Keys Try for the Sweep!

Good Evening Keys Fans!

S W _ _ P

 Can we buy a vowel? Hopefully, tonight we can! It’s Game Show Night at Nymeo Field at Harry Grove Stadium as the Frederick Keys look for a three-game sweep over the Carolina Mudcats.

The Keys earned their eighth shutout of the season last night, getting strong pitching performances from Vance Worley, Matthew Grimes, and Tanner Scott. Conor Bierfeldt led the offensive charge, going 3-4 and falling just a triple short of the cycle.

As we go for the three-game sweep, Caleb Joseph will be making his third consecutive start at catcher for the black and orange. Right-hander Cory Jones will be making his eighth start of the year. He’ll be opposed right-hander Matt Withrow.

Tonight’s notes are below.

Shake Your Keys!

Ethan

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Wednesday, June 29, 2016 · Game #76 · Home Game #38

Frederick Keys (39-36/3-2) vs. Carolina Mudcats (31-44/2-4)

                            RHP Cory Jones (2-3, 2.55) vs. RHP Matt Withrow (5-4, 3.50)                                                                                                                                                              

WORLEY, GRIMES AND EARLY OFFENSE LED KEYS TO SHUTOUT: The Frederick Keys scored six times over the first two innings and got strong pitching from Vance Worley, Matthew Grimes and Tanner Scott to cruise to a 7-0 win over the Carolina Mudcats on Tuesday night at Nymeo Field. With the win, the orange and black return to three games above .500 for the year (39-36) equaling the team’s high water mark for 2016. In the first, the Keys batted around, while scoring four times with two outs. After Michael O’Neal quickly got two outs, the Keys had six consecutive batters reach. Conor Bierfeldt drove in the first run with a double before Cam Kneeland and Jomar Reyes singled to make it 2-0. Steve Wilkerson also added an RBI single, while a wild pitch scored Reyes to make it 4-0. Bierfeldt added a two-run homer in the second, but Frederick pitching would need little support. As the Keys mound trio scattered allowed only five hits all game.

 FIRING BLANKS: The Frederick Keys recorded their eighth shutout win of the season on Tuesday and their first of the second half. The 7-0 shutout also marked the team’s most decisive shutout victory of the campaign. The eight shutout wins is tied for the most in the CL (Lynchburg also has eight). The Keys are also owners of the third-best shutout mark in the CL, trailing Lynchburg (8-0) and Myrtle Beach (7-4).

 TWO BASES OR MORE: After recording just nine on Saturday and Sunday, the Keys have 20 in their last two games. Half of those have gone for extra bases, as the Keys tied their season-high with seven extra-base hits on Monday. Conor Bierfeldt has figured prominently into both games, going a combined 5-for-8 with two homers, two doubles, five RBIs and four runs scored. That burst comes on the heels of a seven-game stretch where the Connecticut native was 2-for-21. An offensive force in June, Bierfeldt is hitting .282 with seven homers and 22 RBIs in 23 games this month. He is tied for the most homers at the Advanced-A level this month, while the 22 RBIs put him in a tie for second-most.

 REHABBERS: For the second time this year, the Keys had two MLB rehabbers play on the same day with the Keys (Kevin Gausman and Brian Matusz were here on April 15). Coming back from a right groin strain, Vance Worley made the start and retired all nine batters he faced in three innings. He struck out two while needing only 31 pitches. Orioles catcher, Caleb Joseph was also back behind the plate, going 1-for-2 with a double, a sac fly and a run scored. No runners attempted to steal against Joseph. On the mend from a testicular injury, Joseph is batting a combined .306 (11-for-36) between Frederick and Bowie. The 30-year-old originally play for Frederick in 2009 and was a Carolina League all-star

 ROLAIDS RELIEF: With an MLB rehabber in attendance, the Keys needed six innings of relief on Tuesday. That unit performed extremely well, as relievers extended their scoreless inning streak to 12 innings (they have not given up a run since a six-run Salem sixth on Sunday). Meanwhile, over the last nine games, Frederick bullpen hands have given up only two earned runs in 36.2 innings (0.49 ERA) while this month, Frederick relievers have a 1.79 ERA (90.2 IP/18ER). The bullpen’s lowest ERA in any month came in May, when they finished with a 2.65 ERA. Among active relievers, Tanner Scott has fared best in June, tallying a 0.57 ERA (15.2 IP/1ER).

BULLPEN BULLIES: Tanner Scott and Jeff Beliveau have been outstanding for the Keys of late. Since posting a 12.19 ERA in April (10.1 IP/14ER/15BB) Scott has given up only three earned runs in 29.2 innings. By pitching a scoreless inning on Tuesday, he extended his scoreless inning streak to 12.1 stanzas. During that time his ERA has dropped from 5.53 to 3.83. Beliveau last pitched on Friday and fired off 3.1 scoreless innings of one-hit baseball. He struck out seven in his longest outing since August 29, 2009 (when he was pitching for Low-A Peoria as a member of the Cubs). Signed by Baltimore as a minor league free agent this past December, Beliveau has pitched 9.1 scoreless innings. A pitcher with 58 total Major League appearances, Beliveau pitched five games for Tampa Bay last year before undergoing shoulder surgery.   

 NEW HALF, NEW FACES: With the start of the second half, the Keys have three new faces on their roster. Outfielder DJ Stewart as well as relievers Ryan Meisinger and Garrett Cleavinger join the team from Low-A Delmarva. Baltimore’s first overall pick in the 2015 draft out of Florida State, Stewart was hitting .230 in 62 games to go with four homers and 25 RBIs. He did walk 42 times though (tied for third) and was batting .266 in his first 17 June games. Meisinger and Cleavinger were both SAL midseason all-stars. In 16 games, Meisinger went 3-2 with a 0.78 ERA and held opponents to a .189 average. A southpaw, Cleavinger was 5-0 with four saves and a 1.38 ERA in 17 games. Both pitchers were in the top five in the SAL in SO/9IP while Cleavinger was fifth in fewest baserunners/9IP (8.54).

ODDS AND ENDS: Tuesday’s win marked Frederick’s first victory in a home series since May 23. Before, the the team has gone 0-1-2 in home sets. A win on Wednesday would give Frederick its fourth series sweep of the year (two versus Wilmington and one against Wilmington). DJ Stewart has hit safely in his first five CL games (6-for-19). The Keys have one home sweep this year (May 10-12 v Wilmington) Aderlin Rodriguez had a six-game hitting streak snapped Monday (he was 0-for-4) while he batted .500 (11-for-22) during the streak to raise his average 20 points.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Matt Withrow makes his 14th start of the year on Wednesday and his second against the Keys. His most recent outing came last Friday at Myrtle Beach. Tossing 4.1 innings in a no-decision, he gave up two runs on eight hits to go with two walks and two strikes. Withrow is holding opponents to a .226 average, the third-lowest mark in the CL, while among starters he is fourth in SO/9IP (9.05). He has walked 34 though, fifth-most in the league. Selected by Atlanta in the sixth round of the 2015 draft out of Texas Tech, Withrow was the third of seven consecutive college pitchers drafted by the Braves in 2015 between rounds four and 10. He debuted at Rookie-Danville last season, going 0-4 with a 3.56 ERA in 13 games. Opponents hit .257 against him. Not the only Braves player in his family, Withrow’s brother, Chris, is a member of the Atlanta bullpen. Additionally, Withrow’s dad, Mike was drafted in the seventh round of the 1981 draft by the White Six and spent parts of three years in the Chicago farm system. Withrow throws a fastball, a slider and a changeup.

Vance Worley and Caleb Joseph With the Keys Tonight!

Good Evening Keys Fans!

We’re still out of breath from our largest come-from-behind victory of the season last night! Trailing 5-1, the black and orange clawed their way back to a 6-5 victory.

Jomar Reyes tied the game in the 9th with a RBI double last night and Cam Kneeland won it with a RBI double of his own. Also appearing in the game was Baltimore Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph, who made his second appearance with the Keys via a MLB rehab assignment. Joseph went 0-3, including a sacrifice fly in the 1st inning.

Tonight, it’s game two of the three-game set against the Carolina Mudcats. We have high-profile battery mates on the diamond as a pair of Baltimore Orioles rehab assignments will be on the diamond. Joseph will make his second consecutive appearance behind the backstop and pitcher Vance Worley making the start. The right-handed pitcher is making his first rehab appearance after being placed on the disabled list on June 14 due to a strained right groin.

Get your tickets to see a pair of big league O’s here!

Tonight’s notes are below.

Shake Your Keys!

Ethan

Tuesday, June 28, 2016 · Game #75 · Home Game #37

Frederick Keys (38-36/2-2) vs. Carolina Mudcats (31-44/2-3)

RHP Vance Worley (0-0, –) vs. LHP Michael O’Neal (1-1, 2.41)

                                                                                                                                                              

KNEELAND HELPS KEYS EARN THIRD WALK-OFF WIN: A Cam Kneeland double in the ninth gave the Frederick Keys their third walk-off win of the season, as the club battled back to defeat the Carolina Mudcats 6-5 on Monday night at Nymeo Field. Scoring the final five runs of the game, the orange and black battled back from a four-run deficit. Facing Chase Johnson-Mullins in the ninth, the Keys tied the game on back-to-back doubles. After the Mudcats lefty retired DJ Stewart,  Conor Bierfeldt and Jomar Reyes doubled on consecutive pitches to tie the ballgame. Carolina elected to walk Steve Wilkerson to get to Cam Kneeland. Working the count full, the Keys nine-hole batter lined a pitch down the third baseline to bring in the winning run.

 DOWN BUT NOT OUT: Monday night marked the Keys largest come-from-behind win of the season. Down 5-1 after 2.5 innings, Frederick’s largest come-from-behind win before last night was when being two runs down (last occurred on May 3 at Wilmington). Moreover, the Keys had only one other come-from-behind win when trailing by two before that. The series opener was also the team’s third walk-off win of the season. Two of those have come against Carolina, as a Jay Gonzalez single off Carlos Salazar on June 4, gave the team a 5-4 walk-off win in 11 innings. Coincidentally, that win also came during the first game of the series.

 TWO BASES OR MORE: After recording just nine total hits in their previous two games, the Keys finished with 10 on Monday, while seven went for extra-bases. That equals Frederick’s largest total in a game this year (the team also had seven extra-base hits on June 3 against Potomac). Cam Kneeland (3-for-4, 2-2B, RBI) and Conor Bierfeldt (2-for-4, HR, 2B, 2RBI) accounted for four of those knocks. The three hits for Kneeland tied a season-high and gives him 19 two-baggers on the season, placing him in a tie for fourth in the league. Meanwhile, Bierfeldt’s home run was his sixth this month, while he has 19 RBIs in 22 games. The six home runs are tied for second-most at the Advanced-A level this month, while both figures are the most by a Carolina Leaguer in June.

 WORLEY JOINS KEYS ON REHAB: After Caleb Joseph rejoined the orange and black on an MLB rehab assignment Monday, the Keys will receive another Orioles player on Tuesday. Vance Worley is scheduled to make a start for the team tonight, as he recovers from a right groin strain. Placed on the 15-day DL on June 14 (retroactive to June 13), the Sacramento native pitched for Double-A Bowie on Saturday. Pitching 1.2 innings of relief, he surrendered a run on five hits. In 17 games with the Orioles this year he is 2-0 with a 2.66 ERA, while opponents hit .266 against him. Tuesday will be Worley’s third start of the year and his first since April 15, when he defeated Texas.    

 JOSEPH RETURNS TO THE KEYS: Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph caught his first game since May 30 on Monday night. Behind the plate he threw out one-of-two baserunners trying to steal, while at bat he was 0-for-3 with an RBI.  In four games with Frederick he is batting .308 (4-for-13) with a homer and four RBIs. He recorded multi-hit games in both contests he played in last weekend. Between Frederick and Double-A Bowie, Joseph is batting .294 (10-for-34) on his rehab. The 30-year-old originally play for Frederick in 2009 and was a Carolina League all-star.

 ROLAIDS RELIEF: Due to a heavy dose of rain on Thursday, the Keys were forced to utilize their bullpen for most of game one of the second half. Responding quite well, Keys relievers fired off 7.2 innings of one-run, five-hit baseball. Meanwhile, over the last eight games, Frederick bullpen hands have given up only two earned runs in 30.2 innings (0.59 ERA) while this month, Frederick relievers have a 1.91 ERA (84.2 IP/18ER). The bullpen’s lowest ERA in any month came in May, when they finished with a 2.65 ERA. Among active relievers, Tanner Scott has fared best in June, tallying a 0.61 ERA (14.2 IP/1ER).

 NEW HALF, NEW FACES: With the start of the second half, the Keys have three new faces on their roster. Outfielder DJ Stewart as well as relievers Ryan Meisinger and Garrett Cleavinger join the team from Low-A Delmarva. Baltimore’s first overall pick in the 2015 draft out of Florida State, Stewart was hitting .230 in 62 games to go with four homers and 25 RBIs. He did walk 42 times though (tied for third) and was batting .266 in his first 17 June games. Meisinger and Cleavinger were both SAL midseason all-stars. In 16 games, Meisinger went 3-2 with a 0.78 ERA and held opponents to a .189 average. A southpaw, Cleavinger was 5-0 with four saves and a 1.38 ERA in 17 games. Both pitchers were in the top five in the SAL in SO/9IP while Cleavinger was fifth in fewest baserunners/9IP (8.54).

ODDS AND ENDS: Tuesday marks the second time this year where the Keys have had two MLB rehabbers on the roster at one point (Kevin Gausman and Brian Matusz where here on April 15). A win on Tuesday would give Frederick its first victory in a home series since May 23. Since then the team has gone 0-1-2 in home sets. Aderlin Rodriguez had a six-game hitting streak snapped Monday (he was 0-for-4) while he batted .500 (11-for-22) during the streak to raise his average 20 points. He was ejected in the bottom of the eighth. Jeff Beliveau’ s 3.1 inning stint on Saturday marked his longest outing since August 28, 2009 when he was pitching for Low-A Peoria as a member of the Cubs.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Left-hander Michael O’Neal makes his 16th overall appearance on Monday and his second start. Between Carolina and Double-A Mississippi, the southpaw is 1-1 with a 2.41 ERA (23.2 IP.6ER/10BB/18 SO). His most recent outing came on Friday at Myrtle Beach. Tagged with the loss, he surrendered one run on two hits in 1.2 innings. He walked two and struck out two. Tonight will be O’Neal’s second start of the year. His Double-A debut (he has had 2 Double-A stints) was a start, as he tossed four shutout innings of one-hit baseball at Mobile. He walked two and struck out one. Signed as a free agent by Atlanta on November 27, 2015, O’Neal played two years of independent baseball with the Florence Freedom (2014) and Gateway Grizzlies (2015). In 12 total games (11 starts) he was 2-8 with an 8.52 ERA. Originally from Columbus, GA, O’Neal played his college baseball at Auburn, where as a junior he led Auburn with an 8-4 record and a 2.73 ERA. He also attended Chattahoochee Valley CC.

The Boys are Back in Town!

Good Evening Keys Fans!

For the first time in the second half, the Keys are back in Frederick! The black and orange begin a seven-game home stand at Nymeo Field at Harry Grove Stadium as they kick things off with a three-game set against the Carolina Mudcats.

The Keys are 1-2 since the second half began, winning one and dropping two in a rain-shortened series against Salem.

As we arrive home, we anticipate tons of great promotions here at Nymeo Field at Harry Grove Stadium. Check out our schedule for the full list. Some of the highlights include an appearance by WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley on Friday and fireworks throughout the weekend.

Guarantee your seats and get your tickets here!

Right-hander Lucas Long will be the starting pitcher for the Keys with Baltimore Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph behind the backstop, making his second appearance with Frederick on a MLB rehab assignment.

Tonight’s notes are below.

Shake Your Keys!

Ethan

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Monday, June 27, 2016 · Game #74 · Home Game #36

Frederick Keys (37-36/1-2) vs. Carolina Mudcats (31-43/2-2)

RHP Lucas Long (4-4, 4.30) vs. RHP Max Povse (5-4, 3.51)

KEYS AND SOX SPLIT QUASI-DOUBLEHEADER: The Frederick Keys committed four errors while three in the sixth helped opened the door to a big Salem inning, as the Red Sox defeated the orange and black 6-1 on Sunday night at LewisGale Field. With the setback, the Keys are now just one game above .500 for the year. Franderlin Romero worked around a bases loaded jam in the fifth, but could not get an out in the sixth. An error by Erick Salcedo allowed Wendell Rijo to reach, while one batter later, Rijo scored on a throwing error by Jomar Reyes at third. Nick Longhi then singled to knock Romero out of the game. Jose Sermo made it 2-0 with a sac-fly, while an error and two walks plated the third run of the inning. Joseph Monge completed the scoring with a bases clearing double. Frederick’s lone run came in the ninth on a double by D.J. Stewart.

 TROUBLE WITH THE LEATHER: The four errors by the Keys on Sunday tied a season-high. Previously, the club committed four errors on April 19 against Wilmington (a 6-1 loss). Three of the four errors were charged to Jomar Reyes. The three errors marks the most he has made in a game this year and ties a career-high (he also committed three on June 21, 2014 while playing for the GCL Orioles. Over the final two games of the series, Reyes committed four errors, equaling one-third of his total this season (12). Due to the three errors in the sixth inning on Sunday, all six Red Sox runs were unearned.

 MOUND WOES SORT OF?: Although Keys pitching was hurt by some sixth inning defensive woes, Frederick arms issued nine walks on Sunday, a new season-high (the previous high was eight on April 14). In spite of those issues though, Keys pitching allowed only two hits all game, equaling the fewest the club had given out in a contest this year (most recently Frederick pitching two-hit Carolina on May 29 in Zebulon). Four of the walks were on Romero’s line, a new season-high for the right-hander.    

 ROLAIDS RELIEF: Due to a heavy dose of rain on Thursday, the Keys were forced to utilize their bullpen for most of game one of the second half. Responding quite well, Keys relievers fired off 7.2 innings of one-run, five-hit baseball. Meanwhile, over the last seven games, Frederick bullpen hands have given up only two earned runs in 26.2 innings (0.68 ERA) while this month, Frederick relievers have a 2.01 ERA (80.2 IP/18ER). The bullpen’s lowest ERA in any month came in May, when they finished with a 2.65 ERA. Among active relievers, Tanner Scott has fared best in June, tallying a 0.61 ERA (14.2 IP/1ER).

 RARE ROAD SETBACK: With a loss in Sunday’s game, the Keys saw their string of back-to-back road series wins come to an end. Additionally, it was the club’s first loss in a road set since May 8, when the club fell in two of three to Potomac. In spite of the loss, the Keys are still eight games over .500 away from home (23-15) while Salem is the only other team in the circuit that is eight above .500 (22-14). Tonight, the Keys embark on a seven-game homestand. At Nymeo Field, things have been a little more challenging for the orange and black who are 14-21 (third-worst mark in the CL). Frederick has not won a home series since May 23 (took two of three against Potomac). They are 0-1-2 in their last three home sets.

JOSEPH RETURNS TO THE KEYS: Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph is scheduled to return to the Keys on a Major League rehab assignment on Monday night. Joseph is slated to catch and hit second as he continues his recovery from a testicular injury suffered on May 30 against Boston. The Tennessee native suited up for the Keys during the team’s final first half homestand and went 4-for-10 with a home run, three RBIs and two runs scored. He recorded multi-hit games in both contests he played in last weekend. Between Frederick and Double-A Bowie, Joseph is batting .323 (10-for-31) on his rehab. The 30-year-old originally play for Frederick in 2009 and was a Carolina League all-star.

NEW HALF, NEW FACES: With the start of the second half, the Keys have three new faces on their roster. Outfielder DJ Stewart as well as relievers Ryan Meisinger and Garrett Cleavinger join the team from Low-A Delmarva. Baltimore’s first overall pick in the 2015 draft out of Florida State, Stewart was hitting .230 in 62 games to go with four homers and 25 RBIs. He did walk 42 times though (tied for third) and was batting .266 in his first 17 June games. Meisinger and Cleavinger were both SAL midseason all-stars. In 16 games, Meisinger went 3-2 with a 0.78 ERA and held opponents to a .189 average. A southpaw, Cleavinger was 5-0 with four saves and a 1.38 ERA in 17 games. Both pitchers were in the top five in the SAL in SO/9IP while Cleavinger was fifth in fewest baserunners/9IP (8.54).

ODDS AND ENDS: Sunday marked just the sixth time this year where the Keys had out-hit their opposition and lost (28-6). Mitch Horacek posted his third straight quality start and his third complete game in four contests on Saturday. He leads the lead in complete games (three). Jonah Heim saw his seven-game hitting streak end in game two of Saturday’s twinbill. His longest of the year, he hit .385. Today, he celebrates his 21st birthday. In the process he got his average up to a season-best .246. Jeff Beliveau’s 3.1 inning stint on Saturday marked his longest outing since August 28, 2009 when he was pitching for Low-A Peoria as a member of the Cubs. Jay Gonzalez is still tied for fourth in the MiLB in steals despite going 14 games without a swipe (his longest drought of the year). 

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Right-hander Max Povse makes his 14th start and his third against the Keys. His most recent outing came on June 18 against Wilmington. Picking up the win, he allowed two unearned runs on four hits in six innings. He struck out six. A Carolina League all-star, the righty is third in the league in strikeouts (76) while among starters he is fourth in highest SO/9IP ratio (9.20) and fifth in lowest BB/9IP ratio (1.82). Povse split 2015 between Low-A Rome and Carolina, combining to go 5-5 with a 4.15 ERA. He was promoted to the Mudcats on June 25. In five starts with Carolina he struggled, going 1-3 with a 9.33 ERA before going on the DL with a right shoulder strain on July 21. He missed the rest of the year. A third round pick by Atlanta in 2014 out of UNC-Greensboro, Povse is from Cary, NC (40 minutes from outside Zebulon). He was also selected by the Dodgers in the 42nd round of the 2011 draft but did not sign.

One More in Salem

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

The orange and black conclude their series with the Salem Red Sox on Sunday at LewisGale Field. First pitch is slated for 4:00 p.m. After several rain delays, the two teams were FINALLY able to finish the first game of the second half, with the Keys prevailing 5-1. In game two, Daniel McGrath defeated Mitch Horacek in a pitcher’s duel which saw both starters rack up complete games.

Today, Franderlin Romero gets the ball for the Keys and will be opposed by Sox southpaw Trey Ball. The broadcast can be heard on 1450 AM The Source and frederickkeys.com, or by accessing the TuneIn Radio App (and searching WTHU).

Today’s notes are below.

Shake your Keys!

Geoff

Sunday, June 26, 2016 · Game #73 · Road Game #38

Frederick Keys (37-35/1-1) vs. Salem Red Sox (44-27/1-1)

RHP Franderlin Romero (4-0, 3.63) vs. LHP Trey Ball (4-3, 2.60)

KEYS AND SOX SPLIT QUASI-DOUBLEHEADER: After game one of the second half started on Thursday, it ended on Saturday, as the Frederick Keys and Salem Red Sox completed a quasi-doubleheader with no interruptions. In game one, the Keys closed things out, winning by a 5-1 score, before the club suffered a 2-1 defeat in a pitcher’s duel in game two. Holding a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the fifth, the Keys added an additional run in the ninth on a wild pitch, while Salem scored just once in the seventh on a solo homer by Deiner Lopez. Jeff Beliveau got the win in relief, tossing 3.1 shutout innings while striking out seven. In the nightcap, Daniel McGrath and Mitch Horacek matched each other pitch-for-pitch for most of the night. Salem acted first, getting an RBI double from Jose Sermo in the second, before the Keys evened the game at one in the fifth. After Jomar Reyes opened the inning with a double, Erick Salcedo followed three batters later with a second two-bagger. The Red Sox took the lead for good in the home fifth via an RBI single by Rafael Devers, as McGrath went the distance for his second pro complete game.

CLOSE CALLS: The Keys have become very accustomed to close games of late. The back-end of Saturday’s quasi-doubleheader marked the team’s sixth one-run game in its last eight contests. That includes a string of five straight one-run games from June 14-18 (season-high). Over the six games, the Keys are 2-4, while for the season, Frederick is 7-10 in one-run affairs. That is the second-worst mark in the circuit (Carolina is 10-16).  

ROLAIDS RELIEF: Due to a heavy dose of rain on Thursday, the Keys were forced to utilize their bullpen for most of game one of the second half. Responding quite well, Keys relievers fired off 7.2 innings of one-run, five-hit baseball. Over the last six games, Frederick bullpen hands have given up only two runs in 23.2 innings (0.76 ERA) while this month, Frederick relievers have a 2.09 ERA (77.2 IP/18ER). The bullpen’s lowest ERA in any month came in May, when they finished with a 2.65 ERA. Among active relievers, Tanner Scott has fared best in June, tallying a 0.61 ERA (14.2 IP/1ER).

SALCEDO SIZZLES IN TWINBILL: Erick Salcedo had a tremendous quasi-doubleheader at the plate, going 5-for-6 with two doubles, an RBI, and a run scored. In game one, he was 3-for-3 and tied his season-high for hits in a game (it was his first three-hit game since May 20 against Potomac). Additionally, the strong day bumped his average up to .276, the highest it has been in 2016. In 22 June games, he is batting .297 (22-for-74).  

WRAPPING UP THE FIRST HALF: Thanks to last Sunday’s win, the Keys snapped a string of six consecutive losing halves. A pretty solid accomplishment considering the team was a season-worst nine games below .500 (7-16) at the end of April. Pitching has been a big reason for the club’s success. Through 70 games, the team has a 3.69 ERA, the third-best mark in the league (behind only Myrtle Beach and Lynchburg). Starting (3.68) and relief (3.71) pitching have been on par with each other but the later has been better in June (2.19/4.93). Still, Keys starters enjoyed a strong May (2.71 ERA) and delivered 23 first half quality starts (the team had only seven in the first-half last year). At the plate, Frederick tied for fourth in hitting (.247) a number which has improved thanks to a strong June at the plate (.268) (third-best in the CL this month).

ROAD SWEET HOME: The Keys are trying for their fifth series win in their last six road sets on Sunday. The Keys have not had a losing roadtrip since late-April at Lynchburg and have tallied four straight winning road trips. Currently, the Keys have the best road mark in the circuit (23-14). In road games, the pitching has been superb (2.70 ERA) giving the Keys the top road ERA in the league (and the only sub-3.00 mark). On the offensive side though, the orange and black are tied for the second-lowest road mark in the circuit, as only Aderlin Rodriguez is above .300 (.321).

NEW HALF, NEW FACES: With the start of the second half, the Keys have three new faces on their roster. Outfielder DJ Stewart as well as relievers Ryan Meisinger and Garrett Cleavinger join the team from Low-A Delmarva. Baltimore’s first overall pick in the 2015 draft out of Florida State, Stewart was hitting .230 in 62 games to go with four homers and 25 RBIs. He did walk 42 times though (tied for third) and was batting .266 in his first 17 June games. Meisinger and Cleavinger were both SAL midseason all-stars. In 16 games, Meisinger went 3-2 with a 0.78 ERA and held opponents to a .189 average. A southpaw, Cleavinger was 5-0 with four saves and a 1.38 ERA in 17 games. Both pitchers were in the top five in the SAL in SO/9IP while Cleavinger was fifth in fewest baserunners/9IP (8.54).

 WRAPPING UP THE ALL STAR GAME: Matthew Grimes, Jonah Heim and Aderlin Rodriguez all participated in Tuesday’s Carolina v California League All-Star game in Lake Elsinore, CA. Heim started at catcher, going 1-for-3, while Rodriguez was the DH, ending 1-for-4 while batting in the five-hole. Grimes pitched a 1-2-3 second inning on just seven pitches (six strikes). The Carolina League won 6-4 as Potomac’s Andrew Stevenson and Salem’s Mauricio Duban each had two RBIs apiece. The day before the all-star game, Rodriguez competed in the home run derby on the USS Midway. Making it to the final round, the Keys first baseman was outdone by Bakersfield’s Kyle Petty, who homered seven times in 10 swings (as opposed to Rodriguez’s four homers in the last round).

ODDS AND ENDS: Mitch Horacek posted his third straight quality start and his third complete game in four contests on Sunday. He leads the lead in complete games (three). Jonah Heim saw his seven-game hitting streak end in game two of the twinbill. His longest of the year, he hit .385 (10-for-26 to go with four doubles, three RBIs and a run scored). In the process he got his average up to a season-best .246. Jeff Beliveau’s 3.1 inning stint on Sunday marked his longest outing since August 28, 2009 when he was pitching for Low-A Peoria as a member of the Cubs. 

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Trey Ball makes his 11th start of the season on Sunday and his second against the Keys. He is rated the No. 17 prospect in the Red Sox system according to Baseball America. His most recent outing came on June 18 at Winston-Salem. Earning the win, he pitched seven innings and allowed two runs on eight hits. Walks have been an issue for Ball during his career, as he has a 4.7 BB/9IP ratio this season (a mark that is 4.1 for his career). Spending all off 2015 with the Red Sox, the southpaw went 9-13 with a 4.73 ERA in 25 games. He ended third in the league in walks and second in home runs allowed (16) and losses (13). Last year Ball made five starts against Frederick, more than any Red Sox pitcher. He went 0-5 with a 5.40 ERA. A 2013 first round selection (seventh overall) out of New Castle Chrysler (IN) High School (Boston’s highest draft pick since 1993), Ball was named the Gatorade Indiana Baseball Player of the Year as a senior. His hometown of New Castle is home to the New Castle Correctional Facility, the largest prison in Indiana which can hold up to 3,500 inmates.

Quasi-Doubleheader Take 2

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

So for the second day in-a-row, the Keys will try and play a quasi-doubleheader against the Salem Red Sox. Technically, we are still on game one of the second half, as after the ballgame was stopped on Thursday in the second, the contest was halted in the bottom of the fifth on Friday with two outs and a man at first. At the time of interruption, the orange and black had a 4-0 lead.

First pitch today is scheduled for 4 p.m, with a seven inning game to follow. In the nightcap lefty Mitch Horacek goes for the Keys against Red Sox southpaw Daniel McGrath.

Both games can be heard on 1450 AM The Source, frederickkeys.com and the TuneIn radio app (search WTHU).

Today’s notes are below. Talk soon!

Geoff

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Saturday, June 25, 2016 · Game #71/#72 · Road Game #36/#37

Frederick Keys (36-34/0-0) vs. Salem Red Sox (43-26/0-0)

G2: LHP Mitch Horacek (3-7, 5.26) vs. LHP Daniel McGrath (1-3, 5.59)

TAKE THREE: For the second straight day, the Frederick Keys and Salem Red Sox were stopped on account of rain, as the two teams were suspended in the bottom of the fifth inning in game one of Friday’s quasi-doubleheader. After a delay of more than two hours the field was deemed unplayable, resulting in a second pseudo-twinbill on Saturday beginning at 4 p.m. At the time the game was stopped the Keys were ahead 4-0. Following Thursday’s stoppage, Jeff Beliveau picked things up with men at first and second and two outs in the bottom of the second. The lefty struck out both men he faced, while the orange and black extended their lead in the third. RBI singles by D.J. Stewart and Aderlin Rodriguez plated a pair, while in the fourth, Jomar Reyes scored on a single by Jonah Heim and an error by Danny Mars in right. Beliveau pitched 3.1 innings of one-hit baseball and struck out seven before the rains came.

ALMOST A DOUBLEHEADER: Saturday will mark the continuation of the Keys first quasi-twinbill of the season. No stranger to these contests last year, Frederick went 3-5 in these types of set-ups (one loss, three splits). The last time the Keys played one, it was capped off by a Mikey O’Brien no-hitter (8/20/15 at LYN) while the first half of last year concluded with a pseudo-twinbill against Wilmington (6/20/15 Blue Rocks swept both games).

KEYS OVERPOWER HILLCATS IN FIRST HALF FINALE: The Frederick Keys scored in six of their eight trips to bat and turned in four multi-run innings as the club doubled up the Lynchburg Hillcats 12-6 on Sunday afternoon at Nymeo Field. With the victory, the Keys finished the first half with a 36-34 record, the first time the Keys have finished above .500 in a half since 2012 (they went 35-34 in the second half). Frederick scored four of the first six runs, thanks in part to a Caleb Joseph solo homer and a Cam Kneeland two-run double. In the fourth, Lynchburg grabbed a 5-4 lead on a Mark Mathias three-run homer, but Frederick responded with three in the home fourth. Wynston Sawyer drove in two with a single, while the base knock by Conor Bierfeldt made it 7-4 Keys. In their last two at bats, the Keys pounded out eight hits and added five more runs. Trevor Belicek got the win delivering four shutout innings of two-hit baseball.

ATTACK OF THE BATS: Frederick’s offense turned in one of its best offensive showings of the season in the first half finale, posting 12 runs and 15 hits. The 15 hits equaled a season-high (set previously on April 16 against Lynchburg) while the 12 runs were the second-most the club had scored in a game this year. The 12 runs also equaled the Keys output in the previous five games combined.

WRAPPING UP THE FIRST HALF: Thanks to Sunday’s win, the Keys snapped a string of six consecutive losing halves. A pretty solid accomplishment considering the team was a season-worst nine games below .500 (7-16) at the end of April. Pitching has been a big reason for the club’s success. Through 70 games, the team has a 3.69 ERA, the third-best mark in the league (behind only Myrtle Beach and Lynchburg). Starting (3.68) and relief (3.71) pitching have been on par with each other but the later has been better in June (2.19/4.93). Still, Keys starters enjoyed a strong May (2.71 ERA) and delivered 23 first half quality starts (the team had only seven in the first-half last year). At the plate, Frederick tied for fourth in hitting (.247) a number which has improved thanks to a strong June at the plate (.268) (third-best in the CL this month).

ROAD SWEET HOME: The Keys posted the best first-half road record in the Carolina League (22-13). That includes wins in six of their 10 road sets (6-2-2) and four of their last five series. In their last 10 road games, Frederick is 7-3, while the club has not had a losing roadtrip since late April at Lynchburg (four straight winning trips). In road games, the pitching has been superb (2.74 ERA) giving the Keys the top road ERA in the league (and the only sub-3.00 mark). Additionally, only two current Keys have ERAs above 3.00. On the offensive side though, the orange and black have the worst road hitting mark in the circuit (.234) as only Conor Bierfeldt (.308) and Aderlin Rodriguez (.307) are above .300.

NEW HALF, NEW FACES: With the start of the second half, the Keys receive three new faces. Outfielder DJ Stewart as well as relievers Ryan Meisinger and Garrett Cleavinger join the team from Low-A Delmarva. Baltimore’s first overall pick in the 2015 draft out of Florida State, Stewart was hitting .230 in 62 games to go with four homers and 25 RBIs. He did walk 42 times though (tied for third) and was batting .266 in his first 17 June games. Meisinger and Cleavinger were both SAL midseason all-stars. In 16 games, Meisinger went 3-2 with a 0.78 ERA and held opponents to a .189 average. A southpaw, Cleavinger was 5-0 with four saves and a 1.38 ERA in 17 games. Both pitchers were in the top five in the SAL in SO/9IP while Cleavinger was fifth in fewest baserunners/9IP (8.54).

WRAPPING UP THE ALL STAR GAME: Matthew Grimes, Jonah Heim and Aderlin Rodriguez all participated in Tuesday’s Carolina v California League All-Star game in Lake Elsinore, CA. Heim started at catcher, going 1-for-3, while Rodriguez was the DH, ending 1-for-4 while batting in the five-hole. Grimes pitched a 1-2-3 second inning on just seven pitches (six strikes). The Carolina League won 6-4 as Potomac’s Andrew Stevenson and Salem’s Mauricio Duban each had two RBIs apiece. The day before the all-star game, Rodriguez competed in the home run derby on the USS Midway. Making it to the final round, the Keys first baseman was outdone by Bakersfield’s Kyle Petty, who homered seven times in 10 swings (as opposed to Rodriguez’s four homers in the last round).

ODDS AND ENDS: Sunday’s 12-6 win ended a streak of five straight one-run games (season-high) played by the Keys. Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph was transferred on his MLB rehab to Double-A Bowie on Tuesday in three games with the Keys he went 4-for-10 with a homer and three RBIs. Jonah Heim owns a season-best six-game hitting streak (he is 9-for-22 during that stretch with four doubles, three RBIs and a run scored). That has moved his average to a season-best .246. Aderlin Rodriguez played outfield for the first time in 665 pro games Sunday. Jay Gonzalez is still tied for fourth in the MiLB in steals despite going 11 games without a swipe (his longest drought of the year). Cam Kneeland celebrated his 26th birthday on Thursday.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Daniel McGrath gets the ball in game two. His most recent outing came last Thursday at Salem. Tagged with the loss, he gave up six runs (five earned) in five inning. In his only start against the Keys, he pitched 1.2 of an inning before exiting due to a subluxation of his right knee while covering home plate. He was out from April 14-May 28. A member of the Red Sox rotation last year, McGrath was limited to 17 starts due to nearly two months on the disabled list (May 14-July 10). At the time he got hurt, McGrath had a 1.80 ERA and was limiting opponents to a .119 average. With Salem, he went 4-6 with a 3.84 ERA and pitched 84.1 innings. Originally from Austrailia, McGrath was signed by Boston as a minor league free agent in February 2012. Signed as a 17-year-old, McGrath received offers from 15 MLB teams, but chose the Red Sox since he used to watch games at Fenway Park with his American-born mother, Dale. Despite signing in 2012, the lefty did not debut until the following season so he could finish high school. He received a reported signing bonus of $400,000.

 

Sort of a Doubleheader…

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

The orange and black will play a quasi-doubleheader on Friday starting at 5 p.m. It’s a doubleheader….sort of. Yesterday we made it through 1.1 innings before the rains came, so we will complete the nine innings from that game first before playing a seven inning game afterwards. Make sense?

If you followed the Keys closely last year you know the drill by now. The Keys played four quasi-twinbills a year ago, while the last one featured a no-hitter by Mikey O’Brien (at Lynchburg). Ironically, O’Brien hails from the Salem-Roanoke area.

At the time the game was stopped, the Keys had a 1-0 lead thanks to an Aderlin Rodriguez solo homer to left off Yankory Pimentel in the top of the second. When the game resumes, the Red Sox will have two on base with one out.

In Friday’s regularly scheduled contest Mitch Horacek will get the ball for the Keys and will be opposed by Red Sox righty Anyelo Leclerc.

We’ll have the broadcast starting at 4:45 p.m on 1450 AM The Source and frederickkeys.com (or the TuneIn Radio App by searching WTHU).

Today’s notes are below.

Shake your Keys!

Geoff

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Friday, June 24, 2016 · Game #71/#72 · Road Game #36/#37

Frederick Keys (36-34/0-0) vs. Salem Red Sox (43-26/0-0)

G2: LHP Mitch Horacek (3-7, 5.26) vs. RHP Anyelo Leclerc (0-0, –)

RAIN HALTS SECOND HALF OPENER: The Frederick Keys second half opener against the Salem Red Sox was halted in the bottom of the second on Thursday due to rain. On Friday, the game will be resumed in the bottom of the second, with the Keys up 1-0 but the Red Sox with two on and one out. Afterwards the two sides will play a seven inning game. Aderlin Rodriguez hit a solo homer in the top of the second, while the Sox put two of their first three on in the second, until the rains came. During the delay, the lights at LewisGale Field also went out.

ALMOST A DOUBLEHEADER: This will be the first quasi-twinbill of the season for the Keys. No stranger to these contests last year, Frederick went 3-5 in these types of set-ups (one loss, three splits). The last time the Keys played one, it was capped off by a Mikey O’Brien no-hitter (8/20/15 at LYN) while the first half of last year concluded with a pseudo-twinbill against Wilmington (6/20/15 Blue Rocks swept both games).

KEYS OVERPOWER HILLCATS IN FIRST HALF FINALE: The Frederick Keys scored in six of their eight trips to bat and turned in four multi-run innings as the club doubled up the Lynchburg Hillcats 12-6 on Sunday afternoon at Nymeo Field. With the victory, the Keys finished the first half with a 36-34 record, the first time the Keys have finished above .500 in a half since 2012 (they went 35-34 in the second half). Frederick scored four of the first six runs, thanks in part to a Caleb Joseph solo homer and a Cam Kneeland two-run double. In the fourth, Lynchburg grabbed a 5-4 lead on a Mark Mathias three-run homer, but Frederick responded with three in the home fourth. Wynston Sawyer drove in two with a single, while the base knock by Conor Bierfeldt made it 7-4 Keys. In their last two at bats, the Keys pounded out eight hits and added five more runs. Trevor Belicek got the win delivering four shutout innings of two-hit baseball.

ATTACK OF THE BATS: Frederick’s offense turned in one of its best offensive showings of the season in the first half finale, posting 12 runs and 15 hits. The 15 hits equaled a season-high (set previously on April 16 against Lynchburg) while the 12 runs were the second-most the club had scored in a game this year. The 12 runs also equaled the Keys output in the previous five games combined. In the game, all nine starters had at least one hit, five had multiple hits and six had an RBI. Aderlin Rodriguez led everyone with three hits (3-for-5-seventh three-hit game of year) while Cam Kneeland and Wynston Sawyer each had three RBIs.

WRAPPING UP THE FIRST HALF: Thanks to Sunday’s win, the Keys snapped a string of six consecutive losing halves. A pretty solid accomplishment considering the team was a season-worst nine games below .500 (7-16) at the end of April. Pitching has been a big reason for the club’s success. Through 70 games, the team has a 3.69 ERA, the third-best mark in the league (behind only Myrtle Beach and Lynchburg). Starting (3.68) and relief (3.71) pitching have been on par with each other but the later has been better in June (2.19/4.93). Still, Keys starters enjoyed a strong May (2.71 ERA) and delivered 23 first half quality starts (the team had only seven in the first-half last year). At the plate, Frederick tied for fourth in hitting (.247) a number which has improved thanks to a strong June at the plate (.268) (third-best in the CL this month).

ROAD SWEET HOME: The Keys posted the best first-half road record in the Carolina League (22-13). That includes wins in six of their 10 road sets (6-2-2) and four of their last five series. In their last 10 road games, Frederick is 7-3, while the club has not had a losing roadtrip since late April at Lynchburg (four straight winning trips). In road games, the pitching has been superb (2.74 ERA) giving the Keys the top road ERA in the league (and the only sub-3.00 mark). Additionally, only two current Keys have ERAs above 3.00. On the offensive side though, the orange and black have the worst road hitting mark in the circuit (.234) as only Conor Bierfeldt (.308) and Aderlin Rodriguez (.307) are above .300.

NEW HALF, NEW FACES: With the start of the second half, the Keys receive three new faces. Outfielder DJ Stewart as well as relievers Ryan Meisinger and Garrett Cleavinger join the team from Low-A Delmarva. Baltimore’s first overall pick in the 2015 draft out of Florida State, Stewart was hitting .230 in 62 games to go with four homers and 25 RBIs. He did walk 42 times though (tied for third) and was batting .266 in his first 17 June games. Meisinger and Cleavinger were both SAL midseason all-stars. In 16 games, Meisinger went 3-2 with a 0.78 ERA and held opponents to a .189 average. A southpaw, Cleavinger was 5-0 with four saves and a 1.38 ERA in 17 games. Both pitchers were in the top five in the SAL in SO/9IP while Cleavinger was fifth in fewest baserunners/9IP (8.54).

 WRAPPING UP THE ALL STAR GAME: Matthew Grimes, Jonah Heim and Aderlin Rodriguez all participated in Tuesday’s Carolina v California League All-Star game in Lake Elsinore, CA. Heim started at catcher, going 1-for-3, while Rodriguez was the DH, ending 1-for-4 while batting in the five-hole. Grimes pitched a 1-2-3 second inning on just seven pitches (six strikes). The Carolina League won 6-4 as Potomac’s Andrew Stevenson and Salem’s Mauricio Duban each had two RBIs apiece. The day before the all-star game, Rodriguez competed in the home run derby on the USS Midway. Making it to the final round, the Keys first baseman was outdone by Bakersfield’s Kyle Petty, who homered seven times in 10 swings (as opposed to Rodriguez’s four homers in the last round).

DDS AND ENDS: Sunday’s 12-6 win ended a streak of five straight one-run games (season-high) played by the Keys. Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph was transferred on his MLB rehab to Double-A Bowie on Tuesday in three games with the Keys he went 4-for-10 with a homer and three RBIs. Jonah Heim owns a season-best six-game hitting streak (he is 9-for-22 during that stretch with four doubles, three RBIs and a run scored). That has moved his average to a season-best .246. Aderlin Rodriguez played outfield for the first time in 665 pro games Sunday. Jay Gonzalez is still tied for fourth in the MiLB in steals despite going 11 games without a swipe (his longest drought of the year). Cam Kneeland celebrated his 26th birthday on Thursday.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Right-hander Anyelo Leclerc makes his Salem Red Sox debut on Friday night in game two. The righty was promoted to the Sox on Thursday from Low-A Greenville. A SAL South All-Star selection he pitched 0.1 of an inning in Tuesday’s game. Used exclusively in relief, Leclerc went 3-1 with eight saves (eight tries) and a 1.77 ERA in 21 games. Logging 40.2 innings, he allowed eight earned runs, walked 12 and struck out 42 while opponents batted .174 against him. He registered six straight saves before his call-up and has not given up a run in his last 12.1 innings. No stranger to Advanced-A, Leclerc spent most of 2015 with Advanced-A High Desert (Rangers). In 29 relief outings, he was 3-3 with a 5.52 ERA, he also made one relief appearance at Double-A Frisco. Originally signed by the Rangers in July 2010, Leclerc was selected by Boston in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 draft on December 10. He is the brother of Jose Leclerc, who pitched for Myrtle Beach in 2014 (then a Rangers affiliate). Jose now pitches for Texas’ Triple-A club in Round Rock.

 

The Second Half Starts Today!

Hello Keys Fans!

The all-star break is over and the second-half gets underway this evening at LewisGale Field! For the second straight year, the orange and black will kickoff their final 70 game jaunt against the Salem Red Sox. Frederick will be in town until Sunday, before heading home to begin a seven-game homestand against the Red Sox and Carolina Mudcats next week.

After a rough April where the team ended the month nine below .500 (7-16) the Keys rebounded in a major way, finishing the first half 36-34. It marked the first time the club had finished a half over .500 since 2012 (when the club wrapped up the second half 35-34).

Tonight, the orange and black try and get things off on the right foot as right-hander Cory Jones takes the mound against Red Sox righty Michael Kopech. First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m and we’ll have the pregame show at 6:50 on 1450 AM the Source, frederickkeys.com and the TuneIn Radio App (simply search WTHU).

Today’s notes are below. Shake your Keys!

Geoff

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Thursday, June 23, 2016 · Game #71 · Road Game #36

Frederick Keys (36-34/0-0) vs. Salem Red Sox (43-26/0-0)

RHP Cory Jones (2-3, 2.65) vs. RHP Michael Kopech (0-0, –)

KEYS OVERPOWER HILLCATS IN FIRST HALF FINALE: The Frederick Keys scored in six of their eight trips to bat and turned in four multi-run innings as the club doubled up the Lynchburg Hillcats 12-6 on Sunday afternoon at Nymeo Field. With the victory, the Keys finished the first half with a 36-34 record, the first time the Keys have finished above .500 in a half since 2012 (they went 35-34 in the second half). Frederick scored four of the first six runs, thanks in part to a Caleb Joseph solo homer and a Cam Kneeland two-run double. In the fourth, Lynchburg grabbed a 5-4 lead on a Mark Mathias three-run homer, but Frederick responded with three in the home fourth. Wynston Sawyer drove in two with a single, while the base knock by Conor Bierfeldt made it 7-4 Keys. In their last two at bats, the Keys pounded out eight hits and added five more runs. Trevor Belicek got the win delivering four shutout innings of two-hit baseball.

ATTACK OF THE BATS: Frederick’s offense turned in one of its best offensive showings of the season in the first half finale, posting 12 runs and 15 hits. The 15 hits equaled a season-high (set previously on April 16 against Lynchburg) while the 12 runs were the second-most the club had scored in a game this year. The 12 runs also equaled the Keys output in the previous five games combined. In the game, all nine starters had at least one hit, five had multiple hits and six had an RBI. Aderlin Rodriguez led everyone with three hits (3-for-5-seventh three-hit game of year) while Cam Kneeland and Wynston Sawyer each had three RBIs.

WRAPPING UP THE FIRST HALF: Thanks to Sunday’s win, the Keys snapped a string of six consecutive losing halves. A pretty solid accomplishment considering the team was a season-worst nine games below .500 (7-16) at the end of April. Pitching has been a big reason for the club’s success. Through 70 games, the team has a 3.69 ERA, the third-best mark in the league (behind only Myrtle Beach and Lynchburg). Starting (3.68) and relief (3.71) pitching have been on par with each other but the later has been better in June (2.19/4.93). Still, Keys starters enjoyed a strong May (2.71 ERA) and delivered 23 first half quality starts (the team had only seven in the first-half last year). At the plate, Frederick tied for fourth in hitting (.247) a number which has improved thanks to a strong June at the plate (.268) (third-best in the CL this month).

ROAD SWEET HOME: The Keys posted the best first-half road record in the Carolina League (22-13). That includes wins in six of their 10 road sets (6-2-2) and four of their last five series. In their last 10 road games, Frederick is 7-3, while the club has not had a losing roadtrip since late April at Lynchburg (four straight winning trips). In road games, the pitching has been superb (2.74 ERA) giving the Keys the top road ERA in the league (and the only sub-3.00 mark). Additionally, only two current Keys have ERAs above 3.00. On the offensive side though, the orange and black have the worst road hitting mark in the circuit (.234) as only Conor Bierfeldt (.308) and Aderlin Rodriguez (.307) are above .300.

 WRAPPING UP THE ALL STAR GAME: Matthew Grimes, Jonah Heim and Aderlin Rodriguez all participated in Tuesday’s Carolina v California League All-Star game in Lake Elsinore, CA. Heim started at catcher, going 1-for-3, while Rodriguez was the DH, ending 1-for-4 while batting in the five-hole. Grimes pitched a 1-2-3 second inning on just seven pitches (six strikes). The Carolina League won 6-4 as Potomac’s Andrew Stevenson and Salem’s Mauricio Duban each had two RBIs apiece. The day before the all-star game, Rodriguez competed in the home run derby on the USS Midway. Making it to the final round, the Keys first baseman was outdone by Bakersfield’s Kyle Petty, who homered seven times in 10 swings (as opposed to Rodriguez’s four homers in the last round).

ODDS AND ENDS: Sunday’s 12-6 win ended a streak of five straight one-run games (season-high) played by the Keys. Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph was transferred on his MLB rehab to Double-A Bowie on Tuesday in three games with the Keys he went 4-for-10 with a homer and three RBIs. Jonah Heim owns a season-best six-game hitting streak (he is 9-for-22 during that stretch with four doubles, three RBIs and a run scored). That has moved his average to a season-best .246. Aderlin Rodriguez played outfield for the first time in 665 pro games Sunday. Jay Gonzalez is still tied for fourth in the MiLB in steals despite going 11 games without a swipe (his longest drought of the year). Cam Kneeland celebrates his 26th birthday today against the Salem Red Sox. The parent club of the Boston Red Sox, Kneeland grew up rooting for Boston as a kid.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Michael Kopech makes his Advanced-A debut on Thursday and his second start of the year. The right-hander is rated as the No.5 prospect in the Red Sox according to Baseball America, while his fastball and slider are the best pitches of their kinds according to the publication’s “best tools survey.” Kopech’s only outing of the year came last Friday with the Short-Season Lowell Spinners. Facing Vermont, the 20-year-old tossed 4.1 scoreless innings of four-hit baseball in a no-decision. He struck out four, but also walked four and threw three wild pitches (a career-worst). Seen as a strong candidate to open the year at Salem, Kopech opened the year on the disabled list after breaking his right hand during a fight with a roommate in spring training. Not his only mistake as a professional, Kopech saw his season came to an end following a 50-game suspension for testing positive for the stimulant Oxilofrine. Before the positive test, he was one of the South Atlantic League’s top arms, going 4-5 with a 2.63 ERA in 16 games (15 starts).  Before his suspension he was 2-0 with a 1.83 ERA in four second half starts. Kopech was originally selected by the Red Sox in the first round (33rd overall) of the 2014 draft out of Mount Pleasant (TX) High School, going 3-0 with a 0.44 ERA as a senior. He committed to play baseball at Arizona but elected to sign with the Red Sox.

The First Half Concludes Today!

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Sunday, June 19, 2016 · Game #70 · Home Game #35

Frederick Keys (35-34) vs. Lynchburg Hillcats (45-24)

RHP Lucas Long (4-4, 3.88) vs. RHP Mitch Brown (2-4, 4.25)

                                                                                                                                                              

BIG FOURTH, STRONG RELIEF LEAD KEYS PAST HILLCATS: The Frederick Keys batted around in the second and utilized strong relief pitching from Tanner Chleborad and Tanner Scott to defeat the Lynchburg Hillcats 4-3 on Saturday night at Nymeo Field. The win also got the Keys back over .500 with only one game remaining in the first half. Lynchburg starter Justus Sheffield saw things go array in the second, as 10 Keys came to bat against the CL all-star. Jonah Heim got the Keys on the board with a double, while Erick Salcedo followed with a bounce out to the right side that plated Cam Kneeland. From there Sheffield struck out Anthony Caronia, but could not get another out, as RBI singles by Caleb Joseph and Wynston Sawyer followed by a walk to Aderlin Rodriguez ended the left-hander’s night. Lynchburg chipped away scoring singles runs in the third, fourth and sixth innings, with two coming on solo homers by Yu-Cheng Chang and Anthony Santander. However Chleborad stranded the tying and go-ahead runs on base in the sixth, while Scott pitched 2.2 scoreless innings for the save.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?: Although the Keys cannot earn a playoff spot, the team does have some motivation entering game #70 in the first half. Namely, the Keys are trying to post their first winning half since 2012 (when the team ended the second half with a 35-34 record). It would also be Frederick’s first winning first half since 2011 (That year the team went a league-best 41-28). With the victory on Saturday though, the Keys will finish at least .500, snapping a string of six consecutive halves with sub-even marks.

CLOSE CALLS: On Saturday night the Keys played yet another one-run game. The the orange and black have played five consecutive contests hinging on one run, but before last night had not won a one-run affair since Tuesday (the Keys lost three prior). The five straight one-run games are easily the most the Keys have played consecutively, as previously the orange and black had played back-to-back one-run games three times. As some additional perspective, Frederick played the second-most one-run games in the league last year (43) but never played more than three straight one-run games. Overall the Keys are 7-9 in games coming down to one marker which places them sixth out of eight in the CL.   

ROAD SWEET HOME: While the Keys may hold the best road record in the Carolina League (22-13) it has been a different story at home. Even with the win last night, the team is 13-21 at home. That is the third-worst mark in the league with only Winston-Salem and Wilmington (12-22) faring worse. Home games against Lynchburg have been particularly problematic, with Frederick going 1-6. In first half road tilts, the Keys batted just .234, but the pitching staff was stellar, recording a 2.74 ERA. Both marks are flipped at Nymeo Field (.255 batting average/4.62 ERA).

MOMENTARY OFFENSIVE BOOST: The four-run second inning was a nice lift for the Keys, who had managed only three combined runs in their previous three games. After the second though, the Keys were held to only two hits the rest of the way (it was originally one, but a postgame scoring change gave Cam Kneeland a third inning single). During that time 17 of the last 19 Keys were retired. Lynchburg also outhit the Keys 9-7, giving the Keys a rare win when finishing with fewer knocks than their opponent (4-25). In the last four games, Frederick is batting a collective .239 (27-for-113) and has no more than eight hits during that stretch.   

JOSEPH JOINS KEYS ON MLB REHAB: Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph joined the Keys on a Major League rehab assignment on Friday. He is recovering from a testicular injury suffered on May 30 against Boston. Playing in game one of Friday’s doubleheader and in Saturday’s contest, the O’s catcher has gone a combined 2-for-6 with two RBIs. Both of his hits came on Saturday when he went 2-for-4 with an RBI single. A member of the 2009 Keys, Joseph becomes the fifth MLB rehabber to suit up for the club this year, joining Kevin Gausman and Yovani Gallardo as well as former Orioles Jimmy Paredes and Brian Matusz. Joseph celebrated his 30th birthday on Saturday night.

HEY NOW YOU’RE AN ALL STAR: Three Keys players were named Carolina League midseason all-stars last Wednesday. Matthew Grimes, Aderlin Rodriguez and Jonah Heim will participate in this year’s Carolina League-California League All Star Game on Tuesday, June 21 at 9:30 EDT. The game will he played at the home of the Lake Elsinore Storm (Padres). Grimes receives his first pro all-star nod following a stellar first half on the mound. In 13 games he is 7-4 with a 1.55 ERA and recently wrapped up a 28-inning scoreless streak. Rodriguez earns an all-star nod in his first CL season thanks to robust power numbers. In 61 games, he is batting .275 with 10 homers, 40 RBIs, 11 doubles and three triples. He has racked up 113 total bases and a .471 slugging percentage. Heim makes his first pro all-star game appearance. He leads all league catchers in caught stealing percentage (33.3%).

ODDS AND ENDS: Saturday’s crowd of 9,216 was the club’s largest of the season. The Keys went 3-for-9 with RISP on Saturday after going 1-for-17 in their previous three contests. Jonah Heim is 7-for-18 in his last five games and has pushed his average to .241, the highest it has been since May 25. Aderlin Rodriguez is penciled to play leftfield on Sunday, his first pro start in the outfield (he has only ever played first and third). Jay Gonzalez is still tied for fourth in the MiLB in steals despite going 10 games without a swipe (his longest drought of the year).

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Right-hander Mitch Brown makes his 14th appearance (13th start) on Sunday and is rated the No. 30 prospect in the Indians system by Baseball America. In his most recent outing on Tuesday against Carolina, he received a no-decision pitching four innings and allowing one run in the first game of a twinbill. The 22-year-old spent all of last season with Lynchburg, where struggled most of the year, going 9-12 with a 5.15 ERA in 27 games (26 starts). He also allowed 15 long balls, the third-highest mark in the Carolina League. Originally from Rochester, Minnesota, Brown was selected by Cleveland in the second round of the 2012 draft after being named Minnesota’s “Gatorade Player of the Year” as a high school senior. He turned down an offer to play college baseball at the University of San Diego.

Keys and Hillcats Get Set to Play Two!

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Friday, June 17, 2016 · Game #66/#67 · Home Game #32/#33

Frederick Keys (34-32) vs. Lynchburg Hillcats (43-23)

G1: RHP Cory Jones (2-2, 3.10) vs. RHP Julian Merryweather (7-2, 0.98)

 RAIN, RAIN GO AWAY: The Frederick Keys and Lynchburg Hillcats were postponed on account of rain Thursday night and will play a Friday doubleheader. It is the fourth doubleheader of the season for the orange and black, but the first against an opponent other than Potomac. In twinbills this season, the Keys are 3-3 (one win, one loss, one split). Lynchburg owns the top doubleheader record in the circuit at 5-1 (two wins, one split). The Hillcats last double-dipper came on Wednesday against Carolina with Lynchburg claiming both ends (7-3/9-4). Frederick’s last doubleheader was at Potomac last Saturday and resulted in a pair of shutout wins (2-0/3-0). In 2015, the Keys and Hillcats played two doubleheaders at Nymeo Field and both, with the orange and black sweeping both.

PELICANS TAKE PITCHING DUEL: The Frederick Keys got a strong effort on the mound, but the Pelicans countered with a strong start from Jake Stinnett and managed one unearned run in a 1-0 win on Wednesday night at TicketReturn.com Field. With the setback, the orange and black saw their five-game winning streak come to a close, while it denied the team a three-game sweep. Held to only five hits, the Pelicans scratched across the game’s lone run in the fourth. Yasiel Balaguert walked with one out and got to second after a throwing error by first baseman Cam Kneeland. Jeffrey Baez then coaxed a walk out of Matthew Grimes to load the bases. One batter later, Balaguert scored on a wild pitch. The Keys left eight aboard on the game and went 1-for-8 in scoring position as Jake Stinnett fired off seven shutout frames and allowed eight hits. Ryan McNeil pitched two scoreless frames to get the save.

CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR: The Keys were denied a season-high six straight wins on Wednesday, but still enjoyed a great roadtrip. Frederick’s five-game run tied a season-high (the Keys also accomplished the feat from May 1-5 against Winston-Salem, Wilmington and Potomac) and got the club to a season-best three games over .500. That feat had not taken place since last May 25. Not a bad accomplishment, considering the Keys were nine games below .500 at one point (the team was 7-16 following a loss on April 30 to Winston-Salem).

ROAD SWEET HOME: No team has enjoyed the road as much as the orange and black in the first half. With the completion of the roadtrip, the Keys went 22-13 away from the friendly confines, giving the team two more road wins than the next-best team (Salem is 20-12). Aside from the Red Sox, no other club has reached 20 road wins this year. Although the Keys batted just .234 in first-half road games, the pitching staff was stellar, recording a 2.74 ERA. Both marks are flipped at Nymeo Field (.257 batting average/4.82 ERA).

WHAT’S AT STAKE?: Even though Lynchburg has already claimed the first-half CL North title, the Keys have several things to play for in the upcoming four-game set. Namely, the Keys are trying to post their first winning half since 2012 (when the team ended the second half with a 35-34 record). It would also be Frederick’s first winning first half since 2011 (That year the team went a league-best 41-28). To stay over .500, the Keys must take at least two against Lynchburg. Taking care of business against the Hillcats has been a challenge though. In eight head-to-head matchups against their Virginia rival, Frederick is 1-7, their worst head-to-head mark against any CL club. In their only visit to Nymeo Field, the Hillcats earned a four-game sweep (the first by an opponent on Stadium Drive since June 2014) while two wins would give Lynchburg the season-series (the Keys and Hillcats have only two four-game sets scheduled in the second-half).

PITCHING KEEPS BRINGING IT: Despite being saddled with the loss in the series finale at Myrtle Beach, Keys pitching did a fine job again, allowing one unearned run and only five hits. In their last six games, Frederick arms have posted a 1.29 ERA (49 IP/11R/7ER/38H). In all six games, the Keys starter has not allowed any more than two earned runs. Frederick relief pitching has remained a point of strength in June as well, tallying a 2.51 ERA (57.1 IP/16ER) in 16 games, after finishing with a 2.65 figure the month prior.

BASHING BIERFELDT: Conor Bierfeldt has been a force to be reckoned with in June. In his first 14 games, he is batting .306 with five home runs, 15 RBIs to go with a .673 slugging percentage and a 1.025 OPS. The five longballs are tied for the Advanced-A lead in June, while the 15 RBIs put him in a tie for second (only Franmil Reyes of Lake Elsinore at 17 has more). On Wednesday Bierfeldt saw a string of four straight games with an RBI come to a close (six total during that time), but he did extend his hitting streak to a season-high five games. Over that stretch he is batting .421 (8-for-19) with two homers, six RBIs and four runs scored.

HEY NOW YOU’RE AN ALL STAR: Three Keys players were named Carolina League midseason all-stars last Wednesday. Matthew Grimes, Aderlin Rodriguez and Jonah Heim will participate in this year’s Carolina League-California League All Star Game on Tuesday, June 21 at 9:30 EDT. The game will he played at the home of the Lake Elsinore Storm (Padres). Grimes receives his first pro all-star nod following a stellar first half on the mound. In 13 games he is 7-4 with a 1.55 ERA and recently wrapped up a 28-inning scoreless streak. Rodriguez earns an all-star nod in his first CL season thanks to robust power numbers. In 61 games, he is batting .272 with 10 homers, 39 RBIs, 11 doubles and two triples. He has racked up 109 total bases and a .464 slugging percentage. Heim makes his first pro all-star game appearance. He leads all league catchers in caught stealing percentage (33.3%).

ODDS AND ENDS: Wednesday marked just the fifth time this season where the Keys had out-hit their opposition and lost (26-5). This season, the Keys are tied for the most shutout wins in the CL (seven) but have been blanked the third-most number of times (six).In his last five games, Wynston Sawyer is hitting .389 (7-for-18). His 34 walks also put him just outside the CL’s top five. Since a six-game hitting streak from June 2-7, Jay Gonzalez is 2 for 25 in his last seven contests and does not have a steal during that time.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Julian Merryweather makes his 11th start of the season on Thursday and his second against the Keys. Entering with a 0.98 ERA, that figure is the second-best in the MiLB (only West Michigan’s Matt Hall at 0.73 has done better). Merryweather also paces the CL in WHIP (0.89), batting average against (.207) and winning percentage (.778) while he is tied for second in wins. The right-hander’s most recent outing came on Saturday against Myrtle Beach. Working 6.1 innings, he took the loss, allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits. In all 10 of Merryweather’s starts he has surrendered two earned runs or less. The Californian was out from May 23-June 4 due to injury. In his only game against the Keys on April 15, the righty tossed five shutout innings to earn the win, outdueling big league rehabber Kevin Gausman. In his first Advanced-A season, Merryweather pitched for Low-A Lake County last year, finishing 2-3 with a 4.08 ERA in 21 contests (four starts). He was selected in 2014 out of Oklahoma Baptist.

The Final Homestand of the First Half Kicks off Tonight!

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Thursday, June 16, 2016 · Game #66 · Home Game #32

Frederick Keys (34-32) vs. Lynchburg Hillcats (43-23)

RHP Cory Jones (2-2, 3.10) vs. RHP Julian Merryweather (7-2, 0.98)

PELICANS TAKE PITCHING DUEL: The Frederick Keys got a strong effort on the mound, but the Pelicans countered with a strong start from Jake Stinnett and managed one unearned run in a 1-0 win on Wednesday night at TicketReturn.com Field. With the setback, the orange and black saw their five-game winning streak come to a close, while it denied the team a three-game sweep. Held to only five hits, the Pelicans scratched across the game’s lone run in the fourth. Yasiel Balaguert walked with one out and got to second after a throwing error by first baseman Cam Kneeland. Jeffrey Baez then coaxed a walk out of Matthew Grimes to load the bases. One batter later, Balaguert scored on a wild pitch. The Keys left eight aboard on the game and went 1-for-8 in scoring position as Jake Stinnett fired off seven shutout frames and allowed eight hits. Ryan McNeil pitched two scoreless frames to get the save.

CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR: The Keys were denied a season-high six straight wins on Wednesday, but still enjoyed a great roadtrip. Frederick’s five-game run tied a season-high (the Keys also accomplished the feat from May 1-5 against Winston-Salem, Wilmington and Potomac) and got the club to a season-best three games over .500. That feat had not taken place since last May 25. Not a bad accomplishment, considering the Keys were nine games below .500 at one point (the team was 7-16 following a loss on April 30 to Winston-Salem).

ROAD SWEET HOME: No team has enjoyed the road as much as the orange and black in the first half. With the completion of the roadtrip, the Keys went 22-13 away from the friendly confines, giving the team two more road wins than the next-best team (Salem is 20-12). Aside from the Red Sox, no other club has reached 20 road wins this year. Although the Keys batted just .234 in first-half road games, the pitching staff was stellar, recording a 2.74 ERA. Both marks are flipped at Nymeo Field (.257 batting average/4.82 ERA).

WHAT’S AT STAKE?: Even though Lynchburg has already claimed the first-half CL North title, the Keys have several things to play for in the upcoming four-game set. Namely, the Keys are trying to post their first winning half since 2012 (when the team ended the second half with a 35-34 record). It would also be Frederick’s first winning first half since 2011 (That year the team went a league-best 41-28). To stay over .500, the Keys must take at least two against Lynchburg. Taking care of business against the Hillcats has been a challenge though. In eight head-to-head matchups against their Virginia rival, Frederick is 1-7, their worst head-to-head mark against any CL club. In their only visit to Nymeo Field, the Hillcats earned a four-game sweep (the first by an opponent on Stadium Drive since June 2014) while two wins would give Lynchburg the season-series (the Keys and Hillcats have only two four-game sets scheduled in the second-half).

PITCHING KEEPS BRINGING IT: Despite being saddled with the loss in the series finale at Myrtle Beach, Keys pitching did a fine job again, allowing one unearned run and only five hits. In their last six games, Frederick arms have posted a 1.29 ERA (49 IP/11R/7ER/38H). In all six games, the Keys starter has not allowed any more than two earned runs. Frederick relief pitching has remained a point of strength in June as well, tallying a 2.51 ERA (57.1 IP/16ER) in 16 games, after finishing with a 2.65 figure the month prior.

BASHING BIERFELDT: Conor Bierfeldt has been a force to be reckoned with in June. In his first 14 games, he is batting .306 with five home runs, 15 RBIs to go with a .673 slugging percentage and a 1.025 OPS. The five longballs and 15 RBI are both tied for the Advanced-A lead in June. On Wednesday Bierfeldt saw a string of four straight games with an RBI come to a close (six total during that time), but he did extend his hitting streak to a season-high five games. Over that stretch he is batting .421 (8-for-19) with two homers, six RBIs and four runs scored.

HEY NOW YOU’RE AN ALL STAR: Three Keys players were named Carolina League midseason all-stars last Wednesday. Matthew Grimes, Aderlin Rodriguez and Jonah Heim will participate in this year’s Carolina League-California League All Star Game on Tuesday, June 21 at 9:30 EDT. The game will he played at the home of the Lake Elsinore Storm (Padres). Grimes receives his first pro all-star nod following a stellar first half on the mound. In 13 games he is 7-4 with a 1.55 ERA and recently wrapped up a 28-inning scoreless streak. Rodriguez earns an all-star nod in his first CL season thanks to robust power numbers. In 61 games, he is batting .272 with 10 homers, 39 RBIs, 11 doubles and two triples. He has racked up 109 total bases and a .464 slugging percentage. Heim makes his first pro all-star game appearance. He leads all league catchers in caught stealing percentage (33.3%).

ODDS AND ENDS: Wednesday marked just the fifth time this season where the Keys had out-hit their opposition and lost (26-5). This season, the Keys are tied for the most shutout wins in the CL (seven) but have been blanked the third-most number of times (six).In his last five games, Wynston Sawyer is hitting .389 (7-for-18). His 34 walks also put him just outside the CL’s top five. Mike Burke retired the first 21 batters in faced to start his Advanced-A career, before allowing a single to Daniel Spingola single in the ninth on Tuesday. Since a six-game hitting streak from June 2-7, Jay Gonzalez is 2 for 25 in his last seven contests and does not have a steal during that time.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Julian Merryweather makes his 11th start of the season on Thursday and his second against the Keys. Entering with a 0.98 ERA, that figure is the second-best in the MiLB (only West Michigan’s Matt Hall at 0.73 has done better). Merryweather also paces the CL in WHIP (0.89), batting average against (.207) and winning percentage (.778) while he is tied for second in wins. The right-hander’s most recent outing came on Saturday against Myrtle Beach. Working 6.1 innings, he took the loss, allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits. In all 10 of Merryweather’s starts he has surrendered two earned runs or less. The Californian was out from May 23-June 4 due to injury. In his only game against the Keys on April 15, the righty tossed five shutout innings to earn the win, outdueling big league rehabber Kevin Gausman. In his first Advanced-A season, Merryweather pitched for Low-A Lake County last year, finishing 2-3 with a 4.08 ERA in 21 contests (four starts). He was selected in 2014 out of Oklahoma Baptist.

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