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Keys look for series split tonight against Salem

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

Tonight’s lineup

Josh Hart LF

Tanner Witt 3B

Chance Sisco DH

Jeff Kemp 2B

Wynston Sawyer 1B

Adrian Marin SS

Austin Wynns C

Conor Bierfeldt RF

Jay Gonzalez CF

7/13 Game Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keys look nab a win against Salem

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

Today’s lineup

Josh Hart LF

Adrian Marin SS

Chance Sisco C

Jeff Kemp 2B

Brenden Webb RF

Wynston Sawyer 1B

Anthony Caronia 3B

Tad Gold DH

Jay Gonzalez CF

7/12 Game Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keys look to even series with Salem

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

Today’s Lineup

Josh Hart LF

Adrian Marin SS

Chance Sisco DH

Jeff Kemp 2B

Austin Wynns C

Wynston Sawyer 1B

Conor Bierfeldt RF

Tanner Witt 3B

Jay Gonzalez CF

7/11 Game Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keys up series with Salem

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

 

Today’s lineup

Josh Hart CF

Adrian Marin SS

Chance Sisco C

Jeff Kemp 2B

Brenden Webb RF

Wynston Sawyer 1B

Conor Bierfeldt DH

Anthony Caronia 3B

Jay Gonzalez LF

7/10 Game Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Time to Close the Door

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

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

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

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

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

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

Talk soon,

Geoff

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Keys Try for Series in Wilmington!

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

The orange and black go for a series win tonight against the Wilmington Blue Rocks after a tremendous 4-3 comeback on Tuesday night on the Riverfront. Tonight left-hander Ariel Miranda makes the start for the Keys and will be opposed by right-hander Zach Lovvorn who makes his Carolina League debut.

First pitch is slated for 6:35 p.m and tonight’s lineup and notes are below. As always tune us in on 1450 AM The Source and frederickkeys.com.

Talk soon!

Geoff

LINEUP

1. CF Josh Hart

2. SS Adrian Marin

3. C Chance Sisco

4. 2B Jeff Kemp

5. 1B Wynston Sawyer

6. RF Brenden Webb

7. DH Conor Bierfeldt

8. 3B Anthony Caronia

9. LF Jay Gonzalez

LHP Ariel Miranda

Wednesday, July 8, 2015 · Game #84 · Road Game #43

Frederick Keys (38-45/6-7) vs Wilmington Blue Rocks (45-37/7-5)

LHP Ariel Miranda (0-0, 4.50) vs. RHP Zach Lovvorn (0-0, –)

CARDIAC KEYS STUN BLUE ROCKS: Down to their final strike with two outs in the ninth inning, Tanner Witt came through in the clutch for the Frederick Keys with a two-run triple to left-center, as the orange and black stunned the Wilmington Blue Rocks 4-3 on Tuesday night at Frawley Stadium. It was Frederick’s third straight victory, and just the club’s second win on the Riverfront in 2015. The Keys ninth inning magic made up for a rocky ninth inning, where the team let a 2-0 lead slip away. Jimmy Yacabonis struggled with command, allowing a walk a single to open the frame, while a wild pitch and a passed ball enabled Cam Gallagher to score. A sac-fly by Dexter Kjerstad evened the count, while a second sac-fly by Carlos Garcia plated Dominique Taylor. Needing a run to stay alive, Austin Wynns doubled with one out and Wynston Sawyer coaxed a walk against Luis Rico. The lefty followed with a strikeout of Josh Hart, leading Keys manager Orlando Gomez to send up Witt as a pinch-hitter. Falling behind 1-2, Witt plated both runners with his second three-bagger of the roadtrip. Cody Wheeler once again wrapped things up with a quick ninth.

PUT ON THE RALLY CAPS: For the second straight night, the Keys rallied for a pair of runs in the ninth inning to win a game. In Monday’s series finale at Winston-Salem, the orange and black broke a 1-1 deadlock, thanks to a single by Jeff Kemp an error by third baseman Trey Michalczewski and an RBI single by Austin Wynns. Although the club showed grit in both contests, Tuesday night’s victory was slightly more impressive. It marked just the third time all season that Frederick had managed to win a game when trailing after eight innings. Entering Tuesday’s series opener, the Keys were just 2-38 when playing from behind going into the ninth.

IT’S CALLED A WINNING STREAK: For the first time since April 23-25, the Frederick Keys have won three straight games. The previous three-game winning streak also came against the Wilmington Blue Rocks, while it equals the club’s second longest streak of the year. Frederick’s most successful stretch of baseball came during the season’s first week, when the team rattled off six straight victories from April 10-15. With a victory on Wednesday the orange and black can get back to .500 for just the second time in the second-half (Frederick was 2-2 after a win on June 28).

QUALITY AND QUANTITY: David Hess continued the Keys hot stretch of starting pitching, firing seven shutout innings of one-hit baseball. He struck out seven and did not walk a batter, while the outing equaled the longest of his career (set in his previous start). After the Keys pitching staff turned in just seven quality starts in the first-half, Frederick arms have turned in six in the last week alone. That includes quality starts in three consecutive games on two occasions. Mitch Horacek started the current stretch on Sunday with seven innings of two-run baseball, while Chris Lee (6.1 IP/0R Mon at Winston-Salem) and Hess followed suit. Ariel Miranda tries for his first quality start of the year on Wednesday. In 2014, the club’s longest stretch of quality starts was five from May 29-June 2.

STARTERS GO STREAKING: Following outstanding starts by Mitch Horacek, Chris Lee and David Hess Keys starters have gone 21.1 innings without allowing an earned run, and 18.1 stanzas without allowing a run of any kind. The last time an opponent scored a run of a Keys starter came in the second inning of Sunday’s game at Winston-Salem. After Keys starters posted a 5.00 ERA in the first-half, the club’s starters ERA is 3.06 over 13 second-half contests.

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

THE WHIFF: Although the Keys have scored four or more runs in their last five games, the Keys have struck out at least eight times in each of the last five games, while Frederick bats have struck out 10 or more times in three of those games. On Tuesday the orange and black struck out a season-high 15 times, while eight of the nine Keys starters struck out at least once. Austin Wynns was the only starter who did not go down on strikes. For the season, the Keys have struck out a combined 573 times (6.9 per game) third-most in the Carolina League.

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

AGAINST WILMINGTON: Tuesday’s win helped the Keys snap a six-game losing streak to the Blue Rocks at Frawley Stadium. Additionally with a win on Wednesday, Frederick can claim its first series in Wilmington since last August 1-3. Since that time, the Blue Rocks have won the last three series on the Riverfront and six of the last seven sets (dating back to 2014).Wilmington leads the current series 13-7 and can win the season head-to-head with one more victory.

RUETTIGER AND O’BRIEN CALLED UP: On Sunday, Johnny Ruettiger and Mikey O’Brien were promoted to the Double-A Bowie Baysox. It is Ruettiger’s first promotion to Double-A this year, while O’Brien returns to the Eastern League for the second time this season. In total, 10 different Keys have received either Double-A or Triple-A call-ups in 2015. In 57 games with the Keys this year, Ruettiger batted .265 with 13 RBIs, two triples, 16 doubles and 10 stolen bases. He finished June with a .316 average and hit .300 or better in each of his last two months with the orange and black. O’Brien joined the Keys after making two relief appearances with the Baysox in late-May and early June. Used exclusively as a starter, he went 0-3 with a 2.25 ERA in four games. Both players played for the Baysox on Sunday, with Ruettiger going 2-for-4 with a walk, and O’Brien tossing five innings of three-run baseball in a no-decision.

TONIGHT’s OPPOSING PITCHER: Right-hander Zach Lovvorn makes his Advanced-A debut on Wednesday after being promoted to Wilmington from Low-A Lexington on Tuesday. In 14 games (13 starts) with the Legends he went 5-6 with a 4.20 ERA, logging 70.2 innings. His most recent outing came last Tuesday at Rome. Although he got the win, Lovvorn did not pitch his best, giving up season-highs in runs (seven) and hits (11) over five innings he also walked a season-high four and struck out three. In the month of June, Lovvorn went 1-2 with a 4.70 ERA with Lexington in four games. His best month was May, where he registered a 3.34 ERA in six starts and picked up four of his five wins (4-2) of the season. On the year opponents batted .302 against him, with left-handers hitting at a .322 clip. A pitcher who has shown excellent command throughout his career, Lovvorn’s BB/9IP ratio in four professional seasons is 2.9, while this season it is 1.9. With the exception of his last start at Rome, Lovvorn walked two or less in 12 of his 14 games. The 21-year-old pitched for Rookie-Advanced Idaho Falls in 2014, going 3-6 with a 5.00 ERA in 14 games (six starts). Lovvorn was selected by Kansas City in the sixth round of the 2012 draft out of Oxford (AL) High School. Committed to Samford, Lovvorn was actually the No. 3 pitcher on his high school team, behind Tucker Simpson, a Florida commit and Jackson Stephens, an Alabama commit. Lovvorn though moved up draft boards after a strong performance in the National High School Invitational. He throws  a fastball, a slider and a changeup.

The Keys Are Back in the First State!

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

The orange and black begin a three-game series in Wilmington on Tuesday night at Frawley Stadium following an overnight bus trip from Winston-Salem. The Keys are coming off a 3-1 victory over the Dash at BB&T Ballpark on Monday night. Chris Lee turned in 6.1 shutout innings, while Frederick rallied for a pair of runs in the ninth.

Right-hander David Hess takes the mound for the Keys against left-hander Matthew Strahm. First pitch is at 6:35 p.m and full notes are attached.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015 · Game #83 · Road Game #42

Frederick Keys (37-45/5-7) vs Wilmington Blue Rocks (45-36/7-4)

RHP David Hess (3-4, 5.17) vs. LHP Matthew Strahm (1-0, 1.76)

NINTH INNING RALLY LIFTS KEYS PAST DASH: The Frederick Keys rallied for a pair of runs in the ninth inning to claim a 3-1 victory over the Winston-Salem Dash on Monday night at BB&T Ballpark. It was Frederick’s first series victory since June 14 and the club’s fifth triumph in a rubber game this year. Frederick scored the game’s first run in the sixth on a triple by Tanner Witt and a sac-fly by Jay Gonzalez, before Winston-Salem evened the score in the eighth on an RBI single by Keon Barnum. However the two sides would not be deadlocked for long. After Adrian Marin flied out to deep left-center, Chance Sisco earned a walk. The next batter, Jeff Kemp, then blooped a single down the rightfield line allowing Sisco to go from first to third, though the throw from Nolan Early got past the third baseman allowing Sisco to scamper home.  Austin Wynns then provided some insurance with an RBI single to center. In the ninth, Carolina League saves leader, Cody Wheeler, polished things off with a quick inning.

HOW SWEET IT IS!: On Monday, the Keys snapped a five-set losing streak, the club’s longest drought of the year without taking a series. It was the team’s first series win since taking two of three against Potomac on June 14. This season, Frederick’s series record is 9-11-4, while it was the team’s fourth series victory away from Nymeo Field (4-6-2). Three of those have come at homes of CL South competition (Winston-Salem, Salem, Myrtle Beach). Tuesday night marks Frederick’s third visit to Frawley Stadium this year. Wilmington has won both series played on the Riverfront, holding a commanding 7-1 edge (including six in-a-row).

QUALITY AND QUANTITY: After the Keys pitching staff turned in just seven quality starts in the first-half, the has turned in five in the last week alone. The latest came from Chris Lee on Monday, as the southpaw tossed 6.1 shutout innings against the Dash. Two of Lee’s three second-half starts have been quality outings. In addition to Lee, Mitch Horacek, Mikey O’Brien, David Hess all have one quality start each in the second-half. Horacek leads all Keys starters with five quality starts, while Hess goes for his third in Tuesday’s series opener.

STARTERS GO STREAKING: Following outstanding starts by Mitch Horacek and Chris Lee, Keys starters have gone 14.1 innings without allowing an earned run, and 11.1 stanzas without allowing a run of any kind. The last time an opponent scored a run of a Keys starter came in the second inning of Sunday’s game. After Keys starters posted a 5.00 ERA in the first-half, the club’s starters ERA is 3.32 over 12 second-half contests.

KEMP CRUSHES: Jeff Kemp had a tremendous series against Winston-Salem, going 7-for-12 with a triple, two doubles an RBI and three runs scored. That included back-to-back three-hit games as the former Radford product went 3-for-4 with a triple and a run scored on Monday (he scored the eventual game-winning run). Additionally, it marked the first time in Kemp’s professional career (dating back to 2013 with Short-Season Aberdeen) that he had registered consecutive three-hit ballgames. In six July games, the Keys infielder is hitting .455 (10-for-22) with a triple, three doubles, two RBIs and three runs scored.

AGAINST WILMINGTON: There is no Carolina League team the Keys have seen more often than the Wilmington Blue Rocks, as the two clubs will square off for the 20th time on Tuesday. Wilmington has a 13-6 advantage in the season-set and can claim the season-series with just one more win. The Keys most recently squared off against their First State rival from June 28-30 at Nymeo Field, with the Blue Crew taking two of three. Wilmington has won each of the last three series between the two clubs and four of the five sets this year (the Keys won one from April 23-26 at Nymeo Field). Against the Blue Rocks, the Keys are batting .256 as a team and have a 4.77 ERA, while their opponent is batting .276 and boasts a 2.63 ERA. Josh Hart (.326/14-43) and Chance Sisco (.318/14-44) trigger the Frederick offense while Jack Lopez (.368) and Frank Schwindel (.324) pace the Wilmington bats.

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 six games, he is batting .444 (8-for-18) with two doubles, a triple, an RBI and two runs scored. He has two multi-hit games, while splitting time between third, shortstop and second. Sunday’s three-hit effort from Witt was the most number of hits he had recorded in an affiliated game. Joining the Keys at the All-Star break, Witt took the roster spot of Tucker Nathans who was promoted to Double-A Bowie. In 29 games for Rockford, before joining Frederick, he batted .335 with a home run and 22 RBI.

DOUBLE YOUR PLEASURE, DOUBLE YOUR FUN: The Keys tied their season-high for extra-base hits on Sunday, tallying six doubles on the night. Jeff Kemp and Tanner Witt both had two, while Brenden Webb and Chance Sisco had the others. It marked the second straight Sunday where the Keys had recorded six two-baggers in a contest, as on June 28, the club got six against Wilmington. Half came as part of a four-run fifth inning.

RUETTIGER AND O’BRIEN CALLED UP: On Sunday, Johnny Ruettiger and Mikey O’Brien were promoted to the Double-A Bowie Baysox. It is Ruettiger’s first promotion to Double-A this year, while O’Brien returns to the Eastern League for the second time this season. In total, 10 different Keys have received either Double-A or Triple-A call-ups in 2015. In 57 games with the Keys this year, Ruettiger batted .265 with 13 RBIs, two triples, 16 doubles and 10 stolen bases. He finished June with a .316 average and hit .300 or better in each of his last two months with the orange and black. O’Brien joined the Keys after making two relief appearances with the Baysox in late-May and early June. Used exclusively as a starter, he went 0-3 with a 2.25 ERA in four games. Both players played for the Baysox on Sunday, with Ruettiger going 2-for-4 with a walk, and O’Brien tossing five innings of three-run baseball in a no-decision.

ALRIGHT, ALRIGHT, ALRIGHT, ALRIGHT: The Keys snapped their longest scoreless stretch of the season on Thursday, as Conor Bierfeldt’ s double gave the team its first runs since the fifth inning of Monday’s game against Wilmington. The 28.2 inning scoreless stretch eclipsed the team’s previous high of 17 from April 21-23. Ending the game with eight hits, seven came during Frederick’s final three trips to bat. Additionally the Keys posted three extra-base hits after going without one for three straight games.

TONIGHT’s OPPOSING PITCHER: Left-hander Matthew Strahm makes his fifth appearance with the Blue Rocks on Tuesday and his second start. In four games with Wilmington he is 1-0 with a 1.76 ERA. Combined between the Blue Crew and Low-A Lexington Strahm is 3-1 with a 1.96 ERA in 18 total games (one start). The southpaw’s most recent outing came last Thursday against Lynchburg. Earning the save, Strahm delivered 3.1 innings and allowed two runs (one earned). He walked three and struck out eight. Currently in a piggyback with fellow lefty Luis Rico, Strahm’s first start of the year came on June 26 against Wilmington. Tossing five innings, he gave up one run on two hits and struck out eight. In 15.1 innings with the Blue Rocks this year Strahm has punched out 28 in 15.1 innings, while for the season his SO/9IP ratio is a jam-dropping 14.4 (in his career it is 13.3). Frederick has seen Strahm once. Facing the orange and black on June 20, the North Dakota native tossed four shutout innings of one-hit baseball to go with six strikeouts. He set down 12 of the 14 batters he faced and struck out the side to end his outing. Promoted to Wilmington in June, Strahm went 2-1 with a 2.08 ERA in 14 relief appearances with Lexington and was named a South Atlantic League All-Star. He made 10 appearances with Advanced-Rookie Idaho Falls in 2014, though missed a good chunk of 2014 and all of 2013 on account of Tommy John surgery. The rehab process lasted 22 months. Selected by Kansas City in the 21st round of the 2012 draft out of Neosho County Community College in Kansas, Strahm was offered a scholarship to play at Nebraska but elected to go pro. The 23-year-old throws a fastball, slurve and changeup.

Frederick Keys Game Notes 7-6-15

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

The Frederick Keys wrap up their series with the Winston-Salem Dash on Monday night, as the Keys head to Wilmington to take on the Blue Rocks after the game. Scented neck pillows and blankets would be appreciated.

Mitch Horacek was outstanding in Sunday’s game, turning in  seven innings of two-run baseball. The lefty set down the final 16 he faced, while Horacek and Matt Taylor combined to retire 22 of the final 23 Dash hitters.

On Monday, the Keys will play their third straight rubber game, as Chris Lee takes the mound against a fellow southpaw in Jordan Guerrero. Neither starting pitcher has seen their opposition before, while Lee comes off his second quality outing in three starts.

First pitch is slated for 7:00 p.m and our pregame coverage begins at 6:45 on 1450 AM The Source and frederickkeys.com. If you’re into the Bachelor, feel free to hit the DVR, expecting a good one here tonight.

Today’s lineup and game notes are below.

Shake your Keys!

Geoff

LINEUP

1. CF Josh Hart

2. SS Adrian Marin

3. C Chance Sisco

4. 2B Jeff Kemp

5. DH Austin Wynns

6. 1B Wynston Sawyer

7. RF Conor Bierfeldt

8. 3B Tanner Witt

9. LF Jay Gonzalez

LHP Chris Lee

Monday, July 6, 2015 · Game #82 · Road Game #41

Frederick Keys (36-45/4-7) vs Winston-Salem Dash (36-44/6-4)

LHP Chris Lee (2-4, 4.58) vs. LHP Jordan Guerrero (1-1, 5.72)

HORACEK SHUTS DOWN DASH: Frederick Keys starter, Mitch Horacek, turned in seven outstanding innings, while the team used one big inning to defeat the Winston-Salem Dash 5-2 on Sunday night at BB&T Ballpark. The victory snaps a two-game slide and forces a Monday rubber game. After allowing a pair of runs in the second, Horacek would shutdown the Dash, retiring the final 16 batters he faced. He surrendered two unearned runs on four hits to go with six strikeouts. In total, Horacek and Matt Taylor retired 22 of the last 23 Dash hitters. All four Keys runs came in the fourth against James Dykstra, as the orange and black pounded out five hits and sent eight to bat. Following a leadoff single by Jeff Kemp and a double by Brenden Webb, Austin Wynns plated the first run with a sac-fly. Wynston Sawyer (single) and Tanner Witt (double) followed with run-scoring hits before Josh Hart completed the scoring with a groundout to the right side.

QUALITY AND QUANTITY: After the Keys pitching staff turned in just seven quality starts in the first-half, the club posted four last week. The latest came from Mitch Horacek, who tossed seven innings of two-run baseball on Sunday to snap a three-game losing streak. It was his first win since June 2. In addition to Horacek, Mikey O’Brien, Chris Lee and David Hess recorded three straight quality starts from last Tuesday-Thursday. It was the first time that had occurred all season. Horacek leads all Keys starters with five quality starts, while Lee goes for his third in Monday’s finale. The southpaw has turned in quality outings in two of his last three games.

DOUBLE YOUR PLEASURE, DOUBLE YOUR FUN: The Keys tied their season-high for extra-base hits on Sunday, tallying six doubles on the night. Jeff Kemp and Tanner Witt both had two, while Brenden Webb and Chance Sisco had the others. It marked the second straight Sunday where the Keys had recorded six two-baggers in a contest, as on June 28, the club got six against Wilmington. Half came as part of a four-run fifth inning.

ALL HANDS ON DECK: In addition to four different players finishing with extra-base hits, five posted multi-hit games on Sunday as the Keys registered 14 hits, the team’s largest output in the second-half. Jeff Kemp and Tanner Witt led the way, as each went 3-for-4, while Chance Sisco, Brenden Webb and Jay Gonzalez had two hits apiece. Overall seven of the nine starters finished with one hit and five had an RBI. The four-run fourth inning also tied the Keys most productive stanza since the all-star break.

LET’S PUT A BOW ON THIS ONE: On Monday, the Keys search for their first series victory since June 14, when the club took two of three at Potomac. Since that time, Frederick has lost five consecutive series, the longest it has gone without winning a set this year. This year, the Keys are 3-6-2 in road sets, with two of those series wins coming at the homes of CL South opponents (Salem and Myrtle Beach). In rubber games this season, the Keys are 4-4. They have lost back-to-back deciding games against Potomac and Wilmington.

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 six games, he is batting .500 (7-for-14) with two doubles, an RBI and a run scored. He has two multi-hit games, while splitting time between third, shortstop and second. Sunday’s three-hit effort from Witt was the most number of hits he had recorded in an affiliated game. Joining the Keys at the All-Star break, Witt took the roster spot of Tucker Nathans who was promoted to Double-A Bowie. In 29 games for Rockford, before joining Frederick, he batted .335 with a home run and 22 RBI.

RUETTIGER AND O’BRIEN CALLED UP: On Sunday, Johnny Ruettiger and Mikey O’Brien were promoted to the Double-A Bowie Baysox. It is Ruettiger’s first promotion to Double-A this year, while O’Brien returns to the Eastern League for the second time this season. In total, 10 different Keys have received either Double-A or Triple-A call-ups in 2015. In 57 games with the Keys this year, Ruettiger batted .265 with 13 RBIs, two triples, 16 doubles and 10 stolen bases. He finished June with a .316 average and hit .300 or better in each of his last two months with the orange and black. O’Brien joined the Keys after making two relief appearances with the Baysox in late-May and early June. Used exclusively as a starter, he went 0-3 with a 2.25 ERA in four games. Both players played for the Baysox on Sunday, with Ruettiger going 2-for-4 with a walk, and O’Brien tossing five innings of three-run baseball in a no-decision.

AGAINST WINSTON-SALEM: Saturday marked Frederick’s first game in Winston-Salem since last July 31, and was the only spot in the CL the Keys had yet to visit. Frederick currently leads the season series 6-3, thanks to a pair of series victories at Nymeo Field. Although the orange and black hold the head-to-head lead, the Dash have outscored the Keys 59-45. That can be traced to a 13-0 Dash win on April 9 and a 14-2 setback on May 7, the Keys two worst losses of 2015. Offensively, the Keys have been led by Brenden Webb (.429/12-for-28), Jeff Kemp (.417/15-for-36) and Austin Wynns (.375/6-for-16). For the Dash, Jake Peter (.389/14-for-36) and Keon Barnum (.351/13-for-37, 12RBI) lead the way.

ALRIGHT, ALRIGHT, ALRIGHT, ALRIGHT: The Keys snapped their longest scoreless stretch of the season on Thursday, as Conor Bierfeldt’ s double gave the team its first runs since the fifth inning of Monday’s game against Wilmington. The 28.2 inning scoreless stretch eclipsed the team’s previous high of 17 from April 21-23. Ending the game with eight hits, seven came during Frederick’s final three trips to bat. Additionally the Keys posted three extra-base hits after going without one for three straight games.

TONIGHT’s OPPOSING PITCHER: Left-hander Jordan Guerrero makes his 15th overall start of the season and his sixth with Winston-Salem. With the Dash this season he is 1-1 with a 5.72 ERA. Combined between Winston-Salem and Low-A Kannapolis he is 7-2 with a 3.44 ERA (14 starts) in 83.2 innings. His most recent outing came on last Tuesday night against Myrtle Beach. Tossing 5.1 innings, he allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits. He walked one, hit a batter and struck out six. Guerrero has favored the strikeout this year, posting 29 in his first 28.1 Carolina League innings, while his SO/9IP ratio is better than 4:1 (five of his seven walks came in one game). Promoted to Winston-Salem on June 3 from Low-A Kannapolis (first to Advanced-A), the southpaw went 6-1 with a 2.28 ERA in nine starts. Twice he was named the South Atlantic League “Pitcher of the Week” Guerrero tossed 12 scoreless innings over his first two starts, before turning in 13 more scoreless innings a few weeks later. In nine starts with Kannapolis he gave up more than one earned run just twice, while his 1.27 ERA through May 7 was the seventh-lowest among MiLB qualifiers. Pitching for Low-A Kannapolis exclusively in 2014, he went 6-2 with a 3.46 ERA in 27 games (nine starts). As a starter he had a 4.25 ERA compared to a 2.65 mark as a reliever. He never worked more than five innings in a game, piggybacking with Andre Wheeler in the Kannapolis rotation. The White Sox exercised caution with Guerrero last season after he made just five starts before being shutdown due to shoulder fatigue. He attributed the fatigue to overuse and failing to take proper care of his arm. Selected by Chicago in the 15th round of the 2012 draft out of Moorpark (CA) High School, Guerrero received a reported $100,000 signing bonus. He throws a fastball, curveball and changeup.

Frederick Keys Game Notes 7-5-15

Good Afternoon!

We are back in the Triad for some 5 p.m baseball as the Keys take on the Winston-Salem Dash for just the second time this year in the Ole North State. Mitch Horacek gets the start tonight, as the Keys try to bounce back after a 6-5 11 inning loss on the Fourth of July. Right-hander James Dykstra starts for Winston-Salem.

We’ll have coverage on 1450 AM The Source and frederickkeys.com and today’s lineup and notes are below!

Talk soon,

Geoff

LINEUP

1. CF Josh Hart

2. SS Adrian Marin

3. C Chance Sisco

4. 2B Jeff Kemp

5. RF Brenden Webb

6. DH Austin Wynns

7. 1B Wynston Sawyer

8. 3B Tanner Witt

9. LF Jay Gonzalez

LHP Mitch Horacek

Sunday, July 5, 2015 · Game #81 · Road Game #40

Frederick Keys (35-45/3-7) vs Winston-Salem Dash (36-43/6-3)

LHP Mitch Horacek (5-7, 7.62) vs. RHP James Dykstra (3-5, 3.76)

NARVAEZ SINGLE GIVES DASH WALK-OFF WIN: An Omar Narvaez single to right in the bottom of the 11th inning gave the Winston-Salem Dash a 6-5 walk-off win over the Frederick Keys on Saturday night at BB&T Ballpark. It was the Dash’s first walk-off victory of the campaign, and just the Keys second extra-inning loss of the season. After the two sides exchanged runs in the seventh inning, the Dash would have the final say in the 11th. Williams Louico quickly retired Michael Suiter and Adam Engel, but proceeded to put the next three on base. That sent up Narvaez, who fell behind against Louico 1-2, but drove the fourth pitch of the at-bat into right for the game-winner. Both sides exchanged runs all night, as the Keys took three separate leads in the second, third and seventh innings only to see Winston-Salem counter each time.

FREE BASEBALL FOR EVERYBODY: Saturday marked just the second time this season the Keys had suffered an extra-inning defeat, while it was the third time the club had been victimized by a walk-off in 2015. For the year, Frederick is 5-2 in games stretching past regulation, the second-best mark in the CL behind Myrtle Beach (7-2). Five of those extra-inning contests have come at home (4-1). Narvaez’s single marked the first time the Keys had suffered a walk-off loss since May 10, when a Christopher Bostick single gave Potomac a 4-3 triumph over the orange and black on May 10. The other instance took place on April 16, when Bubba Starling lifted Wilmington to a 3-2 walk-off victory over the Keys with an RBI double.

SOME LOVE FOR THE CATCHERS: It was a great night offensively for the three backstops listed on the Keys roster, as the trio of Chance Sisco, Austin Wynns and Wynston Sawyer accounted for seven of Frederick’s 12 hits. All three had multi-hit efforts, as Sisco 2-for-4, Wynns went 3-for-4 and Sawyer went 2-for-5. All three individuals also had RBIs, with Sawyer driving in a pair. Meanwhile, the three-hit game for Wynns established a new season-high and was one-short of a career-high.

NO FREE RIDING: For the second straight game, Frederick arms walked nine batters, two short of a season-high, while Keys arms have walked 18 in their last 20 innings. The nine free rides were tied for second-most Keys arms had given out in a game since the all-star break  (Frederick pitching walked 10 last Friday at Salem). This year, the pitching staff has walked nine or more in a game on nine occasions. That includes three games of double-digit walks. In the first 80 games this season, Keys pitching has walked 345, 67 more than the next-closest team.

AGAINST WINSTON-SALEM: Saturday marked Frederick’s first game in Winston-Salem since last July 31, and was the only spot in the CL the Keys had yet to visit. Frederick currently leads the season series 5-3, thanks to a pair of series victories at Nymeo Field. Although the orange and black hold the head-to-head lead, the Dash have outscored the Keys 57-40. That can be traced to a 13-0 Dash win on April 9 and a 14-2 setback on May 7, the Keys two worst loses of 2015. Offensively, the Keys have been led by Austin Wynns (.429/6-for-14), Brenden Webb (.417/10-for-24) and Jeff Kemp (.375/11-for-28). For the Dash, Jake Peter (.406/13-for-32) and Keon Barnum (.333/11-for-33, 12RBI) lead the way.

ALRIGHT, ALRIGHT, ALRIGHT, ALRIGHT: The Keys snapped their longest scoreless stretch of the season on Thursday, as Conor Bierfeldt’ s double gave the team its first runs since the fifth inning of Monday’s game against Wilmington. The 28.2 inning scoreless stretch eclipsed the team’s previous high of 17 from April 21-23. Ending the game with eight hits, seven came during Frederick’s final three trips to bat. Additionally the Keys posted three extra-base hits after going without one for three straight games.

BIG LEAGUER IN THE HOUSE: Jonathan Schoop played his final game with the Keys as part of a Major League rehab assignment on Friday, going 1-for-5 with a run scored and two strikeouts. Joining Frederick on Thursday, Schoop went 3-for-9 in his two games with the orange and black, which included a game-tying home run in Thursday’s contest. On Sunday, Schoop was activated from the 60-day disabled list after missing time since April 18 with a sprained right knee. The Curacao hit .265 in nine rehab games with four homers and seven RBIs.

HESS NAMED PITCHER OF THE WEEK: On Monday, Keys starting pitcher, David Hess, was named the Carolina League “Pitcher of the Week” for June 22-28. It marks the first time in his professional career that Hess had earned a weekly honor, while he becomes the second Keys player to garner a weekly award in 2015. Former Keys infielder, Drew Dosch, was named the CL “Player of the Week” for April 20-27. On Saturday, Hess turned in five shutout innings of three-hit baseball to pick up a win against Salem.

TONIGHT’s OPPOSING PITCHER: James Dykstra makes the start for the Dash on Sunday and is rated as the No. 25 pitcher in the White Sox system according to Baseball America. A member of the Carolina League All-Star team, Dykstra’s most recent outing come on Monday against Myrtle Beach. Receiving a no-decision, he tossed six innings of one-run baseball and allowed five hits. He walked one and struck out five. It was his second straight quality start, and the third straight game where he worked into the sixth inning or later. This will be his second start against the Keys. Facing the orange and black on opening day, he tossed six shutout inning of one-hit baseball and struck out three to earn the win. In his second start he was even better, as he tossed a seven inning no-hitter at Potomac on April 15. In the game, Dykstra faced the minimum, while no Potomac player hit the ball out of the infield. It was the 15th no-no in Winston-Salem franchise history, the first since 2009, while it marks the only no-hitter in the CL this year. With those two performances it was no surprise April was Dykstra’s best month, as he registered a 0.78 ERA in four games (23IP/2ER). May (4.87) and June (5.70) were not quite as smooth, while the righty was out from May 9-23 with a back injury. Regarded as having the “best control” among White Sox minor leaguers, Dykstra has just eight walks in 67 innings this year this year and has not walked any more than two in a game (happened once). He is second in the league in WHIP (1.00), second in lowest BB/9IP ratio (1.07) for starters and fifth in lowest batting average against for starters (.240). Dykstra was a sixth round selection by Chicago in the 2013 draft out of Cal State San Marcos, an NAIA school 30 miles outside his native San Diego. One of three colleges Dykstra attended, the Californian began his career at Yavapi (AZ) Junior College, where he converted from outfield to pitching. He transferred to LSU the following spring, registering a 5.48 ERA in only 23 innings of work (he was teammates with Kevin Gausman). With playing time limited he moved to Cal State San Marcos, and refined his off-speed pitches with pitching coach Pat Hause. Dykstra throws a fastball, changeup and curveball.

The Keys Try For a Series Win Tonight!

Good Evening Keys Fans!

The Keys try for a series win against the Potomac Nationals on Friday as Cuban lefty Ariel Miranda makes his second Keys start! He will be opposed by Phillips Valdez, yet another hard-throwing righty for the Nationals.

It figures to be an outstanding crowd for tonight’s game so if you’re in the area come on down! Here are some things to consider:

-Jonathan Schoop is STILL HERE rehabbing

-Postgame Fireworks (Sponsored by Cruise Holidays of Frederick)

-A Stars and Stripes Hat auction (come and bid on the first base concourse)

-One family will win a FREE CRUISE…that’s right folks (also courtesy of Cruise Holidays of Frederick

In other words, it doesn’t take a slick talker to outline the benefits of this game. For those NOT in the area (or those with Iphones or Androids in the ballpark) tune us in on 1450 AM The Source and frederickkeys.com. Pregame show starts at 6:45!

Talk soon and shake your Keys!

Geoff

Friday, July 3, 2015 · Game #79 · Home Game #41

Frederick Keys (35-43/3-5) vs Potomac Nationals (37-40/4-3)

LHP Ariel Miranda (0-0, 4.50) vs. RHP Phillips Valdez (2-2, 5.34)

OFFENSE COMES TO LIFE LATE AS KEYS DOWN NATS: Held off the scoreboard for 28.2 innings, the Frederick Keys rallied for four runs in their final two at-bats to claim a 4-3 win over the Potomac Nationals on Thursday night at Nymeo Field. In the process, the orange and black snapped a three-game losing streak and forced a Friday rubber game. Behind 2-0 going to the seventh inning, Wynston Sawyer and Brenden Webb recorded back-to-back singles off Nationals starter Reynaldo Lopez, before Conor Bierfeldt doubled to left to tie the game. Potomac would briefly regain the lead on a double play ball by Stephen Perez, but MLB rehabber Jonathan Schoop hit a solo homer off Derek Self while an RBI double by Jeff Kemp plated the go-ahead run.

ALRIGHT, ALRIGHT, ALRIGHT, ALRIGHT: The Keys snapped their longest scoreless stretch of the season on Thursday, as Conor Bierfeldt’ s double gave the team its first runs since the fifth inning of Monday’s game against Wilmington. The 28.2 inning scoreless stretch eclipsed the team’s previous high of 17 from April 21-23. Ending the game with eight hits, seven came during Frederick’s final three trips to bat. Additionally the Keys posted three extra-base hits after going without one for three straight games.

NICE TO HAVE A BIG LEAGUER AROUND: Orioles second baseman, Jonathan Schoop left his mark on Thursday’s game, his eighth as part of a Major League rehab assignment. Hitting a solo homer that tied the game in the eighth, the Curacao native went 2-for-4. In eight rehab games between Frederick and Double-A Bowie, Schoop is hitting .276 (8-for-29) with four home runs, seven RBIs, two doubles and three runs scored. With Baltimore he hit .259 with three homers and seven RBIs in nine games. On Friday, the second baseman will continue his rehab with the Keys, as he is scheduled to leadoff and play second. A member of the Keys from 2010-11, Schoop played on the 2011 Mills Cup Championship team, batting .353 with three RBIs in the championship series against Kinston.

QUALITY AND QUANTITY: Over the last three nights, Frederick has received outstanding starting pitching from Mikey O’Brien, Chris Lee and David Hess. During that time all three have posted quality starts, marking the first time all season that has occurred. Prior to Tuesday, Keys starters had turned in back-to-back quality outings just once (May 22-23). On Thursday, Hess worked a career-high seven innings allowing two runs on five hits, while O’Brien tied his career-high for innings pitched on Tuesday with seven innings of one-run baseball.

CLOSE CALLS: Two of the Keys last three games have hinged on one run, while the Keys have played 25 one-run affairs this season. That is the third-most in the Carolina League, with only Myrtle Beach and Potomac (26 each) having played more. In games coming down to a run, the orange and black are 13-12, good for fourth-best in the league.

WE MUST PROTECT THIS HOUSE!: On Friday the Keys try for their first home series win since May 17, when the team earned a rubber game win against Potomac. Frederick has dropped three straight series and four of its last six sets at the friendly confines. This season the Keys are 4-3 in rubber games, with the most recent one coming on Tuesday against Wilmington.   

ROSTER CHANGES: In addition to Schoop joining the Keys, several other roster changes occurred on Thursday. Outfielder Jay Gonzalez joined the Keys from Low-A Delmarva. A 10th round pick by the Orioles last season, Gonzalez hit .294 in 72 games with the Shorebirds and led the South Atlantic League in on-base percentage (.426), runs scored (54) and walks (61) while he placed fifth in stolen bases (24). Gonzalez takes the spot of Gregory Lorenzo who was released by the Orioles. Additionally, Williams Louico was activated from the seven-day disabled list.

QUITE A STRETCH: Josh Hart saw his nine-game hitting streak come to a close on Wednesday. One game short of his season-high 10-gamer, the Georgian batted .405 (15-for-37) with a home run, two doubles, a triple, four RBIs and six runs scored. In the process he moved his average from .265-.295.

HESS NAMED PITCHER OF THE WEEK: On Monday, Keys starting pitcher, David Hess, was named the Carolina League “Pitcher of the Week” for June 22-28. It marks the first time in his professional career that Hess had earned a weekly honor, while he becomes the second Keys player to garner a weekly award in 2015. Former Keys infielder, Drew Dosch, was named the CL “Player of the Week” for April 20-27. On Saturday, Hess turned in five shutout innings of three-hit baseball to pick up a win against Salem.

WRAPPING UP JUNE: Problems scoring runs came into play in June, as the Keys wrapped up the third month with a 9-17 record. It was the worst showing by any Carolina League team in June, and Frederick’s roughest month of the season. In 26 games the club averaged just 3.5 runs per game (in April and June that number was over four) while Keys pitching posted a 4.73 ERA. Individually, Josh Hart (.340) and Chance Sisco (.333) fared best at the plate, with Johnny Ruettiger (.316) also turning in a good showing. On the mound, Mikey O’Brien (2.25 ERA), Dylan Rheault (2.63 ERA) and Austin Urban (2.08 ERA) led the way. In June, the Keys won only one series (1-4-2) while the club endured a five-game losing streak and two four-game losing streaks.

AGAINST POTOMAC: Frederick holds a 7-5 lead in the season series against Potomac, with the Keys winning back-to-back sets against their closest geographic rival. The orange and black are batting .255 against the Nationals and hold a 3.42 staff ERA. Potomac is batting .247 collectively against Frederick with a 3.26 ERA. Offensively, Johnny Ruettiger leads the way with a .447 (17-for-38) average with four multi-hit efforts in 10 games. On the Nationals side, Narciso Mesa (.295), Brandon Miller (.290) and Stephen Perez (.286) lead the way. Three of Miller’s seven homers have come against Keys pitching.

TONIGHT’s OPPOSING PITCHER: Right-hander Phillips Valdez makes his 14th start of the season and his seventh with Potomac. With the P-Nats this season he is 2-2 with a 5.34 ERA after going 5-2 with a 1.47 ERA in eight starts at Low-A Hagerstown. His most recent start came on Sunday against Carolina, where he tossed six innings of one-run baseball and allowed four hits. It was his second straight win. Valdez’s lone start against Frederick came on June 14 and did not go well. Lasting only 2.2 innings he allowed nine runs (seven earned) on seven hits. He walked four and hit a batter, while it was the shortest start of his career. 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 outings 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 4.4. This season though, he has shown some improvement walking a combined 2.4 through nine innings so far. Valdez hails from San Pedro de Macoris, a town which has been dubbed “the cradle of shortstops” more than 100 players from this town have gone on to play Major League Baseball since players from the Dominican began coming to play professional baseball in 1958. Among those from San Pedro who have gone on to the Major Leagues: Robinson Cano, Sammy Sosa, Alfonso Soriano, Tony Fernandez.

 

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