Archive for the ‘ Uncategorized ’ Category

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.

Frederick Keys Game Notes 8-5-14

Good Evening Keys Fans!

The Frederick Keys are back home tonight and the Carolina Mudcats are in town! First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. and Dylan Bundy will be on the mound. His counterpart is Cole Sulser.

Doug Raftery and I will have all the play by play beginning at 6:45 on 1450 AM The Source.

Some game notes are below. Shake your keys!

Geoff

Tuesday, August 5, 2014 · Game #110 · Home Game #50

Frederick Keys (51-58/19-23) vs Carolina Mudcats (50-60/21-22)

RHP Dylan Bundy (1-2, 5.73) vs. RHP Cole Sulser (4-9, 5.23)

RALLY TIME IN THE FIRST STATE: The Frederick Keys scored three times off Wilmington Blue Rocks reliever Andrew Edwards in the top of the eighth inning to earn a 5-4 win on Sunday night at Frawley Stadium. With the victory, the orange and black claimed the three-game series and finished up their six-game roadtrip 3-3. Trailing 4-2 after seven innings, the Keys rallied quickly against Edwards. Jerome Pena and Johnny Ruettiger both singled to open up the inning, while Adrian Marin stroked an RBI double to left. After a strikeout by Trey Mancini, Blue Rocks manager Daryl Kennedy turned to his bullpen to get a lefty-lefty matchup against Chih-Hsien Chiang. Facing Kyle Bartsch, Chiang grounded out to the right side to bring home Ruettiger. That advanced Marin to third, and a Bartsch wild pitch brought in the go-ahead run. Making his first relief appearance since 2012, Brady Wager shutdown Wilmington in the eighth and Dennis Torres pitched a scoreless ninth to complete the one-run win.

NORTH ON NORTH CRIME:  Sunday marked Frederick’s first series win over an intra-division rival in nearly a month. Taking two out of three against Wilmington, the Keys had not taken a series against a northern rival since July 6, when the orange and black claimed a three-game series at Lynchburg. This season, Frederick has struggled against its closest geographic rivals, going 16-27. In contrast, Luis Pujols’ club has gone 35-31 against teams from the CL South. Unfortunately, the majority of the last 28 games will come against teams from the north. Over the next four weeks, the Keys will play 17 games against the north and 11 contests against the south.

MUDDY TALES: Although Frederick has fared well against the CL South this season, Carolina has been the lone exception. The Keys are just 4-8 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 .222 and the pitching staff has a 5.14 ERA. Conversely, the Mudcats are hitting .284 against the Keys and the pitching staff has a 3.14 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 1-4 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).

BUNDY BLURBS: Coming off his first post-Tommy John surgery win (and first since August 28, 2012) Dylan Bundy struggled with command last Tuesday. Walking a career-high five batters, the 21-year-old eclipsed his previous high-water mark of four (also set on August 28, 2012). Lasting 4.1 innings, Bundy allowed two runs on five hits and struck out one. In five starts with the orange and black, the former first rounder is 1-2 with a 5.73 ERA, while he has walked 13 and struck only eight. Prior to joining Frederick, the righty made three rehab starts with Short-Season Aberdeen. Working five innings in each outing, Bundy went 0-1 with a 0.60 ERA. In 15 innings, he allowed only one run on 10 hits while he walked three and struck out 22. Opponents were hitting just .189 against him.

SEND IT IN JEROME!: Following a rough Wednesday where he struck out a season-high four times, Jerome Pena fared much better in the series finale against Winston-Salem on Thursday and is batting 7-for-18 (.389) over his last six games. His best game of the roadtrip came on Thursday, where he finished  3-for-3 with two doubles and a triple, drove in a pair of runs and scored four times. The four runs matched a career-high for Pena, who had not scored four times since August 8, 2011, when he was playing for the Orioles rookie-affiliate in the Gulf Coast League. Following a disappointing June where he hit .207 and was limited to only 10 games because of injury, Pena hit .293 over 27 contests in July. He stroked eight doubles and scored 16 runs.

MY KIND OF MONTH: Jason Esposito will be sad to watch the calendar flip to August. Finishing 3-for-5 on Thursday, the former Vanderbilt Commodore hit .354 over 26 games in July to go along with four home runs and 16 RBIs. It was a nice bounce back month for Esposito, who hit only .205 over 23 games in June. The 16 RBIs nearly equaled his combined total through June (18). Currently, he is batting .266, and is 4-for-11 (.364) with a home run, a double, and three RBIs to begin the month of August.

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: Right-hander Cole Sulser makes his 21st start of the season and his second against the Keys. In his most recent outing last Wednesday at Salem, the righty earned the win tossing 6.1 innings of three-run baseball. His only start against the Keys in June did not go so well, as he allowed 10 runs (nine earned) on 10 hits over 4.1 innings. Despite not being equipped with overpowering stuff, Sulser averages nearly a strikeout per inning (103.1 IP/101 SO) and is fifth in the CL in punchouts. He also sports the league’s second-best strikeout/nine inning ratio (8.80). Called up to Double-A Akron for one start in mid-July, he tossed six innings at Trenton and allowed one run in a no-decision. Still, after a passable first-half, Sulser has struggled mightily in the second-half, posting a 6.81 ERA in seven games.  Selected by Cleveland in the 25th round of the 2013 draft out of Dartmouth College, Sulser went 3-2 with a 1.83 ERA over 15 games (nine starts) at Short-Season Mahoning Valley. There, he sported a strikeout-walk ratio of better than 6:1. Over 54 innings, he punched out 60 and walked only nine. At Dartmouth, Sulser was an all-Ivy League pitcher. He finished with a 20-6 record, tallying the second-most victories in program history. He accomplished that feat despite having his junior season cut short on account of Tommy John surgery. Missing his senior season, Sulser redshirted, using the time to recover and purse a second degree in engineering. A four-pitch pitcher, the 24-year-old throws a fastball, a curveball, a slider and a changeup.

 

The Keys are Back!!

Good Evening Keys Fans!

After a week on the road the Keys are back in town! Following an off-day today, the club will start a six-game homestand beginning tomorrow night. The Carolina Mudcats will roll in to Harry Grove Stadium for the final time, while a familiar face is scheduled to take the mound!

Bundy 640x360

 

That’s right folks! Dylan Bundy will make his first rehab start at the Grove. Originally, the Oklahoma native was scheduled to pitch on July 3 in Frederick against Salem, but Mother Nature being the schizophrenic soul that she is, brought the rains and the game was never played. Couple the rain with a number of short home series, and Bundy has made all 5 of his Carolina League rehab starts on the road.

Strangely, the scheduling gods have often conspired against the Keys in regards to Bundy’s home starts. Of his 17 career CL outings, 12 have come on the road. Still, Tuesday should be a fun homecoming. The last time the Keys were at home, the Washington Post’s Ian Oland wrote a terrific article about Bundy and his recovery from Tommy John surgery. Among other things they discussed was how the recovery process draws some parallels to one of Bundy’s favorite hobbies: hunting. Worth a read.

Bundy’s most recent start came last Tuesday, the first contest in a six-game roadtrip. Once again, the Keys held their own away from the Grove, going 3-3. That included wins in 2 out of 3 against the Wilmington Blue Rocks this weekend. Currently, the Keys own the third-best road record in the Carolina League (32-28) trailing only Myrtle Beach (37-19) and Potomac (30-23) in that department.

Some other notes from the trip:

-After a terrific July, Jason Esposito continued to hit the cover off the ball, going 9-for-24 during the roadtrip. That included back-to-back three-hit games on Thursday and Friday. His batting average is now up to .266 for the year.  Here is a recent interview the former Commodore did with Greg Swatek of the Frederick News Post

-Following a rough start on July 25, Branden Kline bounced back with a winning outing at Wilmington on Friday. Tossing 5.1 shutout innings, the Frederick native scattered six hits and struck out three. Kline now leads the Keys pitching staff in wins, and has been victorious in 2 of his last 3 starts. He outdueled Royals first rounder Brandon Finnegan

- Sunday’s win gave the Keys their first series victory against a CL North team since June 30, when the Keys claimed 2 out of 3 against Potomac

- Making his first relief appearance since 2012, Brady Wager earned the win on the Sunday at Wilmington tossing two scoreless innings. It was only the fourth time he had pitched out of the bullpen since being drafted by the Orioles, and was his first relief outing  since July 12, 2012.

- Keys reliever Jon Keller was placed on the seven-day DL with a left intercostal strain.

- On Sunday, Jimmy Yacabonis sat down with Matt Leon on KYW Newsradio in Philadelphia to chat about his season. A link to the audio can be found here.

In addition to the Keys being at home, there will be a number of great promotions taking place over the next couple of days!

In addition to Dylan Bundy taking the mound on Tuesday, it will be NFL Kickoff Night. So, are you ready for some football???

Everyone at the Keys certainly will be! Everyone on staff will be wearing the jerseys of their favorite team, and you are invited to as well! Fans that come out to the game will also have a chance to win a football autographed by Baltimore Ravens punter Sam Koch:

Sam Koch

Who by the way, hit a 60yd field goal in practice the other day. Not too shabby.

On Wednesday, it will be Maryland Pride Night! The fan with the most spirit and the best Maryland outfit will be given a cool prize, so show the home state a little love! Maryland Pride

Friday night should be a blast as well, especially for younger fans. Game time is at 7 p.m. and we’ll be celebrating Keyote’s Birthday! This year it is Ninja Turtle themed, and all Kids Club Members are invited to a pre-game pizza party. Additionally the first 1,000 youngsters through the gates will receive a baseball piggybank courtesy of Nymeo. Following the game there will be postgame fireworks sponsored by Nymeo, but the fun doesn’t stop there! Kids club members and their families are invited for a sleepover, where we will be showing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on the video board! Here is a link for more information.

On Saturday at 6, we will be partnering with the American Cancer Society as part of Cancer Awareness Night at the ballpark. Every member of the team will be wearing special hats that will be auctioned off, while there will be postgame fireworks sponsored by CRA and Somerford Assisted Living and Memory Care.

We’ll wrap things up with a Sunday Funday at the Grove presented by Heartfields of Frederick. First pitch is at 2 p.m. and there will be a pre-game catch on the field as well as players signing autographs beforehand. AND…………..There will be a team photo giveaway sponsored by the Great Frederick Fair! So make sure to arrive early and pick up a momento of this year’s team!

All in all, it should be another fun homestand. Plenty of fun to be had, and remember after Sunday, there are only TWO regular season homestands left! So come on out and shake your keys!

Geoff

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: