With two weeks remaining in the regular season and the playoffs looming, the Frederick Keys will soon have to do without two pitchers that have been in their rotation for at least part of their season.
Ryan Berry is headed back to Rice and Nate Moreau to Georgia to return to school.
Berry had pretty much reached the limit on his innings for this season anyway and had been pitching out of the bullpen for the last month. He went 2-2, 3.04 in 17 Keys games, 12 starts. Moreau, who pitched a no-hitter June 30 at Salem in his Keys debut, is 4-4, 5.04 over nine starts. He will make one final start this Friday for Frederick before returning to Athens.
Meanwhile, the Keys will be in the Carolina League playoffs. They went 41-29 to win the first half division title. It looks like Frederick will meet either Wilmington or Potomac in the first round of the playoffs. That will be a best of five series with Frederick hosting the first two games on September 8 and 9.
The winner of that series will meet the Southern Division winner in a best of five championship series. Should Frederick reach that far, it would open on the road and host game three and also games four and five if necessary.
When Moreau leaves, the Keys will need to add a pitcher to the rotation to join Ryan O'Shea, Oliver Drake, Zach Clark and Luis Noel. It could be someone possibly from Delmarva or perhaps Cole McCurry or Nate Nery could rejoin the rotation out of the Keys bullpen.
Frederick is 28-29 in the second half and 69-58 overall on the year.
Drake and O'Shea have been pitching well lately. Drake has a 2.29 ERA over his last three starts and O'Shea has a 2.84 ERA in four starts this month.
Billy Rowell has had a pretty solid second half, playing improved defense at third base while hitting .292-5-25 since the All-Star break.
The playoffs should be exciting for the Keys, who won Carolina League championships in 1990, 2005 and 2007.