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.

Frederick Keys Game Notes 7-27-14

Sunday, July 27, 2014 · Game #103 · Home Game #49

Frederick Keys (48-54/16-19) vs Lynchburg Hillcats (52-54/18-18)

RHP Mark Blackmar (6-1, 3.63) vs. RHP Cody Scarpetta (3-4, 3.29)

TOUGH TWOS: The Frederick Keys could not diagnose Lucas Sims who turned in his fourth straight quality start, while the Lynchburg Hillcats batted around in the second, as the visitors defeated the orange and black 6-3 on Saturday night at Harry Grove Stadium. With the loss, the Keys dropped the season-series to the Hillcats, while the defeat also pushed Frederick to 10 games below .500 at home on the year (19-29). After striking out a pair in the first, Sebastian Vader struggled mightily with command in the second. Kevin Ahrens opened the inning up with a walk and scored on a double by Tyler Tewell. Following a single by Emerson Landoni, Levi Hyams lifted a sac-fly to center to make it 2-0. A fielder’s choice by David Nick stretched that lead to a field goal, before Vader walked three straight to force home the fourth run of the inning. That would be enough for Sims, who tossed seven innings of three-run baseball. Wynston Sawyer paced the Keys going 2-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI, while Chih-Hsien Chang hit his second homer since joining the Keys on Tuesday.

NORTHERN EXPOSURE: Saturday’s loss was the Keys 11th to the Hillcats this season, and Frederick’s fifth in six games to Lynchburg at Harry Grove Stadium. This season, the Keys have fared the worst against the Hillcats, dropping 11 of the 16 meetings. Although many of the encounters have been close, the Hillcats have won all five of the one-run games the two sides have played this year, while Lynchburg has three walk-off wins against the Keys. In general, Frederick has not fared well against northern teams, going a combined 14-25. The Keys do not have a winning record against any of its intra-division rivals.

WHO NEEDS HOME GAMES?: After claiming its fifth straight road series in Myrtle Beach on Thursday, the Keys struggles at home have cropped up over the last two days. Despite being tied for the second-best road record in the Carolina League (29-25), the Keys home record is by far the worst in the Carolina League. At 19-29, Frederick is the only team in the CL which does not have 20 or more wins at home. Those problems have been even more apparent in the second-half, where the team is 3-13 in home tilts (compared the team’s 13-6 record in road games).

JASON, JASON, HE’S OUR MAN!: Jason Esposito saw his five-game hitting streak end on Saturday night after going 0-for-4. He also saw a string of three straight games with multiple hits come to an end. Over the five-game jaunt, Esposito hit .450 (9-for-20) with three home runs, a double, five RBIs, and five runs scored. On Wednesday, the former Vanderbilt product knocked two home runs in a game for the first time in his career, while he tied his career-high with four RBIs. Following a rough June where Esposito hit only .205, the 24-year-old is hitting .345 in July with three homers, seven doubles, and 14 RBIs. Thanks to the recent surge, Esposito’s average has climbed to .257.

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.

NO RELATION TO TOM: Wynston Sawyer saw his 27-game on-base streak end last Sunday night after going 0-for-3. The longest active swing entering Sunday, the Californian failed to reach base for the first time since May 20, when he finished 0-for-3 against Myrtle Beach. Sawyer’s streak wraps up as the second-longest on-base streak in the league this year. Only Salem’s Carson Blair (28) reached in more games. Over the 27 contests, Sawyer hit .259 with one homer, six RBIs, four doubles and 15 walks.

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 Cody Scarpetta makes his ninth start of the season on Sunday and his first against the Keys. Tagged with the loss on Tuesday against Salem, the righty tossed five innings and allowed four runs on six hits. He walked one, struck out four and allowed a home run ball. The six hits tied a season-high. Joining the team in early June, Scarpetta is 3-3 with a 3.00 ERA in seven second-half starts (36.0 IP/12ER). Walks have occasionally been a problem for Scarpetta in July, as he has walked 13 over 22 innings. Signed by the Braves as a free agent on June 9, Scarpetta’s best outing came on June 27, when the Illinois native combined with Benito Pruneda to pitch back-to-back no-hitters. The night prior, Lucas Sims and Alex Wilson combined on a no-hitter against the Wilmington Blue Rocks. Scarpetta’s performance helped earn him Carolina League “Pitcher of the Week” honors. Prior to joining the Braves, Scarpetta was playing for the Lancaster Barnstormers in the independent Atlantic League, where he went 0-2 with a 5.13 ERA. Originally selected by the Brewers in the 11th round of the 2007 draft, Scarpetta spent all of 2013 with Milwaukee’s Advanced-A affiliate, Brevard County. Pitching 12 games (11 starts) he went 0-5 with a 7.15 ERA. He made his debut on June 2, after missing all of 2012 due to “Tommy John” surgery. Not the only member of his family to play professional baseball, Scarpetta’s dad, Dan, pitched in the Brewers organization for seven years, making it as high as Triple-A.

Frederick Keys Game Notes 7-26-14

Good afternoon Keys fans!

The Keys take on the Lynchburg Hillcats tonight in the second game of their three game series. Lynchburg tallied six runs in the first inning of their 11-1 win last night. Frederick third baseman Jason Esposito went 2-4 with an RBI.

RHP Sebastian Vader makes his fourth appearance for the Keys tonight when he takes on RHP Lucas Sims, who gets the start for the Hillcats. Vader is 1-2 in his three appearances for Frederick, earning his sole win July 6 against Lynchburg. Vader pitched six innings allowing three earned runs on his way to the victory.

Below are the game notes for tonight’s matchup:

Saturday, July 26, 2014 · Game #102 · Home Game #48

Frederick Keys (48-53/16-18) vs Lynchburg Hillcats (51-54/17-18)

RHP Sebastian Vader (1-2, 7.20) vs. RHP Lucas Sims (6-9, 4.60)

MAMA SAID THERE WOULD BE DAYS LIKE THIS: The Frederick Keys committed four errors, while a six-run Lynchburg first set the tone for an 11-1 Hillcats romp on Friday night at Harry Grove Stadium. In the initial frame, Lynchburg sent 12 men to bat, while three Keys errors resulted in three unearned runs. Branden Kline lasted only 0.2 of an inning, and threw 42 pitches before being relieved by Miguel Chalas. It was the shortest outing of Kline’s career. In contrast, Kline’s counterpart Blair Walters was sharp, holding the Keys to only one run on three hits over seven innings. His only mistake was a fourth inning home run by Jason Esposito. Following a rough first, the Hillcats batted around for a second time in the seventh, scoring four times off Jon Keller to send the visitors over the 10-run mark.

LITTLE HELP!: On Friday, the Keys committed a season-high four errors. Previously, the Keys high for defensive miscues was three, while the series opener marked the fifth time this season that the Keys had committed four or more errors in a game. Entering Friday having made the fewest errors in the Carolina League (78), Frederick tied its previous season-high for errors in the first inning, as Adrian Marin, Chih-Hsien Chiang and Trey Mancini all made misplays. Despite the rough defensive showing, the orange and black still have the top overall fielding percentage in the circuit (.979).

 MERCY RULE: Defensive woes were a major reason the Keys suffered their third loss of the year by 10 runs or more. Friday’s defeat was tied for the club’s second-worst loss of the year, while it equaled the team’s worse drubbing of the second-half. On June 21, Frederick fell to Carolina 12-2 in Zebulon. Myrtle Beach dealt the orange and black their most lopsided defeat of the year on April 23, a 21-6 Pelicans triumph. In that contest, Keys pitching surrendered 21 runs on 23 hits. It was the team’s toughest loss since June 11, 2006.

WHO NEEDS HOME GAMES?: After claiming its fifth straight road series in Myrtle Beach on Thursday, Friday provided a difficult reminder of the team’s struggles at home. Despite being tied for the second-best road record in the Carolina League (29-25), the Keys home record is by far the worst in the Carolina League. At 19-28, Frederick is the only team in the CL which does not have 20 or more wins at home. Those problems have been even more apparent in the second-half, where the team is 3-12 in home tilts (compared the team’s 13-6 record in road games).

JASON, JASON, HE’S OUR MAN!: Jason Esposito had a night to remember on Wednesday, but he has also played well in his last two nights. The only member of the Keys to finish with multiple knocks on Friday, the third baseman has multiple hits in each of his last three games as well as two or more hits in four of his last five contests. Owner of a five-game hitting streak, Esposito is batting .450 (9-for-20) during that time with three home runs, a double, five RBIs, and five runs scored. On Wednesday, the former Vanderbilt product knocked two home runs in a game for the first time in his career, while he tied his career-high with four RBIs. Following a rough June where Esposito hit only .205, the 24-year-old is hitting .363 in July with three homers, seven doubles, and 14 RBIs. Thanks to the recent surge, Esposito’s average has climbed to .260, the highest it has been since May 26.

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.

 NO RELATION TO TOM: Wynston Sawyer saw his 27-game on-base streak end on Sunday night after going 0-for-3. The longest active swing entering Sunday, the Californian failed to reach base for the first time since May 20, when he finished 0-for-3 against Myrtle Beach. Sawyer’s streak wraps up as the second-longest on-base streak in the league this year. Only Salem’s Carson Blair (28) reached in more games. Over the 27 contests, Sawyer hit .259 with one homer, six RBIs, four doubles and 15 walks.

 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 Lucas Sims makes his 21st start of the season on Saturday and his fifth against the Keys. The No.1 overall prospect in the Atlanta Farm system according to Baseball America, the righty’s most recent outing came on Monday night at Wilmington. Tagged with a tough luck loss, Sims tossed seven innings and allowed one unearned run. He walked two and struck out a season-high nine. On June 26, Sims collaborated with Alex Wilson on a no-hitter of the Wilmington Blue Rocks. One night later, Cody Scarpetta and Benito Pruneda did the same. It was believed to be the first time in Carolina League history that a club had thrown back-to-back no-hitters. Sims was at his best in the month of May, going 4-0 with a 3.82 ERA, but struggled mightily in June posting a 6.04 ERA and a 1-2 record over five games. Against the Keys this year, he is 0-2 with a 5.56 ERA. A big problem for Sims has been the longball, as he has allowed 10 on the year, the fourth-most surrendered by a Carolina League pitcher. He also leads the league in hit batters (11). Still, Sims has provided valuable innings to the Hillcats, rating third in the CL in innings pitched (115.1). Sims comes off a stellar 2013 campaign at Low-A Rome, where he went 12-4 with a 2.62 ERA over 28 games (18 starts). He finished second in the South Atlantic League in wins and ERA, fourth in strikeouts (134) and held opponents to a league-low .203 batting average. For his efforts, the righty was named the Braves Minor League Pitcher of the Year. Only 20 years old (his birthday was on May 10), Sims was on a strict innings limit last year, and pitched out of the bullpen until late May. Selected by Atlanta in the first round (21st overall) of the 2012 draft, the righty signed with the Braves for a reported 1.65 million dollars rather than attend Clemson University. A Braves fan growing up, the Lawrenceville, GA native idolized John Smoltz growing up. Sims features a 93-95 mph fastball, a mid-70s curveball, and a changeup.

Frederick Keys Game Notes 7-25-14

Good Evening Keys Fans!!

It’s Christmas in July and what better way to celebrate with some baseball! The Keys begin a three-game homestand tonight, and Branden Kline will be on the mound.

Doug and I have the call on 1450 AM The Source starting at 6:45.

Some game notes are below.

(Almost) Merry Christmas and shake your keys!

Geoff

Friday, July 25, 2014 · Game #101 · Home Game #47

Frederick Keys (48-52/16-17) vs Lynchburg Hillcats (50-54/16-18)

RHP Branden Kline (6-4, 3.79) vs. LHP Blair Walters (1-0, 3.00)

CLOSE CALLS: An Edwin Garcia double in the seventh inning proved to be the decisive blow, as the Myrtle Beach Pelicans scored the final three runs on Thursday night to defeat the Frederick Keys 5-4 at TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Park. Although the Keys were denied the three-game sweep of the Birds, Frederick was still able to claim a series win as well as a victory in the season-set (by virtue of winning on Wednesday night). In the seventh, the Pelicans benefited from a pair of two-out walks by Jimmy Yacabonis, which set up a chance for Garcia, who slugged a double off the top of the leftfield wall. The Keys were then held scoreless by Pelicans righty Abel De Los Santos over the final two innings.

KNOCKING THE PELICAN OFF ITS PERCH: The Frederick Keys concluded their season-series with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans on Thursday night, and wrapped things up on a high note. Frederick claimed five of the last six meetings, while the Keys claimed the season-series, taking 11 of the 20 encounters for the year. After three straight series against southern competition, the Keys step back into northern play against Lynchburg. The Hillcats hold the upper-hand in the season-series (5-9), but Frederick took the last three-game set down in the Hill City, which included a 17-3 romp on July 5.

WHO NEEDS HOME GAMES?: Frederick’s four-game road winning streak came to an end on Thursday. Still, the club has won each of its last five road series and is tied for the second-best road mark in the CL (29-25). Sharing second with the Keys is Potomac (27-23) while Myrtle Beach holds the best record at 33-17. In contrast, the Keys home 19-27 home record is by far the worst in the circuit, as the Keys are the only CL club which does not have 20 or more wins at home.

JASON, JASON, HE’S OUR MAN!: Jason Esposito had a night to remember on Wednesday, but he also played well on Thursday, going 2-for-4. It was his third mutli-hit contest in his last four nights. On Wednesday, the former Vanderbilt product knocked two home runs in a game for the first time in his career, while he tied his career-high with four RBIs. This season, two members of the Keys have hit two home runs in a game. Former Key, Michael Burgess, was the other one to do it, when he hit a pair of deep flies on July 5 at Lynchburg. Following a rough June where Esposito hit only .205, the 24-year-old is hitting .347 in July with two homers, seven doubles, and 13 RBIs. Thanks to the recent surge, Esposito’s average has climbed to .257, the highest it has been since May 26.

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.

NO RELATION TO TOM: Wynston Sawyer saw his 27-game on-base streak end on Sunday night after going 0-for-3. The longest active swing entering Sunday, the Californian failed to reach base for the first time since May 20, when he finished 0-for-3 against Myrtle Beach. Sawyer’s streak wraps up as the second-longest on-base streak in the league this year. Only Salem’s Carson Blair (28) reached in more games. Over the 27 contests, Sawyer hit .259 with one homer, six RBIs, four doubles and 15 walks.

KELLER MAKES DEBUT: On Monday, Jon Keller made his Advanced-A debut. Tossing 2.1 innings, the hard-throwing righty allowed one run on three hits while he struck out five and walked three. Both the five strike outs and the three walks went down as season-highs. Promoted to Frederick from Low-A Delmarva last Thursday, he takes the roster spot of Matt Price, who was placed on the disabled list on Wednesday. In 24 relief appearances, Keller went 3-0 with a 1.59 ERA and tallied five saves in eight opportunities. Over 56.2 stanzas, he gave up just 39 hits, walked 14 and struck out 66. Rated the No. 17 prospect in the Orioles system according to Baseball America, the 21-year-old limited opponents to a .192 average, the fourth-lowest mark by a South Atlantic League reliever. Drafted by Baltimore in the 22nd round of the 2013 MLB Draft out of the University of Tampa, Keller helped lead the Spartans to the 2013 Division II College World Series.

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: Left-hander Blair Walters makes his second start for the Braves organization after being signed on July 15 from independent baseball. The 24-year-old went six innings to pick up the win on Sunday at Wilmington, as he gave up two runs on six hits, struck out four and walked one. He has made one start against the Keys in his career, when he was with the White Sox organization in 2012. In Winston-Salem, he allowed four runs in six innings and was handed the loss. Walters was selected by the White Sox in the 11th round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Hawaii, where he went 9-3 with a 5.49 ERA in 50 relief appearances over two seasons. In 2011, his first year of professional baseball, he led the Pioneer League in wins (9-0), ranked fourth in ERA (4.03) and fifth in opponents’ batting average (.257) amd was named Pioneer League Pitcher of the Year. In July of 2012, he was acquired by the Houston Astros from the Chicago White Sox along with RHP Matt Heidenreich and RHP Chris Devenski in exchange for RHP Brett Myers. In March of this year, he was released by the Astros after a combined 7.18 ERA with High-A Lancaster and Triple-A Oklahoma City (one game). He pitched with the Joliet Slammers of the Independent Frontier League this season until the Braves signed him, and had earned an All-Star nod by pitching to a 2.74 ERA in 75 2/3 innings. He allowed just 59 hits and struck out 54. Walters throws a 89-92 mph fastball with good sinking action, a breaking ball with slider/cutter action, and a changeup.

The Keys are Back in Town and……..It’s Christmas Time! (Well Sort of….)

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

After a long overnight bus trip, the Keys are back home to take on the Lynchburg Hillcats! It will be a quick three-game series, with the team receiving an off-day on Monday. The Keys are coming off another successful trip to the Grand Strand, where the club took two out of three against the top overall club in the Carolina League this season. Thanks to wins on Tuesday and Wednesday, Frederick was able to claim the season-series (with the Keys taking 11 of the 20 matchups). This season, the Keys are the only team that has a winning record against Myrtle Beach, while the Keys ended the season-set by winning five of the final six matchups.

Jason Esposito was the star of Wednesday night’s game, as he hit two home runs for the first time in his career and tied his career-high with four RBIs. He also became the second member of the Keys to hit a pair of dingers in  a game this year. Michael Burgess also accomplished the feat on July 5 at Lynchburg, when the Keys earned a 17-3 win against the Hillcats.

For those that missed it, here is a recap of Esposito’s performance. Following a tough June where the former Commodore hit .205, the 24-year-old is batting .355 in 20 games this month. During that time, he has hit two homers and driven in 13 RBIs. In general, the second-half has been much kinder to Esposito than the first-half. In less than half the games, he has more RBIs (17 vs 14 in first-half) while he is hitting more than 100 points higher than he did before the All-Star break.

While Esposito’s performance was fun to watch, so was Dylan Bundy’s on Tuesday. His fourth Carolina League start was his best yet, as the Oklahoma native picked up his first win since having Tommy John surgery last June. Over six shutout innings he allowed only three hits. He attributed much of the success to a good fastball-changeup combo.

Some other news and notes from this week:

-After strong seasons with the Keys, Glynn Davis and Michael Burgess were both promoted to Double-A Bowie. A Carolina League All-Star, Davis makes his first foray into the Eastern League while Burgess returns to Double-A after spending 2012-13 in the Southern (Tennessee) and Texas (Corpus Christi) Texas Leagues. The Carolina League Player of the Month for June,  Burgess led the league in RBIs, doubles, slugging percentage (.579), extra-base hits (51), total bases (186) and intentional walks (four). The full release can be found here.

- Chi-Hsien Chiang and Johnny Ruettiger take the roster spots of Davis and Burgess. Ruettiger returns to Frederick for a third straight season after beginning the year at Bowie. Chiang makes his first tour through Frederick, after also beginning the year with the Baysox. Signed as a free agent during the offseason, Chiang played with the Rangers Double-A affiliate in Frisco last year. He is batting .300 in his first three games with the Keys.

- Brady Wager earned back-to-back wins for just the second time in his career thanks to six innings of two-run (one earned run) baseball on Wednesday. It was also the Arizona native’s third victory in four starts.

- Not once during the roadtrip, but TWICE, the Keys held the Pelicans to just three hits in a game. The three hits rank as the second-fewest allowed by Frederick pitching in a game all year

-Frederick’s newest member of the bullpen, Jon Keller, made his Keys debut on Monday against Winston-Salem. In 2.1 innings, he gave up one run on three hits. He walked three, but struck out five and featured a lively fastball.

Before we move to the upcoming promotions for this homestand, one final note from the road: following batting practice, Keys strength and conditioning coach Chris Cecere and your humble radio announcer engaged each other in a “pitch-off.”

My prediction was that I would hit 74 mph, which I did successfully, however things did not turn out as planned:

77mph from Chris to claim the belt of “Keys pitch-off champion.” A devastating blow, but I’ll get over it….eventually. We’ll be posting Thursday’s pregame interview conducted by Keys hitting coach Torre Tyson with myself and Chris a little bit later to the team’s soundcloud page. Who knows, it may even find its way onto this week’s edition of Keys Corner  (which can be heard on Saturday afternoon from 1-1:30 on 1450 AM The Source).

Alright without further or do…it’s time to take a look at this weekend’s promotions!

Well it may be warm weather, but given that Friday is June 25, we’re going to kick off the homestand with Christmas in July!

There will be a ton of holiday themed events throughout the night, while who knows, maybe Jolly Old Saint Nick will make an early trip down from the North Pole. I mean the sleigh probably needs a test run doesn’t it? We’ll also be getting into the holiday cheer a couple months early by doing a Toys for Tots drive, Everyone who donates one toy will receive a general admission ticket. Some more details can be found here

Saturday is jam-packed full of fun as it is Salute to the Orioles Night. The first 1,000 fans through the gates will receive a Nick Markakis bobblehead sponsored by Flying Dog Brewery. Then before the game the Key City Roller Derby will be in town for a pre-game bout. It will take place in the parking lot and will be carnival themed, so there will be plenty to do before the game! For those that haven’t seen the Key City Roller Derby, here is a little bit more about them:

Finally, we’ll close things out with a 4 p.m. Sunday Funday! There will be a pregame catch in the outfield, fans can get autographs before the game, while it is Superhero Night!

Who knows, maybe even this guy will be back since Dylan Bundy is with the Keys again:

Bundy Man

 

If you haven’t guessed, this guy is “Bundy Man.” So come on dressed up as your favorite superhero as the Keys wrap up a quick homestand against the Hillcats.

And there you have it folks! Plenty of great reasons to come out to the Grove this weekend.

See everybody at the ballpark and shake your keys!

Geoff

Frederick Keys Game Notes 7-24-14

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

The Keys go for a three-game road sweep of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans on Thursday night at TicketReturn.com Field. Parker Bridwell takes the mound for the Keys and will be opposed by Birds southpaw Luis Parra.

First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. and the broadcast can be heard on 1450 AM The Source. Some game notes are below.

Talk soon and shake your keys!

Geoff

Thursday, July 24, 2014 · Game #100 · Road Game #54

Frederick Keys (48-51/16-16) vs Myrtle Beach Pelicans (61-41/17-17)

RHP Parker Bridwell (5-7, 4.08) vs. LHP Luis Parra (7-6, 5.35)

WHO SAYS THESE ARE THE DOG DAYS?: Jason Esposito slugged a pair of home runs, while the trio of Brady Wager, Jesse Beal and Lex Rutledge combined to three-hit Myrtle Beach for the second straight night, as the Frederick Keys scored a 10-2 victory over the Birds at TicketReturn.com Field. The win was the team’s 10th road triumph in its last 11 games away from home, while it allowed the Keys to register their second series win on the Grand Strand this year (the team took two out of three from June 6-8). Esposito gave the Keys a quick lead thanks to a three-run homer off Chad James in the top of the first. Frederick would score multiple runs in three different innings, highlighted by a four-run sixth, where the team benefited from three walks, two-hit by pitches, a wild pitch and an RBI single by Lucas Herbst. On the mound, Wager gave up only one earned run (two total) over six stanzas to garner his third win in four starts.

JASON, JASON, HE’S OUR MAN!: Jason Esposito had a night to remember on Wednesday. Ending the night 2-for-4, the former Vanderbilt product knocked two home runs in a game for the first time in his career, while he tied his career-high with four RBIs. This season, two members of the Keys have hit two home runs in a game. Former Key, Michael Burgess, was the other one to do it, when he hit a pair of deep flies on July 5 at Lynchburg. Following a rough June where Esposito hit only .205, the 24-year-old is hitting .347 in July with two homers, seven doubles, and 13 RBIs. Thanks to the recent surge, Esposito’s average has climbed to .254, the highest it has been since May 27.

PITCHING REIGNS SUPREME: One night after Dylan Bundy tossed six shutout innings, Brady Wager followed things up with a strong outing of his own. Tossing six innings of two-run baseball, the Arizona native registered his second win in as many starts, only the second time he has done that in his career. In four July starts, Wager is now 3-0 with a 4.15 ERA. Meanwhile, Jesse Beal and Lex Rutledge allowed only one combined hit through three innings of relief, giving the Keys their second three-hitter in as many nights. The two three-hit performances are tied for the second-fewest knocks allowed by Keys pitching in a game this year. Following an up-and-down June for the pitching staff, Keys arms have tallied a 3.74 ERA in July. During that time, the bullpen has been excellent, recording a 2.38 mark over 72 innings.

WHO NEEDS HOME GAMES?: Frederick’s run of road dominance continued on Wednesday night. Thanks to a 10-2 victory, the Keys picked up their 29th road win of the year, the second-most in the Carolina League. The club’s 29-24 road record is the second-best in the Carolina League (only Myrtle Beach has done better at 33-17) while the club has won each of its last five road series. In contrast, the Keys home 19-27 home record is by far the worst in the circuit, as the Keys are the only CL club which does not have 20 or more wins at home.

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.

NO RELATION TO TOM: Wynston Sawyer saw his 27-game on-base streak end on Sunday night after going 0-for-3. The longest active swing entering Sunday, the Californian failed to reach base for the first time since May 20, when he finished 0-for-3 against Myrtle Beach. Sawyer’s streak wraps up as the second-longest on-base streak in the league this year. Only Salem’s Carson Blair (28) reached in more games. Over the 27 contests, Sawyer hit .259 with one homer, six RBIs, four doubles and 15 walks.

KELLER MAKES DEBUT: On Monday, Jon Keller made his Advanced-A debut. Tossing 2.1 innings, the hard-throwing righty allowed one run on three hits while he struck out five and walked three. Both the five strike outs and the three walks went down as season-highs. Promoted to Frederick from Low-A Delmarva last Thursday, he takes the roster spot of Matt Price, who was placed on the disabled list on Wednesday. In 24 relief appearances, Keller went 3-0 with a 1.59 ERA and tallied five saves in eight opportunities. Over 56.2 stanzas, he gave up just 39 hits, walked 14 and struck out 66. Rated the No. 17 prospect in the Orioles system according to Baseball America, the 21-year-old limited opponents to a .192 average, the fourth-lowest mark by a South Atlantic League reliever. Drafted by Baltimore in the 22nd round of the 2013 MLB Draft out of the University of Tampa, Keller helped lead the Spartans to the 2013 Division II College World Series.

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: Left-hander Luis Parra makes his 20th appearance of the year and his 18th start of the season on Thursday. Parra last pitched on Saturday against Carolina and is coming off the worst start of his career. Over 4.1 innings, he allowed 11 runs on 10 hits while giving up three home runs. He walked three and struck out two. The 11 runs, 10 hits and three homers were all career-worsts for Parra, who saw his ERA spike from 4.60 to 5.35. In July, Parra’s ERA is 9.78, while he leads the league in home runs allowed (13) and earned runs allowed (63). In four starts against the Keys this season, Parra is 0-1 with a 4.30 ERA, though one of his best outings came against Frederick on June 7, when he tossed eight shutout innings of three-hit baseball. He received a no-decision though, as the Pelicans fell 1-0. Parra opened the season in a piggybacking role with fellow lefty Andrew Faulkner. As a starter, Para is 6-6 with a 5.49 ERA (100.0IP/61ER) and is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA as a reliever (6IP/2ER). The 22-year-old split 2013 between Myrtle Beach and Low-A Hickory. In 20 games (all starts) Parra went a combined 5-6 with a 2.68 ERA, while he went 0-2 with a 3.71 ERA as a member of the Pelicans and delivered a quality start in three of his five outings with the Birds. He received a promotion to Advanced-A on August 6. With Low-A Hickory, Parra collaborated with Ryan Bores, Keone Kella and Alex Claudio on a seven-inning no-hitter, the Crawdads first in four seasons. Parra was the starting pitcher, working three no-hit innings. The no-no came against Low-A Delmarva, and came on the heels of a C.J. Edwards complete game one-hitter. Signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2008, Para hails from Altamira, Dominican Republic, the same hometown as Mets starting pitcher Bartolo Colon.

 

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