The Keys Begin an Important Series in Woodbridge!

Good Evening Keys Fans!

Following a 4-3 homestand, the Keys begin a critical three-game series with the Potomac Nationals on Friday night at Pfitzner Stadium. The orange and black enter tonight’s action 6.5 games back back can move within 3.5 of first place with a sweep.

Frederick took 2 of 3 during its series with the PNats last weekend and won 4 of 5 in its last journey to the Pfitz.

Tonight Franderlin Romero starts for the Keys and will be opposed by Nationals knuckleballer J.D. Martin who worked six innings last Sunday, his longest outing of the season.

First pitch is slated for 7:05 and Doug has the call on 1450 AM The Source, frederickkeys.com and the TuneIn radio app (search WTHU).

Tonight’s notes are below. Shake your Keys!

Geoff

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Friday, August 19, 2016 · Game #124 · Road Game #64

Frederick Keys (61-62/25-28) vs. Potomac Nationals (66-56/32-22)

 RHP Franderlin Romero (5-4, 6.06) vs. RHP J.D. Martin (0-0, 4.50)

                                                                                                                                                              

KEYS AND HILLCATS SPLIT SECOMD TWINBILL: The Frederick Keys fell to the Lynchburg Hillcats 7-4 in game one of a Thursday doubleheader, before bouncing back with a 6-5 victory in the nightcap at Nymeo Field. With the split of the twinbill and a Potomac loss, the Keys are now within 6.5 games of first with 17 games left. In the front-end of the twinbill, the Keys rallied back from a 4-2 deficit to tie things in the fifth. Steve Wilkerson opened the inning with a home run, while three straight two-out singles made it even. Lynchburg quickly broke this tie, scoring three times in the top of the sixth. Yonathan Mendoza brought in the go-ahead run and Mark Mathias added a two-run single for insurance. Lynchburg jumped out to a 3-0 after one inning in game two, as Mitch Horacek last only 0.2 of an inning. From there, the Keys scored six unanswered runs. An Erick Salcedo single tied things in the fourth, while the orange and black added two runs in the fifth on a fielder’s choice and a wild pitch. Frederick got one more run in the sixth before curtailing a final rally by Lynchburg in the seventh.

IMPORTANT SERIES AT THE PFITZ: With a split of the team’s four-game set and five straight losses by the Potomac Nationals, the Keys are within 6.5 games of first place in the CL North for the first time since August 1. This deficit could shrink to 3.5 games with a sweep of the P-Nats, a club that the Keys hold a 10-8 record against this year. This includes a series victory last weekend at Nymeo Field (Keys took two of three). Tonight marks the Keys first visit to Pfitzner Stadium since June 9-12. A five-game set, the Keys won four of those games and have gone 5-3 in Woodbridge this year.

DIGGING EARLY HOLES: Although Frederick went 4-3 during its homestand, in EVERY game the Keys played from behind. In the seven games, opponents scored 15 first inning runs, while in six of the seven games opponents scored multiple runs. This season the Keys are 19-40 when their opponents scores first as opposed to 42-22 when netting the first run.

HOME RUN HAPPY: Hitting the long ball has been part of the Keys DNA this season. Following a 10-game drought where the Keys had only two homers, the Keys racked up 12 during the seven-game homestand. This included at least one longball in six of the seven contests. Last Friday, Frederick set a new season-high for home runs in a game (four) while the team possesses two of the league’s top five home run hitters. Aderlin Rodriguez is second with 21 bombs and Conor Bierfeldt is fifth with 15 (despite missing a month while at Double-A Bowie). For the season, the Keys have hit 100 homers, placing them second in the CL (Lynchburg has 118).

MCFARLAND MAKES SECOND REHAB START: After giving up three runs in one-third of an inning on Tuesday, Orioles reliever, T.J. McFarland made a second rehab appearance with the Keys on Thursday. Getting the start in game one, the lefty allowed two runs on three hits in two innings. His third overall rehab outing (he also pitched one game with the GCL Orioles) McFarland is recovering from left knee inflammation and has been on the disabled list since June 30 (retroactive to June 29).

MERCEDES GOES TURBO: Following an inauspicious 0-for-15 start at the plate to start his Keys tenure, Yermin Mercedes took off during the homestand. In seven games, he went 10-for-23 with four homers, two doubles, eight RBIs and seven runs scored. Mercedes has scored a run in five straight games and has multiple hits in four of those seven contests. In the process, he has jolted his average from .125 to .255. Before joining the orange and black, Mercedes was hitting .353 with 14 home runs and 60 RBIs for Low-A Delmarva. With the Shorebirds, he was named the South Atlantic League Player of the Month for July.

ALL I DO IS WYNN, WYNN, WYNN: In addition to his strong work behind the plate, Austin Wynns has been a big offensive contributor since returning from Triple-A Norfolk on August 2. Currently in the middle of a seven-game hitting streak, Wynns has hit .339 (20-for-59) with a homer, three doubles, five RBIs and six runs scored in 16 games since returning. That includes five multi-hit games and two three-hit contests. This year, Wynns has split time between the Keys (44 games), Double-A Bowie (21 games) and Triple-A Norfolk (four games). Collectively, he is hitting .274 with five home runs and 30 RBIs to go with 30 runs scored.

ROSTER MOVEMENT: There have been a myriad of roster changes over the last several days. On Tuesday, Jeff Beliveau was promoted to the Double-A Bowie Baysox. Overall, 14 Keys players have received call-ups to Double-A or Triple-A this year. In 27 games, Beliveau went 4-0 with a 2.40 ERA and allowed only one earned run in his final 22.1 innings. In other moves, outfielder Jay Gonzalez has returned from the Baysox and Wynston Sawyer has been reinstated from the 7-day DL.

LITTLE HELP!: Over the last 23 games, the orange and black have committed multiple errors eight times, while they have made 33 during that stretchDue to these errors, 23 of the last 122 runs charged against Keys pitching have been unearned. Currently the Keys are sixth in the CL in fielding percentage (.971) and are tied for second in errors (131) with Carolina. Only Wilmington (134) has made more.

ODDS AN ENDS: J.D. Martin makes his second start with the Nationals on Friday. This will be his sixth overall appearance of the year, after he started the season with the GCL Nationals and the Low-A Hagerstown Suns. His most recent outing came against the Keys on Sunday. Receiving a no-decision, Martin tossed six innings and allowed three runs on three hits. He walked four and struck out four while throwing a wild pitch. The six inning start was his longest outing of the year. Starting his career as a conventional pitcher with the Cleveland Indians organization (he was a first round pick in 2001-35th overall) Martin got to the Majors with Washington in 2009 and part of 2010. He has since converted to a knuckleballer and throws the pitch 85% of the time according to a recent MASN article. He started throwing the pitch as a kid and got better while alongside now Red Sox knuckleballer Steve Wright.  This is the first time the 33-year-old has pitched in the Carolina League since 2006 when he was playing for Kinston.

One More Doubleheader With Lynchburg!

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Wednesday, August 17, 2016 · Game #122 · Home Game #59

Frederick Keys (60-61/24-27) vs. Lynchburg Hillcats (75-47/30-22)

 G1: LHP T.J. McFarland (0-0, 81.00) vs. RHP Brock Hartson (1-1, 5.91)

                                                                                                                                                              

ANOTHER TWINBILL: For the second time in three nights, the Frederick Keys and Lynchburg Hillcats were postponed due to rain. The two sides will complete their series (and season series) as part of a Thursday doubleheader starting at 4:30 p.m. This will mark the third doubleheader the Keys have played in August, while the team will play at least four this month (Frederick and Salem play a twinbill at LewisGale Field on August 27). Overall the Keys have played seven doubleheaders this year and hold a 5-9 record (one win, three losses, three split). Only Carolina has fared worse (8-16). Against Lynchburg in doubleheaders, Frederick has one loss and one split.

KEYS AND CATS SPLIT DOUBLEHEADER: The Frederick Keys split a Tuesday doubleheader against the Lynchburg Hillcats at Nymeo Field. In game one, Lynchburg utilized outstanding relief from Matt Whitehouse to curtail the Keys offense and lift the visitors to a 5-3 win. It was a different story in game two, as Jordan Milbrath surrendered six runs and the Keys batted around to take the nightcap 9-6. With the split of the doubleheader and Potomac losses on Tuesday and Wednesday, the Keys are seven games behind their CL North rival for first. After both teams posted three-run frames within the first two innings of game one, Whitehouse came on and retired all 12 he faced. Lynchburg added individual markers in the fourth and sixth, while Trevor Frank pitched the final 1.1 innings to close things out. In game two, the Hillcats led 5-2 after 5.5, but Frederick sent 12 to bat in the home sixth. Aderlin Rodriguez collected the decisive blow, with a two-run single to center.

QUITE AN INNING: Tuesday’s sixth inning was one of the best of the season for the Keys. Of the 12 men who came to bat, seven recorded a hit, setting a new season-high for hits in an inning by the orange and black. In the previous five innings, the Keys had only four combined hits. The six runs were one short of a season-high, while the back-to-back homers by Wynns and Mercedes marked the fourth time this year the Keys had gone back-to-back.

HOME ON THE RANGE: Although Frederick’s odds for a playoff spot remain long, the club will play 12 of its remaining 19 games at home, a venue where the Keys hold a 12-11 record since the all-star break. This marks the final time the Keys will see Lynchburg during the regular season. Overall, 9 of the final 12 Keys home games will be against intra-division competition (four against Wilmington, two against Lynchburg, three against Potomac). The Keys are 27-28 this year against intra-division competition. Unfortunately, 12 of the 28 losses have come to the Hillcats.

MERCEDES GOES TURBO: Following an inauspicious 0-for-15 start at the plate, Yermin Mercedes has been on fire over the Keys homestand. In five games, he is 9-for-18 with three homers, two doubles, seven RBIs and five runs scored. Mercedes has multiple hits in four of those five games, while he has jolted his average from .125 to .260. Before joining the orange and black, Mercedes was hitting .353 with 14 home runs and 60 RBIs for Low-A Delmarva. With the Shorebirds, he was named the South Atlantic League Player of the Month for July.

ALL I DO IS WYNN, WYNN, WYNN: In addition to his strong work behind the plate, Austin Wynns has been a big offensive contributor since returning from Triple-A Norfolk on August 2. Currently in the middle of a five-game hitting streak, Wynns has hit .346 (18-for-52) with a homer, seven doubles, five RBIs and six runs scored in 13 games since returning. That includes five multi-hit games and two three-hit contests. This year, Wynns has split time between the Keys (42 games), Double-A Bowie (21 games) and Triple-A Norfolk (four games). Collectively, he is hitting .274 with five home runs and 30 RBIs to go with 30 runs scored.

MCFARLAND STRUGGLES IN FIRST REHAB OUTING, GETS BALL THURSDAY: T.J. McFarland started game one of Tuesday’s doubleheader and recorded only one out. Pitching on an MLB rehab assignment, the lefty gave up three runs on four hits in one-third of an inning. This included back-to-back homers by Francisco Mejia and Anthony Santander. McFarland is recovering from left knee inflammation and has been on the disabled list since June 30 (retroactive to June 29). On Thursday, McFarland will start game one, with David Richardson following in relief. McFarland started his rehab assignment last week, and made his first start with the GCL Orioles last Wednesday. Facing the GCL Twins, the lefty tossed three scoreless innings and did not allow a hit. He walked one and struck out one. In 15 relief appearances for the O’s this year, McFarland is 2-2 with a 5.63 ERA (24 IP/15R/30H/.326 BAA). He also pitched in five games with Triple-A Norfolk, going 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA. He will be facing his former organization, the Indians. Selected from Cleveland in the Rule 5 draft in December 2012, McFarland last pitched in the Carolina League in 2011.

 NYMEO FIELD READY FOR LAUNCH: After hitting just two homers as a team in the 10 games before this homestand, the Keys have hit eight in the last four contests. Three of those have come from Yermin Mercedes. For the season, the Keys have hit 96 home runs, giving them the second-most in the CL. Lynchburg paces the CL with 116 (they hit five in the doubleheader yesterday). The Keys and Hillcats have four of the league’s top five home run hitters on their rosters.

ROSTER MOVEMENT: There have been a myriad of roster changes over the last several days. On Tuesday, Jeff Beliveau was promoted to the Double-A Bowie Baysox. Overall, 14 Keys players have received call-ups to Double-A or Triple-A this year. In 27 games, Beliveau went 4-0 with a 2.40 ERA and allowed only one earned run in his final 22.1 innings. In other moves, outfielder Jay Gonzalez has returned from the Baysox and Wynston Sawyer has been reinstated from the 7-day DL.

LITTLE HELP!: Over the last 21 games, the orange and black have committed multiple errors seven times, while they have made 31 during that stretchDue to these errors, 20 of the last 110 runs charged against Keys pitching have been unearned. Currently the Keys are sixth in the CL in fielding percentage (.971) but have committed the second-most errors in the loop. Only Wilmington (132) has made more.

RODRIGUEZ REGAINS FORM: After enduring a recent 0-for-17 slump, Aderlin Rodriguez has hit safely in five of his last six games. Despite losing a five-game hitting streak in game one Tuesday (0-for-2) Rodriguez is still batting .407 (11-for-27) in his last six games with two homers, a double, seven RBIs and six runs scored. He is within two RBIs of his career-best and three homers away his personal-high (24). He set both figures in 2012 while splitting time between Low-A Savannah and St. Lucie (Mets)

ODDS AN ENDS: The Potomac Nationals enter tonight losers of their last four games. Jomar Reyes batted in the cleanup spot for the first time all season in game one Tuesday. He is batting .208 in 14 August games and only .219 in the second-half (this includes 40 strikeouts in 169 at-bats). Erick Salcedo has hit safely in 21 of his last 24 games, during which time he has raised his average from .271 to .276 (only four of those games have been multi-hit efforts).

TODAY’S OPPOSING STARTER (GAME 1): Brock Hartson makes his 23rd appearance and his 13th start on Wednesday night, while this will be his third start with Lynchburg. The right-hander’s most recent outing came last Thursday at Potomac. Tossing six innings, he gave up two runs on five hits to pick up the win (his first in the Carolina League. Called up to Lynchburg on August 2, Hartson made 20 appearances (10 starts) with Low-A Lake County, going 7-5 with a 2.86 ERA. Pitching 94.1 innings, the righty had a BB/9IP ratio of 1.9 (it is 3.4 in two starts with the Hillcats). Selected in the 21st round by the Indians last year, Hartson attended UTSA where he was their Friday night starter. Following Tommy John surgery he won 22 games in three years (he was 6-4 with a 3.54 ERA for the Roadrunners in his final season).

TODAY’S OPPOSING STARTER (GAME 2): Sean Brady makes his 23rd appearance and his 22nd start on Thursday. He last pitched last Friday against Winston-Salem. Tagged with the loss, he gave up six runs (five earned) on 12 hits in five innings. After a great July where he had a 2.01 ERA in five games, Brady’s ERA is 7.88 this month. Brady leads the CL in hits allowed (149). Against the Keys he is 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA. Brady spent all of 2015 at Low-A Lake County. His third professional season, he went 7-12 with a 3.81 ERA in 26 starts. Logging 146.1 innings (a season-high and fourth in the Midwest League) the Floridian gave up 151 hits, walked 29 and struck out 118. Selected by the Indians in the fifth round of the 2013 draft out of Ida Baker High School, Brady was a third team All-American and recorded a 0.74 ERA as a high school senior. Originally committed to play baseball at the University of Florida, Brady signed with Cleveland after receiving an $800,000 signing bonus. Brady hails from Cape Coral, Florida, located in the Fort Myers area and stationed on the Gulf of Mexico. Occasionally known as the “Waterfront Wonderland” Cape Coral contains more than 400 miles of navigable canals, giving the city more miles of canals than anywhere in the world.

The Keys and Hillcats For the Second to Last Time!

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Wednesday, August 17, 2016 · Game #122 · Home Game #59

Frederick Keys (60-61/24-27) vs. Lynchburg Hillcats (75-47/30-22)

 RHP David Richardson (3-5, 4.07) vs. RHP Brock Hartson (1-1, 5.91)

                                                                                                                                                              

KEYS AND HILLCATS RAINED OUT: The Frederick Keys split a Tuesday doubleheader against the Lynchburg Hillcats at Nymeo Field. In game one, Lynchburg utilized outstanding relief from Matt Whitehouse to curtail the Keys offense and lift the visitors to a 5-3 win. It was a different story in game two, as Jordan Milbrath surrendered six runs and the Keys batted around to take the nightcap 9-6. With the split of the doubleheader and a Potomac loss, the orange and black are now within 7.5 games of their CL North rival for first. After both teams posted three-run frames within the first two innings of game one, Whitehouse came on and retired all 12 he faced. Lynchburg added individual markers in the fourth and sixth, while Trevor Frank pitched the final 1.1 innings to close things out. In game two, the Hillcats led 5-2 after 5.5, but Frederick sent 12 to bat in the home sixth. Aderlin Rodriguez collected the decisive blow, with a two-run single to center.

QUITE AN INNING: Tuesday’s sixth inning was one of the best of the season for the Keys. Of the 12 men who came to bat, seven recorded a hit, setting a new season-high for hits in an inning by the orange and black. In the previous five innings, the Keys had only four combined hits. The six runs were one short of a season-high, while the back-to-back homers by Wynns and Mercedes marked the fourth time this year the Keys had gone back-to-back.

HOME ON THE RANGE: Although Frederick’s odds for a playoff spot remain long, the club will play 12 of its remaining 19 games at home, a venue where the Keys hold a 12-11 record since the all-star break. This marks the final time the Keys will see Lynchburg during the regular season. Overall, 9 of the final 12 Keys home games will be against intra-division competition (four against Wilmington, two against Lynchburg, three against Potomac). The Keys are 27-28 this year against intra-division competition. Unfortunately, 12 of the 28 losses have come to the Hillcats.

MERCEDES GOES TURBO: Following an inauspicious 0-for-15 start at the plate, Yermin Mercedes has been on fire over the Keys homestand. In five games, he is 9-for-18 with three homers, two doubles, seven RBIs and five runs scored. Mercedes has multiple hits in four of those five games, while he has jolted his average from .125 to .260. Before joining the orange and black, Mercedes was hitting .353 with 14 home runs and 60 RBIs for Low-A Delmarva. With the Shorebirds, he was named the South Atlantic League Player of the Month for July.

ALL I DO IS WYNN, WYNN, WYNN: In addition to his strong work behind the plate, Austin Wynns has been a big offensive contributor since returning from Triple-A Norfolk on August 2. Currently in the middle of a five-game hitting streak, Wynns has hit .346 (18-for-52) with a homer, seven doubles, five RBIs and six runs scored in 13 games since returning. That includes five multi-hit games and two three-hit contests. This year, Wynns has split time between the Keys (42 games), Double-A Bowie (21 games) and Triple-A Norfolk (four games). Collectively, he is hitting .274 with five home runs and 30 RBIs to go with 30 runs scored.

MCFARLAND STRUGGLES IN REHAB START: T.J. McFarland started game one of Tuesday’s doubleheader and recorded only one out. Pitching on an MLB rehab assignment, the lefty gave up three runs on four hits in one-third of an inning. This included back-to-back homers by Francisco Mejia and Anthony Santander. McFarland is recovering from left knee inflammation and has been on the disabled list since June 30 (retroactive to June 29). McFarland started his rehab assignment last week, and made his first start with the GCL Orioles last Wednesday.

 NYMEO FIELD READY FOR LAUNCH: After hitting just two homers as a team in the 10 games before this homestand, the Keys have hit eight in the last four contests. Three of those have come from Yermin Mercedes. For the season, the Keys have hit 96 home runs, giving them the second-most in the CL. Lynchburg paces the CL with 116 (they hit five in the doubleheader yesterday). The Keys and Hillcats have four of the league’s top five home run hitters on their rosters.

ROSTER MOVEMENT: There have been a myriad of roster changes over the last several days. On Tuesday, Jeff Beliveau was promoted to the Double-A Bowie Baysox, while Garrett Cortright was sent to the Triple-A Norfolk Tides. Overall, 14 Keys players have received call-ups to Double-A or Triple-A this year. In 27 games, Beliveau went 4-0 with a 2.40 ERA and allowed only one earned run in his final 22.1 innings. Cortright was equally as effective, tossing 11.1 frames of scoreless baseball since his return from Double-A. In other moves, outfielder Jay Gonzalez has returned from the Baysox and Wynston Sawyer has been reinstated from the 7-day DL.

LITTLE HELP!: Over the last 21 games, the orange and black have committed multiple errors seven times, while they have made 31 during that stretchDue to these errors, 20 of the last 110 runs charged against Keys pitching have been unearned. Currently the Keys are sixth in the CL in fielding percentage (.971) but have committed the second-most errors in the loop. Only Wilmington (132) has made more.

RODRIGUEZ REGAINS FORM: After enduring a recent 0-for-17 slump, Aderlin Rodriguez has hit safely in five of his last six games. Despite losing a five-game hitting streak in game one Tuesday (0-for-2) Rodriguez is still batting .407 (11-for-27) in his last six games with two homers, a double, seven RBIs and six runs scored. He is within two RBIs of his career-best and three homers away his personal-high (24). He set both figures in 2012 while splitting time between Low-A Savannah and St. Lucie (Mets)

ODDS AN ENDS: The Potomac Nationals enter tonight losers of their last three games. Jomar Reyes batted in the cleanup spot for the first time all season in game one. He is batting .208 in 14 August games and only .219 in the second-half (this includes 40 strikeouts in 169 at-bats). Erick Salcedo has hit safely in 21 of his last 24 games, during which time he has raised his average from .271 to .276 (only four of those games have been multi-hit efforts).

TODAY’S OPPOSING STARTER: Brock Hartson makes his 23rd appearance and his 13th start on Wednesday night, while this will be his third start with Lynchburg. The right-hander’s most recent outing came last Thursday at Potomac. Tossing six innings, he gave up two runs on five hits to pick up the win (his first in the Carolina League. Called up to Lynchburg on August 2, Hartson made 20 appearances (10 starts) with Low-A Lake County, going 7-5 with a 2.86 ERA. Pitching 94.1 innings, the righty had a BB/9IP ratio of 1.9 (it is 3.4 in two starts with the Hillcats). Selected in the 21st round by the Indians last year, Hartson attended UTSA where he was their Friday night starter. Following Tommy John surgery he won 22 games in three years.

Doubleheader Action Tonight!

Good Evening Keys Fans!

Tonight’s doubleheader between the Keys and Lynchburg Hillcats has gotten moved back to 6:30, so while you’re waiting check out tonight’s notes below!

Orioles lefty T.J. McFarland is scheduled to start the first game of our twinbill on an MLB rehab assignment, while Lucas Long gets the nod in game two. To read a little more about McFarland, click here.

Also congrats to Jeff Beliveau and Garrett Cortright on their promotions to Double-A and Triple-A! Click the link to read more about how they have been pitching (both have been outstanding lately).

Doug Raftery and I will have both of tonight’s broadcasts on 1450 AM The Source, frederickkeys.com and the TuneIn Radio App.

Shake your Keys!

Geoff

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Tuesday, August 16, 2016 · Game #120/#121 · Home Game #57/#58

Frederick Keys (59-60/23-26) vs. Lynchburg Hillcats (74-46/29-21)

        G1: LHP T.J. McFarland (0-0, –) vs. LHP Luis Lugo (8-3, 3.56)

                                                                                                                                                              

KEYS AND HILLCATS RAINED OUT: Due to heavy rains, the Frederick Keys and the Lynchburg Hillcats were postponed on Monday night. The two teams will play a doubleheader on Tuesday night starting at 5 p.m. Both games will be seven innings in length. Today will be the seventh true doubleheader the Keys have played this year. During that time, the Keys have gone 4-8 (one win, three losses, two splits). That is the worst doubleheader mark in the CL. Frederick’s most recent twinbill came one week ago at Wilmington, with the Blue Rocks taking both games. Frederick and Lynchburg have played on doubleheader at Nymeo Field this year (June 17), with the Hillcats winning both contests.

WYNNS DOUBLE LIFTS KEYS OVER NATIONALS: An Austin Wynns two-run double broke an eighth inning deadlock to give the Frederick Keys a 5-3 win over the Potomac Nationals on Sunday afternoon at Nymeo Field. The victory gave the Keys the three game set. With the game level at three, Steve Wilkerson coaxed a walk to open the eighth inning. He advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt, before Nationals reliever Jorge Pantoja intentionally walked Aderlin Rodriguez. That sent up Wynns, who lined the first pitch he saw into the leftfield corner. That was one of only four hits in the game for the Keys, while the P-Nats were also held to four knocks.

ALL I DO IS WYNN, WYNN, WYNN: In addition to his strong work behind the plate, Austin Wynns has been a big offensive contributor since returning from Triple-A Norfolk on August 2. Over 12 games since coming back, the former Fresno State product has hit .348 (16-for-46) with two doubles, four RBIs and four runs scored. That includes five multi-hit games and two three-hit contests. This year, Wynns has split time between the Keys (40 games), Double-A Bowie (21 games) and Triple-A Norfolk (four games). Collectively, he is hitting .272 with four home runs and 29 RBIs to go with 28 runs scored.

STRONG DAY FOR THE PEN: After giving up a season-high 19 hits on Friday and 17 more on Saturday (include 15 for extra-bases), Keys pitching answered back on Sunday, giving up only one earned run in nine innings. This included five shutout innings of two-hit baseball from Jeff Beliveau and Ivan Hernandez. After giving up just one earned run in his last 22.2 IP (spanning 12 appearances), Beliveau was promoted to Double-A Bowie on Tuesday.

MCFARLAND TO PITCH FOR KEYS ON MLB REHAB: T.J. McFarland is scheduled to start for the Keys on an MLB rehab assignment in game one Tuesday. He is recovering from left knee inflammation and has been on the disabled list since June 30 (retroactive to June 29). McFarland started his rehab assignment last week, and made his first start with the GCL Orioles last Wednesday. Facing the GCL Twins, the lefty tossed three scoreless innings and did not allow a hit. He walked one and struck out one. In 15 relief appearances for the O’s this year, McFarland is 2-2 with a 5.63 ERA (24 IP/15R/30H/.326 BAA). He also pitched in five games with Triple-A Norfolk, going 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA. He will be facing his former organization, the Indians. Selected from Cleveland in the Rule 5 draft in December 2012, McFarland last pitched in the Carolina League in 2011.

 NYMEO FIELD READY FOR LAUNCH: After hitting just two homers as a team in the 10 games before this homestand, the Keys have hit six in the last two days. This includes a two-homer game by Frederick’s Yermin Mercedes. For the season, the Keys have hit 94 home runs, giving them the second-most in the CL. Tonight, the Keys faceoff against Lynchburg which paces the CL with 111. The Keys and Hillcats have four of the league’s top five home run hitters on their rosters.

LITTLE HELP!: Over the last 19 games, the orange and black have committed multiple errors seven times, while they have made 29 during that stretchDue to these errors, 20 of the last 99 runs charged against Keys pitching have been unearned. Currently the Keys are sixth in the CL in fielding percentage (.971) but are tied with Carolina for the second-most errors made in the league (Wilmington leads the circuit with 129).

HOME ON THE RANGE: Although Frederick’s odds for a playoff spot remain long, the club will play 14 of its remaining 21 games at home, a venue where the Keys hold a 11-10 record since the all-star break. This marks the final time the Keys will see Lynchburg during the regular season. Overall, 11 of the final 14 Keys home games will be against intra-division competition (four against Wilmington, four against Lynchburg, three against Potomac). The Keys are 26-27 this year against intra-division competition. Unfortunately, 11 of the 27 losses have come to the Hillcats.

RODRIGUEZ REGAINS FORM: After enduring a recent 0-for-17 slump, Aderlin Rodriguez has responded with a five-game hitting streak. During that time he is hitting .391 (9-for-23) with two homers, four RBIs, a double and four runs scored. In the process, Rodriguez has gotten his batting average back over .300, while he ranks second in the CL in homers (21), third in average (.302) and fourth in RBIs (78). He is also first in slugging (.524), total bases (226), second in hits (130) and third in extra-base hits (48). Rodriguez is within three homers of his career-high (24) and five within his personal-best for RBIs (83). He set both figures in 2012 while splitting time between Low-A Savannah and St. Lucie (Mets)

CLOSE CALLS: Over the last two and a half weeks, the Keys have constantly been in close games. Of the last 19 contests, 15 have come down to three runs or less, while 10 have been one-run games. Frederick has won four of its last five one-run games. Prior to that, the Keys had dropped five straight one-run affairs. Frederick is 17-18 in one-run games (fifth CL) this year and 11-10 in two-run games (fourth CL).

TODAY’S OPPOSING STARTER: Luis Lugo makes his 23rd start on Monday and his fifth against the Keys. He ranks third in ERA (3.56) fourth in average against (.247) and fifth in WHIP (1.30). The southpaw’s most recent outing came last Wednesday against Potomac. Tossing six shutout innings, Lugo allowed three hits and struck out five but got a no-decision. In four games against the Keys this year, Lugo is 1-2 with a 6.41 ERA. The left-hander spent all of 2015 in Lynchburg, going 8-10 with a 4.15 ERA in 25 starts. He finished third in the league in strikeouts. Two of his outings against the Keys were memorable. Facing the orange and black nearly one year ago (April 13, 2015), Lugo was the starting pitcher in a 16-inning marathon between the two sides (it ended with the Keys winning 5-4). It was one inning short of the longest in franchise history. One other on August 20, came at Lynchburg and featured a seven-inning no-hitter by Keys pitcher Mikey O’Brien. Signed by the Indians as a 16-year-old on February 28, 2011, Lugo made his debut with Cleveland in the Dominican Summer League at 17 years old. To learn English, Lugo taught himself by using an online program called “Ingles Para Todos.”

Keys Try and Take the Rubber Match

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Sunday, August 14, 2016 · Game #119 · Home Game #56

Frederick Keys (58-60/22-26) vs. Potomac Nationals (66-51/32-17)

RHP Jon Keller (0-1, 1.59) vs. RHP J.D. Martin (0-0, –)

                                                                                                                                                              

SIX-RUN NINTH GIVES POTOMAC WIN IN SLUGFEST: The Potomac Nationals extended a one-run lead to a seven-run advantage in the top of the ninth to defeat the Frederick Keys 12-6 on Saturday night at Nymeo Field. In the game Potomac racked up 17 hits to force a Sunday rubber game, while it moved the Keys deficit in the standings to 9.5 games. In their final at-bats, the P-Nats send 10 men to bat, while Mike Zouzalik did not record an out. After a double by Raudy Read and a single by Alec Keller, Drew Vettleson hit a three-run homer to make it 9-5. Following a walk and a double, Bryan Mejia tripled to complete the ninth inning cycle and came home after Steve Wilkerson’s relay throw sailed into the third base seats. After the Keys held a 4-3 edge through six, Potomac went on top for good in the seventh. Alec Keller doubled in two and Matt Page singled in the third run.

NATIONALS BATS ERUPT: Prior to the start of this series, the most hits Keys pitching had given up in a game was 17 (something which had occurred twice). However over the last two nights, Potomac bats have posted 19 and 17 knocks respectively (they have gone 36-96 in this series a 375 average). Potomac also had nine extra-base hits an evening ago, the most the Frederick pitching staff has surrendered in a contest this year (and 15 of their 36 hits in this set have gone for two or more bases). On Saturday, seven Nationals starters had two or more hits and all nine scored a run.

OFFENSE KEEPS KEYS IN IT: Even though the game was decided by a six-run ninth, Saturday was still a solid game for the Keys bats. Tying a season-high with 15 hits, five different Frederick players reached two or more hits, while Aderlin Rodriguez, Conor Bierfeldt and Josh Hart each had three apiece. It was the second straight three-hit game for Rodriguez who came into this series in a 2-for-26 slump (nine games), while for Hart it was the second time in the last four games where he had three hits. The Georgian is now batting .210 his highest mark of the season.

NYMEO FIELD READY FOR LAUNCH: After hitting just two homers as a team in the 10 games before this series, the Keys have hit five in the last two days. If you add in Potomac’s deep flies over the last two nights, there have been nine home runs hit in the last 48 hours. This includes two-homer games by Frederick’s Yermin Mercedes and Potomac’s Raudy Read. For the season, the Keys have hit 93 home runs, giving them the second-most in the CL (Lynchburg has 109).

LITTLE HELP!: Over the last 18 games, the orange and black have committed multiple errors six times, while they have made 27 during that stretchDue to these errors, 18 of the last 96 runs charged against Keys pitching have been unearned. Currently the Keys are sixth in the CL in fielding percentage (.971) and have made 125 errors (third-most). Only Wilmington (129 and Carolina (126) have more.

HOME ON THE RANGE: Although Frederick’s odds for a playoff spot remain long, the club will play 15 of its remaining 22 games at home, a venue where the Keys hold a 10-10 record since the all-star break. Five of those games are against Potomac, while 12 of the final 15 will be against intra-division competition (four against Wilmington, four against Lynchburg, four against Potomac). The Keys are 25-27 this year against intra-division competition (11 of the 27 losses have come to the Hillcats).

ANOTHER STREAK FOR SALCEDO?: After concluding an 11-game hitting streak last Thursday, Erick Salcedo has started a new streak. He enters Sunday with hits in his last seven contests but is batting only .267 (8-for-30) during that stretch with five RBIs and three runs scored. The reason for the lower average is that Salcedo has only one hit in six of the seven contests. Going back father, the Venezuelan has hit safely in 19 of his last 21 games, but has seen his average rise only two points (.271 to .273) since only three of those contests have been multi-hit affairs. This season Salcedo has hitting streaks of 14 (career-high), 11, nine and seven.

CLOSE CALLS: Over the last two weeks and change, the Keys have constantly been in close games. Of the last 18 contests, 14 have come down to three runs or less, while 10 have been one-run games. Frederick has won four of its last five one-run games. Prior to that, the Keys had dropped five straight one-run affairs. Frederick is 17-18 in one-run games (sixth CL) this year and 10-10 in two-run games (fifth CL).

SCOUTING POTOMAC: Potomac enters Sunday’s action with a 32-17 record, the top mark in the CL since the all-star break. Intra-division have gone particularly well with the P-Nats, going 14-6 in the second-half. In spite of those number’s Saturday loss snapped a four-game winning streak for the Keys against their Beltway rival. Frederick has won six of the last eight meetings.

ODDS AND ENDS: In spite of an 0-for-3 at the plate on Saturday, Steve Wilkerson is batting .340 in 13 August games. That includes seven multi-hit games. Ryan Meisinger saw his scoreless inning streak end at 12 on Friday after giving up a homer to Raudy Read. After a scoring change last night, Lynchburg’s Francisco Mejia extended his hitting streak to 50 games (it was originally ruled an error on third baseman Gerson Montilla but changed to a double after the game).

TODAY’S OPPOSING STARTER: J.D. Martin makes his first start with the Nationals on Sunday. This will be his fifth overall appearance of the year, after he started the season with the GCL Nationals and the Low-A Hagerstown Suns. His most recent outing came with Hagerstown on Tuesday against Kannapolis. Pitching five innings, he allowed three run on seven hits and took the loss. He walked four in that game, though has walked only 19 in 46.2 innings even after converting to a knuckleball pitcher. Starting his career as a conventional pitcher with the Cleveland Indians organization (he was a first round pick in 2001-35th overall) Martin got to the Majors with Washington in 2009 and part of 2010. This is the first time the 33-year-old has pitched in the Carolina League since 2003 when he was playing for Kinston.

It’s Salute to the Orioles Night!

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

After some much needed rest, the Keys are back in action tonight against their Beltway rivals. For those who missed it, the Keys posted their seventh walk-off win, as the Keys topped the Nationals 8-7 in 13 innings. Yermin Mercedes played the role of hero, with a single off Gilberto Mendez in the final inning. Mercedes finished with a three-hit game, who his other two hits leaving the park. As a team, the Keys set a new season-high with four deep flies.

Tonight the Keys and Nationals play at 6 o’clock and it is Salute to the Orioles night. We’ll be honoring our long-standing partnership with the O’s while Harold Baines will be in town to sign autographs from 5-7. To read more about what’s happening to night click here.

We’ll the broadcast on 1450 AM The Source, frederickkeys.com and the TuneIn radio app as well (search WTHU). Doug is on assignment tonight, so I will be joined on the broadcast by former Washington Capitals radio man Steve Kolbe. Pregame coverage begins at 5:45 and will include a chat with the Baltimore Sun’s Orioles beat reporter Jon Meoli.

Today’s notes are below.

Shake your Keys!

Geoff

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Saturday, August 13, 2016 · Game #118 · Home Game #55

Frederick Keys (58-59/22-25) vs. Potomac Nationals (65-51/31-17)

RHP Franderlin Romero (5-4, 6.08) vs. RHP Austen Williams (3-3, 3.74)

                                                                                                                                                               MERCEDES GIVES KEYS WIN IN 13: Yermin Mercedes hit a bases loaded, walk-off single in the bottom of the 13th to give the Frederick Keys an 8-7 victory over the Potomac Nationals on Friday night at Nymeo Field. It was Frederick’s seventh walk-off win of the year. A game that featured seven lead changes, the Keys loaded the bases against Gilberto Mendez with no outs. Conor Bierfeldt walked to start the frame, moved to second on a bunt single by Austin Wynns while a wild pitch moved the winning run to third. Mendez intentionally walked Josh Hart and jumped ahead of Mercedes 0-2, but the Dominican singled over the head of Victor Robles to end the game.   

WALK IT OFF, WALK IT OFF: Friday’s walk-off win was the team’s first since July 21 and the club’s second against the Nationals. Former Key Jonah Heim delivered the winning hit in that game on May 23, Frederick’s first walk-off win of the year. A walk-off win came after periodic swings of the pendulum, resulting in a four hour and five minute contest. It was the longest game of the season in terms of time and the lengthiest since last April 13, when the orange and black defeated Lynchburg 5-4 in four hours and 57 minutes. Meanwhile the 13 innings for Frederick tied a season-high and marked the second time in the last three home games the Keys had played a 13-inning game (they lost 5-4 on August 2 to Myrtle Beach).

MERCEDES ENJOYS BIG NIGHT: The walk-off single in the 13th capped off a big night for Yermin Mercedes. Entering the game just 4 for 32 with Frederick, the Dominican went 3-for-5 with two home runs, three RBIs and two runs scored. It was the fourth multi-homer game by a Keys player this year, joining Wynston Sawyer and Aderlin Rodriguez (twice). Meanwhile it was the second time in his career Mercedes had hit two or more homers in a contest. The other instance occurred with Low-A Delmarva this year when he hit three on July 23 against Kannapolis. Overall, Mercedes has 17 homers this year, the third most among O’s farmhands (trailing Rodriguez who has 20 and Norfolk’s Trey Mancini who has 19).   

 NYMEO FIELD READY FOR LAUNCH: After hitting just two homers as a team in the previous 10 games, the Keys clubbed a season-high four. In addition to the multi-homer game by Yermin Mercedes, Jomar Reyes hit a two-run shot in the sixth and Erick Salcedo hit his third professional home runs in the first. Two of those three deep flies have come against the Nationals, while it was Salcedo’s first home run as a right-handed batter. For the season, the Keys have hit 92 home runs, giving them the second-most in the CL (Lynchburg has 108). Frederick and Lynchburg have four of the CL’s top five home run hitters.

HOME ON THE RANGE: The Keys embark on a seven-game homestand on Friday, playing three against Potomac and four against Lynchburg. This series is especially pivotal for the Keys, who begin tonight’s action 8.5 games back of the Nationals with 23 games left to play. Although Frederick’s odds for a playoff spot remain long, the club will play 17 of its final 24 games at home. Six of those games are against Potomac, while the Beltway rivals will face off nine more times down the stretch. The Keys have a slim 9-7 advantage in the season set. In the second half Frederick is 10-9 at Nymeo Field.

PICKING THINGS UP IN THE HOME STRETCH: Following a July that was somewhat disappointing (.228 batting average and a .282 on-base percentage), Steve Wilkerson has gotten off to a strong start in August. In his first 12 games, the former Clemson Tiger is 17-for-47 (.362) at the plate and has two hits in three of his last four games. Happy to be back home, Wilkerson is batting .303 in games at Nymeo Field as opposed to .211 in road tilts.

CLOSE CALLS: Over the last two weeks and change, the Keys have constantly been in close games. Of the last 17 contests, 14 have come down to three runs or less, while 10 have been one-run games. Frederick has won four of its last five one-run games. Prior to that, the Keys had dropped five straight one-run affairs. Frederick is 17-18 in one-run games (sixth CL) this year and 10-10 in two-run games (fifth CL).

LITTLE HELP!: Over the last 17 games, the orange and black have committed multiple errors five times, while they have made 24 during that stretchDue to these errors, 18 of the last 84 runs charged against Keys pitching have been unearned. Currently the Keys are sixth in the CL in fielding percentage (.972) and have made 122 errors (third-most). Only Carolina (126) and Wilmington (125) have more.

SCOUTING POTOMAC: Potomac enters Saturday’s action with a 31-17 record, the top mark in the CL since the all-star break. Intra-division have gone particularly well with the P-Nats, going 13-6 in the second-half. Despite that, the Keys have won four straight against their Beltway rival and six of seven.  

ODDS AND ENDS: Besides 17 of the Keys final 24 games coming at home, 17 will be against CL North clubs (25-26). After going just 2 for 26 in his previous nine games, Aderlin Rodriguez went 3-for-6 with a run scored on Friday. Ryan Meisinger saw his scoreless inning streak end at 12 on Friday after giving up a homer to Raudy Read. Read’s five hits equaled the most by a Keys opponent this year, and were a career-high for the Nationals backstop.

TODAY’S OPPOSING STARTER: Right-hander Austen Williams makes his 12th start with the PNats and his 22nd overall. In his most recent outing last Sunday, the righty tossed eight innings and allowed two runs (one earned) against the Blue Rocks to earn the win. Williams has pitched seven or more innings in three of his last four games. The Texan opened the year at Double-A Harrisburg and 1-7 with a 5.68 ERA (10 starts) before being sent down on June 9. He spent last year with three different levels in the Nationals system, mostly with Low-A Hagerstown and the P-Nats, with one start at Triple-A Syracuse. Between the stops, he was 12-8 with a 2.58 ERA in 25 starts. Selected by Washington in the sixth round of the 2014 draft out Texas State, Williams was a college teammate of former Keys pitcher Donnie Hart. Drafted after his junior year, he went 8-3 with a 3.65 ERA for the Bobcats as the team’s Friday starter.

 

The Long Home Stretch Begins

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

The Frederick Keys begin a seven-game homestand tonight at Nymeo Field. First pitch is at 7 as the Potomac Nationals come to town for a three-game set. Keys fans can be excited that 17 of the final 24 games will take place at the friendly confines, while 17 will also come against intra-division competition. Already on the outside looking in, there is no margin for error this weekend against the first place P-Nats who have a 9.5 game lead in the standings.

Tonight is Cancer Awareness night at the park and Keys players and coaches will be wearing special jerseys with proceeds going to the American Cancer Society. There will be a silent auction at the start, before the auction goes live later in the game. It is also Olympics night as we’ll be celebrating the Olympic colors from Frederick.

Mitch Horacek gets the ball for the Keys tonight and will be opposed by lefty Matthew Crownover. First pitch is slated for 7:00 p.m and the broadcast can be heard on 1450 AM The Source, frederickkeys.com and 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, August 12, 2016 · Game #117 · Home Game #54

Frederick Keys (57-59/21-25) vs. Potomac Nationals (65-50/31-16)

LHP Mitch Horacek (5-10, 4.39) vs. LHP Matthew Crownover (3-4, 4.70)

                                                                                                                                                              

BLUE ROCKS TAKE SERIES: The Wilmington Blue Rocks got a strong start from Foster Griffin and three multi-run innings to shutout the Frederick Keys 7-0 on Thursday night at Frawley Stadium. It was Wilmington’s second straight series win over the Keys (and the Rocks fifth victory in their last six games against the orange and black). Pitching six shutout innings, Griffin earned his first victory in nearly a month. Offensively, the Rocks scored twice in the fourth following a David Richardson wild pitch and an RBI single by Robert Pehl. Two more scored in the seventh on an error and a base knock by Samir Duenez. An RBI base hit by Mike Hill and a two-run homer by Chad Johnson in the eighth completed the Rocks scoring.     

BLANKED: After posting four straight shutout wins, the Keys ended up on the other side of the ledger Thursday. It was the club’s first shutout loss since July 22, when Frederick was also blanked by a 7-0 score to Salem. Overall, the Keys have 12 shutout wins, most in the Carolina League, However Frederick has been held off the board nine times as well, the second-most in the CL (Wilmington has been shut out 14 times).

HOME ON THE RANGE: The Keys embark on a seven-game homestand on Friday, playing three against Potomac and four against Lynchburg. This series is especially pivotal for the Keys, who begin tonight’s action 9.5 games back of the Nationals with 24 games left to play. Although Frederick’s odds for a playoff spot remain long, the club will play 17 of its final 24 games at home. Six of those games are against Potomac, while the Beltway rivals will face off nine more times down the stretch. The Keys have a slim 8-7 advantage in the season set.

PICKING THINGS UP IN THE HOME STRETCH: Following a July that was somewhat disappointing (.228 batting average and a .282 on-base percentage), Steve Wilkerson has gotten off to a strong start in August. In his first 11 games, the former Clemson Tiger is 16-for-41 (.390) at the plate and has three consecutive two-hit games (first time all season). In the process, he has moved his average from .236 to .255 since the calendar flipped (the highest his average has been all year). Happy to be back home, Wilkerson is batting .309 in games at Nymeo Field as opposed to .211 in road tilts.

CLOSE CALLS: Since a 10-1 loss to Winston-Salem last Monday, the Keys have repeatedly been locked in close games. 13 of the last 16 games the Keys have played have come down to three runs or less, while nine have been one-run games. Frederick has won three of its last four one-run games. Prior to that, the Keys had dropped five straight one-run affairs. Frederick is 16-18 in one-run games (sixth CL) this year and 10-10 in two-run games (fifth CL).

ALL I DO IS WYNN, WYNN, WYNN: Austin Wynns has multiple hits in four of his nine games since returning from Triple-A Norfolk. Over that time is hitting .324 (11-for-34). Excellent behind the plate, the Californian has caught seven of the Keys nine games since returning (and played in eight). Wynns’ best game since come back to Frederick came on Wednesday, when he was 3-for-5 with a run scored. This year, Wynns has split time between the Keys, Norfolk and the Double-A Bowie Baysox. In 61 combined games (36 with Frederick) he is batting .264.

LITTLE HELP!: Over the last 16 games, the orange and black have committed multiple errors five times, while they have made 23 during that stretchDue to these errors, 16 of the last 77 runs charged against Keys pitching have been unearned. Currently the Keys are sixth in the CL in fielding percentage (.972) and have made 121 errors (third-most). Only Carolina (126) and Wilmington (124) have more.

STARTING OUT STRONG: Following a brutal July, where Keys starting pitchers tallied a 5.98 ERA (125 IP/83ER) things have been more stable in August. In the first 11 games this month, Frederick lid-lifters have pitched to a 2.40 ERA. This includes four starts of six innings or more (after the Keys did it just twice last month) and three quality outings. With the exception of one game, Keys starters have not allowed any more than two earned runs in any of their starts this month.

SCOUTING POTOMAC: Potomac enters Friday’s actions with a 31-16 record, the top mark in the CL since the all-star break. They enter with wins in seven of their last 10 games and have done particularly well against intra-division rivals, going 13-5 in the second-half. Friday marks the first time the Keys and P-Nats have met since the break, with the Keys having won three straight and four of five during the last head-to-head match-up from June 9-12. The Nationals have pitched well against the Keys (2.53 ERA) but have not done as well at the plate, hitting .242. It has been a similar story for Frederick, with the orange and black hitting .223 but pitching to a 3.05 ERA.

ODDS AND ENDS: Besides 17 of the Keys final 24 games coming at home, 17 will be against CL North clubs (24-26). Jeff Beliveau allowed an earned run for the first time in 11 outings on Thursday, while his run without allowing an earned run ended at 19.1 innings. Aderlin Rodriguez is just 2 for his last 26 at the plate (he ended an 0-for-17 slump with a home run on Wednesday).

TODAY’S OPPOSING STARTER: Left-hander Matthew Crownover makes his 13th start with Potomac and his 22nd overall this year. Between Potomac and Low-A Hagerstown he is 8-5 with a 3.34 ERA. His most recent outing came last Saturday against Wilmington. Earning the win against Wilmington, Crownover allowed two runs over five innings to go with eight strikeouts. He was promoted to Potomac on June 1 from Hagerstown (he was 5-1 with a 1.17 ERA in 10 games-three starts). A sixth round selection by the Nationals in the 2015 draft, Crownover spent his first pro season at Short-Season Auburn. Drafted out of Clemson, Crownover was the 2015 ACC Pitcher of the Year, going 10-3 with a 1.82 ERA and was a Golden Spikes Award semifinalist as well as an All-American. With the Tigers, he was teammates with Keys second baseman Steve Wilkerson. Crownover had Tommy John surgery in 2012.

Keys Play for a Split in Wilmington

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Thursday, August 11, 2016 · Game #116 · Road Game #63

Frederick Keys (57-58/21-24) vs. Wilmington Blue Rocks (42-73/15-31)

RHP David Richardson (3-4, 4.12) vs. LHP Foster Griffin (2-8, 6.85)

                                                                                                                                                              

KEYS SCORE COME-FROM-BEHIND WIN: The Frederick Keys rallied back from a three-run deficit to defeat the Wilmington Blue Rocks 6-5 on Wednesday night at Frawley Stadium. With the win, the Keys snapped a four-game losing streak to Wilmington. Down 5-2 in the seventh, the Keys pulled within a run thanks to a two-run double by Erick Salcedo off Kyle Kubat, before the visitors grabbed the lead for good in the eighth. Austin Wynns registered a one-out single, and moved to second on a wild pitch. Steve Wilkerson then singled teammate home to level the game. Two batters later, Josh Hart singled home Wilkerson. Garrett Cortright fired off two scoreless frames to preserve the one-run victory.

LATE SURGE GETS JOB DONE: The Frederick Keys scored the final four runs of the game, giving the team a rare win when trailing after seven innings. Wednesday marked just the fifth time (5-49) that the team had won when going into the eighth inning behind. Moreover, it was one of the team’s larger come-from-behind victories of the year (the largest deficit the Keys have made up this year is four runs down). Josh Hart played the role of hero, stroking the game winning hit in the eighth. Finishing 3-for-4 on the night, the three hits matched a season-high for the Georgian, while it was his first three-hit effort since July 5.

CLOSE CALLS: Since a 10-1 loss to Winston-Salem last Monday, the Keys have repeatedly been locked in close games. 13 of the last 15 games the Keys have played have come down to three runs or less, while nine have been one-run games. Frederick has won three of its last four one-run games. Prior to that, the Keys had dropped five straight one-run affairs. Frederick is 16-18 in one-run games (sixth CL) this year and 10-10 in two-run games (fifth CL).

ALL I DO IS WYNN, WYNN, WYNN: Austin Wynns has hit safely in six of his last eight games since returning from Triple-A Norfolk. Over the eight game stretch he is hitting .367 (11-for-30) while half of those games have been multi-hit efforts. Wynns’ best game since come back to Frederick came on Wednesday, when he was 3-for-5 with a run scored. This year, Wynns has split time between the Keys, Norfolk and the Double-A Bowie Baysox. In 61 combined games (36 with Frederick) he is batting .269.

PICKING THINGS UP IN THE HOME STRETCH: Following a July that was somewhat disappointing (.228 batting average and a .282 on-base percentage), Steve Wilkerson has gotten off to a strong start in August. In his first 10 games, the former Clemson Tiger has hits in 14 of his first 37 at-bats (.378). In the process, he has moved his average from .236 to .252 since the calendar flipped. In this series, Wilkerson is 4-for-10 with a double, two RBIs and two runs scored.  

LITTLE HELP!: Although the Keys played a clean game on defense Wednesday, some issues have cropped up on defense recently (for instance in game one on Tuesday where the team made three errors).  Over the last 15 games, the orange and black have committed multiple errors five times, while they have made 22 during that stretchDue to these errors, 15 of the last 70 runs charged against Keys pitching have been unearned. Currently the Keys are sixth in the CL in fielding percentage (.972) and have made 120 errors (third-most). Only Wilmington (124) and Carolina (124) have more.

THE IRE OF THE BLUE ROCKS: After the Keys won 10 of their first 13 meetings against the Blue Rocks (including wins in six of their first seven at Frawley Stadium) Wilmington has not been so kind since, taking four of the last five. All of those Blue Rocks victories have come in the First State. Anderson Miller and Samir Duenez have been especially unkind since their promotions to the CL. In four games, Miller is batting .385 (5-for-13) with a homer, a triple, a double and six runs scored. Duenez is hitting .350 (7-for-20) with two doubles, four RBIs and three runs scored.

BELIVEAU THE BULLY: Jeff Beliveau has not allowed an earned run in his last 10 appearances (spanning 18 innings). During that stretch, he has allowed only five hits, walked only five and struck out 21. Opponents are batting a collective .145 against Beliveau this season. In his first season with the Orioles following labrum surgery last season, Beliveau is pitching at the Advanced-A level for the first time since 2011, when he was with Daytona (Cubs). Last season, the southpaw was pitching for the Tampa Bay Rays before going down due to injury.  

RODRIGUEZ EARNS MORE HARDWARE: After being named the Orioles Minor League Player of the Month for July on Thursday, Aderlin Rodriguez was named the Carolina Player of the Month last Friday. It marks the third straight month where a Keys player has won the CL Player of the Month Award (Matthew Grimes won in May and Conor Bierfeldt won in June). In 28 July games, Rodriguez batted .375 with eight homers, 29 RBIs, a .688 slugging percentage and a 1.110 OPS.

ODDS AND ENDS: DJ Stewart saw his five-game hitting streak end on Wednesday. During that time he hit .563 (9-for-16) with two doubles, a triple, an RBI and two runs scored. Ryan Meisinger has not allowed a run in his last 10.1 innings (spanning five appearances). During that time he has allowed four hits and struck out 14. Following tonight, the Keys return to Nymeo Field for a seven-game homestand.

TODAY’S OPPOSING STARTER: Left-hander Foster Griffin makes his 16th start with the Blue Rocks on Thursday. His most recent outing came one week ago at Potomac. Throwing six innings, he gave up four runs and took the loss. Griffin joined the Blue Rocks on May 17, after beginning the year with Low-A Lexington. Overall with the Legends, he went 1-4 with a 3.38 ERA. He faced the Keys in his CL debut and took the loss, despite throwing 6.1 innings of three-run baseball. Griffin spent all of last year at Low-A and went 4-6 with a 5.44 ERA in 22 starts. He struggled mightily in the first half (7.64 ERA) before producing a better in the second-half (4.39 ERA). Drafted by the Royals in the first round of the 2014 draft, Griffin was selected out of First Academy High School in Orlando, FL (their nickname is Royals).

The Keys Try and Snap Their Slide Against the Rocks

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Wednesday, August 10, 2016 · Game #115 · Road Game #62

Frederick Keys (56-58/20-24) vs. Wilmington Blue Rocks (42-72/15-30)

RHP Lucas Long (6-6, 4.16) vs. LHP Matt Tenuta (5-8, 5.53)

                                                                                                                                                              

BLUE ROCKS SWEEP DOUBLEHEADER: The Wilmington Blue Rocks utilized a three-run fifth inning in game one and a two-run fifth in game two to post a doubleheader sweep of the Frederick Keys on Tuesday night at Frawley Stadium. Taking the front-end 7-3, the Blue Rocks scored the first two runs in the home first, before a three-run homer by Yermin Mercedes put the Keys ahead by a run in the second. Elier Hernandez tied the game in the third with an RBI single, before the Rocks busted out in the fifth against Genison Reyes. Two of the three runs came via home run from Brandon Downes, while the Rocks added an extra marker in the sixth. In game two, the Blue Rocks broke a 1-1 deadlock in the fifth thanks to a Robert Pehl RBI double and a run-scoring single by Brian Bien.

DOUBLE TROUBLE: With losses in both ends of Tuesday’s twinbill, the Keys dropped to 4-8 in doubleheader games, the second-worst twinbill mark in the Carolina League (trailing only Winston-Salem who is 2-6). Frederick has been broomed in doubleheader games three times, and on each occasion it has occurred against an intra-division rival. With the pair of losses the Keys are now 9.5 games behind first place Potomac with 26 games left to go.

LITTLE HELP!: Defensive woes have popped up on the Keys of late and Tuesday was no exception, with the team committing three errors in game one (one short of a season-high). Over the last 14 games, the orange and black have committed multiple errors five times, while they have made 22 during that stretchDue to these errors, 15 of the last 64 runs charged against Keys pitching have been unearned. Currently the Keys are sixth in the CL in fielding percentage (.971) and have made 120 errors (third-most). Only Wilmington (124) and Carolina (121) have more.

STEWART TAKING OFF: DJ Stewart has seen his average jump from .253 to .289 thanks to a five-game hitting streak. During the time, the former ACC Player of the Year is batting .563 (9-for-16) with two doubles, a triple, an RBI and two runs scored. Three of those games have been multi-hit efforts. The third time Stewart has hit in five straight with the Keys, the outfielder’s longest run came from July 6-15 when he hit safely in a career-best nine games

THE IRE OF THE BLUE ROCKS: After the Keys won 10 of their first 13 meetings against the Blue Rocks (including wins in six of their first seven at Frawley Stadium) Wilmington has not been so kind since, taking four consecutive games. All of those Blue Rocks victories have come in the First State. Samir Duenez has been especially unkind to the Keys since his promotion to the Carolina League. In five games, Wilmington’s first baseman is hitting .412 (7-for-17) with two doubles and four RBIs. Anderson Miller has also been a tough customer, batting .385 (5-for-13) with a homer, a triple, a double and six runs scored. Meanwhile, Blue Rocks arms have held Keys bats to a .228 average.

STARTING PITCHING PICKS IT UP: Although it was a problem at times on Tuesday, Frederick pitching has registered a 2.64 ERA (63 IP/14ER) in nine August games. Following a dismal July where Keys starting pitchers posted a 5.98 ERA, Frederick lid-lifters have pitched to a 1.59 ERA (45.1 IP/8ER) this month. Moreover, after there were only two quality outings last month, one-third of Keys starts of this month have been quality performances.

BELIVEAU THE BULLY: Jeff Beliveau has not allowed an earned run in his last 10 appearances (spanning 18 innings). During that stretch, he has allowed only five hits, walked only five and struck out 21. Opponents are batting a collective .145 against Beliveau this season. In his first season with the Orioles following labrum surgery last season, Beliveau is pitching at the Advanced-A level for the first time since 2011, when he was with Daytona (Cubs). Last season, the southpaw was pitching for the Tampa Bay Rays before going down due to injury.  

RODRIGUEZ EARNS MORE HARDWARE: After being named the Orioles Minor League Player of the Month for July on Thursday, Aderlin Rodriguez was named the Carolina Player of the Month on Friday. It marks the third straight month where a Keys player has won the CL Player of the Month Award (Matthew Grimes won in May and Conor Bierfeldt won in June). In 28 July games, Rodriguez batted .375 with eight homers, 29 RBIs, a .688 slugging percentage and a 1.110 OPS. He led the circuit in hitting, slugging and OPS while tying for first in RBIs and ending second in homers. A Triple Crown candidate, Rodriguez is tie for fourth in hitting (.299), second in home runs (19) and fourth in RBIs (74). There has not been a Triple Crown winner in the CL since Leo Daigle of the Winston-Salem Warthogs in 2005, while the only other league Triple Crown was by Ray Jablonski in 1951 with the Winston-Salem Cardinals.

CLOSE CALLS: Since a 10-1 loss to Winston-Salem last Monday, the Keys have repeatedly been locked in close games. 12 of the last 14 games the Keys have played have come down to three runs or less, while eight have been one-run games. Frederick has won two of the last three one run games they have played. Prior to that, the Keys had dropped five straight one-run affairs. Frederick is 15-18 in one-run games (sixth CL) this year and 10-10 in two-run games (fifth CL).

ODDS AND ENDS: Trevor Belicek equaled his longest outing with the Keys on Tuesday, tossing four innings of one-run baseball. It was his first start since June 12 at Potomac. Aderlin Rodriguez has gone hitless in his last 17 at-bats (his last hit was a 13th inning double last Wednesday).

Who is Ready for Two?

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

After a much needed off-day, the Keys are back in Wilmington (sound familiar?). It’s just like groundhog day, as the team retraces its steps from its last roadtrip (only this time there was a 24-hour layover in Frederick).

Tonight the two teams play a doubleheader starting at 5:05 p.m. The Keys and Blue Rocks were rained out on July 30, so this takes care of that postponement.

Both games will be broadcast on 1450 AM The Source, frederickkeys.com and the TuneIn Radio App (search WTHU) and Doug will have you covered. In game one, Jon Keller gets the ball against Rocks righty Glenn Sparkman. The Carolina League’s Pitcher of the Year in 2014, Sparkman is on the mend from Tommy John surgery.

In game two, the Keys will send Trevor Belicek to the mound against Rocks right-hander Derek Gordon. Both games will be seven innings.

Today’s notes are below, while you can also check out some of the cool stuff taking place during the next homestand (starting Friday) by clicking here.

Shake your Keys,

Geoff

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Tuesday, August 9, 2016 · Game #113/#114 · Road Game #60/#61

Frederick Keys (56-56/20-22) vs. Wilmington Blue Rocks (40-72/13-30)

G1: RHP Jon Keller (4-4, 6.31) vs. RHP Glenn Sparkman (0-0, –)

                                                                                                                                                              

FIVE-RUN FIFTH GIVES KEYS SERIES WIN: The Frederick Keys utilized a five-run fifth to defeat the Winston-Salem Dash 5-2 on Sunday night at BB&T Ballpark. It was the Keys third straight win. Down 2-0 going into the fifth, the Keys registered five straight hits off Winston starter Zack Thompson. After base knocks by TJ Olesczuk and Josh Hart, Erick Salcedo added a third single to make it 2-1. DJ Stewart followed suit to load the bases for Cam Kneeland who drove in two with a double to right-center. That ended Thompson’s day, as Kelvis Valerio came on and allowed two inherited runners to score. Franderlin Romero tossed five innings of two-run baseball to earn the win, while Tanner Chleborad, Garrett Cortright and Mike Zouzalik turned in four shutout innings of relief.

BEEN AWHILE: After losing or splitting five straight sets, the Keys finally won their first series since July 15 (they went 0-3-2 in sets prior to Sunday). Additionally, it ended a string of three consecutive series defeats (two by sweep). After racking up the best first-half road record in the Carolina League (22-13) the Keys have gone just 11-13 on the road since the all-star break.

THERE’S THE LUMBER!: Following a stretch of four straight games where the Keys posted six hits or less, the Keys mustered six hits in the fifth inning along on Sunday. That equaled a season-high for hits in an inning (fifth time) while the club ended with 13 total. That mark is two short of a season-high and was the team’s highest hit total since July 21 against Salem. DJ Stewart (3-for-5) and TJ Olesczuk (3-for-4) led the way, with the three hits ranking as a season-best for Olesczuk. In spite of the strong showing, the Keys are still batting only .210 in their last 10 games and .195 in their last five.  

IT’S CALLED A WINNING STREAK: Following a season-high six straight losses, the Keys have won three games in-a-row. It is the first time Frederick has won three in-a-row since July 14-17. This run of success can be traced back to strong pitching. Over the three-game winning streak, Keys arms have allowed only two runs in 24 innings (0.75 ERA) while scattering 21 hits (Dash hitters batted .241 over those three games). This included a string of 18.1 innings without allowing a run.

MORE ON PITCHING: Although it is a limited sample size, Frederick pitching has registered a 2.00 ERA (63 IP/14ER) in seven August games. Following a dismal July where Keys starting pitchers posted a 5.98 ERA, Frederick lid-lifters have pitched to a 1.21 ERA (37.1 IP/5ER) this month. Moreover, after there were only two quality outings last month, Lucas Long and Mitch Horacek have turned in quality appearances in two of the last four games (three of this month’s seven games have featured quality outings as well). Frederick relief has also contributed nicely, and is in the middle of a 10-inning scoreless streak (spanning the last four games).

RODRIGUEZ EARNS MORE HARDWARE: After being named the Orioles Minor League Player of the Month for July on Thursday, Aderlin Rodriguez was named the Carolina Player of the Month on Friday. It marks the third straight month where a Keys player has won the CL Player of the Month Award (Matthew Grimes won in May and Conor Bierfeldt won in June). In 28 July games, Rodriguez batted .375 with eight homers, 29 RBIs, a .688 slugging percentage and a 1.110 OPS. He led the circuit in hitting, slugging and OPS while tying for first in RBIs and ending second in homers. A Triple Crown candidate, Rodriguez is third in hitting (.299), second in home runs (19) and fourth in RBIs (74). There has not been a Triple Crown winner in the CL since Leo Daigle of the Winston-Salem Warthogs in 2005, while the only other league Triple Crown was by Ray Jablonski in 1951 with the Winston-Salem Cardinals.

CLOSE CALLS: Since a 10-1 loss to Winston-Salem last Monday, the Keys have repeatedly been locked in close games. 11 of the last 12 games the Keys have played have come down to three runs or less, while seven have been one-run games. Frederick has won each of the last two one-run games they have played. Prior to that, the Keys had dropped five straight one-run affairs. Frederick is 15-17 in one-run games (fifth CL) this year and 10-10 in two-run games (fifth CL).

LITTLE HELP!: Last Tuesday snapped a string of seven straight games with an error by a Keys player. Still, over the last 13 games, the orange and black have committed multiple errors four times, while they have made 19 during that stretchDue to these errors, 13 of the last 54 runs charged against Keys pitching have been unearned. Currently the Keys are sixth in the CL in fielding percentage (.972) and have made 117 errors (third-most). Only Wilmington (123) and Carolina (121) have more errors.

ODDS AND ENDS: On Sunday, Franderlin Romero earned his first win since June 18. DJ Stewart has scored or driven in the winning run in two of his last three games. In his last three games he is 6-for-12 with a triple, an RBI and two runs scored. Aderlin Rodriguez has gone hitless in his last 14 at-bats (his last hit was a 13th inning double last Wednesday). Austin Wynns has caught five of the Keys last six games since returning from Triple-A Norfolk (he is 7-for-19 at the plate during that time). The International Olympic Committee has approved the return of baseball/softball for 2020. Baseball last was played in 2008, while then-Key Jake Arietta was a member of the team.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Glenn Sparkman makes his first appearance with the Blue Rocks since 2014, when he was named the Carolina League Pitcher of the Year. A member of the Double-A Northwest Arkansas Naturals in 2015, he went 2-2 with a 3.60 ERA in four starts before getting injured. He underwent Tommy John surgery last summer and has only recently started to pitch again. After beginning his rehab with the AZL Royals, Sparkman went 0-2 with a 6.91 ERA in three starts for the Low-A Lexington Legends. His most recent outing came last Wednesday and was his best effort. Pitching six innings, Sparkman allowed three runs on eight hits to go with nine strikeouts. As a member of the Blue Rocks in 2014, Sparkman was terrific as a starter, going 6-2 with a 1.39 ERA (18 games). Selected by Kansas City in the 20th round of the 2013 draft out of Wharton County Junior College, Sparkman drove with his mom from their home in Ganado, Texas to Kansas City to throw a bullpen to convince the Royals to take him.

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