The First Half Concludes Today!

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

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

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

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

                                                                                                                                                              

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keys and Hillcats Get Set to Play Two!

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Final Homestand of the First Half Kicks off Tonight!

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Time for the Brooms?

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

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

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

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

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

Here is your Shooter GIF of the day:

shooter mcgavin

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

Shake your Keys!

Geoff

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can The Keys Make it Five In-a-Row?

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

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

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

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

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

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

Shooter

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

single shooter pistol mcgavin

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

Tonight’s notes are below. Shake your Keys!

Geoff

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

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

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

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

                                                                                                                                                              

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Jeremy Null makes his seventh appearance on Tuesday and his sixth start. His most recent outing came last Tuesday against Potomac. Pitching the second game of a doubleheader, the righty allowed three runs on six hits in 6.2 innings. He struck out six and did not walk a batter. Null’s first start of the year came against the Keys on May 14. Earning the win, he tossed five shutout frames of three-hit baseball. The North Carolina native joined the Birds on May 10 from Extended Spring Training. A command specialist, Null has a career BB/9IP ratio of 1.1 (this year it is at 2.1). He split last year between Low-A South Bend and Myrtle Beach going a combined 8-5 with a 3.38 ERA in 117.1 innings pitched. A Midwest League all-star last year, Null was called up to the Pelicans last June 28, after going 6-2 with a 2.33 ERA in 12 starts. With the Pelicans he went 2-3 4.70 ERA. Last season with South Bend, he did not issue a walk until the sixth inning of his fourth start (28.1 IP). He is from Conover, NC the same hometown as former NASCAR driver Dale Jarrett.

Back on the Beach

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

The Keys start their final road series of the first-half tonight down in Myrtle Beach! Somewhat fitting this is the team’s last first-half road stop, as it is where the Keys road slate got underway.

Road warriors might be a good way to describe this bunch through the first 70 games. Through 32 road contests, the Keys are 20-12, putting them in a tie with Salem for the best road record in the CL. The orange and black have turned in three straight winning roadtrips, while the club has taken three of its last four series away from home (the other was a split).

Tonight, the Keys try and get to two games over .500 for the first time in 2016. The last time the club was two gaPromo Preview June 16-19 (640)mes over .500 (overall) was last June 2.

Although we are a couple of days away, I REALLY you take a look at this weekend’s promotional lineup. We’ve got a TON of fun stuff planned including an appearance by one of the top antagonists in sports movie history: Shooter McGavin.

This includes an awesome bobblehead presented by Pretzel and Pizza Creations. For tickets, fans can call 301-815-9939 or visit frederickkeys.com.

Tonight, Lucas Long takes the mound for the Keys against Pelicans righty Erick Leal. A native of Venezuela, Leal paces the league in  wins and has taken each of his last six starts. During that time he has posted a 2.13 ERA and has not allowed any more than three earned runs in a start.

Doug has the call for you on 1450 AM The Source, frederickkeys.com and the TuneIn Radio App. Pregame coverage kicks off at 6:50.

Today’s notes are below.

Shake your Keys!

Geoff

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Monday, June 13, 2016 · Game #63 · Road Game #33

Frederick Keys (32-31) vs. Myrtle Beach Pelicans (33-29)

RHP Lucas Long (3-4, 4.17) vs. RHP Erick Leal (8-2, 3.29)

KEYS USE ONE-RUN WIN TO TAKE FOUR OF FIVE: Wynston Sawyer and Conor Bierfeldt hit solo home runs, while Jomar Reyes knocked in a game-winning two-run double in the sixth in a 4-3 Keys win over the Potomac Nationals on Sunday afternoon. Sawyer and Bierfeldt each gathered their sixth home runs of the year in the first and fourth innings before Potomac scored three unearned runs in the home fourth against Trevor Belicek. In the sixth inning, Reyes dumped a double to center field to plate Bierfeldt and Sawyer. Tanner Chleborad, Tanner Scott, and Michael Zouzalik combined on five scoreless innings of relief. Potomac went 2-for-14 with runners in scoring position, as the Keys took four of the five games in the series.

ANSWERING THE CALL: After being shutout on Friday night by Potomac, the Keys shutout the Nationals in both ends of a Saturday doubleheader and allowed just three unearned runs Sunday (23 IP/3R/0ER). Frederick has a 7-5 record in shutout games. That is the second-best mark in the Carolina League, while Frederick and Lynchburg are tied for the lead in shutout wins. The orange and black earned a shutout in two straight games Saturday for the first time since June 6-7, 2014 at Myrtle Beach. Over the last three games, Keys starters haven’t allowed an earned run in 17 innings, while the bullpen hasn’t given up any earned runs in 11 innings.

POWER BATS: The Keys launched three home runs in the five-game series with Potomac (Conor Bierfeldt had two, Wynston Sawyer had one) to stretch the club’s yearly total to 44. That is the second-most in the Carolina League, with the Keys trailing only Lynchburg (54). Keys pitching is mindful of Myrtle Beach’s home run prowess though, as the Pelicans have clubbed 42 home runs (they rank third in the CL). That includes eight home runs in eight games against the Keys. Yasiel Balaguert paces the Birds in home runs with nine.

AGAINST THE GRAIN: In spite of earning a 4-3 win on Sunday, the Keys did not take care of business in the most conventional fashion. Finishing the game with seven hits, the Keys also made two errors. Additionally, the P-Nats had two more hits than Frederick, making Sunday just the third time all season where the Keys had won a game when being outhit (3-25). It occurred twice in the five-game, four-day series with the Nationals, as the Keys were outhit 10-6 in the series opener on Thursday (the Keys prevailed in a 6-3 victory).

ONE LAST ROADTRIP: The Keys are in the middle of their final first half roadtrip. Following the five-game series against the Nationals (Thursday-Sunday) the team heads south to Myrtle Beach for three games against the Pelicans. The orange and black are tied for the best road record in the CL at 20-12 (Salem). Although the Keys have been eliminated from first-half playoff contention, a strong showing could help the Keys post their first winning half since 2012, when the Keys ended the second half with a 35-34 record. It would also be the team’s first winning first half since 2011 (That year the team went a league-best 41-28).

HEY NOW YOU’RE AN ALL STAR: Three Keys players were named Carolina League midseason all-stars on Wednesday. Matthew Grimes, Aderlin Rodriguez and Jonah Heim will participate in this year’s Carolina League-California League All Star Game on Tuesday, June 21 at 9:30 EDT. The game will he played at the home of the Lake Elsinore Storm (Padres). Grimes receives his first pro all-star nod following a stellar first half on the mound. In 12 games he is 7-3 with a 1.66 ERA and just wrapped up a 28-inning scoreless streak. Rodriguez earns an all-star nod in his first CL season thanks to robust power numbers. In 57 games, he is batting .273 with 10 homers, 38 RBIs, 11 doubles and two triples. He has racked up 107 total bases and a .471 slugging percentage. He is currently tied for second in the CL in homers and tied for third in total bases. Heim makes his first pro all-star game appearance. He leads all league catchers in caught stealing percentage (32.8%).

GRIMES AND RODRIGUEZ SWEEP O’S MILB HONORS: Last Monday, Matthew Grimes and Aderlin Rodriguez were named the Orioles Minor League Pitcher and Player of the Month for May. Grimes went 5-1 with a 1.12 ERA across six May games. Logging 40.1 innings, the righty allowed only five earned runs and 28 hits. Among qualifiers, Grimes’ five wins were tied for the most in the MiLB while he was third in innings pitched. He also led the Carolina League in ERA and WHIP (0.84). Rodriguez batted .333 with five home runs, 18 RBIs to go with 11 runs scored. He led all CL players in slugging (.583) while he tied for the league lead in home runs and total bases (56) and was second in hitting and OPS (.968).

 ODDS AND ENDS: A win on Monday would give the Keys their fourth straight winning roadtrip (they grabbed five of seven during their last jaunt to Winston-Salem and Carolina). In 11 June games, Conor Bierfeldt is batting .289 with four homers and 12 RBIs. The 12 RBIs are the second-most by a CL player this month and third-most by an Advanced-A player (Lynchburg’s Bobby Bradley and Bakersfield’s Joe DeCarlo have 13). In his first two Advanced-A games, Mike Burke has retired everyone he has faced in five innings (5 IP/0H/0R/6 SO).

TODAY’S OPPOSING PITCHER: Erick Leal makes his 11th start of the season on Monday and his third against the Keys. His most recent outing came last Tuesday versus Potomac. Tossing six innings, the righty earned his sixth straight win, scattering five hits, allowing two runs and striking out three. Leal has the most wins in the circuit, while he is 6-0 with a 2.13 ERA in May and June. In a pair of starts this year against the Keys, the he is 2-0 with a 3.55 ERA. Leal has struggled at home, posting a 5.84 ERA, while he is 5-0 with a 1.20 ERA on the road. Leal spent all of last season at Low-A South Bend, going 10-8 with a 3.85 ERA in 23 games (22 starts) with the Cubs. Over 128.2 innings, he gave up 138 hits, walked 32 and struck out 86, while opponents batted .273 against him. Perhaps the highlight of his season came on August 4 when he threw nine hitless innings against Kane County. He was denied the seventh no-hitter in team history though, as the Cubs lost in 12 innings 1-0. At his best after the All-Star break, Leal went 4-4 with a 2.82 ERA and held opponents to a .234 average (in the first half his ERA was almost five, and opponents batted .312). Originally signed by the Diamondbacks as a free agent in 2011, Leal was traded to Cubs from the Diamondbacks along with right-hander Jesus Castillo for outfielder Tony Campana in February 2013. He is originally from Valencia, Venezuela, the same hometown as Keys shortstop Erick Salcedo.

 

 

Grimes Takes the Mound as the Keys Eye .500

Good Afternoon,

The Keys try to get back to .500 on Friday night at Matthew Grimes takes the hill for the orange and black. He will be opposed by righty Boone Whiting, who faces the Keys for the third time.

Doug Raftery has the broadcast on 1450 AM The Source, frederickkeys.com and the TuneIn Radio App starting at 6:50 p.m!

Today’s notes are below.

Shake your Keys!

Geoff

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Friday, June 10, 2016 · Game #60 · Road Game #29

Frederick Keys (29-30) vs. Potomac Nationals (29-28)

RHP Matthew Grimes (7-2, 1.08) vs. RHP Boone Whiting (5-2, 3.67)

                                                                                                                                                              

BIG SECOND GIVES KEYS SERIES SPLIT: Conor Bierfeldt hit a three-run home run and reached base four times, as the Frederick Keys defeated the Potomac Nationals 6-3 on Thursday night at Pfitzner Stadium. In spite of the Keys win though, the club saw its first-half elimination number drop, as Lynchburg topped Myrtle Beach 9-3. In the second, the Keys grabbed a 2-0 advantage on a two-run home by Bierfeldt. One inning later, Bierfeldt picked up an additional RBI thanks to a bases loaded walk which made it 3-0. Drew Ward cut it to a one-run game in the fourth with a homer off Franderlin Romero, but the visitors would plate three of the next four to hang on. Romero earned his third win in as many Keys starts, firing off five innings of two-run baseball.

BIERFELDT HEATS UP: Conor Bierfeldt has 15 RBIs through his first 18 games, while nearly half of his runs knocked in have come in the last two games. Prior to his three RBI contest on Thursday, the Connecticut native drove in four runs on Tuesday, thanks in part to a three-run homer. In his first seven June games, Bierfeldt is hitting .292 with three homers and nine RBIs. Last season, he finished second among O’s farmhands in RBIs (85) and fifth in homers (12).

AGAINST THE GRAIN: In spite of earning a 6-3 win on Thursday, the Keys did not take care of business in the most conventional fashion. Finishing the game with just six hits, the Keys also made three errors, one short of a season-high. The six hits were the fewest the Keys had posted since June 1, when the orange and black mustered only four off Phillips Valdez and Robert Benincasa. Additionally, the P-Nats had four additional hits against Frederick, making Thursday just the second time all season where the Keys had won a game when being outhit (2-24). Meanwhile, yesterday was just Frederick’s third win all season when posting three or more errors in a game this season.

ONE LAST ROADTRIP: The Keys are in the middle of their final first half roadtrip. Following a five-game series against the Nationals (Thursday-Sunday) the team will head south to Myrtle Beach for three games against the Pelicans. The orange and black hold the second-best road record in the CL at 17-11 (only Salem at 19-10 has fared better). Although a first-half playoff berth seems unlikely at this point (with an elimination number of three) a strong showing could help the Keys post their first winning half since 2012, when the Keys ended the second half with a 35-34 record. It would also be the team’s first winning first half since 2011 (That year the team went a league-best 41-28).

HEY NOW YOU’RE AN ALL STAR: Three Keys players were named MiLB midseason all-stars on Wednesday. Matthew Grimes, Aderlin Rodriguez and Jonah Heim will participate in this year’s Carolina League-California League All Star Game on Tuesday, June 21 at 9:30 EDT. The game will he played at the home of the Lake Elsinore Storm (Padres). Grimes receives his first pro all-star nod following a stellar first half on the mound. In 11 games he is 7-2 with a 1.08 ERA. Owner of a 28-inning scoreless streak, the Georgian is fifth in the Minors in ERA. Rodriguez earns an all-star nod in his first CL season thanks to robust power numbers. In 55 games, he is batting .274 with 10 homers, 37 RBIs, 10 doubles and two triples. He has racked up 103 total bases and a .479 slugging percentage. He is currently tied for second in the CL in homers and third in total bases. Heim makes his first pro all-star game appearance. He leads all league catchers in caught stealing percentage (35.6%) and is tied for second on the Keys in home runs (five).

GRIMES AND RODRIGUEZ SWEEP O’S MILB HONORS: On Monday, Matthew Grimes and Aderlin Rodriguez were named the Orioles Minor League Pitcher and Player of the Month for May. Grimes went 5-1 with a 1.12 ERA across six May games. Logging 40.1 innings, the righty allowed only five earned runs and 28 hits. Among qualifiers, Grimes’ five wins were tied for the most in the MiLB while he was third in innings pitched. He also led the Carolina League in ERA and WHIP (0.84). Rodriguez batted .333 with five home runs, 18 RBIs to go with 11 runs scored. He led all CL players in slugging (.583) while he tied for the league lead in home runs and total bases (56) and was second in hitting and OPS (.968).

MORE AWARDS?: Besides being named an all-star and receiving O’s Minor League Pitcher of the month honors, Matthew Grimes was named the Carolina League Player of the Month. The announcement was made by Minor League Baseball on late Tuesday afternoon. He becomes the first Keys player to claim a monthly honor since May 2015, when Trey Mancini was recognized for his outstanding play. In six May contests, Grimes went 5-1 with a 1.12 ERA. In 40.1 innings, he permitted only 34 baserunners. Across the minors, Grimes’ five wins were tied for the most among qualifiers, while he finished third in innings pitched.

ODDS AND ENDS: Jay Gonzalez saw his six-game hitting streak snapped on Thursday, going 0-for-4 with a run scored. Despite losing that streak, he has scored a run in six of seven games (10 runs) and has six steals in his last six games. The Keys have put together three straight winning roadtrips (they grabbed five of seven during their last jaunt to Winston-Salem and Carolina). Frederick has not had a losing roadtrip since their four-game trip to Lynchburg from April 21-24 (when the Keys fell in three of four). Frederick and Potomac will play their third doubleheader against each other on Saturday starting at 5 p.m (it was originally scheduled for tonight before being moved). Lynchburg led the Carolina League with the most number of all-star selections (six).

TODAY’S OPPOSING STARTER: Boone Whiting makes his 10th start of the season on Friday and his third against the Keys. Activated off the temporary inactive list earlier today, this will be his first June start. The right-hander’s most recent outing came last Tuesday against Winston-Salem. Tagged with the loss, he allowed four runs in five innings. Against the Keys, Whiting is 1-0 with a 0.75 ERA and has given up just one earned run in 12 innings. The Keys are hitting .209 against him. Signed by Washington as a free agent on January 12 of this year, Whiting spent all of 2015 at Triple-A, first suiting up for Memphis (Cardinals) and then for Albuquerque (Rockies). Between the two stops as he went 4-9 with a 6.44 ERA. Walks were a major issue as he handed out 61 in 95 innings. He was originally drafted by St. Louis in the 18th round of the 2010 draft.

The Final Roadtrip of the First Half Starts Tonight!

Good Evening Keys Fans!

The orange and black get set for their final roadtrip of the first-half. First stop Potomac! The Keys and Nationals will play five (remember Saturday is a doubleheader) while the orange and black will head from Woodbridge to Myrtle Beach following Sunday’s matinee.

In case you missed it, congratulations to Matthew Grimes, Jonah Heim and Aderlin Rodriguez for being named CL Midseason All Stars on Wednesday! The trio will be heading to Lake Elsinore for the game, as the Carolina League faces off against the California League.

For Grimes the week has been especially good, as he was named the Carolina League’s Player of the Month on Tuesday and the Orioles Minor League Pitcher of the Month (for May) on Monday! Aderlin Rodriguez was the O’s MiLB Player of the Month.

Tonight Franderlin Romero makes the start for the Keys and will be opposed by lefty Matthew Crownover, who makes just his second Carolina League start. A former Clemson Tiger, Crownover was college teammates with Steve Wilkerson.

Once again my pal Doug Raftery has the radio call, with tonight’s pregame coverage getting underway at 6:50 on 1450 AM The Source and frederickkeys.com and the TuneIn Radio App.

Today’s notes are below. Shake your Keys!

Geoff

 

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Thursday, June 9, 2016 · Game #59 · Road Game #28

Frederick Keys (28-30) vs. Potomac Nationals (29-27)

RHP Franderlin Romero (2-0, 3.00) vs. LHP Matthew Crownover (0-1, 7.94)

                                                                                                                                                              

BIG SECOND GIVES KEYS SERIES SPLIT: The Frederick Keys equaled their largest inning of the season on Tuesday afternoon en route an 8-4 victory over the Carolina Mudcats at Nymeo Field. With the victory, the Keys earned a series split against Carolina. Frederick scored the first seven runs of the game, including five times in the second against Max Povse. Josh Hart opened the inning with a double, moved to third on a single by Erick Salcedo before scoring on a bad pickoff throw by Povse. Salcedo scored on a single by Steve Wilkerson, before Conor Bierfeldt provided the big blow several batters later. With two aboard, the Keys five-hole man hit a three-run homer to left-center. Carolina never pulled any closer than four the rest of the game.

BALANCED PRODUCTION: On Tuesday, all nine members of the Keys starting lineup recorded a hit, as the team finished with 11 total. In three of the last five games, the orange and black have recorded double-digit hits. That includes a 14-hit outburst against Potomac last Friday, in a game that the Keys won 15-3. Following a May where the Keys hit .242 as a team, the orange and black are batting .292 through their first eight June contests to go with eight home runs. Among qualifiers, Steve Wilkerson has led the charge, batting .409 (9-for-22) through six games with six RBIs.

AN IMPORTANT LAST ROADTRIP: The Keys embark on their final first-half roadtrip on Thursday. Following a five-game series against the Nationals (Thursday-Sunday) the team will head south to Myrtle Beach for three games against the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. The orange and black hold one of the top road records in the league at 16-11, and will need an outstanding showing as well as a great deal of help from Lynchburg to stay in the playoff race. Entering today’s action, Frederick’s elimination number is four, a number that will drop with any combination of Keys losses/Hillcats wins.

HEY NOW YOU’RE AN ALL STAR: Three Keys players were named MiLB midseason all-stars on Wednesday. Matthew Grimes, Aderlin Rodriguez and Jonah Heim will participate in this year’s Carolina League-California League All Star Game on Tuesday, June 21 at 9:30 EDT. The game will he played at the home of the Lake Elsinore Storm (Padres). Grimes receives his first pro all-star nod following a stellar first half on the mound. In 11 games he is 7-2 with a 1.08 ERA. Owner of a 28-inning scoreless streak, the Georgian is fifth in the Minors in ERA. Rodriguez earns an all-star nod in his first CL season thanks to robust power numbers. In 54 games, he is batting .276 with 10 homers, 37 RBIs, 10 doubles and two triples. He has racked up 102 total bases and a .486 slugging percentage. He is currently second in the CL in homers and total bases. Heim makes his first pro all-star game appearance. He leads all league catchers in caught stealing percentage (35.6%) and is tied for second on the Keys in home runs (five).

GRIMES AND RODRIGUEZ SWEEP O’S MILB HONORS: On Monday, Matthew Grimes and Aderlin Rodriguez were named the Orioles Minor League Pitcher and Player of the Month for May. Grimes went 5-1 with a 1.12 ERA across six May games. Logging 40.1 innings, the righty allowed only five earned runs and 28 hits. Among qualifiers, Grimes’ five wins were tied for the most in the MiLB while he was third in innings pitched. He also led the Carolina League in ERA and WHIP (0.84). Rodriguez batted .333 with five home runs, 18 RBIs to go with 11 runs scored. He led all CL players in slugging (.583) while he tied for the league lead in home runs and total bases (56) and was second in hitting and OPS (.968).

MORE AWARDS?: Besides being named an all-star and receiving O’s Minor League Pitcher of the month honors, Matthew Grimes was named the Carolina League Player of the Month. The announcement was made by Minor League Baseball on late Tuesday afternoon. He becomes the first Keys player to claim a monthly honor since May 2015, when Trey Mancini was recognized for his outstanding play. In six May contests, Grimes went 5-1 with a 1.12 ERA. In 40.1 innings, he permitted only 34 baserunners. Across the minors, Grimes’ five wins were tied for the most among qualifiers, while he finished third in innings pitched.

NOT A BAD NIGHT: Following a five-game stretch where he was 2-for-19 at the plate, Jay Gonzalez has got back on track the last six days. During that time he is batting .409 (9-for-22) with nine runs scored and seven RBIs. The highlight of this strong stretch came on Saturday, when Gonzalez delivered a walk-off single in the 11th inning to give the Keys their first extra-inning win (that night he went 3-for-4 with an RBI, two runs scored, two stolen bases and two walks). Following two more stolen bases on Tuesday, Gonzalez is now tied for second in Minor League Baseball in swipes and trails only Salem’s Yoan Moncada (34).

ODDS AND ENDS: The Keys have put together three straight winning roadtrips (they grabbed five of seven during their last jaunt to Winston-Salem and Carolina). Frederick has not had a losing roadtrip since their four-game trip to Lynchburg from April 21-24 (when the Keys fell in three of four). Conor Bierfeldt’s four RBIs on Thursday nearly equaled the total he put up in his previous 10 combined games (five). Frederick and Potomac will play their third doubleheader against each other on Saturday starting at 5 p.m (it was originally scheduled for tonight before being moved). Lynchburg led the Carolina League with the most number of all-star selections (six).

TODAY’S OPPOSING STARTER: Left-hander Matthew Crownover makes his second start with the Nationals and his 12th overall appearance this year (fifth start) between Potomac and Low-A Hagerstown, the southpaw is 5-2 with a 2.05 ERA. His Advanced-A debut came on Saturday at Myrtle Beach. Working 5.2 innings, he gave up five runs on 10 hits to go with two home runs. He struck out five. Before joins Potomac, he was 5-1 with a 1.17 ERA in 10 games (three starts) with Hagerstown. None of his outings were more than five innings.  A sixth round selection by the Nationals in the 2015 draft, Crownover spent his first pro season at Short-Season Auburn, where he went 1-4 with a 3.81 ERA in 13 games (10 starts). 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.

It’s STEM Day at Nymeo Field!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016 · Game #58 · Home Game #31

Frederick Keys (27-30) vs. Carolina Mudcats (22-33)

RHP Lucas Long (2-4, 4.03) vs. RHP Max Povse (3-3, 2.98)

                                                                                                                                                              

ODOM TRIGGERS DECISIVE FOURTH: The Carolina Mudcats scored eight times in the fourth inning to post a lopsided 11-3 victory over the Frederick Keys on Monday night at Nymeo Field. Joe Odom led the charge, going 3-for-5 with five RBIs and two home runs, both of which came in the same inning. After the two sides exchanged runs, the visitors sent 12 men to bat in the fourth to take control for good. Odom opened the inning with a solo homer off Trevor Belicek, while later in the frame, Tanner Murphy slugged a three-run shot, before an RBI two-bagger by Ryan Gebhardt and a second three-run blast by Odom made it a 9-1 affair. Belicek suffered the loss, giving up six runs (five earned) in 3.2 innings. Matt Withrow picked up the win for the Muddies, tossing five innings and allowing two runs (one earned).

PITCHING TRIES TO GET BACK ON TRACK: Following an outstanding May, where Keys pitching led the circuit in ERA (2.68), the pitching staff has registered a 6.05 ERA in their first seven June contests. Most of the onus is on the starting pitching which has given up 29 earned runs in 32.2 innings (7.99 ERA). That figured has jumped over the last two games, as Mitch Horacek and Trevor Belicek have combined to surrender 11 earned runs in 8.2 stanzas.

SPEAK SOFTLY BUT CARRY A BIG STICK: Wynston Sawyer turned in the first multi-homer game of his career on Monday night, slugging a solo homer off Matt Withrow in the second, before adding a solo blast off Zack Bird in the sixth. Finishing the game 2-for-4, the two knocks were his first hits of the homestand, and ended an 0-for-14 stretch at the plate (dating back to May 29). One of the Keys top offensive contributors in May, Sawyer led all Carolina Leaguers in on-base percentage last month in May and finished with the fourth-highest figure in the MiLB during that time.

GRIMES AND RODRIGUEZ SWEEP O’S MILB HONORS: On Monday, Matthew Grimes and Aderlin Rodriguez were named the Orioles Minor League Pitcher and Player of the Month for May. Grimes went 5-1 with a 1.12 ERA across six May games. Logging 40.1 innings, the righty allowed only five earned runs and 28 hits. Among qualifiers, Grimes’ five wins were tied for the most in the MiLB while he was third in innings pitched. He also led the Carolina League in ERA and WHIP (0.84). Rodriguez batted .333 with five home runs, 18 RBIs to go with 11 runs scored. He led all CL players in slugging (.583) while he tied for the league lead in home runs and total bases (56) and was second in hitting and OPS (.968).

BREAKFAST AND BASEBALL: Tuesday marks the fifth time this year that the Keys have played a morning baseball game, while it is the third time breakfast and baseball has taken place at Nymeo Field in 2016. In morning tilts this year, the orange and black are 2-2, while the club is 1-1 in morning home games. Frederick’s last morning game came on May 18 at Wilmington, a game ending in a 3-2 Blue Rocks win.

NOT A BAD NIGHT: Following a five-game stretch where he was 2-for-19 at the plate, Jay Gonzalez has got back on track the last five days. During that time he is batting .421 (8-for-19) with seven runs scored and seven RBIs. The Orlando native has at least one hit and one RBI in his last five contests. The highlight of this strong stretch came on Saturday, when Gonzalez delivered a walk-off single in the 11th inning to give the Keys their first extra-inning win (that night he went 3-for-4 with an RBI, two runs scored, two stolen bases and two walks). Following a stolen base on Monday, Gonzalez now ranks third in all of Minor League Baseball in swipes, trailing only Salem’s Yoan Moncada and Jacksonville’s Yefri Perez (both have 33).

ROSTER MOVEMENT: Right before Sunday’s game against the Carolina, Keys reliever David Richardson was promoted to the Double-A Bowie Baysox. It was his first call-up to the Eastern League while he became the seventh Frederick player to receive a promotion in 2016. Richardson made his debut on Sunday, pitching the second of a doubleheader against Akron. Receiving a no-decision, the Tampa righty gave up five runs on four hits in three innings. In nine games (two starts) with the Keys he was 2-1 with a 3.63 ERA. In a corresponding move on Monday, the Keys received right-hander Mike Burke from Aberdeen. In his Frederick debut last night, he pitched two scoreless innings. The former University of Buffalo product spent all of 2015 with Low-A Delmarva going 2-2 with a 3.36 ERA in 28 games (one start).

A TELL-TALE SIGN: A major barometer for success this year has been whether or not the Keys have out-hit their opponent. In games where Frederick holds the upper hand in the hit column, Keith Bodie’s team is 21-3. When the opponent outhits the Keys though, the team is 1-24.

ODDS AND ENDS: With Frederick’s loss on Monday and a win by Lynchburg, Frederick’s first-half elimination number was sliced down to four. Wilmington and Winston-Salem are the only two CL teams that have been knocked out of playoff contention so far. T.J. Olesczuk recorded two hits on Monday, his third two-hit game of the year. Jonah Heim tied his season-high for hits on Saturday (three) and is 5-for-9 in his last two games after going hitless in his previous 23 at-bats. Heim also leads all CL catchers in caught stealing percentage (35.6%). No other catcher is above 31.3%.

TODAY’S STARTING PITCHER: Right-hander Max Povse makes his 11th start of the year on Tuesday and his second against Frederick. His most recent start came last Thursday at Winston-Salem. Tagged with the loss, the righty allowed five runs (four earned) on nine hits in five innings. He walked two and struck out four. Pitching against the Keys on May 27, he received a no-decision, allowing one run over five innings while striking out 10. Currently, Povse ranks seventh in the CL in ERA (2.98) is second in strikeouts (61) and fifth among starters in highest SO/9IP ratio (9.58). Opponents are hitting just .244 against him, while he has allowed three runs or less in every start but two. Povse split 2015 between Low-A Rome and Carolina, combining to go 5-5 with a 4.15 ERA. He was promoted to the Mudcats on June 25. In five starts with Carolina he struggled, going 1-3 with a 9.33 ERA before going on the DL with a right shoulder strain on July 21. He missed the rest of the year. A third round pick by Atlanta in 2014 out of UNC-Greensboro, Povse is from Cary, NC (40 minutes from outside Zebulon).

Tonight’s Notes Have Arrived!

NYMEO Field · 21 Stadium Drive · Frederick, MD 21703

Monday, June 6, 2016 · Game #57 · Home Game #30

Frederick Keys (27-29) vs. Carolina Mudcats (21-33)

LHP Trevor Belicek (0-1, 10.80) vs. RHP Matt Withrow (3-4, 3.67)

                                                                                                                                                              

MUDCATS SCORE RAIN-SHORTENED WIN: The Frederick Keys and Carolina Mudcats combined on three multi-run innings in the opening three stanzas, but the Muddies came out on top in a 6-4 rain-shortened win on Sunday afternoon at Nymeo Field. Carolina grabbed a 6-0 lead after the first three innings. A Joseph Odom homer off Mitch Horacek gave the visitors the game’s first run. In the second, Carolina plated three more on a passed ball and RBI singles by Ryan Gebhardt and Keith Curcio, while a wild pitch and an RBI bounce out by Sal Giardina completed the Muddies scoring. Frederick answered with the next four runs. Three came in the third on a Jay Gonzalez RBI double and a two-run single by Steve Wilkerson. A sac-fly by Josh Hart made it a one-run game in the fourth, but after a hard lineout-double play by Conor Bierfeldt to end the fifth, the rains came.

CALLED EARLY: The night after playing their longest game in terms of innings on the season, the Keys played their shortest game both in regards to innings and time. The five inning contest marked the first non-doubleheader game that failed to go a regulation nine innings in 2016, while it was the first time a regulation game had been called early due to rain in nearly a year (June 4, 2015 at Wilmington). With the game lasting just five innings, it was no surprise Sunday’s contest was the shortest by time this season, as the five innings were played in one hour and 32 minutes (previous low was one hour and 49 minutes versus Potomac on May 13).

GRIMES AND RODRIGUEZ SWEEP O’S MILB HONORS: On Monday, Matthew Grimes and Aderlin Rodriguez were named the Orioles Minor League Pitcher and Player of the Month for May. Grimes went 5-1 with a 1.12 ERA across six May games. Logging 40.1 innings, the righty allowed only five earned runs and 28 hits. Among qualifiers, Grimes’ five wins were tied for the most in the MiLB while he was third in innings pitched. He also led the Carolina League in ERA and WHIP (0.84). Rodriguez batted .333 with five home runs, 18 RBIs to go with 11 runs scored. He led all CL players in slugging (.583) while he tied for the league lead in home runs and total bases (56) and was second in hitting and OPS (.968).

PITCHING TRIES TO GET BACK ON TRACK: Following an outstanding May, where Keys pitching led the circuit in ERA (2.68), the pitching staff has registered a 5.51 ERA in its first six contests. Most of the onus is on the starting pitching which has given up 24 runs in 29 innings (7.45 ERA). That figured jumped on Sunday, as Mitch Horacek surrendered six runs over five innings. Despite a blowing a four-run lead on Saturday night, Keys relievers have pitched to a 2.70 ERA (20 IP/6ER).

NOT A BAD NIGHT: Following a five-game stretch where he was 2-for-19 at the plate, Jay Gonzalez has got back on track the last four days. On Sunday, the Orlando native was 1-for-3 with an RBI double and a run scored the night after he delivered a walk-off single in the 11th inning (that night he went 3-for-4 with an RBI, two runs scored, two stolen bases and two walks). In his last four games, Gonzalez is hitting .467 (7-for-15) with seven runs scored and six RBIs. He has an RBI and a run scored in each of those games. Following a pair of stolen bases Saturday, Gonzalez now ranks third in all of Minor League Baseball in swipes, trailing only Salem’s Yoan Moncada and Jacksonville’s Yefri Perez (both have 33).

 LIGHTS, CAM, ACTION: Following a disappointing May where he hit only .200 in 21 games, Cam Kneeland has gotten it back on track. In five June contests, Kneeland is hitting .353 (6-for-17) with two homers, seven RBIs, three doubles and four runs scored. On Friday and Saturday he recorded three RBIs apiece, while his seven RBIs this month in five games equals his total May output. Kneeland has homered in two of the last three days, and is tied for fourth in the league with 15 doubles.

HERE COME THE BATS: In a rain-shortened five innings on Sunday, the Keys bats continued to perform well, as the orange and black recorded four runs on eight hits in five innings. The Keys have tallied double-digit hits in two of the last three days, and are batting .347 over the last three ballgames (34-for-98). Over the last three days, the Keys have scored 24 runs after posting only 16 in their previous seven games (2.3 run average). In two of the three games the Keys have also outhit their opponents, a strong barometer for success this year. When finishing with more hits than their opponent, the Keys are 21-3 as opposed to going 1-23, when their opponent holds the upper hand.

ODDS AND ENDS: David Richardson was promoted to Double-A on Sunday and made his Eastern League debut. Starting game two of a doubleheader against Akron, he allowed five runs on three hits in four innings. Jonah Heim tied his season-high for hits on Saturday (three) and is 5-for-9 in his last two games after going hitless in his previous 23 at-bats. Frederick has won three of its last four one-run games. Frederick’s bullpen saw its scoreless innings streak snapped at 22.1 innings in game one of Thursday’s doubleheader (it dated back to the fourth inning of last Thursday’s game at Winston-Salem).

TODAY’S STARTING PITCHER: Right-hander Matt Withrow makes his 10th start of the year on Monday and his first against the Keys. The right-hander’s most recent outing came last Wednesday at Winston-Salem. Pitching five shutout innings, the right-hander scattered five hits, walked two and struck out seven. Winner of his last two starts, Withrow has given up just two runs on seven hits in his last 11 innings. Following a strong April where he pitched to a 0.79 ERA in three games, Withrow posted a 5.68 mark in five May tilts. Selected by Atlanta in the sixth round of the 2015 draft out of Texas Tech, Withrow was the third of seven consecutive college pitchers drafted by the Braves in 2015 between rounds four and 10. He debuted at Rookie-Danville last season, going 0-4 with a 3.56 ERA in 13 games. Opponents hit .257 against him. Not the only Braves player in his family, Withrow’s brother, Chris, is a member of the Atlanta bullpen. Additionally, Withrow’s dad, Mike was drafted in the seventh round of the 1981 draft by the White Six and spent parts of three years in the Chicago farm system. Withrow throws a fastball, a slider and a changeup.

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