Game 1: Bluefield Blue Jays at Bristol White Sox 2012 Opening Night
BLUE JAYS (0-0)
1 Alex Azor RF
2 Christian Lopes 2B
3 Santiago Nessy C
4 Art Charles 1B
5 Jacob Anderson LF
6 Eric Arce DH
7 Carlos Ramirez CF
8 Chris Peters 3B
9 Dickie Joe Thon SS
RHP Joe Musgrove (1-1, 4.01 in 9 G (7 GS) between GCL and Bluefield in 2011)
WHITE SOX (0-0)
1 Joey DeMichele 2B
2 Joe DePinto 3B
3 Cory Farris RF
4 Alex Williams DH
5 Nick Basto SS
6 Keon Barnum 1B
7 Juan Ramirez CF
8 Angel Rosario C
9 Kale Kiser LF
RHP Jake Cose (1-1, 8.18 in 11 G for Bristol in 2011)
BROADCAST INFO: Listen live right here for Blue Jays pregame at 6:45
WEATHER: It was a scorching 90 degrees during BP today, but it has cooled to 88 by first pitch.
UMPIRES: Jordan Albarado PLATE Andy Glenn FIELD
OPENING NIGHT IS FINALLY HERE...: After a 289-day break, the Blue Jays are set to begin their second season in Bluefield as a member of the Appalachian League. They enjoyed a successful 2011 season in their first year as a Toronto Blue Jays affiliate. Bluefield had been home to the Baltimore Orioles’ rookie-ball club since 1958, but the O’s left town prior to 2011 after 53 seasons. Under new manager Dennis Holmberg, the Baby Jays won a tight race with the Danville Braves to win the East Division title and bring postseason baseball to Bluefield for the first time since 2002. They also won the Mercer Cup series against the rival Princeton Rays seven games to four, preventing their neighbors from retiring the Cup. The Jays finished with a record of 40-28 and took down the Elizabethton Twins two games to one in the first round of the playoffs. The dream of a Blue Jays inaugural-season title died in the Championship Series when the Johnson City Cardinals beat them 4-3 and 4-1 to sweep their way to a second straight league crown.
VS. THE WHITE SOX: These inter-division rivals split the six-game season series in 2011 with the home team winning two out of three in both sets. The Baby Birds hosted Bristol from June 27-29 and won two of three. It was a series of comebacks, some unfulfilled. Bluefield nearly blew a 10-0 lead in the opener, but hung on to win 10-6. The middle game saw an 8-0 Jays comeback fall short 8-7. Art Charles made an error in the ninth inning of the rubber game that put Bristol ahead, but in the bottom of the ninth, he launched a walk-off three-run homer to win it 9-7. The two clubs played in Tennessee rom July 12-14. Bluefield won the first game 3-2, but the White Sox bounced back to win 9-6 and 5-4. Bluefield played the White Sox in the 2002 Appy League Championship Series, with Bristol beating the then-Baltimore affiliate two games to one.
I’M BACK: Of the 33 players on the Blue Jays’ Opening Day roster, eight played for Bluefield for some or all of 2011. Appy League RBI champ Art Charles returns as the starting first baseman. Other returning regulars include outfielders Carlos Ramirez and lefty starter Deivy Estrada. Outfielder Eric Arce and right-handed hurlers Jeremy Gabryszwski, Tucker Jensen, Joe Musgrove and Les Williams return after brief stays in Bluefield at the end of the season.
TONIGHT's STARTING PITCHERS
RHP JOE MUSGROVE: Baseball America’s 20th-ranked Blue Jays prospect gets the ball to start tonight’s game. A supplemental first-round pick (46th overall) in 2011, Joe started in the Gulf Coast League in his first professional action. After allowing fewer than one baserunner per inning in 21.2 GCL frames, the righty moved up to the Appy League for a impressive Bluefield debut. Thrown into a vital pennant-race contest at Danville during the season’s final weekend, Joe tossed three shutout innings and picked up the relief win on August 28, setting up the Jays for the division clincher the next night. Musgrove hails from El Cajon, CA and had signed on to play college ball at San Diego State before joing the Toronto organization.
LHP DANIEL NORRIS: One of the most highly-touted prospects in the Toronto farm system will make his professional debut while piggybacking on Musgrove’s start. Lefty Daniel Norris was chosen in the second round of last year’s draft and although he hasn’t played an official game in the minors, Baseball America rated him as the fourth-best prospect in the Jays’ entire organization. In 2011 BA ranked him second among high-school prospects and 91st overall. The former Clemson signee struck out 123 batters in 68 innings as a senior at Science Hill HS in his native Johnson City, TN. Musgrove and Norris look to be a formidable duo for the Jays in 2012.
COSE: The six-foot-five right-hander draws the Opening Day start for the BriSox. A 27th-round selection in last year’s draft, Jake made 11 relief appearances for Bristol. He pitched well over the season’s first three weeks as he did not allow a run in five of his first seven outings (4.50 ERA in 8 IP). Cose pitched twice against the Jays in the June series at Bowen Field. He worked a 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts on June 27, but the Birds answered back two nights later. Trailing 6-5 with two outs in the eighth, Bluefield plated the tying run off Cose on an RBI double by Chris Hawkins. In the next inning against Bryan Blough, Art Charles rocked a three-run walk-off homer to give the home team a 9-7 win. Cose attended San Joaquin Delta College in his native Stockton, CA, the same school that produced Eddie Guardado and Phil Coke.
Pregame Audio: Dennis Holmberg
Game Notes below:
Bluefield Jays Game Notes 6-19
7:01 The 2012 Appy League season is under way!
Top 1: Alex Azor led off with a walk and Christian Lopes rocked a two-run homer in his first professional at bat! 2-0 Jays already.
Bot 2: Joe Musgrove looks very impressive through two innings. Six up, six down with two K's. 2-0 through 2.
Top 3: Just broke it open against starter Jake Cose. Chris Peters drew a bases-loaded walk and Dickie Thon cleared 'em with a three-run double. 6-0 Jays Mid 3.
Bot 3: Musgrove another 1-2-3 inning, still 6-0...Musgrove has K'd 4
Bot 4: Musgrove gives up a run on a single, single and a double play grounder. Final line 4 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 5 K.
Top 5: Jays get the run back when Chris Peters doubles home Eric Arce. 7-1 Jays.
Bot 5: Daniel Norris with a big hand from this Bristol crowd as he makes his pro debut (he grew up in nearby Johnson City). He worked a 1-2-3 fifth and sixth with a K in each frame. Still 7-1.
Bot 8: Daniel Norris was absolutely dominant. He struck out five in his four innings, retiring all 12 batters he faced. Excellent debut and it's 7-1 Jays heading to the ninth.
Top 9: Still 7-1 Jays...RHP Julio Carmona is coming in to close the door.
JAYS WIN 7-2