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The Keys Are in Potomac!

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

The Keys come off their first sweep of the season on Wednesday at Wilmington and will continue their road swing in Potomac tonight.

Left-hander John Means makes the start against right-hander Boone Whiting. First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m from Pfitzner Stadium and the broadcast can be heard on 1450 AM The Source and frederickkeys.com.

Some notes are below.

Shake your Keys!

Geoff

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Thursday, May 5, 2016 · Game #28 · Road Game #15

Frederick Keys (11-16) vs. Potomac Nationals (14-10)

LHP John Means (3-0, 2.16) vs. RHP Boone Whiting (3-1, 4.91)

KEYS WALK WAY TO SERIES WIN: The Frederick Keys completed a three-game sweep of the Wilmington Blue Rocks, with a 6-4 win on Wednesday night at Frawley Stadium. After taking the lead for good in the fifth, the Keys got lockdown relief pitching from Ivan Hernandez, Max Schuh and Mike Zouzalik who combined on five shutout innings of two-hit baseball. Frederick and Wilmington rode the seesaw for the first four innings, as the Keys plated the first four before the Blue Crew responded with the next four. Three of those came in the second, as a single by T.J. Olesczuk and three straight walks made it 2-0, while Aderlin Rodriguez (RBI single) and Austin Wynns (groundout) tallied RBIs to make it a four-run affair. Back-to-back doubles by Corey Toups and Alfredo Escalera tied the game in the fourth, before the Keys broke the deadlock in the fifth. Three straight singles started things off, before Erick Salcedo and Jay Gonzalez brought in runs with a pair of groundouts.

SWEEP COMPLETE!: The orange and black posted their first sweep of the season on Wednesday night, brooming the Blue Rocks over three games. It was the team’s first sweep since last July 22-24, when the Keys took three in-a-row from Potomac at Pfitzner Stadium. On top of that, the Keys have won a season-high four games in a row. It is the team’s longest run since last August 12-15. In 2015, Frederick longest winning streak was six games. Currently, only Salem is on a longer win streak, with the Red Sox having taken seven straight (they lead the CL South with an 18-8 record)

BULLPEN PICKS IT UP: Since Saturday’s eighth inning blow up, where Keys relief allowed seven runs, the bullpen has picked it up. Dating back to the ninth inning of Saturday’s contest, Frederick bullpen hands have posted a 1.72 ERA, giving up just three runs in 15.2 innings on nine hits. That includes an active stretch of eight innings without allowing a run.

A-ROD ROCKING: Aderlin Rodriguez extended his hitting streak to a team-high 10 games on Wednesday, going 2-for-5 with an RBI. Over the 10-game run (which started on April 24), the 24-year-old is hitting .378 (17-for-45) with four home runs, 15 RBIs and eight runs scored. In the process, Rodriguez has improved his average from .210 to .280 the highest it has been since April 11. The 10-game streak is six games short of his career-high. While playing for Advanced-A St. Lucie (Mets) in 2014, Rodriguez hit in 16 straight from June 3-23.

RODRIGUEZ THE RBI MAN: Aderlin Rodriguez also has eight RBIs in his last three games. The ties him for the minor league in RBIs this week along with Edgar Corcino of the Fort Myers Miracle. Additionally, Rodriguez’s 13 RBIs in his last seven games put him in a tie for third in the MiLB for runs driven in over the last week.

WALK THIS WAY: Opposing pitchers have struggled to throw strikes of late and the Keys have not been shy to take a walk. In the last five games, Keys hitters have walked a combined 43 times. That has vaulted the team into second in the league in free passes earned (125). Only Lynchburg has walked more (126). This is a departure from previous seasons, as the Keys finished with the third-fewest walks in 2015 and the second-fewest in 2014. A bulk of the Keys walks came on Tuesday night, as Wilmington pitchers walked a franchise worse 16 batters. That figure was one short of the most by a Keys team in a game (17 times on April 20, 1994 against Winston-Salem).

HOMER STREAK ENDS: On Wednesday, Frederick saw its string of games with a home run end at five. Nonetheless, Keys bats have hit 10 in their last 10 games. That has built the team’s season figure to 18 home runs, a mark that trails only Lynchburg’s 24. Aderlin Rodriguez is tied for third in the CL with six, while Austin Wynns and Jomar Reyes have three apiece.    

STARTING OFF ON THE RIGHT FOOT: Over the last 10 games, Keys starting pitching has also been a point of strength. Keys starters have delivered three quality outings in their last six games, with the most recent coming from Cory Jones on Monday. Over the 10 contests, Keys arms have tallied a 3.35 ERA (53.2 IP/20ER) and allowed two runs or less seven times. For the year, Keys starters have a collective 4.05 ERA (128.2 IP/58ER).

ROSTER MOVEMENT: A number of roster moves were made right before the game Tuesday night. On the mound, left-hander Jeff Beliveau was received from Triple-A Norfolk and right-hander Austin Urban was transferred to Aberdeen. Elsewhere, Josh Hart was placed on the seven-day DL (retroactive to May 1) with a left groin injury and T.J Olesczuk was received from Aberdeen. Tuesday was Beliveau’s first appearance in a regular season game since last April 15 at Toronto when he was pitching for the Tampa Bay Rays. He is working his way back to Baltimore after missing most of last year due to labrum surgery.    

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Right-hander Boone Whiting makes his fifth start of the season and his first against the Keys. The righty’s most recent outing came last Wednesday at Myrtle Beach. Tossing six innings, Whiting received the loss allowing four runs (three earned) to go with two home runs a walk and five strikeouts. The Californian has delivered quality outings in each of his last two starts. A pitcher who has displayed good command so far, Whiting has only four walks in 22 innings and has the third-lowest BB/9IP ratio in the Carolina League. Signed by the Nationals as a free agent this January 12, Whiting played all of 2015 at Triple-A, first for the Memphis RedBirds (Cardinals) and then for the Albuquerque Isotopes (Colorado). Between the two stops he went 4-9 with a 6.44 ERA in 24 games (14 starts). In 95 innings, he allowed 123 hits, walked 61 and struck out 59. He was released by the Cardinals on May 22 but was signed by the Rockies four days later. Before this year, Whiting had played exclusively at the Triple-A level in 2014-15 and had not pitched below Double-A since 2012, when he was at Quad Cities (he had never played Advanced-A ball before this year). That year he led all of Minor League Baseball in WHIP. Originally drafted by St. Louis in the 18th round of the 2010 draft from Centenary College (LA), the 26-year-old is from Oakdale, CA which is known as the “Cowboy Capital of the World.”

Let’s Break Out the Brooms!

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

The Keys are in search of their first three-game sweep of the season on Wednesday night when they face the Wilmington Blue Rocks. Tuesday’s game was an ugly one for Blue Rocks pitching. In nine innings they walked 16 batters, a franchise-high. That enabled the Keys to come back and win.

Frederick is riding a season-high three game winning streak, and will send Lucas Long to the mound to keep it going. Currently the right-hander leads all Orioles minor leaguers in ERA. His opposition will be the hard throwing Josh Staumont, a right-handed pitcher and second round pick by the Royals last year.

The broadcast can be heard on 1450 AM The Source, frederickkeys.com and the TuneIn radio App by searching WTHU. First pitch is at 6:35.

Some notes are below. Shake your Keys!

Geoff

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Wednesday, May 4, 2016 · Game #27 · Road Game #14

Frederick Keys (10-16) vs. Wilmington Blue Rocks (6-18)

RHP Lucas Long (0-1, 2.45) vs. RHP Josh Staumont (0-2, 2.00)

KEYS WALK WAY TO SERIES WIN: The Frederick Keys walked 16 times, a franchise worst for the Wilmington Blue Rocks, as the orange and black defeated their CL North rivals 8-7 on Tuesday night at Frawley Stadium. The victory gives the Keys the series, and a chance for the sweep on Wednesday. Despite not recording a hit in their last three at-bats, the orange and black scored the final three runs of the night. With the bases loaded, Jonah Heim coaxed a free pass to make it a one-run game. That ended Ian Tompkins night, but things were no better for Mark McCoy, who plunked Cam Kneeland to tie the game. In the ninth, the Blue Rocks lefty loaded the bases (all on walks) while an RBI bounce out by Aderlin Rodriguez put the Keys ahead. Luis Gonzalez was outstanding in relief, posting 3.2 innings of scoreless, one-hit baseball to earn the win.

WALK THIS WAY: The Frederick Keys earned a come-from-behind victory thanks to an incredible bout of wildness by Blue Rocks pitching. The 16 walks the Keys received were one shy of a franchise record, as the orange and black walked 17 times on April 20, 1994 against Winston-Salem. On the night, Blue Rocks arms threw 231 pitches. Of that number, 111 were strikes and 120 were balls (48.1% strikes). Seven Keys batters received a walk, while Wynston Sawyer got aboard via free pass a franchise record five times. The previous high was four, a feat last accomplished by Manny Machado on July 7, 2011 against Potomac. Amazingly, it was not the first time Sawyer had walked five times in a game. He also did so on April 9, 2012 with Low-A Delmarva.

A LONG ONE: If you add the number of pitches by Keys staff, there were 386 total pitches thrown in Tuesday’s game. Not surprisingly, the game challenged both teams’ record books for longest nine-inning affair. Lasting three hours and 41 minutes, the contest came up 10 minutes short of the longest nine-inning game in Keys history (three hours and 51 minutes on June 30, 2013 against Winston-Salem). For the Blue Rocks, the game ended six minutes shy of the longest in team history.

 FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING: The Keys checked off several firsts in Tuesday’s game. After opening the year 0-11 when trailing after seven, the team bucked the trend after seven walks helped the Keys earn a come-from behind victory. The victory also marked the first time this year the Frederick managed to win despite being outhit (0-11 prior), while the extra chances at the plate helped Keith Bodie’s team work around three errors. Before last night, the team had gone 0-5 when making three defensive miscues or more.

 LET’S GO SWEEPING!: The Keys have won three in-a-row for the first time all season and are in search of a three-game sweep on Wednesday. Frederick has not earned a three-game brooming since last July 22-24 at Potomac. 

 A-ROD ROCKING: Aderlin Rodriguez extended his hitting streak to a team-high nine games on Tuesday, thanks to a two-run homer in the first. He finished 2-for-6 with four RBIs and a run scored and has driven in seven in his last two games (as well as 12 in his last six). Over the nine-game run, the 24-year-old is hitting .375 (15-for-40) with four home runs, 14 RBIs and eight runs scored. In the process, Rodriguez has improved his average from .210 to .275 the highest it has been since April 11. The nine-game streak equals his longest from last season, when he hit in nine straight from May 6-19 with the Binghamton Mets.

 ROSTER MOVEMENT: A number of roster moves were made right before the game Tuesday night. On the mound, left-hander Jeff Beliveau was received from Triple-A Norfolk and right-hander Austin Urban was transferred to Aberdeen. Elsewhere, Josh Hart was placed on the seven-day DL (retroactive to May 1) with a left groin injury and T.J Olesczuk was received from Aberdeen. Tuesday was Beliveau’s first appearance in a regular season game since last April 15 at Toronto when he was pitching for the Tampa Bay Rays. He is working his way back to Baltimore after missing most of last year due to labrum surgery.

STARTING OFF ON THE RIGHT FOOT: Over the last nine games, Keys starting pitching has been a point of strength. Keys starters have delivered three quality outings in their the last five games, with the most recent coming from Cory Jones on Monday. Over the nine contests, Keys arms have tallied a 2.90 ERA (49.2 IP/16ER) and allowed two runs or less seven times. For the year, Keys starters have a collective 3.90 ERA (124.2 IP/54ER).   

GRIMES NAMED CAROLINA LEAGUE PITCHER OF THE WEEK: Matthew Grimes was named the Carolina League “Pitcher of the Week” on Monday for the week of April 25-May 1. It marks the first time a Keys player has received a weekly honor this year. In two starts, Grimes went 2-0 with a 2.31 ERA. Over 11.2 innings, he allowed three runs on 10 hits. He defeated Winston-Salem on Thursday by pitching 6.1 innings of two-run baseball, the longest outing by a Keys starter this year.  

GOING DEEP: Even at the pitcher-friendly Frawley Stadium, the Keys have continued their string of games with a longball. Thanks to a two-run homer by Aderlin Rodriguez on Tuesday, Frederick has hit home runs in five straight contests. If you go back slightly farther, the Keys have hit 10 in their last nine games. That has built the team’s season figure to 18 home runs, a mark that trails only Lynchburg’s 23. Rodriguez leads the team with six and is tied second in the CL with Bobby Bradley of Lynchburg. Austin Wynns and Jomar Reyes have three apiece.    

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Right-hander Josh Staumont starts for Wilmington on Wednesday and is the No. 15 prospect in the Royals system according to Baseball America. His most recent outing came last Wednesday at Carolina. His second start in the league, he went five innings and allowed one run on three hits in a no-decision. He walked four (tied season-high) and struck out nine (also tied season-high). He enters Wednesday, third in strikeouts. Selected by the Royals in the 2nd round of the 2015 draft out of Azusa Pacific University, Staumont’s velocity jumped from the low-high 90s at the end of his college career. His fastball is ranked as the best in the KC system.

Keys Aim For Series Win on Tuesday at Frawley

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

The Keys coming off their most complete game of the 2016 season, resulting in an 11-2 drubbing of the Blue Rocks on Monday night at Frawley Stadium. In the game the Keys set a new season-high for runs, while Cory Jones posted his first win since 2014 (he missed all of 2015 due to Tommy John surgery.

On Tuesday the team tries for its second series win of the year (it would also be the club’s second in a road venue). Lefty Mitch Horacek comes off a good outing against Salem where he received a no-decision, while southpaw Matt Tenuta throws goes for Wilmington.

First pitch is slated for 6:35 from the Wilmington Riverfront and you can catch the broadcast on 1450 AM The Source locally or on frederickkeys.com and the TuneIn radio app (search for WTHU) if you aren’t in the Frederick-Thurmont area.

Some notes are below.

Shake your Keys!

Geoff

Tuesday, May 3, 2016 · Game #26 · Road Game #13

Frederick Keys (9-16) vs. Wilmington Blue Rocks (6-17)

LHP Mitch Horacek (1-3, 5.73) vs. LHP Matt Tenuta (2-1, 4.29)

KEYS AVOID SWEEP: The Frederick Keys dominated in all facets of the game on Monday night in an 11-2 rout of the Wilmington Blue Rocks at Frawley Stadium. In the game, the Keys posted two different multi-run innings and plated markers in five different stanzas. Wilmington scored the game’s initial run, but the visitors ripped off 11 of the last 12. After a Jay Gonzalez double tied the game in the third, the Keys took a three-run lead one inning later. Back-to-back triples by Jomar Reyes netted the first two, before a double steal brought in the third. In the sixth, the doors came off for Wilmington, as the Keys sent eight to bat and rattled off five runs. Anthony Caronia scored on a single and an error, while doubles by Steve Wilkerson and Wynston Sawyer and a two-run homer by Aderlin Rodriguez completed the inning. On the mound, Cory Jones picked up his first Carolina League win, firing off six frames of one-run baseball.

ATTACK OF THE BATS: Monday’s onslaught was a long time coming for the Keys. The team’s 11 runs equaled a season-high, while the five-run sixth and the five hits in said inning set new high-water marks for runs and hits in an inning. If that was not enough, the club set new benchmarks for extra-base hits (six), and tied a season-best in stolen bases (five). Just as impressive was the club’s production with two outs, as the orange and black registered nine of their 11 runs with two outs to go with seven two-out RBIs. Five starters had multiple hits and each of their first seven had an RBI.

STARTING OFF ON THE RIGHT FOOT: Over the last eight games, Keys starting pitching has been outstanding. Making his third start with Frederick, Cory Jones posted his first win, firing off six stanzas of one-run baseball. It was his first win since April 26, 2014. The start by Jones was the third quality outing in the last four games. Over the last eight games, Keys starters have tallied a 2.42 ERA (44.2 IP/12ER) and allowed two runs or less seven times. For the year, Keys starters have a collective 3.76 ERA (119.2 IP/50ER).

GRIMES NAMED CAROLINA LEAGUE PITCHER OF THE WEEK: Matthew Grimes was named the Carolina League “Pitcher of the Week” on Monday for the week of April 25-May 1. It marks the first time a Keys player has received a weekly honor this year. In two starts, Grimes went 2-0 with a 2.31 ERA. Over 11.2 innings, he allowed three runs on 10 hits. He defeated Winston-Salem on Thursday by pitching 6.1 innings of two-run baseball, the longest outing by a Keys starter this year.  

 GOING DEEP: Even at the pitcher-friendly Frawley Stadium, the Keys were able to continue their string of games with a longball. Thanks to a solo homer by Aderlin Rodriguez on Monday, Frederick has hit home runs in four straight contests. If you go back slightly farther, the Keys have hits nine in their last eight games. That has built the team’s season figure to 17 home runs, a mark that trails only Lynchburg’s 23. Rodriguez leads the team with five and is tied for third in the CL. Austin Wynns and Jomar Reyes have three apiece.

A-ROD ROCKING: Aderlin Rodriguez extended his hitting streak to a team-high eight games on Monday, with an RBI single in the fifth. Over the eight-game run, the 24-year-old is hitting .382 (13-for-34) with three home runs, 10 RBIs and seven runs scored. In the process, Rodriguez has improved his average from .210 to .271 the highest it has been since April 11. The hot stretch comes on the heels of a 2-for-19 stretch in his six contests before the streak. With a hit in his next games, Rodriguez would equal his longest hit streak from 2015, when he hit in nine straight from May 6-19 with the Binghamton Mets.

GOING DEEP: Even at the pitcher-friendly Frawley Stadium, the Keys were able to continue their string of games with a longball. Thanks to a solo homer by Aderlin Rodriguez on Monday, Frederick has hit home runs in four straight contests. If you go back slightly farther, the Keys have hits nine in their last eight games. That has built the team’s season figure to 17 home runs, a mark that trails only Lynchburg’s 23. Rodriguez leads the team with five and is tied for third in the CL. Austin Wynns and Jomar Reyes have three apiece.    

STAR WATCH: Reyes headlines a quartet of Keys players ranked among the top of the 30 in the Orioles system by Baseball America’s rankings. Following the Keys third baseman are Tanner Scott (No. 11), Jonah Heim (No. 15) and Josh Hart (No. 28). All four players are also listed among the O’s top 30 according to MLB Pipeline. Splitting 2015 between Short-Season Aberdeen and Delmarva, Scott went a combined 4-3 with a 3.83 ERA in 18 games (three starts) and struck out nearly 13 per nine innings (60 SO/42.1 IP). Baltimore’s No. 2 catching prospect, Heim played only 45 games last year due to a left foot injury, but managed to hit .258 with Delmarva in 36 first half games. During that time, 10 of his 32 hits went for extra bases. Hart returns to Frederick for the second straight year after hitting .255 with a home run and 28 RBIs in 104 games. The outfielder’s best asset was his speed, as he finished second among Orioles farmhands with 30 stolen bases.    

 TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Matt Tenuta makes his fifth start of the year on Tuesday. His most recent outing came last Tuesday. Pitching at Carolina, he took the loss, giving up four runs on six hits in four innings. Home runs have been a problem at times, as Tenuta has allowed four (tied for second in the CL). His lone outing against Frederick was a win on April 20, a game where the southpaw tossed 5.1 frames of two-run ball. Last season, Tenuta spent time with Low-A Lexington, Rookie-Burlington and the AZL Royals. Between the three stops he went 3-7 with a 3.93 ERA, with 13 of his 21 appearances coming at Low-A (2-6, 4.25). Opening the season there, the 10th pitch of his fifth start cost him more than two months, as he took a line drive off his left leg which broke his fibula. Selected by the Royals out of high school in the 25th round of the 2012 draft, Tenuta received a reported $100,000 bonus. As a kid, Tenuta moved all around, living in locales such as Columbus, OH, South Bend IN, Atlanta, GA and Raleigh, NC. The reason is that his dad Jon is a highly decorated defensive coordinator, serving in that role at BCS stops such as Kansas State, Ohio State, North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Notre Dame and Virginia. Additionally his dad played football for the Wahoos and his mom starred on the basketball team. Happy to be in the Carolina League, Tenuta lives in Cary, NC, not far from CL stops in Carolina and Winston-Salem. He throws a fastball, a curveball, a slider and a changeup.

On the Road Again…

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

The Keys have completed their short trek to the First State and will begin a three-game series with the Wilmington Blue Rocks on Monday night at Frawley Stadium. On Sunday, the team salvaged a win against Winston-Salem to conclude the team’s three-game homestand. Matthew Grimes was outstanding, delivering 6.1 innings of two-run baseball. It was the longest outing by a Keys starter this year.

Tonight Cory Jones gets the ball for the Keys and will be opposed by Blue Rocks righty Pedro Fernandez. He will be making the start on eight days rest, after his Sunday start was rained out.

Will hit the airwaves at 6:2o on 1450 AM The Source as well as frederickkeys.com and the TuneIn Radio App. I’ll do my best to keep you company.

Today’s notes are below.

Shake your Keys!

Geoff

Monday, May 2, 2016 · Game #25 · Road Game #12

Frederick Keys (8-16) vs. Wilmington Blue Rocks (6-16)

RHP Cory Jones (0-1, 5.40) vs. RHP Pedro Fernandez (2-0, 1.21)

KEYS AVOID SWEEP: The Frederick Keys utilized strong pitching and a big second inning to defeat the Winston-Salem Dash 5-2 on Sunday afternoon at Nymeo Field. The loss ended a four-game losing streak, while the Keys avoided being swept for the second time in 2016. Trailing 1-0, the Keys sent eight men to bat in the second. With the bases loaded, Erick Salcedo and Jay Gonzalez posted RBI singles to grab the lead, while Tad Gold scored on a passed ball. That would be enough for Matthew Grimes, who fired off 6.1 innings of two-run baseball. Coming off a disastrous outing on Wednesday where he allowed seven runs in 0.2 of an inning, Tanner Scott worked two clean stanzas to post his first Advanced-A save.

STARTING OFF ON THE RIGHT FOOT: Although the six-game homestand was not without its struggles, Keys starting pitching was one of the highlights. That trend continued on Sunday, when Matthew Grimes posted the longest outing by a Keys pitcher. Working 6.1 innings, Grimes also turned in his second quality start. Meanwhile, Keys arms registered a 2.48 ERA over the six contests at Nymeo Field. During that time, Grimes and Lucas Long delivered quality starts, while John Means and Mitch Horacek both pitched five innings without allowing an earned run. For the year, Keys starters have a collective 3.88 ERA.   

CLOSING OUT THE HOMESTAND/APRIL: Over the six-game homestand, the Keys went 2-4, while the club dropped to a season-worst nine games below .500 after Saturday’s setback. The Keys dropped both series they played and have gone 0-4 in sets at Nymeo Field in 2016. Home struggles in played a role in the team’s 7-16 April, the club’s worst first month showing since 2004, when the Keys posted a 4-16 record. April included two separate four game slides and a five game slide. Offensively, the Keys batted .236 during the season’s initial month, while on the mound, the staff posted a 4.81 ERA.

EIGTH INNING PROBLEMS: During the homestand, the eighth inning was a massive source of frustration for the Keys. During that span, Frederick pitching surrendered 20 runs in the eighth stanza, with half of that coming last Wednesday night against Salem. Leading 7-4 in that contest, Keys relief gave up its first 10 spot since July 15, 2015 at Wilmington, in the continued portion of a quasi-doubleheader. This season, Frederick pitching has blown eighth inning leads on three occasions (all at home) while the Keys have been outscored 29-11 in the eighth inning this year (the club’s worst showing in any inning).

 GOING DEEP: Although the Keys are third-to-last in the league in batting average at .236, the club is second with 16 home runs (trailing only Lynchburg’s 23). This includes six over the six-game homestand (and eight in the team’s last seven games). Aderlin Rodriguez leads the team with four and is tied for fifth in the CL. Austin Wynns and Jomar Reyes have three apiece.  

 ON THE ROAD AGAIN: The Keys gear up for their third roadtrip of the year, which takes the team through Wilmington (three games) and Potomac (four games). On the road, Frederick is 5-6 as opposed to going 3-10 at the friendly confines. Additionally, Frederick faces a beleaguered Blue Rocks team which has lost nine straight and is just 1-10 in games at Frawley Stadium. Wilmington has not won since defeating the Keys 13-4 on April 20. Last year on the Riverfront, the Keys went 5-10.

 A-ROD ROCKING: Aderlin Rodriguez extended his hitting streak to a team-high seven games on Sunday, with a single in the fifth Over the seven-game run, the 24-year-old is hitting .345 (10-for-29) with two home runs, seven RBIs and six runs scored. In the process, Rodriguez has improved his average from .210 to .253. The hot stretch comes on the heels of a 2-for-19 stretch in his six contests before the streak.

STAR WATCH: Reyes headlines a quartet of Keys players ranked among the top of the 30 in the Orioles system by Baseball America’s rankings. Following the Keys third baseman are Tanner Scott (No. 11), Jonah Heim (No. 15) and Josh Hart (No. 28). All four players are also listed among the O’s top 30 according to MLB Pipeline. Splitting 2015 between Short-Season Aberdeen and Delmarva, Scott went a combined 4-3 with a 3.83 ERA in 18 games (three starts) and struck out nearly 13 per nine innings (60 SO/42.1 IP). Baltimore’s No. 2 catching prospect, Heim played only 45 games last year due to a left foot injury, but managed to hit .258 with Delmarva in 36 first half games. During that time, 10 of his 32 hits went for extra bases. Hart returns to Frederick for the second straight year after hitting .255 with a home run and 28 RBIs in 104 games. The outfielder’s best asset was his speed, as he finished second among Orioles farmhands with 30 stolen bases.    

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Right-hander Pedro Fernandez makes his fifth start of the season on Monday night and is the No. 18 prospect in the Kansas City farm system according to Baseball America. The righty is making the start on eight days rest, after the Blue Rocks series finale at Potomac was cancelled on Sunday. His most recent outing came last Sunday against the P-Nats. Firing off seven shutout innings, Fernandez received a no-decision. The longest outing of the right-hander’s career, he walked two and struck out seven. In all four of Fernandez’s starts, he has surrendered one run or less. Currently he is second in the CL in ERA (1.21), fourth in WHIP (1.03) and tied for fourth in lowest batting average against (.200). Fernandez split 205 between Wilmington and Low-A Lexington, posting much better numbers with the former. With the Legends, he was 6-2 with a 3.12 ERA in 78 innings. He gave up just 53 hits, walked 27 and struck out 89 while opponents hit only .191. After joining the Blue Rocks in August, he struggled mightily, going 0-6 with an 8.82 ERA in seven contests and made it through the fifth only once. Signed as a 16-year-old by Kansas City in 2011, Fernandez hails from the resort town of Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, a city featuring 100,000 hotel beds.

 

The Keys Conclude Their Homestand on Sunday

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

It has been a little rainy this morning, but it looks like we’ll be able to have baseball! First pitch is scheduled for 2pm with gates opening at 1. The highlight of the day will be the first Meet the Team Event of the Year. It will start at 1pm.

Matthew Grimes gets the ball for the Keys and will be opposed by Dash righty Jordan Stephens. As always, the broadcast can be heard on 1450 AM The Source, frederickkeys.com and the TuneIn Radio App by clicking on WTHU.

Some game notes are below. Shake your Keys!

Geoff

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Sunday, May 1, 2016 · Game #24 · Home Game #13

Frederick Keys (7-16) vs. Winston-Salem Dash (9-14)

RHP Matthew Grimes (2-1, 1.40) vs. RHP Jordan Stephens (0-2, 3.50)

EIGTH INNING WOES STRIKE AGAIN: The Winston-Salem Dash scored seven times in the top of the eighth to defeat the Frederick Keys 9-8 on Saturday afternoon at Nymeo Field. Going into the eighth the Keys led 7-2, making it the team’s largest blown lead of the season. In the eighth, the Dash sent 11 men to bat and recorded seven hits. The first three reached against Austin Urban, prompting a pitching change by Frederick manager, Keith Bodie. Entering with the bases loaded, Jimmy Yacabonis allowed a two-run double to Mason Robbins and a two-run single to Grant Massey to make it a one-run affair, before a sac-bunt, single and sac-fly by Gerson Montilla leveled the game at seven. An RBI double by Marcus Davis completed the scoring. The blown lead came on a day where the Keys scored a season-high eight runs, pounded out 12 hits and had seven different starters record an RBI.

EIGTH INNING PROBLEMS: Over the last four days, the eighth inning has been a massive source of frustration for the Keys. During that span, Keys pitching has surrendered 20 runs in the eighth stanza, with half of that coming on Wednesday night against Salem. Leading 7-4 in that contest, Keys relief gave up its first 10 spot since July 15, 2015 at Wilmington, in the continued portion of a quasi-doubleheader.  This season, Frederick pitching has blown eighth inning leads on three occasions (all at home) while the Keys have been outscored 29-10 in the eighth inning this year (the club’s worst showing in any inning).

 TRYING TIMES: With Saturday’s setback, the Keys dropped to nine games below .500 for the first time in 2016. Ending the opening month at 7-16, this concludes the club’s worst showing in April showing since 2004, when the team posted a 4-16 record. This month has included two separate four game slides (including the current one) and a five game slide. In spite of the struggles though, the Keys are still in third in the CL North, as Wilmington went 6-16 in April and has lost 9 straight games.

 AVOIDING THE SWEEP: The Keys are trying to avoid being swept for the second time this season. During the first homestand, the Keys suffered a four-game sweep at the hands of the Lynchburg Hillcats. A loss on Sunday would mark the first three game sweep by an opponent since last July 28-30 at Carolina and the first at home since last June 15-17, also at the hands of the Mudcats.

 A HOUSE BUT NOT A HOME: With the loss on Saturday, the Keys have dropped each of their first four home series at Nymeo Field. That disappointing fact is attached to a 2-10 home record. Although it is disappointing, the Keys are hardly alone when it comes to struggles at home. Entering Sunday, every team except Lynchburg (7-4) has a losing home record, while the Keys, Winston-Salem (2-8) and Wilmington (1-10) have two wins or less at the friendly confines.

IT’S A TRIPLE PLAY!!: On Saturday, the Frederick Keys turned a 6-3-2-5 triple play, the first by the team since August 6, 2009, when the club turned a 3-6-2-5-6-5 triple play against…the Winston-Salem Dash. In that contest (a 15-3 Keys win) Frederick’s catcher was Caleb Joseph, while the winning pitcher was Zach Britton, who earned his eighth win.

A-ROD ROCKING: Aderlin Rodriguez extended his hitting streak to six games on Saturday, with a single in the third. Over the six-game run, the 24-year-old is hitting .346 (9-for-26) with two home runs, seven RBIs and six runs scored. His streak equals the longest by a Keys player this season. In the process, Rodriguez has improved his average from .210 to .250. The hot stretch comes in the wake of a 2-for-19 stretch over his previous six contests.

STAR WATCH: Reyes headlines a quartet of Keys players ranked among the top of the 30 in the Orioles system by Baseball America’s rankings. Following the Keys third baseman are Tanner Scott (No. 11), Jonah Heim (No. 15) and Josh Hart (No. 28). All four players are also listed among the O’s top 30 according to MLB Pipeline. Splitting 2015 between Short-Season Aberdeen and Delmarva, Scott went a combined 4-3 with a 3.83 ERA in 18 games (three starts) and struck out nearly 13 per nine innings (60 SO/42.1 IP). Baltimore’s No. 2 catching prospect, Heim played only 45 games last year due to a left foot injury, but managed to hit .258 with Delmarva in 36 first half games. During that time, 10 of his 32 hits went for extra bases. Hart returns to Frederick for the second straight year after hitting .255 with a home run and 28 RBIs in 104 games. The outfielder’s best asset was his speed, as he finished second among Orioles farmhands with 30 stolen bases.    

 BASEBALL WITH BODIE: Keith Bodie takes over as the manager of the Frederick Keys in 2016, replacing Orlando Gomez. The Brooklyn native is the 21st manager in franchise history and comes to Frederick from Double-A Bowie, where he served as the Baysox hitting coach last year. A decorated minor league manager, Bodie has 18 years of MiLB managerial experience and boasts a .525 winning percentage (1223-1108). He has claimed nine division titles while managing as high as the Triple-A level. Bodie last served as a manager for the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks in 2014, guiding them to a 73-67 record. In three season as the Astros Double-A leader, Bodie posted a 237-183 record and earned Texas League Manager of the Year honors in 2013. Some of his past pupils include Craig Biggio, Omar Vizquel and Zach Greinke.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Right-hander Jordan Stephens makes his fifth start of the season and is the No. 15 prospect in the White Sox system according to Baseball America. His most recent outing came on Tuesday against Lynchburg. Receiving a no-decision, Stephens allowed three runs on five hits in four innings. He walked two and struck out four. Stephens split 2015 between the AZL White Sox and Rookie Great Falls. Between the two stops, he finished with no record and a 0.51 ERA in 11 games (one start). Over 17.2 innings he allowed one run, walked three and struck out 21. A fifth round pick out of Rice University in 2015, Stephens was named All-Conference USA first team last year, posting a 3.17 ERA. His 2014 season was limited to just 14 innings after having Tommy John surgery. Originally from Alvin, Texas, the 23-year-old’s grew up in the same town as Baseball Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan. There is a Nolan Ryan Museum on the Campus of Alvin Community College. Stephens throws a fastball, curve, cutter and changeup.

Get Ready for Baseball and Star Wars Day!

May the Force be With You!

Because it’s Star Wars Day….First pitch is at 2pm from Nymeo Field against the Winston-Salem Dash, while John Means searches for his fourth win of the season. He defeated Lynchburg last Sunday on his 23rd birthday.

His opposition will be right-hander Thad Lowry. As always the broadcast can be heard on 1450 AM The Source and frederickkeys.com.

Today’s notes are below.

Shake your Keys!

Geoff

Saturday, April 30, 2016 · Game #23 · Home Game #12

Frederick Keys (7-15) vs. Winston-Salem Dash (9-13)

LHP John Means (3-0, 2.70) vs. RHP Thad Lowry (0-2, 4.05)

                                                                                                                                                              

BULLPEN STRUGGLES GUIDE SOX TO SERIES WIN: A Nick Basto home run in the top of the ninth was just enough to give the Winston-Salem Dash a 3-2 win over the Frederick Keys on Friday night at Nymeo Field. It was the Keys third loss in a row and dropped the team to eight games below sea-level. The orange and black had only three hits all game. In spite of the offensive struggles, the Keys tied the game in the seventh, as Aderlin Rodriguez clubbed a solo homer to left. In the ninth, the Dash broke the deadlock with a deep fly by Nick Basto and held on after the Keys stranded the tying run at third base.

LOOKING FOR THE LUMBER: The Keys were limited to just three hits on Friday night. That included a stretch of five innings with no base hits (second-sixth stanzas). Starting with an RBI force out by Aderlin Rodriguez, Dash starter Matt Cooper retired 18 consecutive batters, including eight via strikeout. The three hits were one short of the Keys season low, as the team was held to just two on April 21 at Lynchburg in a 5-0 defeat. This year, the Keys have been limited to five hits or fewer on six different occasions.

TRYING TIMES: With Friday’s setback, the Keys dropped to eight games below .500 for the first time in 2016. This is Frederick’s worst April showing since 2004, when the team posted a 4-16 record. This month has included losses in three straight, four straight and five straight. In spite of the struggles though, the Keys are still in third in the CL North, as Wilmington has gone just 6-15 in its first month of games.

A-ROD ROCKING: Aderlin Rodriguez extended his hitting streak to five games on Friday with a solo homer in the seventh. Over the five game run, the 24-year-old is hitting .381 (8-for-21) with two home runs, six RBIs and six runs scored. In the process, Rodriguez has improved his average from .210 to .253. The hot stretch comes in the wake of a 2-for-19 stretch over his previous six contests.

LONG IMPRESSES IN KEYS DEBUT: Lucas Long delivered his first Carolina League quality start on Friday night, delivering six innings of two-run baseball in a no-decision. Promoted to the orange and black on April 19 from Low-A Delmarva, the Minnesota native is a combined 0-1 with a 1.24 ERA (29 IP/4ER) in his first four starts. Additionally, Long’s start continued a run of good outings by Keys starting pitchers. Over the first four games of the homestand, Frederick arms have posted a 2.95 ERA (21.1 IP/7ER).

ALL I DO IS WYNN, WYNN, WYNN: In spite of playing only 14 games, Austin Wynns has been one of the Keys top offensive producers in April. Hitting .302, the Californian is second on the team in home runs (three) and third in RBIs (nine). The power surge from Wynns has been a pleasant surprise for Frederick, given that Wynns hit just three home runs in 78 combined games last year and only five in three prior seasons before this year.

STAR WATCH: Reyes headlines a quartet of Keys players ranked among the top of the 30 in the Orioles system by Baseball America’s rankings. Following the Keys third baseman are Tanner Scott (No. 11), Jonah Heim (No. 15) and Josh Hart (No. 28). All four players are also listed among the O’s top 30 according to MLB Pipeline. Splitting 2015 between Short-Season Aberdeen and Delmarva, Scott went a combined 4-3 with a 3.83 ERA in 18 games (three starts) and struck out nearly 13 per nine innings (60 SO/42.1 IP). Baltimore’s No. 2 catching prospect, Heim played only 45 games last year due to a left foot injury, but managed to hit .258 with Delmarva in 36 first half games. During that time, 10 of his 32 hits went for extra bases. Hart returns to Frederick for the second straight year after hitting .255 with a home run and 28 RBIs in 104 games. The outfielder’s best asset was his speed, as he finished second among Orioles farmhands with 30 stolen bases.    

BASEBALL WITH BODIE: Keith Bodie takes over as the manager of the Frederick Keys in 2016, replacing Orlando Gomez. The Brooklyn native is the 21st manager in franchise history and comes to Frederick from Double-A Bowie, where he served as the Baysox hitting coach last year. A decorated minor league manager, Bodie has 18 years of MiLB managerial experience and boasts a .525 winning percentage (1223-1108). He has claimed nine division titles while managing as high as the Triple-A level. Bodie last served as a manager for the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks in 2014, guiding them to a 73-67 record. In three season as the Astros Double-A leader, Bodie posted a 237-183 record and earned Texas League Manager of the Year honors in 2013. Some of his past pupils include Craig Biggio, Omar Vizquel and Zach Greinke.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Thad Lowry makes his fifth start of the season and is the No. 21 prospect in the White Sox system according to Baseball America. His most recent start came last Sunday at Salem. Tagged with the loss, the right-hander allowed three runs on five hits in 5.2 innings. He walked two and struck out two. Lowry spent last season with the Low-A Kannapolis Intimidators. A workhorse, the 21-year-old led the league in innings pitched (150.2) while going 12-8 with a 4.48 ERA in 26 games. He was also tied for second in the South Atlantic League in wins. Selected by the White Sox in the fifth round of the 2013 Draft out of Spring (TX) High School. Seen as a catching prospect in high school, Lowry started getting attention for his pitching at the World Wood Bat Association World Championships. Shortly thereafter, he hit 96 mph during a scrimmage and began focusing on pitching from there. He received a reporter $400,000 signing bonus and bypassed a college commitment to Texas Tech. He throws a fastball, a slider and a changeup.

Dr. Seuss And Baseball on Friday!

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

If you like the Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, Thing 1 and Thing 2 and some of Dr. Seuss’ other tremendous creations, get excited. Tonight is Cat in the Hat Night at Nymeo Field and a number of the characters from Dr. Seuss tales will be on hand. As the name of the theme night indicates, the Cat in the Hat will be the big headliner. Gates open at 6 p.m and you can read more about some of the fun here.

On the baseball side of things, the Keys take on the Winston-Salem Dash, as the back-end of the club’s homestand begins. Frederick dropped its series finale to Salem 7-4 on Thursday, as the Keys lost the lead for the second straight night.

Tonight though, the Winston-Salem Dash come to town. Led by Joel Skinner, the visitors have had a tough go of things themselves, entering tonight with an 8-13 record. Pitching has been a problem spot, with the Dash currently at sixth in ERA (4.42) while they are tied for the lead in home runs allowed (15). Not good trends if you’re pitching at Nymeo Field.

Lucas Long gets the ball for the Keys tonight and will be opposed by Dash righty Matt Cooper. First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 p.m from Nymeo Field, while the broadcast can be heard on 1450 AM The Source and frederickkeys.com (you can also find us on the TuneIn Radio app on your smartphone, tablet or Android by going to WTHU AM 1450). Doug and I will keep you company as always (space heater taken up a notch this evening).

Some notes are below. Shake your Keys!

Geoff

Friday, April 29, 2016 · Game #22 · Home Game #11

Frederick Keys (7-14) vs. Winston-Salem Dash (8-13)

RHP Lucas Long (0-1, 1.80) vs. RHP Matt Cooper (1-1, 3.85)

                                                                                                                                                              

BULLPEN STRUGGLES GUIDE SOX TO SERIES WIN: The Salem Red Sox scored multiple runs in three of their last four trips to bat to defeat the Frederick Keys 7-4 on Thursday night at Nymeo Field. All seven runs were tagged on Keys relievers, as the Red Sox claimed the three-game series. For the second straight night, the decisive inning was the eighth, as the visitors scored three times on one swing. Max Schuh walked Ben Moore to start the inning, before Deiner Lopez singled two batters later. A walk to Yoan Moncada then prompted a pitching change. On for Schuh, Jimmy Yacabonis got a lineout by Mauricio Duban, but Andrew Benintendi followed with a bases clearing double. Ahead by a pair after six, the Keys lost the lead in the seventh after RBI singles by Benintendi and Nick Longhi tied the game at four. Benintendi torched Keys pitching in the final two games of the series, posting seven RBIs (including four Thursday).

BULLPEN BLUES: Following a rough night on Wednesday, things did not get any better for Keys relief pitching on Thursday. In four innings, Frederick relief allowed seven runs (five earned) on six hits to go with three walks. Meanwhile in the last two days, Keys bullpen hands have surrendered 17 runs (15 earned) in eight frames (16.88 ERA). A large chunk of that came on Wednesday in the eighth inning, when Salem scored 10 runs (all earned) and sent 13 men to bat. Currently the team’s bullpen ERA is 5.44, an increase of more than a point (4.29) since Tuesday.

PAREDES IMPRESSES IN MLB REHAB: Orioles utility man, Jimmy Paredes, played well for the Keys on a Major League rehab assignment Thursday night. Making the start in leftfield, he finished 3-for-4 with a double, an RBI and two runs scored. In his two previous games at Double-A Bowie, Paredes was 1-for-7 with two runs scored and a walk. He is on the mend from a left wrist sprain. Paredes was the third member of the Orioles to join the orange on a Major League rehab, after Kevin Gausman and Brian Matusz both pitched for Frederick during the team’s first homestand.

SUBTRACT 2 AND WHERE IS THE PRODUCTION?: If you take out the production of Jimmy Paredes and Aderlin Rodriguez (who ended 2-for-4 with two RBIs) out of the equation on Thursday, Keys hitters went a combined 3-for-26 at the plate. Outside of that figure, the team left 11 on base and finished a paltry 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position. On the season, the Keys are batting .201 collectively with runners in scoring position, the worst mark in the Carolina League (next worst is Carolina at .213).

A HOUSE BUT NOT A HOME: With the loss on Thursday, the Keys have dropped each of their first three home series at Nymeo Field. That disappointing fact is attached to a 2-8 home record. Although it is disappointing, the Keys are hardly alone when it comes to struggles at home. Entering Friday, Potomac (2-7) and Winston-Salem (2-8) only have two wins at the friendly confines, while Wilmington has just one (1-10). Only Lynchburg (7-4) and Myrtle Beach (6-5) possess winning home records.

LET’S PLAY LONGBALL: Although the Keys are tied for sixth in hitting (.236), the orange and black are second in home runs (13). Over the last four games, Frederick his hit five deep flies, while the orange and black have homered in three of their last four contests. Austin Wynns and Aderlin Rodriguez share the team lead with three, while both sit just outside the top five in the Carolina League in that category.

ALL I DO IS WYNN, WYNN, WYNN: In spite of playing only 14 games, Austin Wynns has been one of the Keys top offensive producers in April. The Californian is tied for the team lead in home runs (three) and is tied for second in RBIs (nine). The power surge from Wynns has been a pleasant surprise for Frederick, given that Wynns hit just three home runs in 78 combined games last year and only five in three prior seasons before this year.

STAR WATCH: Reyes headlines a quartet of Keys players ranked among the top of the 30 in the Orioles system by Baseball America’s rankings. Following the Keys third baseman are Tanner Scott (No. 11), Jonah Heim (No. 15) and Josh Hart (No. 28). All four players are also listed among the O’s top 30 according to MLB Pipeline. Splitting 2015 between Short-Season Aberdeen and Delmarva, Scott went a combined 4-3 with a 3.83 ERA in 18 games (three starts) and struck out nearly 13 per nine innings (60 SO/42.1 IP). Baltimore’s No. 2 catching prospect, Heim played only 45 games last year due to a left foot injury, but managed to hit .258 with Delmarva in 36 first half games. During that time, 10 of his 32 hits went for extra bases. Hart returns to Frederick for the second straight year after hitting .255 with a home run and 28 RBIs in 104 games. The outfielder’s best asset was his speed, as he finished second among Orioles farmhands with 30 stolen bases.    

 BASEBALL WITH BODIE: Keith Bodie takes over as the manager of the Frederick Keys in 2016, replacing Orlando Gomez. The Brooklyn native is the 21st manager in franchise history and comes to Frederick from Double-A Bowie, where he served as the Baysox hitting coach last year. A decorated minor league manager, Bodie has 18 years of MiLB managerial experience and boasts a .525 winning percentage (1223-1108). He has claimed nine division titles while managing as high as the Triple-A level. Bodie last served as a manager for the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks in 2014, guiding them to a 73-67 record. In three season as the Astros Double-A leader, Bodie posted a 237-183 record and earned Texas League Manager of the Year honors in 2013. Some of his past pupils include Craig Biggio, Omar Vizquel and Zach Greinke.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Matt Cooper makes his fifth start of the season on Friday night. His most recent outing came last Saturday at Salem, where he earned his second career Carolina League victory. Working six innings, Cooper allowed two runs on six hits while striking out nine. The nine strikeouts and six innings where both career-highs, while it was the first quality start of Cooper’s pro career. Currently, the 24-year-old ranks fourth in the league in strikeouts (27) and is second among starters in highest SO/9IP ratio (11.57). Cooper split 2015 between Winston-Salem and Low-A Kannapolis. Between the two stops, he was 4-0 with a 1.55 ERA over 38 games (all in relief). Most of that time was at Low-A (30 appearances) where he made 30 appearances and went 3-0 with a 1.59 ERA. Promoted to the Dash last August 7, Cooper was utterly dominant at the end of his tenure in the South Atlantic League. He ended his time with 15 straight scoreless innings (striking out 32) while he whiffed 14 of his last 17 batters faced. This season, Cooper shifted to the starting rotation in his 60th professional outing (came on April 8 at Lynchburg). No stranger to a starting role though, Cooper was tremendous for the University of Hawaii rotation, posting a 3.14 ERA as a junior (2013) before turning in a 1.60 mark as a senior, the third-lowest single-season mark in school history. In total he started 27 of the 31 games he pitched. Cooper opened his college career at Bellevue Community College in his home state of Washington. From Marysville, WA, the right-handers hometown is known as “The Strawberry City” since it is surrounded by numerous Strawberry farms. Cooper throws a fastball, a curveball and a changeup.

 

Keys Gear Up for Another Rubber Game

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

The orange and black gear up for their third rubber game of the year on Thursday night and their second against the Salem Red Sox. The first round went to the Keys at LewisGale Field. Tonight the team will have a little bit of help, as Jimmy Paredes is scheduled to join the team on an MLB rehab assignment. You can read more about it here.

Lefty Mitch Horacek gets the ball for the Keys against southpaw Trey Ball, who makes his season-debut. A former first round pick by Boston, Ball spent all of last season in the Carolina League.

Today’s notes are below while the broadcast kicks off at 6:45 on 1450 AM The Source. Doug Raftery and I will be dressing warmly if you care (could be a little cool at the park tonight).

Shake your Keys!

Thursday, April 28, 2016 · Game #21 · Home Game #10

Frederick Keys (7-13) vs. Salem Red Sox (12-8)

LHP Mitch Horacek (1-3, 7.41) vs. LHP Trey Ball (0-0, –)

                                                                                                                                                              

RED SOX STUN KEYS WITH 10-RUN EIGHTH: The Salem Red Sox scored 10 times and sent 13 to bat in the top of the eighth to earn a 14-7 come-from-behind win on Wednesday night at Nymeo Field. Half of those runs scored either via walk or hit-by-pitch, as Tanner Scott surrendered seven runs in two-thirds of an inning while walking four. Entering the eighth down three, Salem retook the lead on a free ride to Bryan Hudson. Scott was removed for Luis Gonzalez who then walked in the fifth run. From there, Mauricio Duban singled home a pair before Andrew Benintendi hit a three-run homer to complete the 10-run stanza. With the loss, the Keys will play a rubber match on Thursday against the Red Sox.

AN INNING TO FORGET: Wednesday’s eighth inning marked the second time in as many years that Keys pitching had given up 10 runs in a frame. Last season, Keys pitching gave up 10 runs on July 15 in the front-end of a quasi-doubleheader against Wilmington (a game resumed from July 9). For the Red Sox, the 10-run inning equaled a team-high for runs scored in an inning, a feat which had been accomplished twice before last night. Eerily, the last Salem 10-run inning before Wednesday came exactly five years prior, when the club scored 10 times in the second inning at Kinston on April 27, 2011.

SAWYER SIZZLES IN SEASON DEBUT: Wynston Sawyer rejoined the Keys roster on Tuesday and made quite an impression in his 2016 debut. Ending 3-for-4 with a two-run homer and three RBIs, Sawyer equaled his Advanced-A high for hits and RBIs. Dating back to last season, Sawyer has nine RBIs in his last six games (including two games of three RBIs). In 2015 he batted .228 with two home runs and 33 RBIs in 74 contests with Frederick.

RUBBER GAMES: The Keys play their third rubber game of the year on Thursday and have played rubber matches now in each of their three-game sets. In deciding games this season the Keys are 1-1. Frederick’s lone win in a rubber game came at Salem on April 13 (5-3) but the Keys dropped their last one at Nymeo Field on April 20, a 13-4 setback to Wilmington.

LET’S PLAY LONGBALL: Although the Keys are tied for sixth in hitting, the orange and black are second in home runs (13). Over the last three games, Frederick his hit five deep flies, after going the previous three games without any. Wynston Sawyer supplied Frederick’s lone homer on Wednesday, a solo shot in the seventh. Austin Wynns and Aderlin Rodriguez share the team lead with three, while both sit just outside the top five in the Carolina League in that category.

PAREDES TO JOIN KEYS THURSDAY: Orioles utility man, Jimmy Paredes is scheduled to rehab with the Keys on Thursday. He is on the mend from a left wrist sprain. Paredes becomes the third member of the Orioles to join the orange on a Major League rehab, after Kevin Gausman and Brian Matusz both pitched for Frederick during the team’s first homestand. In 104 games with the Orioles last year, Paredes batted .275 with 10 home runs, 42 RBIs and 17 doubles. Paredes did his best work in the first half when he batted .299. Suiting up for Double-A Bowie the last two nights, Paredes is 1-for-7 with two runs scored and a walk. He played Tuesday at third, while serving as the DH Wednesday.

THE FOUR-RUN RULE: This season, Frederick wins have been predicated on the team reaching the four-run mark. In all seven of the Keys wins, the offense has scored four or more runs. Meanwhile, the team is winless (0-7) when failing to meet the four-run barrier. Frederick’s high-water mark for runs in a game this year is seven, a feat which the Keys have accomplished twice this season.

ALL I DO IS WYNN, WYNN, WYNN: In spite of playing only 14 games, Austin Wynns has been one of the Keys top offensive producers in April. The Californian is tied for the team lead in home runs (three) and is tied for second in RBIs (nine). The power surge from Wynns has been a pleasant surprise for Frederick, given that Wynns hit just three home runs in 78 combined games last year and only five in three prior seasons before this year.

STAR WATCH: Reyes headlines a quartet of Keys players ranked among the top of the 30 in the Orioles system by Baseball America’s rankings. Following the Keys third baseman are Tanner Scott (No. 11), Jonah Heim (No. 15) and Josh Hart (No. 28). All four players are also listed among the O’s top 30 according to MLB Pipeline. Splitting 2015 between Short-Season Aberdeen and Delmarva, Scott went a combined 4-3 with a 3.83 ERA in 18 games (three starts) and struck out nearly 13 per nine innings (60 SO/42.1 IP). Baltimore’s No. 2 catching prospect, Heim played only 45 games last year due to a left foot injury, but managed to hit .258 with Delmarva in 36 first half games. During that time, 10 of his 32 hits went for extra bases. Hart returns to Frederick for the second straight year after hitting .255 with a home run and 28 RBIs in 104 games. The outfielder’s best asset was his speed, as he finished second among Orioles farmhands with 30 stolen bases.    

BASEBALL WITH BODIE: Keith Bodie takes over as the manager of the Frederick Keys in 2016, replacing Orlando Gomez. The Brooklyn native is the 21st manager in franchise history and comes to Frederick from Double-A Bowie, where he served as the Baysox hitting coach last year. A decorated minor league manager, Bodie has 18 years of MiLB managerial experience and boasts a .525 winning percentage (1223-1108). He has claimed nine division titles while managing as high as the Triple-A level. Bodie last served as a manager for the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks in 2014, guiding them to a 73-67 record. In three season as the Astros Double-A leader, Bodie posted a 237-183 record and earned Texas League Manager of the Year honors in 2013. Some of his past pupils include Craig Biggio, Omar Vizquel and Zach Greinke.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Left-hander Trey Ball makes his 2016 debut on Thursday night. He is rated the No. 17 prospect in the Red Sox system according to Baseball America and No. 19 by MLBPipeline.com. Spending all off 2015 with the Red Sox, the southpaw went 9-13 with a 4.73 ERA in 25 games. Logging 129.1 innings, he gave up 129 hits, walked 60 and struck out 77. 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, while Keys batters hit .305 against him. Ball spent all of 2014 with Low-A Greenville, going 5-10 with a 4.68 ERA over 100 innings (22 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. New Castle is also home to the New Castle Correctional Facility, the largest prison in Indiana which can hold up to 3,500 inmates. Ball throws a fastball, a curveball and a changeup.

The Keys Are Back in Town!

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

The Keys are back home for six games. Tonight the team begins a three-game set with the Salem Red Sox, before getting their first look at the Winston-Salem Dash on Friday night.

Frederick took two of three at Salem during the Keys’ first roadtrip of the season, and will look to keep the trend going tonight against Jalen Beeks. The orange and black have not seen the southpaw yet, but he has gotten off to a strong start,  posting a 0.57 ERA in his first three starts. Only Julian Merryweather of Lynchburg (0.00 ERA) has fared better.

Matthew Grimes gets the ball for the Keys, and is 1-1 with a 1.29 ERA in three starts. His last outing was a bit of a struggle, as he surrendered five runs in the first inning and did not make it past the third inning.

We’ll have lineups later on, while a look at this weekend’s promotional slate can be found by clicking here. The Cat in the Hat will be Second Home Stand Promo (640)in town on Friday for the team’s 7 p.m game, and afterwards there will be postgame fireworks sponsored by Frederick Magazine. Star Wars Day is back on Saturday at 2. There will be light saber battles between innings as well as appearances by Luke Skywalker and plenty others.

Sunday also ought to be fun, as it is the first Meet the Team Event of the Season. Gates open at 1 as Keys players and coaches will be on the field signing autographs before the game. Fans can also have a pre-game catch on the outfield before the game. One of the great aspects on Sunday Funday presented by Chili’s. First pitch is at 2 p.m.

In other news, Jimmy Paredes is scheduled to rehab with the Keys on Thursday night. He is coming back from a wrist injury and will be the third O’s player to join Frederick on a big league rehab.

Additionally, wanted to pass along an article on Keys pitcher Tanner Chleborad, discussing his start to the Carolina League season. The article can be found by clicking here.

Some game notes are below. Talk to you on the radio tonight! As always, coverage can be heard on 1450 AM The Source, frederickkeys.com and the TuneIn Radio App (just search WTHU).

Shake your Keys!

Geoff

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Tuesday, April 26, 2016 · Game #19 · Home Game #8

Frederick Keys (6-12) vs. Salem Red Sox (11-7)

RHP Matthew Grimes (1-1, 1.29) vs. LHP Jalen Beeks (2-0, 0.57)

                                                                                                                                                              

KEYS AVOID SWEEP, SNAP SLIDE: The Frederick Keys used a pair of home runs to seize control in the fourth inning on Sunday, as the visitors defeated the Lynchburg Hillcats 5-2 at City Stadium. In the process, the Keys avoided their second four game sweep of the year. Trailing 2-0, the Keys plated three two-out runs in the fourth. Following a Cam Kneeland double play, Aderlin Rodriguez singled. One batter later, Austin Wynns tied the game with a home run to left-center field, before the following batter, T.J. Olesczuk followed suit. Three straight singles in the fifth helped Frederick add an insurance run, with Steve Wilkerson’s bringing home Erick Salcedo. Frederick added an additional marker in the eighth, but Keys pitching would not need it. John Means earned the win tossing six innings of two-run baseball, while Tanner Scott and Mike Zouzalik collaborated on three innings of scoreless relief.

HOW SWEET IT IS: The Keys snapped a season-worst five-game slide on Sunday, the team’s longest losing streak since last August 25-29, when the team fell in five straight to Potomac and Winston-Salem. Before winning on Sunday, the Keys had been outscored 64-27.

THE BATS BREAK OUT: On Sunday, the Keys posted 12 hits on the game. That figure equaled their combined output in the two games prior, and was nearly the same as their total over the three previous contests (14). Due to low hit totals over the four game series (24), Frederick ranks last in the league in batting average (.233) and runs scored (64). Moreover, the orange and black have yet to win a game when scoring less than four runs (0-7).

LET’S PLAY LONGBALL: In spite of the struggles in the batting average department, the orange and black are tied for second in home runs (10). Four CL teams have hit 10 home runs, as the Keys share the lead with Wilmington, Myrtle Beach and Potomac. The Keys have maintained this second-place position despite going three games without a longball before Sunday. In the series finale at Lynchburg, Austin Wynns and T.J. Olesczuk hit back-to-back blasts, marking the first time the Keys had accomplished the feat since August 1 of last season against Myrtle Beach, when Wynns and Yaisel Mederos hit consecutive home runs. The home run for Olesczuk was hit first at the Advanced-A level.

ALL I DO IS WYNN, WYNN, WYNN: In spite of playing only 12 games, Austin Wynns has been one of the Keys top offensive producers in April. The Californian leads the Keys in home runs (three) and RBIs (nine), while Wynns’ three deep flies are tied for third in the CL. The power surge is a pleasant surprise for Frederick, given that Wynns hit just three home runs in 78 combined games last year and only five in three prior seasons before this year.

WORKING ON THE LEATHER: Sunday marked an error-free game for the Keys, after they had committed two or more errors in four of their previous five contests. In the Lynchburg series, the Keys committed seven errors. The Keys are tied for fifth in the league with a .971 fielding percentage.

 GONZO TO THE DL: Jay Gonzalez was placed on the disabled list before Friday night’s game against Lynchburg. A tough break for the Keys, Gonzalez had a team-high five-game hitting streak and was 9-for-20 (.450) with a steal in four of those games. In a corresponding move, T.J. Olesczuk was received from Aberdeen. Olesczuk had a seven game cameo with the Keys to begin his 2015 season, going 3-for-19 at the plate (.158). Olesczuk hit .244 in 73 games with Low-A Delmarva last year.

A HOUSE BUT NOT A HOME: For the second time in three years, Frederick has started its home slate with a 1-6 record. That was also the case in 2014, when the team was swept by Carolina to start, before falling in three of four against Lynchburg. In spite of the problems on the home front, the Keys are hardly alone. Only Lynchburg (7-4) and Myrtle Beach (6-5) have winning home records, while the Keys, Wilmington (1-10), Potomac (1-6) and Winston-Salem (1-6) all have only one home win to start their home schedules.

STAR WATCH: Reyes headlines a quartet of Keys players ranked among the top of the 30 in the Orioles system by Baseball America’s rankings. Following the Keys third baseman are Tanner Scott (No. 11), Jonah Heim (No. 15) and Josh Hart (No. 28). All four players are also listed among the O’s top 30 according to MLB Pipeline. Splitting 2015 between Short-Season Aberdeen and Delmarva, Scott went a combined 4-3 with a 3.83 ERA in 18 games (three starts) and struck out nearly 13 per nine innings (60 SO/42.1 IP). Baltimore’s No. 2 catching prospect, Heim played only 45 games last year due to a left foot injury, but managed to hit .258 with Delmarva in 36 first half games. During that time, 10 of his 32 hits went for extra bases. Hart returns to Frederick for the second straight year after hitting .255 with a home run and 28 RBIs in 104 games. The outfielder’s best asset was his speed, as he finished second among Orioles farmhands with 30 stolen bases.    

 BASEBALL WITH BODIE: Keith Bodie takes over as the manager of the Frederick Keys in 2016, replacing Orlando Gomez. The Brooklyn native is the 21st manager in franchise history and comes to Frederick from Double-A Bowie, where he served as the Baysox hitting coach last year. A decorated minor league manager, Bodie has 18 years of MiLB managerial experience and boasts a .525 winning percentage (1223-1108). He has claimed nine division titles while managing as high as the Triple-A level. Bodie last served as a manager for the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks in 2014, guiding them to a 73-67 record. In three season as the Astros Double-A leader, Bodie posted a 237-183 record and earned Texas League Manager of the Year honors in 2013. Some of his past pupils include Craig Biggio, Omar Vizquel and Zach Greinke.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Left-hander Jalen Beeks makes his fourth start of the season and his first against the Keys. He is currently second in the Carolina League with a 0.57 ERA (15.2 IP/1ER), trailing only Lynchburg’s Julian Merryweather, who has not allowed any runs in 17.2 innings. A winner in his last two starts, Beeks defeated Carolina in his most recent start last Wednesday. Over five shutout innings, he allowed five hits, walked one and struck out three. The 22-year-old spent all of last season at Low-A Greenville, where he went 9-7 with a 4.32 ERA in 26 starts. In 145.2 innings, he allowed 156 hits, walked 28 and struck out 100, while opponents batted .272 against him. His first-half (4.35) and second-half (4.30) numbers were largely the same. A workhorse, Beeks led Red Sox farm hands in innings pitched, while among South Atlantic League pitchers he finished fifth in BB/9IP ratio (1.73), fourth in innings, but also second in home runs allowed (17). A 12th round pick out of Arkansas in 2014, Beeks went 6-4 with a 1.98 ERA in his last year with the Hogs. He throws a fastball, a slider and a change.

 

 

The Keys Try and Snap a Three-Game Slide

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

The Frederick Keys continue their four-game series with the Lynchburg Hillcats on Friday night after being shutout 5-0 on Thursday at City Stadium. It was one of those nights for the orange and black, as Sean Brady held the visitors to just one hit in seven scoreless innings.

While the news may not have been so great for the Keys, it was for a Keys alumnus. Jake Arrieta who pitched for Frederick in 2008, turned in his his second career no-hitter as the Cubs defeated the Reds 16-0. It was Arrieta’s second no-no in eight months.

Arrieta 640

Jake Arrieta threw his second no-hitter on Thursday night at Cincinnati. This past fall, he became the first former Key to win a Cy Young Award.

Here is an interesting video from ESPN, providing its case for why Arrieta is the best pitcher in baseball. He certainly was the best in the Carolina League in ’08, claiming Carolina League Pitcher of the Year honors while posting a 2.87 ERA. He also pitched in the Futures Game and the Olympics.

 

Tonight, Mitch Horacek will try and channel his inner Arrieta as the lefty makes his fourth start of the season. He will be opposed by fellow southpaw Justus Sheffield.

First pitch is slated for 6:30 p.m from City Stadium and the broadcast can be heard on 1450 AM The Source and frederickkeys.com. Doug Raftery has the call.

Today’s batch of games notes can be found below.

Shake your Keys!

Geoff

Friday, April 22, 2016 · Game #16 · Road Game #9

Frederick Keys (5-10) vs. Lynchburg Hillcats (12-3)

LHP Mitch Horacek (1-2, 7.07) vs. LHP Justus Sheffield (1-0, 2.03)

                                                                                                                                                              

KEYS SHUTOUT FOR SECOND TIME: Keys right-hander Cory Jones was solid in his debut, however the offense was held to just two hits in a 5-0 loss at City Stadium on Thursday night. Jones lasted five innings and allowed two runs. In the first, Yu-Cheng Chang doubled with one out and was brought home by a Bobby Bradley RBI single. An inning later, Mark Mathias earned a walk with one away and was followed by a Daniel Salters single to place runners on the corners. Ivan Castillo grounded into a fielder’s choice for an RBI and two-run lead. Anthony Caronia led off the third with a double to straightaway center field, but that was the only hit for the Keys until Caronia gathered an infield single in the ninth. Hillcats starter Sean Brady gave up one hit, walked two, and punched out four over seven shutout innings. Lynchburg scored three unearned runs in the sixth and seventh frames.

ZEROES ON THE BOARD: The Keys were held scoreless for the second time in a week against Lynchburg. The Hillcats shutout the Keys 4-0 last Friday at Nymeo Field. In those games, the Keys recorded seven combined hits, including two on Thursday, a season-low. Lynchburg has four shutouts so far, the most in the Carolina League, and have not allowed a run in 22 innings. In 2015, Frederick was shutout 12 times, and finished with a shutout mark of 8-12. This year, the Keys are 1-2.

STREAKING THE WRONG WAY: The Keys have dropped three consecutive games, one shy of their season-high (four in a row to Lynchburg last Thursday-Sunday). The orange and black have also lost seven of their last eight. During that span, they have been outscored 53-22. Lynchburg has won all five matchups between the two squads. Last year, the Hillcats were one of two teams the Keys had a winning record against (12-11). Frederick went 13-9 against its closest geographical rival, Potomac.

IT WAS JUST A MISTAKE: The errors have piled up over the last three games for the orange and black, as they posted their second multi-error game in three contests. Thursday night, Frederick committed three mistakes, a pair of them charged to Jomar Reyes. On Tuesday against Wilmington, the Keys committed a season-high four errors. Those two nights make up for 47 percent of their errors in 2016 (seven out of 15).

A HOUSE BUT NOT A HOME: For the second time in three years, Frederick opened its home slate with a 1-6 record. That was also the case in 2014, when the team was swept by Carolina, before falling in three of four against Lynchburg. Currently, the Keys are last in in the CL North with a 5-10 record, while they are tied with Winston-Salem for the worst record in the CL. Fortunately for the Keys, the team has already had one successful roadtrip (4-3) with the team earning a series win at Salem in its most recent road set.

GONZALEZ STAYS HOT: Although he had the day off Thursday, Jay Gonzalez has hit safely in each of his last five games, batting .450 (9-for-20) during that time with a triple, two doubles, four RBIs and three runs scored. Not only has Gonzalez tallied a hit in five straight contests, but he has a steal in four of his last five games. That has pushed his season total to 10, while the Floridian has yet to be caught. Entering Friday, Gonzalez is third in swipes, trailing only Lynchburg’s Greg Allen (14) and Salem’s Yoan Moncada (13). In 2015, Gonzalez racked up 34 stolen bases between Frederick and Low-A Delmarva, giving him the most among O’s farmhands.  

NEW FACES JOIN KEYS: Before Tuesday’s game, several Keys roster transactions took place. Right-handed pitchers Cory Jones and Lucas Long were promoted from Low-A Delmarva while Chipper Smith was released. In two starts for the Shorebirds, Jones went 0-1 with a 1.00 ERA (9IP/1ER) while Long went 0-0 with a 0.50 ERA (18 IP/1ER) in three starts. Long was selected by the Orioles in the 24th round of the 2014 Draft, while Jones was selected by Baltimore in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 Draft after beginning his career with the Cardinals organization. In a corresponding move, Keys left-handed starter Chipper Smith was released.  

STAR WATCH: Reyes headlines a quartet of Keys players ranked among the top of the 30 in the Orioles system by Baseball America’s rankings. Following the Keys third baseman are Tanner Scott (No. 11), Jonah Heim (No. 15) and Josh Hart (No. 28). All four players are also listed among the O’s top 30 according to MLB Pipeline. Splitting 2015 between Short-Season Aberdeen and Delmarva, Scott went a combined 4-3 with a 3.83 ERA in 18 games (three starts) and struck out nearly 13 per nine innings (60 SO/42.1 IP). Baltimore’s No. 2 catching prospect, Heim played only 45 games last year due to a left foot injury, but managed to hit .258 with Delmarva in 36 first half games. During that time, 10 of his 32 hits went for extra bases. Hart returns to Frederick for the second straight year after hitting .255 with a home run and 28 RBIs in 104 games. The outfielder’s best asset was his speed, as he finished second among Orioles farmhands with 30 stolen bases.    

FAMILIAR FACES: The Frederick Keys opening day roster features 11 returning players. Of this group, Mitch Horacek, Jimmy Yacabonis, Austin Wynns and Anthony Caronia also suited up for the orange in black in either 2013 or 2014. To go along with some familiar faces, the Keys boast plenty of experience. Of the 25 players on the Keys roster, 16 have played at the Advanced-A level or higher. Among this group, Wynns and Aderlin Rodriguez have reached the Double-A level, while Caronia and Erick Salcedo have played at the Triple-A classification.

 BASEBALL WITH BODIE: Keith Bodie takes over as the manager of the Frederick Keys in 2016, replacing Orlando Gomez. The Brooklyn native is the 21st manager in franchise history and comes to Frederick from Double-A Bowie, where he served as the Baysox hitting coach last year. A decorated minor league manager, Bodie has 18 years of MiLB managerial experience and boasts a .525 winning percentage (1223-1108). He has claimed nine division titles while managing as high as the Triple-A level. Bodie last served as a manager for the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks in 2014, guiding them to a 73-67 record. In three season as the Astros Double-A leader, Bodie posted a 237-183 record and earned Texas League Manager of the Year honors in 2013. Some of his past pupils include Craig Biggio, Omar Vizquel and Zach Greinke.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Justus Sheffield makes his fourth Advanced-A start on Friday and his second against the Keys. He is the No. 4 prospect in the Indians system according to Baseball America (and the No. 2 pitching prospect). This past Sunday against Frederick, the southpaw tossed 4.1 innings of three-hit baseball and allowed one run in a no-decision. He walked two and struck out four. So far, opponents are hitting just .196 against Sheffield. Last season, the Tennessee native pitched all year for Low-A Lake County, going 9-4 with a 3.31 ERA in 26 starts. Over 127.2 innings, he allowed 135 hits, walked 38 and struck out 138. Opponents batted .264 against him. A MWL all-star, he finished second in the Midwest League in strikeouts and paced all starters in SO/9IP ratio (9.73). A first round pick by the Indians in 2014, Sheffield was selected by Cleveland with the 31st overall pick and received a $1.6 million signing bonus. The Gatorade National Player of the Year, the Indians were able to select Sheffield as compensation for Ubaldo Jimenez leaving via free agency (he received a qualifying offer). He chose the Indians over a scholarship offer to Vanderbilt.

 

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