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Keys open series with Winston-Salem

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

Today’s lineup

Jay Gonzalez CF

Josh Hart LF

Chance Sisco DH

Jeff Kemp SS

Austin Wynns C

Wynston Sawyer 1B

Conor Bierfeldt RF

Anthony Caronia 2B

Tanner Witt 3B

7/25 Game Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keys Go for a Sweep In Potomac!

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

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

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

Shake your Keys!

Geoff

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can the Keys Make it 3 Series In a Row?

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

The Frederick Keys go for their third straight series win on Thursday night, when they play the second of three games against the Potomac Nationals. On multiple occasions, the Keys have won back-to-back series, but it would be the first time they would have won three straight.

To do it, they will need to beat Lucas Giolito, now the No. 1 pitching prospect in the minors according to Baseball America and the No.2 overall according to the same publication. He will square off against David Hess, who has registered a 2-0 record and a 1.50 ERA in the month of July. Should be a fun match-up to watch.

First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m from the historic (we are changing up our euphemisms today) Pfitzner Stadium. Broadcast time is at 6:50 on 1450 AM The Source. Once again I’ll be joined by Mike Ferrin of MLB Network Radio. Among of his gems of wisdom last night, baseball is known as “honkbal” in the Netherlands.

We’ll try and keep the fun going tonight. Some notes are below and lineups will be up later!

Shake your Keys!

Geoff

Thursday, July 23, 2015 · Game #98 · Road Game #50

Frederick Keys (46-51/14-13) vs Potomac Nationals (45-50/12-13)

RHP David Hess (5-4, 4.44) vs. RHP Lucas Giolito (3-5, 2.83)

BIG FIFTH INNING PUSHES KEYS PAST NATIONALS: The Frederick Keys batted around in the fifth inning and received another quality start from Chris Lee en route to a 5-1 victory on Wednesday night at Pfitzner Stadium. With the victory the orange and black take sole possession of first place and move back over the .500 mark. Held off the scoreboard for 13 straight innings, the Keys registered four runs on five hits in the fifth. Three straight singles opened the frame, while a base knock by Wynston Sawyer and an error by centerfielder Rafael Bautista evened the game at one apiece. Conor Bierfeldt followed with an RBI double to put the Keys on top, before a two-out error allowed Frederick to extend its advantage to three. On a grounder to first by Josh Hart, P-Nats pitcher Austen Williams missed cutting the ball off, and proceeded to muff the catch on a flip by Grant DeBruin. On the play, Sawyer and Bierfeldt both scored. Lee scattered nine hits, but allowed only one run in six innings, as Potomac finished 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left 10 on base.

HEATING UP: The Keys have claimed eight of their last 10 games, the club’s best 10-game stretch of baseball all season. Previously, the orange and black won seven out of 10 games during the first week and a half of the year, thanks in large part to a six-game winning streak (the team’s longest of 2015). Over this current stretch, the Keys have posted a four-game winning streak (second-longest of the year) and a three-game streak. In the process, the Keys have gotten back over .500 in the second-half for just the second time.

THREE IN-A-ROW?: On Thursday, Frederick tries for its third straight series win, and its second straight against Potomac. On Monday night, the Keys took the front-end of the home-and-home against the P-Nats thanks to a walk-off single by Jeff Kemp, while the orange and black won three of four during its last road series at Wilmington. This season, the Keys have won back-to-back sets on four occasions but have not won three series in a row. A win in the middle game would also give the club its second straight series win in Woodbridge.

MORE QUALITY AND QUANTITY: Chris Lee delivered his fourth quality start in his last five games on Wednesday, while it was the fifth time in the last seven games, a Keys starter had put together a quality outing. After posting only seven in the entire first-half, Keys starters have registered 11 in the month of July alone (they have 19 for the season). In 21 games this month, the Keys staff ERA is 3.30, while the starting pitching ERA is a sterling 3.11 (118.2 IP/41ER). Frederick’s bullpen has also performed well, tallying a 3.63 mark.

THERE’S THE OFFENSE: Lately, the Keys offense has been helped out by the big inning and Wednesday was no exception, with the Keys scoring four times in the fifth stanza. In six of their last 10 games, the Keys have posted an inning of three or more runs (not counting last Wednesday’s suspended game), while the club has registered an inning of four runs or more in three of their last five contests. In each of those games, the Keys have come away as the winner. A strong indicator of success, when the Keys score four or more runs in a game the club is 39-11, compared to going 7-40 when tallying three runs or fewer.

ROAD SWEET HOME?: Although the Keys have played their best baseball at home this year, the orange and black have played well on the road in the second-half. In 14 road tilts since the all-star break, Frederick is 8-6, the second-best CL road mark (Winston-Salem is 9-4) in the second stanza. A win on Thursday would give the Keys their third series victory in their last four road sets.

WALK IT OFF, WALK IT OFF: Jeff Kemp’s single gave the Keys their first-walk off victory of the second-half on Monday and the team’s first since May 6 against Winston-Salem, when Trey Mancini came up with a 10th inning RBI single off Michael Ynoa. This season, each of the Keys six walk-off wins have come courtesy of six different players, as Kemp, Mancini, Austin Wynns, Anthony Caronia, Drew Dosch and Brenden Webb have all played the role of hero at one point. The six walk-off wins are twice as many as the Keys had in 2014.

MIRANDA NAMED PITCHER OF THE WEEK: On Monday afternoon, Keys left-hander Ariel Miranda was named the Carolina League’s “Pitcher of the Week” for July 13-19. It is the first time the 26-year-old has earned a weekly honor since signing with the Orioles in late-May. In two starts, Miranda went 1-0 with a 0.82 ERA (11IP/1R) to go along with two walks and 13 strikeouts. The left-hander becomes the third Keys player to win a weekly award this year, joining David Hess and Drew Dosch.

BATTLE OF THE BELTWAY (CAROLINA LEAGUE EDITION): The Keys and the Potomac Nationals square off for the 18th time on Thursday, with the orange and black holding a 10-7 edge in the season-series. Wrapping up the Nymeo Field portion of the series on Tuesday, Frederick went 5-4 in games at the friendly confines, while the team is 5-3 at Pfitzner Stadium. The two clubs will meet five more times (counting Thursday) during the regular season. With Monday’s win, Frederick has won three of the last four head-to-head series. This season, the Keys are hitting .244 against Nationals pitching, while the staff ERA is 3.65. Individually, Tad Gold (3-for-8) and Conor Bierfeldt (.286/4-for-14) pace the Keys offense

TODAY’S OPPOSING STARTER: Right-hander Lucas Giolito makes his 13th appearance on Thursday and his 11th start. The right-hander’s most recent outing came against Myrtle Beach last Friday. Tossing five innings, he allowed three runs (two earned) on six hits in a losing effort. That start came on the heels of back-to-back relief appearances, as he piggybacked with MLB rehabber Aaron Barrett. The first of those came against Frederick on July 1, a game where Giolito threw seven hitless innings and struck out seven, while the Nationals carried a no-hitter into the ninth. In three outings (two starts) against Frederick, the 21-year-old is 2-1 with a 3.06 ERA. Named the starting pitcher for the U.S team in the Futures Game on July 12, Giolito pitched two shutout innings, allowing two hits and striking out one. After a slew of promotions he is now rated the No.1 pitching prospect in the minors by Baseball America and No. 2 prospect overall. Giolito opened the season at Extended Spring Training along with teammate Reynaldo Lopez as a precautionary measure, since both hit their innings limits in 2014. In his first year of full-season baseball, the right-hander was outstanding at Low-A Hagerstown, going 10-2 with a 2.20 ERA over 98 innings (20 starts) to go along with 110 strikeouts and just 28 walks. He never allowed any more than four runs in any given start, and won six straight outings to end the year. Named the Nationals Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2014, he is expected to log close to 100 innings again this year. Considered a potential No. 1 overall selection as a senior at Harvard-Westlake (CA) High School just outside of Los Angeles, Giolito sprained the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow as a senior and was forced to undergo Tommy John surgery in 2012. Washington selected the righty with the 16th overall pick and signed him for a reported $2.925 million. The son of Hollywood actor/producer Rick Giolito, the younger Giolito throws a fastball, a curveball and a changeup.

The Home-and-Home Continues in Potomac

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

After a successful front of the home-and-home against Potomac, the series shifts to Pfitzner Stadium tonight. The Keys claimed two of three at Nymeo Field, with Jeff Kemp coming through with a walk-off RBI single on Monday and the trio of Ariel Miranda, Matt Taylor and Cody Wheeler combining on a one-hit shutout the day prior.

Potomac returned the favor on Tuesday afternoon with a 7-0 shutout, but the orange and black still lead the season-series 9-7. There are six games left between these two teams, all of which will take place in Woodbridge, VA. In games at the Pfitz (or the “Rusty Tank” as one Carolina League broadcaster once dubbed it) the Keys are 4-3. Frederick took the last series in the Commonwealth right before the all-star break with wins in two of three games.

The strange mid-week series means the Keys will be returning home this upcoming Saturday and it should be a lot of fun. Here is a breakdown of what you can expect to see:

Saturday, July 25 v Winston-Salem (6:00 p.m first pitch/5:00 p.m gates open)

Breakdown: It is Christmas in July, featuring Santa Clause and plenty of other holiday favorites, but the game could not be complete without a favorite stocking stuffer: A BOBBLEHEAD. That’s right friends, there will be a Zach Britton bobblehead giveaway presented by Flying Dog Brewery. So if you want one, best to arrive before 5 pm when gates open. The first 1,000 fans will receive one, but they will go fast. As always, there will be postgame fireworks (also courtesy of Flying Dog Brewery)

Sunday, July 26 v Winston-Salem (4:00 p.m first pitch/12:30 p.m gates open)

Breakdown: It is Anchorman Day at the ballpark! The day will be themed after the popular movie series, and will include a pre-game media softball game from 1-3 p.m! This event should be a ton of fun, so make sure to drop by early and see some of your favorite media personalities in action (gates open at 12:30). Teams “Burgundy” and “Mantooth” have each been divided and will include players from all of the area’s local media outlets. So if you want to see WHAG Sports Director Dorian Craft “go deep” or Key 103’s Chris Elliot go diving after a groundball, join us. It is also a Sunday Funday presented by Heartfields Assisted Living at Frederick complete with a catch in the outfield and two players doing autographs.

Monday, July 27 v Winston-Salem (2:00 p.m first pitch/1:00 p.m gates open)

Breakdown: It is some more day baseball at Nymeo Field as the Keys play another getaway game while the sun is still up. It is a Kids Eat Free Monday, so all Kids 12 and under will receive a hot dog, chips and drink. So if you’re not feeling the Monday work day, come and have some fun with us. Your boss will only find out if you need to unload your conscience.

We will have today’s lineup a little later on, while you can join me for the broadcast on 1450 AM The Source and frederickkeys.com beginning at 6:50.

This series I will be joined on the broadcast by a good friend, and one of the industry’s top baseball talk show personalities. Mike Ferrin from MLB Network radio. The host of “Power Alley” with Jim Duquette, I have about as much respect for Mike’s knowledge and ability as anyone and I think you will really enjoy his insights. A talented game-caller as well as a good talk show host, Mike recently handled play-by-play for the All-Star Futures Game and calls games in the Arizona Fall League each year for Sirius/XM.

Some notes are below. Talk soon and shake your keys!

Geoff

Wednesday, July 22, 2015 · Game #97 · Road Game #49

Frederick Keys (45-51/13-13) vs Potomac Nationals (45-49/12-12)

LHP Chris Lee (2-5, 3.63) vs. RHP Austen Williams (1-1, 1.64)

SIMMS FIRES GEM, DENIES KEYS SWEEP: John Simms turned in eight shutout innings to lead the Potomac Nationals past the Frederick Keys 7-0 on Tuesday afternoon at Nymeo Field. The loss denied the orange and black a series sweep and snapped the club’s three-game winning streak. Owner of three quality starts against the Keys coming into Tuesday, Simms surrendered only two hits and struck out a season-high 10 over a career-high eight frames. He retired the final 11 he faced before giving way to Derek Self in the ninth. Offensively, the Nationals did the bulk of their damage in the fifth inning. With two aboard, Stephen Perez connected on an RBI single to make it 3-0, while Spencer Kieboom followed with a three-run homer to centerfield. John Wooten also hit a home run for the Nationals and finished a triple short of the cycle.

BLANKED: After they were shut out on Sunday and victimized by a walk-off on Monday, the Nationals got a modicum of payback in the series finale. The 7-0 shutout defeat marked the eighth time this season the Keys had been blanked, while it was their third shutout loss since the all-star break.

A DEPARTURE FROM RECENT TRENDS: Tuesday also marked just the second time in the last seven games, that Frederick had failed to score five runs or more. A strong indicator of success, when the Keys score four or more runs in a game the club is 38-11, compared to going 7-41 when tallying three runs or fewer. Lately, the Keys have been helped out by the big inning, with the team posting a frame of three or more runs in five of their last nine contests (if you do not include last Wednesday’s suspended game). In each of those games, the Keys have come away as the winner.

STILL A SOLID SERIES: Although the Keys did not register a sweep, Frederick still earned its first home series win since May 17, when the orange and black took a rubber game against Potomac. That snapped a string of eight series (0-5-3) without a win on Stadium Drive. Additionally, the club wrapped up its second-longest home winning streak of the year on Monday. Shifting to the road on Wednesday, Frederick has done well on the road of late, taking two of their last three series away from the friendly confines. In the second-half, the team’s road record is 7-6, making the Keys the only CL North team with a record of better than .500 in away tilts.

WALK IT OFF, WALK IT OFF: Jeff Kemp’s single gave the Keys their first-walk off victory of the second-half on Monday and the team’s first since May 6 against Winston-Salem, when Trey Mancini came up with a 10th inning RBI single off Michael Ynoa. This season, each of the Keys six walk-off wins have come courtesy of six different players, as Kemp, Mancini, Austin Wynns, Anthony Caronia, Drew Dosch and Brenden Webb have all played the role of hero at one point. The six walk-off wins are twice as many as the Keys had in 2014.

MORE QUALITY AND QUANTITY: Despite having to leave due to injury, Luis Gonzalez posted his second quality start in as many outings on Monday, working 6.1 innings of two-run, five-hit baseball. Frederick starters have now turned in quality outings in four of their last six games, giving the team 18 total for the season. That includes 10 in the month of July, which is three more than the Keys had in the entire first-half of the season. Wednesday’s starter, Chris Lee, has been red-hot of late, turning in quality starts in three of his last four games. Meanwhile, in each of those four games he has given up two runs or less.

MIRANDA NAMED PITCHER OF THE WEEK: On Monday afternoon, Keys left-hander Ariel Miranda was named the Carolina League’s “Pitcher of the Week” for July 13-19. It is the first time the 26-year-old has earned a weekly honor since signing with the Orioles in late-May. In two starts, Miranda went 1-0 with a 0.82 ERA (11IP/1R) to go along with two walks and 13 strikeouts. The left-hander becomes the third Keys player to win a weekly award this year, joining David Hess and Drew Dosch.

BATTLE OF THE BELTWAY (CAROLINA LEAGUE EDITION): The Keys and the Potomac Nationals square off for the 17th time on Wednesday, with the orange and black holding an 9-7 edge in the season-series. Wrapping up the Nymeo Field portion of the series on Tuesday, Frederick went 5-4 in games at the friendly confines, while the team is 4-3 at Pfitzner Stadium. The two clubs will meet six more times (counting Wednesday) during the regular season. With Monday’s win, Frederick has won three of the last four head-to-head series. This season, the Keys are hitting .245 against Nationals pitching, while the staff ERA is 3.82. Individually, Tad Gold (2-for-5) Josh Hart (.294/10-for-34) and Jay Gonzalez (.294/5-for-17) lead the way offensively.

TODAY’S OPPOSING STARTER: Right-hander Austen Williams makes his 17th combined start of the season on Wednesday and his third with the Nationals. Combined between Potomac, Low-A Hagerstown and Triple-A Syracuse Williams is 9-3 with a 2.45 ERA over 16 starts (88 innings). With the Nationals, he is 1-1 with a 1.64 ERA in two games. His most recent outing came last Thursday against Myrtle Beach. Although he suffered the loss, Williams allowed one unearned on three hits over five innings, as the Pelicans used that lone marker to win 1-0. Promoted to Potomac from Low-A Hagerstown on July 8, Williams went 8-1 with a 2.10 ERA in 13 starts (73 innings) and was named a South Atlantic League all-star. Although this is the first time Williams has faced the Keys, he did fare well against the Orioles Low-A affiliate in Delmarva, tallying a 2-0 record and a 2.50 ERA in three starts (18IP/5R). Jay Gonzalez and Conor Bierfeldt were among the current Keys that he faced. A pitcher known for very good command, Williams has a BB/9IP ratio of 1.9 this season, while his career mark is 2.0. Selected by Washington in the sixth round of the 2014 draft out Texas State, Williams was a college teammate of Keys pitcher Donnie Hart. Drafted after his junior year, he went 8-3 with a 3.65 ERA for the Bobcats as the team’s Friday starter. Hoping to go to Texas Tech like many of his family members, Williams was not recruited by the Red Raiders since they did not think he threw hard enough. Williams throws a fastball, a curveball and a changeup.

Frederick eyes sweep in afternoon game

Last night Frederick and Potomac played a back-and-forth affair which saw the Keys walk it off in the bottom of the ninth winning 6-5. In Monday night’s contest it was a tale of two games as there was only three combined hits through five innings and then both offenses finally started clicking in the later innings in which both teams traded leads five times including the walk off hit from Jeff Kemp, a two-run single with two outs and the bases loaded. Because of that victory, the orange and black sealed the series win and look to go for the sweep today. It also vaulted them into first place in the Carolina League North Division by half a game. Today Frederick will trot out southpaw Mitch Horacek (6-9, 4.30) in hopes of getting the sweep. This will be his fourth outing against the Nationals for Horacek as he has gone 0-3 on the season. Potomac will counter with John Simms (5-6, 3.01) who is making his fourth appearance against the Keys on the year as he is 0-3. The game will start at 12:00.

 

Today’s lineup

Jay Gonzalez CF

Josh Hart LF

Jeff Kemp 2B

Austin Wynns C

Tad Gold RF

Adrian Marin SS

Tanner Witt 3B

Wynston Sawyer 1B

Anthony Caronia DH

7/21 Game Notes

KEMP GIVES KEYS WALK-OFF WIN: A two-run single by Jeff Kemp with two outs in the ninth lifted the Frederick Keys to a 6-5 victory on Monday night at Nymeo Field. It was Frederick’s sixth walk-off win of the year and gave the club its first home series win since May 17. Additionally, the Keys moved past .500 (13-12) for the first time in the second-half. A seesaw game from the sixth inning on, the lead changed hands five times in the last four innings. Down 5-4 in the home-ninth, Frederick got the tying run on base immediately as Tad Gold got plunked by Justin Thomas’ first offering of the frame. Potomac would turn to closer Manny Rodriguez, but the right-hander would throw consecutive wild pitches to advance Gold to third. Tanner Witt coaxed a walk, but Rodriguez bounced back with strikeouts of Jay Gonzalez and Josh Hart. Rodriguez pitched around Chance Sisco to load the bases for Kemp, who stroked the right-hander’s second pitch into centerfield to end the game. On Tuesday, the orange and black try for their second sweep of the season and their first since April 15.

WALK IT OFF, WALK IT OFF: Kemp’s single gave the Keys their first-walk off victory of the second-half and the team’s first since May 6 against Winston-Salem, when Trey Mancini came up with a 10th inning RBI single off Michael Ynoa. This season, each of the Keys six walk-off wins have come courtesy of six different players, as Kemp, Mancini, Austin Wynns, Anthony Caronia, Drew Dosch and Brenden Webb have all played the role of hero at one point. The six walk-off wins are twice as many as the Keys had in 2014.

THERE’S THE HOME COOKIN: Thanks to Monday’s win, Frederick earned its first home series win since May 17, when the orange and black took a rubber game against Potomac. In the ensuing eight series, the Keys went 0-5-3 at Nymeo Field, while last Monday Frederick ended a string of four straight home series defeats. Now winners of four straight games on Stadium Drive, the Keys are in the midst of their second-longest home winning streak of the year. The lengthiest took place in April, when Frederick won nine straight games at Nymeo Field from April 10-25.

FIRING ON ALL CYLINDERS: Not only have the Keys fared at home recently, but the team has rattled off three straight victories and taken seven of their last eight games. During this hot stretch, Frederick has turned in a four-game winning streak (July 12-16) the team’s second longest streak of the year. Meanwhile, Monday’s victory moved the Keys past .500 (13-12) for the first time in the second-half and vaulted the team into first in the CL North for the first time.

MORE QUALITY AND QUANTITY: Despite having to leave due to injury, Luis Gonzalez posted his second quality start in as many outings on Monday, working 6.1 innings of two-run, five-hit baseball. Frederick starters have now turned in quality outings in four of their last five games, giving the team 18 total for the season. That includes 10 in the month of July, which is three more than the Keys had in the entire first-half of the season. Tuesday’s starter, Mitch Horacek paces all Keys starters with six quality starts.

MIRANDA NAMED PITCHER OF THE WEEK: On Monday afternoon, Keys left-hander Ariel Miranda was named the Carolina League’s “Pitcher of the Week” for July 13-19. It is the first time the 26-year-old has earned a weekly honor since signing with the Orioles in late-May. In two starts, Miranda went 1-0 with a 0.82 ERA (11IP/1R) to go along with two walks and 13 strikeouts. The left-hander becomes the third Keys player to win a weekly award this year, joining David Hess and Drew Dosch.

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.

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 eight 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.

BATTLE OF THE BELTWAY (CAROLINA LEAGUE EDITION): The Keys and the Potomac Nationals square off for the 16th time on Tuesday, with the orange and black holding an 9-6 edge in the season-series. In games at Nymeo Field, the Keys are 5-3, while the team is 4-3 at Pfitzner Stadium. Tuesday will mark the P-Nats final game at Nymeo Field this year. With Monday’s win, Frederick has won three of the last four head-to-head series. This season, the Keys are hitting .253 against Nationals pitching, while the staff ERA is 3.60. Individually, Josh Hart (.333/10-for-30) leads the way offensively.

TODAY’S OPPOSING STARTER: Right-hander John Simms makes his 15th appearance on Tuesday and his 14th start. His most recent outing came last Wednesday against Myrtle Beach. Tagged with the loss, Simms tossed six innings and allowed five runs (three earned) on six hits to go with three walks and two strikeouts. It was Simms’ eighth straight quality start, though during that stretch he is just 3-2. Still, Simms ranks seventh in the CL in ERA (3.01). In three July starts, Simms is 1-1 with a 1.80 ERA (20IP/4ER). Tuesday marks the right-hander’s fourth quality start against Frederick. In three games he is 0-3 with a 2.50 ERA (18 IP/5ER). All of those outings have been quality starts, but the three defeats account for half of Simms’ losses this year.  Assigned to the P-Nats from extended spring training on April 24, Simms split 2014 between three different teams, going 4-10 with a 4.19 ERA over 26 games (21 starts). That included 10 starts with Potomac where he went 2-4 with a 4.36 ERA. His best performance came on June 7 against Wilmington, where he struck out 14, and the most by any P-Nats pitcher last year. At Double-A Harrisburg he went 2-6 with a 5.03 ERA 11 starts, while at Low-A Hagerstown he was 0-0 with a 0.98 ERA in five relief outings (18.2 IP/2ER). An 11th round pick by Washington out of Rice University, Simms was also selected by Washington in the 39th round of the 2010 draft but he did not sign. Before enrolling at Rice, he spent the summer of 2010 pitching for USA U-18 National Team, going 4-0 with a 0.96 ERA against international competition. Originally from Woodlands, TX (a suburb of Houston) the city is the hometown of NFL stars Adrian Peterson and Arian Foster. A three-pitch pitcher, Simms throws a low-90s fastball, a curveball and a changeup.

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.

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