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Keys and Blue Rocks Back at it Saturday

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Saturday, July 30, 2016 · Game #105 · Road Game #55

Frederick Keys (53-51/17-17) vs. Wilmington Blue Rocks (38-66/11-24)

RHP David Richardson (3-3, 3.66) vs. RHP Zach Lovvorn (2-12, 3.55)

                                                                                                                                                              

KEYS AND BLUE ROCKS SPLIT QUASI-DOUBLEHEADER: The Frederick Keys completed a 2-0 win over the Wilmington Blue Rocks before falling 9-8 in the second contest in Friday’s quasi-doubleheader at Frawley Stadium. The Keys have split both quasi-doubleheaders they have played this year (one against Wilmington the other against Salem). In game one, Erick Salcedo gave the Keys both of their runs in the seventh with a double down the left field line. On the mound, the quartet of Jon Keller, Ivan Hernandez, Garrett Cleavinger and Garrett Cortright combined to give up only four hits. Wilmington   jumped out to an early 4-0 lead in the nightcap, before an Ademar Rifaela groundout leveled the game after 4.5 innings. The Blue  Rocks recovered the lead in the home fifth with an Austin Bailey two-run homer and added five of the next six, but the Keys made things interesting in the ninth. With two outs, Aderlin Rodriguez hit a three-run homer off Derek Gordon to send up the tying run, but Gordon locked down things from there with a strikeout of Rifaela.

DEFENSE HALTS LATE CHARGE: The Keys managed to score eight runs in game two, as Keys rallied from a four-run deficit, two days after nearly fighting back from a six-run hole in Winston-Salem. Although the orange and black tied the game in the fourth, poor defense contributed to the comeback falling short. Tying a season-high with four errors in game two, four of Wilmington’s nine runs were unearned. It marked the sixth time the Keys had committed four errors this year and the second time it had happened in eight days. On this roadtrip, the Keys have made multiple errors in three of the five games and have made 11 on the trip. Surprisingly, five of those have come by Keys pitchers, with Keys arms making an error in four of the last five contests.

FIRING BLANKS: The Keys 2-0 shutout win was the team’s 10th of the season. It was also the team’s second in less than a week. Frederick’s 10 shutouts are second-most in the league behind only Lynchburg (11-1), while the Keys have the third-best shutout record. This year the orange and black have shutout Wilmington three times and have blanked five different CL teams. Six of those shutouts have also come against division rivals (Wilmington and Potomac both three times).

THE WHIFF: In game two, the orange and black tied their season-high with 15 strikeouts. Just the second time it had happened this year, Keys hitters also struck out 15 times on April 23 at Lynchburg. With the exception of Cam Kneeland, every other starter struck out at least once and five struck out three times or more, with Steve Wilkerson and Josh Hart going a combined 0-for-7 with six strikeouts. Frederick also struck out nine times in the first game of the series and eight times in the series finale at Winston-Salem. Despite the higher strikeout totals of late, the Keys have the second-fewest punchouts in the CL  (732).   

RODRIGUEZ KEEPS ROLLING: Aderlin Rodriguez leads the Carolina League in RBIs this month (28) while he is tied for first with eight home runs (Lynchburg’s Anthony Santander also has seven) and a .380 batting average (with Winston-Salem’s Mason Robbins). All of his damage came in game two on Friday, when he added his 19th home run to move into a tie for first in the league in longballs. A triple crown candidate, Rodriguez is fourth in RBIs (seven behind Bobby Bradley) and third in batting average (trailing only Winston-Salem’s Nick Basto and Mason Robbins). In Carolina League history only Ray Jablonski of the Winston-Salem Cardinals (1951) and Leo Daigle (2005) of the Winston-Salem Warthogs have hit for the Triple Crown. The last minor league baseball Triple Crown (affiliated) came by Clint Robinson of the Northwest Arkansas Naturals in 2010. Robinson played for the Blue Rocks in 2009 (he now plays for the Washington Nationals).

A TRIP TO ENJOY:  Aderlin Rodriguez was probably very happy when he saw the upcoming roadtrip to Winston-Salem and Wilmington. This year he is batting a collective .354 (40-113) against the two teams with 10 home runs and 30 RBIs. Against the Blue Rocks, he is hitting .333 (team-high) with four home runs and 17 RBIs in 14 games and has a .601 slugging percentage against Wilmington pitching. A hitter who is not afraid of Frawley Stadium’s spacious dimensions, all four of Rodriguez’s home runs against the Blue Crew have come at their stadium.

SALCEDO EXTENDS STREAK: Erick Salcedo drove home both runs in game one, before singling in his last at-bat in game two to extend his hitting streak to seven games. During that time, he is batting .259 (7-for-27) with two RBIs, two doubles and five runs scored. His batting average has not gone up since he has only one hit in six of seven, while even though he has hit safely in 13 of 15, his mark his gone up only two points. This year Salcedo has three different streaks of seven or more games (his longest was a 14-gamer from May 15-29).

ODDS AND ENDS: Jon Keller struck out seven in his first start since 2013. He seven punch outs were a career-high while he threw a first pitch strike to all 10 batters he faced. Cam Kneeland scored a season-high four runs on Saturday while he turned in his second 10-pitch plate appearance in his last four games. Kneeland also hit his 10th home run, giving him a new career-high as a professional (he hit nine with Trois-Rivieres in the Can-Am League in 2013). Jeff Beliveau has allowed one unearned run in his last 13 innings and given up just five hits in his last seven games. After four straight one-run wins, the Keys have endured three straight one-run losses.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Righty Zach Lovvorn makes his 21st appearance and his 19th start on Wednesday. His most recent outing came on Monday at Lynchburg. Picking up just his second win of the year, Lovvorn tossed five innings of one-run, four-hit baseball. He struck out eight and walked two. Despite leading the league in losses (12) he is fifth in ERA (3.55). Saturday will be the fourth time he has faced the Keys. In three games (two starts) he is 0-1 with a 3.38 ERA. Keys hitters are batting .250 against hin. Lovvorn was selected by Kansas City in the sixth round of the 2012 draft out of Oxford (AL) High School. The third pitcher in his high school rotation (the first two signed with Florida and Alabama) the righty rose up draft boards thanks to a good showing in the National High School Invitational. He received a $275,000 bonus, $80,000 over the recommended slot value. Before signing with the Royals, Lovvorn was committed to Stamford.

It’s (Almost) Doubleheader Baseball in Wilmington

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Friday, July 29, 2016 · Game #103/#104 · Road Game #53/#54

Frederick Keys (52-50/16-16) vs. Wilmington Blue Rocks (37-65/10-23)

G2: RHP Lucas Long (6-5, 4.34) vs. LHP Foster Griffin (2-7, 7.08)

                                                                                                                                                              

KEYS AND BLUE ROCKS SUSPENDED: After one pitch in the bottom of the seventh inning on Thursday, the Frederick Keys and the Blue Rocks were suspended, as persistent rain prevented the game from being completed. Ahead 2-0 at the time of the stoppage, the Keys will complete Thursday’s game as part of a quasi-doubleheader on Friday beginning at 5:05 p.m. A nine-inning game will follow afterwards. Both Keys runs scored in the seventh inning, courtesy of a double by Erick Salcedo down the leftfield line with the bases loaded. On the mound, Jon Keller and Ivan Hernandez collaborated on six shutout innings of three-hit relief.

SORT OF A DOUBLEHEADER: Friday marks the second time the Keys have played a quasi-doubleheader this year. Both have come in the second half, with the Keys splitting their lone one with Salem (Frederick’s first game of the second-half took three days to complete). No stranger to these games last year, the Keys went 3-5 in these type of set-ups (one loss, three splits). The Blue Rocks swept the Keys in one pseudo twinbill at Nymeo Field to end the first half, while the two sides last one resulted in a split (last July 15) at Frawley Stadium. In game one, the Blue Rocks scored 10 times in the seventh, before the Keys rallied to win game two 5-2 thanks to a Tad Gold go-ahead, two-run double in the 11th and seven scoreless innings from Jimmy Yacabonis, Donnie Hart and Cody Wheeler.

KEYS RALLY COMES UP JUST SHORT: The Frederick Keys launched a valiant comeback after trailing by six runs after four innings, but the Winston-Salem Dash held on for a 7-6 triumph on Wednesday afternoon at BB&T Ballpark. The loss gave the Dash a three-game sweep. Five of the Dash’s runs came in the first inning as Franderlin Romero was chased after 0.2 of an inning. The low point was three consecutive homers by Nick Basto, Marcus Davis and Telvin Nash. After the home team added a run in the second, the Keys got a solo homer by Aderlin Rodriguez in the fourth, before Winston got one more run in the bottom half of the inning. From there, the Keys scored five unanswered runs. A Rodriguez fielder’s choice scored one and consecutive doubles by Ademar Rifaela and Jonah Heim brought in two more. In the eighth, the Keys utilized an error and a wild pitch to make it a one-run game, but stranded the tying and go-ahead runs on base.

QUITE THE COMEBACK EFFORT: After a challenging five-game stretch offensively where the Keys hit just .213 and averaged 2.2 runs, the bats nearly lifted the Keys to their largest comeback win of the season. Finishing with six runs and 10 hits, it was the team’s best showing since Sunday, when they scored seven runs and 10 hits en route to a shutout win of the Salem Red Sox. A strong effort all around, eight of Frederick’s nine starters recorded at least one hit. Half of the Keys hits went for extra-bases (two short of a season-high), with Jonah Heim collecting two doubles and Aderlin Rodriguez adding a two-bagger and a homer. It was a much-needed lift for Heim who was hitless in his previous 16 at-bats before his fifth inning double. Before that, his last hit was a two-run, walk-off homer last Thursday against Salem.

ON A SLIDE: Wednesday marked the first time the Keys had been swept since April 14-17, when the team was broomed by Lynchburg in a four-game series (it was Frederick’s first home series of the year). The sweep also extended the Keys current losing streak to three games (the team has dropped five of six and seven of 10). It is Frederick’s longest slide since June 15-17 (season-high is five games). Meanwhile, the team has dropped four straight road games, the club’s longest road slide of 2016.  

 BULLPEN PROVIDING MAJOR BOOST: After Franderlin Romero lasted only 0.2 of an inning on Wednesday, the Keys bullpen answered in a big way, firing off 7.1 innings of two-run baseball. Highly effective over the last six games,  Frederick relievers have surrendered only four runs in their last 23 stanzas (1.57 ERA). That has moved the Keys July bullpen ERA down to 4.31. Ryan Meisinger was particularly impressive, delivering 3.1 scoreless innings of one-hit baseball to go with five strikeouts. It was the longest appearance of his pro career.

LOOKING FOR LENGTH: Keys starting pitching has struggled in July, posting a 5.89 ERA (114.2 IP/75ER). In 25 games, a Frederick starter has completed six innings only twice, while the team has just two quality starts. During the Winston-Salem series, Frederick starters posted a 10.80 ERA (12 ER/10IP) with Mitch Horacek the only pitcher who completed five innings. In three of the last eight games, a starter has made it through four innings or less three times. As a result the bullpen has been put to work, logging 100.1 innings this month. With four July games still left, this already ranks as the most innings Keys bullpen hands have worked in a month this year.

SON OF TOM, NAMED AFTER CHURCHILL: Wynston Sawyer has put together a very strong month of July. In 23 games, is batting .306 with four home runs, 15 RBIs to go with a .417 on-base percentage and a .553 slugging percentage. Last Thursday, he posted a career-high four hits. Of his 26 knocks this month, 13 have gone for extra-bases. He has already set a new career-high with 10 homers and at 45 RBIs Sawyer is just four away from tying his career-best (he had 49 in 2012 with Delmarva).

RODRIGUEZ KEEPS ROLLING: Aderlin Rodriguez leads the Carolina League in batting average this month (.394). while he is tied for first with seven home runs (Lynchburg’s Anthony Santander also has seven). Additionally, the Dominican is tied for third with 24 RBIs (with teammate Cam Kneeland). Rodriguez has hit safely in 20 of his last 23, and is hitting .407 during that time with seven homers, 24 RBIs, 19 runs scored, a .758 slugging percentage and a 1.219 OPS. Very happy to being seeing both the Blue Rocks and Dash on this roadtrip, Rodriguez is batting a collective .365 (38-104) against the two teams with nine home runs and 26 RBIs.

SCOUTING THE BLUE ROCKS: The Keys have fared better against the Blue Rocks than any team in the Carolina League (9-3). That includes a 5-1 record at Frawley Stadium. Frederick has taken three straight sets against Wilmington with two of the last three coming via sweep. A big reason for the success is the success of Keys pitching, with Frederick arms registering a 2.84 ERA (Blue Rocks bats are hitting .221 against Frederick arms). Aderlin Rodriguez leads the way with a .356 average with three homers and 13 RBIs.

ODDS AND ENDS: Erick Salcedo has hit safely in his last five games (6-for-20) and 11 of his last 13. Ademar Rifaela is 2-for-7 with the Keys since joining the team on Tuesday from Delmarva. He has an RBI double and a homer. Steve Wilkerson leads all CL second baseman with a .975 fielding percentage (nine errors) Jeff Beliveau has allowed one unearned run in his last 13 innings and given up just five hits in his last seven games.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Left-hander Foster Griffin makes his 21st overall start on Friday and his 14th with the Blue Rocks. Between Low-A Lexington and Wilmington he is 3-11 with a 5.67 ERA in 20 games. Griffin enters the year as the No. 13 prospect in the Royals system according to Baseball America. Griffin’s most recent outing came last Sunday at Myrtle Beach. Suffering the loss, he gave up six runs on five hits in three innings. He walked five and struck out three. A loser in three of his last four, the southpaw has surrendered five or more runs in each of those losses. The Floridian’s ERA has been over eight in the last two months after registering a 3.86 mark in three May games. He joined the Blue Rocks on May 17, after beginning the year with Low-A Lexington. Overall with the Legends, Griffin went 1-4 with a 3.38 ERA. He faced the Keys in his CL debut and took the loss, despite throwing 6.1 innings of three-run baseball. Griffin spent all of last year at Low-A and went 4-6 with a 5.44 ERA in 22 starts. He struggled mightily in the first half (7.64 ERA) before producing a better in the second-half (4.39 ERA). Drafted by the Royals in the first round of the 2014 draft, Griffin was selected out of First Academy High School in Orlando, FL (their nickname is Royals). His dad Fred Griffin, is director of the Grand Cypress Academy of Golf (Foster played in High School).

The Keys are Back in Wilmington!

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

After playing three in Winston-Salem, the Keys have returned to Frawley Stadium to take on the Wilmington Blue Rocks. Game time is scheduled for 6:35 p.m but at the moment, the forecast isn’t very promising. with heavy rains falling in the Delaware Valley. Given that the Cowboy Monkey Rodeo is in town though, we could be waiting for a little while.

Jon Keller will make the start for the Keys tonight, while it is his first start since 2013, when he was signed by the Orioles out of the University of Tampa. Andy Ferguson goes for the Rocks. A pitcher with Triple-A time, Ferguson was supposed to begin the year with the Omaha Storm Chasers in the Pacific Coast League, but after having his shoulder scoped in January, he is in the middle of rehabbing.

Today’s notes are below, while the broadcast can be heard on 1450 AM The Source,the TuneIn Radio App (by searching WTHU) or frederickkeys.com.

Shake your Keys!

Geoff

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Thursday, July 28, 2016 · Game #103 · Road Game #53

Frederick Keys (52-50/16-16) vs. Wilmington Blue Rocks (37-65/10-23)

RHP Jon Keller (0-0, –) vs. RHP Andy Ferguson (0-1, 10.13)

KEYS RALLY COMES UP JUST SHORT: The Frederick Keys launched a valiant comeback after trailing by six runs after four innings, but the Winston-Salem Dash held on for a 7-6 triumph on Wednesday afternoon at BB&T Ballpark. The loss gave the Dash a three-game sweep. Five of the Dash’s runs came in the first inning as Franderlin Romero was chased after 0.2 of an inning. The low point was three consecutive homers by Nick Basto, Marcus Davis and Telvin Nash. After the home team added a run in the second, the Keys got a solo homer by Aderlin Rodriguez in the fourth, before Winston got one more run in the bottom half of the inning. From there, the Keys scored five unanswered runs. A Rodriguez fielder’s choice scored one and consecutive doubles by Ademar Rifaela and Jonah Heim brought in two more. In the eighth, the Keys utilized an error and a wild pitch to make it a one-run game, but stranded the tying and go-ahead runs on base.

QUITE THE COMEBACK EFFORT: After a challenging five-game stretch offensively where the Keys hit just .213 and averaged 2.2 runs, the bats nearly lifted the Keys to their largest comeback win of the season. Finishing with six runs and 10 hits, it was the team’s best showing since Sunday, when they scored seven runs and 10 hits en route to a shutout win of the Salem Red Sox. A strong effort all around, eight of Frederick’s nine starters recorded at least one hit. Half of the Keys hits went for extra-bases (two short of a season-high), with Jonah Heim collecting two doubles and Aderlin Rodriguez adding a two-bagger and a homer. It was a much-needed lift for Heim who was hitless in his previous 16 at-bats before his fifth inning double. Before that, his last hit was a two-run, walk-off homer last Thursday against Salem.

ON A SLIDE: Wednesday marked the first time the Keys had been swept since April 14-17, when the team was broomed by Lynchburg in a four-game series (it was Frederick’s first home series of the year). The sweep also extended the Keys current losing streak to three games (the team has dropped five of six and seven of 10). It is Frederick’s longest slide since June 15-17 (season-high is five games). Meanwhile, the team has dropped four straight road games, the club’s longest road slide of 2016.  

BULLPEN PROVIDING MAJOR BOOST: After Franderlin Romero lasted only 0.2 of an inning on Wednesday, the Keys bullpen answered in a big way, firing off 7.1 innings of two-run baseball. Highly effective over the last six games,  Frederick relievers have surrendered only four runs in their last 23 stanzas (1.57 ERA). That has moved the Keys July bullpen ERA down to 4.31. Ryan Meisinger was particularly impressive, delivering 3.1 scoreless innings of one-hit baseball to go with five strikeouts. It was the longest appearance of his pro career.

SON OF TOM, NAMED AFTER CHURCHILL: Wynston Sawyer has put together a very strong month of July. In 23 games, is batting .306 with four home runs, 15 RBIs to go with a .417 on-base percentage and a .553 slugging percentage. Last Thursday, he posted a career-high four hits. Of his 26 knocks this month, 13 have gone for extra-bases. He has already set a new career-high with 10 homers and at 45 RBIs Sawyer is just four away from tying his career-best (he had 49 in 2012 with Delmarva).

RODRIGUEZ KEEPS ROLLING: Aderlin Rodriguez leads the Carolina League in batting average this month (.394). while he is tied for first with seven home runs (Lynchburg’s Anthony Santander also has seven). Additionally, the Dominican is tied for third with 24 RBIs (with teammate Cam Kneeland). Rodriguez has hit safely in 20 of his last 23, and is hitting .407 during that time with seven homers, 24 RBIs, 19 runs scored, a .758 slugging percentage and a 1.219 OPS.

SCOUTING THE BLUE ROCKS: The Keys have fared better against the Blue Rocks than any team in the Carolina League (9-3). That includes a 5-1 record at Frawley Stadium. Frederick has taken three straight sets against Wilmington with two of the last three coming via sweep. A big reason for the success is the success of Keys pitching, with Frederick arms registering a 2.84 ERA (Blue Rocks bats are hitting .221 against Frederick arms). Aderlin Rodriguez leads the way with a .356 average with three homers and 13 RBIs.

ODDS AND ENDS: Erick Salcedo has hit safely in his last five games (6-for-20) and 11 of his last 13. Ademar Rifaela is 2-for-7 with the Keys since joining the team on Tuesday from Delmarva. He has an RBI double and a homer. Steve Wilkerson leads all CL second baseman with a .975 fielding percentage (nine errors) Jeff Beliveau has allowed one unearned run in his last 13 innings and given up just five hits in his last seven games.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Andy Ferguson makes his sixth appearance of the year and his second with the Blue Rocks. The right-hander is with the Blue Rocks while rehabbing from a shoulder injury. After rehabbing with the AZL Royals, Ferguson was added to Wilmington’s roster last Saturday. In his first game, he pitched 2.2 innings of three-run, three-hit baseball and took the loss. He walked three and struck out four (79 pitches, 50 strikes). Ferguson split 2015 between Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha, going a collective 11-3 with a 2.49 ERA in 22 games (18 starts) he logged 104.2 innings. The 27-year-old was supposed to begin the year at Triple-A, but had his shoulder scoped in January due to tendinitis. Not his first time in a Blue Rocks uniform, Ferguson spent part of his 2012 season with the Rocks, going 4-2 with a 2.97 ERA in 10 starts. Originally from Benton, AR (the same hometown of 2008 Cy Young winner Cliff Lee) the righty was selected by Kansas City out of Arkansas State in 2011 (18th round).

Keys Wrap up Their Series in Winston-Salem

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Wednesday, July 27, 2016 · Game #102 · Road Game #52

Frederick Keys (52-49/16-15) vs. Winston-Salem Dash (42-60/14-18)

RHP Franderlin Romero (4-3, 5.88) vs. RHP Jordan Stephens (4-7, 3.81)

                                                                                                                                                              

KEYS LIMITED TO THREE HITS IN ONE-RUN LOSS: Robinson Leyer posted six innings of one-run baseball, while the Keys managed just three hits in a 2-1 loss on Tuesday night at BB&T Ballpark. The setback gives the Dash the series, as the orange and black will try and avoid the sweep. Both Dash runs came home in the first three innings. Two singles opened the second, while a third single with one out by Toby Thomas drove in the first run. Two errors in the third gave the Dash an extra marker. Frederick pulled within a run on a solo homer by Ademar Rifaela in the fifth and managed to get the tying run to third in the ninth, but could not convert.

AVOIDING THE SWEEP: The Keys have not suffered a sweep since April 14-17 when the team was broomed by Lynchburg in a four-game series (it was Frederick’s first home series of the year). Since that time, the Keys have been the ones accustomed to doing the brooming, racking up four sweeps. That includes a three-game sweep of the Dash from May 24-26 at BB&T Ballpark. In spite of being in a corner, the Keys can take solace in that the Dash have yet to sweep any team in 2016.

TROUBLES WITH THE LEATHER: Following three straight clean games defensively, it has been a different story for the Keys over the last two nights. Accumulating five total errors, the defense has contributed to three unearned runs. Three of those miscues came on Tuesday and pushed the Keys over 100 errors for the year (103). Only Carolina (115) and Wilmington (116) have made more.

 RIFAELA SOUNDS OFF IN KEYS DEBUT: Promoted to Frederick on Tuesday from Low-A Delmarva, Ademar Rifaela’s solo home run on Tuesday went down as his first Carolina League hit. His seventh longball overall, it was his second this month and first since July 1 (he ranked fourth on the Shorebirds with six longballs). In his fourth professional season, Rifaela batted .249 in 62 games with Delmarva to go with 11 doubles and 31 RBIs. The 21-year-old has split time between all three outfield positions.

ONE-RUN STREAK SNAPPED: Tuesday snapped the Keys string of one-run wins at four (it was the club’s first one-run setback since July 13 at Myrtle Beach. This year in game decided by a single marker, the Keys are 13-13, putting them in a tie for the third-best mark in the circuit. Prior to last night, three of the Keys previous four games were lopsided affairs. Following a 7-0 shutout loss on Friday to Salem, the Keys returned the favor with a 7-0 shutout win on Sunday, before Monday’s 10-1 loss to the Dash.

BULLPEN PICKING IT UP: Frederick’s bullpen has been called on frequently of late and has been effective over the last five games. Entering Monday night’s game having worked nine scoreless innings, Frederick relievers have surrendered only two runs in their last 15.2 stanzas (1.15 ERA). That has moved the Keys July bullpen ERA down to 4.65. Tanner Chleborad (1.35) and Jeff Beliveau (2.57) have fared the best among Frederick relievers this month.   

SON OF TOM, NAMED AFTER CHURCHILL: Wynston Sawyer has put together a very strong month of July. In 22 games, is batting .313 with four home runs, 15 RBIs to go with a .429 on-base percentage, .575 slugging percentage and a 1.004 OPS. Last Thursday, he posted a career-high four hits. Of his 25 knocks this month, 13 have gone for extra-bases. He has already set a new career-high with 10 homers and at 45 RBIs Sawyer is just four away from tying his career-best (he had 49 in 2012 with Delmarva).

LIGHTS, CAM, ACTION: Cam Kneeland has six multi-RBI games in July and has driven in 24 in 24 games. Nearly half of that came over a five-game stretch from July 9-14 in which Kneeland totaled 11 and had at least one in each game. He also has 11 multi-hit efforts in July (including six consecutive at one point). Currently, Kneeland is tied for third among Advanced-A players in RBIs and second among Carolina Leaguers, trailing only Lynchburg’s Anthony Santander (25). The 24 RBIs for Kneeland are one short of his RBI total for April-June COMBINED (25).

RODRIGUEZ KEEPS ROLLING: Aderlin Rodriguez is second in the CL in batting average this month (.394) trailing only Mike Meyers of Salem (.408). Additionally, the Dominican is second in homers (six) tied for third in RBIs (22). Rodriguez has hit safely in 19 of his last 22, and is hitting .407 during that time with six homers, 22 RBIs, 16 runs scored, a .733 slugging percentage and a 1.196 OPS.

ODDS AND ENDS: Despite going 0-for-4 with a strikeout on Tuesday, Cam Kneeland saw 26 pitches in four at-bats (that included a 10-pitch at-bat in the first inning). That accounted for 21% of the pitches thrown by Dash arms last night. Erick Salcedo has hit safely in his last four games (5-for-15) and 10 of his last 12. Steve Wilkerson leads all CL second baseman with a .975 fielding percentage (nine errors). Jeff Beliveau has allowed one unearned run in his last 13 innings and given up just five hits in his last seven games.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Right-hander Jordan Stephens makes his 20th start and is the No. 15 prospect in the White Sox system according to Baseball America. His most recent outing came last Friday at Potomac. Pitching six innings, he allowed three runs on five hits in a no-decision. He ranks first with 100 strikeouts and ninth with a 3.81 ERA. The 23-year-old split 2015 between the AZL White Sox and Rookie Great Falls. Between the two stops, he finished with no record and a 0.51 ERA in 11 games (one start). Over 17.2 innings he allowed one run, walked three and struck out 21. A fifth round pick out of Rice University in 2015, Stephens was named All-Conference USA first team last year, posting a 3.17 ERA. His 2014 season was limited to just 14 innings after having Tommy John surgery. Originally from Alvin, Texas, the 23-year-old’s grew up in the same town as Baseball Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan. There is a Nolan Ryan Museum on the Campus of Alvin Community College.

Keys and the Dash Play the Second of Three

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Tuesday, July 26, 2016 · Game #101 · Road Game #51

Frederick Keys (52-48/16-14) vs. Winston-Salem Dash (41-60/13-18)

LHP Mitch Horacek (4-9, 5.06) vs. RHP Robinson Leyer (0-1, 5.91)

BIG DASH FIFTH TOO MUCH FOR KEYS: The Winston-Salem Dash erupted for 17 hits and scored five times in the fifth inning to cruise past the Frederick Keys 10-1 on Monday night at BB&T Ballpark. It was the Keys first loss at BB&T Ballpark in 2016. Ahead 3-1 going to the fifth, Winston-Salem got three straight singles to open the inning, while Marcus Davis doubled off the centerfield wall to score a pair. David Richardson exited after a walk loaded up the bases, as the Keys turned to Genison Reyes. The hard-throwing righty struck out the first two he faced, but Cleuluis Rondon singled off the leg of Reyes, while a throwing error by the Keys reliever enabled three runs to score. Winston-Salem book-ended their five-run fifth with a Toby Thomas homer in the fourth and two more in the sixth. Frederick’s only run came in the first, as Thad Lowry tossed six innings and allowed one unearned run.

ONE OF THOSE NIGHTS: Monday night’s 10-1 setback equaled the Keys worse loss of the year (Frederick also fell to Wilmington on April 20 13-4) and the club’s worst road setback in 2016. Before last night the Keys had not lost a road game by more than five runs (April 20 5-0 and June 26 6-1). The 17 hits allowed by Keys arms equaled the most they had given up in a game this year (also occurred in the April 20 game against Wilmington). Of those 17 hits, 11 came courtesy of the Dash three-five batters, as Mason Robbins, Nick Basto and Marcus Davis went a combined 11-for-15 with four RBIs. Robbins went 5-for-5, establishing a new career-best for hits in a game, while it marked the first time an opposing player had recorded five hits against Keys pitching this year.

 STARTING STRUGGLES: The big night for the Dash offense meant a rough night on the mound for Keys starter David Richardson. Surrendering a career-high 10 hits and tying a career-worst with eight runs allowed, the Floridian saw his ERA spike nearly a point (2.74 to 3.66). One of the Keys more reliable options in July, Keys starting pitchers have struggled this month, racking up a 5.72 ERA. During that time, Frederick starters have only two quality starts in 23 games (Lucas Long had the last one on Sunday against Salem). Those two outings are also the only ones where a starter has pitched through six innings.

BULLPEN PICKING IT UP: Frederick’s bullpen has been called on frequently of late and has been effective over the last four games. Entering Monday night’s game having worked nine scoreless innings, Frederick relievers have surrendered only two runs in their last 13 stanzas (1.38 ERA). That has moved the Keys July bullpen ERA down to 4.78. Tanner Chleborad (1.35) and Jeff Beliveau (2.77) have fared the best among Frederick relievers this month.   

 ONE WAY OR THE OTHER: After playing seven of eight games hinging on two runs or less, three of the last four have been one-sided affairs. Following a 7-0 shutout loss on Friday to Salem, the Keys returned the favor with a 7-0 shutout win on Sunday, before Monday’s 10-1 loss to the Dash. When the orange and black have played close games of late though, they have fared well winning four of the last six decided by two runs or less. That includes four straight one-run victories.

 SON OF TOM, NAMED AFTER CHURCHILL: The only player to record an RBI on Monday and one of just two to register two hits, Wynston Sawyer has put together a very strong month of July. In 21 games, is batting .325 with four home runs, 15 RBIs to go with a .436 on-base percentage, .597 slugging percentage and a 1.034 OPS. Last Thursday, he posted a career-high four hits. Of his 25 knocks this month, 13 have gone for extra-bases. He has already set a new career-high with 10 homers and at 45 RBIs is just four away from tying his career-best (he had 49 in 2012 with Delmarva).

LIGHTS, CAM, ACTION: Cam Kneeland collected his 11th multi-hit game this month on Sunday. He has 11 in his last 16 games. On the run production side, Kneeland has six multi-RBI games in July and has driven in 24 in 23 games. Currently, Kneeland is third among Advanced-A players in RBIs and second among Carolina Leaguers, trailing only Lynchburg’s Anthony Santander (25). The 24 RBIs for Kneeland are one short of his RBI total for April-June COMBINED (25).

RODRIGUEZ KEEPS ROLLING: Aderlin Rodriguez is second in the CL in batting average this month (.396) trailing only Mike Meyers of Salem (.423). Additionally, the Dominican is second in homers (six) tied for third in RBIs (22). Rodriguez has hit safely in 18 of his last 21, and is hitting .410 during that time with six homers, 22 RBIs, 16 runs scored, a .747 slugging percentage and a 1.209 OPS.

HERE WE COME WINSTON-SALEM!: The Keys are in the middle of their second roadtrip to Winston-Salem. Head-to-head, Frederick owns a 7-4 edge in the season set. Before Monday, the Keys had won six of the previous seven head-to-head battles. The last series was an offensive showcase as the Keys and Dash combined to score 60 runs on 92 hits. That included 38 extra-base hits (41%) and 16 home runs. Meanwhile in three of the last four games, one or both teams have scored double digit runs. For the year, the Keys are batting .282 against Dash pitching with 19 dingers in 11 games (both marks are their best against any CL team). From a pitching perspective though, the Keys ERA is 4.68, while Winston batters are hitting .299 off Frederick arms with 11 longballs. Mason Robbins (.409), Nick Basto (.406) and Telvin Nash (.368) have done the most damage.

ODDS AND ENDS: Monday began a stretch of 14 of 17 away from Nymeo Field. Cory Jones was placed on the 7-day DL on Monday with a right shoulder injury. In a corresponding move, the Keys have received right-hander Jon Keller from Bowie.  Josh Hart has hit safely in his last four games (5-for-15) after going 2-for-22 in the seven games prior. Steve Wilkerson saw a five-game hitting streak conclude on Monday by going 0-for-4. The former Clemson Tiger hit .412 (7-for-17) over that jaunt with two homers, four RBIs and two runs scored. Jeff Beliveau has allowed one unearned run in his last 12 innings and given up just five hits in his last six games.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Robinson Leyer makes 30th overall appearance and his third start on Tuesday night. His most recent outing came last Thursday at Potomac. Getting the start, he received a no-decision giving up two runs on five hits to go with three walks and four strikeouts. Leyer rejoined the Dash on July 5 after beginning the year with Double-A Birmingham. In 24 relief outings he was 1-2 with a 5.79 ERA while opponents batted .308 against him. Command was an issue, as he walked 20 in 32.2 innings. His second appearance with the Dash came against Frederick on July 9, as he surrendered three runs on four hits in 1.2 innings. A member of the Dash in 2015, Leyer was 3-6 with a 4.30 ERA in 83.2 innings before a call-up to Double-A on July 16. From El Seibo, DR, Leyer’s brother Euclides is also on the Dash and is a relief pitcher.

We’re in Winston-Salem!

Good Afternoon Everybody!

The Keys are back in Winston-Salem for the first time since late-May when the orange and black swept a three-game set against their Triad rival. Last time the Dash came to Nymeo Field, the team also had success, winning three of four in an offensive-oriented series. In the four game affair, the Keys and Dash combined to score 60 runs on 92 hits. For the year, the Keys are batting .291 against Winston pitching, their best mark against any team in the league.

We’ll have first pitch at 7:00 tonight from BB&T Ballpark and pre-game coverage beginning at 6:45 on 1450 AM The Source, frederickkeys.com and the TuneIn Radio App (by searching WTHU). I’ll do my best to keep you company.

Today’s notes are below.

Shake your Keys!

Geoff

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Monday, July 25, 2016 · Game #100 · Road Game #50

Frederick Keys (52-47/16-13) vs. Winston-Salem Dash (40-60/12-18)

RHP David Richardson (3-2, 2.74) vs. RHP Thad Lowry (6-6, 4.06)

LONG DELIVERS GEM TO FORCE SERIES SPLIT: The Frederick Keys got seven shutout innings from Lucas Long and a big first inning to shutout the Salem Red Sox 7-0 on Sunday afternoon at Nymeo Field. With the help of a career-high 11 strikeouts from Long, Keys pitching posted 14 punch outs on the day, one short of a season best. Offensively, the Keys jumped on Matt Kent in the first inning, scoring five times while sending 10 to bat. Erick Salcedo, Cam Kneeland and Wynston Sawyer hit consecutive doubles to bring home two runs. Aderlin Rodriguez followed with an RBI single, while later in the inning, Steve Wilkerson added an RBI single and Josh Hart brought home a run via a fielder’s choice. That would be plenty of support for Long, who allowed just two hits and retired 12 of the last 13 he faced. Frederick added two more runs in the seventh, while Garrett Cleavinger pitched the final two innings to close things out.

RETURNING THE FAVOR: Two days after being blanked by Salem 7-0, the Keys got a modicum of revenge in the series finale. The win was Frederick’s second victory via shutout in the second half and the club’s first since June 28, when the Keys blanked Carolina 7-0. On the year, the Keys have nine shutout wins, putting them in a tie for second in the CL (with Myrtle Beach). Only Lynchburg (11-0) has more, while Frederick’s 9-7 shutout record is third-best.

LONG PROVIDES LENGTH: Lucas Long tied his second-longest start of the year on Sunday (it came up one inning short of his eight innings of shutout baseball on May 8 against Wilmington). It also snapped a string of 13 consecutive games without a quality start (and without a starter completing six innings) by a Keys pitcher. Long’s effort tied the Keys longest start of the second half, as David Richardson also tossed seven scoreless innings on July 8 against Winston-Salem. The Keys have not received back-to-back quality starts since June 3-4, while the Keys have just three quality starts in 29 second half games after racking up 23 in the first half.

 LIGHTS, CAM, ACTION: Cam Kneeland collected his 11th multi-hit game this month on Sunday and his 10th in his last 15 contests, going 2-for-4 with a double, two RBIs and a run scored. Since the calendar flipped, the Massachusetts native also has six multi-RBI efforts, and 24 driven in over 22 games. Kneeland is third among Advanced-A players in RBIs and second among Carolina Leaguers, trailing only Lynchburg’s Anthony Santander (25). The 24 RBIs for Kneeland are one short of his RBI total for April-June COMBINED (25).

CLOSE GAMES KEEP COMING: Tight games have been commonplace of late, with eight of Frederick’s last 11 games coming down to two runs or less. During that span, the orange and black are 4-4. Once a weakness, Frederick has played extremely well in one-run games of late, with the Keys taking four straight (and five of six). For the year, the Keys record in one-run affairs is 13-12. The team has lost its last three two-run games though, dropping the club to 9-9 in those games this year (fourth in the CL).

HERE WE COME WINSTON-SALEM!: The Keys make their second trip to Winston-Salem on Monday and their first since late-May, when the Keys earned a three-game sweep of the Dash. Head-to-head, Frederick owns a 7-3 edge in the season set, after taking three of four from July 8-11. An offensive showcase, the Keys and Dash combined to score 60 runs on 92 hits. That included 38 extra-base hits (41%) and 16 home runs. Frederick was also on top of its game offensively the first time the team visited BB&T Ballpark. Over the three-game set, the orange and black hit .306 (33-108) with 14 extra-base hits and six home runs. For the year, the Keys are batting .291 against Dash pitching with 19 dingers in 10 games (both marks are their best against any CL team).

RODRIGUEZ KEEPS ROLLING: Aderlin Rodriguez is second in the CL in batting average this month (.398) trailing only Mike Meyers of Salem (.409). Additionally, the Dominican is second in homers (six) and third in RBIs (22). Rodriguez has hit safely in 17 of his last 20, and is hitting .413 during that time with six homers, 22 RBIs, 16 runs scored, a .763 slugging percentage and a 1.229 OPS.

SON OF TOM, NAMED AFTER CHURCHILL: Wynston Sawyer has put together a very strong month of July. Thanks to a career-high four hits in Thursday’s game (he was 4-for-5 with a homer, two doubles and three RBIs) he is batting .311 in 20 games. Of his 23 hits this month, 13 have gone for extra-bases, while he has a .595 slugging percentage and 1.017 OPS. This season Sawyer has hit a career-high 10 home runs and walked a personal-best 52 times in 297 plate appearances.

ODDS AND ENDS: The Keys have won four straight at BB&T Ballpark dating back to 2015. After Sunday’s game, the Keys will play 14 of their next 17 contests on the road. Zach Kapstein played in his first game on Sunday since June 28 on Sunday after being activated from the DL. Josh Hart has hit safely in his last three games (4-for-11) after going 2-for-22 in the seven games prior.  Jeff Beliveau has allowed one unearned run in his last 12 innings and given up just five hits in his last six games.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Thad Lowry makes his 20th start with the Dash and his third against the Keys. A workhorse, he is the league’s active leader in innings pitched (106.1). His most recent outing came last Tuesday against Winston-Salem. Pitching four innings, the righty surrendered four runs (two earned) on seven hits in a no-decision. Two of Lowry’s last three starts have gone four innings, as the Keys tagged him for seven runs on seven hits in four innings on July 8. Before that start, the righty had tossed six innings or more in six straight games (with five going down as quality starts).  Lowry spent last season with the Low-A Kannapolis Intimidators. A workhorse, the 21-year-old led the league in innings pitched (150.2) while going 12-8 with a 4.48 ERA in 26 games. He was also tied for second in the South Atlantic League in wins. Selected by the White Sox in the fifth round of the 2013 Draft out of Spring (TX) High School. Seen as a catching prospect in high school, Lowry started getting attention for his pitching at the World Wood Bat Association World Championships. Shortly thereafter, he hit 96 mph during a scrimmage and began focusing on pitching from there.

The Keys Wrap Up Their Series With Salem

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

We have reached the end of our four-game set against the Red Sox and the Keys are looking to split the series. The orange and black offense has gone somewhat silence the past two nights, but look to get back on track today.

Lucas Long takes the bump for Frederick this afternoon, looking to continue his streak of five consecutive starts of five-plus innings or more. The 2014 draftee last faced the Red Sox on July 2, when he last five innings, allowed four earned runs and struck out five. He’ll be opposing Salem starter Matt Kent, who is just five days removed from tossing a eight-inning, three-hit gem against Potomac.

Also today is Daddy/Daughter Date Day at the ballpark! There’ll be a pre-game photo op on the field and princess-themed activities going on throughout the game.

Today’s notes are below.

Shake Your Keys!

Ethan

Sunday, July 24, 2016 · Game #99 · Home Game #50

Frederick Keys (51-47/15-13) vs. Salem Red Sox (58-39/15-13)

RHP Lucas Long (4-5, 4.70) vs. LHP Matt Kent (8-4, 3.23)

                                                                                                                                                              

SALEM WINS BATTLE OF THE BULLPENS: Strong relief pitching by Jeff Beliveau and Garrett Cortright kept the Frederick Keys close on Saturday, but the team’s bats could not break through against Red Sox relief, as Salem earned a 4-2 win at Nymeo Field. Both sides exchanged runs in the first inning. Joseph Monge scored from third on a balk by Cory Jones, while a Mike Meyers single brought in Rafael Devers. The Keys then capitalized on wildness by Michael Kopech to tie things up. After two walks and two wild pitches, Wynston Sawyer grounded out to score Erick Salcedo and Aderlin Rodriguez plated DJ Stewart with a base hit to center. Salem took control for good in the third on a Devers solo shot to center and Danny Mars added a solo blast to right in the fourth. Mario Alcantara and Jamie Callahan tossed five shutout innings of three-hit relief to close things out.

 OFFENSE HELD IN CHECK: After scoring four or more runs in 12 straight games entering Friday’s action, the Keys have mustered only two runs and 10 hits over the last two nights. In both instances the Keys came up with five hits, while the orange and black do not have a longball in either game (they still lead the CL with 29 this month). This year, the Keys have been held in check by Red Sox pitching, with the Salem staff limiting the Keys to a .239 batting average (only Wilmington and Potomac pitching has been tougher).

LOOKING FOR LENGTH: Since David Richardson’s seven shutout innings against Winston-Salem on July 8, the orange and black have gone 13 straight games without a starter completing six innings. Since the start of the second half, the Keys have just two quality starts in 28 games after racking up 23 in the first half. Over that dry spell, Lucas Long has come the closest, delivering 5.2 innings of two-run baseball on Monday at Carolina. Overall Keys starting pitching has a 5.81 ERA in July, while the pitching staff overall’s ERA is 5.39.

CLOSE GAMES KEEP COMING: Tight games have been commonplace of late, with eight of Frederick’s last 10 games coming down to two runs or less. During that span, the orange and black are 4-4. Once a weakness, Frederick has played extremely well in one-run games of late, with the Keys taking four straight (and five of six). For the year, the Keys record in one-run affairs is 13-12 (third-best in the league). The team has lost its last three two-run games though, dropping the club to 9-9 in those games this year (fourth in the CL).

LIGHTS, CAM, ACTION: Cam Kneeland is second among Advanced-A players with 22 RBIs this month, after recording 25 combined from April-June. Although Kneeland is 1-for-12 in this series, he is still hitting .382 (21-for-55) with three home runs, 16 RBIs, four doubles, a triple, and eight runs scored in his last 14 games. Of those 14 contests, nine have been multi-hit efforts.

SON OF TOM, NAMED AFTER CHURCHILL: Wynston Sawyer has put together a very strong month of July. Thanks to a career-high four hits in Thursday’s game (he was 4-for-5 with a homer, two doubles and three RBIs) he is batting .314 in 19 games. Of his 22 hits this month, 12 have gone for extra-bases, while he has a .600 slugging percentage and 1.030 OPS. This season Sawyer has hit a career-high 10 home runs and walked a personal-best 52 times in 297 plate appearances.

RODRIGUEZ KEEPS ROLLING: Aderlin Rodriguez is second in the CL in batting average this month (.393) trailing only Mike Meyers of Salem (.419). Additionally, the Dominican is tied for third in homers (six) and RBIs (21). Rodriguez has hit safely in 16 of his last 19, and is hitting .408 during that time with six homers, 21 RBIs, 16 runs scored, a .776 slugging percentage and a 1.241 OPS.

HOME COOKING: After closing out the first half 14-21 at home, the Keys have gone 8-5 since the All Star break at Nymeo Field. That includes series wins in two of the three sets at the friendly confines. The offense has played a major role in that success, batting .279 with 24 home runs. Before Friday, the Keys had hit a home run in 12 straight second-half games (and 13 in-a-row if you go back to the first half). On the road, the orange and black are 29-20, the second-best figure in the CL. Rodriguez leads the CL in hits (110), slugging percentage (.540), total bases (191) and extra base hits (41) while he is second among active players in batting average (.311) and home runs (17).

HAPPY TRAILS TO YOU: On Thursday, Tanner Scott and Jay Gonzalez were called up to the Double-A Bowie Baysox. The first time either player has gotten moved to the Eastern League, the duo become the 12th and 13th members of the 2016 Keys to receive call-ups. Scott went 4-2 with a 4.47 ERA in 29 games, while he was third in the CL in games, as well as first among relievers in SO/9IP and lowest batting average. Gonzalez hit .243 in 76 games with 35 stolen bases (third in the league).

ODDS AND ENDS: After Sunday’s game, the Keys will play 14 of their next 17 contests on the road. Jeff Beliveau has allowed one unearned run in his last 12 innings and given up just five hits in his last six games. His two longest outings of the year have come against Salem. On Sunday, Ken Griffey Jr and Mike Piazza will become the 311th and 312th members inducted into the Hall of Fame

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Matt Kent makes his 20th overall start on Sunday and his 18th with Salem. He currently ranks fourth in the CL in ERA (3.23) and innings pitched (100.1). Kent’s most recent outing came on Tuesday night against Potomac. Throwing a career-high eight innings of shutout baseball, he received a no-decision. He walked two and struck out a career-high eight. In his only start against the Keys, he delivered 6.2 shutout innings (July 3). Promoted to Salem from Low-A Greenville following two starts, Kent was Boston’s 13th round selection in 2015 out of Texas A&M. As a junior last season he went 9-1 with a 2.76 ERA. During fall games, he served as the team’s PA announcer. From Hewitt, TX, Kent attended Midway High School and threw three no-hitters as a senior.

 

The Cowboy Monkey Rodeo is Here!

Good Evening Keys Fans!

After we were shutout 7-0 last night, there will be no monkeying around tonight. OK, maybe a little monkeying around.

Tonight, we have the world-famous Cowboy Monkey Rodeo on hand and they’ll have their world famous Cowboy Monkeys putting on their wild show throughout the game. If you’ve never seen it, you’re going to want to be here.

On the diamond, Cory Jones will be taking the bump for the orange and black. He’ll be making his first start against Salem since June 23. Michael Kopech, the Red Sox first-rounder and their #4 prospect in the organization, will take the mound for Salem.

Baseball and monkeys, what could be better?

Tonight’s notes are below.

Shake Your Keys!

Ethan

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Saturday, July 23, 2016 · Game #98 · Home Game #49

Frederick Keys (51-46/15-12) vs. Salem Red Sox (57-39/14-13)

RHP Cory Jones (2-3, 3.46) vs. RHP Michael Kopech (0-1, 0.64)

                                                                                                                                                              

SALEM PLAYS LONGBALL TO SHUTOUT KEYS: The Salem Red Sox hit three home runs, while Daniel McGrath delivered six scoreless innings to guide the visitors past the Frederick Keys 7-0 on Friday night at Nymeo Field. The Red Sox started early, with Joseph Monge driving the second pitch of the game over the leftfield wall. Jordan Betts added a two-run homer in the fourth and Rafael Devers followed suit in the fifth. Salem added two more runs in the fifth, but McGrath needed little help, holding the Keys to three hits over his six innings. Frederick finished the game with just five hits, as Jorge Marban and Yankory Pimentel collaborated on three innings of scoreless relief.

FIRING BLANKS: The Keys were shutout for the first time in the second half on Friday and for the seventh time this season. Before last night, the orange and black had not been shutout since June 15 at Myrtle Beach. It was the team’s worst lost by shutout this year. Overall the Keys seven shutout defeats are tied for the second-most in the league, though Frederick’s eight wins in games without their opposition scoring give them the third-best shutout record in the CL.

OFFENSE HELPING OUT THE PITCHING: Friday’s shutout loss ended a string of 12 straight games where the Keys had scored four or more runs in a game. Still, that has taken place in 16 of their 20 games this month. That includes six games of 10 runs or more. Frederick is hitting .283 as a team in July and averaging 6.5 runs per game (both third-best in the CL this month). Frederick paces the circuit in home runs this month (29), while the team recently wrapped up a stretch of 16 games with a deep fly. Pitching has been a little more problematic, with the staff tallying a 5.46 ERA with 20 home runs allowed (second-most in the CL). Starting pitching has been particularly problematic, registering a 5.73 mark, while the team has only one quality start and has had only one pitcher throw six innings or more. A league-wide issue this month though, Frederick’s overall monthly ERA is still better than Wilmington (6.31), Winston-Salem (6.10), Carolina (5.63) and Salem (5.50).

CLOSE GAMES KEEP COMING: Tight games have been commonplace of late, with seven of Frederick’s last nine games coming down to two runs or less. During that span, the orange and black are 4-3. Once a weakness, Frederick has played extremely well in one-run games of late, with the Keys taking four straight (and five of six). For the year, the Keys record in one-run affairs is 13-12 (third-best in the league). The team has lost its last two two-run games though, dropping the club to 9-8 in those games this year (fourth in the CL). Still the nine wins in two-run games is second-most in the league.

LIGHTS, CAM, ACTION: Cam Kneeland is second among Advanced-A players with 22 RBIs this month, after recording 25 combined from April-June. In his last 13 games, Kneeland is hitting .412 (21-for-51) with three home runs, 16 RBIs, four doubles, a triple, and eight runs scored. Of those 13 contests, nine have been multi-hit efforts. Tonight he tries to get back on track, after going 1-for-8 with an RBI in the first two games of this series.

SON OF TOM, NAMED AFTER CHURCHILL: Wynston Sawyer has put together a very strong month of July. Thanks to a career-high four hits in Thursday’s game (he was 4-for-5 with a homer, two doubles and three RBIs) he is batting .328 in 18 games. Of his 22 hits this month, 12 have gone for extra-bases, while he has a .627 slugging percentage and 1.059 OPS. In Sawyer’s last seven games he is batting .407 (11-for-27) with two homers, five doubles, seven RBIs and seven runs scored. During that time his batting average has climbed from .271 to .287.

RODRIGUEZ KEEPS ROLLING: Aderlin Rodriguez did not have an official at-bat on Friday (he walked four times with the final three coming on 14 pitches) but he has also enjoyed a strong July. He is second in the CL in batting average this month (.395), second in homers (six) and tied for third in RBIs. Rodriguez has hit safely in 15 of his last 18, and is hitting .411 during that time with six homers, 20 RBIs, 16 runs scored, a .795 slugging percentage and a 1.258 OPS.

HOME COOKING: After closing out the first half 14-21 at home, the Keys have gone 8-5 since the All Star break at Nymeo Field. That includes series wins in two of the three sets at the friendly confines. The offense has played a major role in that success, batting .279 with 24 home runs. Before Friday, the Keys had hit a home run in 12 straight second-half games (and 13 in-a-row if you go back to the first half). On the road, the orange and black are 29-20, the second-best figure in the CL.

HAPPY TRAILS TO YOU: On Thursday, Tanner Scott and Jay Gonzalez were called up to the Double-A Bowie Baysox. The first time either player has gotten moved to the Eastern League, the duo become the 12th and 13th members of the 2016 Keys to receive call-ups. Scott went 4-2 with a 4.47 ERA in 29 games, while he was third in the CL in games, as well as first among relievers in SO/9IP and lowest batting average. Gonzalez hit .243 in 76 games with 35 stolen bases (third in the league).

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Michael Kopech makes his fifth overall start on Saturday and his fourth with the Red Sox.  The right-hander is rated as the No.5 prospect in the Red Sox according to Baseball America, while his fastball and slider are the best pitches of their kinds according to the publication’s “best tools survey.” His most recent outing came on Monday against Potomac. Receiving the loss, Kopech gave up two runs (one earned) on three hits across five innings. He walked three but struck out a career-high nine. Opponents are batting .170 against Kopech so far in the CL, while in his start on July 13 several radar guns clocked him as high as 105 mph. Seen as a strong candidate to open the year at Salem, Kopech opened the year on the disabled list after breaking his right hand during a fight with a roommate in spring training. Not his only mistake as a professional, Kopech saw his season came to an end last year following a 50-game suspension for testing positive for the stimulant Oxilofrine. Before the positive test, he was one of the South Atlantic League’s top arms, going 4-5 with a 2.63 ERA in 16 games (15 starts). Before his suspension he was 2-0 with a 1.83 ERA in four second half starts. Kopech was originally selected by the Red Sox in the first round (33rd overall) of the 2014 draft out of Mount Pleasant (TX) High School, going 3-0 with a 0.44 ERA as a senior. He committed to play baseball at Arizona but elected to sign with the Red Sox.

 

Merry Christmas! (In July)

Ho Ho Ho Keys Fans!

How about last night? In a true seesaw contest, the Keys were victorious thanks to a two-run walk-off homer from Jonah Heim. Frederick’s offense had one of its best outings of the season, smacking 15 hits –– including 4 from Wynston Sawyer. It was just their third win of the season when trailing after the 8th inning.

Right-hander Franderlin Romero will get the start for the orange and black tonight. After a string of rough starts, the Venezuelan native got back on the right track in his last start last Sunday against the Mudcats, allowing just four and one earned run over five innings. He’ll be opposed by Salem southpaw Daniel McGrath.

Also, tonight we’ll be celebrating Christmas in July at Nymeo Field! Keyote Claus will be making an appearance and we’ll be playing your favorite Christmas songs all night long!

Tonight’s notes are below.

Shake Your Keys!

Ethan

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Friday, July 22, 2016 · Game #97 · Home Game #48

Frederick Keys (51-45/15-11) vs. Salem Red Sox (56-39/13-13)

RHP Franderlin Romero (4-2, 5.32) vs. LHP Daniel McGrath (3-4, 4.22)

                                                                                                                                                              

HEIM WALKS IT OFF: Jonah Heim hit a two-run walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Frederick Keys a 10-9 victory over the Salem Red Sox on Thursday night at Nymeo Field. It was the team’s sixth walk-off win of the year, while the Keys tied a season-high with 15 hits. Trailing 9-8 in the ninth, Jomar Reyes reached on a one-out infield single up the third baseline. That sent up Heim who clubbed the second pitch over the rightfield wall. A game that featured four lead changes, the orange and black went on top for the first time in the fourth. After a Wynston Sawyer home run tied the game in the third, Steve Wilkerson hit a solo blast to put the Keys ahead. DJ Stewart followed with a run-scoring single and Aderlin Rodriguez hit a sac-fly to make it 6-3, before Salem scored six times in the sixth and sent 11 to bat. Cam Kneeland moved the Keys within a run in the home sixth with an RBI single, before Frederick had the last word in the ninth.

EVERYBODY GOES HOME HAPPY: The Keys have recorded at least one walk-off win in each of the team’s three second-half homestands. Jonah Heim was the second in the last three home games, after Aderlin Rodriguez hit a walk-off RBI walk-off single against Winston-Salem on July 10. In the homestand prior, Frederick had walk-off wins on June 27 (Cam Kneeland) and on June 29 (Conor Bierfeldt). Heim is the only Frederick player who has two walk-off hits this year (he also got the first one on May 23 against Potomac). Before last night, each of the 13 previous walk-off wins in the last two seasons had come courtesy of a different player.

OFFENSE HELPING OUT THE PITCHING: Frederick has scored four or more runs in 12 straight games, while the club has done that in 16 of their 19 games this month. That includes six games of 10 runs or more. Frederick is hitting .288 as a team in July and averaging 6.8 runs per game (both third-best in the CL this month). Frederick paces the circuit in home runs this month (29), while the team recently wrapped up a stretch of 16 games with a deep fly. Pitching has been a little more problematic, with the staff tallying a 5.38 ERA. Starting pitching has been particularly problematic, registering a 5.54 mark, while the team has only one quality start and has had only one pitcher throw six innings or more. A league-wide issue this month though, Frederick’s overall monthly ERA is still better than Wilmington (6.29), Winston-Salem (5.92) and Salem (5.81). Lynchburg has fared best (3.81).

CLOSE GAMES KEEP COMING: Tight games have been commonplace of late, with seven of Frederick’s last eight games coming down to two runs or less. During that span, the orange and black are 4-3. Once a weakness, Frederick has played extremely well in one-run games of late, with the Keys taking four straight (and five of six). For the year, the Keys record in one-run affairs is 13-12 (third-best in the league). The team has lost its last two two-run games though, dropping the club to 9-8 in those games this year (fourth in the CL). Still the nine wins in two-run games is second-most in the league.

LIGHTS, CAM, ACTION: Cam Kneeland may not have recorded a multi-hit game Thursday, but he did add another RBI to his large July total. Kneeland leads all Advanced-A players with 22, after recording 25 combined from April-June. In his last 12 games, Kneeland is hitting .447 (21-for-47) with three home runs, 16 RBIs, four doubles, a triple, and eight runs scored. Of those 12 contests, nine have been multi-hit efforts.

RODRIGUEZ KEEPS ROLLING: Even though Cam Kneeland has gotten a lot of attention lately, Aderlin Rodriguez has maintained his torrid pace at the plate. He is second in the CL in batting average this month (.395), second in homers (six) and is third in RBIs. Rodriguez has hit safely in 15 of his last 17, and is hitting .411 during that time with six homers, 20 RBIs, 16 runs scored, a .795 slugging percentage and a 1.230 OPS. His average is up to .311, making him the CL’s active leader, while he is first in hits (109), total bases (190), slugging percentage (.541), and tied for first in homers (17). His last homer at Nymeo Field was the 100th of his pro career.

HOME COOKING: After closing out the first half 14-21 at home, the Keys have gone 8-4 since the All Star break at Nymeo Field. That includes series wins in two of the three sets at the friendly confines. The offense has played a major role in that success, batting .287 with 24 home runs. Frederick has at least one home run in all 12 second half home games it has played. On the road, the orange and black are 29-20, the second-best figure in the CL.

SCOUTING SALEM: The Red Sox are one of only two teams the Keys have a losing record against the year (6-8) while Salem took three of four in the last head-to-head meeting between the two clubs. Despite no longer having Yoan Moncada, Andrew Benintendi and Mauricio Duban among others, Salem still ranks second in the circuit in hitting (.267) while they lead the league in triples (47) and are second in runs scored (457), RBIs (421) and doubles (191). Head-to-head, the Keys are batting .249 against Red Sox pitching and have a 4.17 ERA. Salem is batting .269 against the Keys and has a 4.38 ERA.

ODDS AND ENDS: Wynston Sawyer had a career-high four hits on Thursday, going 4-for-5 with a homer, two doubles, three RBIs and a run scored. In his last six games he is batting .478 (11-for-23). The Keys have as many home runs this month (29) as Salem has this year.  Following this four game series, the Keys will play 14 of their next 17 games on the road.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Daniel McGrath makes his 11th start and fourth against the Keys. His most recent game came last Saturday against Potomac. Tagged with the loss, McGrath gave up five runs (four earned) on six hits in six innings. Against the Keys this year he is 2-1 with a 3.07 ERA in three starts. In his first outing against the Keys, he pitched 1.2 of an inning before exiting due to a subluxation of his right knee. He was out from April 14-May 28. A member of the Red Sox rotation last year, McGrath was limited to 17 starts due to nearly two months on the disabled list (May 14-July 10). At the time he got hurt, McGrath had a 1.80 ERA and was limiting opponents to a .119 average. With Salem, he went 4-6 with a 3.84 ERA. Originally from Australia, McGrath was signed by Boston as a minor league free agent in February 2012. Signed as a 17-year-old, McGrath received offers from 15 MLB teams, but chose the Red Sox since he used to watch games at Fenway Park with his American-born mother, Dale.

The Keys are Back Home for Medieval Times Night!

Good Evening Keys Fans!

After the O’s got a win in New York this afternoon, we’ll be looking for a big win of our own. We return to Nymeo Field tonight for a four-game set against the Salem Red Sox. The black and orange are fresh off a 4-3 road trip with a series win over Myrtle Beach and a series split against Carolina.

Mitch Horacek will take the mound for the Keys in his 19th start of the season. The Dartmouth product has become one of the most reliable arms for the team this season as he’s lasted at least five innings in nine of his last ten starts. In his last start against the Red Sox on June 30, he allowed no earned runs in five innings. He’ll be opposed by Salem right-hander Travis Lakins, the #10 prospect in the Boston organization.

In addition to the battle on the diamond, we’ll also have knights from Medieval Times battle it on the field!

Tonight’s notes are below.

Shake Your Keys!

Ethan

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Thursday, July 21, 2016 · Game #96 · Home Game #47

Frederick Keys (50-45/14-11) vs. Salem Red Sox (56-38/13-12)

LHP Mitch Horacek (4-9, 5.34) vs. RHP Travis Lakins (6-3, 5.27)

                                                                                                                                                              

MUDCATS SEVENTH LEADS TO SPLIT: The Carolina Mudcats scored three times in the bottom of the seventh to defeat the Frederick Keys 6-4 on Tuesday afternoon at Five County Stadium. With the loss, the orange and black were forced to settle for a split of the four game series. Trailing 4-3 in the seventh, the Muddies put the first three aboard against Ryan Meisinger. After a single by Omar Obregon and a walk to Braxton Davidson, Isaias Tejeda wacked an RBI double to center to tie the game. Two batters later, Jose Fernandez brought Davidson home on a sac-fly, while a Jordan Edgerton base hit completed the scoring. Carolina plated the game’s final four runs after the Keys scored three prior to grab the lead. Down 2-1 in the fourth, Cam Kneeland tied the game with an RBI single and Steve Wilkerson hit a two-run homer in the fifth.

CLOSE GAMES KEEP COMING: After a decisive 10-3 win on Monday, the Keys played another close game on Tuesday afternoon. Falling 6-4, it marked the sixth time in seven games Frederick had played in a game decided by two runs or less. During that span, the orange and black are 3-3. Once a weakness, Frederick has played extremely well in one-run games of late, with the Keys taking three straight and (four of five). For the year, the Keys record in one-run affairs is 12-12, placing them in a tie for third in the league. The team has lost its last two two-run games though, dropping the club to 9-8 in those games this year (fourth in the CL). Still the nine wins in two-run games is second-most in the league.

LIGHTS, CAM, ACTION: Cam Kneeland has been a multi-hit machine lately, going 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs on Tuesday. In his last 11 games, Kneeland is hitting .462 (20-for-43) with three home runs, 15 RBIs, four doubles, a triple, and eight runs scored. Of those 11 contests, nine have been multi-hit efforts. In the process, Kneeland has raised his average from .229 to .269 (he is batting .359 in July). Kneeland is currently tied for the Advanced-A lead with 21 RBIs this month (with Edwin Rios of Rancho Cucamonga). Prior to July he had 25 combined from April-June.

RODRIGUEZ KEEPS ROLLING: Even though Cam Kneeland has gotten a lot of attention lately, Aderlin Rodriguez is currently the Carolina League’s leader in batting average (.416) this month, while he is tied for the lead in home runs (six) and is tied for third in RBIs (19). Salem’s Rafael Devers is the only other league hitter batting .400 or better (he is at .400). Owner of a five-game hitting streak, Rodriguez is batting .571 (12-for-21) with a homer, four doubles, four RBIs and six runs scored. Going back further, Rodriguez has hit safely in 15 of his last 16, and is hitting .435 during that time with six homers, 19 RBIs, 16 runs scored, an .841 slugging percentage and a 1.306 OPS. His average is up to .314, making him the CL’s active leader, while he is first in hits (109) and total bases (190) and tied for first in homers (17).

OFFENSE HELPING OUT THE PITCHING: Despite Tuesday’s setback, the Keys have scored four or more runs in 11 straight games, while the club has done that in 15 of their 18 games this month. Frederick is hitting .282 as a team in July and averaging 6.6 runs per game (both third-best in the CL this month). Frederick paces the circuit in home runs this month (26), while the team recently wrapped up a stretch of 16 games with a deep fly. Pitching has been a little more problematic, with the staff tallying a 5.34 ERA. Starting pitching has been particularly problematic, registering a 5.88 mark, while the team has only one quality start and has had only one pitcher throw six innings. A league-wide issue this month though, Frederick’s overall monthly ERA is still better than Wilmington (6.54), Winston-Salem (5.59) and Salem (5.54). Lynchburg has fared best (4.04).

HOME COOKING: After closing out the first half 14-21 at home, the Keys have gone 7-4 since the All Star break at Nymeo Field. That includes series wins in two of the three sets at the friendly confines. The offense has played a major role in that success, batting .277 with 21 home runs. Frederick has at least one home run in all 11 second half home games it has played. On the road, the orange and black are 29-20, the second-best figure in the CL.

SCOUTING SALEM: The Red Sox are one of only two teams the Keys have a losing record against the year (5-8) while Salem took three of four in the last head-to-head meeting between the two clubs. Despite no longer having Yoan Moncada, Andrew Benintendi and Mauricio Duban among others, Salem still ranks second in the circuit in hitting (.266) while they lead the league in triples (47) and are second in runs scored (457) and doubles (187). Head-to-head, the Keys are batting .236 against Red Sox pitching and have a 4.02 ERA. Salem is batting .264 against the Keys and has a 3.90 ERA.

ODDS AND ENDS: Following this four game series, the Keys will play 14 of their next 17 games on the road. Wynston Sawyer has set new career-highs in home runs (nine) and walks (51). Aderlin Rodriguez’s 17 home runs are tied for the second-most he has hit in a pro season (he also had 17 in 2011 with Savannah). The most he has hit in a season is 24 (combined between Savannah and St. Lucie in 2012). The last home run he hit at home (part of a two-homer game on July 10) was the 100th of his pro career. Entering Thursday three of four teams in the CL North have a winning second half record and all are within 2.5 games of first.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Right-hander Travis Lakins makes his 18th appearance of the year and his 17th start, and he is rated as the No. 16 prospect in the Red Sox system according to Baseball America. His most recent outing came last Friday against Wilmington. Picking up the win (his first since May 24), the righty tossed six innings of four-hit, one-run baseball. He struck out five and did not walk a batter. The six frames tied a career-high for Lakins. The Ohio native’s only pro relief appearance came against the Keys on June 23. Coming on during part two of a quasi-doubleheader, Lakins gave up three runs on eight hits in three innings and did not factor into the decision. Selected by Boston in the sixth round of the 2015 draft out of Ohio State, Lakins made his professional debut in game one of the GCL Finals for the Red Sox club. He pitched a scoreless inning before being moved up to Short-Season Lowell. There, he pitched two scoreless innings in his lone appearance. At Ohio State, Lakins played for two seasons, going 5-8 with a 3.28 ERA in 40 appearances (17 starts). He lives in Franklin, Ohio which is located roughly 45 minutes from Cincinatti. Lakins throws a fastball, a curveball, a slider and a changeup.

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