex Rutledge

On Sunday we close things out with Meet the Team, so if you have longed for the chance to meet your favorite Key? Come on out! The meet and greet starts one hour before game time (2 p.m.). It’s all part of Sunday Funday, presented by Heartfields of Frederick. It’s also summer reading day presented by Nymeo.

Before departing one last note: Keys catcher Steel Russell has been nominated for Moniker Madness! This contests takes place every year and highlights the best names in all of minor league baseball. So give Steel a vote by visiting  here. Currently, Russell is in fourth place! He trails only Nik Nowottnick, Brooks Pounders and….Jose Jose….No misprints folks. Voting concludes on August, 28!

Hope to see you at the Grove over the next few days!

Shake your keys!

Geoff

 

Frederick Keys Game Notes 8-14-14

Thursday, August 14, 2014 · Game #118 · Road Game #63

Frederick Keys (53-64/21-29) vs Wilmington Blue Rocks (57-60/24-25)

RHP Branden Kline (7-6, 3.93) vs. RHP Johnny Walter (5-1, 3.81)

SHUTDOWN: The Frederick Keys were shutout in both ends of a doubleheader on Wednesday night, falling to the Wilmington Blue Rocks 4-0 in game one and 1-0 in game two. It was the first time all season that the orange and black had been shutout in back-to-back games, while it pushed the team to a season-worst 11 games below .500. Sean Manaea dazzled in the first contest, tossing the first complete game shutout by a Blue Rocks pitcher this season. Scattering only two hits, the lefty struck out seven and never threw any more than six pitches to an individual batter all game. Glenn Sparkman was equally as effective in the nightcap. Over six innings, he surrendered only one hit, while the Blue Rocks won on a walk-off strikeout/wild pitch which scored Ramon Torres from third. The Keys try and avoid the three-game sweep on Thursday in the final match-up between the two clubs in 2014.

TOO MANY GOOSEEGGS: With the pair of shutout defeats on Wednesday, the Keys have now been blanked 11 times in 2014. The 11 shutout losses are the most in the Carolina League, and give the Keys two more than the next closest team (Winston-Salem has been held off the board nine times this year). Meanwhile, the pair of shutout wins pushed the Blue Rocks yearly total to 15-the most in the circuit. The pair of losses on Wednesday marked the first time that Frederick had been shutout in back-to-back games since June 13-14, 2013, when the Keys fell to Potomac 8-0 and 4-0 in consecutive games.

WHERE DID THE BATS GO?: After pounding out 12 hits in a 5-2 win over Wilmington on Sunday, Frederick was held to two hits in back-to-back games. The two hits are tied for the third-fewest number of hits the Keys have recorded in a game all season. On July 20, the team posted only one hit against Winston-Salem’s Tony Bucciferro, who carried a no-hitter into the ninth. Additionally, the Myrtle Beach duo of Chi Chi Gonzalez and Jose Leclerc combined to one-hit the Keys on May 20. In that game, Gonzalez carried a no-hitter into the seventh, before Michael Burgess broke it up.

AVOIDING THE SWEEP: Frederick tries to avoid being swept for the seventh time this season on Thursday night. Since the All-Star break, the Keys have been swept four times by four different teams (Wilmington, Winston-Salem, Potomac and Lynchburg). However, all four of those broomings have taken  place at Harry Grove Stadium. This season, the Keys have been swept only once on the road-something accomplished by Lynchburg from May 27-29. Wilmington took three straight against Frederick from June 22-24.

NORTHERN EXPOSURE: Intra-division competition for the Keys has often been problematic. Against Wilmington, Lynchburg and Potomac, Frederick is just 17-31, while the orange and black do not have a winning record against any CL North club. Frederick is the only team without at least 20 wins against divisional competition. This season, 24 of the Keys 31 losses in northern play have come to Wilmington and Lynchburg. The Keys have been defeated by each team 12 times, though Frederick has a worse winning percentage against the Hillcats (5-12). With the loss in Wednesday’s doubleheader, the club has dropped four of the last five series it has played against a CL North team.

TOUGH LUCK LOSER: Parker Bridwell put together the second complete game by a Frederick Keys pitcher on Wednesday. Tossing game one of the doubleheader, the Texan allowed four runs over six innings to go along with two walks and nine strikeouts (tied a season-high). Although he gave up just three hits, two were home runs, both two-run shots to Raul Mondesi and Fred Ford. It was Bridwell’s first complete game since July 21, 2012, when he was pitching at Low-A Delmarva.

THE FEW, THE PROUD, THE MARIN: Adrian Marin’s season-high eight game hitting streak came to an end on Thursday. Over the eight-game jaunt, he hit .375 (12-for-32) with two homers, four doubles, eight RBIs and six runs scored, while he saw his batting average jump from .236 to .248. During the streak, Marin also tallied four two-hit games. After hitting .242 over 23 games in July, the Miami native has looked good in August, batting .353 over nine games. His best month of the season was May, when he hit .289 over 27 games, and won Carolina League “Player of the Week” for May 26-June 2.

JASON, JASON, HE’S OUR MAN: Although the calendar has flipped to August, Jason Esposito has maintained the torrid pace he set in July. After hitting .354 with four homers and 16 RBIs last month, the former Vanderbilt Commodore is batting .359 (14-for-39) over his first nine August tilts to go along with a home run, four doubles and seven RBIs. He has multiple hits in four of his last eight games (and six of his last 12 tilts). During that time, he has seen his batting average climb 15 pts (.258 to .273).

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. Pitcher Dylan Bundy (1) and shortstop Adrian Marin (12) highlight the list and are joined by right-handed pitchers Parker Bridwell (19) and Branden Kline (20). Jon Keller (17) and Trey Mancini (25) joined the club after the All-Star break, while Mychal Givens (23) and Glynn Davis (29) opened the year with the Keys but were promoted in the second-half. Of the five players, only Givens (one game in 2010) and Davis played at the Advanced-A level prior to 2014.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Right-hander Johnny Walter makes his 26th appearance of the year and  his second professional start. His most recent outing came on Saturday against the Keys. Tossing three innings, the righty allowed one run on four hits. The lone run came on a homer to Adrian Marin. Thursday will be Walters sixth appearance against the Keys. Over five games (one start) he is 1-0 with a 6.00 ERA (12 IP/8R). This season he has not thrown more than 4.1 innings in a game. A pitcher who has enjoyed the friendly confines of Frawley Stadium, Walters is 3-0 with 1.76 tally at home and 2-1 with a 7.11 mark in road games. Of the 21 runs he has allowed, 15 have been surrendered on the road. Walters missed just under a month with a strained abdominal muscle in the first-half, spending time on the D.L from April 8-May 4. Originally a 29th  round draft pick of the Royals in 2012, the New Jersey native split last season between Rookie-Idaho Falls and Low-A Lexington. Dominant with the Legends, Walter posted a 1.01 ERA in 18 games, giving up only three runs in 26.2 innings to go along with 31 strikeouts and four walks. He attended Penn State, and was named Third-Team All Big 10 as a sophomore. Not the only member of his family to go to spend time in Happy Valley, his father John played football from 1982-85, while his mother Bonnie was a field hockey player from 1982-86. A three-pitch pitcher, Walter throws a fastball, curveball and changeup.

Frederick Keys Game Notes 8-13-14

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

After the Keys and the Blue Rocks were rained out on Tuesday night, the two sides will play a doubleheader on Wednesday starting at 5:05 p.m. Parker Bridwell takes the mound in game one while Brady Wager gets the ball for game two. Left-hander Sean Manaea makes the game one start for the Blue Rocks. In game two, Carolina League ERA leader, Glenn Sparkman will take the mound.

Both broadcasts can be heard on 1450 AM The Source. The pregame show starts at 4:50.

Some notes are below. Chat soon and shake your keys!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014 · Game #116/#117 · Road Game #61/#62

Frederick Keys (53-62/21-27) vs Wilmington Blue Rocks (55-60/22-25)

 RHP Parker Bridwell (5-8, 4.44) vs. LHP Sean Manaea (4-8, 3.49)

RAIN, RAIN, GO AWAY: The Keys and the Wilmington Blue Rocks were washed out on Tuesday night. Both games have been rescheduled as part of a Wednesday night doubleheader, with the first contest getting underway at 5:05 p.m. Tuesday’s rainout provided the Keys with a pseudo off-day after the team received its second-to-last scheduled off-day on Monday. Counting Wednesday, the orange and black will play three doubleheaders over the final three weeks of the season.

KEYS AVOID SWEEP: Mark Blackmar carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning, while the Frederick Keys scored in four of their first five trips to bat, to earn a 5-2 victory over the Wilmington Blue Rocks on Sunday afternoon at Harry Grove Stadium. The win snapped a four-game losing streak, and helped the Keys avoid a three-game losing streak. Blackmar faced the minimum through six, and retired the first batter of the seventh, before Raul Mondesi wrecked the no-hitter and the shutout with a solo homer to right. Still, the Rocks offense could not keep pace with the Keys in the finale. Pounding out 12 hits, Frederick got tremendous production from the bottom-third of its order, as Wynston Sawyer, Joel Hutter and Lucas Herbst each tallied two hits. Meanwhile, Trey Mancini came within a triple of the cycle.

THINKING NO-NO: On Sunday, Mark Blackmar became the second Keys pitcher in 2014 to carry a no-hitter into the seventh inning or later. Parker Bridwell was the first to do it, holding the Potomac Nationals hitless until the ninth inning on May 13. Only two outs away, the Texan surrendered a single to Tony Renda to break things up. Although Raul Mondesi broke up Blackmar’s bid, the right-hander’s 15th start was still marvelous. Giving up only two hits, Blackmar tied a career-high for innings pitched. The seven innings equaled his output on July 27 against Lynchburg, and marked the second time in three starts that Blackmar had lasted seven frames. On the afternoon, he allowed only one run on two hits, walked one and struck out three. In the process, he earned his seventh win, the most by a Keys pitcher. One of the circuit’s biggest surprises, he is eighth in ERA (3.21).

ON THE ROAD AGAIN: After a six-game homestand, Frederick begins its second-to-last roadtrip of the year on Tuesday. Only three games in length, the team will return to Harry Grove Stadium on Friday for a three-game series with Lynchburg, before embarking on its final journey of the season. Six games in length, the orange and black will conclude their roadtrip with three games at Carolina and four at Potomac. Owner of the third-best road record in the league, the Keys are 32-28 away from home. In contrast, the Keys are 21-34 at home, the worst mark in the CL. Those troubles have been magnified in the second-half, as the Keys are just 5-18 in second-half home tilts (their road record is 16-9).

BACK ON TRACK: Coming off a challenging July, Trey Mancini has gotten back on track in August. Over  nine games, he is batting .306 with a home run, three doubles and three RBIs. Excellent in Sunday’s finale, the former Notre Dame standout came only a triple short of the cycle, ending 3-for-4 with a home run, a double, an RBI and three runs scored. He has tallied back-to-back multi-hit games, and has two or more knocks in three of his last four contests. During that time he is 7-for-17 with a homer, two doubles, two RBIs and three runs scored, while his batting average has climbed from .236 to .251.

NOT THE NICEST NEIGHBORS: This season, the Keys have struggled against intra-division rivals, going 17-29 against fellow Northern clubs. Frederick has a losing record against all three of its fellow division rivals, while the orange and black have been swept at least once by Wilmington, Potomac and Lynchburg. The Keys are only 7-16 against northern teams at Harry Grove Stadium, and just 7-10 against Wilmington in 2014.

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

JASON, JASON, HE’S OUR MAN: Although the calendar has flipped to August, Jason Esposito has maintained the torrid pace he set in July. After hitting .354 with four homers and 16 RBIs last month, the former Vanderbilt Commodore is batting .382 (13-for-34) over his first nine August tilts to go along with a home run, four doubles and seven RBIs. He has multiple hits in four of his last six games (and six of his last 10 tilts). During that time, he has seen his batting average climb 15 pts (.258 to .273). It is the highest Esposito’s average has been since May 18 (when he was hitting .276).

CALL HIM THE K MAN: After making five starts on the road, Dylan Bundy did not disappoint in his Frederick homecoming last Tuesday. Working into the fifth inning, the Oklahoma native did not allow a run while he scattered five hits. The seven strikeouts were tied for the second-most he had registered in a post-Tommy John start, and were two shy of a career-high. Entering Tuesday’s action, Bundy had struck out only eight combined over his previous five starts with Frederick. Limited to only 75 pitches, Bundy was highly efficient through two frames (24 pitches) but saw his pitch count skyrocket due to one very long at-bat in the third. Facing Yhoxian Medina, the righty needed 14 pitches to set down the Muddies leadoff batter. Still, the successful start cut Bundy’s ERA by nearly a point (5.73 to 4.78). He is 1-2 in six starts with the Keys and has allowed 14 runs in 26.1 innings to go along with 13 walks and 15 strikeouts.

NAME THAT PUJOLS!: Luis Pujols becomes the 20th manager in Keys history, after spending 2013 as the skipper at Low-A Delmarva. He takes the reins from Ryan Minor, who went 61-78 in his lone season as Frederick’s head man. The cousin of Angels star, Albert Pujols, the 58-year-old has considerable experience as a player, manager and coach in the majors and minors. Since spending nine years as a big league catcher with Houston, Kansas City and Texas, Pujols has worked as a bench/first base coach for Montreal (1993-00) and San Francisco (2003-06), while he served as interim manager for the Detroit Tigers in 2002, after Phil Garner was fired six games into the season. He has also managed for Double-A affiliates in the Detroit and Houston systems.

PROSPECTING: This year’s Keys team does not lack for talent. Frederick’s Opening Day roster features five of Baltimore’s Top 30 prospects according to Baseball America. Shortstop Adrian Marin (12) highlights the list and is joined by right-handed pitchers Parker Bridwell (19) and Branden Kline (20). Jon Keller (17) and Trey Mancini (25) joined the club after the All-Star break, while Mychal Givens (23) and Glynn Davis (29) opened the year with the Keys but were promoted in the second-half. Of the five players, only Givens (one game in 2010) and Davis played at the Advanced-A level prior to 2014.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Left-hander Sean Manaea makes his 22nd start of the year and his fourth against the Keys. He is the No. 6 prospect in the Royals system according to Baseball America, and is the top Royals left-handed pitching prospect. His most recent outing came against Myrtle Beach last Thursday. Tossing 5.2 innings, the southpaw was hit with the loss, allowing five runs (one earned) on five hits to go along with two walks and five strikeouts. In the game, Manaea received little help from his defense, which committed a season-high five errors on the game. Against the orange and black this year, Manaea is 1-2 with a 2.20 ERA. Facing the Keys at Frawley Stadium on August 2, the lefty tossed a career-high 7.1 innings of shutout baseball and surrendered only four hits. Currently ninth in the Carolina League in ERA (3.49), Manaea also paces the CL in strikeouts (114) and SO/9IP ratio (10.76). He is the only starter in the league who averages 10 or more strikeouts per nine innings. After an up-and-down first-half, the former Indiana State product has dazzled in the second-half. In his first 12 starts, he was 2-5 with a 4.84 ERA, while since the All-Star break he is 2-3 with a 2.11 mark. Excellent in July, Manaea went 1-0 with a 1.59 ERA. In his first professional season, the Indiana native was selected in the competitive balance round of the 2013 draft (34th overall) and received a 3.55 million dollar signing bonus, the second-highest bonus ever given to a player not selected in the first round. Considered a top-five pick after dominating in the Cape Cod League in 2012, Manaea hurt his hip while pitching in a game at the Metrodome for Indiana State. To compensate for the pain, he changed his delivery causing a drop in velocity. It also caused his draft stock to plummet, allowing the Royals to swoop in. Manaea missed all of last season as he recovered from labrum surgery on his hip. A three-pitch pitcher, the 22-year-old throws a low-mid 90s fastball, an above-average slider and a changeup.

Frederick Keys Game Notes 8-12-14

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

The Keys will try and begin a three-game roadtrip with the Wilmington Blue Rocks on Tuesday night at Frawley Stadium. So far Mother Nature has not been very kind, as it has been raining in the Delaware Valley for the brunt of the morning.

If we do get going, it promises to be a terrific pitching match-up. Dylan Bundy is scheduled to take the mound for the Keys and will be countered by Rocks left-hander Sean Manaea.

First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m. from the Riverfront, and the broadcast can be heard on 1450 AM The Source beginning at 6:50.

Some game notes are attached below. Stay dry and shake your keys!

Geoff

Tuesday, August 12, 2014 · Game #116 · Road Game #61

Frederick Keys (53-62/21-27) vs Wilmington Blue Rocks (55-60/22-25)

RHP Dylan Bundy (1-2, 4.78) vs. LHP Sean Manaea (4-8, 3.49)

KEYS AVOID SWEEP: Mark Blackmar carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning, while the Frederick Keys scored in four of their first five trips to bat, to earn a 5-2 victory over the Wilmington Blue Rocks on Sunday afternoon at Harry Grove Stadium. The win snapped a four-game losing streak, and helped the Keys avoid a three-game losing streak. Blackmar faced the minimum through six, and retired the first batter of the seventh, before Raul Mondesi wrecked the no-hitter and the shutout with a solo homer to right. Still, the Rocks offense could not keep pace with the Keys in the finale. Pounding out 12 hits, Frederick got tremendous production from the bottom-third of its order, as Wynston Sawyer, Joel Hutter and Lucas Herbst each tallied two hits. Meanwhile, Trey Mancini came within a triple of the cycle.

THINKING NO-NO: On Sunday, Mark Blackmar became the second Keys pitcher in 2014 to carry a no-hitter into the seventh inning or later. Parker Bridwell was the first to do it, holding the Potomac Nationals hitless until the ninth inning on May 13. Only two outs away, the Texan surrendered a single to Tony Renda to break things up. Although Raul Mondesi broke up Blackmar’s bid, the right-hander’s 15th start was still marvelous. Giving up only two hits, Blackmar tied a career-high for innings pitched. The seven innings equaled his output on July 27 against Lynchburg, and marked the second time in three starts that Blackmar had lasted seven frames. On the afternoon, he allowed only one run on two hits, walked one and struck out three. In the process, he earned his seventh win, the most by a Keys pitcher. One of the circuit’s biggest surprises, he is eighth in ERA (3.21).

ON THE ROAD AGAIN: After a six-game homestand, Frederick begins its second-to-last roadtrip of the year on Tuesday. Only three games in length, the team will return to Harry Grove Stadium on Friday for a three-game series with Lynchburg, before embarking on its final journey of the season. Six games in length, the orange and black will conclude their roadtrip with three games at Carolina and four at Potomac. Owner of the third-best road record in the league, the Keys are 32-28 away from home. In contrast, the Keys are 21-34 at home, the worst mark in the CL. Those troubles have been magnified in the second-half, as the Keys are just 5-18 in second-half home tilts (their road record is 16-9).

BACK ON TRACK: Coming off a challenging July, Trey Mancini has gotten back on track in August. Over  nine games, he is batting .306 with a home run, three doubles and three RBIs. Excellent in Sunday’s finale, the former Notre Dame standout came only a triple short of the cycle, ending 3-for-4 with a home run, a double, an RBI and three runs scored. He has tallied back-to-back multi-hit games, and has two or more knocks in three of his last four contests. During that time he is 7-for-17 with a homer, two doubles, two RBIs and three runs scored, while his batting average has climbed from .236 to .251.

NOT THE NICEST NEIGHBORS: This season, the Keys have struggled against intra-division rivals, going 17-29 against fellow Northern clubs. Frederick has a losing record against all three of its fellow division rivals, while the orange and black have been swept at least once by Wilmington, Potomac and Lynchburg. The Keys are only 6-16 against northern teams at Harry Grove Stadium, and just 7-10 against Wilmington in 2014.

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

JASON, JASON, HE’S OUR MAN: Although the calendar has flipped to August, Jason Esposito has maintained the torrid pace he set in July. After hitting .354 with four homers and 16 RBIs last month, the former Vanderbilt Commodore is batting .382 (13-for-34) over his first nine August tilts to go along with a home run, four doubles and seven RBIs. He has multiple hits in four of his last six games (and six of his last 10 tilts). During that time, he has seen his batting average climb 15 pts (.258 to .273). It is the highest Esposito’s average has been since May 18 (when he was hitting .276).

CALL HIM THE K MAN: After making five starts on the road, Dylan Bundy did not disappoint in his Frederick homecoming last Tuesday. Working into the fifth inning, the Oklahoma native did not allow a run while he scattered five hits. The seven strikeouts were tied for the second-most he had registered in a post-Tommy John start, and were two shy of a career-high. Entering Tuesday’s action, Bundy had struck out only eight combined over his previous five starts with Frederick. Limited to only 75 pitches, Bundy was highly efficient through two frames (24 pitches) but saw his pitch count skyrocket due to one very long at-bat in the third. Facing Yhoxian Medina, the righty needed 14 pitches to set down the Muddies leadoff batter. Still, the successful start cut Bundy’s ERA by nearly a point (5.73 to 4.78). He is 1-2 in six starts with the Keys and has allowed 14 runs in 26.1 innings to go along with 13 walks and 15 strikeouts.

NAME THAT PUJOLS!: Luis Pujols becomes the 20th manager in Keys history, after spending 2013 as the skipper at Low-A Delmarva. He takes the reins from Ryan Minor, who went 61-78 in his lone season as Frederick’s head man. The cousin of Angels star, Albert Pujols, the 58-year-old has considerable experience as a player, manager and coach in the majors and minors. Since spending nine years as a big league catcher with Houston, Kansas City and Texas, Pujols has worked as a bench/first base coach for Montreal (1993-00) and San Francisco (2003-06), while he served as interim manager for the Detroit Tigers in 2002, after Phil Garner was fired six games into the season. He has also managed for Double-A affiliates in the Detroit and Houston systems.

PROSPECTING: This year’s Keys team does not lack for talent. Frederick’s Opening Day roster features five of Baltimore’s Top 30 prospects according to Baseball America. Shortstop Adrian Marin (12) highlights the list and is joined by right-handed pitchers Parker Bridwell (19) and Branden Kline (20). Jon Keller (17) and Trey Mancini (25) joined the club after the All-Star break, while Mychal Givens (23) and Glynn Davis (29) opened the year with the Keys but were promoted in the second-half. Of the five players, only Givens (one game in 2010) and Davis played at the Advanced-A level prior to 2014.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Left-hander Sean Manaea makes his 22nd start of the year and his fourth against the Keys. He is the No. 6 prospect in the Royals system according to Baseball America, and is the top Royals left-handed pitching prospect. His most recent outing came against Myrtle Beach last Thursday. Tossing 5.2 innings, the southpaw was hit with the loss, allowing five runs (one earned) on five hits to go along with two walks and five strikeouts. In the game, Manaea received little help from his defense, which committed a season-high five errors on the game. Against the orange and black this year, Manaea is 1-2 with a 2.20 ERA. Facing the Keys at Frawley Stadium on August 2, the lefty tossed a career-high 7.1 innings of shutout baseball and surrendered only four hits. Currently ninth in the Carolina League in ERA (3.49), Manaea also paces the CL in strikeouts (114) and SO/9IP ratio (10.76). He is the only starter in the league who averages 10 or more strikeouts per nine innings. After an up-and-down first-half, the former Indiana State product has dazzled in the second-half. In his first 12 starts, he was 2-5 with a 4.84 ERA, while since the All-Star break he is 2-3 with a 2.11 mark. Excellent in July, Manaea went 1-0 with a 1.59 ERA. In his first professional season, the Indiana native was selected in the competitive balance round of the 2013 draft (34th overall) and received a 3.55 million dollar signing bonus, the second-highest bonus ever given to a player not selected in the first round. Considered a top-five pick after dominating in the Cape Cod League in 2012, Manaea hurt his hip while pitching in a game at the Metrodome for Indiana State. To compensate for the pain, he changed his delivery causing a drop in velocity. It also caused his draft stock to plummet, allowing the Royals to swoop in. Manaea missed all of last season as he recovered from labrum surgery on his hip. A three-pitch pitcher, the 22-year-old throws a low-mid 90s fastball, an above-average slider and a changeup.

Frederick Keys Game Notes 8-10-14

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

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

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

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

Some game notes are below. Shake your Keys!

Geoff

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JASON, JASON, HE’S OUR MAN: Although the calendar has flipped to August, Jason Esposito has maintained the torrid pace he set in July. After hitting .354 with four homers and 16 RBIs last month, the former Vanderbilt Commodore is batting .367 (11-for-30) over his first eight August tilts to go along with a home run, three doubles and six RBIs. He has multiple hits in three of his last four games (and five of his last eight tilts). During that time, he has seen his batting average climb 13 pts (.258 to .271).

CALL HIM THE K MAN: After making five starts on the road, Dylan Bundy did not disappoint in his Frederick homecoming on Tuesday. Working into the fifth inning, the Oklahoma native did not allow a run while he scattered five hits. The seven strikeouts were tied for the second-most he had registered in a post-Tommy John start, and were two shy of a career-high. Entering Tuesday’s action, Bundy had struck out only eight combined over his previous five starts with Frederick. Limited to only 75 pitches, Bundy was highly efficient through two frames (24 pitches) but saw his pitch count skyrocket due to one very long at-bat in the third. Facing Yhoxian Medina, the righty needed 14 pitches to set down the Muddies leadoff batter. Still, the successful start cut Bundy’s ERA by nearly a point (5.73 to 4.78). He is 1-2 in six starts with the Keys and has allowed 14 runs in 26.1 innings to go along with 13 walks and 15 strikeouts.

NEWCOMERS: Johnny Ruettiger and Chih-Hsien Chang took the roster spots of Glynn Davis and Michael Burgess who were promoted to Double-A Bowie on July 22.. In 61 games with the Baysox this season, Ruettiger was batting .282 with a triple, six doubles and eight stolen bases. No stranger to the Keys, the former Arizona State product hit .246 over 106 games with the orange and black last season, while he stole 43 bases, a career-high, and the seventh-most by a Keys player all-time. Chiang struggled with the Baysox, hitting .219 with three home runs and 20 RBIs. This is the first time that he has been at the Advanced-A level since 2009, when he was a member of the Salem Red Sox. Originally signed by Boston as an international free agent out of Taiwan in 2005, the outfielder spent all of 2013 with the Rangers Double-A club in Frisco. There, he hit .263 over 124 games, led the club in doubles (36) and placed second in hits (125). Chiang has also spent time with the Mariners organization, advancing as high as Triple-A Tacoma in 2012.

NAME THAT PUJOLS!: Luis Pujols becomes the 20th manager in Keys history, after spending 2013 as the skipper at Low-A Delmarva. He takes the reins from Ryan Minor, who went 61-78 in his lone season as Frederick’s head man. The cousin of Angels star, Albert Pujols, the 58-year-old has considerable experience as a player, manager and coach in the majors and minors. Since spending nine years as a big league catcher with Houston, Kansas City and Texas, Pujols has worked as a bench/first base coach for Montreal (1993-00) and San Francisco (2003-06), while he served as interim manager for the Detroit Tigers in 2002, after Phil Garner was fired six games into the season. He has also managed for Double-A affiliates in the Detroit and Houston systems.

PROSPECTING: This year’s Keys team does not lack for talent. Frederick’s Opening Day roster features five of Baltimore’s Top 30 prospects according to Baseball America. Shortstop Adrian Marin (12) highlights the list and is joined by right-handed pitchers Parker Bridwell (19) and Branden Kline (20). Jon Keller (17) and Trey Mancini (25) joined the club after the All-Star break, while Mychal Givens (23) and Glynn Davis (29) opened the year with the Keys but were promoted in the second-half. Of the five players, only Givens (one game in 2010) and Davis played at the Advanced-A level prior to 2014.

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

Frederick Keys Game Notes 8-9-14

Saturday, August 9, 2014 · Game #114 · Home Game #54

Frederick Keys (52-61/20-26) vs Wilmington Blue Rocks (54-59/21-24)

RHP Sebastian Vader (1-4, 7.13) vs. RHP Johnny Walter (5-1, 3.86)

SPARKMAN SIZZLES, ROCKS TAKE OPENER: Glenn Sparkman struck out a career-high 10 batters over 6.1 innings, while the Wilmington Blue Rocks tallied multiple runs in three different frames to defeat the Frederick Keys 8-1 on Friday night at Harry Grove Stadium. It was the Keys third straight loss, and moves the club back to nine games below .500 for the season (52-61). Currently, Frederick is seven games behind Potomac in the second-half CL North race, and 4.5 behind Lynchburg for the wild card spot (if the P-Nats win both halves it would go to the wildcard winner). Activated from the disabled list Friday afternoon, Matt Taylor surrendered a three-run homer to Zane Evans in the first, while the Blue Crew plated three more in the seventh on a triple by Raul Mondesi and RBI singles by Bubba Starling and Cody Stubbs. Mondesi added a two-run homer in the ninth to complete the scoring. The Keys were held to six hits on the night, with two-thirds coming from Adrian Marin and Jason Esposito. Marin accounted for the only Keys run, a solo homer to right off Sparkman in the sixth.   

BIG INNING BLUES: Over the Keys last two homestands, the team has often been burned by one bad inning. In their last seven home tilts, the orange and black have seen their opponent bat around in an inning six times, while on nine occasions Frederick has been snake-bit by an individual inning of three or more runs. As a result, the Keys have dropped six of their last seven home games. The Keys are just 4-17 in second-half home games, the worst second-half home record of any CL club. Additionally, the Keys have the worst overall home record in the circuit at 20-33. In 2013, Frederick also struggled mightily at home, going 13-23 in second-half home games and 29-40 in home games for the year (the CL’s worst home record last year).

WHERE’S THE LEATHER?: After committing three errors on Wednesday, the club committed two more in Thursday’s contest. Both came on the same play, and ultimately gave Carolina a win in the series finale. Over the last three nights, seven of the 25 runs scored by the Keys opponent have been unearned markers. This season when the Keys commit two or more errors in a game, the club is just 7-16. Despite some problems in the field over the last few days, the orange and black pace the Carolina League in fielding percentage (.978) and have made the second-fewest errors in the CL. Only Wilmington (91) has made less. All other six Carolina League teams have committed 100 errors or more.

TAYLOR TAKES THE HILL: After spending more than two months on the disabled list with a back injury, Matt Taylor made his first Carolina League start in almost two months on Friday night. Tossing 3.1 innings, the lefty gave up three runs on seven hits, walked one and struck out two. He was tagged with only his second CL loss of the year, and allowed his first homer, a three-run shot to Zane Evans in the first. Placed on the disabled list on May 20 due to a back injury, the Georgian made two rehab appearances with the GCL Orioles, where he went 1-1 with a 6.14 ERA. Taylor’s most recent outing came last Monday against the Red Sox GCL affiliate. In 3.1 innings he allowed four runs on four hits and struck out three. One of the Carolina League’s most dominant pitchers in the first-half, the southpaw went 5-1 with a 1.94 ERA over eight games and was named to the Carolina League All-Star team.

NOT THE NICEST NEIGHBORS: This season, the Keys have struggled against intra-division rivals, going 16-28 against fellow Northern clubs. Frederick has a losing record against all three of its fellow division rivals, while the orange and black have been swept at least once by Wilmington, Potomac and Lynchburg. The Keys are only 6-15 against northern teams at Harry Grove Stadium, and just 6-9 against Wilmington in 2014.

THE FEW, THE PROUD, THE MARIN: Thanks to a first inning single, Adrian Marin was able to extend his hitting streak to a season-high seven games. During that time he is batting .357 (10-for-28) with a homer, three doubles, seven RBIs and five runs scored, while he has seen his batting average jump from .236 to .245. The Florida native tries to close the year strong after hitting just .242 over 23 games in July and only .184 in June.

CALL HIM THE K MAN: After making five starts on the road, Dylan Bundy did not disappoint in his Frederick homecoming on Tuesday. Working into the fifth inning, the Oklahoma native did not allow a run while he scattered five hits. The seven strikeouts were tied for the second-most he had registered in a post-Tommy John start, and were two shy of a career-high. Entering Tuesday’s action, Bundy had struck out only eight combined over his previous five starts with Frederick. Limited to only 75 pitches, Bundy was highly efficient through two frames (24 pitches) but saw his pitch count skyrocket due to one very long at-bat in the third. Facing Yhoxian Medina, the righty needed 14 pitches to set down the Muddies leadoff batter. Still, the successful start cut Bundy’s ERA by nearly a point (5.73 to 4.78). He is 1-2 in six starts with the Keys and has allowed 14 runs in 26.1 innings to go along with 13 walks and 15 strikeouts.

JASON, JASON, HE’S OUR MAN: Although the calendar has flipped to August, Jason Esposito has maintained the torrid pace he set in July. After hitting .354 with four homers and 16 RBIs last month, the former Vanderbilt Commodore is batting .385 (10-for-26) over his first seven August tilts to go along with a home run, two doubles and six RBIs. He has multiple hits in three of his last four games (and five of his last eight tilts). During that time, he has seen his batting average climb 13 pts (.258 to .271).

NEWCOMERS: Johnny Ruettiger and Chih-Hsien Chang took the roster spots of Glynn Davis and Michael Burgess who were promoted to Double-A Bowie on July 22.. In 61 games with the Baysox this season, Ruettiger was batting .282 with a triple, six doubles and eight stolen bases. No stranger to the Keys, the former Arizona State product hit .246 over 106 games with the orange and black last season, while he stole 43 bases, a career-high, and the seventh-most by a Keys player all-time. Chiang struggled with the Baysox, hitting .219 with three home runs and 20 RBIs. This is the first time that he has been at the Advanced-A level since 2009, when he was a member of the Salem Red Sox. Originally signed by Boston as an international free agent out of Taiwan in 2005, the outfielder spent all of 2013 with the Rangers Double-A club in Frisco. There, he hit .263 over 124 games, led the club in doubles (36) and placed second in hits (125). Chiang has also spent time with the Mariners organization, advancing as high as Triple-A Tacoma in 2012.

NAME THAT PUJOLS!: Luis Pujols becomes the 20th manager in Keys history, after spending 2013 as the skipper at Low-A Delmarva. He takes the reins from Ryan Minor, who went 61-78 in his lone season as Frederick’s head man. The cousin of Angels star, Albert Pujols, the 58-year-old has considerable experience as a player, manager and coach in the majors and minors. Since spending nine years as a big league catcher with Houston, Kansas City and Texas, Pujols has worked as a bench/first base coach for Montreal (1993-00) and San Francisco (2003-06), while he served as interim manager for the Detroit Tigers in 2002, after Phil Garner was fired six games into the season. He has also managed for Double-A affiliates in the Detroit and Houston systems.

PROSPECTING: This year’s Keys team does not lack for talent. Frederick’s Opening Day roster features five of Baltimore’s Top 30 prospects according to Baseball America. Shortstop Adrian Marin (12) highlights the list and is joined by right-handed pitchers Parker Bridwell (19) and Branden Kline (20). Jon Keller (17) and Trey Mancini (25) joined the club after the All-Star break, while Mychal Givens (23) and Glynn Davis (29) opened the year with the Keys but were promoted in the second-half. Of the five players, only Givens (one game in 2010) and Davis played at the Advanced-A level prior to 2014.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Right-hander Johnny Walter makes his 25th appearance of the year and the first start of his professional career. His most recent outing came on Wednesday against Myrtle Beach, giving up just one hit over an inning of work. This season, Walter has not thrown more than 4.1 innings in a game. A pitcher who has enjoyed the friendly confines of Frawley Stadium, he is 3-0 with 1.76 tally at home and 2-1 with a 7.88 mark in road games. Of the 20 runs he has allowed, 14 have been surrendered on the road. Walter missed roughly a month with a strained abdominal muscle. Originally a 29th round draft pick of the Royals in 2012, the New Jersey native split last season between Rookie-Idaho Falls and Low-A Lexington. Dominant with the Legends, Walter posted a 1.01 ERA in 18 games, giving up only three runs in 26.2 innings to go along with 31 strikeouts and four walks. He attended Penn State, the same alma mater as his parents. Walter is expect to be followed by left-hander Tripp Davis, who was promoted from Lexington on Wednesday. In 16 games (two starts) he went 2-2 with a 4.95 ERA. Much better as a reliever, he was 2-0 with a 3.97 ERA after going 0-2 with a 8.38 ERA as a reliever. He made a cameo with the Blue Rocks last season, going 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA after beginning his professional career at Rookie-Surprise. Signed as a non-drafted free agent last June, Davis attended NJIT where he was the school’s all-time wins leader.

Frederick Keys Game Notes 8-7-14

Hello Keys fans!

The Keys and the Carolina Mudcats close out their three-game series tonight at Harry Grove Stadium with the series locked up at one game a a piece. Carolina took last night’s game by a score of  11-3. The Mudcats did the majority of their damage in the fifth inning, scoring six runs. Adrian Marin and Jason Esposito provided bright spots for Frederick, each recording two hits and an RBI.

RHP Branden Kline takes the mound for Frederick against Carolina righty, Dylan Baker. Baker pitched opening night against the Keys, tossing a perfect six innings prior to being pulled due to pitch count.

Come on out tonight and shake your keys!

Here are the notes for tonight’s game:

Thursday, August 7, 2014 · Game #112 · Home Game #52

Frederick Keys (52-59/20-24) vs Carolina Mudcats (51-61/22-23)

RHP Branden Kline (5-7, 4.20) vs. RHP Dylan Baker (1-2, 5.63)

FLIPPING THE SCRIPT: Coming off a decisive win on Tuesday night, the Frederick Keys saw the Carolina Mudcats turn the tables on Wednesday. Utilizing a six-run fifth, 14 hits and three Keys errors, the visitors posted an 11-3 win at the Grove to force a Thursday rubber match. Eight of the nine Mudcats starters finished with at least one hit while LeVon Washington and Yhoxian Medina each tallied three RBIs. Carolina did a bulk of its damage in the fifth and sixth innings, scoring nine runs off Parker Bridwell and Miguel Chalas. In those two innings, the Mudcats sent 18 men to bat. To avoid a loss in the season series, the Keys must win each of the last four head-to-head battles.

 NOT OUR KIND OF GUY: Although Mudcats starter Dylan Baker has made only four Carolina League starts this year, the Frederick Keys remember him well. Pitching against the orange and black on opening night, the Alaskan retired all 18 members of the Keys he faced, before exiting after six innings due to pitch count. That was Baker’s only first-half start, as he suffered a broken ankle while taking the mound for his second outing against Potomac. In four games with the Mudcats this year, he is 1-2 with a 5.63 ERA.

WHERE’S THE LEATHER?: On Wednesday, the Keys committed three errors including two during a six-run Carolina fifth. The three errors were tied for the second-most the club had committed in a game all season. Frederick’s high for the season is four, which came on July 25 against Lynchburg (when the team made three errors during a six-run Lynchburg first). As a result of the three errors last night, five of the Muddies 11 runs were unearned. Currently, the orange and black are tied with Wilmington for the Carolina League in fielding percentage (.978) and have made the second-fewest errors in the CL.

MUDDY TALES: Although Frederick has fared well against the CL South this season, Carolina has been the lone exception. The Keys are just 5-9 against the Mudcats this season, the only south team that Frederick is below .500 against. In the first-half, the Muddies took six of the nine meetings (two games were also cancelled) while Carolina took the only series between these two clubs in the second-half. Against Carolina, Frederick is batting only .243 and the pitching staff has a 5.01 ERA. Conversely, the Mudcats are hitting .285 against the Keys and the pitching staff has a 3.44 ERA. LeVon Washington has torched Keys pitching, hitting .591 (13-for-22) with two homers, two doubles and six RBIs. On the mound, Shawn Morimando was all but unhittable, going 4-0 with a 1.09 ERA against the Keys, but has been promoted to Double-A. This season, the Keys are 2-5 against Carolina at Harry Grove Stadium.

 CALL HIM THE K MAN: After making five starts on the road, Dylan Bundy did not disappoint in his Frederick homecoming on Tuesday. Working into the fifth inning, the Oklahoma native did not allow a run while he scattered five hits. The seven strikeouts were tied for the second-most he had registered in a post-Tommy John start, and were two shy of a career-high. Entering Tuesday’s action, Bundy had struck out only eight combined over his previous five starts with Frederick. Limited to only 75 pitches, Bundy was highly efficient through two frames (24 pitches) but saw his pitch count skyrocket due to one very long at-bat in the third. Facing Yhoxian Medina, the righty needed 14 pitches to set down the Muddies leadoff batter. Still, the successful start cut Bundy’s ERA by nearly a point (5.73 to 4.78). He is 1-2 in six starts with the Keys and has allowed 14 runs in 26.1 innings to go along with 13 walks and 15 strikeouts.

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

JASON, JASON, HE’S OUR MAN: Although the calendar has flipped to August, Jason Esposito has maintained the torrid pace he set in July. After hitting .354 with four homers and 16 RBIs last month, the former Vanderbilt Commodore is batting .444 (8-for-18) over his first five August tilts to go along with a home run, two doubles and six RBIs. On Wednesday, he recorded his second straight multi-hit effort going 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI. Esposito has tallied multiple hits in four of his last six games, and during that time he has seen his batting average climb 14 pts (.258 to .272).

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

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

 NAME THAT PUJOLS!: Luis Pujols becomes the 20th manager in Keys history, after spending 2013 as the skipper at Low-A Delmarva. He takes the reins from Ryan Minor, who went 61-78 in his lone season as Frederick’s head man. The cousin of Angels star, Albert Pujols, the 58-year-old has considerable experience as a player, manager and coach in the majors and minors. Since spending nine years as a big league catcher with Houston, Kansas City and Texas, Pujols has worked as a bench/first base coach for Montreal (1993-00) and San Francisco (2003-06), while he served as interim manager for the Detroit Tigers in 2002, after Phil Garner was fired six games into the season. He has also managed for Double-A affiliates in the Detroit and Houston systems.

PROSPECTING: This year’s Keys team does not lack for talent. Frederick’s Opening Day roster features five of Baltimore’s Top 30 prospects according to Baseball America. Shortstop Adrian Marin (12) highlights the list and is joined by right-handed pitchers Parker Bridwell (19) and Branden Kline (20). Jon Keller (17) and Trey Mancini (25) joined the club after the All-Star break, while Mychal Givens (23) and Glynn Davis (29) opened the year with the Keys but were promoted in the second-half. Of the five players, only Givens (one game in 2010) and Davis played at the Advanced-A level prior to 2014.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Right-hander Dylan Baker makes his fifth Carolina League start and his second against the Keys. In his most recent start last Friday against Potomac, Baker allowed three runs (one earned) on five hits over 3.2 innings in a loss at Potomac. Only his fourth Carolina League start, Baker missed more than 3.5 months after breaking his ankle in April. The right-hander spent all of 2013 at Low-A Lake County righty allowed only 124 hits, while in the second-half he was nearly untouchable, going 5-1 with a 2.93 ERA in 15 games. Baker made his professional debut with the AZL Indians in 2012, ending 0-1 with a 4.13 ERA. A virtual unknown from Juneau, AL, the 22-year-old went undrafted out of Douglas High School. Following graduation, he moved to Tacoma (WA) Community College, and compiled a 3-3 record and a 3.47 ERA. Staying only one season, Baker’s stock soared when he transferred to Western Nevada Community College for his sophomore year. There, pitching coach Jeremy Beard helped the right-hander increase his velocity by tweaking his mechanics and introducing him to a new long toss program. Armed with better command and more effective secondary pitches as well, the results were immediate. Putting together the best season in WNC history, Baker went 13-0 with a 1.91 ERA to go along with 126 strikeouts in 84.2 innings. Named the Scenic West Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year, Baker was selected by Cleveland in the fifth round of the 2012 draft, making him the highest selection in WNC history. He also just missed becoming the highest drafted player in Alaska history (Brian Montalbo was selected by Atlanta in the fourth round of the 2000 draft). Baker throws a mid-90s fastball, a slider, a curveball and a changeup

Frederick Keys Game Notes 8-6-14

Good evening Keys fans!

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

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

Below are the notes for tonight’s game:

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

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

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

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

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

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

MUDDY TALES: Although Frederick has fared well against the CL South this season, Carolina has been the lone exception. The Keys are just 5-8 against the Mudcats this season, the only south team that Frederick is below .500 against. In the first-half, the Muddies took six of the nine meetings (two games were also cancelled) while Carolina took the only series between these two clubs in the second-half. Against Carolina, Frederick is batting only .240 and the pitching staff has a 5.01 ERA. Conversely, the Mudcats are hitting .282 against the Keys and the pitching staff has a 3.47 ERA. LeVon Washington has torched Keys pitching, hitting .579 (11-for-19) with a homer, a double and three RBIs. On the mound, Shawn Morimando was all but unhittable, going 4-0 with a 1.09 ERA against the Keys, but has been promoted to Double-A. This season, the Keys are 2-4 against Carolina at Harry Grove Stadium.

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

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

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

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

 NAME THAT PUJOLS!: Luis Pujols becomes the 20th manager in Keys history, after spending 2013 as the skipper at Low-A Delmarva. He takes the reins from Ryan Minor, who went 61-78 in his lone season as Frederick’s head man. The cousin of Angels star, Albert Pujols, the 58-year-old has considerable experience as a player, manager and coach in the majors and minors. Since spending nine years as a big league catcher with Houston, Kansas City and Texas, Pujols has worked as a bench/first base coach for Montreal (1993-00) and San Francisco (2003-06), while he served as interim manager for the Detroit Tigers in 2002, after Phil Garner was fired six games into the season. He has also managed for Double-A affiliates in the Detroit and Houston systems.

PROSPECTING: This year’s Keys team does not lack for talent. Frederick’s Opening Day roster features five of Baltimore’s Top 30 prospects according to Baseball America. Shortstop Adrian Marin (12) highlights the list and is joined by right-handed pitchers Parker Bridwell (19) and Branden Kline (20). Jon Keller (17) and Trey Mancini (25) joined the club after the All-Star break, while Mychal Givens (23) and Glynn Davis (29) opened the year with the Keys but were promoted in the second-half. Of the five players, only Givens (one game in 2010) and Davis played at the Advanced-A level prior to 2014.

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

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