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Keys look to clinch series tonight against Potomac

Usually seven is a lucky number, but for the Keys last night six was the lucky number as the offense drove in six runs to backup Ariel Miranda’s six innings of no-hit baseball in a 6-0 victory. The pitching staff only allowed a hit in the ballgame and it was also the fourth shutout thrown by the orange and black on the season. Tonight, Frederick will look to clinch the series with Potomac as they send out southpaw Luis Gonzalez (5-7, 7.32). This will be Gonzalez’s second appearance against the Nationals this season as he won in his only outing on 5/8 down at Pfitzner Stadium. He will be countered by lefty Matt Purke (0-0, – -) who is making his season debut for Potomac. Tonight’s contest will start at 7:00 PM. The Nationals will also be starting the Washington National’s Anthony Rendon at third base in tonight’s game as he is on a rehab assignment.

 

Today’s Lineup

Jay Gonzalez CF

Josh Hart LF

Chance Sisco C

Jeff Kemp 2B

Austin Wynns DH

Adrian Marin SS

Wynston Sawyer 1B

Conor Bierfeldt RF

Tanner Witt 3B

7/20 Game Notes

KEYS ARMS TURN IN ONE-HIT SHUTOUT: Frederick Keys pitching carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning, while the trio of Ariel Miranda, Matt Taylor and Cody Wheeler collaborated on a one-hit, 6-0 shutout of the Potomac Nationals on Sunday night at Nymeo Field. It was Frederick’s sixth win in its last seven games, and moves the team back to .500 (12-12) in second-half play. Grant DeBruin came up with the only P-Nats hit of the game, a single through the left side with two outs in the seventh inning. Offensively, the Keys did most of their damage in the third inning, scoring five times off Reynaldo Lopez. Sending all nine to bat, the orange and black got on the board via double by Jay Gonzalez, before a second two-bagger by Josh Hart made it 3-0. After a walk to Chance Sisco, Austin Wynns brought home two more with a base hit. Hart completed the Keys scoring one inning later with an RBI single.

NO-HIT STUFF: Keys arms turned in their best performance of the season of Sunday, posting the team’s first one-hitter since last May 13 against…the Potomac Nationals. In that contest, Parker Bridwell carried a no-hitter into the ninth inning before it was broken up by Tony Renda with one out. Jesse Beal picked up the last two outs to complete the one-hitter. Ariel Miranda did the bulk of the work in Sunday’s one-hitter tossing six hitless innings and permitting only five total baserunners. He walked two and struck out six in his longest stateside outing, Matt Taylor surrendered the lone hit in the seventh, on a soft single with a 1-2 count, but worked two clean innings. Cody Wheeler pitched a scoreless ninth.

FIRING BLANKS: Thanks to strong pitching, the orange and black registered their fourth shutout of the season and their first of the second-half. Frederick’s most recent shutout win prior to Sunday was on June 2, when the Keys blanked Lynchburg 3-0 at Nymeo Field. Three of the club’s four shutout wins have come at the friendly confines this year. The orange and black still have the fewest number of shutout wins in the CL, as well as the league’s worst shutout record (4-7).

TIME FOR HOME COOKIN: On Monday, the Keys will go for their first series win at home since May 17, when the Keys took a rubber game against Potomac. Although the orange and black are two games over .500 at home (24-22) the Keys are 0-5-3 in their last eight home sets. With a win last Monday against Salem, Frederick snapped a string of four straight series defeats at Nymeo Field.

PUT ‘EM ON THE BOARD!! YES!: Sunday marked the second straight day and the third time in four games that the Keys had turned in a five-run inning. The five-run frame also equaled the team’s most productive stanza of the second-half. Lately, the Keys have been helped out by the big inning, with the team posting an inning of three or more runs in five of their last seven games (if you do not include Wednesday’s suspended game). In each of those contests, the Keys have come away as the winner. Frederick’s biggest inning of the year came on May 22, when the orange and black put together a six-run fifth inning against Lynchburg.

GONZALEZ FINDS HIS GROOVE: After a 2-for-19 start in the Carolina League, Jay Gonzalez has been on fire the last two days. On Sunday, the 23-year-old went 3-for-4 with a double, an RBI and a run scored, after tying career-highs for hits (four) and RBIs (three) the day before with a 4-for-4 effort at Wilmington. Before being retired on a groundout in the seventh of Sunday’s game, Gonzalez recorded seven straight hits and reached in eight consecutive plate appearances. Currently 7 for his last 8 at the plate, the outfielder has seen his average jump from .133 to .245, the highest it has been with the Keys.

BATTLE OF THE BELTWAY (CAROLINA LEAGUE EDITION): The Keys and the Potomac Nationals square off for the 15th time on Monday, with the orange and black holding an 8-6 edge in the season-series. In games at Nymeo Field, the Keys are 4-3, while the team is 4-3 at Pfitzner Stadium. The P-Nats won the last head-to-head set, claiming two of three from July 1-3 in Frederick. This season, the Keys are hitting .252 against Nationals pitching, while the staff ERA is 3.50. Individually, Josh Hart (.360/9-for-25) leads the way offensively.

THE GOLD STANDARD: Promoted to the orange and black on July 5, Tad Gold continues to impress in his short stint with the Keys. The Massachusetts native has a hit in all six games he has played, while on Saturday his string of three straight multi-RBI games came to a close (he did not have one multi-RBI game in his first 24 professional contests). With Frederick, Gold is batting .474 (9-for-19) with a home run, two doubles, seven RBIs and five runs scored.

RELIABLES: The Keys have received quality and length out of their bullpen in the last five games. After three different relievers gave up 10 runs in the seventh inning of the completed game on Wednesday, the bullpen has tossed 18 innings and allowed just one earned run. Keys relievers have not allowed a run in their last seven innings after Matt Taylor and Cody Wheeler combined for three scoreless stanzas on Sunday.

ONE OF THOSE INNINGS:  Keys arms gave up a season-high 10 runs in the seventh inning of Wednesday’s suspended game. That eclipsed the team’s previous high of nine runs allowed on May 7 in a 14-2 loss to Winston-Salem. The 10-run inning is the first allowed by Frederick pitching since June 11, 2006, when Potomac plated 10 in the fifth inning against Frederick in a 22-6 Keys loss. The second baseman for the Keys that day was current hitting coach, Paco Figueroa. In Wednesday’s game Dylan Rheault took a brunt of the damage, giving up five runs on two hits and two walks, while Nik Nowottnick also gave up five runs (three earned) on a hit and three walks.

TODAY’S OPPOSING STARTER: Left-hander Matt Purke makes his first Carolina League start of 2015 after joining the Nationals on July 8 from Low-A Hagerstown. In eight games with the Suns, he went 2-3 with a 3.03 ERA, tossing 32.2 innings pitched. He picked up a win in his last outing on July 7, throwing five innings of one-run baseball at Lakewood. He scattered four hits and struck out four. Not Purke’s first time in the Carolina League, the recently minted 25-year-old (his birthday was Friday) made 12 starts for Potomac in 2013, going 5-3 with a 4.43 ERA over 61 innings. He walked 18 and struck out 41. In two starts against the Keys that season, Purke went 2-0 with a 1.64 ERA (11IP/2R) to go along with one walk and eight strikeouts. The left-hander made only eight starts at Double-A Harrisburg in 2014, going 1-6 with an 8.04 ERA over eight starts. Pitching only until mid-May, Purke suffered an elbow injury and was forced to undergo Tommy John surgery. Released by the Nationals in November after signing a $4.15 major league contract (and a $2.75 million signing bonus) following the 2011 draft, Purke subsequently signed a minor league deal with Washington. Purke also needed shoulder surgery in 2012. Selected by Washington in the third round of the 2011 draft out of TCU, the Texan went 16-0 with a 3.02 ERA during his freshman year of college and helped lead the Horned Frogs to the College World Series. Purke was selected by Texas in the first round of the 2009 draft, Purke was offered a $6 million signing bonus but the deal was voided by Major League Baseball.

The Keys are Back Home!

Good Evening Keys Fans!

The team is back home for a quick three game series against the Potomac Nationals. First pitch is slated for 6:00 p.m and it is Maryland Pride Night at the ballpark! So if you’re coming to the game show up in your favorite Maryland State attire and you could win a prize pack! There will also be postgame fireworks presented by American Disposal Systems.

The Keys enter Sunday playing some good baseball right now. Winners of five of their last six, the club just completed a four-game winning streak on Friday. Left-hander Ariel Miranda will try and keep the momentum going against Nationals flamethrower Reynaldo Lopez. The P-Nats righty last saw the Keys right before the fourth of July and topped out at 100 mph.

Today’s broadcast can be heard on 1450 AM The Source and frederickkeys.com and today’s lineups and some notes are below.

Talk soon!

Geoff

KEYS LINEUP

1. CF Jay Gonzalez

2. LF Josh Hart

3. DH Chance Sisco

4. 2B Jeff Kemp

5. C Austin Wynns

6. SS Adrian Marin

7. RF Tad Gold

8. 1B Wynston Sawyer

9. 3B Anthony Caronia

LHP Ariel Miranda

Sunday, July 19, 2015 · Game #94 · Home Game #46

Frederick Keys (43-50/11-12) vs Potomac Nationals (44-47/11-10)

LHP Ariel Miranda (0-1, 5.63) vs. RHP Reynaldo Lopez (5-5, 4.30)

FIVE-RUN FIFTH GIVES KEYS SERIES WIN: The Frederick Keys utilized a five-run fifth inning and five innings of one-run baseball from David Hess to claim an 8-1 victory over the Wilmington Blue Rocks on Saturday night at Frawley Stadium. Playing their First State rivals for the final time during the regular season, the orange and black also earned their first series victory on the Riverfront this year. Ahead 2-1 through four innings, the Keys sent 10 men to bat in the fifth to put things away for good. With runners at the corners Jeff Kemp drove in the first run via sacrifice fly, before a single by Austin Wynns and back-to-back walks made it 4-1. Two batters later, Jay Gonzalez singled home two more and Josh Hart completed the scoring with the frame’s fourth base hit. Hess earned his second straight victory on the mound, while Jimmy Yacabonis and Donnie Hart closed things out with four shutout innings of relief.

PUT ‘EM ON THE BOARD!! YES!: The five-run fifth inning equaled the club’s largest inning of the second-half, and marked the second time in three days Frederick had scored five times in an inning (the club scored five times in the second inning of Thursday’s morning game). Lately the Keys have been helped out by the big inning, with the team posting an inning of three or more runs in four of their last six games (if you do not include Wednesday’s suspended game). In each of those contests, the Keys have come away as the winner. Frederick’s biggest inning of the year came on May 22, when the orange and black put together a six-run fifth inning against Lynchburg.

GONZALEZ FINDS HIS GROOVE: After a 2-for-19 start in the Carolina League, Jay Gonzalez has started to pick up steam at the plate in the last few days. On Saturday, the Keys outfielder tied his career-high for hits (four) and RBIs (three) in a game. Ending the series finale 4-for-4, it marked the third time in his pro career that Gonzalez had posted a four-hit game and the first time he had done it in the Carolina League. Meanwhile, it marked the second time in three days that the Orlando native had finished with three RBIs. Thanks to his Saturday performance, Gonzalez moved his average over the Mendoza line (.204) for the first time in the CL.

BATTLE OF THE BELTWAY (CAROLINA LEAGUE EDITION): The Keys and the Potomac Nationals square off for the 14th time on Sunday, with the orange and black holding a slim 7-6 edge in the season-series. In games at Nymeo Field, the Keys are 3-3, while the team is 4-3 at Pfitzner Stadium. The P-Nats won the last head-to-head set, claiming two of three from July 1-3 in Frederick. This season, the Keys are hitting .250 against Nationals pitching, while the staff ERA is 3.78. Individually, Josh Hart (.318/7-for-22) leads the way offensively.

TIME FOR HOME COOKIN: Although the orange and black are one game over .500 at home (23-22) Frederick has not earned a home series win since May 17, when the team claimed two of three against Potomac. Since that series the Keys are 0-5-3 in their last eight home sets. With a win against Salem on Monday, Frederick snapped a string of four straight series defeats.

THE GOLD STANDARD: Promoted to the orange and black on July 5, Tad Gold continues to impress in his short stint with the Keys. The Massachusetts native has a hit in all five games he has played, while on Saturday his string of three straight multi-RBI games came to a close (he did not have one multi-RBI game in his first 24 professional contests). With Frederick, Gold is batting .471 (8-for-17) with a home run, two doubles, seven RBIs and four runs scored.

WIN STREAK SNAPPED: With the defeat on Friday, the Keys had their four-game winning streak stopped at the hands of the Blue Crew. The 15-10 result in the continuation of the July 9 suspension on Wednesday was counted on the schedule as a loss last week, so the Keys had won twice against Salem last Sunday and Monday and then the back-end Wednesday and Thursday against Wilmington. The four-game winning streak was the second-longest of the season. The Keys won six in a row from the second game of the season through April 15.

RELIABLES: The Keys have received quality and length out of their bullpen in the last four games. After three different relievers gave up 10 runs in the seventh inning of the completed game on Wednesday, the bullpen has tossed 15 innings and allowed just one earned run. After Nik Nowottnick allowed an earned run in the ninth inning on Friday to snap a stretch of 10 straight innings without an earned run, Jimmy Yacabonis and Donnie Hart fired blanks over four innings of three-hit baseball on Saturday.

ONE OF THOSE INNINGS:  Keys arms gave up a season-high 10 runs in the seventh inning of Wednesday’s suspended game. That eclipsed the team’s previous high of nine runs allowed on May 7 in a 14-2 loss to Winston-Salem. The 10-run inning is the first allowed by Frederick pitching since June 11, 2006, when Potomac plated 10 in the fifth inning against Frederick in a 22-6 Keys loss. The second baseman for the Keys that day was current hitting coach, Paco Figueroa. In Wednesday’s game Dylan Rheault took a brunt of the damage, giving up five runs on two hits and two walks, while Nik Nowottnick also gave up five runs (three earned) on a hit and three walks.

WINNING WITH WITT: Since joining the Keys from the Rockford Aviators of the Frontier League, Tanner Witt has made a strong impression. In his first 10 games, he is batting .536 (15-for-28) with a home run, two triples, three doubles, four RBIs and five runs scored. He has four multi-hit games including a two-hit effort (2-for-3) on Monday, a game where he hit his first affiliated home run. Witt has split time between third, shortstop and second. Joining the Keys at the All-Star break, Witt took the roster spot of Tucker Nathans who was promoted to Double-A Bowie. In 29 games for Rockford, before joining Frederick, Witt batted .335 with a home run and 22 RBIs.

TODAY’S OPPOSING STARTER: Right-hander Reynaldo Lopez makes his 14th start with the P-Nats on Sunday and his third against the Keys. His most recent outing came last Sunday at Winston-Salem. Picking up the win, Lopez tossed six innings of one-run baseball, while giving up four hits and striking out seven. Rated the No. 3 prospect in the Nationals system according to Baseball America the right-hander did not allow a run in his first 13.2 Carolina League innings, before giving up a run to the Keys in his third CL start. In two starts against the Keys he is 0-0 with a 2.08 ERA (13 IP/3ER). Following a rocky June where he went 2-2 with a 5.79 ERA, Lopez has a 2.84 ERA over three July starts (19.0 IP/6R) while he has more strikeouts (22) than hits allowed (14). Signed for $17,000 as an international free agent in 2012, Lopez split 2014 between Short-Season Auburn and Low-A Hagerstown. Between the two stops, he went 7-3 with a 1.08 ERA over 16 starts. A pitcher with an overpowering fastball, Lopez throws in the mid-upper 90s to go along with an 11-5 curveball and a changeup.

Only Two More Games in the First State

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

Well after some earlier issues in the First State, it seems like the Keys have finally found their way in “Pitcher’s Paradise” better known as Frawley Stadium. Despite being know as a park where home runs go to die and where deep fly balls permanently find homes on the warning track, the orange and black have discovered “The Frawley Formula.” Which is: Keep the ball on the ground or on a line and you’ll do just fine (and sometimes you’ll even rhyme…).

In their last three games (counting Wednesday’s suspended game) the orange and black have scored 23 combined runs on the Rocks home turf. And if that sounds good, check out the game note “Nymeo Field or Frawley Stadium?” and you’ll be impressed with the Keys progress at this hitters wasteland.

Just a reminder, the Keys next homestand starts on Sunday at 6:00 p.m. It is yet another “Battle of the Beltway Series” (Carolina League edition) with the Potomac Nationals. Here are a few things you can look forward to:

Sunday, July 19 (6:00 p.m first pitch/5:00 p.m gates open) v Potomac

Maryland Pride

-It is Maryland Pride Night and fans are encouraged to sport their best Maryland state attire! The best dressed fan will receive a special Maryland prize pack!

-FIREWORKS!!! Presented by American Disposal Systems

-It is a Sunday Funday presented by Heartfields Assisted Living at Frederick. Fans can enjoy a catch on the outfield from 5-5:30 p.m, while two players will be signing autographs on the first base concourse.

Monday, July 20 (7:00 p.m first pitch/6:00 p.m gates open) v Potomac

Parks and Rec

-It’s Parks and Rec Night (centered around the hit NBC Show)

-Kids 12 and under eat free (receiving a voucher for a free hit, dog, chips and a soda)

Tuesday, July 21 (12:00 p.m first pitch/11 a.m gates open) v Potomac

Super Splash

-Super Splash Day! We’ll be turning the Giant Eagle Fun Zone into a water park complete with a Big Kahuna Water Slide

-We WILL WIN! Or at least we are guaranteeing it. If the P-Nats should win though, fans can redeem their tickets at the box office for any future Monday-Thursday home game.

Doug will have tonight’s lineup later, as well as the call of tonight’s game on 1450 AM The Source and frederickkeys.com. Today’s notes are below.

Talk soon and shake your Keys!

Geoff

Friday, July 17, 2015 · Game #92 · Road Game #47

Frederick Keys (42-49/10-11) vs Wilmington Blue Rocks (48-42/10-10)

LHP Chris Lee (2-4, 3.71) vs. RHP Jakob Junis (6-5, 3.28)

FIVE-RUUN SECOND SENDS KEYS TO WIN: Jay Gonzalez racked up three RBIs for the first time in a Keys uniform, Tad Gold drove home two in a five-run second, and Mitch Horacek tossed seven quality innings to pick up his sixth win of the season in an 8-4 win over Wilmington on Thursday afternoon at Frawley Stadium. The Keys recorded six hits in the second against Blue Rocks starter Alec Mills and reliever Kevin McCarthy. Four consecutive singles from Jeff KempBrenden Webb, Adrian Marin, and a two-run line drive to center by Gold pushed the Keys ahead for good at 2-1. Two batters later, Gonzalez plated Marin and Gold for a three-run lead. Josh Hart finished the scoring as with an RBI groundout. Horacek allowed one run in each of his first three innings, but surrendered only one more hit the rest of the way in earning his first win against Wilmington this year.

SHOULDERING THE LOAD: After turning in his first multi-RBI game during Wednesday’s suspended contest, Jay Gonzalez drove in a career-high three RBIs in Thursday’s matinee. The 2014 10th round pick piled up four multi-RBI games in 72 contests with Low-A Delmarva before his promotion to Frederick. He did not record any multi-RBI games in his debut season (59 games) with Short-Season Aberdeen.

HORACEK HANGING ON EFFICIENCY: Mitch Horacek became the first Keys pitcher to turn in three consecutive starts of at least seven innings on Thursday. The only other Key to accomplish back-to-back seven inning starts is David Hess, who did it in his first two July starts. Before this current stretch, Horacek threw seven innings just once this year on April 15 at Nymeo Field against Lynchburg, which happened to be a complete game in a doubleheader. Over his last three starts, Horacek is 2-1 with a 3.27 ERA (22IP/8ER). The lefty posted an 8.31 ERA in three starts prior (13IP/12ER).

THE GOLD STANDARD: Promoted to the orange and black on July 5, Tad Gold continues to impress in his short stint with the Keys. On Thursday, Gold registered his third multi-hit game of the season, going 2-for-4 with two RBIs, both coming on a single in the club’s five-run second. In the back-end of Wednesday’s quasi-doubleheader, Gold came through with a go-ahead two-run double in the 11th inning and also scored the tying run in the seventh. Gold is 7-for-13 in his first four games with the Keys, to go along with a homer, two doubles, seven RBIs and three runs scored. He has multiple RBIs in three straight games after not recording a multi-RBI game through the first 24 games of his professional career.

NYMEO FIELD OR FRAWLEY STADIUM?: The Keys have broken through offensively at pitcher-friendly Frawley stadium the last three games, scoring 23 runs in that span. If you remove the six runs the Keys scored last Thursday before they resumed the suspended game, Frederick has still plated 17 runs over the last two days. The Keys scored only 34 runs in their first 10 games (3.4 r/gm) at Frawley Stadium before this current three-game stretch (7.7 r/gm).

RELIABLES: The Keys have received quality and length out of their bullpen the last two games. After three different relievers gave up 10 runs in the seventh inning of Wednesday’s completed game, the bullpen has tossed nine innings without allowing an earned run. In the second game on Wednesday, Jimmy Yacabonis and Donnie Hart turned in three innings of shutout relief and Cody Wheeler closed it out with a clean 11th inning. On Thursday, Jon Keller went two innings and allowed an unearned run.

ONE OF THOSE INNINGS:  Keys arms gave up a season-high 10 runs in the seventh inning of Wednesday’s suspended game. That eclipsed the team’s previous high of nine runs allowed on May 7 in a 14-2 loss to Winston-Salem. The 10-run inning is the first allowed by Frederick pitching since June 11, 2006, when Potomac plated 10 in the fifth inning against Frederick in a 22-6 Keys loss. The second baseman for the Keys that day was current hitting coach, Paco Figueroa. In Wednesday’s game Dylan Rheault took a brunt of the damage, giving up five runs on two hits and two walks, while Nik Nowottnick also gave up five runs (three earned) on a hit and three walks.

ONE LAST TRIP TO THE FIRST STATE: Unless the Keys and the Blue Rocks meet in the CL North Championship series, this will mark the last meeting between the two clubs in 2015. The Blue Rocks have already claimed the season series, by virtue of winning last Wednesday’s game at Frawley Stadium. Wilmington holds a 15-9 edge in this year’s set. The Keys are batting .261 against their First State rival and have registered a 4.77 ERA. Chance Sisco (.313) and Josh Hart (.297) pace the Keys offensively, while Mauricio Ramos (.348) and Logan Moon (.342) have fared best on the Blue Rocks side.

WINNING WITH WITT: Since joining the Keys from the Rockford Aviators of the Frontier League, Tanner Witt has made a strong impression. In his first 10 games, he is batting .536 (15-for-28) with a home run, two triples, three doubles, four RBIs and five runs scored. He has four multi-hit games including a two-hit effort (2-for-3) on Monday, a game where he hit his first affiliated home run. Witt has split time between third, shortstop and second. Joining the Keys at the All-Star break, Witt took the roster spot of Tucker Nathans who was promoted to Double-A Bowie. In 29 games for Rockford, before joining Frederick, Witt batted .335 with a home run and 22 RBIs.

TODAY’S OPPOSING STARTER: Jakob Junis makes his 18th start of the season and his 17th with Wilmington on Friday. It will be his third start against the Keys. In his most recent outing last Saturday at Lynchburg, the righty allowed two runs over seven innings in a no-decision. He allowed seven hits, walked one, and struck out six. Over his last three starts, Junis is 0-1 with a 1.90 ERA (19IP/4ER), as the Blue Crew have provided just six total runs in those starts. In his two previous starts against the Keys this year, Junis is 1-0 with a 0.75 ERA. In 12 innings, he’s allowed 11 hits, one run, walked one and punched out 11. An innings eater this season, the righty ranks fourth in the CL in innings pitched (96.0) and has worked into the sixth inning or later in 12 of his 17 Wilmington starts. He is also one of three Wilmington starters in the top five in lowest BB/9IP ratio (1.31/4th) and rates second in fewest baserunners/9IP (9.94). The righty struggled with the long ball over the first two months of the season (six in April/May), but has allowed just one over his last six starts. Junis received a spot start at Double-A Northwest Arkansas on June 23, tossed four innings, and allowed five runs (four earned) in a loss. Junis spent all of 2014 at Low-A Lexington where he went 9-8 with a 4.30 ERA in 26 games (22 starts) over 136 innings. Outstanding in the first-half of the year, Junis went 7-4, before posting a 5.91 ERA after the All-Star break. Some of those struggles can be due to a poor July, where Junis finished with an ERA of 8.68. A 29th round selection by Kansas City in 2011 draft, Junis was an All-State baseball and basketball selection as a senior at Rock Falls (IL) High School. Signed by Kansas City for reported $675,000, Junis turned down a scholarship offer to play at NC State. A three-pitch pitcher, Junis throws a fastball, a curveball and a changeup.

Morning Baseball After Playing Past Midnight

Good Morning Keys Fans!

Well if you stayed up for the entirety of last night’s quasi-doubleheader, give yourself a standing ovation. Scheduled to begin at 5:05, the game was delayed an hour and 32 minutes due to rain, while the suspended game lasted 3 hours and 31 minutes. Take into account a 30 minute-plus intermission and a 2 hour 54 minute second game (which went 11 innings) you have the makings for a very long day at the park.

The good news is that the Keys came away with a split of their third quasi-twinbill of the season. Today, they’ll try and grab a leg up in the series with Mitch Horacek on the mound. He’ll face off against a Keys nemesis, Alec Mills, who has won each of his last two games against the orange and black, turning in 15.1 scoreless innings during that time.

First pitch is scheduled for 11:05 a.m from the Riverfront and today’s notes can be found below. For your listening pleasure, Doug Raftery will have the call on 1450 AM The Source and frederickkeys.com. If someone could bring “the Iron Man” a full pot of coffee or at the very least a triple shot of espresso that would be very kind.

Shake your Keys!

Geoff

Thursday, July 16, 2015 · Game #91 · Road Game #46

Frederick Keys (41-49/8-10) vs Wilmington Blue Rocks (47-40/9-8)

LHP Mitch Horacek (5-9, 4.33) vs. RHP Alec Mills (6-5, 2.39)

KEYS SPLIT QUASI-DOUBLEHEADER: The Frederick Keys earned a split of their quasi-doubleheader against the Wilmington Blue Rocks on Wednesday night at Frawley Stadium. In the regularly scheduled game, Frederick used a two-run double by Tad Gold to claim a 5-2 victory in 11 innings, after Anthony Caronia tied things via sacrifice fly in the top of the seventh. Delayed by an hour and 32 minutes due to rain, Frederick fell 15-10 in the suspended game despite owning a 7-1 lead after 3.5 stanzas. The culprit was a 10-run seventh inning by the Blue Crew where 14 Wilmington hitters came to bat.

A LONG NIGHT IN THE FIRST STATE: Following a much-needed off-day, the Frederick Keys and Wilmington Blue Rocks played a three hour and 31 minute suspended game followed by a two hour and 54 minute regularly scheduled contest that went extra innings. On the positive side, Frederick picked up its second split in a pseudo-doubleheader this year and improved to 6-3 in extra inning affairs (the second-best mark in the Carolina League). On the down side, the Keys suffered their biggest blown lead of the season (they lost a 7-1 edge in game one), allowed a season-high 15 runs and went through six bullpen arms. Two of those (Jimmy Yacabonis and Donnie Hart) each went three innings.

SHOT TO THE HART: Building off a 3-for-3 start last Thursday night, Josh Hart registered two more hits in Thursday’s completed game, to finish 5-for-6 with two doubles, three RBIs and two runs scored. The five hits were a career-high for the Georgia native, who also tied a Keys single-game record for most hits in a ballgame (Mike Yastrzemski did it last on July 5, 2014). Additionally,  the three RBIs tied a career-best, set on June 19 against…Wilmington. Against the Blue Rocks this season, Hart is batting .322 (19-for-59) (tops on the Keys) with a home run and seven RBIs.

ONE OF THOSE INNINGS:  Keys arms gave up a season-high 10 runs in the seventh inning of Wednesday’s suspended game. That eclipsed the team’s previous high of nine runs allowed on May 7 in a 14-2 loss to Winston-Salem. The 10-run inning is the first allowed by Frederick pitching since June 11, 2006, when Potomac plated 10 in the fifth inning against Frederick in a 22-6 Keys loss. The second baseman for the Keys that day was current hitting coach, Paco Figueroa. In Wednesday’s game Dylan Rheault took a brunt of the damage, giving up five runs on two hits and two walks, while Nik Nowottnick also gave up five runs (three earned) on a hit and three walks.

THE GOLD STANDARD: Promoted to the orange and black on July 5, Tad Gold continues to impress in his short stint with the Keys. Coming through with a go-ahead two-run double in the 11th inning of game two, Gold also scored the tying run in the seventh. Finishing Wednesday 1-for-2 with two RBIs and two runs scored, Gold is 5-for-10 in his first three games with the Keys, to go along with a homer, two doubles, five RBIs and three runs scored. He is multiple RBIs in back-to-back games, after going 2-for-4 with a three-run homer on Sunday, the first of his professional career.

PROVIDING SOME LENGTH: The Keys needed length out of their bullpen in game two and got it in spades from Jimmy Yacabonis and Donnie Hart. Both individuals set or tied career-highs in innings pitched, as both individuals turned in three innings of shutout relief. Both times Yacabonis has worked three innings, he has faced Wilmington. Hart’s previous career-high was 2.2 frames, something he had only done once prior (he worked 2.2 innings last June 28 while pitching for Low-A Delmarva).

ONE LAST TRIP TO THE FIRST STATE: Unless the Keys and the Blue Rocks meet in the CL North Championship series, this will mark the last meeting between the two clubs in 2015. The Blue Rocks have already claimed the season series, by virtue of winning last Wednesday’s game at Frawley Stadium. Wilmington holds a 15-8 edge in this year’s set. The Keys are batting .259 against their First State rival and have registered a 4.86 ERA. Josh Hart (.322) and Chance Sisco (.311) pace the Keys offensively, while Logan Moon (.357) and Mauricio Ramos (.338) have fared best on the Blue Rocks side.

WINNING WITH WITT: Since joining the Keys from the Rockford Aviators of the Frontier League, Tanner Witt has made a strong impression. In his first 10 games, he is batting .536 (15-for-28) with a home run, two triples, three doubles, four RBIs and five runs scored. He has four multi-hit games including a two-hit effort (2-for-3) on Monday, a game where he hit his first affiliated home run. Witt has split time between third, shortstop and second. Joining the Keys at the All-Star break, Witt took the roster spot of Tucker Nathans who was promoted to Double-A Bowie. In 29 games for Rockford, before joining Frederick, Witt batted .335 with a home run and 22 RBIs.

TODAY’S OPPOSING STARTER: Right-hander Alec Mills makes his 17th start on Thursday and his fifth against the Keys. His most recent outing came last Friday at Salem. Tossing just 4.1 innings, the right-hander allowed three runs on five hits in a losing effort. He walked two and struck out three. It was Mills’ second-shortest outing of the year, and his quickest since April 22, 2015 when he tossed four innings against Potomac. Loser of back-to-back outings, Mills also fell on July 5 at Potomac, a game where he saw a 24 inning scoreless streak come to an end. That included 15.1 scoreless innings against the Keys. In four games against the orange and black this year, Mills is 2-1 with a 2.52 ERA (25IP/7ER). The right-hander has won consecutive starts against the Keys. Currently, Mills is second in the CL in ERA (2.39), second in strikeouts (91), fifth in innings pitched (94.1) and fifth in WHIP (1.11).  Despite pitching in a pitcher-friendly park at home, Mills has a lower ERA in nine road starts (1.66) than in seven home starts (3.63). Mills spent 2014 between the Rookie-Advanced Pioneer League and Low-A Lexington. Making seven appearances at each stop (13 starts) he went a combined 4-3 with a 2.35 ERA over 57.1 innings, he walked 14 and struck out 47. He was a South-Atlantic League All-Star in 2013. Known for solid command, in his career he has only walked 1.9 batters per nine innings. Promoted to Low-A in late-July, he posted a 1.18 ERA in seven starts and did not allow any more than two runs in a start. Originally from Clarksville, TN, Mills was selected by Kansas City in the 22nd round of the 2012 draft out of Tennessee-Martin. He throws a fastball, curveball, slider and changeup.

 

 

The Keys Are Back in Wilmington (Yes this is the last time)

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

The Keys are back in Wilmington for the final time this regular season (yes it is true this time). Just five meetings between the two clubs left, if you count today’s quasi-doubleheader which will get underway at 5:05 tonight. When the game resumes, the Keys will be at bat with a 6-1 lead and 2 outs in the top of the fourth. Chance Sisco will be hitting with a 1-0 count and a man at third.

The broadcast can be heard online to start things off (there is a regularly scheduled broadcast from 5-6 pm on 1450 AM The Source) before we move over to the radio and internet for the regularly scheduled game. To grab the link to listen online visit here. Doug Raftery will be with you on the call.

Today’s game notes can be found below.

Shake your Keys!

Geoff

Wednesday, July 15, 2015 · Game #89 · Road Game #44

Frederick Keys (40-48/8-10) vs Wilmington Blue Rocks (47-40/9-8)

G1: LHP Luis Gonzalez (5-7, 7.70) vs. RHP Yender Caramo (3-6, 2.95)

G2: LHP Matt Taylor (0-0, 3.63) vs. LHP Sean Manaea (1-0, 0.82)

LONGBALL LEADS KEYS TO SERIES SPLIT: The Frederick Keys utilized strong pitching and a pair of home runs to earn a 3-1 victory over the Salem Red Sox on Monday night at Nymeo Field. With the win, the orange and black earned a series split against their CL South foe. Ariel Miranda shut down the Red Sox early, recording six of his first nine outs via the strikeout. In the fourth, the Keys grabbed the lead on a solo homer to left-center by Tanner Witt, his first Carolina League longball. Salem countered a half-inning later with an RBI single by Forrestt Allday, but Jeff Kemp gave the Keys the lead for good with a two-run homer in the sixth. The bullpen quartet of Nik Nowottnick, Donnie Hart, Jimmy Yacabonis and Cody Wheeler shut down the Salem offense from there, combining on four innings of two-hit relief.

WHEN WE LAST LEFT OFF: Before the Keys and Blue Rocks play Thursday’s regularly scheduled game, the two sides will complete a game suspended last Thursday at Frawley Stadium. The contest will pick-up with the Keys at-bat with a 6-1 lead with two outs in the top of the fourth inning. Chance Sisco will be at bat with a 1-0 count and a runner at third when things resume. In last Thursday’s game, Frederick did most of its damage in the second, scoring four times off Blue Rocks starter Sean Manaea with two outs. Singles by Jeff Kemp and Wynston Sawyer and a walk to Tanner Witt loaded the bases, while Jay Gonzalez and Josh Hart both cashed in with back-to-back base hits to make it 3-1 Keys. Gonzalez later scored on a double steal. The orange and black also added single markers in the third and fourth.

SORT OF A DOUBLEHEADER: Wednesday marks the third quasi-doubleheader the Keys will play this season, and the second against the Blue Rocks. In these contests, the orange and black are 1-3. The most recent pseudo-twinbill Frederick played came against Wilmington on June 21, with the Rocks winning the completed game 6-0 and the regularly scheduled affair 6-1. On May 7, the club split a quasi-doubleheader against Winston-Salem, taking game one 7-6 in 10 innings, before dropping game two 14-2. Wednesday’s regularly scheduled game between Frederick and Wilmington will be seven innings.

ONE LAST TRIP TO THE FIRST STATE: Unless the Keys and the Blue Rocks meet in the CL North Championship series, this will mark the last meeting between the two clubs in 2015. The Blue Rocks have already claimed the season series, by virtue of winning last Wednesday’s game at Frawley Stadium. Wilmington holds a 14-7 edge in this year’s set. The Keys are batting .252 against their First State rival and have registered a 4.72 ERA. Austin Wynns (.303) and Josh Hart (.292) pace the Keys offensively, while Logan Moon (.349), Jack Lopez (.342) and Mauricio Ramos (.321) have fared best on the Blue Rocks side.

WINNING WITH WITT: Since joining the Keys from the Rockford Aviators of the Frontier League, Tanner Witt has made a strong impression. In his first 10 games, he is batting .538 (14-for-26) with a home run, two triples, three doubles, four RBIs and three runs scored. He has four multi-hit games including a two-hit effort (2-for-3) on Monday, a game where he hit his first affiliated home run. Witt has split time between third, shortstop and second. Joining the Keys at the All-Star break, Witt took the roster spot of Tucker Nathans who was promoted to Double-A Bowie. In 29 games for Rockford, before joining Frederick, Witt batted .335 with a home run and 22 RBIs.

FIRING ON ALL CYLINDERS: On Sunday, the Keys equaled their largest run output of the second-half, posting six runs on 10 hits. Frederick also registered six runs two weeks prior, earning a 6-2 win on June 28 against Wilmington. When scoring four or more runs this season, the club’s chances of winning go up dramatically. In contests where the Keys score four or more runs they are 33-10 as opposed to being 7-38 when finishing with three or less runs. A trend that has remained true through both halves of the season thus far, Frederick is 5-1 in the second-half when registering four or more runs, and 3-9 when posting three or fewer.

THE GOLD STANDARD: Promoted to the orange and black on July 5, Tad Gold turned in a career day on Sunday. With no home runs in his previous 25 professional games, Gold smacked his first off Salem’s Ty Buttrey. A three-run shot, Gold also eclipsed his career RBI tally with the swing (he had just one professional RBI coming in). In two games with the orange and black, Gold is 4-for-8 with a home run, a double, three RBIs and a run scored.

DOUBLE YOUR PLEASURE, DOUBLE YOUR FUN: Frederick and Salem hit into an inordinate number of double plays over their four-game series. During that time the two sides combined to hit into 16 twin-killings. Nearly half of those came on Friday, when Salem hit into two and the Keys a season-high five (one over each of their last five at-bats). Five more came on Sunday, as the orange and black equaled their season-high for double plays turned (three) while hitting into two themselves. The Keys lead the CL in double plays, having hit into 73 this year (one more than Wilmington)

TONIGHT’S GAME 2 STARTER: Sean Manaea makes his fifth start of the season and his fourth with the Blue Rocks on Wednesday. With Wilmington, Manaea is 1-0 with a 0.82 ERA (11 IP/ER), a number that will climb when the results from last Thursday’s suspended game are officially recorded. In that game against the orange and black, Manaea allowed six runs on 10 hits in 3.2 innings to go with two walks and four strikeouts before exiting in favor of Yender Caramo. That run total could move to seven, since the lefty is responsible for Adrian Marin at third base when the game resumes. In five career starts against the Keys, Manaea is 3-2 with a 1.59 ERA (28.1/5ER). Manaea made his first Carolina League start of the year against Frederick on June 29 after he suffered an abdominal injury late in spring training. Manaea’s recovery was further slowed by a groin injury he suffered while rehabbing. The southpaw spent all of 2014 at Wilmington, going 7-8 with a 3.11 ERA in 25 games. Outstanding after the all-star break he went 5-3 with a 1.96 ERA. Opening his professional career at Advanced-A in 2014, Manaea was selected by Kansas City in the competitive balance round of the 2013 draft (34th overall) and received a $3.55 million signing bonus, the second-highest ever given to a player not selected in the first round. Considered a top-five pick after dominating the Cape Cod League in 2-12, Manaea hurt his hip while pitching in a game at the Metrodome for Indiana State. To compensate for the pain, he changed his delivery causing a drop in velocity. It cause his draft stock to plummet, enabling the Royals to swoop in. Manaea missed all of the 2013 season as he recovered from labrum surgery on his hop. A three-pitch pitcher, the 23-year-old throws a low-mid 90s fastball, an above-average slider and a changeup.

Keys look for series split tonight against Salem

Last night the Keys were able to get back in the win column with a 6-2 victory at Nymeo Field and look for a win tonight for a series split against the Salem Red Sox. Tad Gold paced the offense with a three-run home run, the first of his professional career. Frederick will send out Cuban southpaw Ariel Miranda (0-1, 7.36). This will be Miranda’s first appearance against Salem this season. The Red Sox will counter with lefty Trey Ball (6-7, 3.68) who is making his fourth appearance against the Keys on the year. Tonight’s contest will begin at 7:00 PM. It is also Peanut-Free night at Nymeo Field for tonight’s game as there will be no peanut products being served.

Tonight’s lineup

Josh Hart LF

Tanner Witt 3B

Chance Sisco DH

Jeff Kemp 2B

Wynston Sawyer 1B

Adrian Marin SS

Austin Wynns C

Conor Bierfeldt RF

Jay Gonzalez CF

7/13 Game Notes

SLIDE SNAPPED: Tad Gold slugged his first professional home run and finished with three RBIs as the Frederick Keys defeated the Salem Red Sox 6-2 on Sunday afternoon at Nymeo Field. The win snapped a three-game slide by the orange and black, who avoided falling 11 games below sea-level for the first time all season. Frederick scored all six of its runs from the fourth through sixth innings. Half of those markers came on one big swing by Gold in the sixth, as he took Ty Buttrey deep over the rightfield wall. On the mound, David Hess tossed five innings of one run baseball to pick up his second win since the all-star break (both have come against Salem).

FIRING ON ALL CYLINDERS: On Sunday, the Keys equaled their largest run output of the second-half, posting six runs on 10 hits. Frederick also registered six runs two weeks prior, earning a 6-2 win on June 28 against Wilmington. When scoring four or more runs this season, the club’s chances of winning go up dramatically. In contests where the Keys score four or more runs they are 33-10 as opposed to being 6-38 when finishing with three or less runs. A trend that has remained true through both halves of the season thus far, Frederick is 5-1 in the second-half when registering four or more runs, and 2-9 when posting three or fewer.

THE GOLD STANDARD: Promoted to the orange and black on July 5, Tad Gold turned in a career day on Sunday. With no home runs in his previous 25 professional games, Gold smacked his first off Salem’s Ty Buttrey. A three-run shot, Gold also eclipsed his career RBI tally with the swing (he had just one professional RBI coming in). In two games with the orange and black, Gold is 4-for-8 with a home run, a double, three RBIs and a run scored.

CALL US THE COAST GUARD: Sunday marked Frederick’s best showing with runners in scoring position since the all-star break. On the game, the Keys went 5-for-11 (.455) after hitting just .154 (2-for-13) with runners in scoring position in the two contests prior. Prior to Sunday, the orange and black had not tallied more than four hits with runners in scoring position in their previous 16 second-half games. A point of emphasis, Frederick is batting .203 (27-for-133) with men at second or third base since the break. For the year, the Keys are batting .256 as a team with runners in scoring position, placing them sixth in the CL this year.

HOME SECURITY SOLUTIONS: With Sunday’s win, the club moved back to .500 (22-22) in home games, as the team avoided falling two games below .500 at home for the first time this season. After opening the season with a 13-4 record and wins in five consecutive home series, the orange and black have gone 9-18 and are 0-5-2 in their last seven home sets. Although the Keys can only earn a split, it is still better than the alternative, as the team tries to avoid its fifth straight home series defeat on Monday night.

CLOSE CALLS: Games between the Keys and the Red Sox have often been nip and tuck affairs, with five of the 12 games hinging on one run. In those games, the Red Sox have a 3-2 edge. For the season, the Keys have played 28 one-run games, fourth-most in the Carolina League. In those games, Frederick is 14-14, the fourth-best mark in the CL. In games decided by a run, the Keys have fared better at home (9-4) than on the road (5-10).

DOUBLE YOUR PLEASURE, DOUBLE YOUR FUN: Frederick and Salem have hit into an inordinate number of double plays over the last three games. The two sides have combined to hit into 14 double plays in this series. Half of those came on Friday, when Salem hit into two and the Keys a season-high five (one over each of their last five at-bats). Five more came on Sunday, as the orange and black equaled their season-high for double plays turned (three) while hitting into two themselves. The Keys are tied for the CL lead in twin killings (72) with Wilmington, while Salem has hit in 59 the second-fewest in the Carolina League.

CHANCES ARE: After going 1-for-11 with six strikeouts in his previous three games, Chance Sisco has gotten back on track, going 6-for-11 with a homer, a double, two RBIs and two runs scored in his last three contests. On Friday, the Californian recorded a three-hit game to equal his season-high. Following a tremendous June where he finished second on the team in batting average (.333), Sisco is batting .325 (13-for-40) in his first 11 July games.

WELCOME BACK MATT!: Since returning from a minor league rehab assignment on Sunday, Matt Taylor has pitched very well. Over 6.1 innings the Georgia native has not allowed a run, and has given up just two hits to cut his ERA to 3.63. On Sunday against Salem, the southpaw earned his second save of the season, and his third as a professional. Placed on the disabled list on May 5 with a concussion, Taylor was struck in the side of the head by a line drive on April 30 at Salem.

WINNING WITH WITT: Since joining the Keys from the Rockford Aviators of the Frontier League, Tanner Witt has made a strong impression. In his first nine games, he is batting .522 (12-for-23) with two triples, three doubles, three RBIs and two runs scored. He has three multi-hit games, including one on Saturday, where he went 3-for-4 with a double. Witt has split time between third, shortstop and second. Joining the Keys at the All-Star break, Witt took the roster spot of Tucker Nathans who was promoted to Double-A Bowie. In 29 games for Rockford, before joining Frederick, he batted .335 with a home run and 22 RBIs.

TONIGHT’s OPPOSING PITCHER: Left-hander Trey Ball makes his 17th start of the season and his fourth against the Keys. His most recent outing came last Wednesday against Carolina. Tagged with the loss, Ball allowed four runs on five hits in six innings to go with three walks and two strikeouts. Outstanding in the month of June, the southpaw went 3-1 with a 1.59 ERA in five games (working into the sixth inning on four occasions). Home runs have been an issue for Ball, who is second in CL with 10 allowed, while he is fourth in walks (33). Still, the 21-year-old is tied for fourth in wins (six) and lowest batting average against for a starting pitcher (.238). Rated the No. 15 prospect in the Red Sox system according to Baseball America, the Indiana native is 0-3 against Frederick with a 5.29 ERA in three starts. His last faced the Keys on June 27 in Salem, tossing 6.2 innings of three-run (two earned) baseball. The 6.2 innings were a career-high for the left-hander. Ball spent all of 2014 with Low-A Greenville, going 5-10 with a 4.68 ERA over 100 innings (22 starts). He finished tied for fifth in losses. Following a rough first-half of the season where he went 1-6 with a 7.07 ERA, the lefty turned things around after the all-star break, going 4-4 with a 3.36 ERA in 13 starts. A 2013 first round selection (seventh overall) out of New Castle Chrysler (IN) High School (Boston’s highest draft pick since 1993), Ball was named the Gatorade Indiana Baseball Player of the Year as a senior, going 5-0 with a 0.76 ERA and was named the No. 1 draft eligible prospect according to Baseball America. He hails from the same hometown as former Indiana basketball great and current UCLA men’s basketball coach Steve Alford. He throws a fastball, a curveball and a changeup.

Keys look nab a win against Salem

After losing the first two games of the series, the Keys look to get back in the win column today and hope for a split against the Salem Red Sox by the end of the series. It takes one win at a time and Frederick will send out David Hess (3-4, 4.75) to handle that task. This is Hess’ third appearance against Salem this season as he is 1-0 against them. The Red Sox will counter with Ty Buttrey (7-2, 3.12) who is also making his third appearance against Frederick on the year as he is 2-0 against the orange and black.

Today’s lineup

Josh Hart LF

Adrian Marin SS

Chance Sisco C

Jeff Kemp 2B

Brenden Webb RF

Wynston Sawyer 1B

Anthony Caronia 3B

Tad Gold DH

Jay Gonzalez CF

7/12 Game Notes

SOX PREVAIL IN EXTRA-INNINGS: The Salem Red Sox utilized a double by Yoilan Cerse and three walks to defeat the Frederick Keys 3-2 in 10 innings on Saturday night at Nymeo Field. It was the club’s third straight loss and dropped the team back to a season-worst 10 games below .500. With the game even at two in 10th, Forrestt Allday on a walk by Cody Wheeler and advanced to third on Cerse’s two-bagger. Wendell Rijo was then intentionally walked before a four-pitch free ride to Kevin Heller forced in the go-ahead run. Nik Nowottnick came out of the bullpen and got the next three outs, but the Keys could not counter in the home 10th. The Keys grabbed a 2-1 edge in the sixth thanks to a single by Chance Sisco, an RBI double by Jeff Kemp and an RBI single by Wynston Sawyer, but Salem leveled the game in the eighth on a triple by Cerse and a double by Rijo.

WORKING OVERTIME: After opening the season 5-1 in extra-inning games, the orange and black have dropped their last two games stretching past regulation. Those two contests came one week apart, as the orange and black also fell in 11 innings at Winston-Salem on July 4. For the season, Frederick is 5-3 in extra-inning affairs, the second-best mark in the Carolina League (only Myrtle Beach is better at 7-2). The Keys are 4-2 in extra-inning contests at home.

CLOSE CALLS: Games between the Keys and the Red Sox have often been nip and tuck affairs, with five of the 11 games hinging on one run. In those games, the Red Sox have a 3-2 edge. For the season, the Keys have played 28 one-run games, fourth-most in the Carolina League. In those games, Frederick is 14-14, the fourth-best mark in the CL. In games decided by a run, the Keys have fared better at home (9-4) than on the road (5-10).

LITTLE HELP!: In the first two games of this series, the Keys are batting just .154 (2-for-13) with runners in scoring position, while the two sides combined to go only 3-for-18 on Saturday. In 16 second-half games, Frederick is batting just .180 (22-for-122) with men at second or third base. Frederick is batting .254 as a team with runners in scoring position this year, placing them sixth in the CL this year.

KEMP KEEPS IT GOING: Jeff Kemp registered his third three-hit game of the week on Saturday, going 3-for-4 with a double, an RBI and a run scored. In the process, the former Radford Highlander moved his batting average up to .276, the highest it has been since June 18. Over the last week, Kemp has three three-hit games, and is batting .417 (10-for-24) with three doubles, a triple, two RBIs and four runs scored. He is hitting .368 (14-for-38) with a triple, four doubles and three RBIs in 10 July games.

THIS AIN’T A WRIGLEY’S COMMERCIAL: Frederick bats hit into a season-high five double plays on Friday, two more than the club’s previous season-high (on three occasions the Keys hit into three). All five twin killings came in the last five innings, while the final double play came with one out and the bases loaded. In this series, the Keys and Red Sox have hit into nine combined double plays (six by the Keys and three by Salem). For the season, the Keys have hit into 70 double plays, second-most in the Carolina League. Only Wilmington (72) has hit into more.

HOME SECURITY SOLUTIONS: Saturday’s loss dropped the Keys one game below .500 (21-22) at home for just the second time this season. Prior to Saturday, the Keys had only been a game below .500 on one occasion (Frederick lost 13-0 to Winston-Salem on opening day). After opening the season with a 13-4 record and wins in five consecutive home series, the orange and black have gone 8-18 and are 0-5-2 in their last seven home sets. Frederick’s last home series win came from May 15-17 against Potomac.

CHANCES ARE: After going 1-for-11 with six strikeouts in his previous three games, Chance Sisco has gotten back on track, going 5-for-9 with a homer, a double, two RBIs and two runs scored in his last two nights. On Friday, the Californian recorded a three-hit game to equal his season-high. Following a tremendous June where he finished second on the team in batting average (.333), Sisco is batting .324 (10-for-33) in his first 10 July games.

WELCOME BACK MATT!: Since returning from a minor league rehab assignment on Sunday, Matt Taylor has pitched very well. Over five innings the Georgia native has not allowed a run, and has given up just two hits to cut his ERA to 3.94. On Sunday at Winston-Salem, the southpaw earned just his second professional save in his first game back. Placed on the disabled list on May 5 with a concussion, Taylor was struck in the side of the head by a line drive on April 30 at Salem.

WINNING WITH WITT: Since joining the Keys from the Rockford Aviators of the Frontier League, Tanner Witt has made a strong impression. In his first nine games, he is batting .522 (12-for-23) with two triples, three doubles, three RBIs and two runs scored. He has three multi-hit games, including one on Saturday, where he went 3-for-4 with a double. Witt has split time between third, shortstop and second. Joining the Keys at the All-Star break, Witt took the roster spot of Tucker Nathans who was promoted to Double-A Bowie. In 29 games for Rockford, before joining Frederick, he batted .335 with a home run and 22 RBIs.

TONIGHT’s OPPOSING PITCHER: Ty Buttrey makes his 16th overall start of the season and his 12th with Salem. Combined between Salem and Low-A Greenville he is 8-2 with a 2.94 ERA. With Salem he is 7-2 with a 3.12 ERA. His most recent start came on Tuesday against Carolina. Earning the win, he tossed six innings of two-run baseball, scattering five hits to go with a walk and four strikeouts. A winner in three of his last four starts, each of those victories has also been a quality outing. This will be Buttrey’s third start against the Keys. In the two previous outings he is 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA (12IP/3R) to go with one walk and nine strikeouts. He is holding Keys hitters to a .209 average. The last time he faced the Keys came on June 26. In that game he gave up one run on four hits in six innings to go with one walk and five strikeouts.  Promoted to Salem on May 1, Buttrey went 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA in four starts with Greenville. The 22-year-old split the 2014 campaign between Greenville, Short-Season Lowell and the GCL Red Sox. He went a combined 0-5 with a 5.78 ERA and struggled with command walking 32 in 62.1 innings (46 BB/9IP ratio). After making just four starts with the Drive to open the year, Buttrey landed on the DL from mid-May to early-July after breaking his hand. When he returned to Greenville in late-July he went 0-2 with a 5.19 ERA in his last seven starts. Selected by Boston in the fourth round of the 2012 draft out of Providence (NC) Senior High School, the righty averaged 13 SO/9IP as a senior and signed for a reported $1.3 million more than $1 million higher than the slot recommendation that year. According to Yahoo Sports, Buttrey was not allowed to walk at his high school graduation because he missed a walk-through (where cell phones were banned) which coincided with the MLB draft. Buttrey throws a fastball, a spike curveball and a changeup.

Keys look to even series with Salem

Despite getting on the board early in last night’s contest, the Keys fell in the series opener against the Salem Red Sox by a score of 5-2. Chance Sisco went 3-for-4 in the game with a home run in the first inning to give Frederick the early lead. Tonight, orange and black look to even the series at one game a piece as they will send out southpaw Chris Lee (2-4, 3.94) to get a win. This will be Lee’s third start against Salem on the year as he is 0-2. He will be countered by Daniel McGrath (1-1, 1.80). McGrath, an Australian native, will be making his first appearance against the Keys this season.

Today’s Lineup

Josh Hart LF

Adrian Marin SS

Chance Sisco DH

Jeff Kemp 2B

Austin Wynns C

Wynston Sawyer 1B

Conor Bierfeldt RF

Tanner Witt 3B

Jay Gonzalez CF

7/11 Game Notes

DOUBLE PLAYS LIFTS SALEM PAST KEYS: The Frederick Keys hit into five double play balls including a twin-killing to end the game, as the Salem Red Sox earned a 5-2 win on Friday night at Nymeo Field. Limiting the Keys to 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position, the Sox duo of Kevin McAvoy and Kyle Kaminska picked up 18 of their 27 outs on the ground. Salem recorded all five of its runs from the third through fifth innings, while four came with two outs. After a solo homer by Chance Sisco in the first, Zach Kapstein leveled the score with a solo homer to left off Mitch Horacek. The Red Sox grabbed the lead for good in the fourth following a two-out walk by Kevin Heller, an RBI double by Mario Martinez and an RBI single by Mauricio Duban. Salem added two more in the fifth, while Kaminska tossed three shutout innings of relief to close the game out.

THIS AIN’T A WRIGLEY’S COMMERCIAL: Frederick bats hit into a season-high five double plays, two more than the club’s previous season-high (on three occasions the Keys hit into three). All five twin killings came in the last five innings, while the final double play came with one out and the bases loaded. For the season, the Keys have hit into 69 double plays, tied for second-most with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. Only Wilmington (72) has hit into more.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Dating back to May 27, the Keys have won only two series, a problem that can be traced in part to struggles in series opening games. Since the 27th the club has lost the opening game of a series 11 out of 13 times, while the team has dropped seven of its last eight series openers at home (no series wins during that time). For the season, the club is 11-15 in the first game of a series.

HOME SECURITY SOLUTIONS: Friday’s loss dropped the Keys to .500 (21-21) in home games for just the second time all season. The only other time the club has been at .500 came during the second day of the season, while the Keys have only been below .500 at home once (Frederick lost 13-0 to Winston-Salem on opening day). After opening the season with a 13-4 record and wins in five consecutive home series, the orange and black have gone 8-17 and are 0-5-2 in their last seven home sets. Frederick’s last home series win came from May 15-17 against Potomac.

CHANCES ARE: After going 1-for-11 with six strikeouts in his previous three games, Chance Sisco busted out on Friday, going 3-for-4 with a home run, two RBIs and a run scored. The three hits equaled a season-high for Sisco, who also posted three knocks on June 30 against Wilmington. It was also his fourth multi-RBI game of the season. Following a tremendous June where he finished second on the team in batting average (.333), Sisco is batting .303 (10-for-33) in his first nine July games.

PICKING UP SOME MILES: Mitch Horacek became the first Keys pitcher to complete eight innings in 2015, while it was the longest outing by a Keys starter since August 25, 2014, when Parker Bridwell turned in eight shutout innings at Potomac. Starts of six innings or more were a rarity in the first-half, but in the last five games (excluding Thursday’s suspended game) Keys starters have worked into the seventh inning or later four times. During that time, Frederick is 3-2.

ONE TOUGH INNING: Wednesday marked the fourth time in the second-half where an opponent had batted around against the Keys. In three of those instances an opponent has put up four runs, while on one occasion it led to a five-run frame. A problem for the Keys ever since the end of May, an opponent has batted around 13 times in the last 38 games, while during that stretch the opposing team has racked up 15 innings of four runs or more.

WYNNIE THE POOH: Austin Wynns has turned in a strong roadtrip offensively, going 6-for-13 in four games with two doubles, three RBIs and a run scored. That has moved his average to .272 the highest it has been since April 17. The former Fresno State product has an RBI in three of his last four games. On Tuesday, Wynns’ ninth inning double put the tying run aboard, while on Monday his RBI single provided the Keys with an important insurance run in the ninth. In five July games he is batting .400 (6-for-15).

WELCOME BACK MATT!: Since returning from a minor league rehab assignment on Sunday, Matt Taylor has pitched very well. Over five innings the Georgia native has not allowed a run, and has given up just two hits to cut his ERA to 3.94. On Sunday at Winston-Salem, the southpaw earned just his second professional save in his first game back. Placed on the disabled list on May 5 with a concussion, Taylor was struck in the side of the head by a line drive on April 30 at Salem.

WINNING WITH WITT: Since joining the Keys from the Rockford Aviators of the Frontier League, Tanner Witt has made a strong impression. In his first eight games, he is batting .474 (9-for-19) with two triples, two doubles, three RBIs and two runs scored. He has two multi-hit games, while splitting time between third, shortstop and second. Sunday’s three-hit effort from Witt was the most number of hits he had recorded in an affiliated game. Joining the Keys at the All-Star break, Witt took the roster spot of Tucker Nathans who was promoted to Double-A Bowie. In 29 games for Rockford, before joining Frederick, he batted .335 with a home run and 22 RBI.

TONIGHT’s OPPOSING PITCHER: Daniel McGrath makes his 10th start of the season and his seventh with Salem. Activated from the disabled list on Thursday, the southpaw has not pitch in a game with the Red Sox since May 12 after being put on the disabled list on May 17. At the time he was placed on the DL, McGrath led the Carolina League with a .119 batting average against, while he paced the Red Sox staff with 31 strikeouts. The Australian’s most recent outing came with the GCL Red Sox on Monday. Pitching against the Rays Rookie-League team, he worked three scoreless innings, giving up three hits and striking out four. In three total games with the GCL Sox, McGrath did not allow a run in six innings, struck out seven and did not walk a batter. In his last CL start on May 12 against Winston-Salem, he gave up one run on two hits over six innings. He struck out a season-high nine and walked two in a no-decision. McGrath spent all of 2014 with the Low-A Greenville Drive, where he went 6-6 with a 4.08 ERA in 19 games. There, he worked 97 innings striking out 81 though walking 52 (4.8 BB/9IP ratio). In spite of the high walk numbers, opponents hit just .223 against him. Signed as an international free agent by Boston on February 7, 2012 out of Templestowe, Victoria, Australia McGrath received a reported $400,000 signing bonus. According to reports, 15 major league teams made offers to McGrath, though the lefty chose the Red Sox since he grew up rooting for Boston alongside his mother Dale. A star player in Australia as an amateur, McGrath made the Australian Under-19 team as a 15-year-old and caught scouts attention when he pitched at the Oceania Under-19 Championship in Guam and struck out 17 in nine innings. Before joining the Red Sox, McGrath spent the 2012 season with the Melbourne Aces of the Australian Baseball League.

Keys up series with Salem

Tonight the Keys return to Nymeo Field to open up a four game series with the Salem Red Sox in hopes of starting a hot streak in their playoff quest. In the opener Frederick will trot out Mitch Horacek (5-8, 4.21) as he will be making his second appearance against Salem this season. The Red Sox look to counter Kevin McAvoy (4-7, 4.28) who will be making his first appearance against the Keys on the year.

 

Today’s lineup

Josh Hart CF

Adrian Marin SS

Chance Sisco C

Jeff Kemp 2B

Brenden Webb RF

Wynston Sawyer 1B

Conor Bierfeldt DH

Anthony Caronia 3B

Jay Gonzalez LF

7/10 Game Notes

KEYS AND BLUE ROCKS SUSPENDED: On Thursday night the Frederick Keys and the Wilmington Blue Rocks were suspended with two outs in the top of the fourth inning on account of rain. At the time the game was stopped at Frawley Stadium, the Keys had a 6-1 lead with two outs and a 1-0 count on Chance Sisco. The game will be resumed this upcoming Wednesday night at 5:05 p.m when Frederick returns to Wilmington. Frederick did most of its damage in the second, scoring four times off Blue Rocks starter Sean Manaea. All four markers came with two outs as singles by Jeff Kemp and Wynston Sawyer as well as a walk to Tanner Witt loaded the bases. Jay Gonzalez and Josh Hart then cashed in with back-to-back base hits to make it 3-1 Frederick, while Gonzalez came home on a double steal.

ONE TOUGH INNING: Wednesday marked the fourth time in the second-half where an opponent had batted around against the Keys. In three of those instances an opponent has put up four runs, while on one occasion it led to a five-run frame. A problem for the Keys ever since the end of May, an opponent has batted around 13 times in the last 37 games, while during that stretch the opposing team has racked up 15 innings of four runs or more.

ALL GOOD THINGS MUST COME TO AN END: Wilmington’s win on Wednesday snapped the Keys three-game winning streak, tied for the club’s second-longest streak of the year. It was the team’s longest stretch since the all-star break and the lengthiest since April 23-25, when the club took three in-a-row against Wilmington. Frederick’s most successful stretch of baseball came during the season’s first week, when the team rattled off six straight victories from April 10-15.

QUALITY AND QUANTITY: Ariel Miranda may have struggled on Wednesday, but Frederick starters have still registered quality starts in three of their last four games. After the Keys pitching staff turned in just seven quality starts in the first-half, Frederick arms have turned in six in the last nine days. That includes quality starts in three consecutive games on two occasions. Meanwhile, on Wednesday Keys starters wrapped up a stretch of 21.2 innings without allowing an earned run and 18.2 frames without giving up a run of any kind.

WYNNIE THE POOH: Austin Wynns has turned in a strong roadtrip offensively, going 6-for-13 in four games with two doubles, three RBIs and a run scored. That has moved his average to .272 the highest it has been since April 17. The former Fresno State product has an RBI in three of his last four games. On Tuesday, Wynns’ ninth inning double put the tying run aboard, while on Monday his RBI single provided the Keys with an important insurance run in the ninth. In five July games he is batting .400 (6-for-15).

WELCOME BACK MATT!: Since returning from a minor league rehab assignment on Sunday, Matt Taylor has pitched very well. Over five innings the Georgia native has not allowed a run, and has given up just two hits to cut his ERA to 3.94. On Sunday at Winston-Salem, the southpaw earned just his second professional save in his first game back. Placed on the disabled list on May 5 with a concussion, Taylor was struck in the side of the head by a line drive on April 30 at Salem.

THE WHIFF: Although the Keys have scored four or more runs in five of their last six games, the Keys have struck out at least seven times in 11 straight games, while Frederick bats have struck out 10 or more times in four of those games. On Tuesday the orange and black struck out a season-high 15 times, while eight of the nine Keys starters struck out at least once. Austin Wynns was the only starter who did not go down on strikes. For the season, the Keys have struck out a combined 580 times (6.9 per game) third-most in the Carolina League.

WINNING WITH WITT: Since joining the Keys from the Rockford Aviators of the Frontier League, Tanner Witt has made a strong impression. In his first eight games, he is batting .474 (9-for-19) with two triples, two doubles, three RBIs and two runs scored. He has two multi-hit games, while splitting time between third, shortstop and second. Sunday’s three-hit effort from Witt was the most number of hits he had recorded in an affiliated game. Joining the Keys at the All-Star break, Witt took the roster spot of Tucker Nathans who was promoted to Double-A Bowie. In 29 games for Rockford, before joining Frederick, he batted .335 with a home run and 22 RBI.

RUETTIGER AND O’BRIEN CALLED UP: On Sunday, Johnny Ruettiger and Mikey O’Brien were promoted to the Double-A Bowie Baysox. It is Ruettiger’s first promotion to Double-A this year, while O’Brien returns to the Eastern League for the second time this season. In total, 10 different Keys have received either Double-A or Triple-A call-ups in 2015. In 57 games with the Keys this year, Ruettiger batted .265 with 13 RBIs, two triples, 16 doubles and 10 stolen bases. He finished June with a .316 average and hit .300 or better in each of his last two months with the orange and black. O’Brien joined the Keys after making two relief appearances with the Baysox in late-May and early June. Used exclusively as a starter, he went 0-3 with a 2.25 ERA in four games.

TONIGHT’s OPPOSING PITCHER: Kevin McAvoy makes his 16th start of the season and his first against the Keys. His most recent outing came at Lynchburg last Saturday. Working 4.2 innings, the right-hander suffered the loss, giving up five runs (four earned) on six hits. He walked four and struck out five as it marked just the second time all season that McAvoy had failed to complete five innings in a game this year. Walks have been a major bugaboo for the Syracuse, NY native, who is second in the CL in free passes (44) trailing only Lynchburg’s Mitch Brown. In seven of his starts McAvoy has walked four or more in a game, while his high-water mark for the year is seven (occurring on April 20 v Myrtle Beach). The 21-year-old has not earned a win since May, finishing 0-3 in June with a 5.20 ERA in five starts. This is McAvoy’s second professional season. He spent all of 2014 at Short-Season Lowell, going 0-2 with a 1.91 ERA in 11 starts. He paced the Spinners in ERA, WHIP (0.92) and starts, while nine of his 11 games were scoreless outings. Selected by Boston in the fourth round of last year’s draft, McAvoy played three seasons at Bryant University and is the highest-drafted player in the school’s history. During his tenure there, he was 21-5 with a 3.11 ERA. He was named NEC Rookie of the Year in 2012. A three-pitch pitcher, McAvoy throws a fastball, a slider and a changeup.

Time to Close the Door

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

The Keys go for a winning roadtrip as they take on the Wilmington Blue Rocks on Thursday night at Frawley Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m as Luis Gonzalez faces off against Sean Manaea. As always we’ll have the broadcast on 1450 AM The Source and frederickkeys.com.

And don’t forget! The Keys are back in town tomorrow night, when the Salem Red Sox come to town for a 7:00 p.m first pitch. It will be Minion Night at the ballpark, so be sure to check out this special kids club event. There will also be postgame fireworks presented by Comfort Inn and Quincy Village, while it is “Safe at Home” Night. Players will be wearing special hats which will be auctioned off during the game. Proceeds benefit Heartly House.

Saturday is Scout Night (6:00 pm first pitch/5:00 pm gates open) and local troops are encouraged to participate in the sleepover after the game presented by Wegmans. Plus there will be fireworks presented by Wegmans and The Lube Center, The Auto Spa and The Auto Repair.

Sunday should also be a blast with WWE Hall of Famer, Ricky the Dragon Steamboat scheduled to drop by. Game time is at 4 with gates opening at 3 and the wrestling legend will be signing autographs and greeting fans. Plus it is a Sunday Funday presented by Heartfields Assisted Living at Frederick. A full release about Steamboat and the rest of the weekend can be found here.

We’ll have lineups shortly, but until then some notes are below!

Talk soon,

Geoff

Thursday, July 9, 2015 · Game #85 · Road Game #44

Frederick Keys (38-46/6-8) vs Wilmington Blue Rocks (46-37/8-5)

LHP Luis Gonzalez (5-7, 7.70) vs. LHP Sean Manaea (1-0, 0.82)

BIG FIRST INNING, LOVVORN FORCE RUBBER GAME:  The Wilmington Blue Rocks batted around in the first inning and got outstanding starting pitching from Zach Lovvorn to top the Frederick Keys 6-3 on Wednesday night at Frawley Stadium. Limited to five hits on the ballgame, the Keys saw their three-game winning streak come to an end. Four of Wilmington’s six runs came in the first as Ariel Miranda needed 40 pitches to get through the inning. A single by Mauricio Ramos scored Carlos Garcia who reached on a single and got to third on a steal and a throwing error. From there, a second single, a balk and a free pass would loaded the bases, before a single by Alfredo Escalera and a two-run double by Santiago Nessy made it 4-0. Lovvorn allowed a three-run homer to Brenden Webb in the second, but fired off seven innings of four-hit baseball, as the righty retired 17 of the final 18 he faced.

ONE TOUGH INNING: Wednesday marked the fourth time in the second-half where an opponent has batted around against the Keys. In three of those instances an opponent has put up four runs, while on one occasion it led to a five-run frame. A problem for the Keys ever since the end of May, an opponent has batted around 13 times in the last 37 games, while during that stretch the opposing team has racked up 15 innings of four runs or more.

ALL GOOD THINGS MUST COME TO AN END: Wilmington’s win on Wednesday, snapped the Keys three-game winning streak, tied for the club’s second-longest streak of the year. It was the team’s longest stretch since the all-star break and the lengthiest since April 23-25, when the club took three in-a-row against Wilmington. Frederick’s most successful stretch of baseball came during the season’s first week, when the team rattled off six straight victories from April 10-15.

IT ALL COMES DOWN TO THIS: With the series even, the Keys will play yet another rubber game on Thursday. It marks the club’s fourth straight deciding game, with Frederick taking its most recent rubber game on Monday at Winston-Salem after losing its previous two. In rubber matches the Keys are 5-4 this year, though the club has won three straight rubber games on the road.

QUALITY AND QUANTITY: Ariel Miranda may have struggled on Wednesday, but Frederick starters have still registered quality starts in three of their last four games. After the Keys pitching staff turned in just seven quality starts in the first-half, Frederick arms have turned in six in the last nine days. That includes quality starts in three consecutive games on two occasions. Meanwhile, on Wednesday Keys starters wrapped up a stretch of 21.2 innings without allowing an earned run and 18.2 frames without giving up a run of any kind.

WYNNIE THE POOH: Austin Wynns has turned in a strong roadtrip offensively, going 6-for-13 in four games with two doubles, three RBIs and a run scored. That has moved his average to .272 the highest it has been since April 17. The former Fresno State product has an RBI in three of his last four games. On Tuesday, Wynns’ ninth inning double put the tying run aboard, while on Monday his RBI single provided the Keys with an important insurance run in the ninth. In five July games he is batting .400 (6-for-15).

WELCOME BACK MATT!: Since returning from a minor league rehab assignment on Sunday, Matt Taylor has pitched very well. Over five innings the Georgia native has not allowed a run, and has given up just two hits to cut his ERA to 3.94. On Sunday at Winston-Salem, the southpaw earned just his second professional save in his first game back. Placed on the disabled list on May 5 with a concussion, Taylor was struck in the side of the head by a line drive on April 30 at Salem.

THE WHIFF: Although the Keys have scored four or more runs in five of their last six games, the Keys have struck out at least seven times in 11 straight games, while Frederick bats have struck out 10 or more times in four of those games. On Tuesday the orange and black struck out a season-high 15 times, while eight of the nine Keys starters struck out at least once. Austin Wynns was the only starter who did not go down on strikes. For the season, the Keys have struck out a combined 580 times (6.9 per game) third-most in the Carolina League.

WINNING WITH WITT: Since joining the Keys from the Rockford Aviators of the Frontier League, Tanner Witt has made a strong impression. In his first eight games, he is batting .474 (9-for-19) with two triples, two doubles, three RBIs and two runs scored. He has two multi-hit games, while splitting time between third, shortstop and second. Sunday’s three-hit effort from Witt was the most number of hits he had recorded in an affiliated game. Joining the Keys at the All-Star break, Witt took the roster spot of Tucker Nathans who was promoted to Double-A Bowie. In 29 games for Rockford, before joining Frederick, he batted .335 with a home run and 22 RBI.

AGAINST WILMINGTON:. The Keys are trying for their first series win in Wilmington since last August 1-3. Since that time, the Blue Rocks have won the last three series on the Riverfront and six of the last seven sets (dating back to 2014).Wilmington leads the current series 14-7 and has won the season set by virtue of Wednesday’s victory. The Blue Rocks have been especially tough on the Riverfront, winning eight of the 10 head-to-head meetings.

RUETTIGER AND O’BRIEN CALLED UP: On Sunday, Johnny Ruettiger and Mikey O’Brien were promoted to the Double-A Bowie Baysox. It is Ruettiger’s first promotion to Double-A this year, while O’Brien returns to the Eastern League for the second time this season. In total, 10 different Keys have received either Double-A or Triple-A call-ups in 2015. In 57 games with the Keys this year, Ruettiger batted .265 with 13 RBIs, two triples, 16 doubles and 10 stolen bases. He finished June with a .316 average and hit .300 or better in each of his last two months with the orange and black. O’Brien joined the Keys after making two relief appearances with the Baysox in late-May and early June. Used exclusively as a starter, he went 0-3 with a 2.25 ERA in four games.

TONIGHT’s OPPOSING PITCHER: Sean Manaea makes his fourth start of the season and his third with the Blue Rocks on Thursday. In three combined starts this season (Wilmington and AZL Royals) he is 1-0 with a 1.12 ERA. With the Blue Rocks, Manaea is 1-0 with a 0.82 ERA (11 IP/ER). In his most recent outing last Saturday at Potomac (July 4), the southpaw tossed six innings and allowed one unearned run. He scattered four hits, struck out five and did not walk a batter. Against Frederick this year he is 1-0, giving up three runs (one earned) in five innings to go with eight strikeouts on June 29. In five career starts against the Keys, Manaea is 3-2 with a 1.59 ERA (28.1/5ER). In his last start against the Keys at Frawley Stadium on August 13 of last year, Manaea threw a seven inning two-hit shutout with seven strikeouts. The June outing the 23-year-old’s  first Carolina League game of the year after he suffered an abdominal injury late in spring training. Manaea’s recovery was further slowed by a groin injury he suffered while rehabbing. The southpaw spent all of 2014 at Wilmington, going 7-8 with a 3.11 ERA in 25 games. Outstanding after the all-star break he went 5-3 with a 1.96 ERA. Opening his professional career at Advanced-A in 2014, Manaea was selected by Kansas City in the competitive balance round of the 2013 draft (34th overall) and received a $3.55 million signing bonus, the second-highest ever given to a player not selected in the first round. Considered a top-five pick after dominating the Cape Cod League in 2-12, Manaea hurt his hip while pitching in a game at the Metrodome for Indiana State. To compensate for the pain, he changed his delivery causing a drop in velocity. It cause his draft stock to plummet, enabling the Royals to swoop in. Manaea missed all of the 2013 season as he recovered from labrum surgery on his hop. A three-pitch pitcher, the 23-year-old throws a low-mid 90s fastball, an above-average slider and a changeup.

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