Thursday, July 19, 2012

Game 28: Bluefield Blue Jays at Princeton Rays

Listen live right here and check out the @BluefieldJays Twitter page for mid-game updates

BLUE JAYS (11-16)

1 Alex Azor LF
2 Jorge Vega-Rosado 2B
3 Dwight Smith Jr. CF
4 Art Charles 1B
5 Santiago Nessy C
6 Eric Arce DH
7 Dickie Joe Thon SS
8 Matt Dean 3B
9 Jacob Anderson RF

RHP Jeremy Gabryszwski (0-0, 1.89)

RAYS (15-14)

1 Brandon Martin SS
2 Oscar Hernandez C
3 Andrew Toles CF
4 Willie Argo RF
5 Reid Redman 2B
6 John Alexander 1B
7 Omar Narvaez DH
8 Daniel Duran 3B
9 James Harris LF

RHP Jacob Faria (1-1, 5.82)


BROADCAST INFO: Listen live right here for Blue Jays pregame at 6:50. The games are also carried on local radio on WKEZ 1240 AM The Rooster Classic Country

WEATHER: 77 with some rain in the forecast...of course 

UMPIRES: PLATE Nick Garvey  FIELD Troy Hodack

ABOUT LAST NIGHT...: The third game of the Mercer Cup series between Bluefield and Princeton was rained out on Thursday. The game will be made up as part of a doubleheader at Bowen Field on Saturday at 5 p.m.

VS. THE RAYS: The Blue Jays defeated Princeton in seven of 11 games last year to win the Mercer Cup. They took three of four in Princeton from June 30 to July 3 before dropping a July 4 meeting at home, 5-4. Princeton won two of three at Bowen Field at the end of July in a set that included a doubleheader split. So the Mercer Cup was tied 4-4 with three games to play in Bluefield on August 9-11. The Jays won 6-2, then Deivy Estrada pitched five shutout innings the next night to win the clincher and keep the Rays from retiring the Cup. 


RHP JEREMY GABRYSZWSKI: The 19-year-old righty out of Crosby, TX is off to an outstanding start in 2012. He shut out the Twins in Elizabethton for five innings on Monday, allowing only four hits and striking out a season-high four. His 1.89 ERA ranks tenth among pitchers with at least 19 IP and his 0.89 WHIP ranks fourth, all despite a K/9 rate (4.26) that is the third-lowest in the league. He was taken in the second round of last year’s draft, splitting time between the Gulf Coast League and Bluefield. After four and one-third scoreless innings in three GCL games, Gabryszwski moved up to the Appy League on August 29, turning in a shutout inning of relief at Danville. He relieved twice in the postseason for the Jays, allowing two runs in four and two-thirds innings. A graduate of Crosby High School, he had committed to play college ball at Lamar before signing with Toronto.

RHP JACOB FARIA: Right-hander Jacob Faria goes for Princeton tonight. He allowed one run on two hits in a two-inning start his last time out on Friday in Danville. A tenth-round pick in last year’s draft out of Gahr High School in Cerritos, CA, he spent the 2011 season in the Gulf Coast League, pitching to a 2.87 ERA in 15.2 innings. The La Palma, CA native had committed to Cal State-Fullerton before signing with the Rays.

MERCER CUP: The summer of 2012 will feature another exciting edition of Minor League Baseball’s greatest rivalry. The Bluefield Blue Jays and Princeton Rays are separated by only 12 miles and for the past 20 seasons these Appalachian League foes have played for the Mercer Cup , a five-foot trophy that also grants the winner bragging rights for the next 12 months. The Mercer Cup dates back to 1992, when Princeton was an affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. Reds General Manager Jim Holland came up with the idea to award the massive trophy to the winner of the 11-game season series between the Mercer County neighbors. A local trophy maker wanted to get involved with the Princeton team and Holland dreamt up the idea of the Cup and teamed up with then Bluefield GM George McGonagle to make it happen. Of the first 20 sets, Bluefield has won 11 series and Princeton has won eight. The 1994 series ended in a tie, but Bluefield kept the Cup. An interesting wrinkle of the Mercer Cup is that when one city wins three years in a row, that trophy is retired for them to keep and a new one is put into circulation. Bluefield retired Cups in 1995 and 2001 and Princeton turned the trick in 2007. In 2011, Princeton was aiming to retire the Cup again after winning in 2009 and 2010. After a 4-4 split of the first eight games, Bluefield, in their first season under the Blue Jays’ umbrella, swept the final three games to take back the Cup. July 17 marks the continuation of the rivalry, which has continued through affiliation changes, which include Princeton’s switch from the Reds to the Devil Rays in 1997 and Bluefield’s change from the Orioles to the Blue Jays in 2011. Whether it’s at Bowen Field in Bluefield or up Route 19 at Hunnicutt Field in Princeton, this Mercer County battle for bragging rights transcends the Appy League season and gives this community a unique baseball tradition.

TRADING PLACES: The Toronto Blue Jays and Houston Astros made a ten-player trade on Friday, one of whom was a Bluefield Blue Jay. Right-hander Joe Musgrove, a supplemental first-round pick in 2011 who allowed one run on five hits in eight innings of work for the Baby Jays, was included in the deal. Toronto acquired RHP Brandon Lyon, LHP J.A. Happ and RHP David Carpenter. Going to Houston along with Musgrove are RHP Francisco Cordero, OF Ben Francisco, RHP Asher Wojciechowski, 2011 Bluefielder and LHP David Rollins, C Carlos Perez and a player to be named later.

YOU SHALL NOT PASS: The Blue Jays have been the best team in the Appy League at throwing out potential base stealers. The trio of Santiago Nessy, Seth Conner and Hector Alvarez has gunned down 15 out of 33 runners (45.5 %) to lead the circuit.

TURNING A CORNER: First baseman Art Charles was mired in a 1-for-28 slump as his batting average sank from .275 to .176, but he has started hitting again over his last three games. Starting with a rout in Elizabethton on Monday and through the first two Mercer Cup games, he is 5-for-8 with a homer, a triple, three RBIs, four runs and five walks. Charles increased his league-leading walk total to 29 (six ahead of second place) and is now back amoung the league leaders in on base percentage as his .450 mark ranks third.

SLAMMING THE DOR-SETT: Sidewinding right-hander Brandon Dorsett has been shutting out opponents for Bluefield. The Appy League is 9-for-51 against him and Kingsport closer Shane Bay (.154) is the only reliever in the league with a lower batting average against than his .176. Since allowing a pair of unearned runs on July 4 against Danville, the Terre Haute, IN native has pitched six shutout innings over his last three appearances, including a scoreless eighth and ninth last night. He’s issued only one walk in 13 innings of work and his 7.62 baserunners per nine innings is also second in the loop to Bay (7.36) among relievers.

Bluefield Blue Jays Game Notes 7-20

Check out the @BluefieldJays Twitter page for mid-game updates

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