Author Archive

Breakfast and Baseball

Good Morning Keys Fans!

The Keys conclude their seven-game roadtrip with a morning game at Five County Stadium. First pitch is at 10:30 a.m, so grab your favorite caffeinated beverage, pop in the earbuds (or close the door) and enjoy some baseball! And if you don’t get all your work done? Well that’s what the afternoon is for.

Frederick is hoping the bats will pick up where they left off last night. Ending with 14 hits, the Keys finished won 10-3, and racked up double-digit runs for the fifth time this month. As a team, the orange and black are hitting .286 in July to go with 25 longballs.

David Richardson gets the nod in the final game of the series and will be opposed by Ryan Clark. The latter has had issues with the longball, giving up 14 this year (most in the Carolina League). Could bode well for the Keys.

Doug will have the pregame show at 10:15 before the play-by-play at 10:30 on 1450 AM The Source, frederickkeys.com and the TuneIn Radio App (just search WTHU).

Today’s notes are below.

Shake your Keys,

Geoff

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Tuesday, July 19, 2016 · Game #95 · Road Game #49

Frederick Keys (50-44/14-10) vs. Carolina Mudcats (38-56/9-15)

RHP David Richardson (3-2, 2.35) vs. RHP Ryan Clark (1-10, 5.60)

BIG FIFTH INNINGS LEADS KEYS PAST MUDDIES: A four-run Frederick Keys fifth inning broke up a 1-1 stalemate as the orange and black topped the Carolina Mudcats 10-3 on Monday night at Five County Stadium. Finishing with 14 hits, Frederick returned to a season-best six games over .500. In the fifth, the Keys batted around against Caleb Beech and Michael O’Neal. DJ Stewart drove in the first run with an RBI groundout, while a Wynston Sawyer RBI double made it a two-run advantage. Cam Kneeland drove in the third run to knock Beech out of the game, while Jomar Reyes completed the scoring with a sac-fly. Frederick turned in two additional multi-run innings to hit double-digits in the run column, while Lucas Long worked 5.2 innings of two-run baseball to earn his first win since June 13.   

GIVE ME THE LUMBER: On Monday the Keys racked up 10 runs for the fifth time this month. In four of those five games the Keys have won, with the lone exception coming on July 9, when Frederick lost a 13-11 slugfest to Winston-Salem. In July Frederick is averaging 6.76 runs per game (115 in 17 contests) while the team is batting a collective .286. Only the Dash and Lynchburg have higher team averages. In spite of that, Frederick paces the circuit in home runs this month (25). That included a stretch of 16 games with a deep fly.

SALCEDO KEEPS HITTING: Erick Salcedo tallied a season-high four hits on Monday, going 4-for-6 with a double, two RBIs and two runs scored. The Venezuelan currently owns a five-game hitting streak, during which time he is batting .348 (8-for-23) with a triple, three doubles, three RBIs and seven runs scored. Going back further, Salcedo has hit safely in 12 of his last 14 games to raise his average from .270 to .277. Since a rocky April where he batted only .194 in 19 games, the Keys shortstop has batted .321, .295 and .276 in each of the three months since.

CLOSE CALLS: Although last night’s game was lopsided, close games have been the norm lately. Five of the last six (and seven of the last nine) have come down to two runs or less. In those five games, the Keys are 3-2 (and 4-3 if you go back farther). Once a weakness, Frederick has played extremely well in one-run games of late, with the Keys taking three straight and (four of five). For the year, the Keys record in one-run affairs is 12-12, placing them in a tie for third in the league. The club is also 9-7 in two-run games, the league’s third-best mark, while the nine victories in two-run games is the second-most in the circuit.

ROAD SUCCESS: The Keys gathered their seventh road series win of the season on Friday with a rubber game victory over Myrtle Beach. A big reason for the Keys success this year, the Keys are 29-19 away from Nymeo Field, giving them the second-best road mark in the league (only Lynchburg is better at 31-16). Oddly enough, a good chunk of the CL has preferred playing on the road this year, with five of the circuit’s eight teams owning road marks better than .500 (including three of four in the CL North).    

LIGHTS, CAM, ACTION: Cam Kneeland has been a multi-hit machine lately, going 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored on Monday. In his last 10 games, Kneeland is hitting .462 (18-for-39) with three home runs, 13 RBIs, three doubles, a triple, and eight runs scored. Of those 10 contests, eight have been multi-hit efforts. In the process, Kneeland has raised his average from .229 to .265 (he is batting .350 in July). Kneeland had a season-high eight-game hitting streak snapped during Sunday’s doubleheader.

GONZALEZ FINDS GROOVE AGAIN: Jay Gonzalez has hit safely in his last nine games. The longest hitting streak of the season for the Florida native, Gonzalez is batting .323 (10-for-31) during the streak with two doubles, a triple, six RBIs and seven runs scored to raise his average from .235-.245. In eight of the nine contests, he has one hit. After batting just .200 in June, the Floridian is hitting .270 in July.

STEWART’S STREAK ENDS: DJ Stewart also saw a hitting streak conclude on Sunday, as the former Florida State product went 0-for-4 in game one. Concluding at nine games, nine games, Stewart batted .333 (12-for-36) with two home runs, 10 RBIs, seven runs scored and six walks. It was the longest hit streak of his pro career.

HART TO THE BIG LEAGUES: Former Keys reliever Donnie Hart became the 149th Keys alumni to reach the Major Leagues, when he pitched 0.2 of an inning against the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday. After retiring both batters he faced in that game, he followed it up with a scoreless inning on Monday at Yankee Stadium. This year Hart along with Steven Brault, Ariel Miranda, Ty Kelly and Ashur Tolliver have all made their MLB debuts. As a member of the Keys in 2015, Hart went 5-1 with three saves and a 1.03 ERA in 27 games.

 ODDS AND ENDS: Monday’s 14 hits were one short of a season-high. Eight of the nine Keys starters had one hit and seven of nine had one RBI. This morning marks the final meeting of the year between the two teams. Frederick will enjoy a Wednesday off-day, before playing four games at home against Salem. With a win in game one of Sunday’s doubleheader, the Keys claimed the season-set against Carolina. The five runs allowed by Tanner Scott on Sunday were the most he had given up since surrendering seven on April 27 against Salem. Wynston Sawyer set a new career-high with his ninth home run on Friday.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Ryan Clark makes his 18th start on Tuesday and his second against the Keys. His most recent start was last Wednesday against Lynchburg, a game where he pitch two scoreless innings. He walked three. Clark suffered the loss, the first time he saw Frederick, despite throwing six innings of three-run baseball. Home runs have been a problem for Clark who has given up a league-high 14, while he is tied for second in losses (10). Clark was selected by Atlanta in the fifth round in 2015 out of UNC-Greensboro. He Spent 2015 with rookie-level Danville, where he went 6-1 with a 3.08 ERA in 13 games (seven starts) to earn the club’s Pitcher of the Year honors.

Two Last Games on the Roadtrip

Good Evening Keys Fans!

The Keys come off a doubleheader split on Sunday at Five County Stadium, with the Keys taking game one 4-3, before a six-run Carolina sixth resulted in a 7-5 loss in game two.

For those who missed the news, congrats to former Key Donnie Hart who made his MLB debut with the Orioles yesterday afternoon. He retired both hitters he faced and did so on just six pitches. Hart becomes the 149th Keys alumni to reach the Show, and the fifth to get up there this season.

Also, be sure to check some of the FUN promotions coming up when the Keys get back to town on Thursday! Among them, the Cowboy Monkey Rodeo!

Tonight Lucas Long gets the ball for the Keys against Muddies righty Caleb Beech. First pitch is set for 7:00 p.m and the broadcast is available on 1450 AM The Source, frederickkeys.com and the TuneIn radio app (by searching WTHU). Doug will have the call.

Also don’t forget, breakfast and baseball tomorrow morning (10:30 a.m first pitch). So be sure to bring the earbuds to the office tomorrow, or just shut the door (or both).

Shake your Keys!

Geoff

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Monday, July 18, 2016 · Game #94 · Road Game #48

Frederick Keys (49-44/13-10) vs. Carolina Mudcats (38-55/9-14)

RHP Lucas Long (4-5, 4.81) vs. RHP Caleb Beech (2-2, 3.67)

                                                                                                                                                              

KEYS SPLIT TWINBILL: A seventh inning run gave the Frederick Keys a 4-3 game one victory, but a six-run Carolina Mudcats sixth inning in game two meant a 7-5 setback and a split of Sunday’s doubleheader at Five County Stadium. Tied at three entering the seventh inning of game one, Wynston Sawyer coaxed a nine-pitch walk from Sean McLaughlin. An Aderlin Rodriguez single put two aboard for Cam Kneeland who doubled Sawyer home. Sawyer also drove in the tying run with a two-bagger which plated Erick Salcedo. In game two, the Keys saw a 3-1 advantage disappear in the sixth. All six Carolina runs came via home run, as Braxton Davidson crushed a grand slam off Tanner Scott, before Sal Giardina added a two-run homer off Ryan Meisinger. An RBI double by Salcedo and a wild pitch allowed the Keys to pull within a pair in their final trip to bat.

WRAPPING UP THE TWINBILL: The Frederick Keys split their fifth true doubleheader of the year on Sunday (1-2-2). This season the orange and black are 4-6 in twinbills, placing them sixth out of eight teams in the Carolina League. Yesterday’s doubleheader was the club’s first true doubleheader since June 17, when the club lost two to Lynchburg (the Keys split a quasi-doubleheader at Salem on June 25). Although it did not last long, the Keys did manage to reach six games over .500 in game one, a high-water mark for this year.

CLOSE CALLS: The Frederick Keys have played a host of close games lately, with each of the last five (and seven of the last eight) coming down to two runs or less. Over the five game stretch, the Keys are 3-2 (and 4-3 if you go back farther). Once a weakness, Frederick has played extremely well in one-run games of late, with the Keys taking three straight and (four of five). For the year, the Keys record in one-run affairs is 12-12, placing them in a tie for third in the league. The club is also 9-7 in two-run games, the league’s third-best mark, while the nine victories in two-run games is the second-most in the circuit.

EXTRA, EXTRA!: The Keys played their fifth extra inning affair Friday night and first since June 4 at home against Carolina (a 5-4 walk-off win in 11 innings). The team has played fewest amount of extra innings games this year, holding a 3-2 record. Friday’s game took 3 hours and 58 minutes to play, the longest of the season, and it followed a 1 hour and 16 minute rain delay down at the Grand Strand.

ROAD SUCCESS: The Keys gathered their seventh road series win of the season on Friday with a rubber game victory over Myrtle Beach. A big reason for the Keys success this year, the Keys are 28-19 away from Nymeo Field, giving them the second-best road mark in the league (only Lynchburg is better at 30-16). Oddly enough, a good chunk of the CL has preferred playing on the road this year, with five of the circuit’s eight teams owning road marks better than .500 (including three of four in the CL North).    

LIGHTS, CAM, ACTION: Cam Kneeland had another multi-hit effort in game one Sunday, going 2-for-3 with a game-winning double, before finishing 0-for-3 with a run scored in game two. Although that snapped his season-high eight-game hitting streak, the Massachusetts native has still been the team’s hottest hitter of late.  In his last nine games, Kneeland is hitting .457 (16-for-35) with three home runs, 12 RBIs, three doubles, a triple, and seven runs scored. In the process, Kneeland has raised his average from .229 to .262 (he is batting .339 in July).

STEWART’S STREAK ENDS: DJ Stewart also saw a hitting streak conclude on Sunday, as the former Florida State product went 0-for-4 in game one. Concluding at nine games, nine games, Stewart batted .333 (12-for-36) with two home runs, 10 RBIs, seven runs scored and six walks. It was the longest hit streak of his pro career.

HART TO THE BIG LEAGUES: Former Keys reliever Donnie Hart became the 149th Keys alumni to reach the Major Leagues, when he pitched 0.2 of an inning against the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday. Needing only six pitches, he also picked up his first big league strikeout. This year Hart along with Steven Brault, Ariel Miranda, Ty Kelly and Ashur Tolliver have all made their MLB debuts. As a member of the Keys in 2015, Hart went 5-1 with three saves and a 1.03 ERA in 27 games.

ODDS AND ENDS: With a win in game one of Sunday’s doubleheader, the Keys claimed the season-set against Carolina. This series marks the final four games between the two teams this year. Jay Gonzalez has hit safely in his last eight games, to raise his average from .235-.245. After batting just .200 in June, the Floridian is hitting .273 in July.  He has one hit in seven of the eight contests. Franderlin Romero completed five innings on Sunday for the first time since June 27, after each of his previous three outings lasted no longer than four innings, The five runs allowed by Tanner Scott Sunday were the most he had given up since surrendering seven on April 27 against Salem. Wynston Sawyer set a new career-high with his ninth home run on Friday. Dylan Bundy made his first MLB start on Sunday at Tampa Bay. The ex-Keys suffered the loss, allowing four runs and three home runs in 3.1 innings.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Caleb Beech makes his 10th overall appearance and his seventh start on Monday. It will be his sixth start with Carolina. His most recent outing came at Potomac last Monday. Tossing five innings, he received a no-decision, giving up four runs (three earned) on eight hits. Opponents are batting .304 against Beech since being activated off the Low-A Rome disabled list and joining the Muddies on June 18. In four games before his call-up, he went 0-0 with a 3.27 ERA (11 IP/4ER). A midseason SAL All-Star in 2015, Beech went 5-2 with a 2.87 ERA in 11 games before placed on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation on June 27. He did not pitch the duration of the season. A 13th round pick of Atlanta out of Shelton State Community College in 2014, Beech hails from Texarkana, TX.

Keys Wrap up Their Time on the Grand Strand

Good Evening Keys Fans!

The Keys wrap up their series with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans on Friday night at TicketReturn.com Field. Left-hander Mitch Horacek makes the start for the Keys against Birds righty Erick Leal, as the two sides play their second straight rubber match on the Grand Strand.

Doug has the radio call beginning at 6:50 p.m on 1450 AM The Source and frederickkeys.com. You can also go to the TuneIn radio app and search WTHU.

Today’s notes are below.

Shake your Keys!

Geoff

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Friday, July 15, 2016 · Game #91 · Road Game #45

Frederick Keys (47-43/11-9) vs. Myrtle Beach Pelicans (47-44/11-10)

LHP Mitch Horacek (4-9, 4.92) vs. RHP Erick Leal (10-4, 2.99)

                                                                                                                                                              

KNEELAND’S SINGLE JUST ENOUGH: Cam Kneeland broke a 3-3 tie with an RBI single in the eighth inning on Thursday night as the Frederick Keys defeated the Myrtle Beach Pelicans 4-3 at TicketReturn.com Field. The victory sets up a Friday night rubber game. DJ Stewart opened the eighth with a walk, prompting a Pelicans pitching change. Wynston Sawyer advanced Stewart to second on a sac-bunt, while he moved to third on a groundout. That sent up Kneeland, who fell behind 0-2 against Daury Torrez before smacking a single into center. Tanner Scott pitched the final two innings to record his fifth save. The Keys took a 3-0 lead after three innings, courtesy of sac-flies by Sawyer and Stewart and Kneeland base hit. Myrtle Beach plated an unearned run in the fourth following a throwing error by David Richardson and a Jeffrey Baez RBI base knock, while an RBI single by Erick Castillo and a Tyler Pearson safety squeeze tied the game before the eighth.

CLOSE CALLS:  The Keys played yet another one-run game on Thursday. Both games in this series have hinged on one run while three of Frederick’s last four have been one-run affairs. This season the Keys are 10-12 in single run games, but have taken two of the last three they’ve been involved in. By holding on last night, the Keys were able to snap a three-game road losing streak, a mark which equaled the team’s longest road slide of the year (Frederick previously lost three straight road games from April 21-23 at Lynchburg).

LIGHTS, CAM, ACTION: Since tallying a career-high five RBIs on Monday, Cam Kneeland has not slowed down. Going 2-for-4 with two RBIs on Thursday (including the game-winning RBI) the Keys utility man has six straight multi-hit games and seven in his last eight contests. Over the six-game streak he is hitting .542 (13-for-24) with three home runs, 11 RBIs, two doubles and six runs scored. He has home runs in three of his last five games, an RBI in five straight and a run scored in five of his last six. In the process, the Massachusetts native has raised his average from .229 to .261, the highest it has been since May 7. In his first 13 July games, Kneeland is hitting .356.

HEAR THE WAR CHANT?: DJ Stewart scoring the game-winning run for the Keys on Thursday, while a first inning single off Trevor Clifton allowed the Florida State product to extend his hitting streak to eight games. The longest hit streak of his pro career, Stewart is batting .333 (10-for-30) over the eight-gamer. He has two home runs, nine RBIs, six runs score and six walks while he has raised his average from .281 to .306. The Keys outfielder also has an RBI (seven) and a walk (five) in four straight contests.

A-ROD’s HIT STREAK CONCLUDES: Although DJ Stewart extended his hitting streak, Aderlin Rodriguez finished 0-for-4 with two strikeouts last night to snap his hitting streak at 10 games (tying a season-best). He batted .409 (18-for-44) with five home runs, 15 RBIs, two triples, two doubles and 10 runs scored. The second-longest hit streak by a Keys player this season, Erick Salcedo leads the way with a 14-gamer from May 15-29.

HAPPY TRAILS TO YOU: Right before first pitch on Wednesday, Keys outfielder, Conor Bierfeldt was officially promoted to the Double-A Bowie Baysox. It is the first time the Connecticut native has been called up to the Eastern League while he becomes the 11th member of the orange and black to jump a level. In 47 games, Bierfeldt batted .273 with 14 home runs, 41 RBIs, 34 runs scored, 11 doubles and a .540 on-base percentage. At the time of his promotion, he was third in the league in home runs.

RODRIGUEZ NAMED PLAYER OF THE WEEK: On Monday afternoon, Aderlin Rodriguez was named the Carolina League Player of the Week for July 4-10. It marks the second straight week where a Keys player has taken home a weekly honor (Conor Bierfeldt claimed the award last week) while Rodriguez is the fourth member of the orange and black to receive a weekly accolade in 2016.  Over seven games last week, Rodriguez batted .452 (14-for-31) with five homers, 15 RBIs, eight extra-base hits, 10 runs scored, a 1.097 slugging percentage and a 1.582 OPS. Rodriguez paced all MiLB players in RBIs, tied for the lead in home runs, and tied for third in runs scored.

LONGBALL STREAK ENDS: Following five straight multi-homer games, the Keys were held in the ballpark for the first time in more than two weeks. Frederick saw its home run streak conclude at 16 consecutive games on Thursday. Beginning on June 27, the Keys clubbed 28 deep flies over the 16-game stretch. Nine of those were multi-homer games, while it pushed the Keys total to 75 this year. Frederick ranks second in the CL in longballs (trailing only Lynchburg who has 78) while the orange and black have already eclipsed their 2015 total (56).

ODDS AND ENDS: The Keys play their second rubber game of the second-half on Friday (they lost their first at Salem 6-1 on June 26). Frederick is 2-4 in rubber matches this year. This will be the Keys final regular season game at Myrtle Beach in 2016 (the Keys are 5-4 on the beach this year). Ex-Key Donnie Hart had his contract selected by Baltimore this afternoon. Former Keys pitcher Dylan Bundy has been tabbed as the Orioles starter for team’s Sunday game at Tampa Bay.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Erick Leal makes his 16th start on Friday and his fourth against the Keys. His most recent outing came at Wilmington last Friday. Tossing six innings, he gave up one run on three hits and struck out six but took the loss. Currently, Leal leads the CL in wins (10), is third in ERA (2.99) and fifth in WHIP (1.12). Against the Keys, he is 2-1 with a 4.41 ERA. Leal spent all of last season at Low-A South Bend, going 10-8 with a 3.85 ERA in 23 games (22 starts) with the Cubs. Perhaps the highlight of his season came on August 4 when he threw nine hitless innings against Kane County. He was denied the seventh no-hitter in team history though, as the Cubs lost in 12 innings 1-0. At his best after the All-Star break, Leal went 4-4 with a 2.82 ERA and held opponents to a .234 average (in the first half his ERA was almost five, and opponents batted .312). Originally signed by the Diamondbacks as a free agent in 2011, Leal was traded to Cubs from the Diamondbacks along with right-hander Jesus Castillo for outfielder Tony Campana in February 2013. He is originally from Valencia, Venezuela, the same hometown as Keys shortstop Erick Salcedo.

Keys Try and Even Things Up on the Grand Strand

Good Evening Keys Fans!

Coming off a one-run loss last night, the Keys try and get back on track tonight with David Richardson on the mound. For those that missed it last Friday, the Floridian tossed a career-high seven shutout innings against Winston-Salem. It was the longest start of his career, while Richardson needed just 73 pitches to do it.

Trevor Clifton gets the ball for the Pelicans. Game coverage gets started at 6:50 on 1450 AM The Source, frederickkeys.com and the TuneIn radio app (simply search WTHU) while first pitch is slated for 7 o’clock.

Doug will keep you comfortable on the broadcast. Today’s notes are below.

Shake your Keys!

Geoff

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Thursday, July 14, 2016 · Game #90 · Road Game #44

Frederick Keys (46-43/10-9) vs. Myrtle Beach Pelicans (47-43/11-9)

RHP David Richardson (3-2, 2.70) vs. RHP Trevor Clifton (4-6, 3.12)

                                                                                                                                                              

BURKS SINGLE JUST ENOUGH FOR PELICANS: A Charcer Burks two-out, two-run single in the seventh proved to be the difference on Wednesday as the Pelicans held on for a 5-4 win at TicketReturn.com Field. The loss snapped the Keys mini two-game win streak. The RBI single capped off a strong day at the plate for Burks who finished with three of his team’s five RBIs. Yasiel Balaguert singled to begin the seventh, while Austin Urban walked Jeffrey Baez to put the first two on base. Both advanced into scoring position on a sac-bunt, but neither could move up after Andrew Ely was retired. That brought up Burks, who singled the 2-1 pitch into left to score both runs. Myrtle Beach scored the final four runs of the game, after the Keys scored four times on six hits in the second. Back-to-back homers by Cam Kneeland and Jomar Reyes gave Frederick its first lead, while a double play and a DJ Stewart double accounted for the team’s fourth run.

ROAD SLIDE: Although the Keys have been one of the top road teams in the Carolina League this year, the orange and black have dropped three consecutive road games. It equals the team’s longest road slide of the year (Frederick previously lost three straight road games from April 21-23 at Lynchburg). A big reason for the Keys success this year, the Keys are 25-18 away from Nymeo Field this year, giving them the second-best road mark in the league (only Lynchburg is better at 26-16). Oddly enough, a good chunk of the CL has preferred playing on the road this year, with five of the circuit’s eight teams owning road marks better than .500 (including three of four in the CL North).    

 HAPPY TRAILS TO YOU: Right before first pitch on Wednesday, Keys outfielder, Conor Bierfeldt was officially promoted to the Double-A Bowie Baysox. It is the first time the Connecticut native has been called up to the Eastern League while he becomes the 11th member of the orange and black to jump a level. In 47 games, Bierfeldt batted .273 with 14 home runs, 41 RBIs, 34 runs scored, 11 doubles and a .540 on-base percentage. At the time of his promotion, he was third in the league in home runs. In a corresponding move, TJ Olesczuk was reinstated from the seven-day DL.

A-ROD EQUALS SEASON-LONG HIT STREAK: By going 1-for-4 on Wednesday, Aderlin Rodriguez extended his hitting streak to 10 games (equaling his longest streak of the year from April 24-May 4). During that time he is batting .409 (18-for-44) with five home runs, 15 RBIs, two triples, two doubles and 10 runs scored. Rodriguez is still six games short of the longest hitting streak in his career (a 16-gamer from June 3-23, 2014 with the St. Lucie Mets). Looking farther back than this current streak, the Dominican has hits in 19 of his last 22 games and is batting .379 with six home runs and 18 RBIs during that time. In the process, he has raised his average from .270 to .301.

 RODRIGUEZ NAMED PLAYER OF THE WEEK: On Monday afternoon, Aderlin Rodriguez was named the Carolina League Player of the Week for July 4-10. It marks the second straight week where a Keys player has taken home a weekly honor (Conor Bierfeldt claimed the award last week) while Rodriguez is the fourth member of the orange and black to receive a weekly accolade in 2016.  Over seven games last week, Rodriguez batted .452 (14-for-31) with five homers, 15 RBIs, eight extra-base hits, 10 runs scored, a 1.097 slugging percentage and a 1.582 OPS. Rodriguez paced all MiLB players in RBIs, tied for the lead in home runs, and tied for third in runs scored.

LET’S PLAY LONGBALL: Cam Kneeland and Jomar Reyes hit back-to-back homers on Wednesday, marking the second time the Keys had hit two straight in less than a week. Additionally, it gave the team its fifth consecutive multi-homer game. Frederick has hit home runs in 16 consecutive games (starting on June 27) and has 28 deep flies over that 16-game stretch. Nine of those have been multi-homer games, while it has extended the team’s total to 75 this year. Frederick ranks second in the CL in longballs (trailing only Lynchburg who has 76) while the orange and black have already eclipsed their 2015 total (56).

LIGHTS, CAM, ACTION: After tallying a career-high five RBIs on Monday, Cam Kneeland was back at work Wednesday. Going 2-for-4 with a homer, it gave the Keys utility man his fifth consecutive multi-hit game and his sixth in seven contests. During that time, he is batting .481 (13-for-27) with four home runs, a triple, two doubles, 13 RBIs and eight runs scored. He has home runs in three of his last four games, an RBI in four straight (nine total) and a run scored in five straight (six total). In the process, the Massachusetts native has raised his average from .229 to .257, the highest it has been since May 7. In his first 12 July games, Kneeland is hitting .341.

BIG INNINGS THANKS TO OFFENSE FIRING: Although the Keys mustered only four runs on Wednesday, the offense has still been firing on all cylinders of late. The orange and black have plated six or more in six of their last nine ballgames (and in 10 of the last 16 contests). Over the last 10 games where the Keys have plated six or more, the team is 8-2. In the last 16 contests, Frederick is batting .280 as a team and has scored 104 runs (6.5 RPG). If that is not enough, 38.6% of the Keys hits during that time have gone for extra-bases (158H/61XBH).

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Trevor Clifton makes his 16th start on Thursday and his second against the Keys. In the midst of a three-game losing streak, the righty’s most recent outing came last Thursday at Winston-Salem. Tagged for the loss, he gave up five runs (four earned) on five hits in four innings. He tied his season-high with four walks, something that took place in his CL debut (against the Keys) on April 9. In that game he allowed five runs (three earned) on four hits in three innings.  Only 21 years old, the right-hander is ranked at the No. 18 prospect in the Cubs system according to Baseball America. Clifton pitched all of last season at Low-A South Bend, going 8-10 with a 3.98 ERA in 23 games (22 starts). Across 108. 2 innings, Clifton walked 47, struck out 103 and help opponents to a .230 average. After going 2-6 with a 4.88 ERA in his first 12 Midwest League games, the Tennessee native went 6-4 with a 3.26 ERA after the all-star break. He pitched 2014 at Short-Season Boise, going 4-2 with a 3.69 ERA. Drafted by Chicago in the 12th round of the 2013 draft out of Heritage High School (TN). Before signing with the Cubs, Clifton was committed to pitch at Kentucky, in spite of growing up in Maryville, TN, 30 miles south of Knoxville (home of the Tennessee Vols). He throws a fastball, curveball and changeup.

Back to the Beach

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

After taking three of four against Winston-Salem (and following a Tuesday off-day) the Keys head back to the Grand Strand to begin a three game series with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. The season-set has been close, with the Pelicans leading 6-5. That being said, Frederick did win two of three on their last trip to TicketReturn.com Field.

The Keys averaged more than eight runs during their series with the Dash, one that featured ridiculous offensive numbers (just check out the second note below) and plenty of extra base hits.

Although there has been no official word from the Orioles, various media reports are saying that former Keys reliever Donnie Hart will be called up to the Majors. When that takes place, the Texan will be the 149th former Key to the big leagues and the fifth this year, joining Steven Brault, Ariel Miranda, Ty Kelly and Ashur Tolliver.

Earlier today, former Keys voice Adam Pohl spoke to Keys manager Keith Bodie on this week’s Baltimore Baseball Podcast. The two chatted about DJ Stewart, Jomar Reyes and Tanner Scott. A link to the Podcast is available by visiting BaltimoreBaseball.com.

Tonight’s broadcast can be heard on 1450 AM The Source, frederickkeys.com or by clicking on the TuneIn Radio App (and searching for WTHU).

Shake your Keys,

Geoff

 

 

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Wednesday, July 13, 2016 · Game #89 · Road Game #43

Frederick Keys (46-42/10-8) vs. Myrtle Beach Pelicans (46-43/10-9)

RHP Lucas Long (4-5, 4.89) vs. RHP Jeremy Null (2-4, 4.73)

                                                                                                                                                              

DASH WIN OFFENSIVE TRACK MEET: A DJ Stewart home run proved to be the difference maker in a five-run Frederick Keys sixth inning as the orange and black defeated the Winston-Salem Dash 11-7 on Monday afternoon at Nymeo Field. The win gives the Keys the series and moves the team back to a season-best four games over .500. Trailing 7-5 going to the sixth, Frederick got two of the first three on base against Dash starter Zach Thompson, prompting the Dash to bring in Danny Dopico. Jay Gonzalez singled in Conor Bierfeldt from second, while Erick Salcedo tied the game with another base hit. That sent up Stewart who obliterated a 2-1 pitch over the rightfield wall. Cam Kneeland gave the Keys an insurance run in the eighth via an RBI double, to cap off a five-RBI game for the Massachusetts native. Jeff Beliveau and Ryan Meisinger collaborated on four scoreless innings of two-hit baseball to wrap things up.

 ARE WE PLAYING IN WILLIAMSPORT?:  Nymeo Field was a virtual launching pad this past weekend. Over the four game series, the Keys and Dash combined to score 60 runs on 92 hits, while the two sides had 38 combined extra-base hits and 16 home runs. Frederick outscored Winston-Salem 35-25. The 35 runs were the most the Keys had posted in a four-game series this year, eclipsing the team’s previous high of 31, a mark which the orange and black set in the series prior at Lynchburg.

 RODRIGUEZ NAMED PLAYER OF THE WEEK: On Monday afternoon, Aderlin Rodriguez was named the Carolina League Player of the Week for July 4-10. It marks the second straight week where a Keys player has taken home a weekly honor (Conor Bierfeldt claimed the award last week) while Rodriguez is the fourth member of the orange and black to receive a weekly accolade in 2016.  Over seven games last week, Rodriguez batted .452 (14-for-31) with five homers, 15 RBIs, eight extra-base hits, 10 runs scored, a 1.097 slugging percentage and a 1.582 OPS. Rodriguez paced all MiLB players in RBIs, tied for the lead in home runs, and tied for third in runs scored.

MORE ON A-ROD’S HOT HITING: Thanks to a 2-for-5 day on Monday, Aderlin Rodriguez also extended his hitting streak to nine games on Monday. During that time he is batting .425 (17-for-40) with five home runs, 15 RBIs, two triples, two doubles and 10 runs scored. If Rodriguez records a hit on Wednesday, he would equal his longest hitting streak of the year, a 10-gamer (from April 24-May 4). Going back farther, the Dominican has hits in 18 of his last 21 games and is batting .386 with six home runs and 18 RBIs during that time. In the process, he has raised his average from .270 to .302.

 LET’S PLAY LONGBALL: Home runs by Cam Kneeland and DJ Stewart allowed the Keys to post their fourth straight multi-homer game, giving the team 10 home runs in the Winston-Salem series.  Frederick has hit home runs in 15 consecutive games (starting on June 27) and has 26 deep flies over that 15-game stretch. Eight of those have been multi-homer games, while it has extended the team’s total to 73 this year. Frederick ranks second in the CL in longballs (trailing only Lynchburg who has 76) while the orange and black have already eclipsed their 2015 total (56).

LIGHTS, CAM, ACTION: Cam Kneeland tallied a career-high five RBIs on Monday. Ending the day 3-for-4 with a grand slam and a double, it was also the utility man’s fourth consecutive multi-hit game and his fifth in six contests. During that time, he is batting .421 (11-for-23) with three home runs, a triple, two doubles, 12 RBIs and seven runs scored. In the process, the Massachusetts native has raised his average from .229 to .253, the highest it has been since May 8. In his first 11 July games, Kneeland is hitting .324.

 BIG INNINGS THANKS TO OFFENSE FIRING: Monday was another great day for an offense that has been firing on all cylinders of late. The orange and black have plated six or more in six of their last eight ballgames (and in 10 of the last 15 contests). Over the last 10 games where the Keys have plated six or more, the team is 8-2. In the last 15 contests, Frederick is batting .280 as a team and has scored 100 runs (6.7 RPG). If that is not enough, roughly 39% of the Keys hits during that time have gone for extra-bases (148H/58XBH).

SCOUTING THE PELICANS: The Keys make their final regular season trip to the Grand Strand on Wednesday. The Pelicans lead the season-set 6-5, though the orange and black won the last head-to-head battle between the two clubs from June 13-15 at TicketReturn.com Field, by taking two of three. Frederick is hitting .262 against the Birds this year, while the Keys pitching staff has a 4.22 ERA. Myrtle Beach is batting .259 against the Keys with 10 home runs in 11 games to go along with 21 doubles. Pelicans pitching has posted a 3.40 ERA against their Maryland rivals this year. Individually, the Keys have been led by Wynston Sawyer (.360/7G) and Anthony Caronia (.421/5G) at the plate, while Yasiel Balaguert has led the charge for the Pelicans (.326/11G/8RBI).

ODDS AND ENDS: The Keys lead the CL with 21 home runs this month (in 11 games-Dash are next-closest with 13). DJ Stewart tallied a season-high four RBIs on Monday and has hit safely in six straight games. He is batting .320 (8-for-25) with two homers, two doubles, seven RBIs and five runs scored during that time. According to media reports, former Keys pitcher, Donnie Hart will have his contract selected by the Orioles.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Jeremy Null makes his 12th appearance on Wednesday and his 11th start. His most recent outing came on June 6 at Winston-Salem. Receiving a no-decision, the righty gave up three runs on seven hits in five innings. Null has seen the Keys twice, and is 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA (10 IP/12H/5R). The North Carolina native joined the Birds on May 10 from Extended Spring Training. A command specialist, Null has a career BB/9IP ratio of 1.1 (this year it is at 1.7). He split last year between Low-A South Bend and Myrtle Beach going a combined 8-5 with a 3.38 ERA in 117.1 innings pitched. A Midwest League all-star last year, Null was called up to the Pelicans last June 28, after going 6-2 with a 2.33 ERA in 12 starts. With the Pelicans he went 2-3 4.70 ERA. Last season with South Bend, he did not issue a walk until the sixth inning of his fourth start (28.1 IP). He is from Conover, NC the same hometown as former NASCAR driver Dale Jarrett.

The Keys Conclude Their Series With Winston-Salem

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

Is everyone’s heart still racing from last night’s win? After trailing 3-0, the Keys came back to win the game in the 9th inning, 5-4, courtesy of a walk off single from Aderlin Rodriguez. Rodriguez also had two home runs in the game!

Franderlin Romero will take the bump this afternoon for the series finale as the Keys look for the series victory. The Venezuela native is 4-2 with the black and orange this season, as he was acquired from the Reds organization earlier this season.

Tonight’s notes are below.

Shake Your Keys!

Ethan

 

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Monday, July 11, 2016 · Game #88 · Home Game #46

Frederick Keys (45-42/9-8) vs. Winston-Salem Dash (36-51/8-9)

RHP Franderlin Romero (4-2, 5.09) vs. RHP Zach Thompson (0-0, –)

                                                                                                                                                              

DASH WIN OFFENSIVE TRACK MEET: Aderlin Rodriguez singled home DJ Stewart in the bottom of the ninth to give the Frederick Keys a 5-4 walk-off win against the Winston-Salem Dash on Sunday night at Nymeo Field. It was the team’s fifth walk-off victory of the season. Dash reliever Manny Martinez came on for the ninth and retired the first two he faced to send up Stewart. The Keys two-hole batter hit a flyball to left which appeared to be the final out of the inning, but Michael Suiter could not find the ball and it dropped for a double. A wild pitch and a walk to Wynston Sawyer put runners at the corners for Rodriguez, who singled in the winning run. Frederick earned the walk-off after Telvin Nash hit his second homer in the eighth off Austin Urban to tie the game. The Dash slugger also hit a three-run shot in the first.

 WALK IT OFF, WALK IT OFF: The Keys have recorded three walk-off wins over the course of the last two homestands. Cam Kneeland acted first on June 27, followed by Conor Bierfeldt on June 29 before Aderlin Rodriguez did the trick on Sunday. All five Keys walk-offs this year have courtesy of five different players. If you add in 2015, Frederick has 13 walk-off wins in the last two years and all 13 have been courtesy of a different player each time.

 A-ROD EN FUEGO: Aderlin Rodriguez closed out an impressive week on Sunday, going 3-for-5 with two home runs, three RBIs and two runs scored. It was his second multi-homer game of the week and the ninth multi-homer game of his career. Over seven games last week, Rodriguez batted .452 (14-for-31) with five homers, 15 RBIs, eight extra-base hits, 10 runs scored, a 1.097 slugging percentage and a 1.582 OPS. Rodriguez paced all MiLB players in RBIs, tied for the lead in home runs, and tied for third in the minors in runs scored. Additionally, the Dominican extended his hitting streak to eight games on Sunday. Rodriguez has hits in 17 of his last 19 during which time he has raised his average from .270-.300.  

 LET’S PLAY LONGBALL: Thanks to Aderlin Rodriguez, the Keys posted their third straight multi-homer game, giving the club eight deep flies in this series.  Frederick has hit home runs in 14 consecutive games (starting with the first game of the last homestand) and has 24 deep flies over that 14-game stretch. Seven of those have been multi-homer games, while it has extended the team’s total to 71 this year. Frederick ranks second in the CL in longballs (trailing only Lynchburg who has 75) while the orange and black have already eclipsed their 2015 total (56).

LIGHTS, CAM, ACTION: Cam Kneeland has recorded three consecutive multi-hit games and has registered two knocks in four of his last five contests. During that time, he is batting .421 (8-for-19) with two home runs, a triple, a double, seven RBIs and six runs scored. In the process, the Massachusetts native has raised his average from .229 to .245, the highest it has been since June 5. In his first 10 July games, Kneeland is hitting .273.

 BIG INNINGS THANKS TO OFFENSE FIRING: Although the Keys failed to reach the six run mark on Sunday, the Keys offense has been firing on all cylinders of late. The orange and black have plated six or more in five of the last seven ballgames (and in nine of the last 14 contests). Over the last nine games where the Keys have plated six or more, the team is 7-2. In the last 14 contests, Frederick is batting .276 as a team and has scored 84 runs (6.4 RPG). If that is not enough, roughly 39% of the Keys hits during that time have gone for extra-bases (136H/53XBH).

PLAYER OF THE MONTH (TAKE 2): Matthew Grimes was named the Carolina League Player of the Month for May and last Wednesday, Conor Bierfeldt secured the same award for June. In 25 games, the 25-year-old hit .279 with eight homers, 25 RBIs, six doubles and 19 runs scored. He finished with a .628 slugging percentage, .351 on-base percentage and a .978 OPS. Bierfeldt led the Carolina League in homers, RBIs, total bases, extra-base hits (14) and slugging. His 25 RBIs were second-most at the entire Class-A level while his eight deep flies were tied for second-best. Not the only award he has won this week, Bierfeldt was named Carolina League Player of the Week on Tuesday for his efforts from June 27-July 3.

 AGAINST WINSTON-SALEM: Monday marks the fourth of 14 games the Keys will play against the Dash in the second-half. Frederick leads the season series 6-3, claiming six of the last seven. Offensively, the Keys are hitting .286 against the Dash this year, the highest mark against any Carolina League team. Frederick is averaging 6.9 runs per game and has hit 17 home runs in nine meetings. A lot of the Keys damage came in the last series in Winston-Salem, where the Keys racked up 23 total runs on 33 hits (including 14 for extra-bases). Not surprisingly, Winston-Salem’s ERA against Frederick is 6.41. Individually, five Keys players are hitting better than .300 against Dash pitching,

ODDS AND ENDS: The Keys lead the CL with 19 home runs this month (in 10 games-Dash are next-closest with 13). Aderlin Rodriguez is tied for second in the MiLB in homers this month, while Conor Bierfeldt has hit homers in 7 of his last 14 games. DJ Stewart has hit safely in five straight and is batting .286 (6-for-21) with a homer, two doubles, three RBIs and two runs scored during that time. The former ACC Player of the Year has hits in 11 of his 15 games with the orange and black. After today’s game, the Keys will play 14 of their next 18 games on the road to end the month.     

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Zach Thompson makes his Carolina League debut on Monday. He joins the Dash from Low-A Kannapolis. With the Intimidators, the righty went 6-3 with a 2.62 ERA in 16 starts while logging 86 innings. At the time of his promotion, he was first in the South Atlantic League in batting average against (.193) and fourth in ERA. His most recent outing came last Wednesday against Hagerstown. Pitching seven shutout innings, he surrendered two hits, walked three and struck out six. Thompson began last year at Extended Spring Training before being promoted to Kannapolis. Spending the duration of the year there, he went 3-8 with a 4.44 ERA in 16 starts. Selected by Chicago in the fifth round of the 2014 draft out of the University of Texas at Arlington, Thompson went 5-4 with a 4.64 ERA as a junior and was the first player from the Sun Belt Conference to be taken that year. Originally taken by Pittsburgh in the 48th round of the 2011 draft out of Arlington Grace Prep (TX) Thompson did not sign. He hails from Burleson, TX, a Fort Worth suburb and the same hometown as Grammy Award Winning vocalist Kelly Clarkson.

It’s Faith Night at the Ballpark!

Good Evening Keys Fans!

There was absolutely no shortage of offense last night. The Keys held a 6-0 lead in the third inning, but the Dash offense exploded last night, leading the way to a Winston-Salem victory. The Keys did hit three home runs for the second consecutive night, with Wynston Sawyer, Cam Kneeland, and Conor Bierfeldt all going yard.

Tonight, Mitch Horacek look to put the orange and black back on track as he takes the bump. In his last outing against Lynchburg, he struck out six batters in five innings while allowing just two earned runs. He’ll be opposed by right-hander Jordan Stephens, the Chicago White Sox #14 prospect.

Tonight’s notes are below.

Shake Your Keys!

Ethan

 

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Sunday, July 10, 2016 · Game #87 · Home Game #45

Frederick Keys (44-42/8-8) vs. Winston-Salem Dash (36-50/8-8)

LHP Mitch Horacek (4-9, 4.89) vs. RHP Jordan Stephens (4-7, 3.42)

                                                                                                                                                              

DASH WIN OFFENSIVE TRACK MEET: The Frederick Keys saw an early 6-0 lead disappear while the Winston-Salem Dash hit four home runs to take a 13-11 slugfest on Saturday night at Nymeo Field. It marked Frederick’s largest blown lead of the season. Despite trailing by as many as five runs, the orange and black brought the tying run to bat in the ninth. With two outs, Conor Bierfeldt worked the count full against Robinson Leyer before clubbing a two-run homer to left. One batter later, Jomar Reyes singled prompting a Dash pitching change. Turning to Colin Kleven, the Dash righty struck out Cam Kneeland to end the game. A seesaw battle, the Keys saw their 6-0 lead vanish in the fourth. An RBI single by Nick Basto brought in the first run, while a single and an error by Jay Gonzalez in left made it a four-run contest. From there, two-run homers by Telvin Nash and Brett Austin evened the game. A two-run double by Bierfeldt briefly gave Frederick the lead back, before Winston-Salem tacked on four more in the fifth to go on top for good.

A LITTLE BIT OF EVERYTHING: Saturday’s game was a high-scoring adventure that yielded a variety of twists and turns. In the game the two sides combined for 24 runs on 30 hits and four errors. It was the highest aggregate amount of runs and hits in a game involving the Keys this year, while it marked the first time Frederick had scored 10 or more runs and lost (5-0 prior). Meanwhile, the 14 hits accrued by the orange and black were one shy of a season-best. Winston-Salem countered the Keys offensive barrage by recording a season-high eight hits in the fourth inning (also the most given up by Keys pitching in a stanza). Four of those hits came over the span of five pitches to four batters and brought the Dash within two, before Brett Austin tied the game. If that was not bizarre enough, the Dash scored two runs on a passed ball and an error in the eighth, while Winston-Salem starter, Kelvis Valerio, got the win despite tying his career-high for runs (eight) and earned runs (six) allowed.

LET’S PLAY LONGBALL: For the second day in-a-row the Keys tied a season-high with three home runs.  It was the club’s fourth three-homer game of the year. Frederick has hit home runs in 13 consecutive games (starting with the first game of the last homestand) and has 22 deep flies over that 13-game stretch. Six of those have been multi-homer games, while it has extended the team’s total to 69 this year. Frederick ranks second in the CL in longballs (trailing only Lynchburg who has 74) while the orange and black have already eclipsed their 2015 total (56).

BIG INNINGS THANKS TO OFFENSE FIRING: Saturday marked the fifth time in six games (and the ninth time in the last 13 contests) where the Keys had scored six or more runs. Over the nine games where the Keys have plated six or more, the team is 7-2. In the last 13 contests, Frederick is batting .276 as a team and has scored 84 runs (6.5 RPG). If that is not enough, nearly 40% of the Keys hits during that time have gone for extra-bases (126H/47XBH).

A-ROD EN FUEGO: Aderlin Rodriguez extended his hitting streak to seven games on Saturday going 1-for-5 with two runs. Although he did drive in any runs, three different multi-RBI games have given Rodriguez 12 this week, the most by any MiLB player. The 12 RBIs the Dominican has this week eclipse his June monthly total, when he had 10 in 24 games (his three homers this week are also more than he had last month). Last week, Conor Bierfeldt finished tied for the MiLB lead in homers and tied for third in RBIs.

PLAYER OF THE MONTH (TAKE 2): Matthew Grimes was named the Carolina League Player of the Month for May and on Wednesday, Conor Bierfeldt secured the same award for June. In 25 games, the 25-year-old hit .279 with eight homers, 25 RBIs, six doubles and 19 runs scored. He finished with a .628 slugging percentage, .351 on-base percentage and a .978 OPS. Bierfeldt led the Carolina League in homers, RBIs, total bases, extra-base hits (14) and slugging. His 25 RBIs were second-most at the entire Class-A level while his eight deep flies were tied for second-best. Not the only award he has won this week, Bierfeldt was named Carolina League Player of the Week on Tuesday for his efforts from June 27-July 3.

AGAINST WINSTON-SALEM: Sunday marks the third of 14 games the Keys will play against the Dash in the second-half. Frederick leads the season series 5-3, claiming five straight until Saturday’s setback. Offensively, the Keys are hitting .287 against the Dash this year, the highest mark against any Carolina League team. Frederick is averaging 7.1 runs per game and has hit 15 home runs in eight meetings. A lot of the Keys damage came in the last series in Winston-Salem, where the Keys racked up 23 total runs on 33 hits (including 14 for extra-bases). Not surprisingly, Winston-Salem’s ERA against Frederick is 6.56. Individually, five Keys players are hitting better than .300 against Dash pitching,

ODDS AND ENDS: Frederick’s two largest blown leads of the year (five and six runs) have come to the Dash (last night and on April 30 (thanks to a seven-run Winston seventh). The Keys lead the CL with 17 home runs this month (in nine games-Dash are next-closest with 11). Conor Bierfeldt has hit homers in 7 of his last 13 games and is tied for fifth in the MiLB in homers this month (and tied for the lead among Class A players). Erick Salcedo’s five-game hitting streak ended Saturday. He batted .360 (9-for-25) with a triple, four doubles, an RBI and seven runs scored.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Right-hander Jordan Stephens makes his 17th start and is the No. 15 prospect in the White Sox system according to Baseball America. His most recent outing came on Monday against Myrtle Beach. Earning the win, he tossed six shutout innings of three-hit baseball and struck out nine. It was the sixth straight quality start for the righty and cut his ERA to 3.42, the sixth-best in the CL. Stephens also rates fourth in strikeouts and fourth among starters in SO/9IP ratio. The 23-year-old split 2015 between the AZL White Sox and Rookie Great Falls. Between the two stops, he finished with no record and a 0.51 ERA in 11 games (one start). Over 17.2 innings he allowed one run, walked three and struck out 21. A fifth round pick out of Rice University in 2015, Stephens was named All-Conference USA first team last year, posting a 3.17 ERA. His 2014 season was limited to just 14 innings after having Tommy John surgery. Originally from Alvin, Texas, the 23-year-old’s grew up in the same town as Baseball Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan. There is a Nolan Ryan Museum on the Campus of Alvin Community College. Stephens throws a fastball (four-seam and two-seam), curve, cutter and changeup.

Keys Try and Make it Six Straight Against the Dash!

Good Evening Keys Fans!

You couldn’t have asked for a better start to the series! The Keys were 8-1 victors last night against the Winston-Salem Dash, as David Richardson had a career-best outing. The right-hander tossed seven scoreless innings, while allowing just three hits.

The offense also put on a power display, clubbing three home runs, including a shot from team-leader Aderlin Rodriguez. DJ Stewart hit his first Carolina League home run and outfielder Conor Bierfeldt hit his sixth home run in 12 days.

The orange and black look for an equally impressive performance tonight as right-hander Corey Jones takes the mound. The California native is making his 10th start of the year. In his last outing, he struck out six batters in four innings.

Tonight’s notes are below.

Shake Your Keys!

Ethan

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Saturday, July 9, 2016 · Game #86 · Home Game #44

Frederick Keys (44-41/8-7) vs. Winston-Salem Dash (35-50/7-8)

RHP Cory Jones (2-3, 2.44) vs. RHP Kelvis Valerio (2-3, 3.50)

                                                                                                                                                              

RICHARDSON AND KEYS BATS SILENCE DASH: David Richardson tossed a career-high seven shutout innings while the Frederick Keys hit three longballs in a lopsided 8-1 win over the Winston-Salem Dash on Friday night at Nymeo Field. It was Frederick’s fifth straight win over the Dash and snapped a two-game slide. Richardson scattered only three hits all game while needing only 73 pitches to work through seven stanzas. It was a rougher night for Dash starter Thad Lowry, who quickly found himself in a 4-0 hole after one. After a Wynston Sawyer fielder’s choice brought in the first run, Aderlin Rodriguez and Conor Bierfeldt hit back-to-back homers. In the fourth, the Keys stretched their lead to a touchdown and an extra point. Three straight one-out singles brought in the first run, while a Jay Gonzalez double plated two more. The Keys concluded their scoring via a solo homer by DJ Stewart in the seventh.

RICHARDSON GIVES THE BULLPEN A REST: Following 12 straight games where a Keys starter had failed to complete six innings, the bullpen got a rest on Friday thanks to an unlikely source. Making his sixth start of the season (none longer than four innings) David Richardson fired off seven brilliant frames. Used predominantly as a reliever since 2013, the righty eclipsed his previous career-high of 6.1 innings pitched (on July 29, 2012). Meanwhile it was the longest outing by a Frederick starter in nearly a month (Mitch Horacek’s seven inning complete game shutout at Potomac on June 11). Helped out by an aggressive Winston-Salem offense, 14 of the first 17 Dash hitters Richardson faced saw three or less pitches.

LET’S PLAY LONGBALL: One week removed from tying their season-high for home runs, the orange and black did it again on Friday, as Aderlin Rodriguez, Conor Bierfeldt and DJ Stewart all left the park. It was the club’s third three-homer game of the year. Frederick has hit home runs in 12 consecutive games (starting with the first game of the last homestand) and has 19 deep flies over that 12-game stretch. Five of those have been multi-homer games, while it has extended the team’s total to 66 this year. Frederick ranks second in the CL in longballs (trailing only Lynchburg who has 74) while the orange and black have already eclipsed their 2015 total (56).

BIG INNINGS THANKS TO OFFENSE FIRING: Thanks in part to the home run ball, the Keys have been putting up high run totals of late. Friday marked the fourth time in five games where the team had scored seven or more runs, while the Keys are coming off a four-game set at Lynchburg where they scored 31 total runs, their largest output in a four-game series this year (by eight runs). In the last 12 games, the song has been the same. During that time, Frederick is batting .269 as a team and has scored 73 runs (6.1 RPG). That includes eight games of six runs or more and two different double-digit run scoring efforts. Additionally, more than one-third of the Keys hits have gone for extra-bases (112H/41XBH).

A-ROD EN FUEGO: Aderlin Rodriguez extended his hitting streak to six games on Friday going 1-for-4 with a home run, two RBIs and a run scored. An RBI machine of late, last night was the Dominican’s third multi-RBI game in his last five contests, while he has 12 during that time to go along with three homers. A week after Conor Bierfeldt finished tied for the MiLB lead in homers and third in RBIs, Rodriguez currently paces all minor leaguers in RBIs this week while he is tied for second in homers. Additionally his 12 RBIs in eight July games already eclipses his June total (10 in 24 contests).

PLAYER OF THE MONTH (TAKE 2): Matthew Grimes was named the Carolina League Player of the Month for May and on Wednesday, Conor Bierfeldt secured the same award for June. In 25 games, the 25-year-old hit .279 with eight homers, 25 RBIs, six doubles and 19 runs scored. He finished with a .628 slugging percentage, .351 on-base percentage and a .978 OPS. Bierfeldt led the Carolina League in homers, RBIs, total bases, extra-base hits (14) and slugging. His 25 RBIs were second-most at the entire Class-A level while his eight deep flies were tied for second-best. Not the only award he has won this week, Bierfeldt was named Carolina League Player of the Week on Tuesday for his efforts from June 27-July 3.

AGAINST WINSTON-SALEM: The Keys faceoff against Winston-Salem for the third time this year over the weekend. Frederick leads the season series 5-2 after pulling a three-game sweep in the Triad from May 24-26. Offensively, the Keys are hitting .277 against the Dash this year, the highest mark against any Carolina League team. Much of that can be due to the last series in Winston-Salem, where the Keys racked up 23 total runs on 33 hits (including 14 for extra-bases). On the mound, Keys arms have pitched to a 3.14 ERA. Individually, five Keys players are hitting better than .300 against Dash pitching, while Aderlin Rodriguez leads the way. In seven games, he is batting .400 (12-for-30) with three homers, eight RBIs, six runs scored and seven extra-base hits.

ODDS AND ENDS: DJ Stewart’s home run on Friday was his first in the Carolina League and his first since May 28 with Delmarva. The Keys lead the CL with 14 home runs this month (in eight games). No other CL team has more than eight. Erick Salcedo has hit safely in his last five games and is batting .360 (9-for-25) with a triple, four doubles, an RBI and seven runs scored. He has a run scored and an extra-base hit in five straight as well. Guillermo Salas was added to the Keys roster before Friday’s game. A Venezuelan infielder, Salas was hitting .300 (9-for-30) in 10 game with Aberdeen before his first promotion to the Carolina League. He played shortstop and second base for the IronBirds.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Kelvis Valerio makes his 21st appearance of the year and his fourth start with the Dash on Saturday. His most recent outing came last Sunday at Wilmington. Picking up the win, he tossed five innings and allowed one run on six hits. He walked three and struck out two. Valerio’s third straight start, the Dash first asked the righty to start on June 18 when Matt Cooper missed an outing due to rest. The righty answered the call allowing one unearned run in 5.1 frames and has not left the rotation since. In three starts, Valerio is 1-1 with a 2.76 ERA. A pitcher without a ton of starting experience, only 29 of the Dominican’s 118 games have come as a starter. After a rough start to the year (6.55 ERA in April) he has tallied a 2.48 ERA since. Last year at Low-A Kannapolis he was 2-2 with a 4.23 ERA in 33 games (four starts).

It’s Fredneck Night!

Good Evening Keys Fans!

The boys in orange and black are back in town and it’s Fredneck Night at Nymeo Field. Swamp People’s Troy Landry will be in attendance tonight to greet fans and the Keys will be wearing special camouflage hats that will be auctioned off.

On the diamond, David Richardson will be taking the mound for Frederick as they start a four-game set against the Winston-Salem Dash. He’ll be opposed by Thad Lowry, the White Sox’s #21 prospect.

Grab your tickets to this weekend’s series here!

Tonight’s notes are below.

Shake Your Keys!

Ethan

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Friday, July 8, 2016 · Game #85 · Home Game #43

Frederick Keys (43-41/7-7) vs. Winston-Salem Dash (35-49/7-7)

RHP David Richardson (2-2, 3.42) vs. RHP Thad Lowry (6-5, 3.62)

                                                                                                                                                              

HILLCATS TAKE FINALE: The Lynchburg Hillcats rallied from a 3-1 deficit, scoring twice in the fifth and once in the sixth to defeat the Frederick Keys 4-3 on Thursday night at Nymeo Field. With the setback, the Keys were forced to settle for a four-game split. For the fourth straight day, the Keys opened the scoring thanks to an RBI double by Wynston Sawyer. Lynchburg leveled the game courtesy of a Greg Allen triple and a Tyler Krieger double, before the orange and black scored individual markers in the fourth and fifth. Jonah Heim put the Keys back on top with a solo homer, while Erick Salcedo added an RBI double in the fifth. The two-run edge did not last for long, as Lucas Long allowed an RBI single to Krieger and a Yu-Cheng Chang sac-fly to make it 3-3. Garrett Cleavinger came on in the sixth, and gave up a single to Luigi Rodriguez and a double to Taylor Murphy to start. From there, the next two walked to give the home team the lead for good. Hillcats relievers Matt Whitehouse and Cameron Hill combined on four shutout innings to wrap things up.

STARTING STRUGGLES: After a strong first half where Keys starting pitching recorded a 3.68 ERA and had 23 quality starts, things have not been quite as smooth since the break. Through 14 second half games, Keys starters have registered a 4.62 ERA (29 ER/57.1 IP) and have surrendered 70 hits during that stretch. Since the break the Keys have only one quality start, while rotation members have completed six innings only once in the second half. Starters have gone 12 straight games without completing six innings and have lasted just four innings four times in the last seven contests. Tonight David Richardson makes the start for the Keys. His longest outing of the season is four innings, while he has not thrown five or more stanzas since August 23, 2012 when he was pitching for Short-Season Aberdeen (he did not start from 2013-15).

BIG INNINGS THANKS TO OFFENSE FIRING: Although the Keys were held to three runs Thursday, offensively the team fared very well against Lynchburg. Tallying 31 total runs, it was Frederick’s largest output in a four-game series this year (the previous four-game high was 23). Over the set, Frederick averaged 7.8 runs, batted .288 and pounded out 16 extra base hits. In the last 11 games, the song has been the same. During that time, Frederick is batting .267 as a team and has scored 65 runs (5.9 RPG). That includes seven games of six runs or more and two different double-digit run scoring efforts. Additionally, more than one-third of the Keys hits have gone for extra-bases (102H/36XBH).

LET’S PLAY LONGBALL: Since the Keys tied their season-high with three home runs last Friday, the team has hit eight over the six subsequent games. Frederick has hit home runs in 11 consecutive games (starting with the first game of the last homestand) and has 16 deep flies over that 11-game stretch. Four of those have been multi-homer games, while it has extended the team’s total to 63 this year. Frederick ranks second in the CL in longballs (trailing only Lynchburg who has 74) while the orange and black have already eclipsed their 2015 total (56).

PLAYER OF THE MONTH (TAKE 2): Matthew Grimes was named the Carolina League Player of the Month for May and on Wednesday, Conor Bierfeldt secured the same award for June. In 25 games, the 25-year-old hit .279 with eight homers, 25 RBIs, six doubles and 19 runs scored. He finished with a .628 slugging percentage, .351 on-base percentage and a .978 OPS. Bierfeldt led the Carolina League in homers, RBIs, total bases, extra-base hits (14) and slugging. His 25 RBIs were second-most at the entire Class-A level while his eight deep flies were tied for second-best. Not the only award he has won this week, Bierfeldt was named Carolina League Player of the Week on Tuesday for his efforts from June 27-July 3. In seven games last week he hit .379 (11-for-29) with five homers, three doubles, 13 RBIs and eight runs scored. The five homers were tied for the most in MiLB during the week and the 13 RBIs were tied for third-most in the MiLB.

SALCEDO SIZZLING: Erick Salcedo enters Friday with three straight multi-hit games to go along with a mini four-game hitting streak. During that time he is batting .381 (8-for-21) with four doubles, an RBI and six runs scored. To go along with his hit streak, Salcedo has scored a run and hit a double in four straight. The Venezuelan has served as the Keys leadoff hitter in five straight games and is batting .290 when hitting in the top spot in the order.

AGAINST WINSTON-SALEM: The Keys get their first look at Winston-Salem since late May on Friday. Frederick leads the season series 4-2 after pulling a three-game sweep in the Triad from May 24-26. Offensively, the Keys are hitting .274 against the Dash this year, the highest mark against any Carolina League team. Much of that can be due to the last series in Winston-Salem, where the Keys racked up 23 total runs on 33 hits (including 14 for extra-bases). On the mound, Keys arms have pitched to a 3.67 ERA. Individually, five Keys players are hitting better than .300 against Dash pitching, while Aderlin Rodriguez leads the way. In six games, he is batting .423 (11-for-26) with two homers, six RBIs, five runs scored and six extra-base hits.

ODDS AND ENDS: Winston-Salem took two of three in their only trip to Nymeo Field this year. The Keys lead the CL with 11 home runs this month (in seven games). Ryan Meisinger has not allowed an earned run in his first three appearances since being called up from Low-A (6.2 IP). He got his first CL win on Monday. Troy Landry from the History Channel Show Swamp People will be at Nymeo Field on Friday to meet fans and sign autographs. Landry is an alligator hunter.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Thad Lowry makes his 16th start with the Dash and his second against the Keys. His most recent outing came last Saturday at Wilmington. Tossing six innings, he allowed four runs on eight hits in a loss. Ranking second in the CL in innings (92) the righty has six straight appearances of six or more innings.  Lowry spent last season with the Low-A Kannapolis Intimidators. A workhorse, the 21-year-old led the league in innings pitched (150.2) while going 12-8 with a 4.48 ERA in 26 games. He was also tied for second in the South Atlantic League in wins. Selected by the White Sox in the fifth round of the 2013 Draft out of Spring (TX) High School. Seen as a catching prospect in high school, Lowry started getting attention for his pitching at the World Wood Bat Association World Championships. Shortly thereafter, he hit 96 mph during a scrimmage and began focusing on pitching from there. He received a reported $400,000 signing bonus and bypassed a college commitment to Texas Tech.

The Keys Try for the Series Win in Lynchburg!

Thursday, July 7, 2016 · Game #84 · Away Game #42

Frederick Keys (43-40/7-6) vs. Lynchburg Hillcats (52-31/7-6)

RHP Lucas Long (4-5, 4.85) vs. LHP Justus Sheffield (6-4, 3.81)

                                                                                                                                                              

CHANG’S BIG NIGHT LEADS HILLCATS PAST KEYS: Yu-Cheng Chang posted a career-high six RBIs and equaled a career-best with four hits as the Lynchburg Hillcats outslugged the Frederick Keys 11-7 on Wednesday night at Calvin Falwell Field. For the third straight day, the orange and black recorded a multi-run first. Scoring four times in the initial frame, the Keys big blow came on a three-run homer by Cam Kneeland. Lynchburg proceeded to level the game in the home first against Franderlin Romero. Chang sliced the deficit in half with a two-run double, while Luigi Rodriguez drove home two more. After both sides exchanged runs in the second, the Hillcats pulled away in the fourth. Grabbing an 9-5 lead, the Hillcats took their first lead on an Tyler Krieger sac-fly, while Chang had an RBI single and Anthony Santander hit a two-run homer.

STARTING STRUGGLES: After a strong first half where Keys starting pitching recorded a 3.68 ERA and had 23 quality starts, things have not been quite as smooth since the break. Through 13 second half games, Keys starters have registered a 4.55 ERA (29 ER/57.1 IP) and have surrendered 64 hits during that stretch. During that time the staff has only one quality start, while making matters worse, Keys starters have completed six innings only once since the all-star break. Starters have gone 11 straight games without completing six innings and have lasted just four innings four times in the last six contests.

BIG INNINGS THANKS TO OFFENSE FIRING: Fortunately, Keys pitching has gotten a lift from the offense of late. In each game this series, Keys bats have scored seven or more runs, while over the last 10 games, the song has been the same. During that time, Frederick is batting .269 as a team and has scored 62 runs (6.2 RPG). That includes seven games of six runs or more and two different double-digit run scoring efforts. Additionally, more than one-third of the Keys hits have gone for extra-bases (93H/34XBH).

LET’S PLAY LONGBALL: Since the Keys tied their season-high with three home runs on Friday, the team has hit seven over the five subsequent games. Frederick has hit home runs in 10 consecutive games (starting with the first game of the last homestand) and has 15 deep flies over that 10-game stretch. Four of those have been multi-homer games, while it extended the team’s total to 62 this year. Frederick ranks second in the CL in longballs (trailing only Lynchburg who has 74) while the orange and black have already eclipsed their 2015 total (56).

PLAYER OF THE MONTH (TAKE 2): Matthew Grimes was named the Carolina League Player of the Month for May and on Wednesday, Conor Bierfeldt secured the same award for June. In 25 games, the 25-year-old hit .279 with eight homers, 25 RBIs, six doubles and 19 runs scored. He finished with a .628 slugging percentage, .351 on-base percentage and a .978 OPS. Bierfeldt led the Carolina League in homers, RBIs, total bases, extra-base hits (14) and slugging. His 25 RBIs were second-most at the entire Class-A level while his eight deep flies were tied for second-best. Not the only award he has won this week, Bierfeldt was named Carolina League Player of the Week on Tuesday for his efforts from June 27-July 3. In seven games last week he hit .379 (11-for-29) with five homers, three doubles, 13 RBIs and eight runs scored. The five homers were tied for the most in MiLB during the week and the 13 RBIs were tied for third-most in the MiLB.

HAPPY TRAILS TO YOU: Steve Wilkerson became the latest Key to be called up to Double-A, earning a promotion to the Eastern League on Tuesday. The ninth Frederick player to be promoted this year (and the second in four days) he batted .245 with the orange and black to go with a homer and 18 RBIs. On Monday, he wrapped up a career-high eight-game winning streak. In his Double-A debut against Trenton on Wednesday, he was 1-for-4 with a run scored.

 ROAD WARRIORS: The Keys make a bid for their seventh road series win on Thursday and their first at Lynchburg this season. Frederick has not won a series at Calvin Falwell Field since July 6, 2014, when they took two of three.  This season, the Keys are 25-16 away from home, giving them the second-best record in the league (only Lynchburg has fared better at 25-15). This is Frederick’s last regular season visit to Lynchburg in 2016.

 BODIE ELECTED TO TEXAS LEAGUE HALL OF FAME: Last Thursday afternoon, Keys manager Keith Bodie was one of 11 new members named to the Texas League Hall of Fame. Originally a player with the Jackson Mets from 1977-79, Bodie returned to the Texas League 21 years later where he became one of the most successful managers in Texas League history. From 2000-2003 he skippered the Wichita Wranglers (Royals) before moving to Double-A Corpus Christi (Astros) from 2012-14. In seven seasons, he led his clubs to Texas League postseason play every year but his last one. Bodie amassed a 537-436 overall record, and a .552 winning percentage. He ranks eighth all-time in winning percentage and ninth in wins.

ODDS AND ENDS: Cam Kneeland finished with a season-high four RBIs on Wednesday. Erick Salcedo is hitting 6-for-16 over this series. He has hits in 12 of his last 14 games (which includes a nine-game hit streak) and has seen his average club from .261 to .277 during that time. After Ariel Miranda made his Orioles debut on Sunday, former Keys starter Steven Brault became the 148th former Key to the Majors on Tuesday by starting for the Pirates.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Justus Sheffield makes his 16th start of the year and his fourth against the Keys. He is the No. 4 prospect in the Indians system according to Baseball America (and the No. 2 pitching prospect). His most recent outing came last Saturday at Carolina. Earning the win he tossed six innings of one-run baseball and struck out a season-high 10. Sheffield has struggled against the Keys going 1-1 with a 5.73 ERA. Last season, the Tennessee native pitched all year for Low-A Lake County, going 9-4 with a 3.31 ERA in 26 starts. A MWL all-star, he finished second in the Midwest League in strikeouts. A first round pick by the Indians in 2014, Sheffield was selected by Cleveland with the 31st overall pick and received a $1.6 million signing bonus. The Gatorade National Player of the Year, the Indians were able to select Sheffield as compensation for Ubaldo Jimenez leaving via free agency (he received a qualifying offer). He chose the Indians over a scholarship offer to Vanderbilt.

%d bloggers like this: