Frederick Gets Help From Below

Brian Matusz's promotion to Baltimore made room for Pedro Beato to move to Bowie, which created a void in Frederick now filled by Kenny Moreland. Bullpen woes have plagued the Keys all season and the hope is Brandon Cooney can stabilize some late-inning relief for them, he recently got the call from Delmarva. Both played a key role in the Keys' win Tuesday.

As most Keys fans were eyeing Brian Matusz's first major league start, his former team, the Frederick Keys, were welcoming in a new starter and reliever. After Kenny Moreland dominated in Aberdeen, he got promoted past low-A and onto the high-A Keys. He had thrown in two starts in Frederick before pitching for the IronBirds to fill in when rain forced a few doubleheaders, but now he is in their rotation.

Ironically, he and Matusz had something in common on Tuesday: they both went against a major league starter, and won. Moreland's first opponent in high-A turned out to be Jordan Zimmerman who was on a rehab assignment with the Potomac Nationals.

The Keys also welcomed in righty reliever Brandon Cooney from Delmarva, the former 30th round pick in 2007 out of Florida Atlantic, who would earn a save as well.

Moreland threw five innings and allowed three solo home runs, but still earned the win over the Potomac Nationals in Frederick's 7-3 victory on Tuesday, snapping a four-game losing streak for the Keys. Moreland needed 92 pitches to get through the outing, but 47 of them were thrown in his final two innings. He would not have much time to rest between the first few innings as Zimmerman started out mowing down the Keys.

With the win, Moreland improves to 2-0 with a 3.14 ERA with the Keys and 8-1 with a 1.38 ERA in his 11 starts in the minors this year. For him, the change in scenery is not changing his approach.

"I'm trying to pitch my game, I'm not trying to change too much. I really need to continue working on my fastball in and out of the plate, and I'm definitely working on my offspeeds and getting them over for strikes," Moreland said after the game.

Cooney played an important part as well. With Frederick up 6-3 in the top of the eighth, the Nationals had two on with two out, but Cooney came into the game at that moment and got Matt Martinez to ground out to second to end the threat. He threw a 1-2-3 ninth inning to secure his first save with the new team. Before coming to Frederick, he had thrown in 37 games in Delmarva, earning 16 saves.

Moreland's fastball averaged around 85-86 m.p.h. all night, with two of them being victim to home runs. He also focused on his changeup and slider. Frederick pitching coach Kennie Steenstra likes having the "strike thrower" and will have Moreland work on his locations to avoid the long balls.

"He throws strikes and usually keeps the ball down in the zone well and uses his changeup and curveball, and obviously he left a few pitches up today for some home runs, but he did a nice job of bouncing back."

For Cooney, it is not clear what his role might be. A few Keys have been used in save situations, including Ryan Rodriguez, who has four since transferring from Bowie on June 23rd. Luis Lebron anchored the back end of the bullpen for the Keys, earning a spot on the Carolina League All-Star team before being promoted to Bowie.

"I think Cooney might be more like a stopper, but not every night," said Frederick manager Richie Hebner on if he thought Cooney would be used as a closer.

With the win, the Keys improve to 50-57, but are still in third place in the second half of the Carolina League North at 19-19, six games behind Potomac.


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