Keys look to win series vs Myrtle Beach tonight

Last night the Keys kept to momentum going from the no-hitter on Thursday to win the first game of the series with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans last night by a score of 4-3 thanks to a pair of home runs from Wynston Sawyer and Adrian Marin, plus a clutch sacrifice fly from Josh Hart.

Frederick will look to win the three game set tonight as they will send out southpaw John Means (0-0, – -) as he will be making his Keys debut. The Pelicans look to counter with Paul Blackburn (6-5, 2.99) who is making his fourth appearance against the orange and black this season as he is 1-2. Tonight’s contest will begin at 6:00 PM as it is Salute to the Orioles night. Kevin Gausman bobbleheads will be given out at the gates.

Tonight’s lineup

Josh Hart CF

Tad Gold RF

Jeff Kemp 2B

Wynston Sawyer C

Yaisel Mederos 1B

Adrian Marin SS

Anthony Caronia 3B

Conor Bierfeldt DH

Jay Gonzalez LF

8/22 Game Notes

O’BRIEN THROWS NO-HITTER, KEYS SPLIT TWINBILL: A pickoff play gone wrong led to a bizarre finish on Friday night at Nymeo Field, as the Frederick Keys hung on for a 4-3 win over the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. The win allows the Keys to keep pace with Lynchburg in the CL North standings, after the Hillcats defeated Potomac in the Hill City. With his team ahead by a run, Cody Wheeler came out of the bullpen to face the bottom-third of the Pelicans order. Pin-Chieh Chen appeared to be the first out, but a pop-up at the mound was dropped by first baseman Yaisel Mederos. Daniel Lockhart then bunted Chen to second, but Wheeler bounced back with a strikeout of Carlos Penalver. Needing one more out, the decision was made to intentionally walk Chesny Young, the league’s top hitter, and face Ben Carhart instead. However he never saw a pitch. An attempted pickoff throw to second sailed into center field, allowing Chen to advance to third. Josh Hart’s throw from the outfield snuck by third baseman Anthony Caronia, but Wheeler backed the play up in foul territory. Seeing the throw elude Caronia, Young attempted to advance to second and got in a rundown after Wheeler threw to second. Eventually Young would be retired to end the game. Following a three-run Pelicans fifth which tied the game, Frederick regained the lead in the home-fifth after a triple by Jay Gonzalez and a sac-fly by Hart. The other three Keys runs would come via home runs, as Adrian Marin hit a two-run shot in the second and Wynston Sawyer hit a solo blast in the fourth.

ANOTHER PHOTO FINISH: Since Frederick’s 8-2 loss to Lynchburg on Tuesday night, the Keys have played three straight games decided by two runs or less. One week prior, things were even tighter, with the orange and black playing three straight one-run games from August 13-15. Since July 25, 18 of the Keys last 25 games have come down to three runs or less (the Keys are 12-13 during that time). Frederick has fared well in nail-bitters this season, with the team boasting a 22-17 mark in one-run games (second-best in the league) and the circuit’s top mark in two-run games (15-8). The last series between Frederick and Myrtle Beach at Nymeo Field was very tight, with all three games coming down to two runs and two coming down to a single marker.

FOUR RUN MAGIC: Friday marked the first time the Keys had posted more than three runs in a game since August 12, when the club topped Lynchburg 10-2. In the ensuing seven games, Frederick managed three runs or less, while until last night, the Keys had scored two runs or fewer in five straight contests. Over the last eight contests, the Keys have scored 16 runs (two runs per contest). Although the team has won five of those games, this trend has been present since the start of August. Of Frederick’s 18 games this month, 12 have seen the orange and black score three runs or less (the club is averaging 3.35 runs per game). When the Keys score four or more runs in a game they are 45-14, as opposed to 15-50 when posting three or less.

O’BRIEN NO-HIT NUGGETS: Pitching in his home state with family and friends in attendance, Mikey O’Brien pitched his first career no-hitter on Thursday night in the second game of a quasi-doubleheader against Lynchburg. Over seven innings he struck out nine, walked one and allowed only two baserunners to reach. The right-hander retired 19 of the last 20 batters he faced. The no-hitter was the fourth individual no-hitter in club history, as O’Brien joins Nathan Moreau, John Maine and Eric Shullstrom as Keys pitchers to throw their own no-no. Outstanding since his return from Double-A, O’Brien has not allowed a run in his last 17.1 innings and has not given up an earned marker in his last 19.1 stanzas.

A LITTLE HELP!: Hitting with runners in scoring position has been a challenge over the last eight games, with the Keys batting just .138 (8-for-58) during that time. Frederick has also left 40 runners on base and averaged just six hits per game. Currently, the orange and black are hitting .252 with runners in scoring position, placing them seventh out of eight teams in the CL.

STILL STREAKY: Over the last month, the Keys have been incredibly streaky. Beginning on July 22, the Keys went on a four-game winning streak. That was followed by a six-game losing streak (tying a season-high) from July 26-31, before the club rattled off four more wins from August 1-5. From there, the Keys dropped four of five, won four straight from August 12-16, ended a three-game slide Thursday and have now won back-to-back games. Since the all-star break, the club has turned in four different four-game winning streaks, as well as three different skids of three contests or more.

MEANS JOINS KEYS: With Sean Bierman going on the disabled list last Saturday, the Keys have received left-hander John Means from Low-A Delmarva. He makes his Carolina League debut on Saturday when he starts against Myrtle Beach. At the time of his promotion, Means was 9-8 with a 3.50 ERA over 23 games with the Shorebirds. Pitching 118.1 innings, he allowed 136 hits, walked 26 and struck out 89. The highlight of his season came on July 31 against Charleston, when the southpaw threw a seven-inning no-hitter. It was the Shorebirds’ first no-hitter in 17 years. In a corresponding move, Ronan Pacheco was placed on the seven-day disabled list (retroactive to August 19) when a left finger blister.

STILL STREAKING: Garrett Cortright kept his scoreless innings streak intact on Thursday, tossing two clean innings. Dating back to his time at Low-A Delmarva, the New York native has not allowed a run in his last 11.2 frames while he has not surrendered an earned run in an eye-popping 35.2 innings (the last earned run he allowed came on May 30). Over six games with the Keys, Cortright has tossed nine scoreless innings, giving up five hits to go with a walk and six strikeouts. Opponents are batting only .167 against him.

AGAINST MYRTLE BEACH: The Keys and Pelicans square off for the 15th time on Friday. Frederick holds an 8-6 lead in the season series, while the two clubs will meet just two more times this year (including tonight). As a team, the Keys are batting .261 against Pelicans pitching and hold a 4.02 staff ERA. Myrtle Beach hitters are batting .275 against Keys arms and hold a 3.25 ERA. Individually, Josh Hart (.340/16-47) and Yaisel Mederos (.318/7-for-22) trigger Frederick’s offense while Chesney Young (.423/22-52) and Mark Zagunis (.375/15-40) pace the Pelicans.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Right-hander Paul Blackburn makes his 17th start of the season on Saturday and his fourth against the Keys. The right-hander’s most recent outing came last Saturday against Lynchburg. Earning the win, Blackburn tossed seven innings and allowed one run on four hits. He struck out a career-high nine and hit a batter. Blackburn has turned in three straight quality starts and has lowered his ERA from 3.82 to 2.99 during that time. Placed on the disabled list on June 15, Blackburn has been outstanding since his return (he missed 26 games and was activated on July 13).  Since returning, he has allowed two earned runs in 33 innings, while opponents are hitting .214 against him. Blackburn has turned in consecutive quality starts against the Keys, with the most recent coming on July 8 on the Grand Strand. Tossing six innings, the right-hander allowed two unearned runs on four hits, but was outdueled by David Hess. In three games against Frederick, Blackburn is 1-2 with a 2.50 ERA (18 IP/5ER). Currently in his first season at the Advanced-A level, Blackburn was named a Midwest League All-Star in 2014 for Low-A Kane County. The 21-year-old ended the year with a 9-4 record and a 3.23 ERA, second-best among Cubs farmhands. Selected by the Cubs with the 56th overall pick in the 2012 draft, Blackburn had a baseball scholarship to attend Arizona State, but elected to sign for a reported $911,700. He was a compensation sandwich pick that Chicago received for losing Carlos Pena to free agency. A three-pitch pitcher, Blackburn throws a fastball, curveball and changeup.

Keys host Myrtle Beach for 3 games

Despite losing three of four to the division leading Lynchburg Hillcats down in Lynchburg, the Keys managed to salvage a game in the series finale with a no-hitter from Mikey O’Brien, the first for Frederick since 2010. Trying to carry that momentum over to the next series, the orange and black will be taking on the Myrtle Beach Pelicans for their second to last home series of the season. To begin this three-game set, the Keys will trot out Luis Gonzalez (5-10, 6.84) as he makes his third start of the year against Myrtle Beach as he is 2-0. The Pelicans will be countering with Jeremy Null (2-1, 3.58) for his second appearance against Frederick this season where he is 1-0. Only behind the Hillcats by three games in the standings, this will be a critical series for the orange and black. Tonight’s contest will begin at 7:00 PM as it is Fredneck Night at Nymeo Field.

Tonight’s lineup

Josh Hart CF

Tad Gold RF

Jeff Kemp 2B

Wynston Sawyer C

Austin Wynns DH

Adrian Marin SS

Yaisel Mederos 1B

Anthony Caronia 3B

Jay Gonzalez LF

8/21 Game Notes

O’BRIEN THROWS NO-HITTER, KEYS SPLIT TWINBILL: Mikey O’Brien threw the seventh no-hitter in Frederick Keys history, as the club split a quasi-twinbill with the Lynchburg Hillcats on Thursday night at City Stadium. Earning a 2-0 victory in game two, O’Brien became the first Keys pitcher to accomplish the feat since Nathan Moreau did it on June 30, 2010 at Salem. The Keys helped out O’Brien with single markers in the fifth and seventh innings. Austin Wynns opened the fifth with the double, moved to third on sac-bunt by Adrian Marin, before coming home on a suicide squeeze. Wynns finished with three of Frederick’s four hits in game two, the other was a double by Marin in the seventh which brought home Wynns from first. Frederick dropped game one 2-1, as Yhoxian Medina gave the Hillcats a walk-off win. Eric Haase opened the inning with a bloop double and got to third on a sac-bunt. To set up a lefty-lefty matchup with LeVon Washington, Donnie Hart intentionally walked the next two batters, before striking out Washington. Needing just one more out, the lefty jumped ahead of Medina 1-2, before the Hillcats two-hole batter tapped a ball up the third baseline to score the winning run.  

NO-HIT NUGGETS: Pitching in his home state with family and friends in attendance, Mikey O’Brien pitched his first career no-hitter. Over seven innings he struck out nine, walked one and allowed only two baserunners to reach. The right-hander retired 19 of the last 20 batters he faced. The no-hitter was the fourth individual no-hitter in club history, as O’Brien joins Nathan Moreau, John Maine and Eric Shullstrom as Keys pitchers to throw their own no-no. Outstanding since his return from Double-A, O’Brien has not allowed a run in his last 17.1 innings and has not given up an earned marker in his last 19.1 stanzas.

ESCAPING THE SWEEP: Thanks to O’Brien’s efforts, the Keys were able to salvage the series and avoid being swept for the fifth time in 2015. Additionally, the club moved back within three games of Lynchburg for the top spot in the CL South. Frederick will not play the Hillcats again this season, while the team has only three divisional games remaining (all against Potomac). The other 14 games will come against Myrtle Beach, Carolina and Winston-Salem. Collectively against these opponents, the Keys are 17-22. Half of those losses have come to Carolina, a team Frederick will see four more times.  

OFFENSE LOOKS FOR A LIFT: Since the Keys 10-2 win over Lynchburg last Wednesday, the club has posted three runs or less in each of its last seven games. In each of the last five contests, Frederick has scored two runs or less. Over the last seven contests, the Keys have scored 12 runs, and have averaged 1.71 runs per contest. Although the team has won four of those games, this trend has been present since the start of August. Of Frederick’s 17 games this month, 12 have seen the orange and black score three runs or less (the club is averaging 3.35 runs per game). When the Keys score four or more runs in a game they are 44-14, as opposed to 15-50 when posting three or less.

A LITTLE HELP!: Hitting with runners in scoring position has been a challenge over this seven game stretch, with the Keys batting just .151 (8-for-53) during that time. Frederick has also left 36 runners on base and averaged just 5.43 hits per-game. In Thursday’s quasi-twinbill, Frederick managed just seven hits in 16 innings, while at one point, the Keys went 12.1 innings without a run. Currently, the orange and black are hitting .253 with runners in scoring position, putting them seventh in the league.

STILL STREAKY: Over the last month, the Keys have been incredibly streaky. Beginning on July 22, the Keys went on a four-game winning streak. That was followed by a six-game losing streak (tying a season-high) from July 26-31, before the club rattled off four more wins from August 1-5. From there, the Keys dropped four of five, won four straight from August 12-16, and come off a three-game losing streak on Thursday  night after Mikey O’Brien’s no-hitter. Since the all-star break, the club has turned in four different four-game winning streaks, as well as three different skids of three contests or more.

CLOSE CALLS: Sunday snapped a string of three straight one-run games for the Keys, the second time in 2015 the club had been involved in three consecutive games hinging on one run. Since July 25, 17 of the Keys last 24 coming down to three runs or less (the Keys are 11-13 during that time). Frederick has fared well in nail-bitters this season, with the team boasting a 21-17 mark in one-run games (second-best in the league) and the circuit’s top mark in two-run games (15-8). The last series between Frederick and Myrtle Beach at Nymeo Field was very tight, with all three games coming down to two runs and two coming down to a single marker.

MEANS JOINS KEYS: With Sean Bierman going on the disabled list last Saturday, the Keys have received left-hander John Means from Low-A Delmarva. He will make his Carolina League debut on Saturday night when he starts against Myrtle Beach. At the time of his promotion, Means was 9-8 with a 3.50 ERA over 23 games with the Shorebirds. Pitching 118.1 innings, he allowed 136 hits, walked 26 and struck out 89. The highlight of his season came on July 31 against Charleston, when the southpaw threw a seven-inning no-hitter. It was the Shorebirds’ first no-hitter in 17 years. In a corresponding move, Ronan Pacheco was placed on the seven-day disabled list (retroactive to August 19) when a left finger blister.

STILL STREAKING: Garrett Cortright kept his scoreless innings streak intact on Thursday, tossing two clean innings. Dating back to his time at Low-A Delmarva, the New York native has not allowed a run in his last 11.2 frames while he has not surrendered an earned run in an eye-popping 35.2 innings (the last earned run he allowed came on May 30). Over six games with the Keys, Cortright has tossed nine scoreless innings, giving up five hits to go with a walk and six strikeouts. Opponents are batting only .167 against him.

AGAINST MYRTLE BEACH: The Keys and Pelicans square off for the 14th time on Friday. Frederick holds a slim 7-6 lead in the season series, while the two clubs will meet just three more times this year (including tonight). As a team, the Keys are batting .256 against Pelicans pitching and hold a 4.10 staff ERA. Myrtle Beach hitters are batting .278 against Keys arms and hold a 3.16 ERA. Individually, Josh Hart (.318/14-44) and Jay Gonzalez (.300/6-for-20) trigger Frederick’s offense while Chesney Young (.429/21-49) and Mark Zagunis (.389/14-36) pace the Pelicans.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Jeremy Null makes his 20th start of the season and his eighth with the Pelicans. Combined between Myrtle Beach and Low-A South Bend, the righty is 8-3 with a 2.79 ERA and ranks fourth among Chicago farmhands in ERA. With the Birds, Null is 2-1 with a 3.58 ERA in seven starts. His most recent outing came last Friday against Lynchburg. Tossing five innings shutout innings in a no-decision, he scattered three hits, walked one and struck out two. Null won his lone start against Frederick on August 7, tossing 5.2 innings and giving up three runs (two earned) on five hits. Promoted to Myrtle Beach on June 28, the 6-7 right-hander was lights out for Low-A South Bend, going 6-2 with a 2.33 ERA in 12 starts. A Midwest League All-Star (East Division), Null was the starting pitcher and game MVP, striking out the side in the first inning. The spoils from a fantastic start to the season, Null allowed one earned run across his first five starts, spanning 30.2 innings, while he did not issue a walk until the sixth inning of his fourth start (28.1 IP). With the Cubs, he walked only four in 65.2 innings. For the year, he has a BB/9IP ratio of 0.7 (92.2 IP/7BB). Selected by the Cubs in the 15th round of the 2014 draft, Null played his college baseball at Western Carolina, where he was a second-team All-Southern Conference selection as a sophomore and junior. Null was selected by Seattle in the 37th round of the 2011 draft but did not sign. The right-hander hails from Conover, NC, a town of just over 8,000. Known for its NASCAR presence, Conover is the home of Dale Jarrett Racing ventures. Null throws a fastball, a slider and a changeup.

It’s Time for A Doubleheader (Sort of)

Good Afternoon Keys Fans,

The Frederick Keys and Lynchburg Hillcats conclude their season-set on Thursday night. Last night the two teams were suspended in the bottom of the third inning, so today’s game will be a “quasi-doubleheader.” It is a twinbill in the sense that two games will be played, but it isn’t  a true doubleheader, because one of the games is already underway. That being said, if you want to tell your friends the Keys and Hillcats are playing a doubleheader, we’re okay with that.

When the game resumes, Lynchburg’s Joe Sever will be stepping to bat with runners on first and second and one out. Frederick holds a 1-0 lead, after Josh Hart opened the game with a triple and scored on a sac-fly by Wynston Sawyer. Both sides will be going to their bullpens, and we’ll have to see what each manager decides to do pitcher-wise.

What we can tell you, is that in game two (which will be seven innings) Virginia native, Mikey O’Brien, will be on the mound against left-hander Luis Lugo. O’Brien comes off 7.1 scoreless innings last Saturday against Carolina. This will be the           right-hander’s first time facing the Hillcats.

We’ll have the broadcast beginning at 5:15 on 1450 AM The Source, while first pitch will be at 5:30. Keys hitting coach, Paco Figueroa, will be our pre-game guest. For those of you who missed yesterday, I’ve listed the Keys lineup (minus the pitcher) and attached today’s game notes.

Talk soon and shake your keys!

Geoff

LINEUP

LF Josh Hart

CF Jay Gonzalez

1B Wynston Sawyer

DH Yaisel Mederos

C Austin Wynns

SS Adrian Marin

RF Conor Bierfeldt

2B Anthony Caronia

3B Tanner Witt

Thursday, August 20, 2015 · Game #122/#123 · Road Game #62/#63

Frederick Keys (58-63/26-25) vs Lynchburg Hillcats (62-59/29-22)

G2: RHP Mikey O’Brien (2-4, 2.05) vs. LHP Luis Lugo (7-9, 4.34)

KEYS AND HILLCATS SUSPENDED: The Frederick Keys and the Lynchburg Hillcats were suspended with one out in the bottom of the third inning on Wednesday night. That game will resume at 5:30 p.m on Thursday and will be followed by a seven inning contest. When the contest was stopped, the Keys had a 1-0 lead, though Lynchburg had runners at first and second. Frederick got its run in the top of the first thanks to a triple by Josh Hart and a sac-fly by Wynston Sawyer.

SORT OF A DOUBLEHEADER: Thursday marks the fourth quasi-doubleheader the Keys will play this season. The previous two have come against Wilmington, while the third was against Winston-Salem on May 7. In these contests, the orange and black are 2-4. Frederick last played a pseudo-twinbill on July 15 against the Blue Rocks, falling in the front-end 15-10 (due in large part to a 10-run Wilmington seventh) before winning game two 5-2 in 11 innings thanks to a go-ahead two-run double by Tad Gold.

HAASE SETS RECORD IN HILLCATS WIN: The Lynchburg Hillcats got three RBI games from Eric Haase and Clint Frazier, as well as strong pitching from Michael Peoples to top the Frederick Keys 8-2 on Tuesday night at City Stadium. With the loss, the orange and black drop to three games back of Lynchburg for first in the CL North standings. In the game, the Hillcats scored in six of their eight trips to bat, including at least once in each of the last five stanzas. Lynchburg’s biggest inning was the eighth, as Haase etched his name into the league record books. Batting with his team up 5-2, Haase drilled his third triple off the left-center field wall to clear the bases. It marked the first time a Carolina League player had posted three triples in a game since Chone Figgins did it on June 7, 2000. Meanwhile, Frazier hit two home runs to account for single runs in the fourth and sixth innings. Frederick’s only two runs came in the eighth, as Yaisel Mederos and Adrian Marin posted RBI singles. Peoples was tough through 6.2 shutout innings, scattering six hits and striking out six.

OFFENSE LOOKS FOR A LIFT: Since the Keys 10-2 win over Lynchburg last Wednesday, the club has posted three runs or less in each of its last five games. During that time, the Keys have scored nine runs, and have averaged 1.8 runs per contest. Although the team has won three of those games, this trend has been present since the start of August. Of Frederick’s 15 games this month, 10 have seen the orange and black score three runs or less (the club is averaging 3.6 runs per game). When the Keys score four or more runs in a game they are 44-14, as opposed to 14-49 when posting three or less.

A LITTLE HELP!: Hitting with runners in scoring position has been a challenge over this five game stretch, with the Keys batting just .163 (8-for-49) during that time. Frederick has also left 33 runners on base and averaged just over six hits per game. For the season, the orange and black are hitting .254 with runners in scoring position. That puts the Keys seventh in the Carolina League.   

AVOIDING A BACKSLIDE: Since the all-star break, the Keys have turned in six different winning streaks of three or more games. However in four of those instances, the Keys have dropped two or more games afterwards. That includes slides of four games (July 8-11) and six games (July 26-31). On Thursday, the club tries to get back on track with just 19 games remaining and only five divisional games on the slate. Two of those will come against the Lynchburg and three will come against Potomac.

CLOSE CALLS: Sunday snapped a string of three straight one-run games for the Keys, the second time in 2015 the club had been involved in three consecutive games hinging on one run. Over the last three weeks, the orange and black have been involved in a host of tight games, with 15 of the last 22 coming down to three runs or less (the Keys are 10-11 during that time). Frederick has fared well in nail-bitters this season, with the team boasting a 21-16 mark in one-run games (second-best in the league) and the circuit’s top mark in two-run games (14-8). This season, eight of the Keys 21 games with Lynchburg have come down to two runs or less, including three of the last four at City Stadium.

SISCO GETS CALLED UP: On Friday, the Baltimore Orioles announced that Keys catcher, Chance Sisco, had been promoted to the Double-A Bowie Baysox. He becomes the 14th Keys player to receive a call-up to either Double-A or Triple-A this year, and the second Keys player to receive a promotion this week. On Monday, relief pitcher Jon Keller received his first promotion to the Eastern League. In 75 games with the orange and black, Sisco hit .308 with four home runs and 26 RBIs. Over his first 11 August games, the Californian was batting .375, while he hit .324 in 46 games since the all-star break.

BULLPEN ARMS TO WATCH: Garrett Cortright and Donnie Hart have both proven to be outstanding additions to the Keys bullpen. On Thursday, the duo combined to strike out the final four Hillcats hitters and give the Keys a series win. Promoted to Frederick on August 3, Cortright has posted five scoreless outings (7IP/0R/3H) and has held opponents to a .136 batting average. He has not allowed a run in his last 9.2 frames (between Low-A and Advanced-A) while he has not surrendered an earned run in an eye-popping 33.2 innings (the last earned run he allowed came on May 30). Hart is 4-0 with three saves and a 0.91 ERA (29.2 IP/3ER) over 20 games with the Keys. He has walked seven and struck out 24, while opponents are batting .219 against him. He has not given up a run in his last five outings.  

AGAINST LYNCHBURG: The Keys hold an 11-10 lead in the season series against the Hillcats and can claim the season-set with a win on Wednesday night. Although Frederick holds the upper hand in the season-set and in games at Nymeo Field (7-3), Lynchburg holds a 6-4 edge in games played at City Stadium. Frederick has dropped two of its three series in the Hill City, while splitting a four-game sweep over Memorial Day weekend. Offensively, the Keys are hitting .267 against the Hillcats and have a 5.19 staff ERA. Lynchburg is batting .265 off Frederick arms and holds a 4.09 ERA.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Left-hander Lefty Luis Lugo makes his 22nd start of the season and his third against the Keys. He is the No. 21 prospect in the Indians system according to Baseball America. His most recent outing came last Friday at Myrtle Beach. Receiving a no-decision, Lugo allowed two runs (one earned) on one hit over five innings. He walked two and struck out three. In three August starts, Lugo has gone 1-0 with a 2.04 ERA (17.2 IP/4R) while opponents are hitting .219 against him this month. Walks have occasionally been a problem for Lugo this season. He has walked 45 in 103.2 innings and has averaged just under four rides per start thus season. This is Lugo’s third start against the Keys, on the year he is 0-1 with a 4.55 ERA (9.2 IP/5ER/13 SO). He last pitched against the orange and black on June 2 and suffered the loss, giving up three runs on five hits over five innings. His CL debut also came against the Keys on April 13, a game that went 16 innings and ranks as the longest game in the league this year.  From May 1-9 Lugo was on the disabled list. Originally from Barquisimeto, Venezuela, the 21-year-old spent all of 2014 at Low-A Lake County. In 27 games (22 starts) Lugo went 10-9 with a 4.92 ERA in 126.1 innings. Finishing third in the Midwest League in strikeouts (146) he racked up 10.4 strikeouts per nine innings. Ending the year strong, the southpaw registered a 2.14 ERA in August after a disastrous July (9.12 ERA 30R/26ER/25.2 IP). Signed as an international free agent for a reported $415,000, Lugo had a bevy of control issues during his first pro season in 2011 (5.9 BB/9IP) before improving the consistency of his mechanics (according to Baseball America). A four pitch pitcher, Lugo throws a fastball in the low 90s, a curveball, a slider and a changeup, with his changeup receiving high marks. An avid fisherman, Lugo enjoyed bass fishing in the Grand River and Lake Erie while playing for Lake County.

The Keys Try and Get Back On Track

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

The Keys try and bounce back after an 8-2 loss in the Hill City on Tuesday night. Eric Haase and Clint Frazier stole the show, as Haase became the first Carolina League player to record three triples in a game since 2000 (Chone Figgins did it for Salem that year) and Frazier hit two home runs to go with three RBIs.

Frederick still leads the season-series 11-10 and will try and win the season-set on Wednesday night with David Hess on the mound. The Orioles Minor League “Pitcher of the Month” in July, Hess has won all three of his August starts, going 3-0 with a 1.50 ERA during that time.

He will be opposed by Hillcats southpaw Jayson Aquino. This will be his third Carolina League start, after he was traded to the Indians on July 29 for cash considerations. A traveling man in 2015, Aquino has been traded three different times this year. Additionally, he has been designated for assignment three times (taken off a MLB team’s 40-man roster). Combined between the Hillcats and the Pirates and Blue Jays Florida State League teams, Aquino is 4-9 with a 3.47 ERA over 114 innings.

While we are on the topic of left-handed pitchers, a happy birthday to Keys southpaw Cody Wheeler! He turns 26 today.

Wheeler has been one of the CL's top relievers in 2015, leading the league in saves, games pitched and games finished

Wheeler has been one of the CL’s top relievers in 2015, leading the league in saves, games pitched and games finished.

Today’s lineup will be posted later, but until then a batch of game notes are below.

First pitch is slated for 6:30 and you can catch the broadcast on 1450 AM The Source and frederickkeys.com.

Talk soon and shake your keys!

Geoff

Wednesday, August 19, 2015 · Game #122 · Road Game #62

Frederick Keys (58-63/26-25) vs Lynchburg Hillcats (62-59/29-22)

RHP David Hess (8-4, 3.85) vs. LHP Jayson Aquino (0-1, 2.79)

HAASE SETS RECORD IN HILLCATS WIN: The Lynchburg Hillcats got three RBI games from Eric Haase and Clint Frazier, as well as strong pitching from Michael Peoples to top the Frederick Keys 8-2 on Tuesday night at City Stadium. With the loss, the orange and black drop to three games back of Lynchburg for first in the CL North standings. In the game, the Hillcats scored in six of their eight trips to bat, including at least once in each of the last five stanzas. Lynchburg’s biggest inning was the eighth, as Haase etched his name into the league record books. Batting with his team up 5-2, Haase drilled his third triple off the left-center field wall to clear the bases. It marked the first time a Carolina League player had posted three triples in a game since Chone Figgins did it on June 7, 2000. Meanwhile, Frazier hit two home runs to account for single runs in the fourth and sixth innings. Frederick’s only two runs came in the eighth, as Yaisel Mederos and Adrian Marin posted RBI singles. Peoples was tough through 6.2 shutout innings, scattering six hits and striking out six.

OFFENSE LOOKS FOR A LIFT: Since the Keys 10-2 win over Lynchburg last Wednesday, the club has posted three runs or less in each of its last five games. During that time, the Keys have scored nine runs, and have averaged 1.8 runs per contest. Although the team has won three of those games, this trend has been present since the start of August. Of Frederick’s 15 games this month, 10 have seen the orange and black score three runs or less (the club is averaging 3.6 runs per game). When the Keys score four or more runs in a game they are 44-14, as opposed to 14-49 when posting three or less.

A LITTLE HELP!: Hitting with runners in scoring position has been a challenge over this five game stretch, with the Keys batting just .163 (8-for-49) during that time. Frederick has also left 33 runners on base and averaged just over six hits per game. For the season, the orange and black are hitting .254 with runners in scoring position. That puts the Keys in a tie for fifth with Carolina.  

AVOIDING A BACKSLIDE: Since the all-star break, the Keys have turned in six different winning streaks of three or more games. However in four of those instances, the Keys have dropped two or more games afterwards. That includes slides of four games (July 8-11) and six games (July 26-31). On Wednesday, the club tries to get back on track with just 18 games remaining and only five divisional games on the slate. Two of those will come against the Lynchburg and three will come against Potomac.

CLOSE CALLS: Sunday snapped a string of three straight one-run games for the Keys, the second time in 2015 the club had been involved in three consecutive games hinging on one run. Over the last three weeks, the orange and black have been involved in a host of tight games, with 15 of the last 22 coming down to three runs or less (the Keys are 10-11 during that time). Frederick has fared well in nail-bitters this season, with the team boasting a 21-16 mark in one-run games (second-best in the league) and the circuit’s top mark in two-run games (14-8). This season, eight of the Keys 21 games with Lynchburg have come down to two runs or less, including three of the last four at City Stadium.

SISCO GETS CALLED UP: On Friday, the Baltimore Orioles announced that Keys catcher, Chance Sisco, had been promoted to the Double-A Bowie Baysox. He becomes the 14th Keys player to receive a call-up to either Double-A or Triple-A this year, and the second Keys player to receive a promotion this week. On Monday, relief pitcher Jon Keller received his first promotion to the Eastern League. In 75 games with the orange and black, Sisco hit .308 with four home runs and 26 RBIs. Over his first 11 August games, the Californian was batting .375, while he hit .324 in 46 games since the all-star break.

WHEELER RETURNS: After a 10-day absence, Cody Wheeler returned to action on Sunday, tossing a clean ninth inning while picking up a double play. Activated from the seven-day disabled list on Saturday, it was Wheeler’s first action since August 1 against Myrtle Beach. One of the Carolina League’s top relief arms this season, the Virginian paces the circuit in saves (16), games (39) and games finished (32). In 12 July games, Wheeler led all Keys pitches with a 0.69 ERA (13 IP/ER) as well as six saves in as many chances. On Wednesday, Wheeler celebrates his 26th birthday.

BULLPEN ARMS TO WATCH: Garrett Cortright and Donnie Hart have both proven to be outstanding additions to the Keys bullpen. On Thursday, the duo combined to strike out the final four Hillcats hitters and give the Keys a series win. Promoted to Frederick on August 3, Cortright has posted five scoreless outings (7IP/0R/3H) and has held opponents to a .136 batting average. He has not allowed a run in his last 9.2 frames (between Low-A and Advanced-A) while he has not surrendered an earned run in an eye-popping 33.2 innings (the last earned run he allowed came on May 30). Hart is 4-0 with three saves and a 0.91 ERA (29.2 IP/3ER) over 20 games with the Keys. He has walked seven and struck out 24, while opponents are batting .219 against him. He has not given up a run in his last five outings.  

HESS NAMED PITCHER OF THE MONTH: Last Monday, David Hess was named the Orioles Minor League “Pitcher of the Month” for July. He becomes the third member of the Keys to receive a monthly organizational honor, joining former teammates Drew Dosch and Trey Mancini, who were named players of the month in April and May. In six July starts, Hess went 2-0 with a 1.82 ERA, allowing only seven runs and 22 hits in 34.2 innings. Since the all-star break (nine starts) the Tennessee native has not allowed any more than two runs in a game.

AGAINST LYNCHBURG: The Keys hold an 11-10 lead in the season series against the Hillcats and can claim the season-set with a win on Wednesday night. Although Frederick holds the upper hand in the season-set and in games at Nymeo Field (7-3), Lynchburg holds a 6-4 edge in games played at City Stadium. Frederick has dropped two of its three series in the Hill City, while splitting a four-game sweep over Memorial Day weekend. Offensively, the Keys are hitting .267 against the Hillcats and have a 5.19 staff ERA. Lynchburg is batting .265 off Frederick arms and holds a 4.09 ERA.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Left-hander Jayson Aquino makes his 21st start on Wednesday and his third with Lynchburg. Combined between three different Advanced-A clubs (Lynchburg, Dunedin, Bradenton) Aquino is 4-9 with a 3.47 ERA over 20 games (114 innings). During that time he has struck out 76 and walked 27. The left-hander’s most recent outing came last Thursday against the Keys, and was his second as a member of the Hillcats. Working 5.2 innings, Aquino took the loss, giving up two runs on six hits. He walked two and struck out four. In two starts with Lynchburg he is 0-1 with a 2.79 ERA. Acquired by the Indians from the Pirates on July 29 for cash considerations, it marked the third time this season that Aquino had been traded. He has also been designated for assignment each time. On February 4, he was dealt from Colorado to Toronto in exchange for left-handed pitch Tyler Ybarra. From there, he was sent from the Blue Jays to the Pirates on May 10 for cash considerations and from there was sent to the Indians in late-July for cash considerations. Of Aquino’s 20 games, 13 have come with Bradenton, where he went 2-6 with a 3.78 ERA. Entering 2015 ranked as the No. 25 prospect in the Rockies system according to Baseball America, Aquino went 5-10 with a 5.13 ERA between Advanced-A Modesto and Double-A Tulsa last season. He pitched two games at Double-A. He was placed on the Rockies 40-man roster after the 2013 season. Originally signed by Colorado as a non-drafted free agent on July 2, 2009. He throws a fastball, a changeup and a slider. Baseball America rated his changeup as “well above average.”

Back to the Hill City!

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

The Keys begin their penultimate roadtrip of the year, a three-game series in Lynchburg. This is a critical series for the orange and black, as the Hillcats hold a two-game lead in the CL North. Moreover this is the last series these two teams will play against each other, and marks the second-to-last series the Keys will play against a division rival.

Mitch Horacek gets the ball in game one for the Keys and has beaten the Hillcats every time he has faced them this year. He will be opposed by Lynchburg right-hander Michael Peoples who takes the rotation spot of Rob Kaminsky.

First pitch is slated for 6:30 p.m with pre-game coverage slated for 6:15 on 1450 AM The Source and frederickkeys.com. Lineups will come your way shortly, while below are today’s batch of game notes.

Talk soon and shake your keys!

Geoff

Tuesday, August 18, 2015 · Game #121 · Road Game #61

Frederick Keys (58-62/26-24) vs Lynchburg Hillcats (61-59/28-22)

LHP Mitch Horacek (7-13, 4.34) vs. RHP Michael Peoples (8-3, 3.98)

LONGBALL DENIES KEYS SERIES SWEEP: The Carolina Mudcats used three home runs and a strong start by Seth Webster to defeat the Frederick Keys 6-1 on Sunday afternoon at Nymeo Field. The loss snapped the Keys four game winning streak and denied the club a three-game sweep. Frederick’s lone run came against Webster in the bottom of the second. After Yaisel Mederos opened the inning with a single, he advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt/error and moved to third on a single by Caronia. Later in the frame, Mederos would come in on a bounce out by Jay Gonzalez. Luis Gonzalez stranded six on base through the first three innings, but a pair comes home in the fourth. Reed Harper opened the frame with a solo homer while Keith Curcio brought in Johan Camargo on a sac-fly. Carolina plated runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings to close out their scoring. Camargo hit a two-run homer in the sixth, three straight singles by Dustin Peterson, Jacob Schrader and Joseph Odom accounted for a run seventh inning marker, before Curcio hit a solo shot to close out the scoring in the eighth. On the mound, Webster tossed seven innings and allowed one unearned run.

STREAK SNAPPED/AVOIDING A BACKSLIDE: For the second time in two weeks and for the third time in just less than a month, the Keys saw a four-game winning streak come to a close. The hot stretch matched the club’s second-longest run of the season (the longest of the year is a six-gamer from April 10-15). Since the all-star break, Frederick has turned in four different four-game winning streaks, however in three of those instances, they have been followed by slides of two games or more. The worst of those was a six-game slump from July 26-31 (tying a season-high).

PITCHING PROVIDES A LIFT: Frederick’s four-game run was fueled by pitching, as in all four contests, a Keys starter went at least five innings and did not surrender any more than three runs. That included quality starts by Sean Bierman and Mikey O’Brien. However the real story was the bullpen. On Sunday, Keys relievers concluded wrapped up a string of 13.2 scoreless innings (starting in the ninth inning last Tuesday and concluding in the sixth inning on Sunday).

AGAINST THE GRAIN: Strong pitching triggered the winning streak, as the Keys offense managed only six total runs over the final three games of the run. Meanwhile, the club’s offense registered only five runs over the three-game series with Carolina and has scored only seven combined runs in the four games since posting a 10-2 win over the Hillcats last Wednesday. Nonetheless, in six of Frederick’s last 10 wins, the club has scored three runs or less. The six wins make up a large chunk of the Keys yearly total for victories by three or fewer runs (14-47), while 10 of the 14 have come since the all-star break. Frederick opened the season 1-17 in games when posting three runs or less.

CLOSE CALLS: Sunday snapped a string of three straight one-run games for the Keys, the second time in 2015 the club had been involved in three consecutive games hinging on one run. Over the last three weeks, the orange and black have been involved in a host of tight games, with 15 of the last 21 coming down to three runs or less (the Keys are 10-11 during that time). Frederick has fared well in nail-bitters this season, with the team boasting a 21-16 mark in one-run games (second-best in the league) and the circuit’s top mark in two-run games (14-8). This season, eight of the Keys 20 games with Lynchburg have come down to two runs or less, including each of the last three at City Stadium.

SISCO GETS CALLED UP: On Friday, the Baltimore Orioles announced that Keys catcher, Chance Sisco, had been promoted to the Double-A Bowie Baysox. He becomes the 14th Keys player to receive a call-up to either Double-A or Triple-A this year, and the second Keys player to receive a promotion this week. On Monday, relief pitcher Jon Keller received his first promotion to the Eastern League. In 75 games with the orange and black, Sisco hit .308 with four home runs and 26 RBIs. Over his first 11 August games, the Californian was batting .375, while he hit .324 in 46 games since the all-star break.

WHEELER RETURNS: After a 10-day absence, Cody Wheeler returned to action on Sunday, tossing a clean ninth inning while picking up a double play. Activated from the seven-day disabled list on Saturday, it was Wheeler’s first action since August 1 against Myrtle Beach. One of the Carolina League’s top relief arms this season, the Virginian paces the circuit in saves (16), games (39) and games finished (32). In 12 July games, Wheeler led all Keys pitches with a 0.69 ERA (13 IP/ER) as well as six saves in as many chances.

BULLPEN ARMS TO WATCH: Garrett Cortright and Donnie Hart have both proven to be outstanding additions to the Keys bullpen. On Thursday, the duo combined to strike out the final four Hillcats hitters and give the Keys a series win. Promoted to Frederick on August 3, Cortright has posted five scoreless outings (7IP/0R/3H) and has held opponents to a .136 batting average. He has not allowed a run in his last 9.2 frames (between Low-A and Advanced-A) while he has not surrendered an earned run in an eye-popping 33.2 innings (the last earned run he allowed came on May 30). Hart is 4-0 with three saves and a 0.91 ERA (29.2 IP/3ER) over 20 games with the Keys. He has walked seven and struck out 24, while opponents are batting .219 against him. He has not given up a run in his last five outings.  

HESS NAMED PITCHER OF THE MONTH: Last Monday, David Hess was named the Orioles Minor League “Pitcher of the Month” for July. He becomes the third member of the Keys to receive a monthly organizational honor, joining former teammates Drew Dosch and Trey Mancini, who were named players of the month in April and May. In six July starts, Hess went 2-0 with a 1.82 ERA, allowing only seven runs and 22 hits in 34.2 innings. Since the all-star break (nine starts) the Tennessee native has not allowed any more than two runs in a game.

AGAINST LYNCHBURG: The Keys hold an 11-9 lead in the season series against the Hillcats and can claim the season-set with a win on Tuesday night. In spite of the Keys two game lead, Lynchburg holds a 6-4 edge in games played at City Stadium. Frederick has dropped two of its three series in the Hill City, while splitting a four-game sweep over Memorial Day weekend. Offensively, the Keys are hitting .267 against the Hillcats and have a 5.02 staff ERA. Lynchburg is batting .261 off Frederick arms and hold a 4.20 ERA.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Right-hander Michael Peoples makes his 22nd appearance on Tuesday and his 20th start. His most recent outing came last Wednesday at Nymeo Field when he pitched out of the bullpen. Working 3.2 innings, he allowed four runs (one earned) on six hits to go with two walks and six strikeouts. It was the most number of runs he had allowed since June 28. Peoples moves back to the rotation after Rob Kaminsky was placed on the disabled list last Thursday. After a rough first half, where he posted a 5.68 ERA over 12 games, Peoples has turned the corner since the all-star break, going 3-0 with a 2.15 ERA over nine games (seven starts). Outstanding in July, Peoples went 2-0 with a 2.13 ERA. Peoples has not done well against the Keys going 1-1 with a 5.53 ERA (27.2 IP/17ERA) in six games (five starts). In his second full season in the CL, Peoples went 7-8 with a 4.34 ERA in 26 games for Carolina last year. He fared better as a reliever (3.20 ERA/9G) than as a starter going 6-6 with a 4.61 ERA in 17 outings (82 innings. Peoples spent the 2013 season at Low-A Lake County and did not give up a run in 13.1 innings (working out of the bullpen) and was called up to Carolina at the end of May. He went 1-4 with a 5.27 ERA in eight starts before going on the disabled list on July 8 and missing the rest of the year with a right shoulder injury. Drafted in the 14th round of 2012 out of Western Oklahoma State College, Peoples registered a 3.33 ERA in his college career and had a 3:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. There, he was part of the 2011 National Championship team. Other school alumni include Andrelton Simmons (former Hillcats shortstop and CL batting champion). WOSC was forced to forfeit all of its baseball games last year after it was found six players on the team did not complete high school. Peoples throws a fastball, a curveball and a changeup.

It’s Seinfeld Night!

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

Well gear up for another outstanding guest appearance at Nymeo Field on Saturday! Seinfeld fans young and old can get a chance to meet a culinary legend. Yes, we’re referring to the Soup Nazi. He will be on hand to throw a first pitch, greet fans and sign autographs. And for those of you wondering, yes, you’ll be able to taste two of his signature soups: crab bisque and mulligatawny (it’s an Indian soup for those of you who didn’t know).

There will also be a host of fun Seinfeld-themed games that you can read about here. I’ll be very excited to see who does the best impression of the line “these pretzels are making me thirsty.” Just don’t make it too good or George Costanza might lose his cool.

As you might be able to tell, I’m a Seinfeld fanatic, and still love watching the show when it is 6:00 o’clock in the offseason and there is nothing on. However for those of you that have not seen the show, here are a couple of clips:

Additionally, here is a great interview the Soup Nazi (aka. actor Larry Thomas) did with WBAL on Friday night

As for baseball, the Keys try for a four-game winning streak with right-hander Mikey O’Brien on the hill. He will be opposed by southpaw Blair Walters.

First pitch is slated for 6:00 p.m and today’s lineup and game notes are below!

Shake your Keys,

Geoff

LINEUP

CF Josh Hart

3B Tanner Witt

1B Wynston Sawyer

C Austin Wynns

DH Yaisel Mederos

SS Adrian Marin

2B Anthony Caronia

RF Conor Bierfeldt

LF Jay Gonzalez

RHP Mikey O’Brien

Saturday, August 15, 2015 · Game #119 · Home Game #59

Frederick Keys (57-61/25-23) vs Carolina Mudcats (60-57/26-22)

RHP Mikey O’Brien (1-4, 2.45) vs. LHP Blair Walters (5-5, 2.82)

KEYS END SLIDE AGAINST MUDCATS: The Frederick Keys snapped a 10-game losing streak to the Carolina Mudcats, earning a 3-2 win on Friday night at Nymeo Field. With the victory, the orange and black have taken three in-a-row and remain within three games of Lynchburg for first in the CL North standings. All five of the game’s runs scored in the third inning. David Hess loaded the bases after a single to Reed Harper, a bunt base hit by Keith Curcio and a walk to Dustin Peterson, while the first two scored on a sac-fly by Joe Odom and an RBI single by Carlos Franco. In the home-third, former Key, Matt Bywater, picked up the first two outs of the inning, but a costly error kept the frame alive. Muddies third baseman Carlos Franco mishandled a groundball by Tanner Witt, while Witt stole second and moved to third on a strikeout/wild pitch. With men at the corners, Wynston Sawyer responded with an RBI single to center, before Austin Wynns and Adrian Marin followed with RBI base knocks of their own. Hess muscled through five innings, despite issuing five walks, while Jimmy Yacabonis and Donnie Hart tossed four shutout frames to wrap things up.

THE SKID IS DEAD!: Following 10 straight losses to the Mudcats, the orange and black earned their first win over Carolina since last August 21 in Zebulon. A team that has had the Keys number the last two seasons, Carolina is 22-7 against their CL North foe. Wins have been especially tough to come by for the Keys in Frederick, as the Muddies have claimed nine of the last 12 contests on Stadium Drive. Carolina has already claimed the season series, though the two sides will meet six more times in 2015. That includes a potentially critical four-game series From September 1-4 at Nymeo Field.

BACK TO CLOSE CALLS: The Keys played their second straight one-run game on Friday, After games last Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday were decided by eight, 15 and eight runs respectively. Of the club’s last 19 games, 14 have been decided by three runs or less (the Keys are 9-10 during that time). This season, the orange and black are 20-16 in one-run games, second-best in the Carolina League, while the team is 14-8 in two-run games, the top mark in the circuit. Although the team has done well in close games this year, the team has lost four one-run games to Carolina, while of the Keys 10 losses to the Mudcats, seven have come down to three runs or less.

AGAINST THE GRAIN: Like many clubs, the Keys success often hinges on reaching the four-run barrier. However five of Frederick’s last nine victories have seen the team score three runs or less. That includes the last two nights, with the Keys earning a 3-2 win on Friday, the night after they beat Lynchburg 3-2. The five wins make up a large chunk of the Keys yearly total for victories by three or fewer runs (13-47), while nine of the 13 have come since the all-star break. Frederick opened the season 1-17 in games when posting three runs or less.

SISCO GETS CALLED UP: On Friday, the Baltimore Orioles announced that Keys catcher, Chance Sisco, had been promoted to the Double-A Bowie Baysox. He becomes the 14th Keys player to receive a call-up to either Double-A or Triple-A this year, and the second Keys player to receive a promotion this week. On Monday, relief pitcher Jon Keller received his first promotion to the Eastern League. In 75 games with the orange and black, Sisco hit .308 with four home runs and 26 RBIs. Over his first 11 August games, the Californian was batting .375, while he hit .324 in 46 games since the all-star break.

ROSTER SHAKE-UP: With Chance Sisco’s promotion, Ramon Ramirez has returned to the Keys after the infielder was transferred to Short-Season Aberdeen on Thursday. Meanwhile the call-up of Jon Keller on Monday was the first in a wave of transactions. Williams Louico was transferred from Frederick to Low-A Delmarva, Sean Bierman was transferred to Frederick from Double-A Bowie, while Stefan Crichton joined the Keys from Delmarva. Right before first pitch on Tuesday, Ronan Pacheco was also reinstated from the seven-day DL.

BULLPEN ARMS TO WATCH: Garrett Cortright and Donnie Hart have both proven to be outstanding additions to the Keys bullpen. On Thursday, the duo combined to strike out the final four Hillcats hitters and give the Keys a series win. Promoted to Frederick on August 3, Cortright has posted five scoreless outings (7IP/0R/3H) and has held opponents to a .136 batting average. He has not allowed a run in his last 9.2 frames (between Low-A and Advanced-A) while he has not surrendered an earned run in an eye-popping 33.2 innings (the last earned run he allowed came on May 30). Hart is 4-0 with three saves and a 0.91 ERA (29.2 IP/3ER) over 20 games with the Keys. He has walked seven and struck out 24, while opponents are batting .219 against him. He has not given up a run in his last five outings.  

HESS NAMED PITCHER OF THE MONTH: On Monday afternoon, David Hess was named the Orioles Minor League “Pitcher of the Month” for July. He becomes the third member of the Keys to receive a monthly organizational honor, joining former teammates Drew Dosch and Trey Mancini, who were named players of the month in April and May. In six July starts, Hess went 2-0 with a 1.82 ERA, allowing only seven runs and 22 hits in 34.2 innings. Since the all-star break (nine starts) the Tennessee native has not allowed any more than two runs in a game.

A LITTLE STREAKY: Over their last 22 games, the Keys have been very streaky. From July 22-25 the orange and black won four games in-a-row, before going on a six-game slide from July 26-31. The Keys then won four straight from August 1-5, dropped back-to-back games from August 6-7, won on the eighth, and then lost back-to-back contests before this current three-game winning streak. In the second-half, Frederick has gone on three different four-game winning streaks, while the Keys longest run of the season is six games. Meanwhile, the six-game slide equals a season-high. During this extended stretch of baseball, the club found itself in first place for the first seven days, but has been in second for the last 13. Entering Saturday, the orange and black are three games behind Lynchburg for first place.

AGAINST CAROLINA: Saturday marks the 12th head-to-head meeting between Frederick and Carolina. This season, the Keys are 1-10 against the Mudcats. Frederick is batting .235 against Carolina arms, while the Keys pitching staff has a 4.70 ERA. In contrast, the Mudcats are batting .286 against Keys pitching and own a 2.66 ERA. Wynston Sawyer (.353/6-for-17) and Josh Hart (.321/9-for-28) lead the way for the orange and black.  On the Carolina side, Jacob Schrader (.378/14-for-37), Carlos Franco (.342/13-for-38) and Joey Meneses (.317/13-41) pace the offense.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Blair Walters makes his 25th appearance of the season and his 18th start. The left-hander’s most recent outing came last Sunday against Potomac. Tying a season-high with seven innings pitched, he allowed two runs on four hits in a no-decision. Moved into the rotation in early May, Walters is 4-5 with a 2.69 ERA as a starter, as opposed to 1-0 with a 3.86 mark as a reliever. One of the CL’s top arms over the last three months, the 25-year-old is fourth in ERA (2.82), third in batting average against (.238) and fifth among starters in fewest baserunners allowed per nine innings (10.76). This will be Walters’ third appearance against the Keys. Combined he is 0-0 with a 2.70 ERA (6.2 IP/2ER). In five career games against Frederick, Walters is 1-2 with a 3.51 ERA (25.2 IP/10ER).  Signed by Atlanta last July, the lefty went 6-1 with a 2.33 ERA in eight games (seven starts) for Lynchburg (then a Braves affiliate). Prior to joining the Braves, Walters was playing for the Independent Joliet Slammers. A Frontier League All-Star, he pitched to a 2.74 ERA in 75.2 innings. He allowed just 59 hits and struck out 54. Originally selected by the White Sox in the 11th round of the 2011 draft out of the University of Hawaii, Walters was acquired by the Houston Astros in July 2012 along with RHP Matt Heidenreich and RHP Chris Devenski in exchange for RHP Brett Myers. Last March, Walters was released by the Astros after finishing with a combined 7.18 ERA between High-A Lancaster and Triple-A Oklahoma City (one game) in 2013. He throws a fastball, a curveball, a slider and a changeup.

Keys open series with Carolina

The Keys kept their playoff hopes alive as they won a close contest 2-1 last night to clinch the three game set with Lynchburg, the division leader, and cutting the deficit to three games. Now riding the momentum, Frederick will be taking on the Carolina Mudcats at home for three games to close out their six game homestand. However, this will be a tough test for the orange and black as they have yet to beat the Mudcats this season so momentum will be the key here for Frederick. Going in game one for Frederick will be David Hess (7-4, 3.86) as he will be making his fourth start against Carolina. Hess has been phenomenal in the second half as he gone 5-0 with a 1.37 ERA and 2-0 with a 0.69 ERA in the month of August. He will be countered by Matt Bywater (0-0, – -) as he will be making his debut for the Mudcats. Tonight’s game will start at 7:00 PM

Tonights lineup

Josh Hart CF

Tanner Witt 3B

Jeff Kemp 2B

Wynston Sawyer 1B

Austin Wynns C

Adrian Marin SS

Yaisel Mederos DH

Conor Bierfeldt RF

Jay Gonzalez LF

8/14 Game Notes

QUARTET PITCHES WAY TO SERIES WIN: The Frederick Keys got a strong debut start from Sean Bierman and lockdown relief by Matt Taylor, Garrett Cortright and Donnie Hart to claim a 2-1 win on Thursday night at Nymeo Field. That allowed the orange and black to claim the series, while it moved the team within three games of the Hillcats for first in the CL North standings. Both Keys runs scored in the fourth against Jayson Aquino, as the Keys opened the frame with three straight singles. Wynston Sawyer plated Jeff Kemp to make it 1-1, while two batters later, Chance Sisco scored on an RBI fielder’s choice. Lynchburg’s lone run came on a solo homer by Sicnarf Loopstok to right in the second, as Bierman turned in six strong innings. From there, Taylor, Cortright and Hart would toss three scoreless innings, recording eight of the final nine outs via strikeout.

BACK TO CLOSE CALLS: After the Keys were involved in three games decided by eight, 15 and eight runs respectively, the orange and black played a one-run affair on Thursday. Of the club’s last 18 games, 13 have been decided by three runs or less (the Keys are 8-10 during that time). This season, the orange and black are 19-16 in one-run games, third-best in the Carolina League, while the team is 14-8 in two-run games, the top mark in the circuit. Although the team has done well in close games this year, the team has lost four one-run games to Carolina, while of the Keys 10 losses to the Mudcats, seven have come down to three runs or less.

SISCO GETS CALLED UP: On Friday, the Baltimore Orioles announced that Keys catcher, Chance Sisco, had been promoted to the Double-A Bowie Baysox. He becomes the 14th Keys player to receive a call-up to either Double-A or Triple-A this year, and the second Keys player to receive a promotion this week. On Monday, relief pitcher Jon Keller received his first promotion to the Eastern League. In 75 games with the orange and black, Sisco hit .308 with four home runs and 26 RBIs. Over his first 11 August games, the Californian was batting .375, while he hit .324 in 46 games since the all-star break.

ROSTER SHAKE-UP: With Chance Sisco’s promotion, Ramon Ramirez has returned to the Keys after the infielder was transferred to Short-Season Aberdeen on Thursday. Meanwhile the call-up of Jon Keller on Monday was the first in a wave of transactions. Williams Louico was transferred from Frederick to Low-A Delmarva, Sean Bierman was transferred to Frederick from Double-A Bowie, while Stefan Crichton joined the Keys from Delmarva. Right before first pitch on Tuesday, Ronan Pacheco was also reinstated from the seven-day DL.

A REVERSAL OF FORTUNES: The night after the Keys suffered their worst loss since last April 23, the club bounced back with one of its most decisive wins of the year. Wednesday’s eight-run triumph ranks as the club’s second-largest margin of victory this season, and the club’s most lopsided since May 22, when the Keys defeated the Hillcats 14-4. This season, Frederick’s three biggest wins have all come against Lynchburg. These include wins on Wednesday, May 22 and a 7-0 victory on April 15. In Wednesday’s game, seven the team’s nine starters had one hit, while four posted multi-hit games/  

BIERFELDT ON THE BALL: Although Conor Bierfeldt lost his five-game hitting streak on Thursday, the Keys outfielder has still hit the ball well of late. In his last six games, the Connecticut native is batting .474 (9-for-19) with a home run, four doubles, eight RBIs and four runs scored. In the process, he has raised his batting average from .155 to .207. On Wednesday, Bierfeldt went 3-for-4 with two doubles and three RBIs, with the three hits tying a career-high. During the Keys recent roadtrip, the 24-year-old went 6-for-13 with a home run, two doubles and five RBIs.

BULLPEN ARMS TO WATCH: Garrett Cortright and Donnie Hart have both proven to be outstanding additions to the Keys bullpen. On Thursday, the duo combined to strike out the final four Hillcats hitters and give the Keys a series win. Promoted to Frederick on August 3, Cortright has posted five scoreless outings (7IP/0R/3H) and has held opponents to a .136 batting average. He has not allowed a run in his last 9.2 frames (between Low-A and Advanced-A) while he has not surrendered an earned run in an eye-popping 33.2 innings (the last earned run he allowed came on May 30). Hart is 4-0 with two saves and a 0.94 ERA (28.2 IP/3ER) over 20 games with the Keys. He has walked seven and struck out 23, while opponents are batting .225 against him. He has not given up a run in his last four outings.  

HESS NAMED PITCHER OF THE MONTH: On Monday afternoon, David Hess was named the Orioles Minor League “Pitcher of the Month” for July. He becomes the third member of the Keys to receive a monthly organizational honor, joining former teammates Drew Dosch and Trey Mancini, who were named players of the month in April and May. In six July starts, Hess went 2-0 with a 1.82 ERA, allowing only seven runs and 22 hits in 34.2 innings. Since the all-star break (nine starts) the Tennessee native has not allowed any more than two runs in a game.

A LITTLE STREAKY: Over their last 21 games, the Keys have been very streaky. From July 22-25 the orange and black won four games in-a-row, before going on a six-game slide from July 26-31. The Keys then won four straight from August 1-5, dropped back-to-back games from August 6-7, won on the eighth, and then lost back-to-back contests before winning consecutive games on Wednesday and Thursday. In the second-half, Frederick has gone on three different four-game winning streaks, while the Keys longest run of the season is six games. Meanwhile, the six-game slide equals a season-high. During this extended stretch of baseball, the club found itself in first place for the first seven days, but has been in second for the last 13. Entering Friday, the orange and black are three games behind Lynchburg for first place.

AGAINST CAROLINA: Friday marks the 11th head-to-head meeting between Frederick and Carolina. This season, the Keys are 0-10 against the Mudcats. The Keys last win against Carolina came last August 21 in Zebulon, when Steven Brault tossed six shutout innings to lead the club to a 5-0 shutout. Frederick is batting .240 against Carolina arms, while the Keys pitching staff has a 4.99 ERA. In contrast, the Mudcats are batting .295 against Keys pitching and own a 2.90 ERA. Wynston Sawyer (.357/5-for-14) and Josh Hart (.320/8-for-25) lead the way for the orange and black.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Left-hander and former Keys pitcher, Matt Bywater, makes the start for Carolina on Friday. Signed as a free agent by the Braves on Thursday, Bywater returns to affiliated baseball for the first time since September 2012. Thar season, he moved between Frederick, Low-A Delmarva and Double-A Bowie (he made his last start there on September 3). Bywater was signed from the Southern Illinois Miners. In 16 starts, he went 8-4 with a 2.36 ERA, logging 107 innings. At the time he was signed by the Braves, Bywater was leading the Frontier League in strikeouts (123), was tied for fifth in wins and was seventh in ERA. The highlight of his season came on June 10 when he threw a no-hitter against Evansville. Also a member of the Miners in 2014, Bywater was named the Frontier League “Pitcher of the Year” going 8-4 with a 2.37 ERA. Working a league-high 129.2 innings, he allowed just 86 hits and struck out 114. He finished third in the league in ERA and strikeouts despite leading the circuit with 60 walks. As a member of the Keys in 2012, Bywater struggled, going 1-2 with a 5.67 ERA in 19 games (five starts). Combined between Low-A and Double-A that season, he went 3-3 with a 4.21 ERA in 28 games. He was released by Baltimore during 2013 spring training. Originally selected by the Orioles in the seventh round of the 2012 draft out of Pepperdine, Bywater received a reported signing bonus of $195,000. As a junior with the Wave, he was a unanimous First Team All-WCC selection and led the NCAA with four complete games. He throws a fastball, a slider and a changeup.

Keys look to win series finale with Lynchburg

Last night the Keys turned the tables on the Lynchburg Hillcats as they routed them 10-2 to even the series at 1-1 and force a rubber match. Tonight’s series finale will be a key game for the orange and black if they want to get back stay in the playoff hunt as they trail by four games in the standings to Lynchburg and gain some momentum before their upcoming series with the Carolina Mudcats. Frederick will send out southpaw Sean Bierman (0-0, – -) who will be making his season debut for the Keys. He will be countered by lefty Jayson Aquino (0-0, 2.25) who will be making his second appearance for the Hillcats this season. Tonights contest will start at start at 7:00 PM.

Tonight’s lineup

Tad Gold LF

Jeff Kemp 2B

Chance Sisco C

Wynston Sawyer 1B

Yaisel Mederos DH

Adrian Marin SS

Conor Bierfeldt RF

Tanner Witt 3B

Jay Gonzalez CF

8/13 Game Notes

KEYS BOUNCE BACK TO FORCE RUBBER GAME: The Frederick Keys turned in four straight multi-run innings to top the Lynchburg Hillcats 10-2 on Wednesday night at Nymeo Field. Half of the Keys runs were unearned on account of two costly Hillcats errors, while the win moves the orange and black within four games of Lynchburg for first in the CL North standings. Trailing 2-0, Frederick pulled things even in the bottom of the third. With two outs and a runner at third, Rob Kaminsky got Tanner Witt to hit a tapper back to the mound. However the Hillcats starter airmailed the throw to first allowing one run to score. Witt advanced to second on the play and scored on a Chance Sisco RBI single. One inning later, doubles by Wynston Sawyer and Conor Bierfeldt gave the Keys the lead for good, while Jay Gonzalez added an RBI single to make it 4-2. After scoring two more runs in the fifth, Sawyer provided the big blow in the sixth with a bases clearing double. On the mound, Mitch Horacek earned the win with 5.1 innings of two-run baseball.    

A REVERSAL OF FORTUNES: The night after the Keys suffered their worst loss since last April 23, the club bounced back with one of its most decisive wins of the year. Wednesday’s eight-run triumph ranks as the club’s second-largest margin of victory this season, and the club’s most lopsided since May 22, when the Keys defeated the Hillcats 14-4. This season, Frederick’s three biggest wins have all come against Lynchburg. These include wins on Wednesday, May 22 and a 7-0 victory on April 15. In Wednesday’s game, seven the team’s nine starters had one hit, while four posted multi-hit games/  

IT ALL COMES DOWN TO THIS: For the second straight series, the Keys will play a rubber game. This will mark the team’s 14th deciding contest of the season. In rubber matches, the Keys are 6-7. Frederick dropped its most recent one on Sunday, falling at Myrtle Beach 10-2. Thursday marks the third straight home series where the Keys have played a rubber game. The club won its most recent contest at Nymeo Field on August 2 against the Pelicans.

BIERFELDT ON THE BALL: Conor Bierfeldt continued his hot stretch of hitting on Wednesday. After going 6-for-13 with a home run, two doubles and five RBIs during the recent roadtrip, the Connecticut native went 3-for-4 with two doubles and three RBIs last night. The three hits tied a career-high for Bierfeldt, while the three RBIs equaled the most he had posted in a Carolina League game. Currently, the Keys outfielder owns a five-game hitting streak and is batting .529 (9-for-17) during that time. In the process, Bierfeldt has seen has average climb from .155 to .211, the highest it has been since July 6.

A COUPLE OF LANDSLIDES: After 12 of 14 games came down to three runs or less, Frederick’s last three games have been decided by eight, 15 and eight runs respectively. The Keys won by eight last night, after dropping the first two contests. When the orange and black score four or more runs, the team is 44-14, as opposed to go 11-47 when tallying three or less runs. When the club scores 10 or more runs, Frederick is 4-1, but the team is 0-12 when the opposition reaches double-digit runs.

HESS NAMED PITCHER OF THE MONTH: On Monday afternoon, David Hess was named the Orioles Minor League “Pitcher of the Month” for July. He becomes the third member of the Keys to receive a monthly organizational honor, joining former teammates Drew Dosch and Trey Mancini, who were named players of the month in April and May. In six July starts, Hess went 2-0 with a 1.82 ERA, allowing only seven runs and 22 hits in 34.2 innings. Since the all-star break (nine starts) the Tennessee native has not allowed any more than two runs in a game.

ROSTER MOVEMENT: A number of roster moves were made during Monday’s off-day. Jon Keller was promoted to the Double-A Bowie Baysox, becoming the 13th Frederick player to advance to either Double-A or Triple-A this season. In 30 games, the Iowa native went 3-4 with four saves and a 3.82 ERA. To go with Keller’s promotion, Williams Louico was transferred from Frederick to Low-A Delmarva, Sean Bierman has been transferred to Frederick from Double-A Bowie, while Stefan Crichton has joined the Keys from Delmarva. Right before first pitch on Tuesday, Ronan Pacheco was also reinstated from the seven-day DL, pushing the Keys roster back to 25-men, the Carolina League limit.

A LITTLE STREAKY: Over their last 20 games, the Keys have been very streaky. From July 22-25 the orange and black won four games in-a-row, before going on a six-game slide from July 26-31. The Keys then won four straight from August 1-5, dropped back-to-back games from August 6-7, won on the eighth, and then lost back-to-back contests before a win on Wednesday. In the second-half, Frederick has gone on three different four-game winning streaks, while the Keys longest run of the season is six games. Meanwhile, the six-game slide equals a season-high. During this extended stretch of baseball, the club found itself in first place for the first seven days, but has been in second for the last 13. Entering Thursday, the orange and black are four games behind Lynchburg for first place.

AGAINST LYNCHBURG: The Keys have only seven games left against intra-division competition, and four of those contests will come against Lynchburg. Currently, the Keys lead the season series 10-9, with the orange and black holding a 6-3 edge in games at home and a 4-6 mark in contests at City Stadium. Keys hitters are batting .268 against the Hillcats, but the pitching staff has a 5.24 ERA. As a club, Lynchburg is batting .262 against the Keys, while their pitching staff has a 4.29 ERA against Frederick. Two teams that have not seen each other since June 2, only five Keys position players faced the Hillcats before Tuesday, while only three relievers have seen Lynchburg before.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Left-hander Jayson Aquino makes his 20th start on Thursday and his second with Lynchburg. Combined between three different Advanced-A clubs (Lynchburg, Dunedin, Bradenton) Aquino is 4-8 with a 3.49 ERA over 19 games (108.1 innings). During that time he has struck out 72 and walked 25. The left-hander’s first outing with the Hillcats came last Saturday. Tossing four innings, he gave up on run on two hits to go with six strikeouts in a no-decision. Acquired by the Indians from the Pirates on July 29 for cash considerations, it marked the third time this season that Aquino had been traded. On February 4, he was dealt from Coloroado to Toronto. From there, he was sent from the Blue Jays to the Pirates on May 10 (also for cash considerations) after being designated for assignment and from there to the Indians in late-July. Of Aquino’s 19 games, 13 have come with Bradenton, where he went 2-6 with a 3.78 ERA. Entering 2015 ranked as the No. 25 prospect in the Rockies system according to Baseball America, Aquino went 5-10 with a 5.13 ERA between Advanced-A Modesto and Double-A Tulsa last season. He pitched two games at Double-A. He was placed on the Rockies 40-man roster after the 2013 season. Originally signed by Colorado as a non-drafted free agent on July 2, 2009. He throws a fastball, a changeup and a slider. Baseball America rated his changeup as “well above average.”

Keys look to recover and even series tonight vs Lynchburg

Last night the Lynchburg Hillcats put a drubbing on the Keys as the orange and black fell 17-2, their worst defeat since April 23, 2014 where they lost 21-6 to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. However, Frederick can still win the series as that was only game one yesterday and could potentially cut the deficit from five games to three. With the daunting task of trying to even the three game set at one apiece, the Keys will send southpaw Mitch Horacek (6-13, 4.38) to the mound as he will be making his fifth appearance against the Hillcats this season. Horacek has found success against Lynchburg this year as he has won all four outings accumulating for four of his six wins. He will be countered by lefty Rob Kaminsky (0-0, 0.00) who is only making his second appearance for the Hillcats. Tonights game will start at 7:00 PM.

Tonight’s lineup

Josh Hart LF

Tanner Witt 3B

Chance Sisco C

Wynston Sawyer 1B

Yaisel Mederos DH

Conor Bierfeldt RF

Anthony Caronia 2B

Jay Gonzalez CF

Ramon Ramirez SS

8/12 Game Notes

HILLCATS RECORD 12 EXTRA-BASE HITS IN ROMP: The Lynchburg Hillcats registered 12 extra-base hits and had six different players post multi-hit games, as the Frederick Keys fell 17-2 on Tuesday night at Nymeo Field. It was the club’s worst loss of the season, and moves the team five games behind the Hillcats for first in the CL North standings. A majority of the damage came in the second, when Lynchburg scored eight times against Luis Gonzalez. Joe Sever and Dorssys Paulino singled to open the inning, while Mike Papi plated the first run with a double. Yhoxian Medina followed with an RBI groundout, before Papi came home on a two-bagger by Ivan Castillo. LeVon Washington followed with a single to make it 4-0. After an error by Tanner Witt, Clint Frazier cracked a two-run double before coming home on a two-run homer by Sever. Paulino added a three-run homer to stretch the lead to double digits in the fourth, while he was one of four Hillcats players to total three or more RBIs. Lynchburg finished the game with four multi-run innings, while the 17 runs were a season-high.

MAMA SAID THERE WOULD BE DAYS LIKE THIS: Tuesday’s loss was the team’s worst since last April 23, when the Keys lost 21-6 to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. The 18 hits allowed tied a season-high for the pitching staff, while the 12 extra-base allowed hits were double the club’s previous season-high. Additionally, the eight-run second, marked Frederick’s toughest inning since July 9, when Wilmington scored 10 times in the bottom of the seventh. This season, the Hillcats scored 10 or more runs against the Keys on three occasions and have turned in two different eight-run innings, two six-run innings and a five-run inning.

A BIT OF AN OUTLIER: A team that has been accustomed to playing close games of late, the Keys have lost their last two games by 15 runs and eight runs respectively (during that stretch the team has been outscored 27-4). In spite of those numbers, 12 of Frederick’s last 16 games have been decided by three runs or less. Nine have hinged on two runs or less, while five have come down to one run. A team that is not unaccustomed to close games, from April 10-May 2, 18 of the Keys 21 contests came down to three or fewer runs.

MY CARONIA:  Anthony Caronia has hit safely in each of his last six games, after he went 2-for-4 on Tuesday. During the six-game jaunt, the Floridian is batting .375 (9-for-24) with a double, an RBI and two runs scored. In the process, he has raised his batting average by 12 points (.240-.252) the highest it has been since June 30. This season, Caronia has turned in two different seven-game hitting streaks, with the most recent taking place from May 14-30.

HESS NAMED PITCHER OF THE MONTH: On Monday afternoon, David Hess was named the Orioles Minor League “Pitcher of the Month” for July. He becomes the third member of the Keys to receive a monthly organizational honor, joining former teammates Drew Dosch and Trey Mancini, who were named players of the month in April and May. In six July starts, Hess went 2-0 with a 1.82 ERA, allowing only seven runs and 22 hits in 34.2 innings. Since the all-star break (nine starts) the Tennessee native has not allowed any more than two runs in a game.

ROSTER MOVEMENT: A number of roster moves were made during Monday’s off-day. Jon Keller was promoted to the Double-A Bowie Baysox, becoming the 13th Frederick player to advance to either Double-A or Triple-A this season. In 30 games, the Iowa native went 3-4 with four saves and a 3.82 ERA. To go with Keller’s promotion, Williams Louico was transferred from Frederick to Low-A Delmarva, Sean Bierman has been transferred to Frederick from Double-A Bowie, while Stefan Crichton has joined the Keys from Delmarva. Right before first pitch on Tuesday, Ronan Pacheco was also reinstated from the seven-day DL, pushing the Keys roster back to 25-men, the Carolina League limit.

FREE RIDING: Walks proved problematic in the Myrtle Beach series, as Keys pitching combined to walk 20 over three games. Nine of those free rides came during Friday’s series opener, tied for the second-most the pitching staff had given up since the all-star break. Currently, Frederick leads the CL in walks (467), 87 more than the next-closest team.

A LITTLE STREAKY: Over their last 19 games, the Keys have been very streaky. From July 22-25 the orange and black won four games in-a-row, before going on a six-game slide from July 26-31. The Keys then won four straight from August 1-5, dropped back-to-back games from August 6-7, won on the eighth, and have lost back-to-back contests since. In the second-half, Frederick has gone on three different four-game winning streaks, while the Keys longest run of the season is six games. Meanwhile, the six-game slide equals a season-high. During this extended stretch of baseball, the club found itself in first place for the first seven days, but has been in second for the last 12. Entering Wednesday, the orange and black are five games behind Lynchburg for first place.

AGAINST LYNCHBURG: The Keys have only eight games left against intra-division competition, and five of those contests will come against Lynchburg. Currently the season-set is tied at 9-9, with the orange and black holding a 5-3 edge in games at home and a 4-6 mark in contests at City Stadium. Keys hitters are batting .261 against the Hillcats, but the pitching staff has a 5.42 ERA. As a club, Lynchburg is batting .264 against the Keys, while their pitching staff has a 4.22 ERA against Frederick. Two teams that have not seen each other since June 2, only five Keys position players faced the Hillcats before Tuesday, while only three relievers have seen Lynchburg before.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Left-hander Rob Kaminsky makes his 19th overall start this season and his second as a member of the Hillcats. Combined between Lynchburg and Advanced-A Palm Beach (Cardinals) he is 6-5 with a 1.98 ERA over 18 games. In 100 innings, he has allowed 22 earned runs on 87 hits to go with 31 walks and 80 strikeouts. Traded by the Cardinals to the Indians on July 30 in exchange for Brandon Moss (following an injury to St. Louis outfielder Matt Holiday) Kaminsky received a no-decision in his Hillcats debut last Thursday. Tossing 5.1 innings of shutout baseball, he scattered five hits, walked three and struck out one. With Palm Beach, the southpaw went 6-5 with a 2.09 ERA in 17 games. Entering Wednesday, he is still ranked as the Florida State League’s leader in ERA, and fourth in batting average against .228. Opening the season ranked as the No. 5 prospect in the Cardinals system according to Baseball America, Kaminsky went 8-2 with a 1.88 ERA in 18 starts for Low-A Peoria in the Midwest League. There, he was one of the circuit’s youngest pitchers at 19 years old. Originally selected by St. Louis in the first round of the 2013 draft (28th overall) out of St. Joseph’s High School in Montvale, N.J, Kaminsky received a reported $1.785 million signing bonus, leading him to pass on a scholarship offer to North Carolina. Growing up a Yankees fan, the 20-year-old, posted a 0.10 ERA and 126 strikeouts as a high school senior. Getting all his strikeouts sponsored, he raised more than $30,000 for the pediatric cancer ward at Englewood Hospital. He also volunteered as an EMT and at a food pantry. Kaminsky throws a fastball, a curveball, and a changeup.

1st Place Lynchburg comes to Frederick

The Frederick Keys are returning to Nymeo Field to open up a six game home stand after going 3-3 on a roadtrip to Salem and Myrtle Beach. However, this homestand will be a very important one with the season winding down as they will take on the Lynchburg Hillcats for the first three games of the home stand. This will be a crucial three game set for the orange and black as they are chasing Lynchburg for first place in the North Division trailing by four games. This series could decide whether the Keys will make the playoffs as by the end they could be a game out or seven games. Frederick will send out southpaw Luis Gonzalez (5-8, 6.61) as he will be making his fifth start against the Hillcats this season where is 0-3. Gonzalez will be countered by Dace Kime (2-5, 4.89) making his third appearance against the Keys on the year where he is 0-1. Game time start is at 7:00 PM.

Tonight’s lineup

Josh Hart LF

Jeff Kemp SS

Chance Sisco C

Wynston Sawyer 1B

Yaisel Mederos DH

Tad Gold RF

Tanner Witt 3B

Anthony Caronia 2B

Jay Gonzalez CF

8/11 Game Notes

PELICANS TAKE RUBBER GAME: The Myrtle Beach Pelicans pounded out 14 hits, and benefited from seven walks to top the Frederick Keys 10-2 on Sunday night at TicketReturn.com Field. With the loss, the orange and black finish their roadtrip 3-3 and move to 22-22 in the second-half CL North standings. Frederick checks into Tuesday’s game four games behind Lynchburg for first place. Holding a 3-1 lead, Myrtle Beach scored seven of the game’s final eight runs. Three of those came in the sixth, as Williams Louico walked the bases loaded to open the frame. Daniel Lockhart drove in two with a single, while Jason Vosler completed the scoring with an RBI single. In the eighth, the Birds put things away. Batting around, the first four hitters all recorded base knocks, while Lockhart and Pin-Chieh Chen drove in runs. Later in the inning, Victor Caritini and Cael Brockmeyer added singles of their own. On the mound, Brad Markey limited the Keys to one run and five hits over six innings.

A BIT OF AN OUTLIER: A team that has been accustomed to playing close games of late, Sunday was a bit an exception for the Keys. The 10-2 loss equals the club’s second-worst since the all-star break, and is the team’s most lopsided defeat since June 29, when Wilmington defeated the orange and black 11-3. In spite of the game on Sunday, 12 of Frederick’s last 15 games have been decided by three runs or less. Nine have hinged on two runs or less, while five have come down to one run. A team that is not unaccustomed to close games, from April 10-May 2, 18 of the Keys 21 contests came down to three or fewer runs.

FREE RIDING: Walks proved problematic in the Myrtle Beach series, as Keys pitching combined to walk 20 over three games. Nine of those free rides came during Friday’s series opener, tied for the second-most the pitching staff had given up since the all-star break. Currently, Frederick leads the CL in walks (464), 85 more than the next-closest team.

HESS NAMED PITCHER OF THE MONTH: On Monday afternoon, David Hess was named the Orioles Minor League “Pitcher of the Month” for July. He becomes the third member of the Keys to receive a monthly organizational honor, joining former teammates Drew Dosch and Trey Mancini, who were named players of the month in April and May. In six July starts, Hess went 2-0 with a 1.82 ERA, allowing only seven runs and 22 hits in 34.2 innings. Since the all-star break (nine starts) the Tennessee native has not allowed any more than two runs in a game.

ROSTER MOVEMENT: A number of roster moves were made during Monday’s off-day. Jon Keller was promoted to the Double-A Bowie Baysox, becoming the 13th Frederick player to advance to either Double-A or Triple-A this season. In 30 games, the Iowa native went 3-4 with four saves and a 3.82 ERA. To go with Keller’s promotion, Williams Louico was transferred from Frederick to Low-A Delmarva, Sean Bierman has been transferred to Frederick from Double-A Bowie, while Stefan Crichton has joined the Keys from Delmarva.

A LITTLE STREAKY: Over their last 18 games, the Keys have been very streaky. From July 22-25 the orange and black won four games in-a-row, before going on a six-game slide from July 26-31. The Keys then won four straight from August 1-5, dropped back-to-back games from August 6-7 and have traded wins and losses in their last two games. In the second-half, Frederick has gone on three different four-game winning streaks, while the Keys longest run of the season is six games. Meanwhile, the six-game slide equals a season-high. During this two week-plus stretch of baseball, the club found itself in first place for the first seven days, but has been in second for the last 11. Entering Tuesday, the orange and black are four games behind Lynchburg for first place.

AGAINST LYNCHBURG: The Keys have only nine games left against intra-division competition, and six of those contests will come against Lynchburg. Frederick holds a slim 9-8 advantage in the season series. Keys hitters are batting .266 against the Hillcats, but the pitching staff has a 4.96 ERA. As a club, Lynchburg is batting .253 against the Keys, while their pitching staff has a 4.36 ERA against the orange and black. Two teams that have not seen each other since June 2, only five Keys position players have seen the Hillcats, while only three relievers have seen Lynchburg before. Offensively, Chance Sisco leads the way with a .333 average (.333/4-12).

ALL GOOD THINGS MUST COME TO AN END:  Yaisel Mederos saw his eight-game hitting streak conclude on Sunday, as the 26-year-old went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. During the eight-gamer, Mederos hit .303 (10-for-33) to go with two home runs, a double, five RBIs and six runs scored. It was just the second time in 10 games the Keys first baseman had not recorded a hit. Mederos played four seasons for Camaguey in the Cuban National Series (2008, 2011-13) and batted .268 with 13 home runs and 64 RBIs in 164 total games.

MORE QUALITY: In five of the last nine games, a Keys starting pitcher has delivered a quality start. The most recent came on Saturday, when David Hess fired off six innings of one-run baseball against the Hillcats. For the year, starters have turned in 27 quality outings, with 20 of those coming since the all-star break. A Keys starter has allowed more than three earned runs only twice in the last 18 games.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Right-hander Dace Kime makes his 23rd start this season and his 17th with Lynchburg. Combined between Low-A Lake County and the Hillcats, he is 4-8 with a 4.41 ERA. With Lynchburg he is 2-5 with a 4.89 ERA. Kime opened the year as the No. 20 overall prospect in the Indians farm system according to Baseball America. His most recent outing came last Wednesday against Potomac. Receiving a no-decision he worked only 2.2 innings, giving up six runs on seven hits. Kime opened the year at Low-A Lake County and went 2-3 with a 3.34 ERA over six games. Kime spent all of 2014 at Lake County where he went 7-14 with a 5.22 ERA over 28 starts. Finishing second in the Midwest League in losses (he opened the year 0-9) command was a central issue for the Ohio native, as he finished with 56 free tickets in 136.1 innings (fifth-most MWL). Originally selected by the Pirates in the eighth round of the 2010 draft out of Defiance High School (the same high school as big league pitchers Chad Billingsley and Jon Niese) Kime elected to attend Louisville rather than go pro. Beginning his career with the Cardinals as a bullpen-hand, he did not begin starting on a consistent basis until midway through his junior year. That season he went 5-1 with a 3.14 ERA in 24 games and helped lead his team to the College World Series. Drafted by Cleveland in the third round, Kime was the first pitcher the Indians selected. He received the call he had been drafted while on the Cardinals team bus going to Vanderbilt for the Super Regionals. Kime’s first name is pronounced like “ace” with a “D.” He got the name from his dad, who saw it in an NRA magazine, which talked about a kid who broke the world record for a pistol shooting competition.  He throws a low-mid 90s fastball, a 12-6 curveball, a cutter/slider and a changeup.

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