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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

Frederick Keys Game Notes 8-1-14

Good Evening Keys Fans!

Hope your Friday night has gotten started off on the right foot! Frederick begins a three-game series with Wilmington tonight at Frawley Stadium starting at 7:05 p.m.

The Keys send Branden Kline to the mound, while he will be countered by Blue Rocks lefty Brandon Finnegan, who was the Royals 1st round selection this season out of TCU. In 11 professional innings, he has still not allowed a run.

Doug Raftery has the call from the Riverfront starting at 6:50 p.m on 1450 AM The Source. Some game notes are attached below.

Shake your keys!

Geoff

Friday, August 1, 2014 · Game #107 · Road Game #58

Frederick Keys (49-57/17-22) vs Wilmington Blue Rocks (52-54/19-19)

RHP Branden Kline (6-5, 4.01) vs. LHP Brandon Finnegan (0-0, 0.00)

AGAINST THE ODDS:  In a game that featured multiple ties and lead changes, the Frederick Keys managed to pull ahead for good in the top of the ninth, scoring three times to defeat the Winston-Salem 9-7 on Thursday night at BB&T Ballpark. Down 7-6 entering their final at bats, the orange and black scored the final three runs of the game thanks to an RBI double by Trey Mancini, a throwing error by Dash pitcher Brandon Hardin and a second two-bagger by Jason Esposito. The loss ended a six-game losing streak, and helped Frederick earn a split of the season-series (10-10). Registering 11 hits on the game, the Keys received three-hit efforts came from Mancini, Esposito and Jerome Pena, while Dennis Torres earned the win in relief, despite being hit with his first blown save in the eighth. On Friday, the Keys try and snap a four-game losing streak to the Blue Rocks, who last swept the orange and black from June 22-24 at Harry Grove Stadium.

AVOIDING UNLUCKY NUMBER SEVEN: Thanks to a win on Thursday, the Keys snapped their second-longest losing streak of the season. Previously, the Keys dropped seven in-a-row from June 21-27 against Carolina, Wilmington and Winston-Salem. The team’s first win in eight days, the orange and black also avoided a three-game sweep and a return to a season-worst 10 games below .500 (a spot the team had not been in since July 4). A victory also ensured the Keys would not be swept in back-to-back series.

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. Ending the game 3-for-3, the former TCU Horned Frog tallied 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.

IT’S DUCKHUNTING SEASON AGAIN: After going five games with only one hit with a runner in scoring position, the Keys got back on track Thursday. Entering the contest 1 for their last 33 with men at second and third base (which included 34 left on base) the team finished 5-for-13 in that department in their final game against the Dash. A point of emphasis all season, the Keys are batting .249 as a team with runners in scoring position. Hitting with runners at second and third and two outs has been especially problematic. This year, the Keys are batting .218 in those spots.

A TALL TASK: Thursday was only the fourth time all season where the Keys had won a game when trailing after eight innings. This season, Frederick is 4-42 in those spots, while Carolina League teams that trail after eight often do not live to tell the tale. The most wins any CL club has when their opponent has the lead through eight is five (Carolina and Wilmington) while the Keys are tied with Lynchburg for the third-most wins when playing from behind entering the ninth. Winston-Salem (0-44) and Salem (0-42) have not taken a game all year when trailing after eight innings.

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 August 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), while Esposito’s strong month at the plate moved his average to .263, the highest it has been since May 24.

BUNDY BLURBS: Coming off his first post-Tommy John surgery win (and first since August 28, 2012) Dylan Bundy struggled with command on 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.

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. For Burgess, Monday’s call-up marks a return to Double-A, as the Tampa native spent 2012 with the Cubs Double-A affiliate in Tennessee and 2013 with the Astros Double-A team in Corpus Christi. 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 Brandon Finnegan makes his fifth start of the season on Friday and his fourth against the Keys. The 17th overall pick by Kansas City in this year’s draft, Finnegan last pitched on Saturday against Winston-Salem. Tossing a season-high four innings, the lefty gave up only two hits while he walked one and struck out five. In four professional outings, Finnegan has not given up only three hits over 11 innings. He has struck out 11 and walked only one while opponents are hitting a combined .088 against him. Signed for a reported $2.2 million, Finnegan anchored the TCU pitching staff which advanced to the College World Series this season. Pitching one game in Omaha against the University of Virginia, Finnegan tossed eight innings and allowed only one run to the Cavaliers in a game UVA would win in 15 innings (tying the longest game in the 66-year history of the College World Series). Although the Horned Frogs were eventually eliminated, the native of Fort Worth was excellent all year long, going 9-3 with a 2.04 ERA to go along with 134 strikeouts in 105.2 innings pitched. He was named First-Team All-Big 12 as well as a Third Team All-American. In his career, Finnegan went 13-16 with a 2.77 ERA in three seasons at the school. A pitcher who compares himself to Detroit lefty David Price, Finnegan throws a mid-high 90s fastball, a slider and a changeup.

Frederick Keys Game Notes 7-31-14

Good Evening Keys Fans!

Frederick tries to avoid tying its longest losing streak on the season 0n Thursday night, when the club plays its final game of the regular season against Winston-Salem.

Parker Bridwell takes the mound for the Keys and will be opposed by Dash righty Terance Marin.

First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. and Doug Raftery has all the play-by-play starting at 6:45 on 1450 AM The Source. Some game notes are below.

Talk soon and shake your keys!

Geoff

Thursday, July 31, 2014 · Game #106 · Road Game #57

Frederick Keys (48-57/16-22) vs Winston-Salem Dash (51-58/21-19)

RHP Parker Bridwell (5-7, 4.11) vs. RHP Terance Marin (3-2, 3.16)

SLIDE TO SIX: The Winston-Salem Dash scored multiple runs in four different innings, and got outstanding pitching from J.B. Wendelken to top the Frederick Keys 12-2 on Wednesday afternoon at BB&T Ballpark. It was Frederick’s sixth straight loss, and pushed the club to nine under .500 (48-57) for the season. Dominant through seven shutout innings, Wendelken allowed only two hits, and struck out 13, a Dash-era record, giving Winston-Salem the series win. Chih-Hsien Chiang was the lone bright spot for Frederick offensively, going 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs on a day where the orange and black were limited to three hits and struck out 19 times. Brady Wager was hit with the loss, going three innings and surrendering six runs on eight hits. It was his second-shortest outing of the year. For the Dash, five members of the starting lineup ended with multiple hits and four tallied two or more RBIs. The 10-run defeat is tied for the Keys second-worst loss of the year, and equals the club’s worst loss of the second-half.

STUCK IN A TAILSPIN: Wednesday’s loss was Frederick’s sixth in a row, the club’s second-longest slide of the second-half. Frederick has not won a game since last Wednesday, while a loss tonight would equal the team’s longest losing streak of the year. Previously, the Keys dropped seven in-a-row from June 21-27. A loss would also drop to the team to a season-worst 10 games below .500 (a spot the team has not been in since July 4) while it would give the Dash a series sweep.

AVOIDING THE BROOMS: The Keys were swept by Lynchburg in their last series, and are trying to avoiding being broomed for the seventh time this season. Frederick has been swept four times since the All-Star break, including once in succession (June 22-27). That occurred at Harry Grove Stadium, with Wilmington taking three straight (22-24) and Winston-Salem following with three wins of their own (25-27). Fortunately, Frederick has often avoided road sweeps. Five of the six broomings have occurred at the friendly confines, as the Keys have only been swept on the road by Lynchburg (May 27-29).   

THE WHIFF: In the middle game of the series against the Dash, the Keys struck out a season-high 19 times. The club’s previous high was 16, which occurred on April 25 against Lynchburg. Adrian Marin was the only member of the starting lineup who did not strike out, while Frederick had six players strike out three times or more. Jerome Pena had the worst day at the plate, finishing with the golden sombrero (the second time he has struck out four times in a game this year). Steel Russell, Lucas Herbst and Jason Esposito all struck out three times. Of the 19 strikeouts, 13 came against J.B. Wendelken, the most punch outs by an opposing pitcher against the Keys this year. This season, the team has struck out 802 times, and trails only Myrtle Bach (899) in total whiffs.

I SAW HIM STANDING THERE: Over their last five games, Frederick has only one hit with a runner in scoring position. During that time, the club has gone 1-for-33 with men at second and third base and left 34 on the basepaths (including 17 during this series). A point of emphasis all season, the Keys are batting .247 as a team with runners in scoring position. Hitting with runners at second and third and two outs has been especially problematic. This year, the Keys are batting .215 in those spots.

BUNDY BLURBS: Coming off his first post-Tommy John surgery win (and first since August 28, 2012) Dylan Bundy struggled with command on 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.

LOST IN THE SHUFFLE: Chih-Hsien Chiang and Lex Rutledge were two bright spots in the Keys loss to the Dash on Wednesday. Going 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs, Chang accounted for two of Frederick’s three hits. It was also a nice boost for the Taiwan native, who entered the day batting only .154 through his first seven games. On the mound, Rutledge tossed two shutout innings of relief to cut his ERA to 3.38, the lowest it has been since April 18. Excellent in the month of July, the southpaw is 1-1 with a 0.69 ERA (13IP/1 ER) over seven games.

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. For Burgess, Monday’s call-up marks a return to Double-A, as the Tampa native spent 2012 with the Cubs Double-A affiliate in Tennessee and 2013 with the Astros Double-A team in Corpus Christi. 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 Terance Marin makes his 11th appearance of the season as well as his ninth start as a member of the Dash. In his last start on Saturday night, the righty allowed only one run on two hits over seven innings and struck out six in a no-decision. In eight starts as a member of the starting rotation, Marin is 3-2 with a 2.50 ERA, while he has worked seven or more innings five times.  Opening the season with Winston-Salem, Marin endured a disastrous start, where he surrendered 10 runs (four earned) over his first inning-plus on 10 hits. On April 11, he was released by the White Sox organization. Moving on to the Evansville Otters of the Independent Frontier League, Marin got things back on track, going 4-1 with a 2.05 ERA over six starts, to go along with 39 strikeouts in 39.1 innings pitched (the 39 strikeouts was one off the league lead at the time his contract was purchased). Dominant as a member of the Otters, Marin carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning in three of his six outings. A member of the Dash the previous two seasons, the righty went 5-5 with a 4.76 ERA over 33 games (seven starts) last year. He placed sixth on the Dash with 92.2 innings worked. A pitcher was much better in the second-half, Marin went 1-0 with a 3.12 ERA in his final 18 games (one start) after going 4-5 with a 6.20 ERA in his first 15 contests. August was particularly good, as he allowed only two earned runs in 18.1 stanzas (0.98). He went 5-6 with a 2.42 ERA in 33 games with Winston-Salem in 2012. Signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2010, Marin played two seasons at Modesto Junior College (18 games/17 starts).

Frederick Keys Game Notes 7-30-14

Good Morning Keys Fans!!

The Keys try and snap a five-game slide on Wednesday afternoon against the Winston-Salem Dash. Brady Wager tries for three straight wins for the first time in his career, and will be countered by Dash righty J.B. Wendelken.

In 11 inning s against the Keys this season, the former Middle Georgia product has struck out 17, but he has posted an ERA  of 6.55 against the Keys and has dropped both of his starts. Meanwhile, Wendelken has an 8.79 ERA in the second-half.

This is the penultimate meeting between the Keys and the Dash this season, unless of course the two sides square off in the Mills Cup Championship series.

After a good night’s sleep, Doug Raftery will have the play-by-play story, starting at 11:45. As always, you can listen to the broadcast on 1450 AM The Source.

Some games notes are posted below.

Talk soon and shake your keys!

Geoff

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 · Game #105 · Road Game #56

Frederick Keys (48-56/16-21) vs Winston-Salem Dash (50-58/20-19)

RHP Brady Wager (5-7, 5.58) vs. RHP J.B. Wendelken (5-8, 5.10)

SLIDE TO FIVE: Four Winston-Salem Dash pitchers stifled the Frederick bats, as the Keys were shutout by a 4-0 score on Tuesday night at BB&T Ballpark. Making his fifth start with the orange and black, Dylan Bundy was tagged with his second loss in three starts, while the righty battled command problems all night, walking five over 4.1 stanzas. After the Dash left runners at the corners in the first and Jacob May was thrown out at the plate trying for an inside the park home run in the third, Winston-Salem plated a pair in the fifth. Grant Buckner doubled to start the inning and May walked to put a pair on with nobody out. Cleuluis Rondon then sacrificed both men into scoring position, before a second free pass to Courtney Hawkins ended Bundy’s night. Jimmy Yacabonis would take his place, and proceeded to throw a wild pitch allowing Buckner to score. Later in the frame, Keon Barnum added a sac-fly to put the Dash up 2-0. In the eighth, Winston-Salem added two insurance runs off Gene Escat, on an RBI single by Nick Basto and a double by Buckner. Tyler Danish picked up the win for the Dash tossing five shutout innings of four-hit baseball. The trio of Brad Goldberg, Sean Hagan and Raul Fernandez allowed only four hits over the final four stanzas, while the Keys did not record a hit with runners in scoring position all game (0-for-8).    

SHUTOUT BLUES: Tuesday’s loss was the Keys eighth shutout defeat of the season, and marks the second straight series that Frederick has been blanked once by the Dash. On July 20, Winston-Salem earned a 5-0 win at Harry Grove Stadium, thanks to a near-no hitter by Tony Bucciferro (he lost it with one out in the bottom of the ninth). Although the eight shutout losses is tied for the second-most in the CL (Carolina has also been blanked eight times), Frederick still has the third-best shutout record in the league. That can be attributed to seven shutout wins, as only Wilmington (12-3) and Salem (10-5) have more.

ONE TOE OVER THE EDGE: Monday’s loss was the Keys fifth straight, the club’s second-longest slide of the second-half. Frederick has not won a game since last Wednesday, when the Keys pulled a 10-2 romp over Myrtle Beach. Frederick’s longest losing streak this season is seven games, stretching from June 21-27, while the club has lost three or more games on six occasions this year.

I SAW HIM STANDING THERE: Over their last four games Frederick has failed to record a hit with runners in scoring position. During that time, the club has gone 0-for-27 with men at second and third base and left 28 on the basepaths (including 11 on Tuesday). Frederick has not gotten a hit with a runner in scoring position since last Thursday at Myrtle Beach (when the team finished 3-for-7). A point of emphasis all season, hitting with runners in scoring position and two outs has been especially problematic. This year, the Keys are batting .214 in those spots.

BUNDY BLURBS: Coming off his first post-Tommy John surgery win (and first since August 28, 2012) Dylan Bundy struggled with command on 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.

ROAD SWEET HOME: After claiming its fifth straight road series in Myrtle Beach on Thursday, the Keys struggles at home continued over the weekend. With three more loses at the friendly confines, the orange and black are now 3-14 in second-half road games, and 19-30 in home tilts for the season. That mark is by far the worst in the Carolina League, while Frederick remains the only team in the loop that does not have at least 20 home wins. Despite the poor results at the Grove, the Keys road record is tied for the third-best in the Carolina League (29-26) along with Lynchburg (27-24)-only Myrtle Beach (36-19) and Potomac (27-23) have fared better. Additionally, Frederick has won five straight road series, while the club has not dropped a road-set since June 19-21 at Carolina (first series of the second-half).

BROOMED: After being swept only twice during the first half, Frederick has been swept four times since the All-Star break. On all four occasions, the Keys have been swept at home, with a different opponent pulling the brooming each time: Wilmington (three games), Winston-Salem (three games), Potomac (three games) and Lynchburg (three games). Those results also highlight the club’s problems with intra-division competition. Against the north, the Keys are just 14-26 as opposed to going 34-29 against southern clubs. In 2014, the Keys are 9-8 against Winston-Salem.

MOVING ON UP!!: Following 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. For Burgess, Monday’s call-up marks a return to Double-A, as the Tampa native spent 2012 with the Cubs Double-A affiliate in Tennessee and 2013 with the Astros Double-A team in Corpus Christi. 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) have joined the club since 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 J.B. Wendelken makes his 21st start of the season on Wednesday and his third against Frederick in 2014. In his most recent start last Thursday, the righty picked up a no-decision against Potomac, allowing four runs (two earned) on five hits over four innings. He walked one and struck out five. Against the Keys, Wendelken is 0-2 with a 6.55 ERA. Pitching at the Grove on July 19, he allowed four runs on eight hits over five innings. His first start against the orange and black went better, as he allowed four runs over six innings and struck out a career-high 10. The second-half has not been kind to the righty, who has registered an 8.79 ERA (28.2 IP/28ER). In contrast, he was 5-6 with a 3.76 ERA over 14 first-half starts. Just 21 years old, Wendelken made his Dash debut in 2013. Working exclusively out of the bullpen, he went 0-1 with a 4.82 ERA in six games. He also pitched three games for Low-A Kannapolis, going 0-1 with two saves and a 9.64 ERA. Originally selected by Boston in the 13th round of the 2012 Draft out of Middle Georgia College, Wendelken was named the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association Player of the Year as a member of the Knights. That season, he went 6-0 with a 0.20 ERA over 21 appearances (0.20). Keys pitcher, Matt Taylor, also pitched for Middle Georgia, but was a member of the team the year before Wendelken arrived. The righty was dealt to the White Sox last July 30 as part of the trade that sent Jake Peavy to Boston. In addition to Wendelken, the White Sox received Avisail Garcia, Francellis Montas and Cleuluis Rondon. In 40 games as a member of the Red Sox system, Wendelken went 4-0 with a 2.40 ERA. He throws a 90-93 mph fastball, a curveball (high 70s) and a changeup.

Frederick Keys Game Notes 7-29-14

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

After a tough homestand, the Keys try and bounce back against the Winston-Salem Dash tonight in the Triad. This season, the orange and black are 9-8 against their Tar Heel State foe, and 5-2 at BB&T Ballpark.

Dylan Bundy makes his fifth rehab start with the Keys and will be opposed by Tyler Danish.

Doug Raftery has the call starting at 6:45 on 1450 AM The Source.

Some notes are below. Shake your keys!!

Geoff

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 · Game #104 · Road Game #55

Frederick Keys (48-55/16-20) vs Winston-Salem Dash (49-58/19-19)

RHP Dylan Bundy (1-1, 6.11) vs. RHP Tyler Danish (3-2, 3.40)

ONE BAD INNING: For the third straight game, the Frederick Keys were victimized by one bad inning. With the game tied 2-2 after seven frames, the Lynchburg Hillcats plated five in the eighth, en route to an 8-3 win on Sunday night at Harry Grove Stadium. The victory allowed the visitors to complete the three-game sweep, while the Keys endured their fourth straight loss. Armed with a chance to open up a big lead in the seventh, Frederick scored only once, while the team kept the bases loaded. Capitalizing off the Keys missed opportunity, Lynchburg sent all nine men to bat against Matt Hobgood. With one out, Joe Odom walked and moved to second on a single by David Nick. Levi Hyams then smoked a hard ground ball to second base, which was misplayed by Joel Hutter, and allowed Odom to score. Following a fielder’s choice, Justin Bloxom singled home Nick, while a walk to Will Skinner loaded the bases. Facing the Carolina League’s active leader in doubles, Hobgood surrendered a two-bagger to Kevin Ahrens which cleared the bases. Jason Esposito homered a half-inning later, but Nick stroked a longball in the ninth to complete the Hillcats scoring. Frederick ended the day 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position.

THE BAT AROUND BLUES: Over the last three games, Frederick has seen their opponent bat around four times. On Sunday, Lynchburg sent nine men to bat as part of a five-run inning. Saturday was a similar story, as Lynchburg sent 10 to the plate against Sebastian Vader in a decisive second, where the visitors scored four times and were beneficiaries of four walks. However, Friday was the real gut punch. In the first inning of the series opener, the Hillcats scored six times, sent 12 men to bat and used three errors to set the tone for the homestand. Claiming the first game 11-1, Lynchburg also batted around in seventh, scoring four times off Jon Keller. Over the last three games, Keys opponents have scored 25 runs, the second-most runs allowed by the orange and black over that span since the All-Star break.

ROAD SWEET HOME: After claiming its fifth straight road series in Myrtle Beach on Thursday, the Keys struggles at home continued over the weekend. With three more loses at the friendly confines, the orange and black are now 3-14 in second-half road games, and 19-30 in home tilts for the season. That mark is by far the worst in the Carolina League, while Frederick remains the only team in the loop that does not have at least 20 home wins. Despite the poor results at the Grove, the Keys road record is tied for the second-best in the Carolina League (29-25) along with Potomac (27-23)-only Myrtle Beach has fared better at 35-19. Additionally, Frederick has won five straight road series, while the club has not dropped a road-set since June 19-21 at Carolina (first series of the second-half).

BROOMED: After being swept only twice during the first half, Frederick has been swept four times since the All-Star break. On all four occasions, the Keys have been swept at home, with a different opponent pulling the brooming each time: Wilmington (three games), Winston-Salem (three games), Potomac (three games) and Lynchburg (three games). Those results also highlight the club’s problems with intra-division competition. Against the north, the Keys are just 14-26 as opposed to going 34-29 against southern clubs. In 2014, the Keys are 9-8 against Winston-Salem.

A “MARK”ED MAN: Despite receiving a no-decision, Mark Blackmar put together another strong outing. Tying his career-high for innings pitched, the Texan worked seven innings of two-run, three-hit baseball. He walked three and struck out two. The only other time Blackmar had worked seven innings came on July 3, 2012 when he was pitching for the Aberdeen Ironbirds. Currently eighth in the circuit in ERA, the righty is 2-0 in July with a 2.55 ERA.

BUNDY EARNS FIRST WIN: After six post-Tommy John surgery starts, Dylan Bundy finally picked up a win in his seventh outing. Working a season-high six frames, the Oklahoma native walked two and struck out one and was highly efficient. With the exception of a 23-pitch fifth, the righty did not throw any more than 12 pitches in an individual inning. Thanks to the strong effort, Bundy earned his first win since August 28, 2012 when he was pitching for Double-A Bowie against Erie. Additionally, it was his longest start since August 20, 2012 when he was with the Baysox. In four starts with the Keys, the 21-year-old is 1-1 with a 6.11 ERA. 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.

MOVING ON UP!!: Following 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. For Burgess, Monday’s call-up marks a return to Double-A, as the Tampa native spent 2012 with the Cubs Double-A affiliate in Tennessee and 2013 with the Astros Double-A team in Corpus Christi. 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) have joined the club since 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 Tyler Danish makes his 12th with the Dash on Tuesday and his 19th of the season. In his most recent start last Wednesday, the righty earned the win, tossing six innings of one-run baseball against Potomac. Nearly unhittable in July, Danish is 2-1 with a 1.30 ERA over five starts this month (27.2 IP/4ER) and has turned in quality starts in three of his last four starts. Promoted from Low-A Kannapolis in Mid-May, Danish went 3-0 with a 0.71 ERA in seven starts.  Over 38 innings, he allowed only 28 hits, walked 10 and struck out three. At the time of his promotion Danish trailed only Chase Anderson of Double-A Mobile (0.69) and Caleb Smith of Low-A Charleston (0.70) for the minor league ERA lead. Selected by the White Sox in the second round of the 2013 draft out of Durant High School (FL), the 19-year-old split 2013 between Rookie-Bristol and Kannapolis. Used primarily out of the bullpen (15G/1GS), Danish was a combined 1-0 with a 1.20 ERA, allowing only four earned runs over 30 innings. Danish was taken by the White Sox after an outstanding senior year of high school. Pitching in Florida’s highest classification, the righty pitched 94 innings without allowing an earned run. He signed as the 55th pick for just over $1 million. An individual who has overcome adversity in his life, Danish lost his father, Mike, just after Christmas in 2010. At the time, he was serving part of an eight-and-a-half year prison sentence for fraud. Compared by some to former White Sox starter Jake Peavy due to his size and low-release point, the right-hander throws from a low-three quarters arm slot and gets heavy sink on his fastball (resulting in a 3.58 groundout to airout ratio). In addition to his sinker, Danish throws a standard four-seam fastball, a slider with late break as well as a changeup.

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