In the midst of the Frederick Keys' worst season in franchise history, former first-round draft pick Richard Stahl has been one of the few bright spots.
Stahl, a 23-year-old left-hander who was the Baltimore Orioles' first-round pick in 1999, is the only Frederick pitcher with more than one win. Stahl is 3-2 with a 3.00 earned-run average; the rest of the pitching staff is 4-28.
Frederick is 7-30, 14 games behind Wilmington in the North Division of the Class A Carolina League. It is the worst start in Keys history. By comparison, the 2002 Keys, who finished with the worst record in baseball that season, were 10-27 through 37 games. The 1988 Orioles, who began the season 0-21, were 6-31 through 37 games.
Stahl has the Keys' only two successes over the past 10 games, a 5-1 victory at Myrtle Beach on May 10 and an 8-2 win at Kinston on Saturday. In the May 10 win, Stahl limited the Indians to five hits and one run over 72/3 innings, and he struck out four.
The remainder of the staff, meanwhile, has sputtered. Right-hander Paul Henry, in his first year as a starter, is 0-3 with a 6.49 ERA in seven starts. Don Levinski is 1-4 with a 5.79 ERA.
The Keys are last in ERA at 5.48, nearly a run more than the next worst team, Winston-Salem (4.66). They are last in home runs allowed (38), walks (179), shutouts (none) and saves (3).
* EMPTY PLATE TOO: The Keys' hitting has not been able to pick up the slack for the pitching. Over the past seven games, Frederick has hit .193, and the Keys are last in the league in batting average (.254).
In pressure situations, the Keys are even worse. Frederick is batting .219 with runners in scoring position, including a 5-for-28 clip with the bases loaded.
As a result, the Keys are seventh out of eight teams in runs scored (149).