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The Boys are Back in Town!

Good Evening Keys Fans!

For the first time in the second half, the Keys are back in Frederick! The black and orange begin a seven-game home stand at Nymeo Field at Harry Grove Stadium as they kick things off with a three-game set against the Carolina Mudcats.

The Keys are 1-2 since the second half began, winning one and dropping two in a rain-shortened series against Salem.

As we arrive home, we anticipate tons of great promotions here at Nymeo Field at Harry Grove Stadium. Check out our schedule for the full list. Some of the highlights include an appearance by WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley on Friday and fireworks throughout the weekend.

Guarantee your seats and get your tickets here!

Right-hander Lucas Long will be the starting pitcher for the Keys with Baltimore Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph behind the backstop, making his second appearance with Frederick on a MLB rehab assignment.

Tonight’s notes are below.

Shake Your Keys!

Ethan

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Monday, June 27, 2016 · Game #74 · Home Game #36

Frederick Keys (37-36/1-2) vs. Carolina Mudcats (31-43/2-2)

RHP Lucas Long (4-4, 4.30) vs. RHP Max Povse (5-4, 3.51)

KEYS AND SOX SPLIT QUASI-DOUBLEHEADER: The Frederick Keys committed four errors while three in the sixth helped opened the door to a big Salem inning, as the Red Sox defeated the orange and black 6-1 on Sunday night at LewisGale Field. With the setback, the Keys are now just one game above .500 for the year. Franderlin Romero worked around a bases loaded jam in the fifth, but could not get an out in the sixth. An error by Erick Salcedo allowed Wendell Rijo to reach, while one batter later, Rijo scored on a throwing error by Jomar Reyes at third. Nick Longhi then singled to knock Romero out of the game. Jose Sermo made it 2-0 with a sac-fly, while an error and two walks plated the third run of the inning. Joseph Monge completed the scoring with a bases clearing double. Frederick’s lone run came in the ninth on a double by D.J. Stewart.

 TROUBLE WITH THE LEATHER: The four errors by the Keys on Sunday tied a season-high. Previously, the club committed four errors on April 19 against Wilmington (a 6-1 loss). Three of the four errors were charged to Jomar Reyes. The three errors marks the most he has made in a game this year and ties a career-high (he also committed three on June 21, 2014 while playing for the GCL Orioles. Over the final two games of the series, Reyes committed four errors, equaling one-third of his total this season (12). Due to the three errors in the sixth inning on Sunday, all six Red Sox runs were unearned.

 MOUND WOES SORT OF?: Although Keys pitching was hurt by some sixth inning defensive woes, Frederick arms issued nine walks on Sunday, a new season-high (the previous high was eight on April 14). In spite of those issues though, Keys pitching allowed only two hits all game, equaling the fewest the club had given out in a contest this year (most recently Frederick pitching two-hit Carolina on May 29 in Zebulon). Four of the walks were on Romero’s line, a new season-high for the right-hander.    

 ROLAIDS RELIEF: Due to a heavy dose of rain on Thursday, the Keys were forced to utilize their bullpen for most of game one of the second half. Responding quite well, Keys relievers fired off 7.2 innings of one-run, five-hit baseball. Meanwhile, over the last seven games, Frederick bullpen hands have given up only two earned runs in 26.2 innings (0.68 ERA) while this month, Frederick relievers have a 2.01 ERA (80.2 IP/18ER). The bullpen’s lowest ERA in any month came in May, when they finished with a 2.65 ERA. Among active relievers, Tanner Scott has fared best in June, tallying a 0.61 ERA (14.2 IP/1ER).

 RARE ROAD SETBACK: With a loss in Sunday’s game, the Keys saw their string of back-to-back road series wins come to an end. Additionally, it was the club’s first loss in a road set since May 8, when the club fell in two of three to Potomac. In spite of the loss, the Keys are still eight games over .500 away from home (23-15) while Salem is the only other team in the circuit that is eight above .500 (22-14). Tonight, the Keys embark on a seven-game homestand. At Nymeo Field, things have been a little more challenging for the orange and black who are 14-21 (third-worst mark in the CL). Frederick has not won a home series since May 23 (took two of three against Potomac). They are 0-1-2 in their last three home sets.

JOSEPH RETURNS TO THE KEYS: Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph is scheduled to return to the Keys on a Major League rehab assignment on Monday night. Joseph is slated to catch and hit second as he continues his recovery from a testicular injury suffered on May 30 against Boston. The Tennessee native suited up for the Keys during the team’s final first half homestand and went 4-for-10 with a home run, three RBIs and two runs scored. He recorded multi-hit games in both contests he played in last weekend. Between Frederick and Double-A Bowie, Joseph is batting .323 (10-for-31) on his rehab. The 30-year-old originally play for Frederick in 2009 and was a Carolina League all-star.

NEW HALF, NEW FACES: With the start of the second half, the Keys have three new faces on their roster. Outfielder DJ Stewart as well as relievers Ryan Meisinger and Garrett Cleavinger join the team from Low-A Delmarva. Baltimore’s first overall pick in the 2015 draft out of Florida State, Stewart was hitting .230 in 62 games to go with four homers and 25 RBIs. He did walk 42 times though (tied for third) and was batting .266 in his first 17 June games. Meisinger and Cleavinger were both SAL midseason all-stars. In 16 games, Meisinger went 3-2 with a 0.78 ERA and held opponents to a .189 average. A southpaw, Cleavinger was 5-0 with four saves and a 1.38 ERA in 17 games. Both pitchers were in the top five in the SAL in SO/9IP while Cleavinger was fifth in fewest baserunners/9IP (8.54).

ODDS AND ENDS: Sunday marked just the sixth time this year where the Keys had out-hit their opposition and lost (28-6). Mitch Horacek posted his third straight quality start and his third complete game in four contests on Saturday. He leads the lead in complete games (three). Jonah Heim saw his seven-game hitting streak end in game two of Saturday’s twinbill. His longest of the year, he hit .385. Today, he celebrates his 21st birthday. In the process he got his average up to a season-best .246. Jeff Beliveau’s 3.1 inning stint on Saturday marked his longest outing since August 28, 2009 when he was pitching for Low-A Peoria as a member of the Cubs. Jay Gonzalez is still tied for fourth in the MiLB in steals despite going 14 games without a swipe (his longest drought of the year). 

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Right-hander Max Povse makes his 14th start and his third against the Keys. His most recent outing came on June 18 against Wilmington. Picking up the win, he allowed two unearned runs on four hits in six innings. He struck out six. A Carolina League all-star, the righty is third in the league in strikeouts (76) while among starters he is fourth in highest SO/9IP ratio (9.20) and fifth in lowest BB/9IP ratio (1.82). Povse split 2015 between Low-A Rome and Carolina, combining to go 5-5 with a 4.15 ERA. He was promoted to the Mudcats on June 25. In five starts with Carolina he struggled, going 1-3 with a 9.33 ERA before going on the DL with a right shoulder strain on July 21. He missed the rest of the year. A third round pick by Atlanta in 2014 out of UNC-Greensboro, Povse is from Cary, NC (40 minutes from outside Zebulon). He was also selected by the Dodgers in the 42nd round of the 2011 draft but did not sign.

One More in Salem

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

The orange and black conclude their series with the Salem Red Sox on Sunday at LewisGale Field. First pitch is slated for 4:00 p.m. After several rain delays, the two teams were FINALLY able to finish the first game of the second half, with the Keys prevailing 5-1. In game two, Daniel McGrath defeated Mitch Horacek in a pitcher’s duel which saw both starters rack up complete games.

Today, Franderlin Romero gets the ball for the Keys and will be opposed by Sox southpaw Trey Ball. The broadcast can be heard on 1450 AM The Source and frederickkeys.com, or by accessing the TuneIn Radio App (and searching WTHU).

Today’s notes are below.

Shake your Keys!

Geoff

Sunday, June 26, 2016 · Game #73 · Road Game #38

Frederick Keys (37-35/1-1) vs. Salem Red Sox (44-27/1-1)

RHP Franderlin Romero (4-0, 3.63) vs. LHP Trey Ball (4-3, 2.60)

KEYS AND SOX SPLIT QUASI-DOUBLEHEADER: After game one of the second half started on Thursday, it ended on Saturday, as the Frederick Keys and Salem Red Sox completed a quasi-doubleheader with no interruptions. In game one, the Keys closed things out, winning by a 5-1 score, before the club suffered a 2-1 defeat in a pitcher’s duel in game two. Holding a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the fifth, the Keys added an additional run in the ninth on a wild pitch, while Salem scored just once in the seventh on a solo homer by Deiner Lopez. Jeff Beliveau got the win in relief, tossing 3.1 shutout innings while striking out seven. In the nightcap, Daniel McGrath and Mitch Horacek matched each other pitch-for-pitch for most of the night. Salem acted first, getting an RBI double from Jose Sermo in the second, before the Keys evened the game at one in the fifth. After Jomar Reyes opened the inning with a double, Erick Salcedo followed three batters later with a second two-bagger. The Red Sox took the lead for good in the home fifth via an RBI single by Rafael Devers, as McGrath went the distance for his second pro complete game.

CLOSE CALLS: The Keys have become very accustomed to close games of late. The back-end of Saturday’s quasi-doubleheader marked the team’s sixth one-run game in its last eight contests. That includes a string of five straight one-run games from June 14-18 (season-high). Over the six games, the Keys are 2-4, while for the season, Frederick is 7-10 in one-run affairs. That is the second-worst mark in the circuit (Carolina is 10-16).  

ROLAIDS RELIEF: Due to a heavy dose of rain on Thursday, the Keys were forced to utilize their bullpen for most of game one of the second half. Responding quite well, Keys relievers fired off 7.2 innings of one-run, five-hit baseball. Over the last six games, Frederick bullpen hands have given up only two runs in 23.2 innings (0.76 ERA) while this month, Frederick relievers have a 2.09 ERA (77.2 IP/18ER). The bullpen’s lowest ERA in any month came in May, when they finished with a 2.65 ERA. Among active relievers, Tanner Scott has fared best in June, tallying a 0.61 ERA (14.2 IP/1ER).

SALCEDO SIZZLES IN TWINBILL: Erick Salcedo had a tremendous quasi-doubleheader at the plate, going 5-for-6 with two doubles, an RBI, and a run scored. In game one, he was 3-for-3 and tied his season-high for hits in a game (it was his first three-hit game since May 20 against Potomac). Additionally, the strong day bumped his average up to .276, the highest it has been in 2016. In 22 June games, he is batting .297 (22-for-74).  

WRAPPING UP THE FIRST HALF: Thanks to last Sunday’s win, the Keys snapped a string of six consecutive losing halves. A pretty solid accomplishment considering the team was a season-worst nine games below .500 (7-16) at the end of April. Pitching has been a big reason for the club’s success. Through 70 games, the team has a 3.69 ERA, the third-best mark in the league (behind only Myrtle Beach and Lynchburg). Starting (3.68) and relief (3.71) pitching have been on par with each other but the later has been better in June (2.19/4.93). Still, Keys starters enjoyed a strong May (2.71 ERA) and delivered 23 first half quality starts (the team had only seven in the first-half last year). At the plate, Frederick tied for fourth in hitting (.247) a number which has improved thanks to a strong June at the plate (.268) (third-best in the CL this month).

ROAD SWEET HOME: The Keys are trying for their fifth series win in their last six road sets on Sunday. The Keys have not had a losing roadtrip since late-April at Lynchburg and have tallied four straight winning road trips. Currently, the Keys have the best road mark in the circuit (23-14). In road games, the pitching has been superb (2.70 ERA) giving the Keys the top road ERA in the league (and the only sub-3.00 mark). On the offensive side though, the orange and black are tied for the second-lowest road mark in the circuit, as only Aderlin Rodriguez is above .300 (.321).

NEW HALF, NEW FACES: With the start of the second half, the Keys have three new faces on their roster. Outfielder DJ Stewart as well as relievers Ryan Meisinger and Garrett Cleavinger join the team from Low-A Delmarva. Baltimore’s first overall pick in the 2015 draft out of Florida State, Stewart was hitting .230 in 62 games to go with four homers and 25 RBIs. He did walk 42 times though (tied for third) and was batting .266 in his first 17 June games. Meisinger and Cleavinger were both SAL midseason all-stars. In 16 games, Meisinger went 3-2 with a 0.78 ERA and held opponents to a .189 average. A southpaw, Cleavinger was 5-0 with four saves and a 1.38 ERA in 17 games. Both pitchers were in the top five in the SAL in SO/9IP while Cleavinger was fifth in fewest baserunners/9IP (8.54).

 WRAPPING UP THE ALL STAR GAME: Matthew Grimes, Jonah Heim and Aderlin Rodriguez all participated in Tuesday’s Carolina v California League All-Star game in Lake Elsinore, CA. Heim started at catcher, going 1-for-3, while Rodriguez was the DH, ending 1-for-4 while batting in the five-hole. Grimes pitched a 1-2-3 second inning on just seven pitches (six strikes). The Carolina League won 6-4 as Potomac’s Andrew Stevenson and Salem’s Mauricio Duban each had two RBIs apiece. The day before the all-star game, Rodriguez competed in the home run derby on the USS Midway. Making it to the final round, the Keys first baseman was outdone by Bakersfield’s Kyle Petty, who homered seven times in 10 swings (as opposed to Rodriguez’s four homers in the last round).

ODDS AND ENDS: Mitch Horacek posted his third straight quality start and his third complete game in four contests on Sunday. He leads the lead in complete games (three). Jonah Heim saw his seven-game hitting streak end in game two of the twinbill. His longest of the year, he hit .385 (10-for-26 to go with four doubles, three RBIs and a run scored). In the process he got his average up to a season-best .246. Jeff Beliveau’s 3.1 inning stint on Sunday marked his longest outing since August 28, 2009 when he was pitching for Low-A Peoria as a member of the Cubs. 

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Trey Ball makes his 11th start of the season on Sunday and his second against the Keys. He is rated the No. 17 prospect in the Red Sox system according to Baseball America. His most recent outing came on June 18 at Winston-Salem. Earning the win, he pitched seven innings and allowed two runs on eight hits. Walks have been an issue for Ball during his career, as he has a 4.7 BB/9IP ratio this season (a mark that is 4.1 for his career). Spending all off 2015 with the Red Sox, the southpaw went 9-13 with a 4.73 ERA in 25 games. He ended third in the league in walks and second in home runs allowed (16) and losses (13). Last year Ball made five starts against Frederick, more than any Red Sox pitcher. He went 0-5 with a 5.40 ERA. 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. His hometown of New Castle is home to the New Castle Correctional Facility, the largest prison in Indiana which can hold up to 3,500 inmates.

Quasi-Doubleheader Take 2

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

So for the second day in-a-row, the Keys will try and play a quasi-doubleheader against the Salem Red Sox. Technically, we are still on game one of the second half, as after the ballgame was stopped on Thursday in the second, the contest was halted in the bottom of the fifth on Friday with two outs and a man at first. At the time of interruption, the orange and black had a 4-0 lead.

First pitch today is scheduled for 4 p.m, with a seven inning game to follow. In the nightcap lefty Mitch Horacek goes for the Keys against Red Sox southpaw Daniel McGrath.

Both games can be heard on 1450 AM The Source, frederickkeys.com and the TuneIn radio app (search WTHU).

Today’s notes are below. Talk soon!

Geoff

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Saturday, June 25, 2016 · Game #71/#72 · Road Game #36/#37

Frederick Keys (36-34/0-0) vs. Salem Red Sox (43-26/0-0)

G2: LHP Mitch Horacek (3-7, 5.26) vs. LHP Daniel McGrath (1-3, 5.59)

TAKE THREE: For the second straight day, the Frederick Keys and Salem Red Sox were stopped on account of rain, as the two teams were suspended in the bottom of the fifth inning in game one of Friday’s quasi-doubleheader. After a delay of more than two hours the field was deemed unplayable, resulting in a second pseudo-twinbill on Saturday beginning at 4 p.m. At the time the game was stopped the Keys were ahead 4-0. Following Thursday’s stoppage, Jeff Beliveau picked things up with men at first and second and two outs in the bottom of the second. The lefty struck out both men he faced, while the orange and black extended their lead in the third. RBI singles by D.J. Stewart and Aderlin Rodriguez plated a pair, while in the fourth, Jomar Reyes scored on a single by Jonah Heim and an error by Danny Mars in right. Beliveau pitched 3.1 innings of one-hit baseball and struck out seven before the rains came.

ALMOST A DOUBLEHEADER: Saturday will mark the continuation of the Keys first quasi-twinbill of the season. No stranger to these contests last year, Frederick went 3-5 in these types of set-ups (one loss, three splits). The last time the Keys played one, it was capped off by a Mikey O’Brien no-hitter (8/20/15 at LYN) while the first half of last year concluded with a pseudo-twinbill against Wilmington (6/20/15 Blue Rocks swept both games).

KEYS OVERPOWER HILLCATS IN FIRST HALF FINALE: The Frederick Keys scored in six of their eight trips to bat and turned in four multi-run innings as the club doubled up the Lynchburg Hillcats 12-6 on Sunday afternoon at Nymeo Field. With the victory, the Keys finished the first half with a 36-34 record, the first time the Keys have finished above .500 in a half since 2012 (they went 35-34 in the second half). Frederick scored four of the first six runs, thanks in part to a Caleb Joseph solo homer and a Cam Kneeland two-run double. In the fourth, Lynchburg grabbed a 5-4 lead on a Mark Mathias three-run homer, but Frederick responded with three in the home fourth. Wynston Sawyer drove in two with a single, while the base knock by Conor Bierfeldt made it 7-4 Keys. In their last two at bats, the Keys pounded out eight hits and added five more runs. Trevor Belicek got the win delivering four shutout innings of two-hit baseball.

ATTACK OF THE BATS: Frederick’s offense turned in one of its best offensive showings of the season in the first half finale, posting 12 runs and 15 hits. The 15 hits equaled a season-high (set previously on April 16 against Lynchburg) while the 12 runs were the second-most the club had scored in a game this year. The 12 runs also equaled the Keys output in the previous five games combined.

WRAPPING UP THE FIRST HALF: Thanks to Sunday’s win, the Keys snapped a string of six consecutive losing halves. A pretty solid accomplishment considering the team was a season-worst nine games below .500 (7-16) at the end of April. Pitching has been a big reason for the club’s success. Through 70 games, the team has a 3.69 ERA, the third-best mark in the league (behind only Myrtle Beach and Lynchburg). Starting (3.68) and relief (3.71) pitching have been on par with each other but the later has been better in June (2.19/4.93). Still, Keys starters enjoyed a strong May (2.71 ERA) and delivered 23 first half quality starts (the team had only seven in the first-half last year). At the plate, Frederick tied for fourth in hitting (.247) a number which has improved thanks to a strong June at the plate (.268) (third-best in the CL this month).

ROAD SWEET HOME: The Keys posted the best first-half road record in the Carolina League (22-13). That includes wins in six of their 10 road sets (6-2-2) and four of their last five series. In their last 10 road games, Frederick is 7-3, while the club has not had a losing roadtrip since late April at Lynchburg (four straight winning trips). In road games, the pitching has been superb (2.74 ERA) giving the Keys the top road ERA in the league (and the only sub-3.00 mark). Additionally, only two current Keys have ERAs above 3.00. On the offensive side though, the orange and black have the worst road hitting mark in the circuit (.234) as only Conor Bierfeldt (.308) and Aderlin Rodriguez (.307) are above .300.

NEW HALF, NEW FACES: With the start of the second half, the Keys receive three new faces. Outfielder DJ Stewart as well as relievers Ryan Meisinger and Garrett Cleavinger join the team from Low-A Delmarva. Baltimore’s first overall pick in the 2015 draft out of Florida State, Stewart was hitting .230 in 62 games to go with four homers and 25 RBIs. He did walk 42 times though (tied for third) and was batting .266 in his first 17 June games. Meisinger and Cleavinger were both SAL midseason all-stars. In 16 games, Meisinger went 3-2 with a 0.78 ERA and held opponents to a .189 average. A southpaw, Cleavinger was 5-0 with four saves and a 1.38 ERA in 17 games. Both pitchers were in the top five in the SAL in SO/9IP while Cleavinger was fifth in fewest baserunners/9IP (8.54).

WRAPPING UP THE ALL STAR GAME: Matthew Grimes, Jonah Heim and Aderlin Rodriguez all participated in Tuesday’s Carolina v California League All-Star game in Lake Elsinore, CA. Heim started at catcher, going 1-for-3, while Rodriguez was the DH, ending 1-for-4 while batting in the five-hole. Grimes pitched a 1-2-3 second inning on just seven pitches (six strikes). The Carolina League won 6-4 as Potomac’s Andrew Stevenson and Salem’s Mauricio Duban each had two RBIs apiece. The day before the all-star game, Rodriguez competed in the home run derby on the USS Midway. Making it to the final round, the Keys first baseman was outdone by Bakersfield’s Kyle Petty, who homered seven times in 10 swings (as opposed to Rodriguez’s four homers in the last round).

ODDS AND ENDS: Sunday’s 12-6 win ended a streak of five straight one-run games (season-high) played by the Keys. Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph was transferred on his MLB rehab to Double-A Bowie on Tuesday in three games with the Keys he went 4-for-10 with a homer and three RBIs. Jonah Heim owns a season-best six-game hitting streak (he is 9-for-22 during that stretch with four doubles, three RBIs and a run scored). That has moved his average to a season-best .246. Aderlin Rodriguez played outfield for the first time in 665 pro games Sunday. Jay Gonzalez is still tied for fourth in the MiLB in steals despite going 11 games without a swipe (his longest drought of the year). Cam Kneeland celebrated his 26th birthday on Thursday.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Daniel McGrath gets the ball in game two. His most recent outing came last Thursday at Salem. Tagged with the loss, he gave up six runs (five earned) in five inning. In his only start against the Keys, he pitched 1.2 of an inning before exiting due to a subluxation of his right knee while covering home plate. He was out from April 14-May 28. A member of the Red Sox rotation last year, McGrath was limited to 17 starts due to nearly two months on the disabled list (May 14-July 10). At the time he got hurt, McGrath had a 1.80 ERA and was limiting opponents to a .119 average. With Salem, he went 4-6 with a 3.84 ERA and pitched 84.1 innings. Originally from Austrailia, McGrath was signed by Boston as a minor league free agent in February 2012. Signed as a 17-year-old, McGrath received offers from 15 MLB teams, but chose the Red Sox since he used to watch games at Fenway Park with his American-born mother, Dale. Despite signing in 2012, the lefty did not debut until the following season so he could finish high school. He received a reported signing bonus of $400,000.

 

Sort of a Doubleheader…

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

The orange and black will play a quasi-doubleheader on Friday starting at 5 p.m. It’s a doubleheader….sort of. Yesterday we made it through 1.1 innings before the rains came, so we will complete the nine innings from that game first before playing a seven inning game afterwards. Make sense?

If you followed the Keys closely last year you know the drill by now. The Keys played four quasi-twinbills a year ago, while the last one featured a no-hitter by Mikey O’Brien (at Lynchburg). Ironically, O’Brien hails from the Salem-Roanoke area.

At the time the game was stopped, the Keys had a 1-0 lead thanks to an Aderlin Rodriguez solo homer to left off Yankory Pimentel in the top of the second. When the game resumes, the Red Sox will have two on base with one out.

In Friday’s regularly scheduled contest Mitch Horacek will get the ball for the Keys and will be opposed by Red Sox righty Anyelo Leclerc.

We’ll have the broadcast starting at 4:45 p.m on 1450 AM The Source and frederickkeys.com (or the TuneIn Radio App by searching WTHU).

Today’s notes are below.

Shake your Keys!

Geoff

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Friday, June 24, 2016 · Game #71/#72 · Road Game #36/#37

Frederick Keys (36-34/0-0) vs. Salem Red Sox (43-26/0-0)

G2: LHP Mitch Horacek (3-7, 5.26) vs. RHP Anyelo Leclerc (0-0, –)

RAIN HALTS SECOND HALF OPENER: The Frederick Keys second half opener against the Salem Red Sox was halted in the bottom of the second on Thursday due to rain. On Friday, the game will be resumed in the bottom of the second, with the Keys up 1-0 but the Red Sox with two on and one out. Afterwards the two sides will play a seven inning game. Aderlin Rodriguez hit a solo homer in the top of the second, while the Sox put two of their first three on in the second, until the rains came. During the delay, the lights at LewisGale Field also went out.

ALMOST A DOUBLEHEADER: This will be the first quasi-twinbill of the season for the Keys. No stranger to these contests last year, Frederick went 3-5 in these types of set-ups (one loss, three splits). The last time the Keys played one, it was capped off by a Mikey O’Brien no-hitter (8/20/15 at LYN) while the first half of last year concluded with a pseudo-twinbill against Wilmington (6/20/15 Blue Rocks swept both games).

KEYS OVERPOWER HILLCATS IN FIRST HALF FINALE: The Frederick Keys scored in six of their eight trips to bat and turned in four multi-run innings as the club doubled up the Lynchburg Hillcats 12-6 on Sunday afternoon at Nymeo Field. With the victory, the Keys finished the first half with a 36-34 record, the first time the Keys have finished above .500 in a half since 2012 (they went 35-34 in the second half). Frederick scored four of the first six runs, thanks in part to a Caleb Joseph solo homer and a Cam Kneeland two-run double. In the fourth, Lynchburg grabbed a 5-4 lead on a Mark Mathias three-run homer, but Frederick responded with three in the home fourth. Wynston Sawyer drove in two with a single, while the base knock by Conor Bierfeldt made it 7-4 Keys. In their last two at bats, the Keys pounded out eight hits and added five more runs. Trevor Belicek got the win delivering four shutout innings of two-hit baseball.

ATTACK OF THE BATS: Frederick’s offense turned in one of its best offensive showings of the season in the first half finale, posting 12 runs and 15 hits. The 15 hits equaled a season-high (set previously on April 16 against Lynchburg) while the 12 runs were the second-most the club had scored in a game this year. The 12 runs also equaled the Keys output in the previous five games combined. In the game, all nine starters had at least one hit, five had multiple hits and six had an RBI. Aderlin Rodriguez led everyone with three hits (3-for-5-seventh three-hit game of year) while Cam Kneeland and Wynston Sawyer each had three RBIs.

WRAPPING UP THE FIRST HALF: Thanks to Sunday’s win, the Keys snapped a string of six consecutive losing halves. A pretty solid accomplishment considering the team was a season-worst nine games below .500 (7-16) at the end of April. Pitching has been a big reason for the club’s success. Through 70 games, the team has a 3.69 ERA, the third-best mark in the league (behind only Myrtle Beach and Lynchburg). Starting (3.68) and relief (3.71) pitching have been on par with each other but the later has been better in June (2.19/4.93). Still, Keys starters enjoyed a strong May (2.71 ERA) and delivered 23 first half quality starts (the team had only seven in the first-half last year). At the plate, Frederick tied for fourth in hitting (.247) a number which has improved thanks to a strong June at the plate (.268) (third-best in the CL this month).

ROAD SWEET HOME: The Keys posted the best first-half road record in the Carolina League (22-13). That includes wins in six of their 10 road sets (6-2-2) and four of their last five series. In their last 10 road games, Frederick is 7-3, while the club has not had a losing roadtrip since late April at Lynchburg (four straight winning trips). In road games, the pitching has been superb (2.74 ERA) giving the Keys the top road ERA in the league (and the only sub-3.00 mark). Additionally, only two current Keys have ERAs above 3.00. On the offensive side though, the orange and black have the worst road hitting mark in the circuit (.234) as only Conor Bierfeldt (.308) and Aderlin Rodriguez (.307) are above .300.

NEW HALF, NEW FACES: With the start of the second half, the Keys receive three new faces. Outfielder DJ Stewart as well as relievers Ryan Meisinger and Garrett Cleavinger join the team from Low-A Delmarva. Baltimore’s first overall pick in the 2015 draft out of Florida State, Stewart was hitting .230 in 62 games to go with four homers and 25 RBIs. He did walk 42 times though (tied for third) and was batting .266 in his first 17 June games. Meisinger and Cleavinger were both SAL midseason all-stars. In 16 games, Meisinger went 3-2 with a 0.78 ERA and held opponents to a .189 average. A southpaw, Cleavinger was 5-0 with four saves and a 1.38 ERA in 17 games. Both pitchers were in the top five in the SAL in SO/9IP while Cleavinger was fifth in fewest baserunners/9IP (8.54).

 WRAPPING UP THE ALL STAR GAME: Matthew Grimes, Jonah Heim and Aderlin Rodriguez all participated in Tuesday’s Carolina v California League All-Star game in Lake Elsinore, CA. Heim started at catcher, going 1-for-3, while Rodriguez was the DH, ending 1-for-4 while batting in the five-hole. Grimes pitched a 1-2-3 second inning on just seven pitches (six strikes). The Carolina League won 6-4 as Potomac’s Andrew Stevenson and Salem’s Mauricio Duban each had two RBIs apiece. The day before the all-star game, Rodriguez competed in the home run derby on the USS Midway. Making it to the final round, the Keys first baseman was outdone by Bakersfield’s Kyle Petty, who homered seven times in 10 swings (as opposed to Rodriguez’s four homers in the last round).

DDS AND ENDS: Sunday’s 12-6 win ended a streak of five straight one-run games (season-high) played by the Keys. Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph was transferred on his MLB rehab to Double-A Bowie on Tuesday in three games with the Keys he went 4-for-10 with a homer and three RBIs. Jonah Heim owns a season-best six-game hitting streak (he is 9-for-22 during that stretch with four doubles, three RBIs and a run scored). That has moved his average to a season-best .246. Aderlin Rodriguez played outfield for the first time in 665 pro games Sunday. Jay Gonzalez is still tied for fourth in the MiLB in steals despite going 11 games without a swipe (his longest drought of the year). Cam Kneeland celebrated his 26th birthday on Thursday.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Right-hander Anyelo Leclerc makes his Salem Red Sox debut on Friday night in game two. The righty was promoted to the Sox on Thursday from Low-A Greenville. A SAL South All-Star selection he pitched 0.1 of an inning in Tuesday’s game. Used exclusively in relief, Leclerc went 3-1 with eight saves (eight tries) and a 1.77 ERA in 21 games. Logging 40.2 innings, he allowed eight earned runs, walked 12 and struck out 42 while opponents batted .174 against him. He registered six straight saves before his call-up and has not given up a run in his last 12.1 innings. No stranger to Advanced-A, Leclerc spent most of 2015 with Advanced-A High Desert (Rangers). In 29 relief outings, he was 3-3 with a 5.52 ERA, he also made one relief appearance at Double-A Frisco. Originally signed by the Rangers in July 2010, Leclerc was selected by Boston in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 draft on December 10. He is the brother of Jose Leclerc, who pitched for Myrtle Beach in 2014 (then a Rangers affiliate). Jose now pitches for Texas’ Triple-A club in Round Rock.

 

The Second Half Starts Today!

Hello Keys Fans!

The all-star break is over and the second-half gets underway this evening at LewisGale Field! For the second straight year, the orange and black will kickoff their final 70 game jaunt against the Salem Red Sox. Frederick will be in town until Sunday, before heading home to begin a seven-game homestand against the Red Sox and Carolina Mudcats next week.

After a rough April where the team ended the month nine below .500 (7-16) the Keys rebounded in a major way, finishing the first half 36-34. It marked the first time the club had finished a half over .500 since 2012 (when the club wrapped up the second half 35-34).

Tonight, the orange and black try and get things off on the right foot as right-hander Cory Jones takes the mound against Red Sox righty Michael Kopech. First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m and we’ll have the pregame show at 6:50 on 1450 AM the Source, frederickkeys.com and the TuneIn Radio App (simply search WTHU).

Today’s notes are below. Shake your Keys!

Geoff

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Thursday, June 23, 2016 · Game #71 · Road Game #36

Frederick Keys (36-34/0-0) vs. Salem Red Sox (43-26/0-0)

RHP Cory Jones (2-3, 2.65) vs. RHP Michael Kopech (0-0, –)

KEYS OVERPOWER HILLCATS IN FIRST HALF FINALE: The Frederick Keys scored in six of their eight trips to bat and turned in four multi-run innings as the club doubled up the Lynchburg Hillcats 12-6 on Sunday afternoon at Nymeo Field. With the victory, the Keys finished the first half with a 36-34 record, the first time the Keys have finished above .500 in a half since 2012 (they went 35-34 in the second half). Frederick scored four of the first six runs, thanks in part to a Caleb Joseph solo homer and a Cam Kneeland two-run double. In the fourth, Lynchburg grabbed a 5-4 lead on a Mark Mathias three-run homer, but Frederick responded with three in the home fourth. Wynston Sawyer drove in two with a single, while the base knock by Conor Bierfeldt made it 7-4 Keys. In their last two at bats, the Keys pounded out eight hits and added five more runs. Trevor Belicek got the win delivering four shutout innings of two-hit baseball.

ATTACK OF THE BATS: Frederick’s offense turned in one of its best offensive showings of the season in the first half finale, posting 12 runs and 15 hits. The 15 hits equaled a season-high (set previously on April 16 against Lynchburg) while the 12 runs were the second-most the club had scored in a game this year. The 12 runs also equaled the Keys output in the previous five games combined. In the game, all nine starters had at least one hit, five had multiple hits and six had an RBI. Aderlin Rodriguez led everyone with three hits (3-for-5-seventh three-hit game of year) while Cam Kneeland and Wynston Sawyer each had three RBIs.

WRAPPING UP THE FIRST HALF: Thanks to Sunday’s win, the Keys snapped a string of six consecutive losing halves. A pretty solid accomplishment considering the team was a season-worst nine games below .500 (7-16) at the end of April. Pitching has been a big reason for the club’s success. Through 70 games, the team has a 3.69 ERA, the third-best mark in the league (behind only Myrtle Beach and Lynchburg). Starting (3.68) and relief (3.71) pitching have been on par with each other but the later has been better in June (2.19/4.93). Still, Keys starters enjoyed a strong May (2.71 ERA) and delivered 23 first half quality starts (the team had only seven in the first-half last year). At the plate, Frederick tied for fourth in hitting (.247) a number which has improved thanks to a strong June at the plate (.268) (third-best in the CL this month).

ROAD SWEET HOME: The Keys posted the best first-half road record in the Carolina League (22-13). That includes wins in six of their 10 road sets (6-2-2) and four of their last five series. In their last 10 road games, Frederick is 7-3, while the club has not had a losing roadtrip since late April at Lynchburg (four straight winning trips). In road games, the pitching has been superb (2.74 ERA) giving the Keys the top road ERA in the league (and the only sub-3.00 mark). Additionally, only two current Keys have ERAs above 3.00. On the offensive side though, the orange and black have the worst road hitting mark in the circuit (.234) as only Conor Bierfeldt (.308) and Aderlin Rodriguez (.307) are above .300.

 WRAPPING UP THE ALL STAR GAME: Matthew Grimes, Jonah Heim and Aderlin Rodriguez all participated in Tuesday’s Carolina v California League All-Star game in Lake Elsinore, CA. Heim started at catcher, going 1-for-3, while Rodriguez was the DH, ending 1-for-4 while batting in the five-hole. Grimes pitched a 1-2-3 second inning on just seven pitches (six strikes). The Carolina League won 6-4 as Potomac’s Andrew Stevenson and Salem’s Mauricio Duban each had two RBIs apiece. The day before the all-star game, Rodriguez competed in the home run derby on the USS Midway. Making it to the final round, the Keys first baseman was outdone by Bakersfield’s Kyle Petty, who homered seven times in 10 swings (as opposed to Rodriguez’s four homers in the last round).

ODDS AND ENDS: Sunday’s 12-6 win ended a streak of five straight one-run games (season-high) played by the Keys. Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph was transferred on his MLB rehab to Double-A Bowie on Tuesday in three games with the Keys he went 4-for-10 with a homer and three RBIs. Jonah Heim owns a season-best six-game hitting streak (he is 9-for-22 during that stretch with four doubles, three RBIs and a run scored). That has moved his average to a season-best .246. Aderlin Rodriguez played outfield for the first time in 665 pro games Sunday. Jay Gonzalez is still tied for fourth in the MiLB in steals despite going 11 games without a swipe (his longest drought of the year). Cam Kneeland celebrates his 26th birthday today against the Salem Red Sox. The parent club of the Boston Red Sox, Kneeland grew up rooting for Boston as a kid.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Michael Kopech makes his Advanced-A debut on Thursday and his second start of the year. The right-hander is rated as the No.5 prospect in the Red Sox according to Baseball America, while his fastball and slider are the best pitches of their kinds according to the publication’s “best tools survey.” Kopech’s only outing of the year came last Friday with the Short-Season Lowell Spinners. Facing Vermont, the 20-year-old tossed 4.1 scoreless innings of four-hit baseball in a no-decision. He struck out four, but also walked four and threw three wild pitches (a career-worst). Seen as a strong candidate to open the year at Salem, Kopech opened the year on the disabled list after breaking his right hand during a fight with a roommate in spring training. Not his only mistake as a professional, Kopech saw his season came to an end following a 50-game suspension for testing positive for the stimulant Oxilofrine. Before the positive test, he was one of the South Atlantic League’s top arms, going 4-5 with a 2.63 ERA in 16 games (15 starts).  Before his suspension he was 2-0 with a 1.83 ERA in four second half starts. Kopech was originally selected by the Red Sox in the first round (33rd overall) of the 2014 draft out of Mount Pleasant (TX) High School, going 3-0 with a 0.44 ERA as a senior. He committed to play baseball at Arizona but elected to sign with the Red Sox.

The First Half Concludes Today!

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Sunday, June 19, 2016 · Game #70 · Home Game #35

Frederick Keys (35-34) vs. Lynchburg Hillcats (45-24)

RHP Lucas Long (4-4, 3.88) vs. RHP Mitch Brown (2-4, 4.25)

                                                                                                                                                              

BIG FOURTH, STRONG RELIEF LEAD KEYS PAST HILLCATS: The Frederick Keys batted around in the second and utilized strong relief pitching from Tanner Chleborad and Tanner Scott to defeat the Lynchburg Hillcats 4-3 on Saturday night at Nymeo Field. The win also got the Keys back over .500 with only one game remaining in the first half. Lynchburg starter Justus Sheffield saw things go array in the second, as 10 Keys came to bat against the CL all-star. Jonah Heim got the Keys on the board with a double, while Erick Salcedo followed with a bounce out to the right side that plated Cam Kneeland. From there Sheffield struck out Anthony Caronia, but could not get another out, as RBI singles by Caleb Joseph and Wynston Sawyer followed by a walk to Aderlin Rodriguez ended the left-hander’s night. Lynchburg chipped away scoring singles runs in the third, fourth and sixth innings, with two coming on solo homers by Yu-Cheng Chang and Anthony Santander. However Chleborad stranded the tying and go-ahead runs on base in the sixth, while Scott pitched 2.2 scoreless innings for the save.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?: Although the Keys cannot earn a playoff spot, the team does have some motivation entering game #70 in the first half. Namely, the Keys are trying to post their first winning half since 2012 (when the team ended the second half with a 35-34 record). It would also be Frederick’s first winning first half since 2011 (That year the team went a league-best 41-28). With the victory on Saturday though, the Keys will finish at least .500, snapping a string of six consecutive halves with sub-even marks.

CLOSE CALLS: On Saturday night the Keys played yet another one-run game. The the orange and black have played five consecutive contests hinging on one run, but before last night had not won a one-run affair since Tuesday (the Keys lost three prior). The five straight one-run games are easily the most the Keys have played consecutively, as previously the orange and black had played back-to-back one-run games three times. As some additional perspective, Frederick played the second-most one-run games in the league last year (43) but never played more than three straight one-run games. Overall the Keys are 7-9 in games coming down to one marker which places them sixth out of eight in the CL.   

ROAD SWEET HOME: While the Keys may hold the best road record in the Carolina League (22-13) it has been a different story at home. Even with the win last night, the team is 13-21 at home. That is the third-worst mark in the league with only Winston-Salem and Wilmington (12-22) faring worse. Home games against Lynchburg have been particularly problematic, with Frederick going 1-6. In first half road tilts, the Keys batted just .234, but the pitching staff was stellar, recording a 2.74 ERA. Both marks are flipped at Nymeo Field (.255 batting average/4.62 ERA).

MOMENTARY OFFENSIVE BOOST: The four-run second inning was a nice lift for the Keys, who had managed only three combined runs in their previous three games. After the second though, the Keys were held to only two hits the rest of the way (it was originally one, but a postgame scoring change gave Cam Kneeland a third inning single). During that time 17 of the last 19 Keys were retired. Lynchburg also outhit the Keys 9-7, giving the Keys a rare win when finishing with fewer knocks than their opponent (4-25). In the last four games, Frederick is batting a collective .239 (27-for-113) and has no more than eight hits during that stretch.   

JOSEPH JOINS KEYS ON MLB REHAB: Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph joined the Keys on a Major League rehab assignment on Friday. He is recovering from a testicular injury suffered on May 30 against Boston. Playing in game one of Friday’s doubleheader and in Saturday’s contest, the O’s catcher has gone a combined 2-for-6 with two RBIs. Both of his hits came on Saturday when he went 2-for-4 with an RBI single. A member of the 2009 Keys, Joseph becomes the fifth MLB rehabber to suit up for the club this year, joining Kevin Gausman and Yovani Gallardo as well as former Orioles Jimmy Paredes and Brian Matusz. Joseph celebrated his 30th birthday on Saturday night.

HEY NOW YOU’RE AN ALL STAR: Three Keys players were named Carolina League midseason all-stars last Wednesday. Matthew Grimes, Aderlin Rodriguez and Jonah Heim will participate in this year’s Carolina League-California League All Star Game on Tuesday, June 21 at 9:30 EDT. The game will he played at the home of the Lake Elsinore Storm (Padres). Grimes receives his first pro all-star nod following a stellar first half on the mound. In 13 games he is 7-4 with a 1.55 ERA and recently wrapped up a 28-inning scoreless streak. Rodriguez earns an all-star nod in his first CL season thanks to robust power numbers. In 61 games, he is batting .275 with 10 homers, 40 RBIs, 11 doubles and three triples. He has racked up 113 total bases and a .471 slugging percentage. Heim makes his first pro all-star game appearance. He leads all league catchers in caught stealing percentage (33.3%).

ODDS AND ENDS: Saturday’s crowd of 9,216 was the club’s largest of the season. The Keys went 3-for-9 with RISP on Saturday after going 1-for-17 in their previous three contests. Jonah Heim is 7-for-18 in his last five games and has pushed his average to .241, the highest it has been since May 25. Aderlin Rodriguez is penciled to play leftfield on Sunday, his first pro start in the outfield (he has only ever played first and third). Jay Gonzalez is still tied for fourth in the MiLB in steals despite going 10 games without a swipe (his longest drought of the year).

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Right-hander Mitch Brown makes his 14th appearance (13th start) on Sunday and is rated the No. 30 prospect in the Indians system by Baseball America. In his most recent outing on Tuesday against Carolina, he received a no-decision pitching four innings and allowing one run in the first game of a twinbill. The 22-year-old spent all of last season with Lynchburg, where struggled most of the year, going 9-12 with a 5.15 ERA in 27 games (26 starts). He also allowed 15 long balls, the third-highest mark in the Carolina League. Originally from Rochester, Minnesota, Brown was selected by Cleveland in the second round of the 2012 draft after being named Minnesota’s “Gatorade Player of the Year” as a high school senior. He turned down an offer to play college baseball at the University of San Diego.

Keys and Hillcats Get Set to Play Two!

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Friday, June 17, 2016 · Game #66/#67 · Home Game #32/#33

Frederick Keys (34-32) vs. Lynchburg Hillcats (43-23)

G1: RHP Cory Jones (2-2, 3.10) vs. RHP Julian Merryweather (7-2, 0.98)

 RAIN, RAIN GO AWAY: The Frederick Keys and Lynchburg Hillcats were postponed on account of rain Thursday night and will play a Friday doubleheader. It is the fourth doubleheader of the season for the orange and black, but the first against an opponent other than Potomac. In twinbills this season, the Keys are 3-3 (one win, one loss, one split). Lynchburg owns the top doubleheader record in the circuit at 5-1 (two wins, one split). The Hillcats last double-dipper came on Wednesday against Carolina with Lynchburg claiming both ends (7-3/9-4). Frederick’s last doubleheader was at Potomac last Saturday and resulted in a pair of shutout wins (2-0/3-0). In 2015, the Keys and Hillcats played two doubleheaders at Nymeo Field and both, with the orange and black sweeping both.

PELICANS TAKE PITCHING DUEL: The Frederick Keys got a strong effort on the mound, but the Pelicans countered with a strong start from Jake Stinnett and managed one unearned run in a 1-0 win on Wednesday night at TicketReturn.com Field. With the setback, the orange and black saw their five-game winning streak come to a close, while it denied the team a three-game sweep. Held to only five hits, the Pelicans scratched across the game’s lone run in the fourth. Yasiel Balaguert walked with one out and got to second after a throwing error by first baseman Cam Kneeland. Jeffrey Baez then coaxed a walk out of Matthew Grimes to load the bases. One batter later, Balaguert scored on a wild pitch. The Keys left eight aboard on the game and went 1-for-8 in scoring position as Jake Stinnett fired off seven shutout frames and allowed eight hits. Ryan McNeil pitched two scoreless frames to get the save.

CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR: The Keys were denied a season-high six straight wins on Wednesday, but still enjoyed a great roadtrip. Frederick’s five-game run tied a season-high (the Keys also accomplished the feat from May 1-5 against Winston-Salem, Wilmington and Potomac) and got the club to a season-best three games over .500. That feat had not taken place since last May 25. Not a bad accomplishment, considering the Keys were nine games below .500 at one point (the team was 7-16 following a loss on April 30 to Winston-Salem).

ROAD SWEET HOME: No team has enjoyed the road as much as the orange and black in the first half. With the completion of the roadtrip, the Keys went 22-13 away from the friendly confines, giving the team two more road wins than the next-best team (Salem is 20-12). Aside from the Red Sox, no other club has reached 20 road wins this year. Although the Keys batted just .234 in first-half road games, the pitching staff was stellar, recording a 2.74 ERA. Both marks are flipped at Nymeo Field (.257 batting average/4.82 ERA).

WHAT’S AT STAKE?: Even though Lynchburg has already claimed the first-half CL North title, the Keys have several things to play for in the upcoming four-game set. Namely, the Keys are trying to post their first winning half since 2012 (when the team ended the second half with a 35-34 record). It would also be Frederick’s first winning first half since 2011 (That year the team went a league-best 41-28). To stay over .500, the Keys must take at least two against Lynchburg. Taking care of business against the Hillcats has been a challenge though. In eight head-to-head matchups against their Virginia rival, Frederick is 1-7, their worst head-to-head mark against any CL club. In their only visit to Nymeo Field, the Hillcats earned a four-game sweep (the first by an opponent on Stadium Drive since June 2014) while two wins would give Lynchburg the season-series (the Keys and Hillcats have only two four-game sets scheduled in the second-half).

PITCHING KEEPS BRINGING IT: Despite being saddled with the loss in the series finale at Myrtle Beach, Keys pitching did a fine job again, allowing one unearned run and only five hits. In their last six games, Frederick arms have posted a 1.29 ERA (49 IP/11R/7ER/38H). In all six games, the Keys starter has not allowed any more than two earned runs. Frederick relief pitching has remained a point of strength in June as well, tallying a 2.51 ERA (57.1 IP/16ER) in 16 games, after finishing with a 2.65 figure the month prior.

BASHING BIERFELDT: Conor Bierfeldt has been a force to be reckoned with in June. In his first 14 games, he is batting .306 with five home runs, 15 RBIs to go with a .673 slugging percentage and a 1.025 OPS. The five longballs are tied for the Advanced-A lead in June, while the 15 RBIs put him in a tie for second (only Franmil Reyes of Lake Elsinore at 17 has more). On Wednesday Bierfeldt saw a string of four straight games with an RBI come to a close (six total during that time), but he did extend his hitting streak to a season-high five games. Over that stretch he is batting .421 (8-for-19) with two homers, six RBIs and four runs scored.

HEY NOW YOU’RE AN ALL STAR: Three Keys players were named Carolina League midseason all-stars last Wednesday. Matthew Grimes, Aderlin Rodriguez and Jonah Heim will participate in this year’s Carolina League-California League All Star Game on Tuesday, June 21 at 9:30 EDT. The game will he played at the home of the Lake Elsinore Storm (Padres). Grimes receives his first pro all-star nod following a stellar first half on the mound. In 13 games he is 7-4 with a 1.55 ERA and recently wrapped up a 28-inning scoreless streak. Rodriguez earns an all-star nod in his first CL season thanks to robust power numbers. In 61 games, he is batting .272 with 10 homers, 39 RBIs, 11 doubles and two triples. He has racked up 109 total bases and a .464 slugging percentage. Heim makes his first pro all-star game appearance. He leads all league catchers in caught stealing percentage (33.3%).

ODDS AND ENDS: Wednesday marked just the fifth time this season where the Keys had out-hit their opposition and lost (26-5). This season, the Keys are tied for the most shutout wins in the CL (seven) but have been blanked the third-most number of times (six).In his last five games, Wynston Sawyer is hitting .389 (7-for-18). His 34 walks also put him just outside the CL’s top five. Since a six-game hitting streak from June 2-7, Jay Gonzalez is 2 for 25 in his last seven contests and does not have a steal during that time.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Julian Merryweather makes his 11th start of the season on Thursday and his second against the Keys. Entering with a 0.98 ERA, that figure is the second-best in the MiLB (only West Michigan’s Matt Hall at 0.73 has done better). Merryweather also paces the CL in WHIP (0.89), batting average against (.207) and winning percentage (.778) while he is tied for second in wins. The right-hander’s most recent outing came on Saturday against Myrtle Beach. Working 6.1 innings, he took the loss, allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits. In all 10 of Merryweather’s starts he has surrendered two earned runs or less. The Californian was out from May 23-June 4 due to injury. In his only game against the Keys on April 15, the righty tossed five shutout innings to earn the win, outdueling big league rehabber Kevin Gausman. In his first Advanced-A season, Merryweather pitched for Low-A Lake County last year, finishing 2-3 with a 4.08 ERA in 21 contests (four starts). He was selected in 2014 out of Oklahoma Baptist.

The Final Homestand of the First Half Kicks off Tonight!

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Thursday, June 16, 2016 · Game #66 · Home Game #32

Frederick Keys (34-32) vs. Lynchburg Hillcats (43-23)

RHP Cory Jones (2-2, 3.10) vs. RHP Julian Merryweather (7-2, 0.98)

PELICANS TAKE PITCHING DUEL: The Frederick Keys got a strong effort on the mound, but the Pelicans countered with a strong start from Jake Stinnett and managed one unearned run in a 1-0 win on Wednesday night at TicketReturn.com Field. With the setback, the orange and black saw their five-game winning streak come to a close, while it denied the team a three-game sweep. Held to only five hits, the Pelicans scratched across the game’s lone run in the fourth. Yasiel Balaguert walked with one out and got to second after a throwing error by first baseman Cam Kneeland. Jeffrey Baez then coaxed a walk out of Matthew Grimes to load the bases. One batter later, Balaguert scored on a wild pitch. The Keys left eight aboard on the game and went 1-for-8 in scoring position as Jake Stinnett fired off seven shutout frames and allowed eight hits. Ryan McNeil pitched two scoreless frames to get the save.

CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR: The Keys were denied a season-high six straight wins on Wednesday, but still enjoyed a great roadtrip. Frederick’s five-game run tied a season-high (the Keys also accomplished the feat from May 1-5 against Winston-Salem, Wilmington and Potomac) and got the club to a season-best three games over .500. That feat had not taken place since last May 25. Not a bad accomplishment, considering the Keys were nine games below .500 at one point (the team was 7-16 following a loss on April 30 to Winston-Salem).

ROAD SWEET HOME: No team has enjoyed the road as much as the orange and black in the first half. With the completion of the roadtrip, the Keys went 22-13 away from the friendly confines, giving the team two more road wins than the next-best team (Salem is 20-12). Aside from the Red Sox, no other club has reached 20 road wins this year. Although the Keys batted just .234 in first-half road games, the pitching staff was stellar, recording a 2.74 ERA. Both marks are flipped at Nymeo Field (.257 batting average/4.82 ERA).

WHAT’S AT STAKE?: Even though Lynchburg has already claimed the first-half CL North title, the Keys have several things to play for in the upcoming four-game set. Namely, the Keys are trying to post their first winning half since 2012 (when the team ended the second half with a 35-34 record). It would also be Frederick’s first winning first half since 2011 (That year the team went a league-best 41-28). To stay over .500, the Keys must take at least two against Lynchburg. Taking care of business against the Hillcats has been a challenge though. In eight head-to-head matchups against their Virginia rival, Frederick is 1-7, their worst head-to-head mark against any CL club. In their only visit to Nymeo Field, the Hillcats earned a four-game sweep (the first by an opponent on Stadium Drive since June 2014) while two wins would give Lynchburg the season-series (the Keys and Hillcats have only two four-game sets scheduled in the second-half).

PITCHING KEEPS BRINGING IT: Despite being saddled with the loss in the series finale at Myrtle Beach, Keys pitching did a fine job again, allowing one unearned run and only five hits. In their last six games, Frederick arms have posted a 1.29 ERA (49 IP/11R/7ER/38H). In all six games, the Keys starter has not allowed any more than two earned runs. Frederick relief pitching has remained a point of strength in June as well, tallying a 2.51 ERA (57.1 IP/16ER) in 16 games, after finishing with a 2.65 figure the month prior.

BASHING BIERFELDT: Conor Bierfeldt has been a force to be reckoned with in June. In his first 14 games, he is batting .306 with five home runs, 15 RBIs to go with a .673 slugging percentage and a 1.025 OPS. The five longballs and 15 RBI are both tied for the Advanced-A lead in June. On Wednesday Bierfeldt saw a string of four straight games with an RBI come to a close (six total during that time), but he did extend his hitting streak to a season-high five games. Over that stretch he is batting .421 (8-for-19) with two homers, six RBIs and four runs scored.

HEY NOW YOU’RE AN ALL STAR: Three Keys players were named Carolina League midseason all-stars last Wednesday. Matthew Grimes, Aderlin Rodriguez and Jonah Heim will participate in this year’s Carolina League-California League All Star Game on Tuesday, June 21 at 9:30 EDT. The game will he played at the home of the Lake Elsinore Storm (Padres). Grimes receives his first pro all-star nod following a stellar first half on the mound. In 13 games he is 7-4 with a 1.55 ERA and recently wrapped up a 28-inning scoreless streak. Rodriguez earns an all-star nod in his first CL season thanks to robust power numbers. In 61 games, he is batting .272 with 10 homers, 39 RBIs, 11 doubles and two triples. He has racked up 109 total bases and a .464 slugging percentage. Heim makes his first pro all-star game appearance. He leads all league catchers in caught stealing percentage (33.3%).

ODDS AND ENDS: Wednesday marked just the fifth time this season where the Keys had out-hit their opposition and lost (26-5). This season, the Keys are tied for the most shutout wins in the CL (seven) but have been blanked the third-most number of times (six).In his last five games, Wynston Sawyer is hitting .389 (7-for-18). His 34 walks also put him just outside the CL’s top five. Mike Burke retired the first 21 batters in faced to start his Advanced-A career, before allowing a single to Daniel Spingola single in the ninth on Tuesday. Since a six-game hitting streak from June 2-7, Jay Gonzalez is 2 for 25 in his last seven contests and does not have a steal during that time.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Julian Merryweather makes his 11th start of the season on Thursday and his second against the Keys. Entering with a 0.98 ERA, that figure is the second-best in the MiLB (only West Michigan’s Matt Hall at 0.73 has done better). Merryweather also paces the CL in WHIP (0.89), batting average against (.207) and winning percentage (.778) while he is tied for second in wins. The right-hander’s most recent outing came on Saturday against Myrtle Beach. Working 6.1 innings, he took the loss, allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits. In all 10 of Merryweather’s starts he has surrendered two earned runs or less. The Californian was out from May 23-June 4 due to injury. In his only game against the Keys on April 15, the righty tossed five shutout innings to earn the win, outdueling big league rehabber Kevin Gausman. In his first Advanced-A season, Merryweather pitched for Low-A Lake County last year, finishing 2-3 with a 4.08 ERA in 21 contests (four starts). He was selected in 2014 out of Oklahoma Baptist.

Time for the Brooms?

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

The Keys go for their sweep of the year on Wednesday night against the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. It may be foreshadowing, but both of the Keys sweeps this season have come on the road (one at Wilmington and the other at Winston-Salem). Winners of seven out of their last eight, the Keys are now three over sea-level for the first time this year. And if you can do the simple math, a victory would ensure a first half of at least .500.

Tonight, Frederick sends CL All-Star Matthew Grimes to the mound. Although his 28 inning scoreless streak was snapped on Saturday, you can’t forgot that the Georgian’s first CL win came at Myrtle Beach back in April. He will be opposed by Jake Stinnett. The former Maryland product has lost each of his last three starts.

First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m and Doug has the call on 1450 AM The Source, frederickkeys.com or the TuneIn Radio App. Pregame coverage commences at 6:50.

And for those who have maybe missed it last night, click here to listen to an interview former Keys broadcaster Tim Murray did with Chris McDonald (aka Shooter McGavin on ESPN 980 last night.

Here is your Shooter GIF of the day:

shooter mcgavin

To find out more info about how to come out for Saturday’s game as well as more info about 90s Nickelodeon Night, check out our promo release here!

Shake your Keys!

Geoff

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Wednesday, June 15, 2016 · Game #65 · Road Game #35

Frederick Keys (34-31) vs. Myrtle Beach Pelicans (33-31)

RHP Matthew Grimes (7-3, 1.66) vs. RHP Jake Stinnett (4-3, 4.24)

KEYS ROLL TO FIFTH STRAIGHT WIN: The Frederick Keys used a big third inning and solid outings from Ivan Hernandez, Austin Urban and Mike Burke to post a 5-4 win over the Myrtle Beach Pelicans on Tuesday night at Nymeo Field. It was the Keys fifth straight win and gives the team a shot at a three-game sweep on Wednesday. After grabbing a 1-0 lead in the second, the visitors plated four runs in the third. All four runs came home via single, as the Keys pounded out six straight base knocks. Knocks by Wynston Sawyer and Conor Bierfeldt brought in runs, but the Pelicans utilized an RBI single from Ian Happ and two wild pitches to make it 5-2. Myrtle Beach added one more in the sixth, before putting the tying run in scoring position in the ninth. A Rashad Crawford run-scoring double made it 5-4 in the ninth, but Burke got Charcer Burks to fly out to end the game.

DON’T STOP NOW BOYS!: Thanks to Tuesday’s win, the Keys have equaled their longest winning streak of the season (five games). Previously, the Keys accomplished the feat from May 1-5 against Winston-Salem, Wilmington and Potomac. This hot stretch has moved the Keys three games over .500 for the first time in 2016, while it is the first time the club has been three games above sea-level since last May 25. At 34-31, the orange and black have the third-best overall record in the circuit (only Lynchburg and Salem have fared better). This is quite an accomplishment, considering the Keys have been as many as nine games below .500 this season (the team was 7-16 following a loss on April 30 to Winston-Salem).

PITCHING RESPONDS AGAIN: Despite Keys starter Franderlin Romero being a late scratch on Tuesday, Ivan Hernandez, Austin Urban and Mike Burke did a great job to eat innings. All three pitchers turned in three inning stints, which for all three set (Hernandez and Urban) or tied (Burke) season-highs for innings worked. Over the five-game winning streak, pitching has been a strong point, as Keys arms have posted a 1.54 ERA (41 IP/10R/7ER/33H). That includes a pair of shutout wins during Saturday’s twinbill at Potomac. Like in May, Keys relief pitching has remained a point of strength this month, tallying a 2.65 ERA (54.1 IP/16ER) in 15 games, after finishing with a 2.65 figure the month prior.

BASHING BIERFELDT: Conor Bierfeldt has been a force to be reckoned with in June. In his first 13 games, he is batting .311 with five home runs, 15 RBIs to go with a .689 slugging percentage and a 1.049 OPS. The five longballs and 15 RBI are both tied for the Advanced-A lead in June. The Connecticut native has RBIs in four straight games (six total) while he also has a four-game hitting streak (ties a season-high). During the streak, he is batting .467 (7-for-15).

EVERYBODY HITS: The six straight hits the Keys posted in the fourth inning on Tuesday marked a new season-high for hits in an inning by the club this year. Previously the team’s high water mark for knocks in a frame was five, a feat the Keys accomplished four times prior to Tuesday. Thanks to the six hits in the fourth (which was half of their game total) it enabled the Keys to eclipse the four-run barrier for the third straight game. Almost 80% of Frederick’s wins (27) have come when scoring four or more runs. Nonetheless, it pales in comparison to when the Keys outhit the opposition. When finishing with the upper hand in the hit column, the orange and black are 26-3.

ONE LAST ROADTRIP: The Keys are in the middle of their final first half roadtrip. Following the five-game series against the Nationals (Thursday-Sunday) the team heads south to Myrtle Beach for three games against the Pelicans. A team made up of road warriors, the Keys own the best road mark in the CL this year (22-12), while the Keys are in the midst of their second five-game road win streak (the Keys won five straight road games from April 24-May 5). Although the Keys have been eliminated from first-half playoff contention, a strong showing down the stretch could help the Keys post their first winning half since 2012, when the team ended the second half with a 35-34 record. It would also be Frederick’s first winning first half since 2011 (That year the team went a league-best 41-28).

HEY NOW YOU’RE AN ALL STAR: Three Keys players were named Carolina League midseason all-stars last Wednesday. Matthew Grimes, Aderlin Rodriguez and Jonah Heim will participate in this year’s Carolina League-California League All Star Game on Tuesday, June 21 at 9:30 EDT. The game will he played at the home of the Lake Elsinore Storm (Padres). Grimes receives his first pro all-star nod following a stellar first half on the mound. In 12 games he is 7-3 with a 1.66 ERA and just wrapped up a 28-inning scoreless streak. Rodriguez earns an all-star nod in his first CL season thanks to robust power numbers. In 61 games, he is batting .272 with 10 homers, 39 RBIs, 11 doubles and two triples. He has racked up 109 total bases and a .464 slugging percentage. He is currently tied for second in the CL in homers and is fifth in total bases. Heim makes his first pro all-star game appearance. He leads all league catchers in caught stealing percentage (32.8%).

ODDS AND ENDS: Thanks to Monday’s win, the Keys secured their fourth straight winning roadtrip. The team has not suffered a losing roadtrip since the end of April (when the Keys dropped three of four at Lynchburg). Mike Burke retired the first 21 batters in faced to start his Advanced-A career, before allowing a single to Daniel Spingola single in the ninth on Tuesday. Since a six-game hitting streak from June 2-7, Jay Gonzalez is 2 for 22 in his last six contests and does not have a steal during that time.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Jake Stinnett makes his 11th start on Wednesday and his second against the Keys. His most recent outing came last Thursday at Lynchburg. Tagged with the loss, he allowed three runs on seven hits in 5.1 frames. It was his third straight loss. In his lone game against the Keys on May 15, he picked up the win allowing two runs in six innings. The 23-year-old spent all of last season at Low-A South Bend. In 22 starts, he went 7-6 with a 4.46 ERA. After a tough first-half of the year (5.29) Stinnett made strides (3.86) after the all-star break. Originally selected by the Cubs in the second round of the 2014 draft, Stinnett played his college baseball at the University of Maryland, while College Park, MD is just under an hour ride from Frederick. With the Terps he began his college career as a third baseman, designated hitter and relief pitcher before transitioning to a full-time starter’s role as a junior in 2013. He was also selected by the Pirates in the 29th round of the 2013 draft but did not sign.

Can The Keys Make it Five In-a-Row?

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

The orange and black try for their fifth straight victory on Tuesday following a 7-3 win over the Myrtle Beach Pelicans on Monday night at TicketReturn.com Field. With the victory, the Keys are now two games over .500 for the first time this year, while the win gives the club the top road record in the Carolina League (21-12). That includes four straight winning roadtrips after last night’s triumph.

Tonight, the team goes back to work against the Pelicans. A late pitching switch will put right-hander Ivan Hernandez on the mound against Pelicans righty Jeremy Null. Activated off the disabled list, Hernandez will be making his first start since August 8, 2013 with the GCL Orioles. This will also be Hernandez’s first appearance since May 30. He has been out with a left quad injury.

You can catch tonight’s broadcast on 1450 AM The Source, frederickkeys.com and the TuneIn Radio App. First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m while the broadcast kicks off at 6:50.

Also, if you’re near a computer or radio tonight, be sure to listen to ESPN Radio 980 at 8 p.m as Chris McDonald (aka Shooter McGavin) will join former Keys broadcaster Tim Murray to talk about his upcoming appearance at Nymeo Field and much more! We will also be sure to post the link to the interview later on!

Remember if you haven’t gotten your tickets yet there is still time! You can call 301-815-9939 or visit frederickkeys.com. Two extra enhancers for you. If you come to the game (and get in line early enough) you can get a Shooter McGavin Bobblehead (courtesy of Pretzel and Pizza Creations):

Shooter

AND….finalizing your ticket plans for Saturday gives you free rein to do this as many times as you want:

single shooter pistol mcgavin

You just may want to be alone when you’re celebrating. We won’t laugh, but others probably will.

Tonight’s notes are below. Shake your Keys!

Geoff

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Tuesday, June 14, 2016 · Game #64 · Road Game #34

Frederick Keys (33-31) vs. Myrtle Beach Pelicans (33-30)

RHP Ivan Hernandez (1-0, 3.66) vs. RHP Jeremy Null (2-2, 2.45)

                                                                                                                                                              

FAST OFFENSE NETS KEYS FOURTH STRAIGHT WIN: The Frederick Keys scored six times in the first four innings and got a terrific start from Lucas Long to defeat the Myrtle Beach Pelicans 7-3 on Monday night at TicketReturn.com Field. It was the Keys fourth straight victory. Aderlin Rodriguez drove in Cam Kneeland following a double and a Pelicans error in the first, before a Gioskar Amaya solo homer tied the game. However the Keys would follow with five unanswered runs to grab the lead for good. In the second, Erick Salcedo doubled home T.J Olesczuk, while Connor Bierfeldt cranked a solo homer to left in the third to make it a 3-1 affair. In the fourth, the orange and black plated three more. Wynston Sawyer got hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to force in an additional run and knock Erick Leal out of the game. One batter later, a throwing error by Gleyber Torres scored two more to extend the Keys advantage to 6-1. That would be plenty of support for Long, who surrendered just the homer over six innings.

DON’T STOP NOW BOYS: On Tuesday the Keys try and equal their longest winning streak of the season (five). Frederick accomplished this feat from May 1-5 against Winston-Salem, Wilmington and Potomac. This current four-game win streak is the club’s second-longest run of the year. Additionally, this hot stretch has moved the Keys two games over .500 for the first time in 2016, while it is the first time the club has been two games above sea-level since last June 2. Not a bad accomplishment considering the Keys have been as many as nine games below .500 this season (the team was 7-16 following a loss on April 30 to Winston-Salem).

BASHING BIERFELDT: Conor Bierfeldt has been a force to be reckoned with in June. In his first 12 games, he is batting .286 with five home runs, 13 RBIs to go with a .667 slugging percentage and a .993 OPS. The five longballs and 13 RBI are tied for the most in the CL in June, while the Connecticut native has homers in consecutive games and RBIs in each of his last three contests (four).

POWER BATS: Thanks to Conor Bierfeldt’s home run on Monday, the Keys yearly total has reached 45. That is the second-most in the Carolina League, with the Keys trailing only Lynchburg (56). Keys pitching is mindful of Myrtle Beach’s home run prowess though, as the Pelicans have clubbed 44 home runs (they rank third in the CL). That includes 10 home runs in nine games against the Keys. Yasiel Balaguert paces the Birds in home runs with nine.

PITCHING PICKS IT UP: Since allowing six runs on Friday, Keys pitching has gotten back on track over the last four games. During that time, Keys arms have surrendered only three earned runs (six total) in 32 innings and given up just 23 hits. That includes a pair of shutout wins during Saturday’s twinbill at Potomac. Like in May, Keys relief pitching has remained a point a strength this month, tallying a 2.61 ERA (48.1 IP/14ER) in 14 games, after finishing with a 2.65 figure the month prior.

ONE LAST ROADTRIP: The Keys are in the middle of their final first half roadtrip. Following the five-game series against the Nationals (Thursday-Sunday) the team heads south to Myrtle Beach for three games against the Pelicans. A team made up of road warriors, the Keys own the best road mark in the CL this year (21-12), while the Keys are in the midst of their second road winning streak of four or more games (the Keys won five straight road games from April 24-May 5). Although the Keys have been eliminated from first-half playoff contention, a strong showing down the stretch could help the Keys post their first winning half since 2012, when the team ended the second half with a 35-34 record. It would also be Frederick’s first winning first half since 2011 (That year the team went a league-best 41-28).

HEY NOW YOU’RE AN ALL STAR: Three Keys players were named Carolina League midseason all-stars last Wednesday. Matthew Grimes, Aderlin Rodriguez and Jonah Heim will participate in this year’s Carolina League-California League All Star Game on Tuesday, June 21 at 9:30 EDT. The game will he played at the home of the Lake Elsinore Storm (Padres). Grimes receives his first pro all-star nod following a stellar first half on the mound. In 12 games he is 7-3 with a 1.66 ERA and just wrapped up a 28-inning scoreless streak. Rodriguez earns an all-star nod in his first CL season thanks to robust power numbers. In 57 games, he is batting .272 with 10 homers, 39 RBIs, 11 doubles and two triples. He has racked up 108 total bases and a .466 slugging percentage. He is currently tied for second in the CL in homers and tied for third in total bases. Heim makes his first pro all-star game appearance. He leads all league catchers in caught stealing percentage (32.8%).

ODDS AND ENDS: Thanks to Monday’s win, the Keys secured their fourth straight winning roadtrip (they grabbed five of seven during their last jaunt to Winston-Salem and Carolina). The team has not suffered a losing roadtrip since the end of April (when the Keys dropped three of four at Lynchburg). Six of Cam Kneeland’s 10 hits in June have gone for extra-bases (four doubles and two homers). Kneeland is tied for fifth in the CL in two-baggers (16). In his first two Advanced-A games, Mike Burke has retired everyone he has faced in five innings (5 IP/0H/0R/6 SO). Following Salem’s win over Potomac on Monday, both first half playoff spots have been clinched, with the Red Sox taking the south and Lynchburg taking on the north (the Hillcats defeated Myrtle on Sunday to wrap things up).

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Jeremy Null makes his seventh appearance on Tuesday and his sixth start. His most recent outing came last Tuesday against Potomac. Pitching the second game of a doubleheader, the righty allowed three runs on six hits in 6.2 innings. He struck out six and did not walk a batter. Null’s first start of the year came against the Keys on May 14. Earning the win, he tossed five shutout frames of three-hit baseball. 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 2.1). 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.

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