It’s Back to the Hill City!

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

Just like Mother Nature, the Carolina League schedule maker can be a mad scientist at times. It might explain why the Keys are visiting Lynchburg for the third time in four road trips. Alas, this will be Frederick’s second-to-last visit to City Stadium of the year, with only one more scheduled towards year’s end.

Tonight marks the 10th game between the two sides, with Frederick leading the season series 5-4. The upper hand has belonged to the home team thus far, with the Keys sweeping the Hillcats in three straight back in April and Lynchburg taking two of three in the two sets played at Calvin Falwell Field.

The Keys come off their second road series win of the year on Thursday, thanks to a one-run win at Myrtle Beach. Doug and I have said it on the air before, this is a Keys team that fights, and last night Frederick earned its fourth win of the season when trailing after seven innings (an uphill climb for most teams in the circuit).

MASN’s Steve Melewski has some minor league notes today that can be found here. Frederick native Branden Kline had an MRI earlier today after leaving his midweek start early due to right elbow discomfort.

On the Keys end, Adrian Marin was a late-scratch on Thursday after getting hit with a ball in the lip during batting practice. If you examine the “Trading Spaces” game note below, it will explain how two players found themselves slightly “out of place” yesterday.

RHP Branden Kline left his start on Wednesday with Double-A Bowie after just 20 pitches.

RHP Branden Kline left his start on Wednesday with Double-A Bowie after just 20 pitches.

Many of you have inquired about Sisco and you can read more about his progress in Melewski’s article above. Obliques are pesky injuries, but Sisco has started playing in extended spring training games and could be back soon.

Some of you may have heard that Chris Lee joined the Keys following a trade with the Astros on Monday. Lee will make his Keys debut when he starts on Saturday at Calvin Falwell Field.

Lee will make his Carolina League and Advanced-A debut on Saturday. In 28 games at Low-A Quad Cities he went 3-2 with a 4.11 ERA in 7 games.

Lee will make his Carolina League and Advanced-A debut on Saturday. In 28 games at Low-A Quad Cities he went 3-2 with a 4.11 ERA in 7 games (6 starts).

Tonight the Keys send Mitch Horacek to the mound against Hillcats righty Mitch Brown, who in his lone start against Frederick tossed six innings of two-run baseball. His curveball is rated the best in the Indians system by Baseball America.

Don’t forget, 6:30 p.m. start time tonight since the team is in Lynchburg. That means we’ll start our pregame coverage at 6:15 on 1450 AM The Source and frederickkeys.com. The intrepid Doug Raftery will do the honors (he views overnight bus travel as child’s play).

The two of us will have Keys Corner tomorrow for you as well starting at 1:05 p.m. on the Source. We’ve got a strong group of guests lined up so joins us on AM 1450 and frederickkeys.com.

Today’s notes are below.

Shake your Keys!

Geoff

Friday, May 22, 2015 · Game #42 · Road Game #25

Frederick Keys (22-19) vs Lynchburg Hillcats (18-23)

LHP Mitch Horacek (2-4, 3.57) vs. RHP Mitch Brown (1-3, 5.00)

TAKING DOWN THE TOP DOGS: The Frederick Keys earned their 11th one-run triumph of the year on Thursday night, defeating the Myrtle Beach Pelicans 4-3 on Thursday night at TicketReturn.com Field. The victory gave the Keys their second road series win of the year and their first since April 30. Trailing 3-2 going into the eighth inning, the Keys scored twice off Tayler Scott to take the lead for good. Phil Llewellyn opened the inning with a double and advanced to third on a fielder’s choice before coming home on a wild pitch. With the game tied, Scott got Gregory Lorenzo to groundout, but allowed a two-out single to Drew Dosch. He would steal second to set up a chance for Mancini, who lined a 2-2 pitch into centerfield to bring in the go-ahead run. Cody Wheeler wrapped things up in the ninth to pick up his sixth save.

THE LAST SAY: Frederick has now won back-to-back rubber games after Thursday’s come-from-behind win on the Grand Strand. The Keys also won a rubber game on Sunday against Potomac, and are now 3-2 in deciding games this year. Both losses have come to Lynchburg at City Stadium.

A CARWASH CAN’T COOL HIM DOWN: Trey Mancini’s May tear continued on Thursday, with the former Big East batting champion going 3-for-4 with a home run, two RBIs and a run scored. It was his fourth multi-hit game in his last five contests, and moved his average up to .293, the highest it has been since April 16 at Wilmington. Over his last five games the first baseman is batting .526 (10-for-19) with a home run, three RBIs and two runs scored. This month, Mancini leads all Keys players with a .346 average to go along with three home runs and 15 RBIs in 20 games.

COMEBACK KIDS: Thursday’s win marked the fourth time in 2015 the Keys had come away with a victory when trailing after seven innings. The four victories are the most in the Carolina League. Additionally, a win in the series finale gave the orange and black their 11th one-run win of the season, also tops in the circuit. Frederick has won three of its last four one-run road games.

BACK ON TRACK: Since he suffered a loss and a blown save on May 10 at Potomac, Jon Keller has worked 6.1 scoreless innings to trim his ERA from 5.14 to 3.95. During that time, he is 1-0 with one save and has surrendered only four hits, struck out eight and walked two. The Iowa native tries to close out his May on a high note, after giving up nine runs in his first 6.1 innings to open the month (spanning his first three games).

TAKE IT TO THE BANK: When Cody Wheeler has been on the mound, things have often worked out well for the Keys. Pitching in his old college town, the former Coastal Carolina product pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his sixth save. Currently, Wheeler is tied for the lead league in saves (six), and has yet to allow any more than two runs in a game. Over 18 innings he has given up just four markers (2.00 ERA) and is holding opponents to a .206 average against, the fifth-lowest by a CL reliever. His SO/9IP ratio (11.50) leads the league.

TRADING SPACES?: In Thursday’s game Drew Dosch and Phil Llewellyn made their first professional appearances at shortstop and third base respectively. Before the series finale, Dosch had never played any other position than third, while Llewellyn had played catcher, first base, leftfield and centerfield prior.

FREE RIDING: Walks helped Myrtle Beach tie the game on Wednesday night and have been a major issue for Keys pitching this season. As a team, the orange and black have walked 192 in 41 games this year, by far the most in the Carolina League (Lynchburg the next-worst team has walked 134). The staff rate is 4.8 free passes per nine innings, while six members of the Keys active roster average more than five free rides per nine innings. Wednesday’s nine walks are tied for the third-most in a game by Keys pitching this year, while Keys arms have walked nine or more in a game four times in 2015. In contrast, Frederick pitching has only gone two games all year without walking a batter.

ROAD LIFE: After taking two of three at Myrtle Beach, the Keys will try for their first winning roadtrip this weekend. The orange and black have yet to put together a successful trip, going 2-5, 2-5 and 3-4 over three seven-game road swings. During that time, the Keys have won only two road series. For the year, Frederick is 9-15 away from home, the worst road winning percentage in the CL (.375).

TODAY’S OPPOSING STARTER: Right-hander Mitch Brown makes his eighth start for the Hillcats on Friday and comes off his best outing of the year. Facing Wilmington last Saturday, the righty tossed seven innings of one-run baseball. Although he received a no-decision, it was his longest outing of the year. Rated the No. 14 prospect in the Indians system according to Baseball America the 21-year-old spent all of last season at Low-A Lake County. With the Captains, Brown was a workhorse, going 8-8 with a 3.32 ERA in 27 starts. The 27 starts were tied for third-most in Midwest League and his 138.2 frames were fifth-best. After a slow start to the season, where Brown posted a 6.10 ERA in his first five starts (20.2 IP/14ER) the righty was among the league’s best after the all-star break going 8-2 with a 2.34 ERA (he was 0-6 in the first-half). 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. That year, Brown went 7-1 during the regular season with a 0.91 ERA and struck out 108 batters. He received a reported signing bonus of $800,000, turning down an offer to play college baseball at the University of San Diego (who added room and board to his scholarship package to keep him out of pro baseball). A pitcher who incorporated his lower-half much better into his delivery last season (according to Baseball America) Brown throws a low-90s fastball that can get up to 96 mph (with slight cutting action). His curveball is ranked as the best in the Indians system, while he throws a slider and a changeup.

Time for Another Rubber Game!

Good Evening Keys Fans!

Well it’s time for yet another rubber game! After last night’s two-run loss to the Pelicans, the orange and black will play their third straight deciding game and their fifth rubber game of the year. As long as the Keys opponent is not named the Lynchburg Hillcats, Frederick is undefeated in these types of games, with the most recent win coming on Sunday against Potomac.

Another reason the Keys should be a little confident heading into tonight’s matchup is that Jhonathan Ramos will be on the mound. Frederick’s lone pitcher with Triple-A experience, the Venezuelan has provided consistency in his first three starts, giving up one earned run or less in each outing. Now the Keys will see if they can get him a win. He will be opposed by Pelicans righty Daury Torrez.

First pitch comes your way at 7:05 p.m. from the Grand Strand and the pre-game coverage commences at 6:05 p.m. Doug Raftery has the call on 1450 AM The Source and frederickkeys.com.

Doug will have lineups later, while today’s game notes can be found below!

Shake your Keys!

Geoff

Thursday, May 21, 2015 · Game #41 · Road Game #24

Frederick Keys (21-19) vs Myrtle Beach Pelicans (24-13)

LHP Jhonathan Ramos (0-0, 1.23) vs. RHP Daury Torrez (2-2, 4.24)

TURNING THE TABLES: A two-out triple by Carlos Penalver helped trigger the Myrtle Beach offense, as the Pelicans scored six of the game’s final seven runs en route to a 6-4 win over the Frederick Keys on Wednesday night from the Grand Strand. Myrtle Beach benefited from three fifth inning walks by Jarett Miller to set up the three-run inning, while Keys pitching handed out a total of nine free passes on the night. In the sixth, the Pelicans grabbed the lead for good following a leadoff double by Trey Martin and back-to-back singles by Pin-Chieh Chen and Chesney Young. Two innings later, Young provided additional insurance with another RBI single, while a wild pitch by Dylan Rheault brought home the Pelicans sixth run. Tucker Nathans accounted for three of the Keys four markers, with a three-run homer off Pelicans starter Jonathan Martinez in the first.

ANOTHER RUBBER MATCH: On Thursday night the Keys play their third straight rubber match and their fifth deciding game of the year. This season, the orange and black are 2-2 in rubber games, with both losses coming to Lynchburg. Frederick’s last rubber game came against Potomac on Sunday, and resulted in a 3-2 Keys win. In 2014, the Keys were 0-2 in deciding games against Myrtle Beach.

FREE RIDING: Walks helped Myrtle Beach tie the game on Wednesday night and have been a major issue for Keys pitching this season. As a team, the orange and black have walked 190 in 40 games this year, by far the most in the Carolina League (Lynchburg the next-worst team has walked 131). The staff rate is 4.9 free passes per nine innings, while six members of the Keys active roster average more than five free rides per nine innings. Wednesday’s nine walks are tied for the third-most in a game by Keys pitching this year, while Keys arms have walked nine or more in a game four times in 2015. In contrast, Frederick pitching has only gone two games all year without walking a batter.

TROUBLE WITH TUCKER: Tucker Nathans has hit safely in seven of his last eight games and continues to be a menace in the month of May. On Wednesday he finished 2-for-4 with a home run, three RBIs and two runs scored, his ninth multi-hit game of the year and his fourth multi-RBI contest of the season. After a solid April where he batted .288 in his first 17 games, Nathans is hitting .319 in 19 May contests with two homers, nine RBIs and seven extra-base hits. Firmly entrenched among the Carolina League’s top 10 hitters, the former Fairfield star is tied for third in the circuit with a .306 average. Meanwhile, his three home runs equal his 2014 season total and his 20 RBIs are six-shy of his output from last year.

ROAD LIFE: Thursday will be game three of the Keys final seven-game roadtrip of the first-half. The orange and black have yet to put together a winning roadtrip, going 2-5, 2-5 and 3-4 over three seven-game road swings. During that time, the Keys have won only one road series, taking two of three against Salem from April 28-30. For the year, Frederick is 8-15 away from home, the worst road winning percentage in the CL (.348).

A TWO-RUN LOSS?: It took 40 games, but the Keys string of two-run wins came to an end at five on Wednesday. It was Frederick’s first two-run loss since last August 9 at Wilmington. In spite of the setback, the Keys 5-1 mark in two-run games is still the Carolina League’s best.

TAKE IT TO THE BANK: When Cody Wheeler has been on the mound, things have often worked out well for the Keys. On Tuesday night, he shut to door with a scoreless ninth inning for the series-opening win over Myrtle Beach. Currently, he is tied for fourth in the league in saves (five), and has yet to allow any more than two runs in a game. Over 17 innings he has given up just four markers (2.12 ERA) and is holding opponents to a .190 average against, tied for the second-lowest by a CL reliever. His strikeout/9IP ratio (11.65) leads the league.

MANCINI MASHES: Trey Mancini has hit safely in 12 of his last 14 games and is batting .364 (20-for-55) during that time. In the process, he has moved his batting average from .238 to .281 and tallied seven multi-hit games (he leads the team with 14). Entering Thursday, the former Notre Dame standout is tied for first in the CL in hits (45), second in total bases (71), tied for fifth in extra-base hits (15) and fifth in RBIs (24).

CARONIA CALLED UP: Roughly an hour before first pitch on Saturday, Keys infielder Anthony Caronia was promoted to Triple-A Norfolk. He becomes the first member of the Keys to earn a promotion in 2015. Over 24 games with the orange and black the Orlando, FL native hit .288 with nine RBIs, two doubles, a triple and four stolen bases. Outstanding in the month of May, he batted .341 (15-for-44) with six RBIs and nine runs scored in 14 games. It is the first time in his career that Caronia has advanced to the Triple-A level. In his first three games with the Tides, he is 1-for-8 with a run scored.

TODAY’S OPPOSING STARTER: Right-hander Daury Torrez makes his eighth appearance of the season and his seventh start. His most recent outing came on Sunday at Carolina, and was his first relief appearance of the season. Tossing two scoreless innings, Torrez earned the win, allowing one hit and striking out two. Rated the No. 30 prospect in the Cubs system according to Baseball America, the right-hander allowed four runs (three earned) over five innings on May 11 in a no-decision at Winston-Salem. Opponents have fared well against Torrez, batting at a .281 clip, while righties are batting .308 against the 21-year-old. The 2015 campaign is Torrez’s first at the Advanced-A level. Last season at Low-A Kane County he went 11-7 with a 2.74 ERA in 23 starts and logged a career-high 131.1 innings. A pitcher who will throw strikes, the Dominican averages 1.1 BB/9IP in his career and has walked only 1.5 per nine innings in the Carolina League. Torrez signed with the Cubs as a 17-year-old international free agent in December 2010 and received a reported $25,000 bonus. He throws a low-90s fastball than can touch the mid-90s, a slider and a changeup. A resident of Esperanza, D.R., Torrez is from the same hometown as Keys starting pitcher Luis Gonzalez.

The Keys Try for Their Second Road Series Win

Good Evening Keys Fans!

The Keys try for their second road series win of the year on Wednesday night and their first against the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. They’ll have a little help, as Josh Hart returns to the club tonight and will be batting in the leadoff spot. Jarett Miller makes the start for the Keys and will be countered by Pelicans righty Jonathan Martinez.

First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m from the Grand Strand and you can catch the dulcet tones of Doug Raftery on 1450 AM The Source and frederickkeys.com.

Lineup and game notes are below!

Shake your Keys!

Geoff

LINEUP

1. CF Josh Hart

2. 2B Jeff Kemp

3. 3B Drew Dosch

4. 1B Trey Mancini

5. RF Tucker Nathans

6. SS Adrian Marin

7. DH Brenden Webb

8.  C Austin Wynns

9. LF Johnny Ruettiger

RHP Jarett Miller

Wednesday, May 20, 2015 · Game #40 · Road Game #23

Frederick Keys (21-18) vs Myrtle Beach Pelicans (23-13)

RHP Jarett Miller (2-1, 3.69) vs. RHP Jonathan Martinez (1-1, 2.25)

LOVING THE BEACH LIFE: The Keys scored five unanswered runs from the fifth inning on and defeated Myrtle Beach 6-2 at TicketReturn.com Field on Tuesday night. Luis Gonzalez struck out a season-high seven batters and allowed two runs in five innings to pick up his third win of the year. The Keys would take the lead with a pair in the fifth against Pelicans starter Jen Ho-Tseng. Adrian Marin singled to snap a stretch of seven in a row set down by Tseng, and Wynston Sawyer followed with a base knock. Johnny Ruettiger put down a sacrifice bunt to place two in scoring position, before Gregory Lorenzo knotted the game at two with a dribbler through the right side. Two batters later, Jeff Kemp lifted a sac fly to hand the Keys a 3-2 advantage. Frederick added insurance in the eighth without recording a hit on a double play groundout by Brenden Webb, while an error by shortstop Carlos Penalver made it a three-run Keys edge. Tucker Nathans ripped a single to score Ruettiger in the ninth for the 6-2 final.

BULLPEN BULLIES: The Keys bullpen has come up big the last two games against Potomac and Myrtle Beach. On Sunday against the P-Nats, Jon Keller and Dennis Torres tossed five combined scoreless innings, and last night, Nik Nowottnick, Austin Urban, and Cody Wheeler held the Pelicans off the board for four more. Starting with the P-Nats series this past Friday, the bullpen has allowed just three runs in their last 17 innings (1.59 ERA). This comes after the bullpen posted a 6.80 ERA in the month of May through last Wednesday. The group has cut it by more than a point and a half in five games to a 5.12 ERA.

GONZO GUNNIN’: Luis Gonzalez put together arguably his best performance of the season on Tuesday night in Myrtle Beach. In his first career start on the Grand Strand, the lefty struck out a season-high seven batters and picked up his third win. It was a bounce back game for Gonzalez, who last just 1.2 innings and gave up a career-worst eight earned runs last Wednesday at Lynchburg. Six of the seven punch outs were against Jeimer Candelario and Jacob Rogers. Tough against left-handers again, Gonzalez retired six of the seven Pelican lefties he faced.

ROAD LIFE: Frederick is in game two of its final seven-game roadtrip of the first-half. The orange and black have yet to put together a winning roadtrip, going 2-5, 2-5 and 3-4 over three seven-game road swings. During that time, the Keys have won only one road series, taking two of three against Salem from April 28-30. For the year, Frederick is 8-14 away from home, the worst road winning percentage in the CL (.364).

ANOTHER ONE-RUN GAME: No other team in the circuit has played more one-run games than the Keys who have been involved in 18 this season. In those contests, Frederick is 10-8, the fourth-best mark in the CL, while the most number of games the Keys have gone without playing a run-one contest is four (May 14-17). One-run games have been a different story at home than on the road though. In one-run games at Nymeo Field, the Keys are undefeated (7-0) while away from home the team is 3-8. In spite of the wide gap between the two, Frederick has won two of its last three one-run road tilts.

DENNIS THE MENACE: Since he allowed four runs (two earned) in a loss at Carolina on May 4, Dennis Torres has put together 10 straight scoreless innings (totaling four outings). During that time, he has given up just two hits, walked three and struck out five, while the righty has cut his ERA from 2.53 to 1.31. On Sunday, Torres earned the win against Potomac tossing three shutout innings of one-hit baseball, the same day he celebrated his 25th birthday.

TAKE IT TO THE BANK: When Cody Wheeler has been on the mound, things have often worked out well for the Keys. Last night, he shut to door with a scoreless ninth inning for the series-opening win over Myrtle Beach. Currently, he is tied for fourth in the league in saves, and has yet to allow any more than two runs in a game. Over 17 innings he has given up just four markers (2.12 ERA) and is holding opponents to a .190 average against, tied for the third-lowest by a CL reliever. His strikeout/9IP ratio rates second (11.65) behind Wilmington’s Luke Farrell (13.50).

MANCINI MASHES: Trey Mancini has hit safely in 11 of his last 13 games and is batting .353 (18-for-51) during that time. In the process, he has moved his batting average from .238 to .276 and tallied six multi-hit games (he leads the team with 13). Entering Wednesday, the former Notre Dame standout is second in the CL in total bases (69), second in hits (43), tied for third in extra-base hits (15) and fifth in RBIs (24).

CARONIA CALLED UP: Roughly an hour before first pitch on Saturday, Keys infielder Anthony Caronia was promoted to Triple-A Norfolk. He becomes the first member of the Keys to earn a promotion in 2015. Over 24 games with the orange and black the Orlando, FL native hit .288 with nine RBIs, two doubles, a triple and four stolen bases. Outstanding in the month of May, he batted .341 (15-for-44) with six RBIs and nine runs scored in 14 games. It is the first time in his career that Caronia has advanced to the Triple-A level. In his first two games with the Tides, he is 1-for-4 with a run scored.

TODAY’S OPPOSING STARTER: Right-hander Jonathan Martinez makes his seventh appearance and sixth start of the year against the Keys on Wednesday night. The Venezuelan last pitched 10 days ago on Mother’s Day when he gave up three runs (one earned) over five innings in a no-decision at Winston-Salem. The start stopped a short stretch of two consecutive quality starts for the first year Advanced-A pitcher, however he has allowed just three earned runs over his last 17 innings (1.59 ERA). Just a 20-year-old, Martinez was originally drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers on May 31, 2011, but was traded last year as the player to be named later when Darwin Barney was sent to LA in late July. With Great Lakes (LA) and Kane County (CHC) combined last year, he went 11-5 with a 3.26 ERA in 24 starts. In 129.2 innings, he gave up 132 hits, 47 earned runs, struck out 106 and walked just 21. In 2013, he was ranked as the seventh-best Dodgers right-handed starting pitching prospect. Last year, he was the 16th youngest pitcher in the Midwest League and is one of the 30 youngest players at Advanced-A this season. He throws a fastball (89-92, tops at 94), sinker (87-89), slider (82-84), and changeup (81-83).

It’s Off to the Grand Strand!

Good Evening Keys Fans!

The Keys get to soak up some sun over the next three days, as the team begins a three-game series with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans on Tuesday night from the Grand Strand! First pitch is at 7:05 p.m, while it marks the first time these two teams have met this season. Although in cases like these it would be good to look as last year’s head-to-head numbers to see how things went, in this case it is just a waste of time. Myrtle Beach switched from a Rangers farm club to a Cubs squad this offseason, and the Keys have yet to see any of the Pelicans players before.

Here is what we can tell you about Myrtle Beach:

-At 23-12 the Pelicans possess the best record in the CL South and the best overall record in the Carolina League

-Myrtle Beach knows how to win on the road, posting a 16-5 record in games away from TicketReturn.com Field (they are 7-7 at home)

-Myrtle Beach leads the league in hitting at .258

-Although Billy McKinney still ranks as the top hitter in the Carolina League, he is no longer with the Pelicans after being promoted to Double-A last week. Still, Mark Zagunis is the 3rd leading hitter in the CL (.308) and is the active leader in on-base percentage (.431) while Jeimer Candelario is second in the league in doubles (12).

So watch out for the bats. I’m sure we will learn more about the Pelicans in the coming days and in the coming weeks. Myrtle makes its first trip to Frederick from June 8-11.

In other Keys news:

-A special congrats to former Key Tyler Wilson! On Monday night he was called up to the Orioles. So far, Wilson, Mike Wright and Eddie Gamboa have gotten the call to the big leagues this year, though only Wright has pitched. When Wilson makes his debut, he will become the 135th former Key to appear in a big league game.

– Speaking of Mike Wright, here is a little wrap-up about his impressive first outing in the big leagues. The O’s are hoping it will provide a shot in the arm to the rest of the starting rotation. Additionally, a recent tweet by Roch Kubatko from MASN noted that Wright became the first Orioles pitcher (per Elias Sports Bureau) to earn a win in his MLB debut as a starter without allowing a run or a walk.

-Kubatko also reports that O’s pitching prospect Hunter Harvey has been shut down for six weeks with a strained right flexor mass.

-According to various reports, Matt Wieters will join Double-A Bowie on Tuesday, May 26 to begin a rehab assignment.

In non-baseball news:

-On May 28, the Maryland Pride Tour will be making its first stop at Nymeo Field! Football coach Randy Edsall, men’s basketball coach Mark Turgeon, as well as volleyball coach Steve Aird and wrestling coach Kerry McCoy will all be in attendance. There will be an autograph session from 7:15-8:15 p.m. with the four coaches divided into two stations for 30 minutes each. So, if you want to get an autograph, PLEASE ARRIVE EARLY.

Pride tour

 

Keyote was so excited for the event, that he even went out to spend a little time with the four coaches last week! 

-The same night as the Pride Tour comes to town, it will be Bark in the Park night! The event is sponsored by CARE.

-Want to learn baseball fundamentals from the pros? Sign up for Keys Baseball Camp! There are two sessions available and more information can be found here.

Stay tuned for more fun promotions as we get closer to each homestand!

Also, we will be posting a batch of recent interviews and the latest Keys Corner on our soundcloud page so stay tuned!

Today’s game notes are below. Doug is back in the saddle and will have you covered on 1450 AM The Source starting at 6:50 p.m. You can also catch the broadcast on frederickkeys.com.

Shake your Keys!

Geoff

Tuesday, May 19, 2015 · Game #39 · Road Game #22

Frederick Keys (20-18) vs Myrtle Beach Pelicans (15-21)

LHP Luis Gonzalez (2-3, 8.07) vs. RHP Jen-Ho Tseng (1-0, 3.86)

KEYS GET SEVENTH INNING LIFT: A one-out double by Tucker Nathans proved to be the difference in Sunday’s matinee as the Frederick Keys defeated the Potomac Nationals 3-2 on Sunday afternoon at Nymeo Field. Trailing by a run in the seventh, Johnny Ruettiger got aboard via a bunt single and got to third on a double down the third base line by T.J. Olesczuk. With the P-Nats infield drawn in, Nathan roped the second pitch he saw down the rightfield line to give Frederick the lead for good. Sunday’s victory gave the Keys the rubber match, and kept them undefeated in home series this year (5-0). Additionally, a loss by Wilmington helped the orange and black move back into a tie for first in the CL North. On Tuesday, the Keys get their first crack at the Myrtle Beach Pelicans.

OUR HOUSE, OUR WAY: The Keys won their 13th home game on Sunday to improve to 13-4 when playing at Nymeo Field this season. As a point of reference, Frederick won only 13 home games in all of the second-half in 2014, while the team did not claim its fifth series victory at home until July 21 of last season. Wilmington and Carolina also have 13 home wins this year, but the Keys winning percentage at Nymeo Field is far and away the best in the Carolina League (.765). An advantage that could help the club as the playoff push gets closer, 18 of Frederick’s final 25 first-half games will come at the friendly confines.

ROAD LIFE: Frederick begins its final seven-game roadtrip of the first-half on Tuesday. The orange and black have yet to have a winning roadtrip, going 2-5, 2-5 and 3-4 over three seven-game road swings. During that time, the Keys have won only one road series, taking two of three against Salem from April 28-30. For the year, Frederick is 7-14 away from home, the worst road winning percentage in the CL (.333).

ANOTHER ONE-RUN GAME: No other team in the circuit has played more one-run games than the Keys who have been involved in 18 this season. In those contests, Frederick is 10-8, the fourth-best mark in the CL, while the most number of games the Keys have gone without playing a run-one contest is four (May 14-17). One-run games have been a different story at home than on the road though. In one-run games at Nymeo Field, the Keys are undefeated (7-0) while away from home the team is 3-8. In spite of the wide gap between the two, Frederick has won two of its last three one-run road tilts.

NOT A BAD FIRST START: T.J. Olesczuk made his first Advanced-A start on Sunday afternoon, going 1-for-4 with a double and a run scored. He also made an impressive diving catch in the first inning, robbing Stephen Perez of an extra-base hit. The double was Olesczuk’s first Carolina League hit, and helped set up a chance for Tucker Nathans to give Frederick the lead. A 40th round selection by Baltimore in 2014, Olesczuk played in 40 games with the GCL Orioles batting .265 with 12 RBIs and eight runs scored in 34 games.

DENNIS THE MENACE: Since he allowed four runs (two earned) in a loss at Carolina on May 4, Dennis Torres has put together 10 straight scoreless innings (totaling four outings). During that time, he has given up just two hits, walked three and struck out five, while the righty has cut his ERA from 2.53 to 1.31. On Sunday, Torres earned the win against Potomac tossing three shutout innings of one-hit baseball, the same day he celebrated his 25th birthday.

CARONIA CALLED UP: Roughly an hour before first pitch on Saturday, Keys infielder Anthony Caronia was promoted to Triple-A Norfolk. He becomes the first member of the Keys to earn a promotion in 2015. Over 24 games with the orange and black the Orlando, FL native hit .288 with nine RBIs, two doubles, a triple and four stolen bases. Outstanding in the month of May, he batted .341 (15-for-44) with six RBIs and nine runs scored in 14 games. It is the first time in his career that Caronia has advanced to the Triple-A level. In his first two games with the Tides, he is 1-for-4 with a run scored.

TAKE IT TO THE BANK: When Cody Wheeler has been on the mound, things have often worked out well for the Keys. On Friday, the lefty earned his fifth save of the season in as many appearances. He is now tied for fourth in the league in that category, and has yet to allow any more than two runs in a game. Over 16 innings he has given up just four markers (2.25 ERA) and is holding opponents to a .185 average against, the second-lowest by a CL reliever. His strikeout/9IP ratio rates second (11.81) behind Wilmington’s Luke Farrell (13.50).

MANCINI MASHES: Trey Mancini has hit safely in 11 of his last 12 games and is batting .375 (18-for-48) during that time. In the process, he has moved his batting average from .238 to .281 and tallied six multi-hit games (he leads the team with 13). Entering Tuesday, the former Notre Dame standout leads the CL in total bases (69), is second in hits (43), third in extra-base hits (15) and tied for fourth in RBIs (24).

TODAY’S OPPOSING STARTER: Right-hander Jen-Ho Tseng makes his sixth start of the season on Tuesday and his first against the Keys. Ranked the No. 11 prospect in the Cubs system according to Baseball America, Tseng comes off his second-shortest outing of the season. Facing Winston-Salem in the second game of a doubleheader, the right-hander allowed a season-high four runs on four hits over 3.2 innings. He also tied his career-high with four walks allowed (he had not walked four since last April 27 while playing for Low-A Kane County). The four walks were somewhat out of character for Tseng, whose is said to have the “best control” in the Cubs farm system according to Baseball America, and showcased the best command among Chicago farmhands last season, walking just 15 batters in 105 innings. This season, the Taiwanese right-hander has not completed more than five innings, while opponents are batting .282 against him and lefties are batting at a .323 clip. Named the Cubs “Minor League Pitcher of the Year” in 2014, Tseng went 6-1 with a 2.40 ERA over 19 games (17 starts). It was the 20-year-old’s first professional season. Tseng signed with the Cubs on July 25, 2013 for a reported $1.625 million, despite never pitching professionally in his native Taiwan. Employing a three-quarters arm-slot and a slow and deliberate delivery, Tseng throws a low-90s fastball, a knuckle-curveball and a changeup.

Keys look to clinch series tonight against P-Nats

Last night the Keys came back home where they had been 11-3 on the season and improved on that record with a 4-1 victory against the Potomac Nationals in the series opener. Jeff Kemp paced the offense with a two-run home run and Trey Mancini drove in the game winning run. Tonight, Frederick will be looking to clinch the series as they send Mitch Horacek (2-3, 3.57) to the mound. Horacek last faced the P-Nationals on May 11 where he pitched 5.1 innings allowing five runs on five hits while walking three and striking out eight suffering the loss. Potomac will be countering with Dakota Bacus (1-0, 3.00). On May 11 when he faced the Keys, he pitched five innings allowing one run on two hits while walking two and striking out seven earning the win.

Keys lineup

Tucker Nathans LF

Jeff Kemp 2B

Drew Dosch 3B

Trey Mancini 1B

Brenden Webb DH

Adrian Marin SS

Austin Wynns C

Johnny Ruettiger CF

Gregory Lorenzo RF

Below is today’s game notes

 

5/16 Game Notes                                                                                                                                                          

KEMP GIVES KEYS A LIFT: Jeff Kemp scored the go-ahead run and provided some eighth inning insurance as the Frederick Keys topped the Potomac Nationals 4-1 on Friday night at Nymeo Field. It was the team’s 12th home win at home this year, while a loss by Wilmington moved the orange and black back into a tie for first in the CL North standings. Frederick got on the board in the fifth on a base hit by Brenden Webb, an error on a pickoff throw by P-Nats starter John Simms and a dunk single to right by Wynston Sawyer. Potomac answered in the sixth, utilizing a single by Narciso Mesa, a double by Stephen Perez and an RBI groundout by Isaac Ballou to make it 1-1. From there, the Keys would score the final three runs. In the home-sixth, Kemp doubled and scored on an RBI single by Mancini to take the lead for good, before Kemp added a two-run homer in the eighth. Cody Wheeler closed things out in the ninth to earn his fifth save. The P-Nats finished without a hit with runners in scoring position (0-for-6). On Saturday the Keys go for their fifth home series win of the year.

 

WE MUST PROTECT THIS HOUSE!: The Keys have been stellar at home this season, posting a 12-3 mark in games at Nymeo Field. Meanwhile the club’s .800 winning percentage at home is by far the best in the Carolina League (Carolina is second at 13-6/.684). Frederick’s 12 home wins are tied for third-most in the CL behind the Mudcats and the Wilmington Blue Rocks who have played 19 and 21 home games respectively, while the orange and black have played only 15. Each home series the Keys have played, they have won (4-0) giving them as many home series wins as they had in the entire first-half of last season. In 2014, Frederick did not win its fifth home series until July 21.

 

NOT #2 FOR LONG: Thanks to Friday’s win and a loss by Wilmington, the Keys pulled back into a tie for first in the CL North. Since the start of the season, Orlando Gomez’s team has been out of first place on just four occasions, while the Keys have never dropped lower than second place in the standings. Joining the Blue Rocks as the only team above .500 in the CL North, the orange and black have not won a first-half CL North title since 2011, when the club finished 41-28 and won the division by five games.

 

DJ JAZZY JEFF: Jeff Kemp recorded his 10th multi-hit game of the year on Friday, going 2-for-4 with a home run, a double, two RBIs and two runs scored. The only Keys player to tally more than one hit in the series opener, Kemp overtook Anthony Caronia for the team lead in batting average this month. After batting .234 in April, Kemp is hitting .351 with two homers, six RBIs, a triple, five doubles and 12 runs scored in May. A player who has enjoyed the friendly confines, the former Radford Highlander is hitting .353 at home compared to .243 on the road. Following a cameo in the CL’s top 10 in hitting on Thursday, Kemp makes a return appearance, and is now 10th in the loop in batting average (.289). He joins Drew Dosch (.294) and Tucker Nathans (.308) making Frederick the only CL team to have three players among the league’s top 10 in hitting.

 

TAKE IT TO THE BANK: When Cody Wheeler has been on the mound, things have often worked out well for the Keys. On Friday, the lefty earned his fifth save of the season in as many appearances. He is now fourth in the league in that category, and has yet to allow any more than two runs in a game. Over 16 innings he has given up just four markers (2.25 ERA) and is holding opponents to a .185 average against, the lowest by a CL reliever. His strikeout/9IP ratio rates second (11.81) behind Wilmington’s Luke Farrell (13.50).

 

LONGBALL BLUES: The Keys lead the Carolina League in home runs allowed with 22 and are only one of two CL teams that has given up 20 or more (the next-worst team is Winston-Salem at 20). Frederick pitching has given up at least one homer in five of their last six games, with more than one-third (eight) of the club’s total (22) coming during that time. On Tuesday, David Hess allowed three home runs to Lynchburg in the first inning, the second time the Keys had given up three deep flies in a contest this year (first time came on May 5 against Winston-Salem). Despite pitching in a hitter-friendly ballpark, Keys pitching has surrendered 14 of its 22 home runs on the road.

 

HEAT CHECK: Tucker Nathans comes off an excellent roadtrip, where he batted .370 (9-for-25) over seven games to go along with a home run, a triples, two doubles, two RBIs and six runs scored. Owner of a four-game hitting streak, the 26-year-old has seen his batting average climb from .277 to .308 over his last 10 games. Following a strong April where he hit .288 in 17 contests, Nathans is batting .327 over 15 games this month. Currently, Nathans is tied for third in the CL in hitting (.308) and fifth in runs scored (20).

 

HARD AND FAST RULES: Even though it seemed like the Keys might win by a 2-1 score on Friday, a homer by Jeff Kemp kept the four-run trend alive. In games where the Keys score four runs or more the team is 18-1. In contrast, the orange and black are just 1-16 when posting three runs or less in a game. The lone outliers came against Winston-Salem (3-2 Keys win) on April 2 and at Carolina on May 4 (6-5 Keys loss).

 

A ONE-RUN GAME? WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT: Despite playing only 36 games this season, almost half (17) have been decided by one run. However since Tuesday’s 6-5 win at Lynchburg, the Keys have gone three straight games without a one-run conclusion. It is just the second time all season (April 20-22) that the team has gone three straight contests without a one-run finish (the Keys have not gone four days without a one-run game yet this year). Frederick is fifth in the league in one-run affairs (9-8) and has played at least three more one-run games than the next-closest club (Wilmington has been involved in 14). In one-run home tilts, the orange and black are undefeated (6-0) and have not lost a one-run home game since last August 31 against Potomac, when the P-Nats knocked the Keys out of playoff contention.

 

TODAY’S OPPOSING STARTER: Dakota Bacus makes his eighth appearance of the season and his fifth start of the season. His most recent outing came on Monday, when he tossed a season-high five innings of one-run baseball to earn his first win of 2015. Splitting time between starting an relieving this year, Bacus has posted a 3.00 ERA in both roles, logging 15 frames a starter and six as a bullpen-hand. The righty spent all of 2014 with Potomac, going 7-6 with a 4.41 ERA along with one save over 27 games (20 starts). He faced the Keys three times (two starts) and went 1-1 with a 9.26 over 11.2 innings (13R/12ER/17H). Despite those rough numbers, Bacus was partially responsible for knocking the Keys out of playoff contention last year, defeating his Monday night counterpart Mitch Horacek in a must-win game for the orange and black (won by the P-Nats 5-4). Originally drafted by Oakland in the ninth round of the 2012 amateur draft, Bacus advanced as high as Low-A with the A’s before being traded to Washington on August 23, 2013 for MLB catcher Kurt Suzuki. While pitching for the A’s Low-A Beloit Snappers, Bacus came up with an alter-ego known as the “Whitewall Ninja”, who would dress head-to-toe in all white camouflage and attempt to blend in with white outfield signs during games.

The Keys host the defending Carolina League Champs, Potomac, for 3 games

After a 3-4 road trip, the Frederick Keys are back at Nymeo Field for a three game set with the Potomac Nationals starting tonight. The two teams last met May 8-11 at Pfitzner Stadium where they split the series two games a piece. Tonight, Frederick will be sending out lefty Jhonathan Ramos (0-0, 1.86) who is going to make his second start against the P-Nationals, will be looking for his first victory of the season. On May 10 against Potomac, Ramos went five innings allowing a run on three hits while striking out three and walking one batter. The P-Nationals will counter with John Simms (0-3, 7.71) who is looking to perform better against the Keys than he did in his last appearance on May 9 where he pitched six innings allowing two runs on four hits and struck out three.

 

Keys Lineup

 

Tucker Nathans LF

Jeff Kemp 2B

Drew Dosch 3B

Trey Mancini 1B

Brenden Webb RF

Adrian Marin SS

Wynston Sawyer C

Anthony Caronia DH

Gregory Lorenzo CF

Below are today’s game notes

5/15 game notes

TOUGH FINISH IN THE HILL CITY: The Lynchburg Hillcats recorded only four hits in Thursday’s morning game, but utilized two errors, two walks and a hit by pitch to post five runs in the fourth inning en route to a 6-3 win over the Keys at City Stadium. In the inning, Lynchburg sent nine men to bat, as the Keys dropped their second rubber game to the Hillcats this season. Frederick finished with 10 hits in the game, and brought the tying man to plate in the top of the ninth with runners at second and third, but Jeff Kemp lined out to Mike Papi in left to end the game. On Friday, the Keys begin a three-game series with the Potomac Nationals after splitting a four-game set in Woodbridge, Va. last weekend.

 

DEFENSIVE STRUGGLES: After playing back-to-back errorless games on Monday and Tuesday, the Keys have committed five errors in their last two games. On Thursday, the committed three defensive miscues (including two in the fourth inning) tied for the second-most the club has made in a game all year. The defense also committed three at Carolina on May 4 at Carolina, while the team’s season-high is five, which occurred on April 30 at Salem. Currently, the Keys are second-to-last in the Carolina League in fielding percentage (.970) and have made 39 errors as a club (also second-most in the circuit). Only Lynchburg has done worse, positing a .965 fielding percentage along with 45 errors (the only team in the league with more than 40). Despite the overall numbers, Trey Mancini paces first baseman in fielding percentage (1.000) and has yet to make a miscue in 34 games.   

 

WRAPPING UP THE ROADTRIP: Frederick finished its third roadtrip with a 3-4 record, splitting its four-game set at Potomac and dropping two of three at Lynchburg. Although the Keys did not win a road series this time around, it is the best showing for the team in a roadtrip thus far. Previously, the club went 2-5 in trips to Wilmington/Lynchburg and Salem/Carolina. Two of the Keys victories were of the one-run variety, after the team opened the trip with a 1-7 record in affairs decided by a single marker. For the season, the Keys are 7-14 in road tilts, the league’s worst road record, but hold the best home record at 11-3.

 

OUT OF FIRST?: For the majority of season, the Keys have been in either first place or tied for first place. Since the season got started on April 9, Frederick has dropped out of the top spot only four times. Currently, the Keys are in second for the first time since May 4 after a loss to Lynchburg on Thursday coupled with a 1-0 Wilmington win over Potomac. Entering today’s action, the Blue Rocks have a one-game lead over the Keys for first in the CL North.

 

LONGBALL BLUES: The Keys are the only Carolina League team that has allowed more than 20 home runs this season (the next-worst team is Winston-Salem at 20). Frederick pitching has given up at least one homer in each of their last five games, while more than one-third (eight) of the club’s total (22) has come over that time. On Tuesday, David Hess allowed three home runs to Lynchburg in the first inning, the second time the Keys had given up three deep flies in a contest this year (first time came on May 5 against Winston-Salem). Despite pitching in a hitter-friendly ballpark, Keys pitching has surrendered 14 of its 22 home runs on the road.

 

CLOSING TIME: Trey Mancini saw his eight-game hit streak conclude on Thursday morning. Over that stretch, he hit .375 with a home run, two doubles, six RBIs and three runs scored. The eight-gamer is tied for the longest by a Keys player this year, joining Jeff Kemp who also hit in eight straight from May 2-May 10. In total, the Keys have had six players post hitting streaks of seven or more games.

 

HEAT CHECK: Tucker Nathans comes off an excellent roadtrip, where he batted .370 (9-for-25) over seven games to go along with a home run, a triples, two doubles, two RBIs and six runs scored. Over that time, he raised his batting average from .293 to .310 thanks to two three-hit efforts and a two-hit contest. Following a strong April where he hit .288 in 17 games, Nathans is batting .333 over 14 games this month (only Anthony Caronia at .341 and Jeff Kemp at .340 have fared better). Currently, Nathans is third in the CL in hitting (.310) and fifth in on-base percentage (.388).

 

HARD AND FAST RULES: A quick check of the Keys run output can often tell you if the team won or lost the game the previous night. In games where the Keys score four runs or more the team is 17-1. In contrast, the orange and black are just 1-16 when posting three runs or less in a game. The lone outliers came against Winston-Salem (3-2 Keys win) on April 2 and at Carolina on May 4 (6-5 Keys loss).

 

A ONE-RUN GAME? WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT: Despite playing only 35 games this season, almost half (17) have been decided by one run. That includes Tuesday’s 6-5 win, which was the team’s 11th one-run road game of the season (out of 21 they have played). Strangely, neither of the club’s last two games have been decided by nine runs and three runs respectively, making it the first time this month the Keys have gone consecutive days without a one-run game (and the first time since April 22-23). Frederick is fifth in the league in one-run affairs (9-8) and has played at least three more one-run games than the next-closest club (Wilmington has been involved in 14). In one-run home tilts, the orange and black are undefeated (6-0) and have not lost a one-run home game since last August 31 against Potomac, when the P-Nats knocked the Keys out of playoff contention.

 

TODAY’S OPPOSING STARTER:  Right-hander John Simms makes his fourth start of the season on Friday and is the No. 28 prospect in the Washington system according to Baseball America. His most recent outing came against the Keys last Saturday. Tagged with the loss, it was still Simms’ best start of the year, as he gave up two runs on four hits over six frames. It was his first quality outing since last August 9, when he was pitching for Double-A Harrisburg. Assigned to Potomac from extended spring training on April 24, Simms gave up eight runs in his first 5.2 innings this year on eight hits. Simms split 2014 between three different teams, going 4-10 with a 4.19 ERA over 26 games (21 starts). That included 10 starts with Potomac where he went 2-4 with a 4.36 ERA. His best performance came on June 7 against Wilmington, when he struck out 14, the most by any P-Nats pitcher last year. At Double-A Harrisburg he went 2-6 with a 5.03 ERA 11 starts, while at Low-A Hagerstown he was 0-0 with a 0.98 ERA in five relief outings (18.2 IP/2ER). An 11th round pick by Washington out of Rice University, Simms was also selected by Washington in the 39th round of the 2010 draft but he did not sign. Before enrolling at Rice, he spent the summer of 2010 pitching for USA U-18 National Team, going 4-0 with a 0.96 ERA against international competition. Originally from Woodlands, TX (a suburb of Houston) the city is the hometown of NFL stars Adrian Peterson and Arian Foster as well as former MLB pitcher Doug Drabek. A three-pitch pitcher, Simms throws a low-90s fastball, a curveball and a changeup.

 

Keys and the Hillcats Play Game Two Tonight!

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

The Keys and the Hillcats play the second of three games after the Keys won last night’s affair 6-5. After Lynchburg batted around and hit three homers in the first, the Keys scored the next four runs and put together eight innings of shutout, one-hit baseball. Today’s lineup and notes are below, while the broadcast as always can be heard on 1450 AM The Source beginning at 6:15 p.m. I look forward to your company.

Shake your Keys!

Geoff

LINEUP 

1. LF Tucker Nathans

2. 2B Jeff Kemp

3. 3B Drew Dosch

4. 1B Trey Mancini

5. RF Brenden Webb

6. SS Adrian Marin

7. DH Anthony Caronia

8. C Austin Wynns

9. CF Johnny Ruettiger

LHP Luis Gonzalez

Wednesday, May 13, 2015 · Game #34 · Road Game #20

Frederick Keys (18-15) vs Lynchburg Hillcats (11-22)

LHP Luis Gonzalez (2-2, 5.93) vs. RHP Michael Peoples (1-3, 9.00)

TALK ABOUT A TURNAROUND: Things got off to a rocky start for David Hess on Tuesday, with the right-hander giving up five runs and three home runs as the Lynchburg Hillcats batted around in the first inning. From the second inning through game’s end it was a different story. Over the final eight innings, Hess, Austin Urban and Cody Wheeler combined to allow one hit and no runs, as the Keys topped the Hillcats 6-5 at City Stadium. The pitching performance included 7.1 innings of no-hit baseball by the trio. Offensively, the Keys also performed well, knocking out 12 hits and posting two multi-run innings. In the first, the orange and black scored twice thanks to an RBI fielder’s choice by Drew Dosch and an RBI base-hit by Mancini. In the third, the Keys tied things up at five, sending eight to bat against Dace Kime. Nathans opened the frame with a home run, while a double by Jeff Kemp and an RBI single by Dosch made it a one-run game. After a walk to Mancini, Adrian Marin singled in Dosch to make it 5-5. Frederick took the lead for good one inning later on a single by Nathans and Kemp’s third two-bagger of the night.

THE TOTAL TRANSFORMATION: Tuesday’s first inning was the toughest of David Hess’ professional career. The five runs he allowed tied a season-high and came up one-short of a career-high for runs allowed in a game (he gave up six runs last August 14 as a member of the Short-Season Aberdeen Ironbirds). Additionally, the three home runs were the most he had ever allowed in a pro game. Following the tough start though, the Tennessee native retired the final 13 batters he faced to earn his first win since April 10 against Winston-Salem.

STARTING TO PICK UP: Since Sunday’s loss to Potomac, the Frederick bullpen has not allowed a run in 6.2 frames. Four of those innings came on Tuesday, as Austin Urban and Cody Wheeler each tossed two scoreless innings. Wheeler also picked up his fourth save of the year in as many attempts, and is now tied for fourth in the CL in that department. When Wheeler is not available, things have been a little more adventurous at the end of games. The Keys are just 3-for-6 in save chances this month, while the team leads the Carolina League in blown saves (seven) three-more than Wilmington, Lynchburg, Salem and Winston-Salem. Following a terrific April where the Keys bullpen tallied a 3.69 ERA, Frederick relievers have allowed 35 runs in 42.2 innings this month (7.38 ERA).

THE BASH BROTHERS: The first two hitters in Tuesday game, Tucker Nathans and Jeff Kemp, accounted for half of Frederick’s 12 hits on Tuesday night, while nine of the 12 hits came from the first four in the Keys lineup (as did five of the six RBIs). Nathans tied his season-high for base knocks, going 3-for-4 with a home run, three runs and an RBI. That moved his batting average to .304 and into fourth place in the CL in hitting (the highest he has been in the rankings this year). After his eight-game hitting streak ended on Monday, Kemp also went 3-for-4 with three doubles and an RBI. It was the first time in his career that he had recorded three two-baggers in a game (he entered last night’s action with only two). The .284 average is the highest it has been for Kemp since April 12 (the fourth day of the season).

HARD AND FAST RULES: A quick check of the Keys run output can often tell you if the team won or lost the game the previous night. In games where the Keys score four runs or more the team is 17-1. In contrast, the orange and black are just 1-14 when posting three runs or less in a game. The lone outliers came against Winston-Salem (3-2 Keys win) on April 2 and at Carolina on May 4 (6-5 Keys loss). On the road, the Keys have yet to win a game when scoring less than four runs (0-11) and are 7-1 when tallying four or more. In a similar vein, the Keys are 9-0 this season (5-0 home/4-0 road) when recording 10 or more hits in a game.

NEED SOME MILEAGE: While the starting rotation has fared better than the bullpen this month, Keys starters have rarely worked past the fifth inning this year. In 33 games, Keys starters have completed six innings or more just four times, while starters have pitched into the sixth only nine times. Mitch Horacek leads the way, having completed six innings or more on three occasions, while tonight’s starter Luis Gonzalez has yet to go past 5.1 innings. In 33 games, Frederick has only three quality starts, with all belonging to Horacek (giving the team a quality start percentage of 9.09).

A ONE-RUN GAME? WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT: Despite playing only 33 games this season, more than half (17) have been decided by one run. That includes Tuesday’s 6-5 win, which was the team’s 11th one-run road game of the season (out of 19 they have played). In total, eight of the club’s last 12 road games have been one-run affairs. For the year, the Keys are 9-8 in one-run tilts (fourth-best in the CL) but one-run games have been a different story on the road (3-8) than at home (6-0). No other Carolina League team has played more than 12 one-run games so far.

HEATING UP: Trey Mancini has started to heat up for the Keys, hitting .379 (11-for-29) over a seven-game hitting streak, the longest active stretch in the Carolina League. Over that time he has a home run, two doubles, six RBIs and three runs scored, while his batting average has climbed from .238 to .269, the highest it has been since April 17. Following an up-and-down April where he hit .244 in 21 games, the first baseman is batting .313 over 12 May contests with two homers and 11 RBIs. One of the Carolina League’s top power hitters, Mancini leads the league in extra-base hits (15) and total bases (62), while he is third in hits (36) and fourth in RBIs (22) and slugging percentage (.463). This season, the Keys have had six players hit safely in seven games or more while Jeff Kemp’s eight-game streak ranks as the longest.

WELCOME BACK TO LYNCHBURG: For the second time in three road trips, the Keys make a stop at City Stadium to play the Lynchburg Hillcats. The Keys lead the season-series 5-2 (thanks in part to a three-game sweep at Nymeo Field) equaling the most wins the Keys have against a CL opponent (Frederick is also 5-2 against Winston-Salem). At City Stadium this year, the Keys are 2-2, with the Hillcats taking two of three from April 20-22. In that series, the orange and black took the series opener 6-4, before the Hillcats outscored Frederick 13-1 over the final two nights (which included a 9-0 setback in the finale). In spite of Tuesday’s performance and a winning record, Frederick is hitting just .235 as a team off Lynchburg pitching, while the pitching staff has a collective 3.80 ERA. Tucker Nathans has led the Keys at the plate, batting .389 (7-for-18, HR, 5RBI, 4R) while Adrian Marin (.333) and Trey Mancini (.308) are also over .300. For Lynchburg, Clint Frazier (.393AVG, 11-28, HR, 6RBI, 4R) and Paul Hendrix (.320AVG, 8-25, HR, 4RBI, 2R, 2-2B) lead the way.

TODAY’S OPPOSING STARTER: Right-hander Michael Peoples makes his sixth start of the season on Wednesday and his second against the Keys. The Texan comes off the worst outing of his professional career, where he allowed 10 runs on 13 hits over just three innings last Thursday at Carolina. His second straight loss, Peoples had not given up more than seven runs in a game and never more than eight hits prior to last week. Loser in three of his last four outings, the slide started against the Keys on April 20, when he gave up four runs on four hits over 5.1 innings at City Stadium. In that game, all the damage came in the fifth and sixth, as Peoples did not allow a hit over his first four innings. Entering his second year in the Carolina League, Peoples went 7-8 with a 4.34 over 26 games (17 starts). He fared better as a reliever (3.20 ERA/9G) than as a starter going 6-6 with a 4.61 ERA in 17 outings (82 innings). Against the Keys, Peoples struggled going 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA (13.1 IP/10ER). His best month of the season came in June, when he went 2-1 with a 3.12 ERA over five games (two starts). Peoples spent the 2013 season at Low-A Lake County and did not give up a run in 13.1 innings (working out of the bullpen) and was called up to Carolina at the end of May. He went 1-4 with a 5.27 ERA in eight starts before going on the disabled list on July 8 and missing the rest of the year with a shoulder injury. Drafted in the 14th round of 2012 out of Western Oklahoma State College, Peoples registered a 3.33 ERA in his college career and had a 3:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. The same alma mater of Andrelton Simmons, WOSC was forced to forfeit all of its baseball games last year after it was found six players on the team did not complete high school. Peoples throws a fastball, slider and a changeup.

We’re back in the Hill City!

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

The Keys are back in the Hill City for the second time in three roadtrips, as the club embarks on a three-game series with the Lynchburg Hillcats on Tuesday night. First pitch is slated for 6:30 p.m. and the broadcast can be heard on 1450 AM The Source and frederickkeys.com. And yes, it’s still me everybody. Don’t fret though, Doug Raftery will return on Friday night when the team gets back home.

Today’s lineup and notes are below.

Shake your Keys!

Geoff

LINEUP

1. LF Tucker Nathans

2. 2B Jeff Kemp

3. 3B Drew Dosch

4. 1B Trey Mancini

5. RF Brenden Webb

6. SS Adrian Marin

7. DH Anthony Caronia

8. C Austin Wynns

9. CF Johnny Ruettiger

RHP David Hess

Tuesday, May 12, 2015 · Game #33 · Road Game #19

Frederick Keys (17-15) vs Lynchburg Hillcats (11-21)

RHP David Hess (2-2, 2.83) vs. RHP Dace Kime (0-0, –)

MILLER MASHES, KEYS SETTLE FOR SPLIT: Brandon Miller became the second player to hit two home runs off Keys pitching this year, while the Potomac Nationals used excellent pitching to top the orange and black 5-1 on Monday night at Pfitzner Stadium. The loss means a four-game split for Frederick who won the first two games of the series, while the P-Nats claimed the final two. Potomac would grab a 2-0 lead in the second off Mitch Horacek. After quickly recording the first two outs, Khayyan Norfork singled before Miller hit his first longball to left. He would add a solo shot two innings later, finishing the game 2-for-3 with three RBIs. Frederick’s lone run came off P-Nats starter Dakota Bacus in the fourth, thanks to an RBI double by Trey Mancini which scored Drew Dosch. Limited to just five hits on the game, the Keys will try and snap the two-game slide on Tuesday, when they play their third series against the Hillcats and second at City Stadium.

SPLITSVILLE: The Keys were forced to settle for their first split of the season on Monday night, and their first since last August 22-25, also against the P-Nats at Pfitzner Stadium. After earning a one-run win on Friday followed by a shutout on Saturday, things did not go as planned over the final two days. Offensively, the Keys hit just .205 as a team in the later two ballgames, and went just 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position, after batting .302 over the first two contests and hitting .368 (7-for-19) with men at second or third. On the mound, the Keys bullpen blew its seventh save on Sunday, while Mitch Horacek surrendered a season-high five runs on Monday.

WHERE’S THE DOOR LOCK?: Despite a great performance by Dennis Torres on Saturday, things have been tough on the Keys bullpen this month. Frederick is just 2-for-5 in save chances in May, while the Keys lead the Carolina League in blown saves (seven) three-more than Wilmington and Lynchburg who have each blown four save tries. Following a terrific April where the Keys bullpen tallied a 3.69 ERA, Frederick relievers have allowed 35 runs in 38.2 innings this month (8.15 ERA).

NEED SOME MILEAGE: While the starting rotation has fared better than the bullpen this month, Keys starters have rarely worked past the fifth inning this year. In 32 games, Keys starters have completed six innings or more just four times, while starters have pitched into the sixth only nine times. Mitch Horacek leads the way, having completed six innings or more on three occasions and tonight’s starter David Hess has done it once. In 32 games, Frederick has only three quality starts, with all belonging to Horacek (giving the team a quality start percentage of 9.38).

A ONE-RUN GAME? WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT: Despite playing only 32 games this season, half (16) have been decided by one run. That includes Sunday’s 4-3 defeat, which was the team’s 10th one-run road game of the season (out of 18 they have played). In total, seven of the club’s last 11 road games have been one-run affairs. For the year, the Keys are 8-8 in one-run tilts (tied for fourth in the year) but one-run games have been a different story on the road (2-8) than at home (6-0). No other Carolina League team has played more than 12 one-run games so far.

HARD AND FAST RULES: A quick check of the Keys run output can often tell you if the team won or lost the game the previous night. In games where the Keys score four runs or more the team is 16-1. In contrast, the orange and black are just 1-14 when posting three runs or less in a game. The lone outliers came against Winston-Salem (3-2 Keys win) on April 2 and at Carolina on May 4 (6-5 Keys loss). On the road, the Keys have yet to win a game when scoring less than four runs (0-11) and are 6-1 when tallying four or more.

HEATING UP: Trey Mancini has started to heat up for the Keys, hitting .346 (9-for-26) over a six-game hitting streak. Over that stretch he has a home run, two doubles, four RBIs and three runs scored, while his batting average has climbed from .238 to .260, the highest it has been in more than a week. Following an up-and-down April where he hit .244 in 21 games, the first baseman is batting .289 over 11 May contests with two homers and 10 RBIs. One of the Carolina League’s top power hitters, Mancini leads the league in extra-base hits (15), total bases (60) and is tied for fourth in hits (34) and RBIs (21).

ALL GOOD THINGS MUST COME TO AN END: On Monday, Jeff Kemp and Anthony Caronia each lost their hitting streaks, with both individuals finishing 0-for-4. Owner of the longest hitting streak by a Keys player this season, Kemp hit safely in eight games from May 2-10. During that time, he batted .406 (13-for-32) with a homer, a double, a triple, three RBIs and eight runs scored. He saw an average boost of 59 points, while it was his longest streak since last June 14-27, when he hit in 10 straight with Low-A Delmarva. Caronia’s seven-gamer was equally as impressive with the Floridian hitting .458 (11-for-24) over the week-long stretch. That moved his batting average from an astounding .200 to .315. Caronia would rank as the 10th-leading hitter in the circuit (.293) if he had enough plate appearances to qualify.

WELCOME BACK TO LYNCHBURG: For the second time in three road trips, the Keys make a stop at City Stadium to play the Lynchburg Hillcats. While the Keys lead the season-series 4-2 (thanks in part to a three-game sweep at Nymeo Field) the Hillcats took two of three games in the Hill City when the two sides last clashed from April 20-22. In that series the orange and black took the series opener 6-4, before the Hillcats outscored Frederick 13-1 over the final two nights (which included a 9-0 setback in the finale). Despite holding a winning record, the Keys are batting only .216 against Lynchburg pitching this year. The pitching staff has performed well though, tallying a 3.60 ERA. Adrian Marin has led the Keys at the plate batting .300 (6-for-20) over five games with a triple, a double, three RBIs and four runs scored. For Lynchburg, Eric Haase is batting .429 (3-for-7) with a triple, a double and three RBIs, while Clint Frazier is hitting .417 (10-for-24) over six games with a double, four RBIs and three runs scored.

TODAY’s OPPOSING STARTER: Right-hander Dace Kime makes his Carolina League debut on Tuesday night and is the No. 20 overall prospect in the Indians farm system according to Baseball America. Kime opened the year at Low-A Lake County and went 2-3 with a 3.34 ERA over six games. His most recent outing came last Thursday against Great Lakes. Tossing six innings, he allowed four runs on eight hits to go along with five strikeouts. Kime won two of his last three starts with the Captains and enjoyed an outstanding month of April. Over four games he went 1-2 with a 1.85 ERA, surrendering just five earned runs on 24.1 innings. In May, he tallied a 6.75 ERA, due in large part to his first outing of the month where he gave up eight runs (four earned) in 4.2 innings. A pitcher who has shown good command this year, the right-hander has a strikeout/walk ratio of better than 5:1 (32 SO/6BB/35 IP). Kime spent all of 2014 at Lake County where he went 7-14 with a 5.22 ERA over 28 starts. Finishing second in the Midwest League in losses (he opened the year 0-9) command was a central issue for the Ohio native, as he finished with 56 free tickets in 136.1 innings (fifth-most MWL). He was better in the second-half (6-5, 4.98 ERA) than the first-half (1-9, 5.48 ERA). Originally selected by the Pirates in the eighth round of the 2010 draft out of Defiance High School (the same high school as big league pitchers Chad Billingsley and Jon Niese) Kime elected to attend Louisville rather than go pro. Beginning his career with the Cardinals as a bullpen-hand, he did not begin starting on a consistent basis until midway through his junior year. That season he went 5-1 with a 3.14 ERA in 24 games and helped lead his team to the College World Series. Drafted by Cleveland in the third round, Kime was the first pitcher the Indians selected. He received the call he had been drafted while on the Cardinals team bus going to Vanderbilt for the Super Regionals. The 23-year-old signed for a below-slot bonus of $525,000 (the assigned value of the pick was ($692,000). Kime’s first name is pronounced like “ace” with a “D.” He got the name from his dad, who saw it in an NRA magazine, which talked about a kid who broke the world record for a pistol shooting competition.  He throws a low-mid 90s fastball, a 12-6 curveball, a cutter/slider and a changeup.

The Keys Go For a Series Win on Monday in Potomac

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

The Keys try and close out their first trip to Pfitzner Stadium on a high note, after suffering a 4-3 walk-off defeat on Sunday afternoon. And without question the team has to like its chances with lefty Mitch Horacek on the mound. The Carolina League strikeout leader has worked at least five innings in each start and has not given up any more than three runs in an outing this year.

He will be opposed by Dakota Bacus, who oddly enough was Horacek’s first counterpart in a CL game. Make sure to check out an interesting note on Bacus at the bottom of the notes which discusses his “dual-personality.” Perhaps we’ll have a chance to touch on it during tonight’s broadcast. First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m and we’ll hit the air at 6:50 on 1450 AM The Source and frederickkeys.com. We’ll be trying to top “Dancing with the Stars” in the ratings tonight, so your listenership would be greatly appreciated/encouraged.

Game notes for today are below and we’ll have the lineup later on. Talk soon and shake your keys!

Geoff

Monday, May 11, 2015 · Game #32 · Road Game #18

Frederick Keys (17-14) vs Potomac Nationals (12-18)

LHP Mitch Horacek (2-2, 2.83) vs. RHP Dakota Bacus (0-0, 3.38)

BOSTICK WALKS IT OFF: Christopher Bostick lifted a single over the head of Johnny Ruettiger in center to give the Potomac Nationals a 4-3 walk-off win against the Frederick Keys on Sunday afternoon at Pfitzner Stadium. After the Keys tagged MLB rehabber Casey Janssen for three runs in the seventh inning to build a 3-1 advantage, the P-Nats scored the final three runs to end a three-game losing streak. Estarlin Martinez pulled the Nats within a run in the home-seventh thanks to a single which scored Drew Ward, before tying things in the eighth. Facing Jon Keller, Isaac Ballou singled with one out, moved to second on a balk and to third on a bounce out by John Wooten. That sent up Khayyan Norfork, who brought home his teammate with a dunk single to right. Back on for the ninth, Keller walked Craig Manuel to start the frame, while Steel Russell mishandled a bunt to put men at first and second. After Spencer Kieboom came on pinch-run at second, Narciso Mesa advanced Kieboom to third, setting up Bostick to play hero. Despite the loss, the Keys can still take the series with a win on Monday night.

TOUGH PILL TO SWALLOW: Sunday’s loss was the Keys second walk-off defeat of the season. The first came at Wilmington on April 16, when Bubba Starling roped an RBI double to the left-center gap to score Jack Lopez from first. Adding insult to injury, Wilmington topped Lynchburg 4-2 on Sunday to pull the Keys back into a tie for first in the CL North. Victimized by eight walk-off losses in 2014, the Keys lost to the P-Nats once via walk-off in 2014, a defeat that also occurred during the club’s first trip to the Pfitz (May 7). A team that has often been on the other side of the coin, the Keys have five walk-off victories this year at Nymeo Field.

WHERE’S THE DOOR LOCK?: Following four shutout innings by Dennis Torres on Saturday, the Keys bullpen struggled again on Mother’s Day, with Dylan Rheault giving up a run for the sixth straight outing and Jon Keller suffering his second blown save in as many chances. Currently the Keys lead the Carolina League in blown saves (seven) three-more than the next-closest team. In save chances this month, the orange and black are just 2-for-5. Following a terrific April where the Keys bullpen tallied a 3.69 ERA, Frederick relievers have allowed 35 runs in 36 innings this month (8.75 ERA).

A ONE-RUN ROAD GAME? WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT: Despite playing only 31 games this season, more than half (16) have been decided by one run. That includes Sunday’s 4-3 defeat, which was the team’s 10th one-run road game of the season (out of 17 they have played). In the three games the Keys have played against P-Nats, two have come down to a single marker (the orange and black won 8-7 on Friday) while in the previous two road series, every game in the set except one hinged on a run. In total, seven of the club’s last 10 road games have been one-run affairs. For the year, the Keys are 8-8 in one-run tilts (fourth-best in the league). No other Carolina League team has played more than 12 one-run games so far.

HERE’S JHONNY!!!!:: Other than a solo home run to Brandon Miller, Jhonathan Ramos was tremendous in his second Keys start. Needing only 66 pitches to get through five innings, the lefty allowed one run on three hits to go along with a walk and three strikeouts. In his first two Carolina League outings, Ramos is 0-0 with a 1.86 ERA. Prior to signing with the Orioles in late-March as a free agent, Ramos spent his first eight pro season with the Pirates organization, climbing as high as Triple-A Indianapolis.

LET’S PLAY LONGBALL: Trey Mancini’s home run on Sunday snapped a string of three straight games without a home run for the orange and black. This season, the team has hit 13 longballs, putting the Keys in a three-way tie for fourth in the CL. That number has been pretty concentrated among team members, with Mancini and Brenden Webb entering Monday with four apiece. Both individuals are tied for third in the league in deep flies behind Jacob Rogers of Myrtle Beach (five) and Luigi Rodriguez (five) of Lynchburg.

NEARLY A SURE THING: Sunday marked the first time in 2015 the Keys had lost a game when leading after seven innings. Before yesterday, the Keys were 12-0 in those spots, with only Carolina and Potomac holding undefeated records in the same situation. Despite leading the league in blown saves and some recent bullpen woes, the Keys remain unbeaten (10-0) when holding a lead through eight innings.

KEMP KEEPS IT GOING: Jeff Kemp waited until the eighth inning, but managed to extend his hitting streak to eight games with a single to left in the eighth inning off Wander Suero. The eight-game streak is the longest by a member of the Keys this year, and is currently the longest active streak in the Carolina League. During this time, the former Radford Highlander is batting .406 (13-for-32) with a homer, a double, a triple, three RBIs and eight runs scored. The hot stretch has boosted his batting average 59 points (.221-.280). It is Kemp’s longest streak since last June 14-27 when he hit safely in 10 straight with Low-A Delmarva.

CARONIA CRUSHER: Not far behind Kemp in regards to hitting streaks is Anthony Caronia, who has hit safely in seven straight ballgames and is arguably the club’s hottest hitter of late. On Sunday, the Orlando native posted his third straight multi-hit game and his fourth in six contests, going 2-for-4 with a triple and an RBI. Tied for the second-longest active stretch in the CL, he is batting .458 (11-for-24) over that time with two doubles, a triple, six RBIs and six runs scored. In the process, he has seen his batting average climb by 115 points (.200-.315). Caronia’s longest pro hit streak is 10 games, a feat he accomplished in 2013 with Delmarva (August 16-September 2) Caronia would rank third in the league in batting average if he had enough plate appearances to qualify.

HELLO POTOMAC: The Keys play their closest geographic rival, the Potomac Nationals, for the first time this season. In 2014, the P-Nats took the season-series 12-8. Frederick fared better at Pfitzner Stadium (5-5) than at Nymeo Field (3-7). Potomac has won the season-set in each of the last three years, while the Keys have finished above .500 against the Nats since 2010. With the new unbalanced schedule in the Carolina League this season, the orange and black will see the P-Nats 22 times in 2015 (which includes 13 games at the Pfitz).

TODAY’s OPPOSING STARTER: Right-hander Dakota Bacus makes his seventh appearance of the season and his fourth start on Monday. His most recent outing came against Wilmington last Thursday, where he allowed one run on three hits over two innings to earn his third save of the year. The right-hander’s last start came at Winston-Salem on April 30, an outing where he tossed a season-high four shutout innings and struck out five while scattering five hits. Three of Bacus’ outings have been starts and three have been relief appearances. As a starter he has no record and a 3.60 ERA over 10 innings (he has not worked more than four innings in any start) and no record and a 3.00 ERA as a reliever (he is 3-for-3 in save chances). Bacus spent all of 2014 with Potomac, going 7-6 with a 4.41 ERA along with one save over 27 games (20 starts). He faced the Keys three times (two starts) and went 1-1 with a 9.26 over 11.2 innings (13R/12ER/17H). Despite those rough numbers, Bacus was partially responsible for knocking the Keys out of playoff contention last year, defeating his Monday night counterpart Mitch Horacek in a must-win game for the orange and black (won by the P-Nats 5-4). Originally drafted by Oakland in the ninth round of the 2012 amateur draft, Bacus advanced as high as Low-A with the A’s before being traded to Washington on August 23, 2013 for MLB catcher Kurt Suzuki. While pitching for the A’s Low-A Beloit Snappers, Bacus came up with an alter-ego know as the “Whitewall Ninja”, who would dress head-to-toe in all white camaflouge and attempt to blend in with white outfield signs during games.

Keys Try for a Series Win on Mother’s Day

Good Morning Keys Fans!

The orange and black try for a series win against the Potomac Nationals on Mother’s Day at Pfitzner Stadium, with first pitch slated for 1:05 p.m. The orange and black came away with a 4-0 shutout win last night, their second of the year (the first came on April 15 against Lynchburg). If you turn back the clock to 2014, the last two Keys shutouts have come against the P-Nats. Last August 25, Parker Bridwell carried a perfect game into the seventh, while the Texan and Brady Wager combined on a 6-0, two-hit shutout.

Johnny Ruettiger was the story of the game on Saturday, going 4-for-4 with three RBIs, a run scored and a stolen base. It was his first four-hit game since 2012, and extended his hitting streak to five games. The Keys are batting over .280 as a team in the month of May, and four different players enter play on Sunday with active hitting streaks of four games or more.

A tip of the cap to Jarett Miller and Dennis Torres as well on Saturday. Miller tossed five more shutout innings and has given up just one run in his last 15 frames, while Torres put together the best relief outing by a Frederick pitcher this season. Working four shutout innings, he went 12 up and 12 down.

A happy Mother’s Day to all the mom’s tuning in today and those who are with us in spirit. On a personal note, a happy Mother’s Day to my mom Sandy who has managed to put up with me for so long, and who is so understanding of my ridiculous schedule. This one’s for you.

Today’s broadcast kicks off at 12:50 on 1450 AM The Source and frederickkeys.com with first pitch slated for 1:05 p.m. Ruettiger will be our pre-game guest.

Today’s lineup and notes are below.

Talk soon and shake your keys!

Geoff

LINEUP 

1. CF Johnny Ruettiger

2. DH Jeff Kemp

3. 3B Drew Dosch

4. 1B Trey Mancini

5. RF Brenden Webb

6. SS Adrian Marin

7. C Steel Russell

8. 2B Anthony Caronia

9. LF Gregory Lorenzo

LHP Jhonathan Ramos

Sunday, May 10, 2015 · Game #31 · Road Game #17

Frederick Keys (17-13) vs Potomac Nationals (11-18)

LHP Jhonathan Ramos (0-0, 1.93) vs. LHP Matthew Spann (0-4, 5.87)

FIRING BLANKS: The Frederick Keys earned their second shutout win of the season on Saturday, thanks to a big night from Johnny Ruettiger and terrific pitching by Jarett Miller and Dennis Torres. Topping the P-Nats 4-0, the Keys utilized two multi-run innings both triggered by Ruettiger. In the third, the former Arizona State Sun Devil drove in Anthony Caronia with an RBI triple down the first baseline and scored on a sacrifice fly by Gregory Lorenzo. In the seventh, the Keys would benefit from two Potomac errors and more clutch hitting from Ruettiger. After Austin Wynns reached on a throwing error by shortstop Stephen Perez, Caronia doubled to put men at the corners for Ruettiger. With the infield drawn in, he squibbed a single to center to complete the scoring. On the mound, Jarett Miller and Dennis Torres held the P-Nats to four hits, the second-fewest allowed by Keys pitching in a game this season. The duo combined to retire the final 13 Potomac hitters of the game.

GO JOHNNY GO!: Johnny Ruettiger enjoyed his best offensive night of the season on Saturday, going 4-for-4 with a triple, three RBIs a run scored and a stolen base. It was his first four-hit game since July 16, 2012, when he went 4-for-5 against Salem in Frederick. In his career, Ruettiger has four, four-hit games, but his career-high is a 6-for-6 showing at Potomac on May 17, 2012. Thanks to Saturday’s performance, the 25-year-old moved his batting average over the Mendoza line for the first time in 2015. After beginning the year in a 2-for-24 slump, the 25-year-old has hit safely in five straight and is batting .563 over that time (9-for-16) with a triple, a double, four RBIs and two runs scored.

LOOK AT THOSE DOGHNUT HOLES: Saturday’s shutout win was the Keys first on the road this season, and their first since last August 25, when Parker Bridwell tossed eight shutout innings of one-hit baseball at Potomac en route to a 6-0 Frederick victory. He and Brady Wager allowed only two hits in that effort. For the year, Frederick’s shutout record is 2-3, with Keys going without a run against Winston-Salem on April 9 (13-0), at Lynchburg on April 22 (9-0) and at Carolina on May 1 (1-0). The 2-3 mark puts the Keys sixth out of eight CL teams.

ARMS RACE: Entering Saturday with a 6.52 staff ERA in the month of May, the Keys got outstanding pitching during the second game of the set, with Jarett Miller tossing five shutout frames and Dennis Torres firing blanks over the final four stanzas. Working around a bases loaded jam in the first thanks to three strikeouts, Miller punched out a season-high seven and has now allowed just one run in his last 15 innings pitched. Torres’ performance was the best by a Keys reliever in 2015. Over four frames, he retired 12 straight batters to equal the longest outing of his career. It also cut the bullpen’s relief ERA from 10.04 to 8.82 in the month of May.

LET’S GO STREAKING!: As a team, the Keys have been swinging the bat very well in the month of May, batting .281 collectively (a major step up from April where the team hit only .243). Ending with 10 hits or more in three of the last five games, the Keys have gotten balanced production from their entire lineup, and a number of players own hitting streaks. Entering Sunday, Jeff Kemp (seven) Anthony Caronia (six) Johnny Ruettiger (five) and Trey Mancini (four) have active streaks of four games or more, while Tucker Nathans (five) and Austin Wynns (four) saw their streaks come to an end on Saturday.

TURN OUT THE LIGHTS, THE PARTY’S OVER: When the Keys have carried a lead through seven or eight innings, the team has been unbeatable this season. When the orange and black lead going into the eighth inning, the Keys are 12-0, while the club is 10-0 when holding the upper hand through eight stanzas. Around the league, only the Carolina Mudcats (15-0) and the Potomac Nationals are undefeated when leading after seven, while the Muddies (13-0), Nationals (6-0) and Winston-Salem Dash (10-0) are unbeaten when leading after eight.

CARONIA CRUSHER: Johnny Ruettiger may have received a bulk of the attention on Saturday, but Anthony Caronia posted his second straight multi-hit game on Saturday and his third in five ballgames. Owner of a six-game hitting streak, the Orlando native is batting .450 (9-for-20) over that stretch with two doubles, five RBIs and six runs scored. In the process, he has seen his batting average climb by exactly 100 points (.200-.300).

KEMP KEEPS IT GOING: Thanks to an RBI double in the eighth inning, Jeff Kemp was able to extend his hitting streak to seven games on Friday night. The seven-gamer equals the longest by a member of the Keys this year, as Kemp joins Drew Dosch (who wrapped up his streak on Wednesday) and Brenden Webb. Over the week-long stretch, the former Radford Highlander is batting .429 (12-for-28) with a homer, a double, a triple, three RBIs and eight runs scored. The hot stretch has boosted his batting average 60 points (.221-.281).

WHAT A TANGLED WEBB HE WEAVES: Brenden Webb may have gone hitless on Saturday, but has still been red-hot of late. In his last five games, the Californian is batting .400 (8-for-20) with two homers and four RBIs to go along with five runs scored. Entering Sunday, Webb ranks fifth in the league in hitting (.306), paces the league in total bases (53) is tied for second in runs scored (22) and extra-base hits (12), is third in hits (33) and tied for third in doubles (eight). He is also tied for the league lead in games played (30).

PLAYER OF THE MONTH: Despite losing an 19-game on-base streak on Thursday, it has still been a good week for Drew Dosch who was named the Orioles Minor League “Player of the Month” on Tuesday. It is the second time in his professional career that Dosch had received an organizational player of the month honor. He received the award last July, after hitting .364 with 15 RBIs in 25 games for Low-A Delmarva. In the month of April, the 22-year-old hit .291 with a home run, 18 RBIs, five doubles and two triples over 21 games. He was named the Carolina League’s “Player of the Week” for April 20-26.

HELLO POTOMAC: The Keys play their closest geographic rival, the Potomac Nationals, for the first time this season. In 2014, the P-Nats took the season-series 12-8. Frederick fared better at Pfitzner Stadium (5-5) than at Nymeo Field (3-7). Potomac has won the season-set in each of the last three years, while the Keys have finished above .500 against the Nats since 2010. With the new unbalanced schedule in the Carolina League this season, the orange and black will see the P-Nats 22 times in 2015 (which includes 13 games at the Pfitz).

TODAY’s OPPOSING STARTER: Left-hander Matthew Spann makes his fifth start of the 2015 season and his first against Frederick on Sunday. In his most recent start last Friday, he suffered the loss at Salem, giving up four runs on nine hits over six innings. Spann has lost all four of his starts this season, and is tied for second in the Carolina league in defeats. Only Yean Carlos Gil of Carolina has suffered more (five). In each of his four starts, Spann has allowed four runs, while opponents are batting .343 against him, with righties (.347) faring slightly better than lefties (.333). The 24-year-old split the 2014 campaign between Potomac (23G/18GS) and Hagerstown (4G) going a combined 11-5 with a 3.50 ERA. Promoted to the P-Nats last May 1, Spann went 9-5 with a 3.82 ERA and finished tied for fifth in the CL in wins. Outstanding in the month of August, the lefty went 2-0 with a 1.23 ERA in his final four games (22IP/3R/10H). During that time, he tossed nine shutout innings over two games against the Keys, while for the season against Frederick, Spann went 1-0 with a 1.83 ERA in five games (three starts). Selected by Tampa Bay in the 25th round of the 2010 MLB Draft out of Columbia Central (TN) High School, Spann was acquired by Washington in late-August 2013, as part of a trade which sent veteran MLB outfielder David DeJesus from Washington to Tampa Bay. A native of Columbia, Tennessee, Spann’s hometown is known as the “Mule Capital of the World.” Every year the town holds “Mule Day” an annual celebration of all things Mules (it took place from April 6-12 this year). Originally a one-day livestock show which started in 1840, the event has turned into a multi-day festival featuring mules, Appalachian food, music, dancing and more.

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