Keys look to win rubber match with Myrtle Beach

The Keys used a bases loaded walk in the bottom of the eighth to win the ballgame 4-3 and to even the three game set at one a piece against the Pelicans. Today is the rubber match between the two squads as the orange and black will trot out David Hess (5-4, 4.25) in hopes of clinching the series finale. Hess will be making his second start against Myrtle Beach this season. The Pelicans will counter with Jen-Ho Tseng (5-6, 3.48) who is making his second appearance against Frederick on the year. The contest will start at 2:00 PM.

Today’s lineup

Josh Hart CF

Tanner Witt 3B

Chance Sisco C

Jeff Kemp SS

Austin Wynns DH

Yaisel Mederos 1B

Conor Bierfeldt RF

Anthony Caronia 2B

Jay Gonzalez LF

8/2 Game Notes

KEYS SNAP SIX-GAME SLIDE: Austin Wynns finished a triple shy of the cycle and drew a critical walk in the bottom of the eighth inning to lead the Frederick Keys to a 4-3 win over the Myrtle Beach Pelicans on Saturday night at Nymeo Field. The victory snaps Frederick’s season-high six-game losing streak. Mark Zagunis hit a three-run homer to tie the game in the top of the eighth, but the Keys scratched across the eventual winning run a half-inning later thanks to a number of a strong plate appearances. Jay Gonzalez struck out to open the inning, but reached first after the ball got past Pelicans catcher Victor Caritini. Tad Gold then advanced his teammate on a bunt base hit. After James Farris struck out Tanner Witt, Chance Sisco walked on a 12-pitch plate appearance to load the bases. Once again, Farris buckled down, getting Jeff Kemp to bounce into a fielder’s choice, but Wynns coaxed an eight-pitch walk to force in the eventual winning run.

SLIDE SNAPPED: The victory on Saturday snapped the Keys longest losing streak of the season, and helped the club avoid its first seven-game slide since last June 21-27 (Frederick’s longest losing streak of 2014). It was the first win by the orange and black in a week, after the team defeated Winston-Salem 2-1 in 11 innings the Saturday before. A team that has been susceptible to extended slides, the Keys have endured a six-game losing streak, a five-game losing streak and four different four-game losing streaks. In spite of those numbers, the Keys sit second in the second-half CL North standings and are only two games behind Lynchburg for the division lead.

WINNING WITH WYNNS: It was an impressive day at the plate for Austin Wynns, who went 3-for-3 with a home run, a double and a pair of RBIs. The three hits tied a season-high (he also had three on July 4) and were one short of his career-high (Wynns posted on four-hit game in 2013 with Short-Season Aberdeen). Meanwhile, the former Fresno State product tallied his sixth multi-RBI game of the year. Coming off a strong July, Wynns batted .281 (18-for-64) over 18 games

BACK-TO-BACK AND BELLY TO BELLY!: The longball by Austin Wynns was the first of back-to-back shots by the orange and black on Saturday, as Yaisel Mederos followed with his first Carolina League longball one pitch later. It marked the second time this season that the Keys had hit back-to-back homers. On June 2, Tucker Nathans and Trey Mancini accomplished the feat against Lynchburg in the bottom of the first. The pair of longballs were a refreshing site for the Keys who had not hit a home run in eight days.

DOUBLE TROUBLE: After grounding into three double plays on Friday, the Keys hit into two more on Saturday, while a failed bunt attempt on a squeeze play allowed the Pelicans to turn three twin-killings. Over the last seven days, Frederick has hit into 13 double plays, giving them 94 for the season. The ties the Keys with Wilmington for most in the CL

MORE QUALITY AND QUANTITY: Chris Lee was brilliant over seven shutout innings on Saturday, equaling a career-high with seven innings of shutout baseball. Over the last 10 games, Frederick starters have fired off 64.1 innings and given up 15 earned runs (2.10 ERA). In six of the last 11 contests, a Keys pitcher has posted a quality start, while that trend is also true in 10 of the team’s last 17 games. Coming off an excellent July as a unit, Keys starters posted 15 quality starts and registered a 2.93 ERA.

WRAPPING UP JULY: After winning 11 of 13 games from July 12-25, the Keys dropped six straight to finish July with a 15-15 record. The 15 wins were the most the team had recorded in any month this year, while it marked the first time since April (13-8) that Frederick had finished with a monthly record of .500 or better. Among CL North teams, only the Lynchburg Hillcats (16-14) fared better. As a team, the Keys hit .248 in July, but pitching carried things, with the staff tallying a 3.23 ERA. Individually, Tanner Witt (.310), Chance Sisco (.306) and Tad Gold (.304) led the way, while on the mound Cody Wheeler (0.69), Donnie Hart (1.29), Chris Lee (1.75) and David Hess (1.82) accounted for four of five Keys with ERA’s of 2.50 or lower.

A LITTLE HELP!: Lately, the Keys offense has struggled with runners in scoring position. Since last Friday, the orange and black have hit just .171 (13-for-76) with runners in scoring position, while in the Carolina series, the club batted at a .192 clip (5-for-26). For the season, the Keys are batting .256 with men at second and third, placing them sixth in the CL.

AGAINST MYRTLE BEACH: Friday’s loss moved the Keys to .500 (4-4) against the Pelicans this season. The eight games mark the fewest Frederick has played against any club. Following the weekend series, the two will faceoff twice more, with a three-game set scheduled at each venue. The Keys are batting .260 against the Pelicans this year and have a 4.17 staff ERA against the Birds. On the other hand, Myrtle Beach is batting .292 against the Keys and have a 3.84 team ERA. Offensively, Chance Sisco (.400/6-for-15) has fared best among Keys hitters with 15 at-bats or more.

HAPPY TRAILS TO YOU: On Friday afternoon, former Keys pitcher Zach Davies was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for outfielder Gerardo Parra. A member of the orange and black in 2013, Davies was 5-6 this season with a 2.84 ERA in 19 games (18 starts) for Triple-A Norfolk, while he represented the Orioles in this year’s Futures Game. With the Keys, Davies went 7-9 with a 3.69 ERA in 26 games. A two-time Gold Glove winner, Parra is batting .328 this season with nine home runs and 31 RBIs in 100 games.

Keys look to even series against Pelicans with Superheroes help

Last night, strong pitching was not enough to help the Keys as the orange and black fell in their first game of the series with Myrtle Beach 2-1. Tonight they look to end their six-game losing streak an even the three-game set at 1-1 to force a rubber match on Sunday as they send out southpaw Chris Lee (3-6, 3.38). This will be Lee’s second start against the Pelicans this season as he is 0-1. Myrtle Beach will counter with Maryland native Brad Markey (3-0, 0.76) who is making his first appearance against Frederick. Markey has only allowed two earned runs this year so the Keys offense has its work cut out this evening. Tonight is also Keyote’s Super Hero Birthday party at Nymeo Field. The contest will begin at 6:00 PM.

Today’s lineup

Tad Gold RF

Tanner Witt 3B

Chance Sisco DH

Jeff Kemp SS

Austin Wynns C

Yaisel Mederos 1B

Conor Bierfeldt LF

Anthony Caronia 2B

Jay Gonzalez CF

8/1 Game Notes

BLACKBURN STRETCH KEYS SLIDE TO SIX: Paul Blackburn delivered seven shutout innings, while the Frederick Keys bounced into three double plays in a 2-1 loss to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans on Friday night at Nymeo Field. The setback extends the Keys losing streak to six games. Blackburn equaled the longest outing of his career, while the Pelicans helped out their pitcher with single markers in the fourth and sixth frames. In both instances, Chesny Young and Victor Caritini collaborated in the run scoring. In the fourth, Caritini singled home Young, who reached on an error by Tanner Witt and moved to second on a wild pitch. Two stanzas later, Caritini drove home Young with a base hit through the left side after the later doubled. Frederick’s lone run came in the eighth against Josh Conway, after a wild pitch scored Jay Gonzalez. A second wild pitch would also advance Sisco to third, but Conway struck out the side to strand the tying run.

LET’S CIRCLE THE WAGONS: After tying their second-longest winning streak of the year last week (four games) the Keys have dropped six straight games, their longest slide of the season. It is the club’s first six-game losing streak since last July 24-30, when the club dropped six in-a-row to Myrtle Beach, Lynchburg and Winston-Salem. The Keys have not lost seven straight since last June 21-27. That week-long winless stretch, was Frederick’s longest of the 2014 season.

DOUBLE TROUBLE: On Friday, the orange and black hit into three double plays, the most the team had bounced into since July 10, when the Keys hit into a season-high five against the Salem Red Sox.  Over the last seven days, Frederick has hit into 11 double plays, giving them 92 for the season. Only Wilmington (93) bounced into more.

MORE QUALITY AND QUANTITY: Although he suffered the loss, Mitch Horacek kept up the string of strong performances by Keys starting pitchers. Over the last nine games, Frederick starters have fired off 57.1 innings and given up 15 earned runs (2.36 ERA). In five of the last 10 contests, a Keys pitcher has posted a quality start, while that trend is also true in nine of the team’s last 16 games. The nine quality outings are one more than Frederick’s entire first half output. In the month of July alone, Frederick turned in 15 quality starts (23 for the season).

BROOMED: Carolina’s 5-2 win on Thursday gave the Mudcats their third sweep of the Keys this season and their second at Five County Stadium. It marked the first time the Keys had been swept since June 17, when the Mudcats rattled off three straight victories at Nymeo Field. In total, the orange and black have been swept four times in 2015, with the only other sweep coming at the hands of the Wilmington Blue Rocks from June 4-7 on the Riverfront.

WRAPPING UP JULY: After winning 11 of 13 games from July 12-25, the Keys dropped six straight to finish July with a 15-15 record. The 15 wins were the most the team had recorded in any month this year, while it marked the first time since April (13-8) that Frederick had finished with a monthly record of .500 or better. Among CL North teams, only the Lynchburg Hillcats (16-14) fared better. As a team, the Keys hit .248 in July, but pitching carried things, with the staff tallying a 3.23 ERA. Individually, Tanner Witt (.310), Chance Sisco (.306) and Tad Gold (.304) led the way, while on the mound Cody Wheeler (0.69), Donnie Hart (1.29), Chris Lee (1.75) and David Hess (1.82) accounted for four of five Keys with ERA’s of 2.50 or lower.

A LITTLE HELP!: Lately, the Keys offense has struggled with runners in scoring position. Since last Friday, the orange and black have hit just .186 (13-for-70) with runners in scoring position, while in the Carolina series, the club batted at a .192 clip (5-for-26). For the season, the Keys are batting .258 with men at second and third, tying them fourth with Carolina.

AGAINST MYRTLE BEACH: Friday’s loss moved the Keys to .500 (4-4) against the Pelicans this season. The eight games mark the fewest Frederick has played against any club. Following the weekend series, the two will faceoff twice more, with a three-game set scheduled at each venue. The Keys are batting .260 against the Pelicans this year and have a 4.17 staff ERA against the Birds. On the other hand, Myrtle Beach is batting .292 against the Keys and have a 3.84 team ERA. Offensively, Chance Sisco (.400/6-for-15) has fared best among Keys hitters with 15 at-bats or more.

HAPPY TRAILS TO YOU: On Friday afternoon, former Keys pitcher Zach Davies was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for outfielder Gerardo Parra. A member of the orange and black in 2013, Davies was 5-6 this season with a 2.84 ERA in 19 games (18 starts) for Triple-A Norfolk, while he represented the Orioles in this year’s Futures Game. With the Keys, Davies went 7-9 with a 3.69 ERA in 26 games. A two-time Gold Glove winner, Parra is batting .328 this season with nine home runs and 31 RBIs in 100 games.

TODAY’S OPPOSING STARTER: Right-hander Brad Markey makes his 17th overall appearance this season and his fifth start. Combined between Myrtle Beach and Low-A South Bend, he is 3-0 with a 1.71 ERA. With the Pelicans, Markey has been outstanding, going 3-0 in four games (three starts) with a 0.76 ERA (22IP/2ER). The 23-year-old’s most recent outing came on Sunday against Carolina. Tossing a career-high seven shutout innings, Markey also struck out a career-high 10, five more than his previous high-water mark. In the game, he faced only three over the minimum. After making 15 appearances out of the bullpen last year, Markey has thrived as a starter, posting a 1.50 ERA (24IP/4ER) between Low-A and Advanced-A, while turning in three quality outings. Promoted to Myrtle Beach on July 5, the Bel Air, MD native went 0-0 with two saves and a 2.48 ERA in 12 games. Although he did not make a start until his final appearance, eight of Markey’s 11 relief appearances last two or more innings. Selected by Chicago in the 19th round of the 2014 draft out of Virginia Tech, the righty went a combined 1-1 with a 3.10 ERA (15 relief appearances) between the AZL Cubs and Short-Season Boise Hawks of the Northwest League. Markey played college baseball at three different schools. He began at Georgia Tech and rarely pitched, transferring to Santa Fe (FL) the same JUCO his counterpart Chris Lee attended (the two did not play together). From there, Markey moved to Blacksburg and was twice an ACC All-Academic selection.

It’s 90’s Nickelodeon Night!

Good Evening Key Fans!

Well all the wait and speculation is over and it is time for 90’s Nickelodeon Night! That’s right folks, the Chucky-Finster uniforms, the awesome on-field games, tonight is the night!

Rugrats Jerseys will be raffled off during the game, while a number will be auctioned off later. So make sure and get your raffle tickets to take home one of these cool jerseys!

For those needing a refresher on how they will look, I give you models Webb, Kemp and Wheeler:

Keys in Jerseys

Some more information about tonight’s cool on-field game can be found here. Personally, I’m most excited for the diaper dog toss. Stone hands will not be rewarded this evening, with a big crowd expected to be on hand.

This will be the first of two special jersey nights, as the Keys will be sporting Superhero jerseys on Saturday night. These will also be auctioned off during the game with proceeds benefiting the Living Legacy Foundation. Keyote's Bday

Moving over to baseball, first of all happy trails to Zach Davies who earlier today was traded for Gerardo Parra. A member of the Norfolk Tides, Davies pitch for the Keys in 2013 and was one of the club’s most dependable starters that year. He is scheduled to report to Triple-A Colorado Springs.

Zach Davies436

As for the Keys, they will try and snap a five-game losing streak tonight after suffering a three-game sweep against Carolina. The Muddies have been a Keys nemesis all season long, but the orange and black have fared better against the Pelicans (4-3).

Due to the unbalanced nature of this year’s schedule, Friday will mark just the eighth meeting between these two clubs. Nonetheless, they will meet nine times over the next few weeks.

To snap the slide, the Keys will turn to their ace, Mitch Horacek who faces the Birds for the first time. He will be opposed by right-hander Paul Blackburn, who has surrendered just one run in 13.1 innings since returning from the disabled list.

Tonight’s broadcast can be heard on 1450 AM The Source and frederickkeys.com. Myself and Doug Raftery will have all the action starting at 7:00 p.m. We will also have the manager’s report with Orlando Gomez starting at 6:50. Some of the topics we’ll cover include the Carolina series, the trade deadline and the skinny on new first baseball Yaisel Mederos.

Today’s notes and lineup are below.

Shake your Keys!

Geoff

Josh Hart CF

Tanner Witt 3B

Chance Sisco C

Jeff Kemp SS

Wynston Sawyer 1B

Tad Gold RF

Yaisel Mederos DH

Anthony Caronia 2B

Jay Gonzalez LF

Friday, July 31, 2015 · Game #106 · Home Game #52

Frederick Keys (49-56/17-18) vs Myrtle Beach Pelicans (61-43/20-15)

LHP Mitch Horacek (6-11, 4.61) vs. RHP Paul Blackburn (4-4, 3.82)

MUDDIES SWEEP SERIES: For the third straight night, the Carolina Mudcats posted a come-from-behind win, utilizing a three-run sixth to top the Frederick Keys 5-2 on Thursday night at Five County Stadium. The victory gives the Mudcats the sweep and keeps them perfect (10-0) against the orange and black this season. A Chance Sisco sacrifice fly temporarily gave the Keys a 2-1 lead in the fifth, before the Mudcats took control for good in the home-sixth. All three runs scored with two outs, as three straight singles leveled the game. With runners still at first and second, Sisco was charged with a passed ball, while a wild pitch by Jimmy Yacabonis scored the go-ahead run. An RBI single by Joey Meneses completed the scoring.

BROOMED: Carolina’s 5-2 triumph gave the Mudcats their third sweep of the Keys this season and their second at Five County Stadium. It marked the first time the Keys had been swept since June 17, when the Mudcats rattled off three straight victories at Nymeo Field. In total, the orange and black have been swept four times in 2015, with the only other sweep coming at the hands of the Wilmington Blue Rocks from June 4-7 on the Riverfront.

LET’S CIRCLE THE WAGONS: After tying their second-longest winning streak of the year last week (four games) the Keys have dropped five straight games, equaling their longest slide of the season (Frederick’s previous five-game slide took place from June 4-9). The Keys have not won a game since last Saturday’s 11-inning walk-off win against Winston-Salem. On Friday, the club tries to avoid its first six-game losing streak since last July 24-30, when the team dropped six in-a-row to Myrtle Beach, Lynchburg and Winston-Salem.

BIG INNING BLUES: Once again, the Mudcats used a multi-run inning to take down the Keys. Thursday’s three-run sixth marked the 10th time Carolina has tallied an inning of three or more runs against the orange and black this year. That includes two four-run innings, two five-run innings, and one frame of six runs and seven runs apiece.

A LITTLE HELP!: While the big inning was helpful to the Mudcats, the Keys offense has struggled of late with runners in scoring position. Since last Friday, the orange and black have hit just .188 (12-for-64) with runners in scoring position, while in the Carolina series, the club batted at a .192 clip (5-for-26). For the season, the Keys are batting .259 with men at second and third, ranking them fourth in the Carolina League.

MEDEROS JOINS KEYS: Cuban infielder, Yaisel Mederos made his Keys debut on Wednesday after signing with the Orioles in early-May. In his first two games, he is 1-for-8 with a doubles and two strikeouts. A first baseman, the 26-year-old played four seasons for Camaguey in the Cuban National Series, the country’s top professional league. In 164 combined games, he hit .268 with 12 home runs and 64 RBIs. Mederos takes the roster spot of Adrian Marin who went to the disabled list Tuesday, while the first baseman becomes the second Cuban to play for the Keys this season, joining Ariel Miranda.

MORE QUALITY AND QUANTITY: The month of July has been filled with strong starting pitching performances. Over the last eight games, Frederick starters have fired off 51.1 innings and given up 14 earned runs (2.45 ERA). In four of the last nine contests, a Keys pitcher has posted a quality start, while that trend is also true in eight of the team’s last 15 games. The eight quality outings are one more than Frederick’s entire first half output. In the month of July alone, Frederick has 14 quality starts (22 for the season), while the Keys monthly ERA is 3.30, 77 points lower than the team’s next-best month (it was 4.07 in April).

AGAINST MYRTLE BEACH: The Keys square off against the Pelicans for the first time since June 11, when the two sides split a four-game series at Nymeo Field. Frederick currently has a 4-3 edge in the season-series, with the two clubs set to faceoff twice more after this weekend (one three-game series remains at each venue). The Keys are batting .256 against the Pelicans this year and have a 4.65 staff ERA against the Birds. On the other hand, Myrtle Beach is batting .297 against the Keys and have a 4.27 team ERA. Offensively, the Keys are led by Chance Sisco (.455/5-for-11), Wynston Sawyer (.400/2-for-5) and Anthony Caronia (.375/3-for-8).

HAPPY TRAILS TO YOU: On Friday afternoon, former Keys pitcher Zach Davies was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for outfielder Gerardo Parra. A member of the orange and black in 2013, Davies was 5-6 this season with a 2.84 ERA in 19 games (18 starts) for Triple-A Norfolk, while he represented the Orioles in this year’s Futures Game. With the Keys, Davies went 7-9 with a 3.69 ERA in 26 games. A two-time Gold Glove winner, Parra is batting .328 this season with nine home runs and 31 RBIs in 100 games.

TODAY’S OPPOSING STARTER: Right-hander Paul Blackburn makes his 14th start of the season and his second against the Keys. The right-hander’s most recent outing came last Saturday against Carolina. Tagged for the loss, he gave up one run on four hits in 5.1 innings to go with a walk and four strikeouts. It was his longest outing since returning from the disabled list on July 13. Since being activated, he has allowed one run in 13 innings, while opponents are hitting .217 against him. Right before going on the DL, Blackburn faced the Keys on June 11 and suffered the loss, tossing five innings and giving up six runs (five earned). Currently in his first season at the Advanced-A level, Blackburn was named a Midwest League All-Star in 2014 for Low-A Kane County. The 21-year-old ended the year with a 9-4 record and a 3.23 ERA, second-best among Cubs farmhands. Selected by the Cubs with the 56th overall pick in the 2012 draft, Blackburn had a baseball scholarship to attend Arizona State, but elected to sign for a reported $911,700. He was a compensation sandwich pick that Chicago received for losing Carlos Pena to free agency. A three-pitch pitcher, Blackburn throws a fastball, curveball and changeup.

 

Keys Try and Avoid the Sweep in Carolina

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

The team tries to avoid a three-game sweep at the hands of the Carolina Mudcats on Thursday night at Five County Stadium. Carolina has won all 9 meetings between the two clubs this season, utilizing a quick trigger offense and the big inning to do most of their damage. Left-hander Luis Gonzalez will try and hold them in check, while he will face-off against right-hander Seth Webster.

Doug Raftery has the call on 1450 AM The Source beginning at 6:45 p.m and today’s notes are below.

Shake your Keys!

Geoff               

MUDCATS KEEP IT GOING AGAINST KEYS: The Carolina Mudcats utilized a three-run seventh inning to hand the Frederick Keys a 4-2 defeat on Wednesday night at Five County Stadium. It was the Keys fourth straight loss, and the team’s ninth straight to the Mudcats this season. Trailing 1-0 through six innings, the orange and black plated a pair in the seventh. Following back-to-back walks by Blair Walters, Yaisel Mederos bounced out against Clayton Cook to advance both runners in scoring position. Conor Bierfeldt capitalized with a two-run single to left, but the lead would be short-lived. In the home-seventh, Conor Lien tripled home Reed Harper, before scoring himself on a throwing error by Jeff Kemp. Following back-to-back walks by Matt Taylor, Carlos Franco completed the scoring with an RBI single. Frederick brought the tying run to bat in the eighth, but could not score before being retired in order in the ninth.

BIG INNING BLUES: Once again, the Mudcats used a multi-run inning to take down the Keys. Wednesday’s three-run seventh marked the ninth time Carolina has tallied an inning of three or more runs against the orange and black. That includes two four-run innings, two five-run innings, and one frame of six runs and seven runs apiece. Frederick has not beaten Carolina since last August 21, when the Keys posted a 5-0 win in Zebulon.

THE OLE SWITCHEROO: After tying their second-longest winning streak of the season on Saturday (four games) the Keys have dropped their last four games, equaling the team’s second-longest losing streak of the season. This season the orange and black have endured three different slides of four games or more. That includes one other four-game slide this month (July 8-11). Frederick’s longest losing streak this season is a five-gamer stretching from June 4-9.

SUMMER NOT SO DOGGISH: In spite of this recent bumpy stretch, the Keys still hold a 15-13 record in July. With a victory on Thursday, Frederick will equal its largest monthly win total since last August, when the club won 16 games. Meanwhile, if the orange and black win their next pair of games, it would give the team its most number of wins in a month since July 2011, when the Keys went 20-8. That same year, the orange and black won the Mills Cup, their last Carolina League championship.

MEDEROS JOINS KEYS: Cuban infielder, Yaisel Mederos made his Keys debut on Wednesday. He finished 0-for-4 with a strikeout and hit into a double-play ball. A first baseman, the 26-year-old played four seasons for Camaguey in the Cuban National Series, the country’s top professional league. In 164 combined games, he hit .268 with 12 home runs and 64 RBIs. Mederos takes the roster spot of Adrian Marin who went to the disabled list Tuesday, while the first baseman becomes the second Cuban to play for the Keys this season, joining Ariel Miranda.

AVOIDING THE SWEEP: On Thursday, the Keys try and avoid being swept for the fourth time this season. Frederick has not been broomed since June 17, when the Mudcats claimed three straight at Nymeo Field. Carolina has swept the Keys twice, while Wilmington broomed the Keys once over a four-game stretch in June.

MORE QUALITY AND QUANTITY: The month of July has been filled with strong starting pitching performances. Over the last eight games, Frederick starters have fired off 45.2 innings and given up 11 runs (2.17 ERA). In four of the last eight contests, a Keys pitcher has posted a quality start, while that trend is also true in eight of the team’s last 14 games. The eight quality outings are one more than Frederick’s entire first half output. In the month of July alone, Frederick has 14 quality starts (22 for the season), while the Keys monthly ERA is 3.26, 81 points lower than the team’s next-best month (it was 4.07 in April).

AGAINST CAROLINA: The Mudcats are the only team that the Keys have not recorded a win against this season (0-9). Carolina swept the Keys at Five County Stadium through the first four days of May. In mid-June, the Mudcats scored 27 runs in three games to pull a three-game brooming of the orange and black. The Keys are hitting .243 as a team against the Muddies and have a 5.04 ERA. On the other hand, Carolina is hitting .293 against Frederick and has a 3.00 ERA. Wynston Sawyer (.400, 4-10) paves the way for the Keys while Jacob Schrader (.375, 12-32, 3HR), Carlos Franco (.344, 11-32) and Joey Meneses (.333, 11-33, HR, 7RBI) pace the Mudcats.

SEE YOU ON SPORTSCENTER: Tad Gold made a highlight-reel diving catch in rightfield on Tuesday with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the fourth. Since the catch, the video footage has gone viral, resulting in an appearance on “Sportscenter Top 10” plays. Gold’s catch checked in as the No. 3 play.

TODAY’S OPPOSING STARTER: Seth Webster makes his 13th appearance of the season and his 12th as a member of the Mudcats. His most recent start came last Saturday at Myrtle Beach. Earning the win, the righty tossed seven shutout innings of four-hit baseball. It was his eighth quality start, while it marked the seventh time Webster had pitched seven or more innings. This month, Webster has a 2.97 ERA in five games, and has showcased pinpoint command since joining the Mudcats. In July, Webster has walked just one in 30.1 innings, while he has walked four total in 76.1 innings. In his professional career (including time in independent baseball) Webster’s BB/9IP ratio is a sterling 1.4. In his lone start against the Keys on June 16, the righty tossed seven innings of two-run baseball in a 10-2 Mudcats win.  Signed by the Braves as a non-drafted free agent on May 18, Webster made one start at Low-A Rome before joining the Mudcats. Prior to joining the Atlanta farm system, Webster pitched for the Schaumberg Boomers of the Frontier League from 2013 through this season. This year, he made one start with Schaumburg going seven shutout innings, while in his career with the Boomers he went 14-6 with a 2.88 ERA in 31 games while logging 200 innings. Last season, Webster helped guide Schaumburg to the Frontier League championship, going 3-0 with a 0.78 ERA in postseason play. Originally from Alexandria, Louisiana, Webster played college baseball for the Louisiana College Wildcats, a Division III school.

At Least We Got on Sportscenter Last Night…

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

The Keys try and snap a mini-three game slide in Carolina on Wednesday night after a 7-4 setback on Tuesday. Although the final may not have been what the Keys wanted, it will be hard to forget Tad Gold’s UNREAL catch in rightfield in the fourth.

For those of you who did not hear, the catch was the No. 3 play on Sportscenter’s Top 10 plays of the Day. If you missed the catch, take a look:

You can also take a listen to the call of a slightly excited Doug Raftery (maybe the understatement of the month)

https://soundcloud.com/frederick-keys-radio/7-28-tad-gold-unreal-catch

On Wednesday, the Keys will try for their first win against the Mudcats this season. The Mudcats are 8-0 against the Keys, though struggles against Carolina have also been rooted in one rough inning. You can find more about that in game note #2 below.

Doug will have lineups and the call of the middle game for you a little later on. As always you can catch the action on 1450 AM The Source and frederickkeys.com.

Today’s game notes can be found below.

Shake your Keys!

Geoff

Wednesday, July 29, 2015 · Game #104 · Road Game #53

Frederick Keys (49-54/17-16) vs Carolina Mudcats (50-51/16-17)

RHP Mikey O’Brien (0-3, 2.25) vs. LHP Blair Walters (5-4, 2.57)

FIVE-RUN SIXTH GIVES MUDCATS SERIES OPENER: The Frederick Keys scored four times in the fourth inning, but the Carolina Mudcats rallied with a five-run sixth and scored the game’s final six runs to earn a 7-4 victory on Tuesday night at Five County Stadium. Following a four-game winning streak, the orange and black have lost three in-a-row. Back-to-back RBI doubles by Austin Wynns and Wynston Sawyer put the Keys on top 3-1 in the fourth, while a double steal of home stretched the visitors lead to three. However the Mudcats would battle back, scoring once in the fifth and then five more times in the sixth. All five runs scored with two outs, as a two-run, two-bagger by Dustin Peterson and a two-run homer by Jacob Schrader proved to be the big blows.

BIG INNING BLUES: The five-run Mudcats sixth marked the largest inning an opposing offense has registered since July 15, when Wilmington scored 10 times in the seventh inning of a previously suspended game. This season, the Mudcats have often used the big inning to beat the Keys, posting eight different innings of three or more runs against the orange and black. That includes two four-run innings, two five-run innings, and one frame of six runs and seven runs apiece. Frederick has not beaten Carolina since last August 21, when the Keys posted a 5-0 win in Zebulon.

THE OLE SWITCHEROO: After tying their second-longest winning streak of the season on Saturday (four games) the Keys are at risk of equaling their second-longest losing streak of the year on year on Wednesday (four games). This season the orange and black have endured two different four-game slides, with the most recent coming from July 8-11. Frederick’s longest slide is a five-gamer which took place from June 4-9.

SUMMER NOT SO DOGGISH: In spite of this recent bumpy stretch, the Keys still hold a 15-12 record in July. With a victory on Wednesday, the club will equal its largest monthly win total since last August, when the orange and black won 16 games. Meanwhile, if the orange and black win their next three games, it win give the team its most number of wins in a month since July 2011, when the Keys went 20-8. That same year, the orange and black won the Mills Cup, their last Carolina League championship.

SISCO STAYS LOCKED IN: Although he finished 1-for-5 with a double on Tuesday, Chance Sisco has collected multi-hit games in five of his last seven contests (he was ejected in the first inning on Sunday). During that time, Sisco has gone 11-for-28 (.393) with a home run, four doubles, three RBIs and two runs scored. A potential player of the month candidate, Sisco is batting .327 with two homers, six doubles, eight RBIs and 12 runs scored over 26 July contests.

MORE QUALITY AND QUANTITY: The month of July has been filled with strong starting pitching performances. Over the last seven games, Frederick starters have fired off 40.2 innings and given up 10 runs (2.21 ERA). In four of the last seven contests, a Keys pitcher has posted a quality start, while that trend is also true in eight of the team’s last 13 contests. The eight quality outings are one more than Frederick’s entire first half output. In the month of July alone, Frederick has 14 quality starts (22 for the season).

SERIES STRETCH SNAPPED: After winning three series in-a-row, the Keys dropped their first set since July 9, with a rubber match loss to Winston-Salem on Monday afternoon. From July 15-24, the Keys won series against Wilmington and Potomac (twice). During that span, they were 8-2. Last year, Frederick captured three-straight sets from June 6-15 (a pair against Myrtle Beach and one versus Salem) and July 16-24 (Salem, Winston-Salem, and Myrtle Beach).

AGAINST CAROLINA: The Mudcats are the only team that the Keys have not recorded a win against this season (0-8). Carolina swept the Keys at Five County Stadium through the first four days of May. In mid-June, the Mudcats scored 27 runs in three games to pull a three-game brooming of the orange and black. The Keys are hitting .251 as a team and have a 5.10 ERA. The Mudcats have hit.297 average against Frederick and hold a 3.13 ERA. Wynston Sawyer (.429, 3-7) and Chance Sisco (.313, 5-16) pave the way for the Keys while Jacob Schrader (.414, 12-29, 3HR), Joey Meneses (.345, 10-29, HR, 7RBI), and Carolos Franco (.310, 9-29) pace the Mudcats.

SEE YOU ON SPORTSCENTER: Tad Gold made a highlight-reel diving catch in rightfield on Tuesday with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the fourth. Since the catch, the video footage has gone viral, resulting in an appearance on “Sportscenter Top 10” plays. Gold’s catch checked in as the No. 3 play.

ROSTER MOVEMENT: On Tuesday, Keys shortstop Adrian Marin was placed on the seven-day disabled list. Rated the No. 21 prospect in the Orioles system according to Baseball America, the Miami native is batting .231 in 91 games with two home runs, 18 RBIs and 18 stolen bases.

TODAY’S OPPOSING STARTER: Blair Walters makes his 22nd appearance on Wednesday and his 15th start. His most recent outing came at Winston-Salem last Friday. Tagged with the loss, he allowed three runs on eight hits in 4.1 innings. Although it was not his best game, Walters still ranks third in the CL in ERA (2.57) while he has posted quality starts in five of his last seven games. Against the Keys this year he has pitched 0.2 of an inning in relief. Signed by Atlanta last July, the lefty went 6-1 with a 2.33 ERA in eight games (seven starts) for Lynchburg (then a Braves affiliate). Prior to joining the Braves, Walters was playing for the Independent Joliet Slammers. A Frontier League All-Star, he pitched to a 2.74 ERA in 75 2/3 innings. He allowed just 59 hits and struck out 54. Originally selected by the White Sox in the 11th round of the 2011 draft out of the University of Hawaii, Walters was acquired by the Houston Astros in July 2012 along with RHP Matt Heidenreich and RHP Chris Devenski in exchange for RHP Brett Myers. Last March, Walters was released by the Astros after finishing with a combined 7.18 ERA between High-A Lancaster and Triple-A Oklahoma City (one game) in 2013. He throws a fastball, a curveball, a slider and a changeup.

Carolina on My Mind

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

Well for the first time since May 4 the Keys are back in Zebulon, as the team opens a three-game series with the Carolina Mudcats tonight at 7:00 p.m. David Hess gets the ball for the Keys and will be opposed by right-hander Andrew Thurman, Doug Raftery is on the roadtrip and will have the call of the series on 1450 AM The Source and frederickkeys.com.

Doug will have lineups later on, but for now some game notes are below.

Shake your Keys!

Geoff

Tuesday, July 28, 2015 · Game #103 · Road Game #52

Frederick Keys (49-53/17-15) vs Carolina Mudcats (49-51/15-17)

RHP David Hess (5-4, 4.26) vs. RHP Andrew Thurman (4-3, 3.55)

KEYS DROP RUBBER MATCH TO DASH: The Winston-Salem Dash finished 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position, but managed to scratch across three runs in the seventh inning to top the Frederick Keys 3-1 on Monday afternoon at Nymeo Field. The victory gave the Dash the series and snaps a three-set winning streak for the orange and black. On the mound, Chris Lee turned in his fifth quality start but suffered his sixth loss. Held to only six hits on the day, the visitors scored three times against Lee and Donnie Hart in the seventh. Nick Basto singled and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Omar Narvaez. After a walk to T.J. Williams, Hart came in from the bullpen. He issued a second straight free pass to Cleuluis Rondon to send up Nolan Earley. The nine-hole batter hit a broken bat groundball to first which scored the tying run, and one batter later, Adam Engel hit a soft infield single up the middle to score Williams, while a throwing error by shortstop Jeff Kemp brought in Rondon. Austin Wynns brought in the only run for the Keys against Jordan Guerrero on an RBI single in the sixth.

SERIES STRETCH SNAPPED: After winning three series in-a-row, the Keys dropped their first set since July 9, with a rubber match loss to Winston-Salem. From July 15-24, the Keys won series against Wilmington and Potomac (twice). During that span, they were 8-2. Last year, Frederick captured three-straight sets from June 6-15 (a pair against Myrtle Beach and one versus Salem) and July 16-24 (Salem, Winston-Salem, and Myrtle Beach).

SUMMER NOT SO DOGGISH: The Keys hold a 15-11 record in July and over the next four days, the club will try to post its winningest month since May of 2011 (19-11). In 2014, Frederick’s top win total came in August (16). The Keys have not registered more than 19 wins in a month since July 2011, when they went 20-8. That same year, the orange and black won the Mills Cup, their last Carolina League championship.

RUNNERS STUCK IN SCORING POSITION: Over the series with Winston-Salem, the Keys batted just .133 with runners in scoring position (4-for-30). Going back to the last full week of games, four of which have been Keys victories, the team has gone 11-for-61 with runners in scoring position (.180). On the year, the Keys have a .260 average with runners at second or third, which is tied for fourth in the CL with Salem.

SISCO STAYS LOCKED IN: Chance Sisco has collected multi-hit games in five of his last six contests (he was ejected in the first inning on Sunday). Over his last five contests, Sisco has gone 10-for-23 (.435) with a home run, three doubles, three RBIs and two runs scored. He is batting .351 in his last 10 ballgames.

MORE QUALITY AND QUANTITY: Chris Lee tossed his sixth quality start over his last eight games on Monday against Winston-Salem. The Keys starting pitching has been outstanding of late. Over the last six games, Frederick starters have fired off 36.0 innings and given up eight runs (2.00 ERA). In four of the last six games, a Keys pitcher has posted a quality start, while that trend is also true in eight of the team’s last 12 contests. The eight quality outings are one more than Frederick’s entire first half output. In the month of July alone, Frederick has 14 quality starts (22 for the season).

AGAINST CAROLINA: The Mudcats are the only team that the Keys have not recorded a win against this season (0-7). Carolina swept the Keys at Five County Stadium through the first four days of May. In mid-June, the Mudcats scored 27 runs in three games pull a three-game brooming of the orange and black. The Keys are hitting .258 as a team and have a 4.73 ERA. The Mudcats have hit.298 average against Frederick and hold a 3.00 ERA. Chance Sisco (.364, 4-11) and Josh Hart (.308, 4-13) pave the way for the Keys while Jacob Schrader (.423, 11-26, 2HR), Joey Meneses (.360, 9-25, HR, 7RBI), and Carolos Franco (.308, 8-26) pace the Mudcats.

GETTING THE CALL: Right before first pitch on Thursday, Ariel Miranda was promoted to the Double-A Bowie Baysox. It marks the left-hander’s first promotion to the Eastern League, while the Cuban becomes the 11th Keys player to receive a promotion this season. In five Frederick starts, Miranda went 1-1 with a 4.09 ERA. He was named the CL “Pitcher of the Week” on Monday after delivering six hitless innings against Salem on Sunday. In a corresponding move, Mikey O’Brien was received from the Baysox, while Ramon Ramirez joined the orange and black from Short-Season Aberdeen.

TODAY’S OPPOSING STARTER: The 23-year-old Andrew Thurman makes his ninth start with the Carolina Mudcats and his 12th overall appearance in 2015. He is the No. 29 prospect in the Braves organization according to Baseball America. The UC Irvine product is coming off a four-inning no-decision against Winston-Salem last Thursday. He allowed six hits, one run, walked one, and did not strike out a batter in what was a 3-2 Dash win. It was the second start for Thurman back in the Carolina League after he was placed on the disabled list on May 14. Before being placed on the disabled list, Thurman was 3-0 with a 0.55 ERA over three starts (16.1IP, 12H, 1ER, 4BB, 14 SO). Thurman was sent to the Gulf Coast League for his first rehab start on July 2 and ended up with three games (two starts) under his belt (1-0, 3.38). A former 2nd round pick in 2013 by the Houston Astros, the righty was acquired by the Braves in the Evan Gattis trade this past offseason (along with Rio Ruiz and Michael Foltynewicz). Entering the season as the 15th best prospect in the Houston organization, he spent all of last year with Low-A Quad Cities (in the rotation with Keys left-hander Chris Lee). He posted a 7-9 record and 5.38 ERA in 26 games (20 starts). In 115.2 innings, he allowed 122 hits, 69 earned runs, walked 40, and punched out 107, the second-best on the staff. Thurman features a fastball (90-93), a 12-6 curveball, a slider, and a plus-changeup (77-82) that is regarded as his top secondary offering.

Keys and Dash square off in rubber match

Usually when two first place teams square off against one another in a series its bound to be a great one. As evidenced by the last two contests, both the Winston-Salem Dash and the Frederick Keys will play a rubber match today to determine who wins the three game set. Frederick will trot out Chris Lee (3-5, 3.43) as this will be his second appearance against the Dash this season. Winston-Salem will counter with Jordan Guerrero (2-3, 5.22) making his first start and his second appearance against the Keys on the year. Game start will be at 2:00 today.

Today’s lineup

Jay Gonzalez CF

Josh Hart LF

Chance Sisco DH

Jeff Kemp SS

Austin Wynns C

Wynston Sawyer 1B

Conor Bierfeldt RF

Anthony Caronia 2B

Tanner Witt 3B

6/27 Game Notes

DASH FORCE RUBBER MATCH: The Frederick Keys went 2-for-14 with runners in scoring position and Winston-Salem scored the go-ahead runs in the sixth to force a rubber match in a 6-4 win on Sunday night at Nymeo Field. Frederick starter Mitch Horacek put together his seventh quality start of the season, but ended up taking the loss. After both teams tallied a single run in the fourth, Winston-Salem took control in the top of the sixth inning against Horacek. Adam Engel and Eddy Alvarez both singled and stole bags to place two in scoring position with no outs. Jake Peter grounded out to second base to put the Dash on top at 2-1, and two batters later, Keon Barnum bounced into a force out to bring home Alvarez for a two-run advantage. Already with two runs across in the ninth, the Keys had the tying run at the plate, but Tad Gold flied out to end the game.

RUNNERS STUCK IN SCORING POSITION: Over the first two games of this series with Winston-Salem, the Keys bats have batted just .136 with runners in scoring position (3-for-24). Going back to the last six games, four of which have been Keys victories, the team has gone 10-for-55 with runners in scoring position (.182 average). On the year, the Keys have a .261 average wither runners at second or third, which is tied for fourth in the CL with Salem.

RUBBER MATCH READ: Frederick is 5-5 in rubber matches this season, falling in its last against Wilmington on July 9. That game was suspended and finished on July 15, a game that saw the Keys surrender a season-high 15 runs. The Keys and Dash faced off in a rubber game once this year, a 3-1 Keys win on July 6. In that game, the Keys twice in the ninth inning to break a 1-1 deadlock.

HOTTER THAN A TEXAS SUMMER: The Keys have claimed eight of their last 11 contests (as well as seven of nine and 11 of 14).  That has allowed the Keys to grab a two game lead over the Lynchburg and Potomac for first in the CL North standings. Over the last 13 games, the orange and black have two four-game winning streaks and two three-game streaks.

SISCO STAYS LOCKED IN: Although he was ejected in the first inning after a strikeout on Sunday, Chance Sisco has collected a multi-hit game in four of his last five contests. Over his last four contests, Sisco has gone 8-for-19 (.421) with a home run, three doubles, three RBIs and a run scored.

MORE QUALITY AND QUANTITY: With Mitch Horacek’s seventh quality start of the season on Sunday, the Keys starting pitching has been outstanding of late. Over the last five games, Frederick starters have fired off 29.2 innings and given up six runs (1.82 ERA). In three of the last five games, a Keys pitcher has posted a quality start, while that trend is also true in seven of the team’s last 11 contests. The seven quality outings equal Frederick’s entire first half output. In the month of July alone, Frederick has 13 (21 for the season).

AGAINST WINSTON-SALEM: Although the Keys and the Dash finished the first-half in last place in their respective divisions, both clubs are now division leads in the second stanza. Although Winston-Salem is a game and a half better than the Keys (18-12), the orange and black lead the season-set 8-4 and have won all three head-to-head matchups this year. Offensively, the Keys are batting .275 against Dash, which has helped make up for a 4.74 staff ERA. At the plate, the Keys have been paced by Tanner Witt (.333/5-for-15) and Jeff Kemp (.479/23-for-48)

ALL GOOD THINGS MUST COME TO AN END: Wynston Sawyer saw his seven-game hitting streak conclude on Saturday, going 0-for-4. Over the weeklong stretch, Frederick’s catcher/first baseman hit .320 (8-for-25) with a triple, an RBI and six runs scored. A player who has been seeing the ball well recently, Sawyer has both a seven-game streak and a five-game runs through the last 2.5 weeks.

GETTING THE CALL: Right before first pitch on Thursday, Ariel Miranda was promoted to the Double-A Bowie Baysox. It marks the left-hander’s first promotion to the Eastern League, while the Cuban becomes the 11th Keys player to receive a promotion this season. In five Frederick starts, Miranda went 1-1 with a 4.09 ERA. He was named the CL “Pitcher of the Week” on Monday after delivering six hitless innings against Salem on Sunday. In a corresponding move, Mikey O’Brien was received from the Baysox, while Ramon Ramirez joined the orange and black from Short-Season Aberdeen.

TODAY’S OPPOSING STARTER: Left-hander Jordan Guerrero makes his 19th overall start of the season and his 10th with Winston-Salem. With the Dash this season he is 2-3 with a 5.22 ERA. Combined between Winston-Salem and Low-A Kannapolis he is 8-4 with a 3.67 ERA (18 starts) in 105.1 innings. His most recent outing came last Wednesday at home against Carolina. In six innings, he allowed six hits, two runs, walked one and struck out a season and career-high-tying 11 (twice). The lefty faced Chris Lee back on July 6, and gave up just one run through seven frames in his only game against the Keys. Guerrero has favored the strikeout this year, posting 50 in his first 50 Carolina League innings, while his SO/9IP ratio is just shy of 4:1 (five of his 14 walks came in one game). Promoted to Winston-Salem on June 3 from Low-A Kannapolis (first to Advanced-A), the southpaw went 6-1 with a 2.28 ERA in nine starts. Twice he was named the South Atlantic League “Pitcher of the Week” Guerrero tossed 12 scoreless innings over his first two starts, before turning in 13 more scoreless innings a few weeks later. In nine starts with Kannapolis he gave up more than one earned run just twice, while his 1.27 ERA through May 7 was the seventh-lowest among MiLB qualifiers. Pitching for Low-A Kannapolis exclusively in 2014, he went 6-2 with a 3.46 ERA in 27 games (nine starts). As a starter he had a 4.25 ERA compared to a 2.65 mark as a reliever. He never worked more than five innings in a game, piggybacking with Andre Wheeler in the Kannapolis rotation. The White Sox exercised caution with Guerrero last season after he made just five starts before being shut down due to shoulder fatigue. He attributed the fatigue to overuse and failing to take proper care of his arm. Selected by Chicago in the 15th round of the 2012 draft out of Moorpark (CA) High School, Guerrero received a reported $100,000 signing bonus. He throws a fastball, curveball and changeup.

Keys look to clinch series against Winston-Salem

Last night, in a clash of two first place teams, the Dash and Keys went 11 innings to determine a winner, but Frederick’s designated hitter Chance Sisco drove in the game winning run for another walk off win by a score of 2-1. Leading the three-game set 1-0, the orange and black look to clinch the series as they will send out Mitch Horacek (6-10, 4.61) who is making his fourth start against Winston-Salem this season as he is 1-1. He will be countered by James Dykstra (3-9, 4.00) who is making his third appearance against the Keys this year as he is 1-1. Tonight’s game will begin at 4:00 PM.

Today’s lineup

Jay Gonzalez CF

Josh Hart LF

Chance Sisco C

Jeff Kemp SS

Tad Gold RF

Wynston Sawyer 1B

Conor Bierfeldt DH

Anthony Caronia 2B

Tanner Witt 3B

7/26 Game Notes

SISCO DELIVERS WALK-OFF DOUBLE: Chance Sisco gave the Frederick Keys their seventh walk-off win of the season with an RBI double to left, as the orange and black topped the Winston-Salem Dash 2-1 on Saturday night at Nymeo Field. The victory extends the Keys winning streak to four games and moves the team four games over .500 in the second-half. With the game tied at one, the orange and black broke through in the 11th against Jake Cose. Josh Hart connected on a one-out single to send up Sisco. Already with one two-bagger on his ledger, the 20-year-old went eight pitches against Cose before lining a double down the leftfield line. On the mound, Frederick’s bullpen was outstanding, delivering 5.1 innings of one-hit shutout baseball.

WALK IT OFF, WALK IT OFF: For the second time this week, the Keys picked up a walk-off win. Jeff Kemp was the first to play hero, clubbing a two-run single off Potomac’s Manny Rodriguez on Monday night to lift the club to a 6-5 victory in nine innings. Of Frederick’s seven walk-off wins, three have come against Winston-Salem (April 12 and May 6 were the others). Although the Keys walk-off victims have been concentrated (the Keys have also two against Wilmington) the heroes have varied, as all seven wins have come courtesy of different players.

HOTTER THAN A TEXAS SUMMER: The Keys have claimed eight of their last 10 contests (as well as seven of eight and 11 of 13) and are now four games over .500 for the first time in the second-half.  That has allowed the Keys to grab a 2.5 game lead over the Wilmington Blue Rocks for first in the CL North standings. This recent run of success also marks the closest that Frederick has been to .500 overall since June 15, when the team was 31-33. Over the last 13 games, the orange and black have two four-game winning streaks and two three-game streaks. A victory on Sunday would be the team’s fifth in-a-row, and would be one game shy of the team’s high-water mark for consecutive wins.

SISCO STAYS LOCKED IN: Besides coming up with the big hit on Saturday, Chance Sisco collected his fourth consecutive multi-hit game. Prior to the series opener, the Californian had recorded multiple hits in three consecutive games from July 9-11. Over his last four contests, Sisco has gone 8-for-18 (.444) with a home run, three doubles, three RBIs and a run scored.

MORE QUALITY AND QUANTITY: Although Luis Gonzalez and Matt Taylor came up an inning and one-third of an inning short of quality starts respectively, Keys starting pitching has been outstanding of late. Over the last four games, Frederick starters have fired off 22.2 innings and given up just three runs (1.19 ERA). In two of the last four games, a Keys pitcher has posted a quality start, while that trend is also true in six of the team’s last 10 contests. That is one-short of the Frederick’s entire first-half output. In the month of July alone, Frederick has 12 (they have 20 for the season).

AGAINST WINSTON-SALEM: Although the Keys and the Dash finished the first-half in last place in their respective divisions, both clubs are now division leads in the second stanza. Although Winston-Salem is still a half-game better than the Keys (17-12), the orange and black lead the season-set 8-3 and have won all three head-to-head matchups this year. Offensively, the Keys are batting .279 against Dash, which has helped make up for a 5.05 staff ERA. At the plate, the Keys have been paced by Tanner Witt (.455/5-for-11) and Jeff Kemp (.442/19-for-43)

ALL GOOD THINGS MUST COME TO AN END: Wynston Sawyer saw his seven-game hitting streak conclude on Saturday, going 0-for-4. Over the weeklong stretch, Frederick’s catcher/first baseman hit .320 (8-for-25) with a triple, an RBI and six runs scored. A player who has been seeing the ball well recently, Sawyer has both a seven-game streak and a five-game runs through the last 2.5 weeks.

GETTING THE CALL: Right before first pitch on Thursday, Ariel Miranda was promoted to the Double-A Bowie Baysox. It marks the left-hander’s first promotion to the Eastern League, while the Cuban becomes the 11th Keys player to receive a promotion this season. In five Frederick starts, Miranda went 1-1 with a 4.09 ERA. He was named the CL “Pitcher of the Week” on Monday after delivering six hitless innings against Salem on Sunday. In a corresponding move, Mikey O’Brien was received from the Baysox, while Ramon Ramirez joined the orange and black from Short-Season Aberdeen.

TODAY’S OPPOSING STARTER: James Dykstra makes his 17th start on Sunday and is rated the No. 25 pitcher in the White Sox system according to Baseball America. A member of the Carolina League All-Star team, Dykstra’s most recent outing came on Tuesday against Lynchburg. Tagged with his fourth straight loss, the righty allowed five runs on a career-high 12 hits over 6.1 innings. In the process, it moved Dykstra into a tie for second in the league in losses (nine). This will be his third start against the Keys. In two games, he is 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA (12IP/4R). Dykstra’s last start against Frederick came on July 5. In the game, the right-hander allowed four runs on 12 hits over six innings in a loss. The best start Dykstra has had this year came on April 15, when he tossed a seven inning no-hitter at Potomac. In the game, Dykstra faced the minimum, while no Potomac player hit the ball out of the infield. It was the 15th no-no in Winston-Salem franchise history, the first since 2009, while it marks the only no-hitter in the CL this year. With those two performances it was no surprise April was Dykstra’s best month, as he registered a 0.78 ERA in four games (23IP/2ER). May (4.87) June (5.70) and July (4.62) have not been as smooth, while the righty was out from May 9-23 with a back injury. Regarded as having the “best control” among White Sox minor leaguers, Dykstra has just 11 walks in 92.1 innings this year and has not walked any more than two in a game (happened once). He is second among starters in lowest BB/9IP ratio (1.07). Dykstra was a sixth round selection by Chicago in the 2013 draft out of Cal State San Marcos, an NAIA school 30 miles outside his native San Diego. One of three colleges Dykstra attended, the Californian began his career at Yavapi (AZ) Junior College, where he converted from outfield to pitching. He transferred to LSU the following spring, registering a 5.48 ERA in only 23 innings of work (he was teammates with Kevin Gausman). With playing time limited he moved to Cal State San Marcos, and refined his off-speed pitches with pitching coach Pat Hause. Dykstra throws a fastball, changeup and curveball.

Keys open series with Winston-Salem

The Keys are on a hot streak as they come back to Nymeo Field having won five of their last six contests including a three-game sweep of the Potomac Nationals down at Pfitzner Stadium. With this hot streak, Frederick has vaulted into first place and have a two game lead over Lynchburg. However the orange and black will also be running into another team who have been playing just as well as the Winston-Salem Dash come to town. This series is a battle between two first place teams as the Dash are in first in the South Division. Tonight the Keys will trot out Luis Gonzalez (5-7, 6.97) as he is making his second appearance against Winston-Salem this season. The Dash look to counter with Matt Heidenreich (11-2, 2.49) who is making his third appearance against Frederick on the year. Tonight’s game will start at 6:00 PM and tonight’s promotion is Christmas in July.

Today’s lineup

Jay Gonzalez CF

Josh Hart LF

Chance Sisco DH

Jeff Kemp SS

Austin Wynns C

Wynston Sawyer 1B

Conor Bierfeldt RF

Anthony Caronia 2B

Tanner Witt 3B

7/25 Game Notes

KEYS COMPLETE SWEEP OF NATIONALS: For the third straight game, Frederick Keys pitching held the Potomac Nationals to one run, while Conor Bierfeldt tallied three RBIs in a 5-1 win on Friday night at Pfitzner Stadium. With the victory, the orange and black earn the three-game sweep and move three games over the .500 mark for the first time in the second-half. After leaving seven on base through the first five innings, Frederick broke through in the sixth against Justin Thomas. Ramon Ramirez reached on a one-out error, while a single by Wynston Sawyer put two aboard for Conor Bierfeldt. Down in the count 1-2, the former Little East Player of the Year, doubled home Ramirez, while an RBI single by Anthony Caronia and a sac-fly by Jay Gonzalez made it 3-0. In the eighth, Bierfeldt completed the scoring with a two-run homer to left. Matt Taylor earned his victory of 2015, tossing five shutout innings in a spot start.

BREAK OUT THE BROOMS: On Friday, the Keys registered their second sweep of the year and their first since mid-April, when the orange and black swept Lynchburg from April 13-15. Meanwhile, it was Frederick’s first road sweep since last July 10 at Salem. In the series, the Keys outscored Potomac 13-3, while the Nationals were held to a .232 average (23-for-99) and finished 3-for-30 (.100) with runners in scoring position. On the mound, Keys starters gave up only two runs in 17 innings, while Chris Lee and David Hess posted back-to-back quality starts.

HOTTER THAN A TEXAS SUMMER: The Keys have claimed eight of their last 10 contests (as well as six of seven and 10 of 12) and are now three games over .500 for the first time in the second-half.  That has allowed the Keys to grab a two game lead over the Wilmington Blue Rocks for first in the CL North standings. This recent run of success also marks the closest that Frederick has been to .500 overall since June 16, when the team was 31-34. Over the last 12 games, the orange and black have posted a four-game winning streak and two separate three-game runs. A victory on Saturday would be the team’s fourth in-a-row, equaling the team’s second-longest stretch of the year.

BIERFELDT BLASTS OFF: Entering the series finale in a 4-for-38 funk, Conor Bierfeldt got back on track, going 2-for-3 with a home run, a double, three RBIs and two runs scored. It was Bierfeldt’s first multi-hit game in the Carolina League, and it raised his batting average 20 points (.167-.187). The three RBIs were also a CL high. A player who has seen the ball well of late even when he has not recorded a hit, the Connecticut native has four walks in his last 12 plate appearances.

MORE QUALITY AND QUANTITY: Although Matt Taylor finished an inning short of a quality start on Friday, Frederick posted quality outings in two of the three games at Pfitzner Stadium. In the last nine games, a Keys pitcher has delivered a quality start six times. That is one-short of the Frederick’s entire first-half output. In the month of July alone, Frederick has 12 (they have 20 for the season). In 23 games this month, the Keys staff ERA is 3.11, while the starting pitching ERA is a sterling 2.92 (129.2 IP/42ER). Frederick’s bullpen has also performed well, tallying a 3.42 mark.

AGAINST WINSTON-SALEM: Although the Keys and the Dash finished the first-half in last place in their respective divisions, both clubs are now division leads in the second stanza. Winston-Salem holds the best-overall mark (17-11) since the all-star break and sport a 9-4 second-half road record. Still, the orange and black lead the season-series 7-3 and have won all three head-to-head matchups this year. Offensively, the Keys are batting .279 against Dash, which has helped make up for a 5.05 staff ERA. At the plate, the Keys have been paced by Jeff Kemp (.450/18-for-40) and Wynston Sawyer (.308/4-for-13).

LET’S GO STREAKING: Wynston Sawyer enters Saturday with a seven-game hitting streak, his longest as a member of the Keys this season. In the last 2.5 weeks, the Californian has put together a seven-game streak as well as a five-gamer. Over this current stretch, Frederick’s catcher/first baseman is batting .320 (8-for-25) with a triple, an RBI and six runs scored. During the streak, Sawyer has seen his batting average climb 17 points to .244, the highest it has been in the last 12 days.

GETTING THE CALL: Right before first pitch on Thursday, Ariel Miranda was promoted to the Double-A Bowie Baysox. It marks the left-hander’s first promotion to the Eastern League, while the Cuban becomes the 11th Keys player to receive a promotion this season. In five Frederick starts, Miranda went 1-1 with a 4.09 ERA. He was named the CL “Pitcher of the Week” on Monday after delivering six hitless innings against Salem on Sunday. In a corresponding move, Mikey O’Brien was received from the Baysox, while Ramon Ramirez joined the orange and black from Short-Season Aberdeen.

TODAY’S OPPOSING STARTER: Right-hander Matt Heidenreich makes his 18th start of the season and his third against the Keys. Winner of three straight games, the Californian’s most recent start came against Lynchburg on Monday. Tossing six innings, he allowed two runs on eight hits to go with a walk and seven strikeouts. Each of Heidenreich’s last three outings have been quality starts, while he has 12 total this season. The CL leader in wins (11), the righty is trying to pull into a tie for the most number of wins in all of the minors. Currently four minor league pitchers have 12 victories including Bowie Baysox righty Terry Doyle. Heidenreich’s 2.49 ERA is second-best in the CL, while he is second in innings pitched (104.2) and fifth in lowest BB/9IP ratio among starters (1.46). In two starts against Frederick, the 24-year-old is 1-0 with a 4.09 ERA (11IP/5ER). A fourth round pick by Chicago in 2009 out of Temescal Canyon (CA) High School, Heidenreich was traded to the Astros in July 2012 along with Blair Walters for big leaguer Brett Myers. The 2014 season was a struggle for the Californian, who went a combined 4-4 with a 6.41 ERA over 28 games (11 starts). He re-signed with the White Sox in December, and rejoins the Dash for the first time since 2012. That season he went 8-2 with a 3.57 ERA and was tabbed as the starting pitcher for that year’s Carolina League-California League All-Star Game. Heidenreich throws a four-seam and two-seam fastball, a curveball and a changeup.

Keys Go for a Sweep In Potomac!

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

The Keys try for a three-game sweep in Potomac tonight. We’ll have the lineups in a bit but today’s notes are below!

Catch the broadcast starting at 6:50 on 1450 AM The Source and frederickkeys.com! I’ll have the call along with the talented Mike Ferrin from MLB Network Radio.

Shake your Keys!

Geoff

Friday, July 24, 2015 · Game #99 · Road Game #51

Frederick Keys (47-51/15-13) vs Potomac Nationals (45-51/12-14)

LHP Matt Taylor (0-0, 3.47) vs. RHP Phillips Valdez (3-2, 4.53)

RODRIGUEZ OPENS DOOR FOR KEYS RALLY: Assisted by the wildness of Manny Rodriguez, the Frederick Keys scored twice in the top of the ninth inning to defeat the Potomac Nationals 3-1 on Thursday night at Pfitzner Stadium. The victory gives the orange and black their third straight series win for the first time in 2015 and moves the club two games over .500. With the game deadlocked 1-1, the Keys plated a pair in their final at-bats despite recording only one hit. Coming off a loss to Frederick on Monday, Rodriguez walked Jeff Kemp and Tad Gold to start the inning, while a bunt single by Adrian Marin loaded the bases. With Wynston Sawyer at the plate, Rodriguez then threw a wild pitch to bring in the go-ahead run. Two batters later, Tanner Witt successfully got a bunt down on a squeeze play to make it a two-run affair. In the ninth, Cody Wheeler put the tying run on base after a hit-by-pitch and a walk by worked out of trouble to pick up his 16th save.

HEATING UP: The Keys have claimed eight of their last 10 contests (as well as five of six and nine of 11) and are now two games over .500 for the first time in the second-half.  That has allowed the Keys to grab a 1.5 game lead over the Wilmington Blue Rocks for first in the CL North standings. This recent run of success also marks the closest that Frederick has been to .500 overall since June 19, when the team was 32-36. Over the last 11 games, the orange and black have posted a four-game winning streak (second-longest of the year) and a three-game run.

WHERE ARE THE BROOMS?: If the Keys can win their third straight game on Friday, it would give the club its second series sweep of 2015. Frederick’s lone brooming of the year came against the Lynchburg Hillcats at Nymeo Field on April 15, when the orange and black swept both ends of a doubleheader to sweep a three-game set. The Keys last swept a road series on July 10, 2014 when they took four in-a-row against Salem, while Frederick has not swept a three-game road series since April 17 at Winston-Salem.

THRICE AS NICE: On Thursday, Frederick claimed its third straight series win for the first time all season. It was also the club’s second straight series win against Potomac, and the second in as many sets at Pfitzner Stadium. On Monday night, the Keys took the front-end of the home-and-home against the P-Nats thanks to a walk-off single by Jeff Kemp, while the orange and black won three of four during its last road series at Wilmington.

MORE QUALITY AND QUANTITY: David Hess kept the string of quality starts going for the Keys, turning in six innings of one-run baseball on Thursday. It was the sixth time in the last eight games, a Keys starter had put together a quality outing. After posting only seven in the entire first-half, Keys starters have registered 12 in the month of July alone (they have 20 for the season). In 21 games this month, the Keys staff ERA is 3.20, while the starting pitching ERA is a sterling 3.03 (118.2 IP/41ER). Frederick’s bullpen has also performed well, tallying a 3.48 mark.

AGAINST THE GRAIN: In the last 11 contests (nine wins) Frederick has averaged 4.64 runs per game, and has posted five runs or more in a contest on seven occasions. Still, the club has gone against the grain twice, winning games where the offense posts three runs or less. On Thursday, the Keys won just their eighth game by winning 3-1. This year, the orange and black are 39-11 when tallying four runs or more and 8-40 when scoring three or fewer.

ROAD SWEET HOME?: Although the Keys have played their best baseball at home this year, the orange and black have played well on the road in the second-half. In 15 road tilts since the all-star break, Frederick is 9-6, the second-best CL road mark (Winston-Salem is 9-4) in the second stanza. With a win in the middle game, the Keys have won back-to-back road series for the first time all year, and have taken five of their last six games away from Nymeo Field.

GETTING THE CALL: Right before first pitch on Thursday, Ariel Miranda was promoted to the Double-A Bowie Baysox. It marks the left-hander’s first promotion to the Eastern League, while the Cuban becomes the 11th Keys player to receive a promotion this season. In five Frederick starts, Miranda went 1-1 with a 4.09 ERA. He was named the CL “Pitcher of the Week” on Monday after delivering six hitless innings against Salem on Sunday. In a corresponding move, Mikey O’Brien was received from the Baysox, while Ramon Ramirez joined the orange and black from Short-Season Aberdeen.

BATTLE OF THE BELTWAY (CAROLINA LEAGUE EDITION): The Keys and the Potomac Nationals square off for the 19th time on Thursday, with the orange and black holding a 11-7 edge in the season-series. Wrapping up the Nymeo Field portion of the series on Tuesday, Frederick went 5-4 in games at the friendly confines, while the team is 6-3 at Pfitzner Stadium. The two clubs will meet four more times (counting Friday) during the regular season. With Thursday’s win, Frederick has taken four of the last five head-to-head series and can win the season-set with a victory Friday. This season, the Keys are hitting .243 against Nationals pitching, while the staff ERA is 3.50. Individually, Tad Gold (3-for-10) and Austin Wynns (.273/9-33) pace the Keys offense.

TODAY’S OPPOSING STARTER: Right-hander Phillips Valdez makes his 18th overall start on Friday and his 10th as a member of the Nationals. Between Potomac and Low-A Hagerstown he is a combined 8-4 with a 3.01 ERA. With the P-Nats he is 3-2 with  a 4.53 mark. His most recent outing came last Saturday against Myrtle Beach. Receiving a no-decision, the righty tossed five innings of two-run baseball and gave up three hits. He walked a season-high five and struck out five. This will be his third start against the Keys, a team that he is 1-1 against with a 9.39 ERA. Much of that can be due to a rough first start, where he gave up nine runs (seven earned) on seven hits in 2.2 innings.  In three July starts, Valdez is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA after going 2-2 with a 6.35 ERA in June. Promoted to the P-Nats from Hagerstown on May 28, Valdez allowed three runs or less in all eight Low-A starts before getting his first promotion to Advanced-A. His second-to-last outing was his best, as he threw seven shutout innings against Greensboro while the Suns came one strike away from a no-hitter. Currently with his third organization, Valdez opened his career with the Cleveland Indians, who signed him as an international free agent in 2009. From there, Valdez would be signed by Tampa Bay, but would not pitch in 2011, before the Nationals signed him in May 2012. In Valdez’s career walks have been his biggest issue, with the right-hander’s career BB/9IP ratio sitting at 4.3. This season though, he has shown some improvement walking a combined 3.1 through nine innings so far. Valdez hails from San Pedro de Macoris, a town which has been dubbed “the cradle of shortstops” more than 100 players from this town have gone on to play Major League Baseball since players from the Dominican began coming to play professional baseball in 1958. Among those from San Pedro who have gone on to the Major Leagues: Robinson Cano, Sammy Sosa, Alfonso Soriano, Tony Fernandez.

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