It’s Salute to the Orioles Night!

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

After some much needed rest, the Keys are back in action tonight against their Beltway rivals. For those who missed it, the Keys posted their seventh walk-off win, as the Keys topped the Nationals 8-7 in 13 innings. Yermin Mercedes played the role of hero, with a single off Gilberto Mendez in the final inning. Mercedes finished with a three-hit game, who his other two hits leaving the park. As a team, the Keys set a new season-high with four deep flies.

Tonight the Keys and Nationals play at 6 o’clock and it is Salute to the Orioles night. We’ll be honoring our long-standing partnership with the O’s while Harold Baines will be in town to sign autographs from 5-7. To read more about what’s happening to night click here.

We’ll the broadcast on 1450 AM The Source, frederickkeys.com and the TuneIn radio app as well (search WTHU). Doug is on assignment tonight, so I will be joined on the broadcast by former Washington Capitals radio man Steve Kolbe. Pregame coverage begins at 5:45 and will include a chat with the Baltimore Sun’s Orioles beat reporter Jon Meoli.

Today’s notes are below.

Shake your Keys!

Geoff

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Saturday, August 13, 2016 · Game #118 · Home Game #55

Frederick Keys (58-59/22-25) vs. Potomac Nationals (65-51/31-17)

RHP Franderlin Romero (5-4, 6.08) vs. RHP Austen Williams (3-3, 3.74)

                                                                                                                                                               MERCEDES GIVES KEYS WIN IN 13: Yermin Mercedes hit a bases loaded, walk-off single in the bottom of the 13th to give the Frederick Keys an 8-7 victory over the Potomac Nationals on Friday night at Nymeo Field. It was Frederick’s seventh walk-off win of the year. A game that featured seven lead changes, the Keys loaded the bases against Gilberto Mendez with no outs. Conor Bierfeldt walked to start the frame, moved to second on a bunt single by Austin Wynns while a wild pitch moved the winning run to third. Mendez intentionally walked Josh Hart and jumped ahead of Mercedes 0-2, but the Dominican singled over the head of Victor Robles to end the game.   

WALK IT OFF, WALK IT OFF: Friday’s walk-off win was the team’s first since July 21 and the club’s second against the Nationals. Former Key Jonah Heim delivered the winning hit in that game on May 23, Frederick’s first walk-off win of the year. A walk-off win came after periodic swings of the pendulum, resulting in a four hour and five minute contest. It was the longest game of the season in terms of time and the lengthiest since last April 13, when the orange and black defeated Lynchburg 5-4 in four hours and 57 minutes. Meanwhile the 13 innings for Frederick tied a season-high and marked the second time in the last three home games the Keys had played a 13-inning game (they lost 5-4 on August 2 to Myrtle Beach).

MERCEDES ENJOYS BIG NIGHT: The walk-off single in the 13th capped off a big night for Yermin Mercedes. Entering the game just 4 for 32 with Frederick, the Dominican went 3-for-5 with two home runs, three RBIs and two runs scored. It was the fourth multi-homer game by a Keys player this year, joining Wynston Sawyer and Aderlin Rodriguez (twice). Meanwhile it was the second time in his career Mercedes had hit two or more homers in a contest. The other instance occurred with Low-A Delmarva this year when he hit three on July 23 against Kannapolis. Overall, Mercedes has 17 homers this year, the third most among O’s farmhands (trailing Rodriguez who has 20 and Norfolk’s Trey Mancini who has 19).   

 NYMEO FIELD READY FOR LAUNCH: After hitting just two homers as a team in the previous 10 games, the Keys clubbed a season-high four. In addition to the multi-homer game by Yermin Mercedes, Jomar Reyes hit a two-run shot in the sixth and Erick Salcedo hit his third professional home runs in the first. Two of those three deep flies have come against the Nationals, while it was Salcedo’s first home run as a right-handed batter. For the season, the Keys have hit 92 home runs, giving them the second-most in the CL (Lynchburg has 108). Frederick and Lynchburg have four of the CL’s top five home run hitters.

HOME ON THE RANGE: The Keys embark on a seven-game homestand on Friday, playing three against Potomac and four against Lynchburg. This series is especially pivotal for the Keys, who begin tonight’s action 8.5 games back of the Nationals with 23 games left to play. Although Frederick’s odds for a playoff spot remain long, the club will play 17 of its final 24 games at home. Six of those games are against Potomac, while the Beltway rivals will face off nine more times down the stretch. The Keys have a slim 9-7 advantage in the season set. In the second half Frederick is 10-9 at Nymeo Field.

PICKING THINGS UP IN THE HOME STRETCH: Following a July that was somewhat disappointing (.228 batting average and a .282 on-base percentage), Steve Wilkerson has gotten off to a strong start in August. In his first 12 games, the former Clemson Tiger is 17-for-47 (.362) at the plate and has two hits in three of his last four games. Happy to be back home, Wilkerson is batting .303 in games at Nymeo Field as opposed to .211 in road tilts.

CLOSE CALLS: Over the last two weeks and change, the Keys have constantly been in close games. Of the last 17 contests, 14 have come down to three runs or less, while 10 have been one-run games. Frederick has won four of its last five one-run games. Prior to that, the Keys had dropped five straight one-run affairs. Frederick is 17-18 in one-run games (sixth CL) this year and 10-10 in two-run games (fifth CL).

LITTLE HELP!: Over the last 17 games, the orange and black have committed multiple errors five times, while they have made 24 during that stretchDue to these errors, 18 of the last 84 runs charged against Keys pitching have been unearned. Currently the Keys are sixth in the CL in fielding percentage (.972) and have made 122 errors (third-most). Only Carolina (126) and Wilmington (125) have more.

SCOUTING POTOMAC: Potomac enters Saturday’s action with a 31-17 record, the top mark in the CL since the all-star break. Intra-division have gone particularly well with the P-Nats, going 13-6 in the second-half. Despite that, the Keys have won four straight against their Beltway rival and six of seven.  

ODDS AND ENDS: Besides 17 of the Keys final 24 games coming at home, 17 will be against CL North clubs (25-26). After going just 2 for 26 in his previous nine games, Aderlin Rodriguez went 3-for-6 with a run scored on Friday. Ryan Meisinger saw his scoreless inning streak end at 12 on Friday after giving up a homer to Raudy Read. Read’s five hits equaled the most by a Keys opponent this year, and were a career-high for the Nationals backstop.

TODAY’S OPPOSING STARTER: Right-hander Austen Williams makes his 12th start with the PNats and his 22nd overall. In his most recent outing last Sunday, the righty tossed eight innings and allowed two runs (one earned) against the Blue Rocks to earn the win. Williams has pitched seven or more innings in three of his last four games. The Texan opened the year at Double-A Harrisburg and 1-7 with a 5.68 ERA (10 starts) before being sent down on June 9. He spent last year with three different levels in the Nationals system, mostly with Low-A Hagerstown and the P-Nats, with one start at Triple-A Syracuse. Between the stops, he was 12-8 with a 2.58 ERA in 25 starts. Selected by Washington in the sixth round of the 2014 draft out Texas State, Williams was a college teammate of former Keys pitcher Donnie Hart. Drafted after his junior year, he went 8-3 with a 3.65 ERA for the Bobcats as the team’s Friday starter.

 

The Long Home Stretch Begins

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

The Frederick Keys begin a seven-game homestand tonight at Nymeo Field. First pitch is at 7 as the Potomac Nationals come to town for a three-game set. Keys fans can be excited that 17 of the final 24 games will take place at the friendly confines, while 17 will also come against intra-division competition. Already on the outside looking in, there is no margin for error this weekend against the first place P-Nats who have a 9.5 game lead in the standings.

Tonight is Cancer Awareness night at the park and Keys players and coaches will be wearing special jerseys with proceeds going to the American Cancer Society. There will be a silent auction at the start, before the auction goes live later in the game. It is also Olympics night as we’ll be celebrating the Olympic colors from Frederick.

Mitch Horacek gets the ball for the Keys tonight and will be opposed by lefty Matthew Crownover. First pitch is slated for 7:00 p.m and the broadcast can be heard on 1450 AM The Source, frederickkeys.com and the TuneIn radio app (by searching WTHU).

Today’s notes are below.

Shake your Keys,

Geoff


NYMEO Field
· 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Friday, August 12, 2016 · Game #117 · Home Game #54

Frederick Keys (57-59/21-25) vs. Potomac Nationals (65-50/31-16)

LHP Mitch Horacek (5-10, 4.39) vs. LHP Matthew Crownover (3-4, 4.70)

                                                                                                                                                              

BLUE ROCKS TAKE SERIES: The Wilmington Blue Rocks got a strong start from Foster Griffin and three multi-run innings to shutout the Frederick Keys 7-0 on Thursday night at Frawley Stadium. It was Wilmington’s second straight series win over the Keys (and the Rocks fifth victory in their last six games against the orange and black). Pitching six shutout innings, Griffin earned his first victory in nearly a month. Offensively, the Rocks scored twice in the fourth following a David Richardson wild pitch and an RBI single by Robert Pehl. Two more scored in the seventh on an error and a base knock by Samir Duenez. An RBI base hit by Mike Hill and a two-run homer by Chad Johnson in the eighth completed the Rocks scoring.     

BLANKED: After posting four straight shutout wins, the Keys ended up on the other side of the ledger Thursday. It was the club’s first shutout loss since July 22, when Frederick was also blanked by a 7-0 score to Salem. Overall, the Keys have 12 shutout wins, most in the Carolina League, However Frederick has been held off the board nine times as well, the second-most in the CL (Wilmington has been shut out 14 times).

HOME ON THE RANGE: The Keys embark on a seven-game homestand on Friday, playing three against Potomac and four against Lynchburg. This series is especially pivotal for the Keys, who begin tonight’s action 9.5 games back of the Nationals with 24 games left to play. Although Frederick’s odds for a playoff spot remain long, the club will play 17 of its final 24 games at home. Six of those games are against Potomac, while the Beltway rivals will face off nine more times down the stretch. The Keys have a slim 8-7 advantage in the season set.

PICKING THINGS UP IN THE HOME STRETCH: Following a July that was somewhat disappointing (.228 batting average and a .282 on-base percentage), Steve Wilkerson has gotten off to a strong start in August. In his first 11 games, the former Clemson Tiger is 16-for-41 (.390) at the plate and has three consecutive two-hit games (first time all season). In the process, he has moved his average from .236 to .255 since the calendar flipped (the highest his average has been all year). Happy to be back home, Wilkerson is batting .309 in games at Nymeo Field as opposed to .211 in road tilts.

CLOSE CALLS: Since a 10-1 loss to Winston-Salem last Monday, the Keys have repeatedly been locked in close games. 13 of the last 16 games the Keys have played have come down to three runs or less, while nine have been one-run games. Frederick has won three of its last four one-run games. Prior to that, the Keys had dropped five straight one-run affairs. Frederick is 16-18 in one-run games (sixth CL) this year and 10-10 in two-run games (fifth CL).

ALL I DO IS WYNN, WYNN, WYNN: Austin Wynns has multiple hits in four of his nine games since returning from Triple-A Norfolk. Over that time is hitting .324 (11-for-34). Excellent behind the plate, the Californian has caught seven of the Keys nine games since returning (and played in eight). Wynns’ best game since come back to Frederick came on Wednesday, when he was 3-for-5 with a run scored. This year, Wynns has split time between the Keys, Norfolk and the Double-A Bowie Baysox. In 61 combined games (36 with Frederick) he is batting .264.

LITTLE HELP!: Over the last 16 games, the orange and black have committed multiple errors five times, while they have made 23 during that stretchDue to these errors, 16 of the last 77 runs charged against Keys pitching have been unearned. Currently the Keys are sixth in the CL in fielding percentage (.972) and have made 121 errors (third-most). Only Carolina (126) and Wilmington (124) have more.

STARTING OUT STRONG: Following a brutal July, where Keys starting pitchers tallied a 5.98 ERA (125 IP/83ER) things have been more stable in August. In the first 11 games this month, Frederick lid-lifters have pitched to a 2.40 ERA. This includes four starts of six innings or more (after the Keys did it just twice last month) and three quality outings. With the exception of one game, Keys starters have not allowed any more than two earned runs in any of their starts this month.

SCOUTING POTOMAC: Potomac enters Friday’s actions with a 31-16 record, the top mark in the CL since the all-star break. They enter with wins in seven of their last 10 games and have done particularly well against intra-division rivals, going 13-5 in the second-half. Friday marks the first time the Keys and P-Nats have met since the break, with the Keys having won three straight and four of five during the last head-to-head match-up from June 9-12. The Nationals have pitched well against the Keys (2.53 ERA) but have not done as well at the plate, hitting .242. It has been a similar story for Frederick, with the orange and black hitting .223 but pitching to a 3.05 ERA.

ODDS AND ENDS: Besides 17 of the Keys final 24 games coming at home, 17 will be against CL North clubs (24-26). Jeff Beliveau allowed an earned run for the first time in 11 outings on Thursday, while his run without allowing an earned run ended at 19.1 innings. Aderlin Rodriguez is just 2 for his last 26 at the plate (he ended an 0-for-17 slump with a home run on Wednesday).

TODAY’S OPPOSING STARTER: Left-hander Matthew Crownover makes his 13th start with Potomac and his 22nd overall this year. Between Potomac and Low-A Hagerstown he is 8-5 with a 3.34 ERA. His most recent outing came last Saturday against Wilmington. Earning the win against Wilmington, Crownover allowed two runs over five innings to go with eight strikeouts. He was promoted to Potomac on June 1 from Hagerstown (he was 5-1 with a 1.17 ERA in 10 games-three starts). A sixth round selection by the Nationals in the 2015 draft, Crownover spent his first pro season at Short-Season Auburn. Drafted out of Clemson, Crownover was the 2015 ACC Pitcher of the Year, going 10-3 with a 1.82 ERA and was a Golden Spikes Award semifinalist as well as an All-American. With the Tigers, he was teammates with Keys second baseman Steve Wilkerson. Crownover had Tommy John surgery in 2012.

Keys Play for a Split in Wilmington

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Thursday, August 11, 2016 · Game #116 · Road Game #63

Frederick Keys (57-58/21-24) vs. Wilmington Blue Rocks (42-73/15-31)

RHP David Richardson (3-4, 4.12) vs. LHP Foster Griffin (2-8, 6.85)

                                                                                                                                                              

KEYS SCORE COME-FROM-BEHIND WIN: The Frederick Keys rallied back from a three-run deficit to defeat the Wilmington Blue Rocks 6-5 on Wednesday night at Frawley Stadium. With the win, the Keys snapped a four-game losing streak to Wilmington. Down 5-2 in the seventh, the Keys pulled within a run thanks to a two-run double by Erick Salcedo off Kyle Kubat, before the visitors grabbed the lead for good in the eighth. Austin Wynns registered a one-out single, and moved to second on a wild pitch. Steve Wilkerson then singled teammate home to level the game. Two batters later, Josh Hart singled home Wilkerson. Garrett Cortright fired off two scoreless frames to preserve the one-run victory.

LATE SURGE GETS JOB DONE: The Frederick Keys scored the final four runs of the game, giving the team a rare win when trailing after seven innings. Wednesday marked just the fifth time (5-49) that the team had won when going into the eighth inning behind. Moreover, it was one of the team’s larger come-from-behind victories of the year (the largest deficit the Keys have made up this year is four runs down). Josh Hart played the role of hero, stroking the game winning hit in the eighth. Finishing 3-for-4 on the night, the three hits matched a season-high for the Georgian, while it was his first three-hit effort since July 5.

CLOSE CALLS: Since a 10-1 loss to Winston-Salem last Monday, the Keys have repeatedly been locked in close games. 13 of the last 15 games the Keys have played have come down to three runs or less, while nine have been one-run games. Frederick has won three of its last four one-run games. Prior to that, the Keys had dropped five straight one-run affairs. Frederick is 16-18 in one-run games (sixth CL) this year and 10-10 in two-run games (fifth CL).

ALL I DO IS WYNN, WYNN, WYNN: Austin Wynns has hit safely in six of his last eight games since returning from Triple-A Norfolk. Over the eight game stretch he is hitting .367 (11-for-30) while half of those games have been multi-hit efforts. Wynns’ best game since come back to Frederick came on Wednesday, when he was 3-for-5 with a run scored. This year, Wynns has split time between the Keys, Norfolk and the Double-A Bowie Baysox. In 61 combined games (36 with Frederick) he is batting .269.

PICKING THINGS UP IN THE HOME STRETCH: Following a July that was somewhat disappointing (.228 batting average and a .282 on-base percentage), Steve Wilkerson has gotten off to a strong start in August. In his first 10 games, the former Clemson Tiger has hits in 14 of his first 37 at-bats (.378). In the process, he has moved his average from .236 to .252 since the calendar flipped. In this series, Wilkerson is 4-for-10 with a double, two RBIs and two runs scored.  

LITTLE HELP!: Although the Keys played a clean game on defense Wednesday, some issues have cropped up on defense recently (for instance in game one on Tuesday where the team made three errors).  Over the last 15 games, the orange and black have committed multiple errors five times, while they have made 22 during that stretchDue to these errors, 15 of the last 70 runs charged against Keys pitching have been unearned. Currently the Keys are sixth in the CL in fielding percentage (.972) and have made 120 errors (third-most). Only Wilmington (124) and Carolina (124) have more.

THE IRE OF THE BLUE ROCKS: After the Keys won 10 of their first 13 meetings against the Blue Rocks (including wins in six of their first seven at Frawley Stadium) Wilmington has not been so kind since, taking four of the last five. All of those Blue Rocks victories have come in the First State. Anderson Miller and Samir Duenez have been especially unkind since their promotions to the CL. In four games, Miller is batting .385 (5-for-13) with a homer, a triple, a double and six runs scored. Duenez is hitting .350 (7-for-20) with two doubles, four RBIs and three runs scored.

BELIVEAU THE BULLY: Jeff Beliveau has not allowed an earned run in his last 10 appearances (spanning 18 innings). During that stretch, he has allowed only five hits, walked only five and struck out 21. Opponents are batting a collective .145 against Beliveau this season. In his first season with the Orioles following labrum surgery last season, Beliveau is pitching at the Advanced-A level for the first time since 2011, when he was with Daytona (Cubs). Last season, the southpaw was pitching for the Tampa Bay Rays before going down due to injury.  

RODRIGUEZ EARNS MORE HARDWARE: After being named the Orioles Minor League Player of the Month for July on Thursday, Aderlin Rodriguez was named the Carolina Player of the Month last Friday. It marks the third straight month where a Keys player has won the CL Player of the Month Award (Matthew Grimes won in May and Conor Bierfeldt won in June). In 28 July games, Rodriguez batted .375 with eight homers, 29 RBIs, a .688 slugging percentage and a 1.110 OPS.

ODDS AND ENDS: DJ Stewart saw his five-game hitting streak end on Wednesday. During that time he hit .563 (9-for-16) with two doubles, a triple, an RBI and two runs scored. Ryan Meisinger has not allowed a run in his last 10.1 innings (spanning five appearances). During that time he has allowed four hits and struck out 14. Following tonight, the Keys return to Nymeo Field for a seven-game homestand.

TODAY’S OPPOSING STARTER: Left-hander Foster Griffin makes his 16th start with the Blue Rocks on Thursday. His most recent outing came one week ago at Potomac. Throwing six innings, he gave up four runs and took the loss. Griffin joined the Blue Rocks on May 17, after beginning the year with Low-A Lexington. Overall with the Legends, he went 1-4 with a 3.38 ERA. He faced the Keys in his CL debut and took the loss, despite throwing 6.1 innings of three-run baseball. Griffin spent all of last year at Low-A and went 4-6 with a 5.44 ERA in 22 starts. He struggled mightily in the first half (7.64 ERA) before producing a better in the second-half (4.39 ERA). Drafted by the Royals in the first round of the 2014 draft, Griffin was selected out of First Academy High School in Orlando, FL (their nickname is Royals).

The Keys Try and Snap Their Slide Against the Rocks

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Wednesday, August 10, 2016 · Game #115 · Road Game #62

Frederick Keys (56-58/20-24) vs. Wilmington Blue Rocks (42-72/15-30)

RHP Lucas Long (6-6, 4.16) vs. LHP Matt Tenuta (5-8, 5.53)

                                                                                                                                                              

BLUE ROCKS SWEEP DOUBLEHEADER: The Wilmington Blue Rocks utilized a three-run fifth inning in game one and a two-run fifth in game two to post a doubleheader sweep of the Frederick Keys on Tuesday night at Frawley Stadium. Taking the front-end 7-3, the Blue Rocks scored the first two runs in the home first, before a three-run homer by Yermin Mercedes put the Keys ahead by a run in the second. Elier Hernandez tied the game in the third with an RBI single, before the Rocks busted out in the fifth against Genison Reyes. Two of the three runs came via home run from Brandon Downes, while the Rocks added an extra marker in the sixth. In game two, the Blue Rocks broke a 1-1 deadlock in the fifth thanks to a Robert Pehl RBI double and a run-scoring single by Brian Bien.

DOUBLE TROUBLE: With losses in both ends of Tuesday’s twinbill, the Keys dropped to 4-8 in doubleheader games, the second-worst twinbill mark in the Carolina League (trailing only Winston-Salem who is 2-6). Frederick has been broomed in doubleheader games three times, and on each occasion it has occurred against an intra-division rival. With the pair of losses the Keys are now 9.5 games behind first place Potomac with 26 games left to go.

LITTLE HELP!: Defensive woes have popped up on the Keys of late and Tuesday was no exception, with the team committing three errors in game one (one short of a season-high). Over the last 14 games, the orange and black have committed multiple errors five times, while they have made 22 during that stretchDue to these errors, 15 of the last 64 runs charged against Keys pitching have been unearned. Currently the Keys are sixth in the CL in fielding percentage (.971) and have made 120 errors (third-most). Only Wilmington (124) and Carolina (121) have more.

STEWART TAKING OFF: DJ Stewart has seen his average jump from .253 to .289 thanks to a five-game hitting streak. During the time, the former ACC Player of the Year is batting .563 (9-for-16) with two doubles, a triple, an RBI and two runs scored. Three of those games have been multi-hit efforts. The third time Stewart has hit in five straight with the Keys, the outfielder’s longest run came from July 6-15 when he hit safely in a career-best nine games

THE IRE OF THE BLUE ROCKS: After the Keys won 10 of their first 13 meetings against the Blue Rocks (including wins in six of their first seven at Frawley Stadium) Wilmington has not been so kind since, taking four consecutive games. All of those Blue Rocks victories have come in the First State. Samir Duenez has been especially unkind to the Keys since his promotion to the Carolina League. In five games, Wilmington’s first baseman is hitting .412 (7-for-17) with two doubles and four RBIs. Anderson Miller has also been a tough customer, batting .385 (5-for-13) with a homer, a triple, a double and six runs scored. Meanwhile, Blue Rocks arms have held Keys bats to a .228 average.

STARTING PITCHING PICKS IT UP: Although it was a problem at times on Tuesday, Frederick pitching has registered a 2.64 ERA (63 IP/14ER) in nine August games. Following a dismal July where Keys starting pitchers posted a 5.98 ERA, Frederick lid-lifters have pitched to a 1.59 ERA (45.1 IP/8ER) this month. Moreover, after there were only two quality outings last month, one-third of Keys starts of this month have been quality performances.

BELIVEAU THE BULLY: Jeff Beliveau has not allowed an earned run in his last 10 appearances (spanning 18 innings). During that stretch, he has allowed only five hits, walked only five and struck out 21. Opponents are batting a collective .145 against Beliveau this season. In his first season with the Orioles following labrum surgery last season, Beliveau is pitching at the Advanced-A level for the first time since 2011, when he was with Daytona (Cubs). Last season, the southpaw was pitching for the Tampa Bay Rays before going down due to injury.  

RODRIGUEZ EARNS MORE HARDWARE: After being named the Orioles Minor League Player of the Month for July on Thursday, Aderlin Rodriguez was named the Carolina Player of the Month on Friday. It marks the third straight month where a Keys player has won the CL Player of the Month Award (Matthew Grimes won in May and Conor Bierfeldt won in June). In 28 July games, Rodriguez batted .375 with eight homers, 29 RBIs, a .688 slugging percentage and a 1.110 OPS. He led the circuit in hitting, slugging and OPS while tying for first in RBIs and ending second in homers. A Triple Crown candidate, Rodriguez is tie for fourth in hitting (.299), second in home runs (19) and fourth in RBIs (74). There has not been a Triple Crown winner in the CL since Leo Daigle of the Winston-Salem Warthogs in 2005, while the only other league Triple Crown was by Ray Jablonski in 1951 with the Winston-Salem Cardinals.

CLOSE CALLS: Since a 10-1 loss to Winston-Salem last Monday, the Keys have repeatedly been locked in close games. 12 of the last 14 games the Keys have played have come down to three runs or less, while eight have been one-run games. Frederick has won two of the last three one run games they have played. Prior to that, the Keys had dropped five straight one-run affairs. Frederick is 15-18 in one-run games (sixth CL) this year and 10-10 in two-run games (fifth CL).

ODDS AND ENDS: Trevor Belicek equaled his longest outing with the Keys on Tuesday, tossing four innings of one-run baseball. It was his first start since June 12 at Potomac. Aderlin Rodriguez has gone hitless in his last 17 at-bats (his last hit was a 13th inning double last Wednesday).

Who is Ready for Two?

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

After a much needed off-day, the Keys are back in Wilmington (sound familiar?). It’s just like groundhog day, as the team retraces its steps from its last roadtrip (only this time there was a 24-hour layover in Frederick).

Tonight the two teams play a doubleheader starting at 5:05 p.m. The Keys and Blue Rocks were rained out on July 30, so this takes care of that postponement.

Both games will be broadcast on 1450 AM The Source, frederickkeys.com and the TuneIn Radio App (search WTHU) and Doug will have you covered. In game one, Jon Keller gets the ball against Rocks righty Glenn Sparkman. The Carolina League’s Pitcher of the Year in 2014, Sparkman is on the mend from Tommy John surgery.

In game two, the Keys will send Trevor Belicek to the mound against Rocks right-hander Derek Gordon. Both games will be seven innings.

Today’s notes are below, while you can also check out some of the cool stuff taking place during the next homestand (starting Friday) by clicking here.

Shake your Keys,

Geoff

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Tuesday, August 9, 2016 · Game #113/#114 · Road Game #60/#61

Frederick Keys (56-56/20-22) vs. Wilmington Blue Rocks (40-72/13-30)

G1: RHP Jon Keller (4-4, 6.31) vs. RHP Glenn Sparkman (0-0, –)

                                                                                                                                                              

FIVE-RUN FIFTH GIVES KEYS SERIES WIN: The Frederick Keys utilized a five-run fifth to defeat the Winston-Salem Dash 5-2 on Sunday night at BB&T Ballpark. It was the Keys third straight win. Down 2-0 going into the fifth, the Keys registered five straight hits off Winston starter Zack Thompson. After base knocks by TJ Olesczuk and Josh Hart, Erick Salcedo added a third single to make it 2-1. DJ Stewart followed suit to load the bases for Cam Kneeland who drove in two with a double to right-center. That ended Thompson’s day, as Kelvis Valerio came on and allowed two inherited runners to score. Franderlin Romero tossed five innings of two-run baseball to earn the win, while Tanner Chleborad, Garrett Cortright and Mike Zouzalik turned in four shutout innings of relief.

BEEN AWHILE: After losing or splitting five straight sets, the Keys finally won their first series since July 15 (they went 0-3-2 in sets prior to Sunday). Additionally, it ended a string of three consecutive series defeats (two by sweep). After racking up the best first-half road record in the Carolina League (22-13) the Keys have gone just 11-13 on the road since the all-star break.

THERE’S THE LUMBER!: Following a stretch of four straight games where the Keys posted six hits or less, the Keys mustered six hits in the fifth inning along on Sunday. That equaled a season-high for hits in an inning (fifth time) while the club ended with 13 total. That mark is two short of a season-high and was the team’s highest hit total since July 21 against Salem. DJ Stewart (3-for-5) and TJ Olesczuk (3-for-4) led the way, with the three hits ranking as a season-best for Olesczuk. In spite of the strong showing, the Keys are still batting only .210 in their last 10 games and .195 in their last five.  

IT’S CALLED A WINNING STREAK: Following a season-high six straight losses, the Keys have won three games in-a-row. It is the first time Frederick has won three in-a-row since July 14-17. This run of success can be traced back to strong pitching. Over the three-game winning streak, Keys arms have allowed only two runs in 24 innings (0.75 ERA) while scattering 21 hits (Dash hitters batted .241 over those three games). This included a string of 18.1 innings without allowing a run.

MORE ON PITCHING: Although it is a limited sample size, Frederick pitching has registered a 2.00 ERA (63 IP/14ER) in seven August games. Following a dismal July where Keys starting pitchers posted a 5.98 ERA, Frederick lid-lifters have pitched to a 1.21 ERA (37.1 IP/5ER) this month. Moreover, after there were only two quality outings last month, Lucas Long and Mitch Horacek have turned in quality appearances in two of the last four games (three of this month’s seven games have featured quality outings as well). Frederick relief has also contributed nicely, and is in the middle of a 10-inning scoreless streak (spanning the last four games).

RODRIGUEZ EARNS MORE HARDWARE: After being named the Orioles Minor League Player of the Month for July on Thursday, Aderlin Rodriguez was named the Carolina Player of the Month on Friday. It marks the third straight month where a Keys player has won the CL Player of the Month Award (Matthew Grimes won in May and Conor Bierfeldt won in June). In 28 July games, Rodriguez batted .375 with eight homers, 29 RBIs, a .688 slugging percentage and a 1.110 OPS. He led the circuit in hitting, slugging and OPS while tying for first in RBIs and ending second in homers. A Triple Crown candidate, Rodriguez is third in hitting (.299), second in home runs (19) and fourth in RBIs (74). There has not been a Triple Crown winner in the CL since Leo Daigle of the Winston-Salem Warthogs in 2005, while the only other league Triple Crown was by Ray Jablonski in 1951 with the Winston-Salem Cardinals.

CLOSE CALLS: Since a 10-1 loss to Winston-Salem last Monday, the Keys have repeatedly been locked in close games. 11 of the last 12 games the Keys have played have come down to three runs or less, while seven have been one-run games. Frederick has won each of the last two one-run games they have played. Prior to that, the Keys had dropped five straight one-run affairs. Frederick is 15-17 in one-run games (fifth CL) this year and 10-10 in two-run games (fifth CL).

LITTLE HELP!: Last Tuesday snapped a string of seven straight games with an error by a Keys player. Still, over the last 13 games, the orange and black have committed multiple errors four times, while they have made 19 during that stretchDue to these errors, 13 of the last 54 runs charged against Keys pitching have been unearned. Currently the Keys are sixth in the CL in fielding percentage (.972) and have made 117 errors (third-most). Only Wilmington (123) and Carolina (121) have more errors.

ODDS AND ENDS: On Sunday, Franderlin Romero earned his first win since June 18. DJ Stewart has scored or driven in the winning run in two of his last three games. In his last three games he is 6-for-12 with a triple, an RBI and two runs scored. Aderlin Rodriguez has gone hitless in his last 14 at-bats (his last hit was a 13th inning double last Wednesday). Austin Wynns has caught five of the Keys last six games since returning from Triple-A Norfolk (he is 7-for-19 at the plate during that time). The International Olympic Committee has approved the return of baseball/softball for 2020. Baseball last was played in 2008, while then-Key Jake Arietta was a member of the team.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Glenn Sparkman makes his first appearance with the Blue Rocks since 2014, when he was named the Carolina League Pitcher of the Year. A member of the Double-A Northwest Arkansas Naturals in 2015, he went 2-2 with a 3.60 ERA in four starts before getting injured. He underwent Tommy John surgery last summer and has only recently started to pitch again. After beginning his rehab with the AZL Royals, Sparkman went 0-2 with a 6.91 ERA in three starts for the Low-A Lexington Legends. His most recent outing came last Wednesday and was his best effort. Pitching six innings, Sparkman allowed three runs on eight hits to go with nine strikeouts. As a member of the Blue Rocks in 2014, Sparkman was terrific as a starter, going 6-2 with a 1.39 ERA (18 games). Selected by Kansas City in the 20th round of the 2013 draft out of Wharton County Junior College, Sparkman drove with his mom from their home in Ganado, Texas to Kansas City to throw a bullpen to convince the Royals to take him.

Keys Go For Series Win in Winston-Salem

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

The Keys try for their first series win in six sets on Sunday at 5 pm as the Keys wrap up their series with the Winston-Salem Dash. Keys pitching has held Winston bats off the board for 16 straight innings, while Frederick arms have combined to shutout their CL South foe in each of the last two nights (just the second time that has happened this year).

Franderlin Romero makes the start for the Keys tonight and will be opposed by Dash righty Zach Thompson (who made his CL debut against the Keys back in July.

We’ll be on the airwaves starting at 4:45 on 1450 AM The Source and frederickkeys.com as well as on the TuneIn Radio App (by searching WTHU).

Today’s notes are below.

Shake your Keys!

Geoff

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Sunday, August 7, 2016 · Game #112 · Road Game #59

Frederick Keys (55-56/19-22) vs. Winston-Salem Dash (47-66/19-24)

RHP Franderlin Romero (4-4, 6.31) vs. RHP Zach Thompson (2-2, 6.33)

                                                                                                                                                              

PITCHING RULES IN SHUTOUT WIN: Mitch Horacek, Ryan Meisinger and Jeff Beliveau collaborated on a six-hit shutout as the Frederick Keys defeated the Winston-Salem Dash 1-0 on Saturday night at BB&T Ballpark. It was the Keys second shutout win in as many nights. Eight of Winston-Salem’s nine starters struck out at least once as the Dash struck out 12 times. Frederick’s only run scored in the fourth inning. DJ Stewart singled to open things up, advanced to third on a passed ball and a fly out, before scoring on a wild pitch. That was all the support Frederick pitching needed. Horacek tossed the first innings and tied his season-high with nine strikeouts, while Keys arms set down the final 12 Dash hitters of the game.

FIRING BLANKS: Although the orange and black have won only four times in their last 13 games, each of the last four Keys wins have come via shutout. The Keys also defeated the Dash 1-0 on Friday (rain shortened game) while Frederick topped Wilmington 2-0 on July 28 and Salem by a 7-0 count on July 24. Currently, the Keys lead the CL in shutout wins (12) giving them one more than Lynchburg. Additionally, the Keys have claimed back-to-back shutout wins for the second time this year (they did it during a June 11 doubleheader at Potomac). Frederick has yet to win three straight via shutout.

PITCHING REIGNS SUPREME: Keys pitching has held Winston-Salem off the scoreboard for the last 16 innings (the Dash have not scored a run since scoring two in the seventh inning on Thursday). In this three-game series, Keys pitching has posted a 0.39 ERA (23 IP/3R/1ER). The bullpen has not allowed a run, while Lucas Long and Mitch Horacek have turned in quality starts in two of the last three games. After Keys starters registered only two quality starts in July and posted a 5.98 ERA, that group has delivered quality outings in three of its first five August games. In the process, they have turned in a 0.84 ERA (32.1 IP/3ER).

TROUBLE WITH THE LUMBER: While the pitching has been impressive to start this month, Keys bats are hitting only .196 in five August games. In the last four contests, the team has posted six hits or less, while in the last 15 games, the Keys are batting only .196 (95-for-483). In that stretch, they have scored two runs or less on eight occasions. The low point came on Thursday, when Dash pitching combined to one-hit the Keys (the second time it had happened this year). Although it has not been the norm, the Keys last three wins have come by scoring three or less runs (10-36) (as opposed to going 45-20 when plating four or more).  

RODRIGUEZ EARNS MORE HARDWARE: After being named the Orioles Minor League Player of the Month for July on Thursday, Aderlin Rodriguez was named the Carolina Player of the Month on Friday. It marks the third straight month where a Keys player has won the CL Player of the Month Award (Matthew Grimes won in May and Conor Bierfeldt won in June). In 28 July games, Rodriguez batted .375 with eight homers, 29 RBIs, a .688 slugging percentage and a 1.110 OPS. He led the circuit in hitting, slugging and OPS while tying for first in RBIs and ending second in homers. A Triple Crown candidate, Rodriguez is fourth in hitting (.302), second in home runs (19) and fourth in RBIs (74). There has not been a Triple Crown winner in the CL since Leo Daigle of the Winston-Salem Warthogs in 2005, while the only other league Triple Crown was by Ray Jablonski in 1951 with the Winston-Salem Cardinals.

CLOSE CALLS: Since a 10-1 loss to Winston-Salem last Monday, the Keys have repeatedly been locked in close games. 10 of the last 11 games the Keys have played have come down to three runs or less, while seven have been one-run games. That includes the last two nights. Before taking each of the last two one-run games, the Keys had dropped five straight one-run ballgames. Frederick is 15-17 in one-run games (5th CL) this year and 10-10 in two-run games (5th CL).

LITTLE HELP!: Tuesday snapped a string of seven straight games with an error by a Keys player. Still, over the last 12 games, the orange and black have committed multiple errors four times, while they have made 18 during that stretchDue to these errors, 13 of the last 52 runs charged against Keys pitching have been unearned. Currently the Keys are sixth in the CL in fielding percentage (.972) and have made 116 errors (third-most). Only Wilmington (122) and Carolina (120) have more errors.

TIME TO REDISCOVER THE ROAD MOJO: After racking up the best first-half road record in the Carolina League (22-13) the Keys have gone just 10-13 since the all-star break. During that time, the orange and black have won just one of their six road sets in the second-half (1-3-2). That includes setbacks in the last two series (the Keys last road series win came at Myrtle Beach from July 13-15). Frederick is now 32-26 in road games, while five of eight teams in the league have road marks above .500.

ODDS AND ENDS: DJ Stewart scored the winning run on Saturday after driving home the winning run on Friday. He has gone 3-for-7 in this series. Aderlin Rodriguez has gone hitless in his last 10 at-bats (his last hit was a 13th inning double on Wednesday). Austin Wynns has caught four of the Keys five games since returning from Triple-A Norfolk (he is 5-for-15 at the plate during that time). The International Olympic Committee has approved the return of baseball/softball for 2020. Baseball last was played in 2008, while then-Key Jake Arietta was a member of the team.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Zach Thompson makes his sixth start with the Dash on Sunday and his second against the Keys. His most recent outing came at Carolina on Tuesday. Tagged with the loss, Thompson gave up four runs (three earned) on six hits in five stanzas. The righty joined the Dash from Low-A Kannapolis on July 11. With the Intimidators, the righty went 6-3 with a 2.62 ERA in 16 starts while logging 86 innings. At the time of his promotion, he was first in the South Atlantic League in batting average against (.193) and fourth in ERA. Selected by Chicago in the fifth round of the 2014 draft out of UT Arlington, Thompson went 5-4 with a 4.64 ERA as a junior and was the first player from the Sun Belt Conference to be taken that year. He was taken by Pittsburgh in the 48th round of the 2011 draft out of Arlington Grace Prep (TX) but did not sign.

The Slide is Over..

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

The Keys snapped a season-worst six-game losing streak on Friday thanks to a 1-0 rain-shortened win. Each of the last three Keys victories have come via shutout, while last night ended a string of four straight Dash wins.

Tonight, Mitch Horacek makes the start for the Keys and will be opposed by Dash righty Jordan Stephens. A familiar face at this point, Frederick will see Stephens for the fourth time this season. Against the Keys he is 1-2 with a 5.67 ERA.

First pitch is slated for 6:30 p.m and pre-game coverage starts 15 minutes prior on 1450 AM The Source, frederickkeys.com and the TuneIn radio App (search WTHU).

Once again, Lary Sorensen will be with us. An 11-year Major League pitcher (and an all-star in 1978) Lary has broadcast games for ESPN and the Detroit Tigers among others. He’s got so many great stories to tell and I hope you’ll tune in if you’ve got some time tonight.

Shake your Keys!

Geoff

 

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Saturday, August 6, 2016 · Game #111 · Road Game #58

Frederick Keys (54-56/18-22) vs. Winston-Salem Dash (47-65/19-23)

LHP Mitch Horacek (4-10, 4.64) vs. RHP Jordan Stephens (5-7, 3.86)

                                                                                                                                                              

KEYS TAKE RAIN-SHORTENED AFFAIR: The Frederick Keys earned a 1-0 rain-shortened win over the Winston-Salem Dash on Friday night at BB&T Ballpark. Umpires stopped the game with two outs in the top of the seventh, while it snapped a six-game Keys losing streak. The only run of the game came across in the top of the third, thanks to three singles off Robinson Leyer. DJ Stewart had the decisive RBI, which scored Yermin Mercedes. Winston-Salem failed to crack the scoreboard despite a multitude of chances. In six trips to bat, the home team left eight on base and went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position.

SLIDE SNAPPED: Friday’s win ended a season-worst six game slide, the club’s longest drought since last July 26-31. It was the Keys first victory since last Thursday/Friday when the team defeated Wilmington in the front-end of a quasi-doubleheader. Although the orange and black have won only three times in their last 12 games, each of the last three Keys victories have come via shutout. Before last night’s win the Keys defeated Wilmington 2-0, while on July 24 Frederick blanked Salem 7-0. As a result, the orange and black are now tied for the CL lead in shutout wins with Lynchburg (11).

TROUBLE WITH THE LUMBER: Friday marked the third straight game where the Keys had been out-hit, while on Thursday the Keys were one-hit for the second time this year. A major source of frustration over the recent slide, Keys hitters are batting .189 over the last seven games (42-for-222) while in the last 14 ballgames, the Keys are hitting only .197 (89-for-452). In the last 14 contests, the Keys have scored two runs or less.

RODRIGUEZ EARNS MORE HARDWARE: One day after winning the Orioles Minor League Player of the Month for July, Aderlin Rodriguez was named the Carolina Player of the Month. It marks the third straight month where a Keys player has won the CL Player of the Month Award (Matthew Grimes won in May and Conor Bierfeldt won in June). In 28 July games, Rodriguez batted .375 with eight homers, 29 RBIs, two triples, seven doubles and 21 runs scored. He posted a .688 slugging percentage and 1.110 OPS. He led the circuit in hitting, slugging and OPS while tying for first in RBIs and ending second in homers. A Triple Crown candidate, Rodriguez is third in hitting (.305), second in home runs (19) and fourth in RBIs (74). There has not been a Triple Crown winner in the CL since Leo Daigle of the Winston-Salem Warthogs in 2005, while the only other league Triple Crown was by Ray Jablonski in 1951 with the Winston-Salem Cardinals.

CLOSE CALLS: Since a 10-1 loss to Winston-Salem last Monday, the Keys have repeatedly been locked in close games. Nine of the last 10 games the Keys have played have come down to three runs or less, while six have been one-run games. Last night, the Keys snapped a string of five straight one-run losses. Frederick is 14-17 in one-run games this year and 10-10 in two-run games.

LITTLE HELP!: Tuesday snapped a string of seven straight games with an error by a Keys player. Still, over the last 11 games, the orange and black have committed multiple errors four times, while they have made 18 during that stretchDue to these errors, 13 of the last 52 runs charged against Keys pitching have been unearned. Currently the Keys are sixth in the CL in fielding percentage (.971) and have made 116 errors (third-most). Only Wilmington (121) and Carolina (120) have more errors.

TIME TO REDISCOVER THE ROAD MOJO: After racking up the best first-half road record in the Carolina League (22-13) the Keys have gone just 9-13 since the all-star break. During that time, the orange and black have won just one of their six road sets in the second-half (1-3-2). That includes setbacks in the last two series (the Keys last road series win came at Myrtle Beach from July 13-15. Frederick’s 31-26 road record now ranks fourth in the CL, while five of eight teams in the league have road marks above .500.

SALCEDO’S STREAK ENDS: Erick Salcedo saw his 11-game hitting streak end on Thursday, going 0-for-2 with a run and two walks. Over the 11-gamer, the Venezuelan hit .333 (14-for-42) with a homer, five RBIs, two doubles and eight runs scored. It was his second-longest streak of the year (he hit in 14 straight from May 15-29). Despite losing the streak, Salcedo has hit safely in 18 of his last 21.

HEIM TRADED TO RAYS: On the day of the trade deadline, the Keys lost one member of their roster. Catcher Jonah Heim was dealt to the Tampa Rays in exchange for infielder/outfielder Steve Pearce. In 88 games with the Keys, Heim was batting .216 in 88 games with seven homers and 33 RBIs. Heim marks the first Key to be traded since August 31, 2014 when Mark Blackmar (and then former Key Miguel Chalas) were sent to the Chicago White Sox for Alejandro de Aza.

ODDS AND ENDS: Reliever Mike Zouzalik was transferred back to Frederick from Double-A Bowie. Jeff Beliveau has allowed one unearned run in his last 15 innings. The International Olympic Committee has approved the return of baseball/softball for 2020. Baseball last was played in 2008, while then-Key Jake Arietta was a member of the team.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Right-hander Jordan Stephens makes his 22nd start and is the No. 15 prospect in the White Sox system according to Baseball America. His most recent outing came last Sunday at Carolina. Getting a no-decision, the righty allowed four runs (two earned) on seven hits in five frames. He struck out six. Stephens is first in the CL in strikeouts (111) and ninth in ERA (3.86). The 23-year-old split 2015 between the AZL White Sox and Rookie Great Falls. Between the two stops, he finished with no record and a 0.51 ERA in 11 games (one start). Over 17.2 innings he allowed one run, walked three and struck out 21. A fifth round pick out of Rice University in 2015, Stephens was named All-Conference USA first team last year, posting a 3.17 ERA. His 2014 season was limited to just 14 innings after having Tommy John surgery. Originally from Alvin, Texas, the 23-year-old’s grew up in the same town as Baseball Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan. There is a Nolan Ryan Museum on the Campus of Alvin Community College.

Keys Look to Rebound in Winston-Salem

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Friday, August 5, 2016 · Game #110 · Road Game #57

Frederick Keys (53-56/17-22) vs. Winston-Salem Dash (47-64/19-22)

RHP David Richardson (3-4, 4.44) vs. RHP Robinson Leyer (1-2, 5.49)

                                                                                                                                                              

CLIFTON FLIRTS WITH NO-HITTER, PELICANS COMPLETE SWEEP: One day after being no-hit through seven innings by Myrtle Beach’s Trevor Clifton and recording just three hits, the Keys were one-hit by Winston-Salem on Thursday in a 3-1 loss at BB&T Ballpark. Thad Lowry, Taylore Cherry and Connor Walsh combined on the effort as the Keys dropped their sixth straight game. Austin Wynns had a second inning single which accounted for the Keys lone hit, while the lone run scored in the first on an Aderlin Rodriguez sac-fly. Winston-Salem tied the game in the third on a Landon Lassiter RBI single, before taking the lead for good in the seventh. With two outs and men at first and second, Toby Thomas single into left. Coming in to get it, the ball got past DJ Stewart allowing both runners to score.

TOUGH SLEDDING: The Keys six-game losing streak is the team’s longest drought of the year, while the team has fallen in 11 of its last 13 (and nine of 10). Frederick’s six-game slide is the club’s longest since last July 26-31. Frederick has not lost seven in-a-row since June 21-27, 2014 when they lost that number to Carolina, Wilmington and Winston-Salem. Before this current six-game slide, the Keys longest losing stretch was five games (twice). Frederick’s last win came last Thursday/Friday when they defeated Wilmington 2-0 in the front-end of a quasi-doubleheader.

NEED TO ACT FAST: With the recent struggles, the Keys find themselves three games below .500 for the first time since June 6, when club was 27-30. Entering Friday’s action, they are nine games behind Potomac, (their largest second-half deficit) with 31 games left to play. Nearly one-third of those games will come against Potomac (nine). Two of those three-game sets will take place at Nymeo Field.

TROUBLE WITH THE LUMBER: Thursday marked the second time the Keys had been one-hit in a game this year (it first happened on May 8 at Potomac when Phillips Valdez carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning). A major source of frustration over the six-game slide, Keys hitters are batting .182 over the six games (36-for-198) while in the last 13 ballgames, the Keys are hitting only .194 (83-for-428) and are averaging three runs per game (they’ve been held to two runs or less in six of those contests).

RODRIGUEZ NAMED O’s MILB POM: On Thursday, Aderlin Rodriguez was named the Orioles Minor League Player of the Month for July. The second time he has won a monthly honor this year, the Keys first baseman received the same honor in May (Matthew Grimes was also the Pitcher of the Month). In 28 July games, Rodriguez batted .375 with eight homers, 29 RBIs, two triples, seven doubles and 21 runs scored. He posted a .688 slugging percentage and 1.110 OPS. He led the circuit in hitting, slugging and OPS while tying for first in RBIs and ending second in homers. A Triple Crown candidate, Rodriguez is third in hitting (.307), second in home runs (19) and fourth in RBIs (74). There has not been a Triple Crown winner in the CL since Leo Daigle of the Winston-Salem Warthogs in 2005, while the only other league Triple Crown was by Ray Jablonski in 1951 with the Winston-Salem Cardinals.

CLOSE CALLS: Since a 10-1 loss to Winston-Salem last Monday, the Keys have repeatedly been locked in close games. Eight of the last nine games the Keys have played have come down to three runs or less, while five have been one-run games. Unfortunately, all five one-run games have been Keys losses. The five straight one-run defeats come on the heels of four straight one-run victories. Frederick is 13-17 in one-run games this year and 10-10 in two-run games.

LITTLE HELP!: Tuesday snapped a string of seven straight games with an error by a Keys player. Still, over the last 10 games, the orange and black have committed multiple errors four times, while they have made 17 during that stretchDue to these errors, 13 of the last 52 runs charged against Keys pitching have been unearned. Currently the Keys are sixth in the CL in fielding percentage (.971) and have made 115 errors (third-most). Only Wilmington (121) and Carolina (120) have more errors.

SALCEDO’S STREAK ENDS: Erick Salcedo saw his 11-game hitting streak end on Thursday, going 0-for-2 with a run and two walks. Over the 11-gamer, the Venezuelan hit .333 (14-for-42) with a homer, five RBIs, two doubles and eight runs scored. It was his second-longest streak of the year (he hit in 14 straight from May 15-29). Despite losing the streak, Salcedo has hit safely in 17 of his last 20.

HEIM TRADED TO RAYS: On the day of the trade deadline, the Keys lost one member of their roster. Catcher Jonah Heim was dealt to the Tampa Rays in exchange for infielder/outfielder Steve Pearce. In 88 games with the Keys, Heim was batting .216 in 88 games with seven homers and 33 RBIs. Heim marks the first Key to be traded since August 31, 2014 when Mark Blackmar (and then former Key Miguel Chalas) were sent to the Chicago White Sox for Alejandro de Aza.

ODDS AND ENDS: In addition to being named the O’s MiLB Player of the Month, Aderlin Rodriguez was named the Carolina League Player of the Month on Friday. He becomes the third straight Keys to win the award. The Keys have dropped seven of their last eight road contests. Reliever Mike Zouzalik was transferred back to Frederick from Double-A Bowie. Winston-Salem has won the last four at BB&T Ballpark after the Keys won the first three games.  The active leader in the South Atlantic League in batting average (.353) before his promotion to Frederick, Yermin Mercedes is 0-for-15 with six strikeouts since his call-up to Frederick. Jeff Beliveau has allowed one unearned run in his last 15 innings. Lynchburg’s Francisco Mejia extended his hitting streak to 46 games on Thursday, the longest streak in the Modern era. The International Olympic Committee has approved the return of baseball/softball for 2020. Baseball last was played in 2008, while then-Key Jake Arietta was a member of the team.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Robinson Leyer makes 32nd overall appearance and his fifth start on Friday night. His most recent outing came last Sunday against Lynchburg. Tagged with the loss, he allowed five runs (four earned) on five hits in three innings. His previous outing came against the Keys, and he allowed one run on two hits in six innings. It was his first CL victory of the year. Against the Keys, Leyer is 1-0 with a 4.70 ERA (7.2 IP/4R) while the Keys are batting .200 against him. Leyer rejoined the Dash on July 5 after beginning the year with Double-A Birmingham. In 24 relief outings he was 1-2 with a 5.79 ERA while opponents batted .308 against him. Command was an issue, as he walked 20 in 32.2 innings. His second appearance with the Dash came against Frederick on July 9, as he surrendered three runs on four hits in 1.2 innings. A member of the Dash in 2015, Leyer was 3-6 with a 4.30 ERA in 83.2 innings before a call-up to Double-A on July 16. From El Seibo, DR, Leyer’s brother Euclides is also on the Dash and is a relief pitcher.

 

Weren’t We Just in Winston-Salem?

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

After playing three games against the Dash at BB&T Ballpark last week, the Keys return to the Triad for four more starting tonight. Both sets in Winston-Salem have been one-sided, with the Keys taking three straight back in May before the Dash took all three one week ago.

Lucas Long gets the ball tonight for the Keys and will be seeing the Dash for the second time. He will be opposed by right-hander Thad Lowry. We’ll kickoff our broadcast tonight at 6:45 on 1450 AM The Source, frederickkeys.com and the TuneIn Radio App by searching WTHU.

With Olympic Opening Ceremonies starting tomorrow, some good news to report on the 2020 games. Baseball/Softball will be returning for the next games in Tokyo. Both sports were eliminated after the 2008 games, one in which a former Keys pitcher participated in for Team USA. Can you name him? (The answer is in the Odds and Ends Section).

Today’s notes are below.

Shake your Keys!

Geoff

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Thursday, August 4, 2016 · Game #109 · Road Game #56

Frederick Keys (53-55/17-21) vs. Winston-Salem Dash (46-64/18-22)

RHP Lucas Long (6-5, 4.37) vs. RHP Thad Lowry (7-7, 3.86)

                                                                                                                                                              

CLIFTON FLIRTS WITH NO-HITTER, PELICANS COMPLETE SWEEP: Trevor Clifton carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning, while the Frederick Keys managed only three hits in a 5-0 loss to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans on Wednesday afternoon at Nymeo Field. The win completed a three-game sweep for the Pelicans, while the Keys suffered their fifth straight loss. Clifton allowed only two baserunners over his first seven innings, before giving up a leadoff double in the eighth to Jomar Reyes. Frederick loaded the bases in that inning, but an interference call and a flyout curtailed the threat. Jeffrey Baez paced the Myrtle Beach offense with a pair of home runs, while Yasiel Balaguert added a two-run double in the eighth.

BROOMED: The Keys suffered their third sweep of the year on Wednesday, while it marked the second time in the last three sets the orange and black had been broomed. Frederick was also swept by Winston-Salem over three games from last Monday-Wednesday. Before suffering a pair of sweeps, the Keys had been the ones doing the brooming, earning four straight sweeps following losses in four straight to Lynchburg from April 14-17.

TOUGH SLEDDING: With the sweep the Keys have equaled their longest losing streak of the year (five straight), while the team has fallen in 10 of its last 12. The only other time the Keys dropped five in-a-row came from April 19-23 (to Wilmington and Lynchburg). Frederick has not lost six straight since last July 26-31, when the team dropped that number to Winston-Salem, Carolina and Myrtle Beach. Over this rocky stretch, the Keys have dropped three straight series. Offense has been a major source of frustration. During the five-game slide, the team is batting a collective .203 (35-for-172), while in the last 12 ballgames, the Keys are hitting only .204 (82-for-402) and are averaging 3.16 runs per game (they have been held to two runs or less in five of those contests).

NEED TO ACT FAST: With the recent struggles, the Keys find themselves two games below .500 for the first time since June 10, when club was 29-31. Meanwhile the Keys are four games below .500 for the first time in second half play (17-21). Entering Thursday’s action, they are seven games behind Potomac and eight behind Lynchburg. Although the eight-game hole is the Keys largest second-half deficit, Winston-Salem has dropped four of its last five games following a season-best five-game winning streak.

THESE GUYS AGAIN?: Following three games against Winston-Salem at BB&T Ballpark last week, the Keys return to the Triad for four more. The Keys hold a 7-6 lead in the season set, while the two sets in the Ole North State have been notably one-sided. The first time the Keys were at BB&T Ballpark, they swept the Dash over three games and hit .306 (33-108) with 14 extra-base hits and six homers. In contrast, the Dash swept the series last week by hitting .337 (35-104) and scoring 19 runs in three games (6.3 average). Of the 19 runs, 10 came in the first game, while Winston-Salem pounded out 17 hits, tying the most given up by Keys arms in a game this year. Defensively, Frederick struggled, committing six errors in three days.

CLOSE CALLS: Since a 10-1 loss to Winston-Salem last Monday, the Keys have repeatedly been locked in close games. Seven of the last eight games the Keys have played have come down to three runs or less, while five have been one-run games. Unfortunately, all five one-run games have been Keys losses. The five straight one-run defeats come on the heels of four straight one-run victories. Frederick is 13-17 in one-run games this year and 10-9 in two-run games.

LITTLE HELP!: Tuesday snapped a string of seven straight games with an error by a Keys player. Still, over the last nine games, the orange and black have committed multiple errors four times, while they have made 16 during that stretchDue to these errors, 11 of the last 49 runs charged against Keys pitching have been unearned. Surprisingly though, six of the 16 errors have come on miscues by Frederick pitching. Currently the Keys are sixth in the CL in fielding percentage (.961) and have made 114 errors (third-most). Only Wilmington (121) and Carolina (119) have more errors.

SALCEDO’S STREAK CONTINUES: It may have come in unusual fashion, but Erick Salcedo extended his hitting streak to 11 games on Wednesday. Hitting in the bottom of the eighth inning, Salcedo grounded a ball to the right side which hit Aderlin Rodriguez. Although Rodriguez was called out for interference, Salcedo was credited with a single. Over his current streak, the Venezuelan is batting .333 (14-for-42) with a homer, five RBIs, two doubles and eight runs scored. His batting average has climbed from .271 to .278. Going back farther, Salcedo has hit safely in 17 of 19. Salcedo’s 11-game streak is his second-longest of the year (his longest was a 14-gamer from May 15-29).

HEIM TRADED TO RAYS: On the day of the trade deadline, the Keys lost one member of their roster. Catcher Jonah Heim was dealt to the Tampa Rays in exchange for infielder/outfielder Steve Pearce. In 88 games with the Keys, Heim was batting .216 in 88 games with seven homers and 33 RBIs. Heim marks the first Key to be traded since August 31, 2014 when Mark Blackmar (and then former Key Miguel Chalas) were sent to the Chicago White Sox for Alejandro de Aza.

ODDS AND ENDS: The Keys have dropped six of their last seven road contests. Steve Wilkerson went 6-for-13 with two doubles and three runs scored during the Keys homestand, following a roadtrip where he finished 1-for-21 with 11 strikeouts. The active leader in the South Atlantic League in batting average (.353) before his promotion to Frederick, Yermin Mercedes is 0-for-12 with six strikeouts since his call-up to Frederick. Jeff Beliveau has allowed one unearned run in his last 15 innings. Lynchburg’s Francisco Mejia extended his hitting streak to 45 games on Wednesday. With a hit tonight, it will mark the longest streak in both Minor and Major League Baseball since 1954. The International Olympic Committee approved the return of baseball/softball for 2020. Baseball last was played in 2008, while then-Key Jake Arrieta was a member of the team.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Thad Lowry makes his 21st start with the Dash and his fourth against the Keys. The CL’s active leader in innings pitched (119) and is tied for seventh in ERA (3.86). His most recent outing came last Saturday against Lynchburg. Tagged with the loss, he allowed three runs on seven hits in 6.2 innings. It was his third quality outing in his last four games. Lowry gave up one unearned run in six innings against the Keys last Monday. The righty spent  2016 with the Kannapolis Intimidators. He led the league in innings pitched (150.2) while going 12-8 with a 4.48 ERA in 26 games. He was also tied for second in the South Atlantic League in wins. A catching prospect at Spring (TX) High School, Lowry was selected by the White Sox in the fifth round of the 2013 Draft. Lowry started getting attention for his pitching at the World Wood Bat Association World Championships.

It’s Super Splash Day!

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

The Keys wrap up a quick three-game homestand with a special 12 pm first pitch today. The orange and black were edged out in a 13-inning, nearly four-hour thriller last night, dropping a 5-4 decision. Steve Wilkerson reached base four times and starter Franderlin Romero allowed just three hits in six innings.

Jon Keller makes his second start of the season for the Frederick Keys this afternoon. During his last start, he struck out seven batters and didn’t allow one hit during his three innings of work. He’ll be opposed by Pelicans right-hander Trevor Clifton.

Today is also Super Splash Day! We’ll have local campers in attendance as we’ll be beating the heat with water balloons, super soakers, and more!

Tonight’s notes are below.

Shake Your Keys!

Ethan

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Wednesday, August 3, 2016 · Game #108 · Home Game #53

Frederick Keys (53-54/17-20) vs. Myrtle Beach Pelicans (58-51/22-17)

RHP Jon Keller (0-0, 0.00) vs. RHP Trevor Clifton (5-7, 3.40)

                                                                                                                                                              

PELICANS HOLD ON IN 13 INNINGS: The Frederick Keys put the tying and go-ahead runs on base in the bottom of the 13th but could not match a three-run Myrtle Beach surge in the top half of the inning, resulting in a 5-4 Keys setback on Tuesday night at Nymeo Field. The longest game in innings Frederick has played all season, it dropped the team one game below .500. With the game tied at two, David Bote gave his team the lead with a two-out RBI single, while Jeffrey Baez added a base hit to knock in two more. In the bottom of the 13th, the Keys refused to go quietly, as James Norwood needed almost 40 pitches to secure the victory. An Aderlin Rodriguez double brought home Steve Wilkerson, while the former scored on a Jomar Reyes single. From there, Norwood retired Josh Hart to lock up the win.

UP LATE LAST NIGHT: A noon turnaround on Wednesday was hardly the ideal scenario for the Keys and Pelicans who needed 13 innings and 3 hours and 57 minutes to complete Tuesday’s contest. The 13 frames was the longest game in terms of innings for the Keys this year and the lengthiest since last April 13, when the orange and black defeated Lynchburg 5-4 in 16 innings. Drew Dosch provided the final blow with a sac-fly that scored Anthony Caronia, while position player, Tucker Nathans, got the win in relief. Meanwhile, the three hours and 57 minutes were one minute short of a season-high (Frederick and Myrtle Beach went 3 hours and 58 minutes on July 15 at TicketReturn.com Field).

TOUGH SLEDDING: Tuesday’s extra-inning loss was the Keys fourth straight setback (and ninth in their last 11 games). The four-game slide is the team’s first since May 30-June 2, when the Keys dropped the same number to Carolina and Potomac. Frederick’s longest losing streak in 2016 is a five-gamer from April 19-23.

NEED TO ACT FAST: With the recent struggles, the Keys find themselves below .500 for the first time since June 11, when club was 30-31. Meanwhile the Keys are two games below .500 for the first time in second half play (17-20). Entering Wednesday’s action, the Keys are seven games behind Potomac and Lynchburg who are tied for first (25-14). The two sides split a doubleheader on Tuesday, but the seven game hole is the farthest Frederick has been out of first since the All-Star break.

CLOSE CALLS: Since a 10-1 loss to Winston-Salem last Monday, the Keys have repeatedly been locked in close games. Each of the last seven games the Keys have played have come down to three runs or less, while five have been one-run games. Unfortunately, all five one-run games have been Keys losses. The five straight one-run defeats come on the heels of four straight one-run victories. Frederick is 13-17 in one-run games this year and 10-9 in two-run games.

LITTLE HELP!: Tuesday snapped a string of seven straight games with an error by a Keys player. Still, over the last eight games, the orange and black have committed multiple errors four times, while they have made 15 during that stretchDue to these errors, 10 of the last 44 runs charged against Keys pitching have been unearned. Surprisingly though, six of the 15 errors have come on miscues by Frederick pitching, with the staff making an error in five of the last eight contests.

SALCEDO EXTENDS STREAK: Following a first inning homer on Tuesday, Erick Salcedo ran his hitting streak to 10 games with a 10th inning single off Daury Torrez. Over his current streak, Salcedo is batting .333 (13-for-39) with a homer, five RBIs, two doubles and eight runs scored. His batting average has climbed from .271 to .277. Going back farther, Salcedo has hit safely in 16 of 18. Currently, Salcedo’s 10-gamer is tied for his second-longest streak of the year (his longest was a 14-gamer from May 15-29).

IN SEARCH OF LENGTH: Following four straight starts of four or less innings by Key pitching, Franderlin Romero and Mitch Horacek have tossed 11 combined innings of two-run baseball against Myrtle Beach. Coming off the shortest outing of his career (0.2 IP) Romero allowed two runs in six innings, tying his longest outing with Frederick. It was also his first quality start since June 3. The longest start by a Frederick pitcher since July 24, Keys starters are coming off a July where their ERA was almost six (5.98). There were only two quality outings all month.

HEIM TRADED TO RAYS: On the day of the trade deadline, the Keys lost one member of their roster. Catcher Jonah Heim was dealt to the Tampa Rays in exchange for infielder/outfielder Steve Pearce. In 88 games with the Keys, Heim was batting .216 in 88 games with seven homers and 33 RBIs. In 60 games with Tampa Bay this year, Pearce was batting .309 with 10 homers and 29 RBIs. A return to Baltimore, the utility man batted .258 with 43 homers and 116 RBIs in 266 games for Baltimore. Heim marks the first Key to be traded since August 31, 2014 when Mark Blackmar (and then former Key Miguel Chalas) were sent to the Chicago White Sox for Alejandro de Aza.

ODDS AND ENDS: Austin Wynns returned to Frederick’s lineup from for the first time since May 30. He has split time with Frederick, Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk. Anthony Caronia also returned from Double-A Bowie and Franderlin Romero was added from Low-A Delmarva. With a loss in the middle game, the Keys are 3-3 in extra-inning games. Yermin Mercedes joined the Keys from Low-A Delmarva on Monday. At the time of his call-up he was the South Atlantic League’s active leader in average (.353). Jeff Beliveau has allowed one unearned run in his last 15 innings and given up just five hits in his last eight games.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Trevor Clifton makes his 19th start on Wednesday and his third against the Keys. In his most recent start last Thursday, Clifton took the loss at Salem, allowing three runs over six innings.  Only 21 years old, the right-hander is ranked at the No. 18 prospect in the Cubs system according to Baseball America. Clifton pitched all of last season at Low-A South Bend, going 8-10 with a 3.98 ERA in 23 games (22 starts). Across 108. 2 innings, Clifton walked 47, struck out 103 and help opponents to a .230 average. Clifton was drafted by Chicago in the 12th round of the 2013 draft out of Heritage High School (TN). Before signing with the Cubs, Clifton was committed to pitch at Kentucky, in spite of growing up in Maryville, TN, 30 miles south of Knoxville (home of the Tennessee Vols).

 

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