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).

 

It’s PoKEYmon Go Night!

Good Evening Keys Fans!

Do you want to be the very best like no one ever was? Head on out to Nymeo Field tonight as we host #PoKEYmon Go Night! If you’ve got the app (don’t lie, we all play it), just show us at the box office and you’ll get a $5 general admission ticket. We’ll be having a pre-game gym battle, dropping lures throughout the game, and hosting a post-game hunt in the outfield!

On the diamond, the Keys will try to avenge last night’s 5-4 loss as they look to to even up the series. Frederick’s offense looks to get rolling, as they’ll face Pelicans starter and Maryland product Jake Stinnett.

Pokemon hunting and baseball on a warm summer evening? What could be better!

Tonight’s notes are below.

Shake Your Keys!

Ethan

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Tuesday, August 2, 2016 · Game #107 · Home Game #52

Frederick Keys (53-53/17-19) vs. Myrtle Beach Pelicans (57-51/21-17)

RHP Franderlin Romero (4-4, 6.70) vs. RHP Jake Stinnett (7-4, 4.53)

                                                                                                                                                              

ERRORS HURT KEYS IN ONE-RUN LOSS: The Frederick Keys committed three errors, resulting in three unearned runs, as the Myrtle Beach Pelicans picked up a 5-4 win on Monday night at Nymeo Field. Two of the three unearned tallies came in the first inning. After an error by Jomar Reyes on a groundball to third, a wild pitch moved two men into scoring position while both scored on a sac-fly and a double by Jeffrey Baez. Erick Salcedo moved the Keys within a run with a solo homer in the home first and singles by Cam Kneeland and Aderlin Rodriguez gave the Keys a 3-2 edge after three. From there, Myrtle Beach scored three of the last four, utilizing an RBI double by Donnie Dewees and a David Bote single in the seventh to go on top for good.

LITTLE HELP!: For the second time in three games, the Keys made three or more errors. Over the last seven games, the orange and black have committed multiple errors four times, while they have made 15 during that stretch.  They have at least one in each of those seven games. Due to these errors, 10 of the last 39 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 seven contests.

SALCEDO EXTENDS STREAK: After extending his hitting streak with just one hit over his last six games, Erick Salcedo’s streak reached nine on Monday thanks to a 3-for-5 effort. Finishing with two RBIs and two runs scored, the Venezuelan extended things in the first with a solo homer to right.  Over his current streak, Salcedo is batting .343 (12-for-35) with a homer, five RBIs, two doubles and seven runs scored. His batting average has climbed from .271 to .278. Going back farther, Salcedo has hit safely in 15 of 17. Currently, Salcedo’s nine-game is tied for his second-longest streak of the year (his longest was a 14-gamer from May 15-29).

IT’S NOW OR NEVER: With Monday’s setback, the Keys have dropped eight of their last 10 (and six of seven).   Making matters worse on Monday, the Keys loss came on the heels of a Potomac Nationals loss. Winners of nine of their previous 12 before last night, Potomac holds a 6.5 game lead on the orange and black. Entering Tuesday’s action, the Keys are back to .500 overall this year, the first time they have not been a game above sea-level since June 17. Frederick has not been below .500 since June 11, when club was 30-31. Meanwhile the Keys are two games below .500 for the first time in second half play (17-19).

IN SEARCH OF LENGTH: After four straight games of a Keys starter not completing five innings, Mitch Horacek got through five on Monday. Still, Horacek remains the only pitcher to get through five frames since Lucas Long’s seven inning gem on July 24 against Salem. Over the recent six-game roadtrip, Frederick starters racked up an 8.85 ERA (20.1 IP/20ER) and allowed 39 hits. The result was a final July ERA of almost six (5.98) in July. During that time, starters gave up 83 earned runs in 125 innings, while 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.

CLOSE CALLS: Since a 10-1 loss to Winston-Salem last Monday, the Keys have been locked in a myriad of close games. Each of the last six games the Keys have played have come down to three runs or less, while four have been one-run games. Unfortunately, all four one-run games have been Keys losses. The four straight one-run defeats come on the heels of four straight one-run victories. Frederick is 13-16 in one-run games this year and 10-9 in two-run games.

RODRIGUEZ KEEPS ROLLING: Aderlin Rodriguez led the Carolina League in batting average in July (.375) while he tied for first with 29 RBIs (a mark also tied for first at Advanced-A) and placed second with eight homers (Anthony Santander of Lynchburg had nine. A Triple Crown candidate, Rodriguez is second in the CL in homers (19), is third in hitting (.311) and fourth in RBIs (72). In Carolina League history only Ray Jablonski of the Winston-Salem Cardinals (1951) and Leo Daigle (2005) of the Winston-Salem Warthogs have hit for the Triple Crown. The last minor league baseball Triple Crown (affiliated) came by Clint Robinson of the Northwest Arkansas Naturals in 2010. Robinson played for the Blue Rocks in 2009 (he now plays for the Washington Nationals).

ODDS AND ENDS: Prior to his two homers this year, Erick Salcedo had played six seasons and 394 games without one. 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. After four straight one-run wins, the Keys have endured three straight one-run losses.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Jake Stinnett makes his 18th start on Tuesday and his third against the Keys. His most recent outing came last Wednesday against Carolina, where he tossed four shutout innings but walked four. The 23-year-old spent all of last season at Low-A South Bend. In 22 starts, he went 7-6 with a 4.46 ERA. After a tough first-half of the year (5.29) Stinnett made strides (3.86) after the all-star break. Originally selected by the Cubs in the second round of the 2014 draft, Stinnett played his college baseball at the University of Maryland, while College Park, MD is just under an hour ride from Frederick. With the Terps he began his college career as a third baseman, designated hitter and relief pitcher before transitioning to a full-time starter’s role as a junior in 2013. He was also selected by the Pirates in the 29th round of the 2013 draft but did not sign.

Three Game with the Pelicans Start Tonight!

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

 

First off, best of luck to Jonah Heim who was dealt to the Tampa Bay Rays organization this afternoon! The 2013 draftee has been with the Keys since Opening Day. We wish him the best of luck in his career!

The boys are back in town today! We take on the Myrtle Beach Pelicans this evening at 7 pm at Nymeo Field. The orange and black are returning after an ugly 1-5 road trip versus Winston-Salem and Wilmington.

Mitch Horacek will look to right the ship for the Keys today, as he’s in search for his third consecutive start allowing no earned runs.

We’re also be celebrating ‘80s Night tonight! We’ll turn back the clock tonight as we’ll be spinning your favorite ‘80s tunes and playing some ‘80s-themed games!

Tonight’s notes are below.

Shake Your Keys!

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Monday, August 1, 2016 · Game #106 · Home Game #51

Frederick Keys (53-52/17-18) vs. Myrtle Beach Pelicans (56-51/20-17)

LHP Mitch Horacek (4-10, 4.88) vs. RHP James Pugliese (4-6, 4.20)

                                                                                                                                                              

BLUE ROCKS BULLPEN LOCKS UP SERIES WIN: The Frederick Keys managed only one hit in their last four innings, as the Wilmington Blue Rocks bullpen closed the door on a 6-3 win on Sunday night at Frawley Stadium. The loss meant a series victory for the Blue Rocks, who claimed the final two games of the de-facto three-game set. Frederick scored in their first at-bats, on an RBI single by Aderlin Rodriguez. Wilmington countered with three in the bottom of the first off David Richardson. Back-to-back RBI doubles by Anderson Miller and Brandon Downes tied the game, while a fielder’s choice by Austin Bailey made it 3-1. Frederick tied the game in the fifth on a bases loaded walk and a Cam Kneeland sac-fly, but Wilmington took the lead for good in the home fifth. Anderson Miller homered to level the game, Elier Hernandez drove in another with a single and a wild pitch made it 6-3. Jake Kalish, Jacob Bodner and Luis Rico took control from there, working 4.1 innings of scoreless relief.

BATS QUIET OF LATE: Offensively, the Keys struggled during the Winston-Salem, Wilmington roadtrip, batting just .190 (38H/200AB) over the six-game jaunt. During that time, the Keys averaged just 3.5 runs per game, while they scored two runs or less in three of the six contests. One other frustrating trend was a high number of strikeouts, with the Keys striking out 49 times in six games (8.2 per game average). Nearly one-third of those came in game two of the Wilmington series, when Frederick tied its season-high with 15 punch outs.  

IT’S NOW OR NEVER: Coupled with the Keys loss on Sunday, the Potomac Nationals earned a 2-1 win over the Carolina Mudcats (P-Nats starter Matthew Crownover delivered seven innings of one-run baseball). That extended Potomac’s second-half CL North lead to 6.5 games (they’ve had sole control of first since last Thursday). Hot of late, the Nationals have claimed nine of their last 12 (and four of five) while the Keys have dropped seven of their last nine (and five of six). Sunday’s loss, also dropped the orange and black to one game below .500 in the second-half for just the second time (Frederick was 1-2 on June 26). Entering Monday’s action at 53-52 overall, the team has been above .500 since June 17.

IN SEARCH OF LENGTH: Keys starting pitching has not completed five innings in four straight games, while over the six-game roadtrip, Frederick starters racked up an 8.85 ERA (20.1 IP/20ER) and allowed 39 hits. Following a good first half where the orange and black tallied a 3.69 ERA and no monthly mark higher than 4.38, Keys starters pitched to an ERA of almost six (5.98) in July. During that time, starters gave up 83 earned runs in 125 innings, while there were only two quality outings all month.

DEFENSIVE WOES: The Keys have committed errors in six straight games and have made 12 during that stretch. In game two of the Wilmington series, Frederick tied a season-high with four errors, resulting in four of Wilmington’s nine runs being unearned. It marked the sixth time the Keys had committed four errors this year and the second time it had happened in eight days. Surprisingly, five of those came by Keys pitchers, with the staff making an error in four of the last six contests.

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.

RODRIGUEZ KEEPS ROLLING: Aderlin Rodriguez led the Carolina League in batting average in July (.375) while he tied for first with 29 RBIs (a mark also tied for first at Advanced-A) and placed second with eight homers (Anthony Santander of Lynchburg had nine. A Triple Crown candidate, Rodriguez is tied for the CL lead in homers (19), is third in hitting (.312) and fourth in RBIs (71). In Carolina League history only Ray Jablonski of the Winston-Salem Cardinals (1951) and Leo Daigle (2005) of the Winston-Salem Warthogs have hit for the Triple Crown. The last minor league baseball Triple Crown (affiliated) came by Clint Robinson of the Northwest Arkansas Naturals in 2010. Robinson played for the Blue Rocks in 2009 (he now plays for the Washington Nationals).

SALCEDO EXTENDS STREAK: Erick Salcedo singled in the third inning on Sunday to extend his hitting streak to eight games. During that time, he is batting .267 (8-for-30) with three RBIs, two doubles and five runs scored. His batting average has climbed only two points over the streak since he has only one hit in seven of eight games. Going back farther, even though Salcedo has hit safely in 14 of 16, his mark has also gone up just two points (he has only two multi-hit games during that time). This year Salcedo has three different streaks of eight or more games (his longest was a 14-gamer from May 15-29).

ODDS AND ENDS: Yermin Mercedes joins the Keys from Low-A Delmarva. At the time of his call-up he was the South Atlantic League’s active leader in average (.353). Cam Kneeland hit his 10th home run on Saturday, giving him a new career-high as a professional (he hit nine with Trois-Rivieres in the Can-Am League in 2013). Jeff Beliveau has allowed one unearned run in his last 15 innings and given up just five hits in his last eight games. After four straight one-run wins, the Keys have endured three straight one-run losses.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Right-hander James Pugliese makes his 24th overall appearance and his second start with the Pelicans on Monday. His most recent outing came last Wednesday against Carolina. Tossing two innings of relief, he surrendered three runs on four hits to go with a walk and three strikeouts. Pugliese’s only other start came two game ago against Wilmington, where he pitched five shutout innings to earn the win. Great since the all-star break, Pugliese has gone 2-2 with a 2.93 ERA. The righty made a four-day cameo with Double-A Tennessee in late-April. An 18th round pick by the Cubs in 2011, Pugliese played his college baseball at Mercer County Community College.

Keys Wrap up their Series After a Saturday Rain Out

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

The Keys conclude their series with Wilmington following a Saturday rainout. In lieu of a Sunday doubleheader, the team’s will play a twinbill when the Keys return to Frawley Stadium a week from Tuesday. No makeup day has been announced yet.

David Richardson starts for the Keys and will be opposed by Blue Rocks righty Zach Lovvorn. First pitch is slated for 5:05 p.m and the broadcast can be heard on 1450 AM The Source and frederickkeys.com. You can also go to the TuneIn Radio App and search for WTHU.

Today’s notes are below. Shake your Keys!

Geoff

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Sunday, July 31, 2016 · Game #105 · Road Game #55

Frederick Keys (53-51/17-17) vs. Wilmington Blue Rocks (38-66/11-24)

RHP David Richardson (3-3, 3.66) vs. RHP Zach Lovvorn (2-12, 3.55)

                                                                                                                                                              

RAIN, RAIN GO AWAY: Saturday’s game between the Keys and the Blue Rocks was postponed on account of rain. With the Keys returning to Frawley Stadium a week from Tuesday, the game will be made up as part of a doubleheader in the next series. Both games will be seven innings. With the postponement it sets up a Sunday rubber game. In deciding contests this year, the Keys are 3-4, with the club taking its last game on July 15 against Myrtle Beach. The team is 1-1 in rubber matches in the second half and 1-1 in these games against the Blue Rocks.

KEYS AND BLUE ROCKS SPLIT QUASI-DOUBLEHEADER: The Frederick Keys completed a 2-0 win over the Wilmington Blue Rocks before falling 9-8 in the second contest in Friday’s quasi-doubleheader at Frawley Stadium. The Keys have split both quasi-doubleheaders they have played this year (one against Wilmington the other against Salem). In game one, Erick Salcedo gave the Keys both of their runs in the seventh with a double down the left field line. On the mound, the quartet of Jon Keller, Ivan Hernandez, Garrett Cleavinger and Garrett Cortright combined to give up only four hits. Wilmington   jumped out to an early 4-0 lead in the nightcap, before an Ademar Rifaela groundout leveled the game after 4.5 innings. The Blue  Rocks recovered the lead in the home fifth with an Austin Bailey two-run homer and added five of the next six, but the Keys made things interesting in the ninth. With two outs, Aderlin Rodriguez hit a three-run homer off Derek Gordon to send up the tying run, but Gordon locked down things from there with a strikeout of Rifaela.

DEFENSE HALTS LATE CHARGE: The Keys managed to score eight runs in game two, as Keys rallied from a four-run deficit, two days after nearly fighting back from a six-run hole in Winston-Salem. Although the orange and black tied the game in the fourth, poor defense contributed to the comeback falling short. Tying a season-high with four errors in game two, four of Wilmington’s nine runs were unearned. It marked the sixth time the Keys had committed four errors this year and the second time it had happened in eight days. On this roadtrip, the Keys have made multiple errors in three of the five games and have made 11 on the trip. Surprisingly, five of those have come by Keys pitchers, with Keys arms making an error in four of the last five contests.

FIRING BLANKS: The Keys 2-0 shutout win was the team’s 10th of the season. It was also the team’s second in less than a week. Frederick’s 10 shutouts are second-most in the league behind only Lynchburg (11-1), while the Keys have the third-best shutout record. This year the orange and black have shutout Wilmington three times and have blanked five different CL teams. Six of those shutouts have also come against division rivals (Wilmington and Potomac both three times).

THE WHIFF: In game two, the orange and black tied their season-high with 15 strikeouts. Just the second time it had happened this year, Keys hitters also struck out 15 times on April 23 at Lynchburg. With the exception of Cam Kneeland, every other starter struck out at least once and five struck out three times or more, with Steve Wilkerson and Josh Hart going a combined 0-for-7 with six strikeouts. Frederick also struck out nine times in the first game of the series and eight times in the series finale at Winston-Salem. Despite the higher strikeout totals of late, the Keys have the second-fewest punchouts in the CL  (732).   

RODRIGUEZ KEEPS ROLLING: Aderlin Rodriguez is tied for the Carolina League lead in hitting this month (.380) along with Winston-Salem’s Mason Robbins.  He is second in home runs (eight) and tied for second with 28 RBIs. All of his damage came in game two on Friday, when he added his 19th home run to move into a tie for first in the league in longballs. A Triple Crown candidate, Rodriguez is fourth in RBIs (eight behind Anthony Santander) and third in batting average (trailing only Winston-Salem’s Nick Basto and Mason Robbins). In Carolina League history only Ray Jablonski of the Winston-Salem Cardinals (1951) and Leo Daigle (2005) of the Winston-Salem Warthogs have hit for the Triple Crown. The last minor league baseball Triple Crown (affiliated) came by Clint Robinson of the Northwest Arkansas Naturals in 2010. Robinson played for the Blue Rocks in 2009 (he now plays for the Washington Nationals).

A TRIP TO ENJOY:  Aderlin Rodriguez was probably very happy when he saw the upcoming roadtrip to Winston-Salem and Wilmington. This year he is batting a collective .354 (40-113) against the two teams with 10 home runs and 30 RBIs. Against the Blue Rocks, he is hitting .333 (team-high) with four home runs and 17 RBIs in 14 games and has a .601 slugging percentage against Wilmington pitching. A hitter who is not afraid of Frawley Stadium’s spacious dimensions, all four of Rodriguez’s home runs against the Blue Crew have come at their stadium.

SALCEDO EXTENDS STREAK: Erick Salcedo drove home both runs in game one, before singling in his last at-bat in game two to extend his hitting streak to seven games. During that time, he is batting .259 (7-for-27) with two RBIs, two doubles and five runs scored. His batting average has not gone up since he has only one hit in six of seven, while even though he has hit safely in 13 of 15, his mark his gone up only two points. This year Salcedo has three different streaks of seven or more games (his longest was a 14-gamer from May 15-29).

ODDS AND ENDS: Jon Keller struck out seven in his first start since 2013. The seven punch outs were a career-high while he threw a first pitch strike to all 10 batters he faced. Cam Kneeland scored a season-high four runs on Saturday while he turned in his second 10-pitch plate appearance in his last four games. Kneeland also hit his 10th home run, giving him a new career-high as a professional (he hit nine with Trois-Rivieres in the Can-Am League in 2013). Jeff Beliveau has allowed one unearned run in his last 13 innings and given up just five hits in his last seven games. After four straight one-run wins, the Keys have endured three straight one-run losses.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Righty Zach Lovvorn makes his 21st appearance and his 19th start on Wednesday. His most recent outing came on Monday at Lynchburg. Picking up just his second win of the year, Lovvorn tossed five innings of one-run, four-hit baseball. He struck out eight and walked two. Despite leading the league in losses (12) he is fifth in ERA (3.55). Saturday will be the fourth time he has faced the Keys. In three games (two starts) he is 0-1 with a 3.38 ERA. Keys hitters are batting .250 against hin. Lovvorn was selected by Kansas City in the sixth round of the 2012 draft out of Oxford (AL) High School. The third pitcher in his high school rotation (the first two signed with Florida and Alabama) the righty rose up draft boards thanks to a good showing in the National High School Invitational. He received a $275,000 bonus, $80,000 over the recommended slot value. Before signing with the Royals, Lovvorn was committed to Stamford.

Keys and Blue Rocks Back at it Saturday

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Saturday, July 30, 2016 · Game #105 · Road Game #55

Frederick Keys (53-51/17-17) vs. Wilmington Blue Rocks (38-66/11-24)

RHP David Richardson (3-3, 3.66) vs. RHP Zach Lovvorn (2-12, 3.55)

                                                                                                                                                              

KEYS AND BLUE ROCKS SPLIT QUASI-DOUBLEHEADER: The Frederick Keys completed a 2-0 win over the Wilmington Blue Rocks before falling 9-8 in the second contest in Friday’s quasi-doubleheader at Frawley Stadium. The Keys have split both quasi-doubleheaders they have played this year (one against Wilmington the other against Salem). In game one, Erick Salcedo gave the Keys both of their runs in the seventh with a double down the left field line. On the mound, the quartet of Jon Keller, Ivan Hernandez, Garrett Cleavinger and Garrett Cortright combined to give up only four hits. Wilmington   jumped out to an early 4-0 lead in the nightcap, before an Ademar Rifaela groundout leveled the game after 4.5 innings. The Blue  Rocks recovered the lead in the home fifth with an Austin Bailey two-run homer and added five of the next six, but the Keys made things interesting in the ninth. With two outs, Aderlin Rodriguez hit a three-run homer off Derek Gordon to send up the tying run, but Gordon locked down things from there with a strikeout of Rifaela.

DEFENSE HALTS LATE CHARGE: The Keys managed to score eight runs in game two, as Keys rallied from a four-run deficit, two days after nearly fighting back from a six-run hole in Winston-Salem. Although the orange and black tied the game in the fourth, poor defense contributed to the comeback falling short. Tying a season-high with four errors in game two, four of Wilmington’s nine runs were unearned. It marked the sixth time the Keys had committed four errors this year and the second time it had happened in eight days. On this roadtrip, the Keys have made multiple errors in three of the five games and have made 11 on the trip. Surprisingly, five of those have come by Keys pitchers, with Keys arms making an error in four of the last five contests.

FIRING BLANKS: The Keys 2-0 shutout win was the team’s 10th of the season. It was also the team’s second in less than a week. Frederick’s 10 shutouts are second-most in the league behind only Lynchburg (11-1), while the Keys have the third-best shutout record. This year the orange and black have shutout Wilmington three times and have blanked five different CL teams. Six of those shutouts have also come against division rivals (Wilmington and Potomac both three times).

THE WHIFF: In game two, the orange and black tied their season-high with 15 strikeouts. Just the second time it had happened this year, Keys hitters also struck out 15 times on April 23 at Lynchburg. With the exception of Cam Kneeland, every other starter struck out at least once and five struck out three times or more, with Steve Wilkerson and Josh Hart going a combined 0-for-7 with six strikeouts. Frederick also struck out nine times in the first game of the series and eight times in the series finale at Winston-Salem. Despite the higher strikeout totals of late, the Keys have the second-fewest punchouts in the CL  (732).   

RODRIGUEZ KEEPS ROLLING: Aderlin Rodriguez leads the Carolina League in RBIs this month (28) while he is tied for first with eight home runs (Lynchburg’s Anthony Santander also has seven) and a .380 batting average (with Winston-Salem’s Mason Robbins). All of his damage came in game two on Friday, when he added his 19th home run to move into a tie for first in the league in longballs. A triple crown candidate, Rodriguez is fourth in RBIs (seven behind Bobby Bradley) and third in batting average (trailing only Winston-Salem’s Nick Basto and Mason Robbins). In Carolina League history only Ray Jablonski of the Winston-Salem Cardinals (1951) and Leo Daigle (2005) of the Winston-Salem Warthogs have hit for the Triple Crown. The last minor league baseball Triple Crown (affiliated) came by Clint Robinson of the Northwest Arkansas Naturals in 2010. Robinson played for the Blue Rocks in 2009 (he now plays for the Washington Nationals).

A TRIP TO ENJOY:  Aderlin Rodriguez was probably very happy when he saw the upcoming roadtrip to Winston-Salem and Wilmington. This year he is batting a collective .354 (40-113) against the two teams with 10 home runs and 30 RBIs. Against the Blue Rocks, he is hitting .333 (team-high) with four home runs and 17 RBIs in 14 games and has a .601 slugging percentage against Wilmington pitching. A hitter who is not afraid of Frawley Stadium’s spacious dimensions, all four of Rodriguez’s home runs against the Blue Crew have come at their stadium.

SALCEDO EXTENDS STREAK: Erick Salcedo drove home both runs in game one, before singling in his last at-bat in game two to extend his hitting streak to seven games. During that time, he is batting .259 (7-for-27) with two RBIs, two doubles and five runs scored. His batting average has not gone up since he has only one hit in six of seven, while even though he has hit safely in 13 of 15, his mark his gone up only two points. This year Salcedo has three different streaks of seven or more games (his longest was a 14-gamer from May 15-29).

ODDS AND ENDS: Jon Keller struck out seven in his first start since 2013. He seven punch outs were a career-high while he threw a first pitch strike to all 10 batters he faced. Cam Kneeland scored a season-high four runs on Saturday while he turned in his second 10-pitch plate appearance in his last four games. Kneeland also hit his 10th home run, giving him a new career-high as a professional (he hit nine with Trois-Rivieres in the Can-Am League in 2013). Jeff Beliveau has allowed one unearned run in his last 13 innings and given up just five hits in his last seven games. After four straight one-run wins, the Keys have endured three straight one-run losses.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Righty Zach Lovvorn makes his 21st appearance and his 19th start on Wednesday. His most recent outing came on Monday at Lynchburg. Picking up just his second win of the year, Lovvorn tossed five innings of one-run, four-hit baseball. He struck out eight and walked two. Despite leading the league in losses (12) he is fifth in ERA (3.55). Saturday will be the fourth time he has faced the Keys. In three games (two starts) he is 0-1 with a 3.38 ERA. Keys hitters are batting .250 against hin. Lovvorn was selected by Kansas City in the sixth round of the 2012 draft out of Oxford (AL) High School. The third pitcher in his high school rotation (the first two signed with Florida and Alabama) the righty rose up draft boards thanks to a good showing in the National High School Invitational. He received a $275,000 bonus, $80,000 over the recommended slot value. Before signing with the Royals, Lovvorn was committed to Stamford.

It’s (Almost) Doubleheader Baseball in Wilmington

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Friday, July 29, 2016 · Game #103/#104 · Road Game #53/#54

Frederick Keys (52-50/16-16) vs. Wilmington Blue Rocks (37-65/10-23)

G2: RHP Lucas Long (6-5, 4.34) vs. LHP Foster Griffin (2-7, 7.08)

                                                                                                                                                              

KEYS AND BLUE ROCKS SUSPENDED: After one pitch in the bottom of the seventh inning on Thursday, the Frederick Keys and the Blue Rocks were suspended, as persistent rain prevented the game from being completed. Ahead 2-0 at the time of the stoppage, the Keys will complete Thursday’s game as part of a quasi-doubleheader on Friday beginning at 5:05 p.m. A nine-inning game will follow afterwards. Both Keys runs scored in the seventh inning, courtesy of a double by Erick Salcedo down the leftfield line with the bases loaded. On the mound, Jon Keller and Ivan Hernandez collaborated on six shutout innings of three-hit relief.

SORT OF A DOUBLEHEADER: Friday marks the second time the Keys have played a quasi-doubleheader this year. Both have come in the second half, with the Keys splitting their lone one with Salem (Frederick’s first game of the second-half took three days to complete). No stranger to these games last year, the Keys went 3-5 in these type of set-ups (one loss, three splits). The Blue Rocks swept the Keys in one pseudo twinbill at Nymeo Field to end the first half, while the two sides last one resulted in a split (last July 15) at Frawley Stadium. In game one, the Blue Rocks scored 10 times in the seventh, before the Keys rallied to win game two 5-2 thanks to a Tad Gold go-ahead, two-run double in the 11th and seven scoreless innings from Jimmy Yacabonis, Donnie Hart and Cody Wheeler.

KEYS RALLY COMES UP JUST SHORT: The Frederick Keys launched a valiant comeback after trailing by six runs after four innings, but the Winston-Salem Dash held on for a 7-6 triumph on Wednesday afternoon at BB&T Ballpark. The loss gave the Dash a three-game sweep. Five of the Dash’s runs came in the first inning as Franderlin Romero was chased after 0.2 of an inning. The low point was three consecutive homers by Nick Basto, Marcus Davis and Telvin Nash. After the home team added a run in the second, the Keys got a solo homer by Aderlin Rodriguez in the fourth, before Winston got one more run in the bottom half of the inning. From there, the Keys scored five unanswered runs. A Rodriguez fielder’s choice scored one and consecutive doubles by Ademar Rifaela and Jonah Heim brought in two more. In the eighth, the Keys utilized an error and a wild pitch to make it a one-run game, but stranded the tying and go-ahead runs on base.

QUITE THE COMEBACK EFFORT: After a challenging five-game stretch offensively where the Keys hit just .213 and averaged 2.2 runs, the bats nearly lifted the Keys to their largest comeback win of the season. Finishing with six runs and 10 hits, it was the team’s best showing since Sunday, when they scored seven runs and 10 hits en route to a shutout win of the Salem Red Sox. A strong effort all around, eight of Frederick’s nine starters recorded at least one hit. Half of the Keys hits went for extra-bases (two short of a season-high), with Jonah Heim collecting two doubles and Aderlin Rodriguez adding a two-bagger and a homer. It was a much-needed lift for Heim who was hitless in his previous 16 at-bats before his fifth inning double. Before that, his last hit was a two-run, walk-off homer last Thursday against Salem.

ON A SLIDE: Wednesday marked the first time the Keys had been swept since April 14-17, when the team was broomed by Lynchburg in a four-game series (it was Frederick’s first home series of the year). The sweep also extended the Keys current losing streak to three games (the team has dropped five of six and seven of 10). It is Frederick’s longest slide since June 15-17 (season-high is five games). Meanwhile, the team has dropped four straight road games, the club’s longest road slide of 2016.  

 BULLPEN PROVIDING MAJOR BOOST: After Franderlin Romero lasted only 0.2 of an inning on Wednesday, the Keys bullpen answered in a big way, firing off 7.1 innings of two-run baseball. Highly effective over the last six games,  Frederick relievers have surrendered only four runs in their last 23 stanzas (1.57 ERA). That has moved the Keys July bullpen ERA down to 4.31. Ryan Meisinger was particularly impressive, delivering 3.1 scoreless innings of one-hit baseball to go with five strikeouts. It was the longest appearance of his pro career.

LOOKING FOR LENGTH: Keys starting pitching has struggled in July, posting a 5.89 ERA (114.2 IP/75ER). In 25 games, a Frederick starter has completed six innings only twice, while the team has just two quality starts. During the Winston-Salem series, Frederick starters posted a 10.80 ERA (12 ER/10IP) with Mitch Horacek the only pitcher who completed five innings. In three of the last eight games, a starter has made it through four innings or less three times. As a result the bullpen has been put to work, logging 100.1 innings this month. With four July games still left, this already ranks as the most innings Keys bullpen hands have worked in a month this year.

SON OF TOM, NAMED AFTER CHURCHILL: Wynston Sawyer has put together a very strong month of July. In 23 games, is batting .306 with four home runs, 15 RBIs to go with a .417 on-base percentage and a .553 slugging percentage. Last Thursday, he posted a career-high four hits. Of his 26 knocks this month, 13 have gone for extra-bases. He has already set a new career-high with 10 homers and at 45 RBIs Sawyer is just four away from tying his career-best (he had 49 in 2012 with Delmarva).

RODRIGUEZ KEEPS ROLLING: Aderlin Rodriguez leads the Carolina League in batting average this month (.394). while he is tied for first with seven home runs (Lynchburg’s Anthony Santander also has seven). Additionally, the Dominican is tied for third with 24 RBIs (with teammate Cam Kneeland). Rodriguez has hit safely in 20 of his last 23, and is hitting .407 during that time with seven homers, 24 RBIs, 19 runs scored, a .758 slugging percentage and a 1.219 OPS. Very happy to being seeing both the Blue Rocks and Dash on this roadtrip, Rodriguez is batting a collective .365 (38-104) against the two teams with nine home runs and 26 RBIs.

SCOUTING THE BLUE ROCKS: The Keys have fared better against the Blue Rocks than any team in the Carolina League (9-3). That includes a 5-1 record at Frawley Stadium. Frederick has taken three straight sets against Wilmington with two of the last three coming via sweep. A big reason for the success is the success of Keys pitching, with Frederick arms registering a 2.84 ERA (Blue Rocks bats are hitting .221 against Frederick arms). Aderlin Rodriguez leads the way with a .356 average with three homers and 13 RBIs.

ODDS AND ENDS: Erick Salcedo has hit safely in his last five games (6-for-20) and 11 of his last 13. Ademar Rifaela is 2-for-7 with the Keys since joining the team on Tuesday from Delmarva. He has an RBI double and a homer. Steve Wilkerson leads all CL second baseman with a .975 fielding percentage (nine errors) Jeff Beliveau has allowed one unearned run in his last 13 innings and given up just five hits in his last seven games.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Left-hander Foster Griffin makes his 21st overall start on Friday and his 14th with the Blue Rocks. Between Low-A Lexington and Wilmington he is 3-11 with a 5.67 ERA in 20 games. Griffin enters the year as the No. 13 prospect in the Royals system according to Baseball America. Griffin’s most recent outing came last Sunday at Myrtle Beach. Suffering the loss, he gave up six runs on five hits in three innings. He walked five and struck out three. A loser in three of his last four, the southpaw has surrendered five or more runs in each of those losses. The Floridian’s ERA has been over eight in the last two months after registering a 3.86 mark in three May games. He joined the Blue Rocks on May 17, after beginning the year with Low-A Lexington. Overall with the Legends, Griffin 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). His dad Fred Griffin, is director of the Grand Cypress Academy of Golf (Foster played in High School).

The Keys are Back in Wilmington!

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

After playing three in Winston-Salem, the Keys have returned to Frawley Stadium to take on the Wilmington Blue Rocks. Game time is scheduled for 6:35 p.m but at the moment, the forecast isn’t very promising. with heavy rains falling in the Delaware Valley. Given that the Cowboy Monkey Rodeo is in town though, we could be waiting for a little while.

Jon Keller will make the start for the Keys tonight, while it is his first start since 2013, when he was signed by the Orioles out of the University of Tampa. Andy Ferguson goes for the Rocks. A pitcher with Triple-A time, Ferguson was supposed to begin the year with the Omaha Storm Chasers in the Pacific Coast League, but after having his shoulder scoped in January, he is in the middle of rehabbing.

Today’s notes are below, while the broadcast can be heard on 1450 AM The Source,the TuneIn Radio App (by searching WTHU) or frederickkeys.com.

Shake your Keys!

Geoff

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Thursday, July 28, 2016 · Game #103 · Road Game #53

Frederick Keys (52-50/16-16) vs. Wilmington Blue Rocks (37-65/10-23)

RHP Jon Keller (0-0, –) vs. RHP Andy Ferguson (0-1, 10.13)

KEYS RALLY COMES UP JUST SHORT: The Frederick Keys launched a valiant comeback after trailing by six runs after four innings, but the Winston-Salem Dash held on for a 7-6 triumph on Wednesday afternoon at BB&T Ballpark. The loss gave the Dash a three-game sweep. Five of the Dash’s runs came in the first inning as Franderlin Romero was chased after 0.2 of an inning. The low point was three consecutive homers by Nick Basto, Marcus Davis and Telvin Nash. After the home team added a run in the second, the Keys got a solo homer by Aderlin Rodriguez in the fourth, before Winston got one more run in the bottom half of the inning. From there, the Keys scored five unanswered runs. A Rodriguez fielder’s choice scored one and consecutive doubles by Ademar Rifaela and Jonah Heim brought in two more. In the eighth, the Keys utilized an error and a wild pitch to make it a one-run game, but stranded the tying and go-ahead runs on base.

QUITE THE COMEBACK EFFORT: After a challenging five-game stretch offensively where the Keys hit just .213 and averaged 2.2 runs, the bats nearly lifted the Keys to their largest comeback win of the season. Finishing with six runs and 10 hits, it was the team’s best showing since Sunday, when they scored seven runs and 10 hits en route to a shutout win of the Salem Red Sox. A strong effort all around, eight of Frederick’s nine starters recorded at least one hit. Half of the Keys hits went for extra-bases (two short of a season-high), with Jonah Heim collecting two doubles and Aderlin Rodriguez adding a two-bagger and a homer. It was a much-needed lift for Heim who was hitless in his previous 16 at-bats before his fifth inning double. Before that, his last hit was a two-run, walk-off homer last Thursday against Salem.

ON A SLIDE: Wednesday marked the first time the Keys had been swept since April 14-17, when the team was broomed by Lynchburg in a four-game series (it was Frederick’s first home series of the year). The sweep also extended the Keys current losing streak to three games (the team has dropped five of six and seven of 10). It is Frederick’s longest slide since June 15-17 (season-high is five games). Meanwhile, the team has dropped four straight road games, the club’s longest road slide of 2016.  

BULLPEN PROVIDING MAJOR BOOST: After Franderlin Romero lasted only 0.2 of an inning on Wednesday, the Keys bullpen answered in a big way, firing off 7.1 innings of two-run baseball. Highly effective over the last six games,  Frederick relievers have surrendered only four runs in their last 23 stanzas (1.57 ERA). That has moved the Keys July bullpen ERA down to 4.31. Ryan Meisinger was particularly impressive, delivering 3.1 scoreless innings of one-hit baseball to go with five strikeouts. It was the longest appearance of his pro career.

SON OF TOM, NAMED AFTER CHURCHILL: Wynston Sawyer has put together a very strong month of July. In 23 games, is batting .306 with four home runs, 15 RBIs to go with a .417 on-base percentage and a .553 slugging percentage. Last Thursday, he posted a career-high four hits. Of his 26 knocks this month, 13 have gone for extra-bases. He has already set a new career-high with 10 homers and at 45 RBIs Sawyer is just four away from tying his career-best (he had 49 in 2012 with Delmarva).

RODRIGUEZ KEEPS ROLLING: Aderlin Rodriguez leads the Carolina League in batting average this month (.394). while he is tied for first with seven home runs (Lynchburg’s Anthony Santander also has seven). Additionally, the Dominican is tied for third with 24 RBIs (with teammate Cam Kneeland). Rodriguez has hit safely in 20 of his last 23, and is hitting .407 during that time with seven homers, 24 RBIs, 19 runs scored, a .758 slugging percentage and a 1.219 OPS.

SCOUTING THE BLUE ROCKS: The Keys have fared better against the Blue Rocks than any team in the Carolina League (9-3). That includes a 5-1 record at Frawley Stadium. Frederick has taken three straight sets against Wilmington with two of the last three coming via sweep. A big reason for the success is the success of Keys pitching, with Frederick arms registering a 2.84 ERA (Blue Rocks bats are hitting .221 against Frederick arms). Aderlin Rodriguez leads the way with a .356 average with three homers and 13 RBIs.

ODDS AND ENDS: Erick Salcedo has hit safely in his last five games (6-for-20) and 11 of his last 13. Ademar Rifaela is 2-for-7 with the Keys since joining the team on Tuesday from Delmarva. He has an RBI double and a homer. Steve Wilkerson leads all CL second baseman with a .975 fielding percentage (nine errors) Jeff Beliveau has allowed one unearned run in his last 13 innings and given up just five hits in his last seven games.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Andy Ferguson makes his sixth appearance of the year and his second with the Blue Rocks. The right-hander is with the Blue Rocks while rehabbing from a shoulder injury. After rehabbing with the AZL Royals, Ferguson was added to Wilmington’s roster last Saturday. In his first game, he pitched 2.2 innings of three-run, three-hit baseball and took the loss. He walked three and struck out four (79 pitches, 50 strikes). Ferguson split 2015 between Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha, going a collective 11-3 with a 2.49 ERA in 22 games (18 starts) he logged 104.2 innings. The 27-year-old was supposed to begin the year at Triple-A, but had his shoulder scoped in January due to tendinitis. Not his first time in a Blue Rocks uniform, Ferguson spent part of his 2012 season with the Rocks, going 4-2 with a 2.97 ERA in 10 starts. Originally from Benton, AR (the same hometown of 2008 Cy Young winner Cliff Lee) the righty was selected by Kansas City out of Arkansas State in 2011 (18th round).

Keys Wrap up Their Series in Winston-Salem

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Wednesday, July 27, 2016 · Game #102 · Road Game #52

Frederick Keys (52-49/16-15) vs. Winston-Salem Dash (42-60/14-18)

RHP Franderlin Romero (4-3, 5.88) vs. RHP Jordan Stephens (4-7, 3.81)

                                                                                                                                                              

KEYS LIMITED TO THREE HITS IN ONE-RUN LOSS: Robinson Leyer posted six innings of one-run baseball, while the Keys managed just three hits in a 2-1 loss on Tuesday night at BB&T Ballpark. The setback gives the Dash the series, as the orange and black will try and avoid the sweep. Both Dash runs came home in the first three innings. Two singles opened the second, while a third single with one out by Toby Thomas drove in the first run. Two errors in the third gave the Dash an extra marker. Frederick pulled within a run on a solo homer by Ademar Rifaela in the fifth and managed to get the tying run to third in the ninth, but could not convert.

AVOIDING THE SWEEP: The Keys have not suffered a sweep since April 14-17 when the team was broomed by Lynchburg in a four-game series (it was Frederick’s first home series of the year). Since that time, the Keys have been the ones accustomed to doing the brooming, racking up four sweeps. That includes a three-game sweep of the Dash from May 24-26 at BB&T Ballpark. In spite of being in a corner, the Keys can take solace in that the Dash have yet to sweep any team in 2016.

TROUBLES WITH THE LEATHER: Following three straight clean games defensively, it has been a different story for the Keys over the last two nights. Accumulating five total errors, the defense has contributed to three unearned runs. Three of those miscues came on Tuesday and pushed the Keys over 100 errors for the year (103). Only Carolina (115) and Wilmington (116) have made more.

 RIFAELA SOUNDS OFF IN KEYS DEBUT: Promoted to Frederick on Tuesday from Low-A Delmarva, Ademar Rifaela’s solo home run on Tuesday went down as his first Carolina League hit. His seventh longball overall, it was his second this month and first since July 1 (he ranked fourth on the Shorebirds with six longballs). In his fourth professional season, Rifaela batted .249 in 62 games with Delmarva to go with 11 doubles and 31 RBIs. The 21-year-old has split time between all three outfield positions.

ONE-RUN STREAK SNAPPED: Tuesday snapped the Keys string of one-run wins at four (it was the club’s first one-run setback since July 13 at Myrtle Beach. This year in game decided by a single marker, the Keys are 13-13, putting them in a tie for the third-best mark in the circuit. Prior to last night, three of the Keys previous four games were lopsided affairs. Following a 7-0 shutout loss on Friday to Salem, the Keys returned the favor with a 7-0 shutout win on Sunday, before Monday’s 10-1 loss to the Dash.

BULLPEN PICKING IT UP: Frederick’s bullpen has been called on frequently of late and has been effective over the last five games. Entering Monday night’s game having worked nine scoreless innings, Frederick relievers have surrendered only two runs in their last 15.2 stanzas (1.15 ERA). That has moved the Keys July bullpen ERA down to 4.65. Tanner Chleborad (1.35) and Jeff Beliveau (2.57) have fared the best among Frederick relievers this month.   

SON OF TOM, NAMED AFTER CHURCHILL: Wynston Sawyer has put together a very strong month of July. In 22 games, is batting .313 with four home runs, 15 RBIs to go with a .429 on-base percentage, .575 slugging percentage and a 1.004 OPS. Last Thursday, he posted a career-high four hits. Of his 25 knocks this month, 13 have gone for extra-bases. He has already set a new career-high with 10 homers and at 45 RBIs Sawyer is just four away from tying his career-best (he had 49 in 2012 with Delmarva).

LIGHTS, CAM, ACTION: Cam Kneeland has six multi-RBI games in July and has driven in 24 in 24 games. Nearly half of that came over a five-game stretch from July 9-14 in which Kneeland totaled 11 and had at least one in each game. He also has 11 multi-hit efforts in July (including six consecutive at one point). Currently, Kneeland is tied for third among Advanced-A players in RBIs and second among Carolina Leaguers, trailing only Lynchburg’s Anthony Santander (25). The 24 RBIs for Kneeland are one short of his RBI total for April-June COMBINED (25).

RODRIGUEZ KEEPS ROLLING: Aderlin Rodriguez is second in the CL in batting average this month (.394) trailing only Mike Meyers of Salem (.408). Additionally, the Dominican is second in homers (six) tied for third in RBIs (22). Rodriguez has hit safely in 19 of his last 22, and is hitting .407 during that time with six homers, 22 RBIs, 16 runs scored, a .733 slugging percentage and a 1.196 OPS.

ODDS AND ENDS: Despite going 0-for-4 with a strikeout on Tuesday, Cam Kneeland saw 26 pitches in four at-bats (that included a 10-pitch at-bat in the first inning). That accounted for 21% of the pitches thrown by Dash arms last night. Erick Salcedo has hit safely in his last four games (5-for-15) and 10 of his last 12. Steve Wilkerson leads all CL second baseman with a .975 fielding percentage (nine errors). Jeff Beliveau has allowed one unearned run in his last 13 innings and given up just five hits in his last seven games.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Right-hander Jordan Stephens makes his 20th start and is the No. 15 prospect in the White Sox system according to Baseball America. His most recent outing came last Friday at Potomac. Pitching six innings, he allowed three runs on five hits in a no-decision. He ranks first with 100 strikeouts and ninth with a 3.81 ERA. 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 and the Dash Play the Second of Three

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Tuesday, July 26, 2016 · Game #101 · Road Game #51

Frederick Keys (52-48/16-14) vs. Winston-Salem Dash (41-60/13-18)

LHP Mitch Horacek (4-9, 5.06) vs. RHP Robinson Leyer (0-1, 5.91)

BIG DASH FIFTH TOO MUCH FOR KEYS: The Winston-Salem Dash erupted for 17 hits and scored five times in the fifth inning to cruise past the Frederick Keys 10-1 on Monday night at BB&T Ballpark. It was the Keys first loss at BB&T Ballpark in 2016. Ahead 3-1 going to the fifth, Winston-Salem got three straight singles to open the inning, while Marcus Davis doubled off the centerfield wall to score a pair. David Richardson exited after a walk loaded up the bases, as the Keys turned to Genison Reyes. The hard-throwing righty struck out the first two he faced, but Cleuluis Rondon singled off the leg of Reyes, while a throwing error by the Keys reliever enabled three runs to score. Winston-Salem book-ended their five-run fifth with a Toby Thomas homer in the fourth and two more in the sixth. Frederick’s only run came in the first, as Thad Lowry tossed six innings and allowed one unearned run.

ONE OF THOSE NIGHTS: Monday night’s 10-1 setback equaled the Keys worse loss of the year (Frederick also fell to Wilmington on April 20 13-4) and the club’s worst road setback in 2016. Before last night the Keys had not lost a road game by more than five runs (April 20 5-0 and June 26 6-1). The 17 hits allowed by Keys arms equaled the most they had given up in a game this year (also occurred in the April 20 game against Wilmington). Of those 17 hits, 11 came courtesy of the Dash three-five batters, as Mason Robbins, Nick Basto and Marcus Davis went a combined 11-for-15 with four RBIs. Robbins went 5-for-5, establishing a new career-best for hits in a game, while it marked the first time an opposing player had recorded five hits against Keys pitching this year.

 STARTING STRUGGLES: The big night for the Dash offense meant a rough night on the mound for Keys starter David Richardson. Surrendering a career-high 10 hits and tying a career-worst with eight runs allowed, the Floridian saw his ERA spike nearly a point (2.74 to 3.66). One of the Keys more reliable options in July, Keys starting pitchers have struggled this month, racking up a 5.72 ERA. During that time, Frederick starters have only two quality starts in 23 games (Lucas Long had the last one on Sunday against Salem). Those two outings are also the only ones where a starter has pitched through six innings.

BULLPEN PICKING IT UP: Frederick’s bullpen has been called on frequently of late and has been effective over the last four games. Entering Monday night’s game having worked nine scoreless innings, Frederick relievers have surrendered only two runs in their last 13 stanzas (1.38 ERA). That has moved the Keys July bullpen ERA down to 4.78. Tanner Chleborad (1.35) and Jeff Beliveau (2.77) have fared the best among Frederick relievers this month.   

 ONE WAY OR THE OTHER: After playing seven of eight games hinging on two runs or less, three of the last four have been one-sided affairs. Following a 7-0 shutout loss on Friday to Salem, the Keys returned the favor with a 7-0 shutout win on Sunday, before Monday’s 10-1 loss to the Dash. When the orange and black have played close games of late though, they have fared well winning four of the last six decided by two runs or less. That includes four straight one-run victories.

 SON OF TOM, NAMED AFTER CHURCHILL: The only player to record an RBI on Monday and one of just two to register two hits, Wynston Sawyer has put together a very strong month of July. In 21 games, is batting .325 with four home runs, 15 RBIs to go with a .436 on-base percentage, .597 slugging percentage and a 1.034 OPS. Last Thursday, he posted a career-high four hits. Of his 25 knocks this month, 13 have gone for extra-bases. He has already set a new career-high with 10 homers and at 45 RBIs is just four away from tying his career-best (he had 49 in 2012 with Delmarva).

LIGHTS, CAM, ACTION: Cam Kneeland collected his 11th multi-hit game this month on Sunday. He has 11 in his last 16 games. On the run production side, Kneeland has six multi-RBI games in July and has driven in 24 in 23 games. Currently, Kneeland is third among Advanced-A players in RBIs and second among Carolina Leaguers, trailing only Lynchburg’s Anthony Santander (25). The 24 RBIs for Kneeland are one short of his RBI total for April-June COMBINED (25).

RODRIGUEZ KEEPS ROLLING: Aderlin Rodriguez is second in the CL in batting average this month (.396) trailing only Mike Meyers of Salem (.423). Additionally, the Dominican is second in homers (six) tied for third in RBIs (22). Rodriguez has hit safely in 18 of his last 21, and is hitting .410 during that time with six homers, 22 RBIs, 16 runs scored, a .747 slugging percentage and a 1.209 OPS.

HERE WE COME WINSTON-SALEM!: The Keys are in the middle of their second roadtrip to Winston-Salem. Head-to-head, Frederick owns a 7-4 edge in the season set. Before Monday, the Keys had won six of the previous seven head-to-head battles. The last series was an offensive showcase as the Keys and Dash combined to score 60 runs on 92 hits. That included 38 extra-base hits (41%) and 16 home runs. Meanwhile in three of the last four games, one or both teams have scored double digit runs. For the year, the Keys are batting .282 against Dash pitching with 19 dingers in 11 games (both marks are their best against any CL team). From a pitching perspective though, the Keys ERA is 4.68, while Winston batters are hitting .299 off Frederick arms with 11 longballs. Mason Robbins (.409), Nick Basto (.406) and Telvin Nash (.368) have done the most damage.

ODDS AND ENDS: Monday began a stretch of 14 of 17 away from Nymeo Field. Cory Jones was placed on the 7-day DL on Monday with a right shoulder injury. In a corresponding move, the Keys have received right-hander Jon Keller from Bowie.  Josh Hart has hit safely in his last four games (5-for-15) after going 2-for-22 in the seven games prior. Steve Wilkerson saw a five-game hitting streak conclude on Monday by going 0-for-4. The former Clemson Tiger hit .412 (7-for-17) over that jaunt with two homers, four RBIs and two runs scored. Jeff Beliveau has allowed one unearned run in his last 12 innings and given up just five hits in his last six games.

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Robinson Leyer makes 30th overall appearance and his third start on Tuesday night. His most recent outing came last Thursday at Potomac. Getting the start, he received a no-decision giving up two runs on five hits to go with three walks and four strikeouts. 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.

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