Thursday, July 26, 2012

Game 32: Bluefield Blue Jays at Princeton Rays

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


BLUE JAYS (14-17)

1 Dickie Joe Thon SS
2 Christian Lopes 2B
3 Dwight Smith Jr. CF
4 Santiago Nessy C
5 Jordan Leyland 1B
6 Seth Conner DH
7 Jacob Anderson RF
8 Matt Dean 3B
9 Dennis Jones LF

RHP Kevin Comer (2-1, 4.88)

RAYS (17-17)

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

LHP Kevin James (1-1, 3.92)


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: 85 with no rain in the forecast?! What planet is this?! 

UMPIRES: PLATE Jeremie Rehak  FIELD Jordan Albarado

ABOUT LAST NIGHT...: After the Blue Jays took the series opener from the Braves 8-6 on Sunday, the second game of the set was rained out Monday. The two teams tried to finish the series with a doubleheader on Tuesday, but rain forced another postponement. With that being the Braves’ final trip to Bluefield, the games will be made up when the Jays visit Danville from August 17-19.

VS. THE BRAVES: The Blue Jays won three of the first five games in this year’s Mercer Cup series. The Rays and Jays split two one-run games in Bluefield before the third game was rained out. Jeremy Gabryszwski and Griffin Murphy combined for a shutout in Princeton on Friday, then the two clubs split a doubleheader at Bowen Field on Saturday. 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 KEVIN COMER: Baseball America’s 17th-ranked Blue Jays prospect aims to get back on track. Righty Kevin Comer pitched to a 2.25 ERA in his first three professional appearances, but in his last three he has allowed ten earned runs in 12 innings (7.50 ERA). Last Tuesday against Princeton, he tossed four and one-third innings of relief, allowing four runs (three earned). He came two outs short of finishing the game, but still recorded the victory in the Mercer Cup opener. He was a supplemental first-round pick (57th overall) in 2011 after Miguel Olivo signed with Seattle. After the Shamong, NJ native pitched his Seneca HS team to the Group 3 state championship, the Blue Jays bought Comer out of his commitment to Vanderbilt with a $1.65 million signing bonus. Baseball America says the right-hander has “a clean arm action and delivery, and he gets good angle to his pitches.” They added that he has a “live fastball that generally sits around (91-93).” He also throws a curve that “some scouts think will be a plus pitch in time.”

LHP KEVIN JAMES: Six-foot-four southpaw Kevin James draws another series-opening start against Bluefield as he opposed Roberto Osuna in the first Mercer Cup contest last Tuesday. He allowed a leadoff double to Jorge Vega-Rosado, stranded him at third with strikeouts of Santiago Nessy and Art Charles, but left the game after one inning due to a cut on his pitching hand. In his last full start on July 12, he picked up the win at Danville with five shutout innings. James was chosen by the Rays in the ninth round of the 2009 draft out of Whitefish Bay HS in Wisconsin, where he was named the state’s Player of the Year by Louisville Slugger and the state’s top prospect by Baseball America. After two brief stints in the Gulf Coast League in 2009 and 2010, he moved up to Princeton in 2011 and posted a 7.91 ERA in 11 relief outings. One of those was against Bluefield on June 30, 2011 in which he allowed five runs (four earned) in three and two-thirds innings.

MOVE ON UP: The Blue Jays have promoted Bluefield’s top slugger and pitcher. Both first baseman Art Charles and 17-year-old righty Roberto Osuna have been sent up to Short Season-A Vancouver. Charles leads the team in homers (six), triples (three), runs (18), OBP (.459), SLG (.576) and OPS (1.035). His OBP and 32 walks lead the circuit, he ranks fourth in sluggling and his OPS is second only to Elizabethton’s Romy Jimenez. The Bakersfield, CA native led the Appy League with 61 RBIs in Bluefield last season. Osuna wowed as a Baby Jay, pitching to a 1.50 ERA with 24 strikeouts in 24 innings in his first professional action in the U.S.

RAIN RAIN GO AWAY: The Blue Jays have been rained out on back-to-back nights, throwing the schedule into disarray. They will play doubleheaders on consecutive days in Danville on August 17 and 18. Two days later, they’ll host another twinbill against the Pulaski Mariners to make up for a July 3 postponement. A week earlier, on August 10, the Jays will complete the July 9 game against Burlington that was suspended due to rain with Bluefield ahead 1-0 in the bottom of the first inning. Bristol and Pulaski also had their doubleheader washed out last night, as was yesterday’s Cardinals-Rays series finale in Princeton. This week marks the first time that Bluefield has dealt with back-to-back rainouts since 2010 when they were a Baltimore affiliate. They were rained out on August 17 in Princeton, then after a scheduled off day their home date against Bristol was also postponed.

MILESTONE WATCH: Blue Jays manager Dennis Holmberg is closing in on his 1,300th win in professional baseball. Over 25 seasons as a minor league skipper, he has a career record of 1,295-1,199. After eight seasons as a third baseman/outfielder in the Milwaukee system he began his managerial career at age 25 in 1977 with the Newark Co-Pilots, the Brewers’ farm team in the New York-Penn League. He then joined the Blue Jays in 1978 as a minor league instructor and has been with the organization ever since. He has spent 24 seasons as a manager and eight as a coach in the Toronto system. He also spent the 1994 and 1995 seasons as the bullpen coach for the big league club. Holmberg has piloted ten playoff teams, including last year’s Appy League runner-up in Bluefield. It was Bluefield’s first postseason tirp since 2002. From 2002 to 2007 his Auburn Doubledays made six straight postseasons, including a New York-Penn League championship run in ‘07.

BROWN OUT: Side-winding righty Wil Browning pitched the ninth inning on Sunday and struck out the first two batters out swinging. He also whiffed Aris Alcantara, but the third strike was a wild pitch that extended the game. Josh Elander blooped a single to cut the Bluefield lead to 8-6, but Browning struck out Felix Marte to lock down the win for Bluefield. With four strikeouts in a one-inning save, Browning did something that has only been done three times in the major leagues. Mark Wholers (1995 ATL), Derek Wallace (1996 NYM) and Kaz Sasaki (2003 SEA) have turned the trick in the bigs.

Pregame Audio - Outfielder and Naval Academy grad Alex Azor, who will be leaving the club on Sunday to continue his commitment as a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps: 

Bluefield Blue Jays Game Notes 7-26

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

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