Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Game 37: Greeneville Astros at Bluefield Blue Jays

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

ASTROS (22-17)

1 D'Andre Toney CF
2 Brian Blasik 2B
3 Jean Batista 1B
4 Ernesto Genoves C
5 Ariel Ovando RF
6 Terrell Joyce LF
7 Angel Ibanez 3B
8 Jimmy Howick SS
9 Ricky Gingras DH

RHP Daniel Minor (0-0, 3.45)

BLUE JAYS (16-20)

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

LHP Daniel Norris (1-1, 4.87)


BROADCAST INFO: Listen live right here for Blue Jays pregame at 6:50. Tonight's game will also be on local radio on 1440 WHIS AM

WEATHER: 75 degrees with rain coming. Keep those fingers crossed.

UMPIRES: PLATE Evan Barger  FIELD Ryan Wills

ABOUT LAST NIGHT...: Everyone joined the party at Bowen Field on Monday night. All nine in the Bluefield Blue Jays lineup picked up a hit in an 8-3 victory over the Greeneville Astros. Dwight Smith’s two-run homer keyed a two-out four-run rally in the second inning that put the home team in front for good. Daniel Norris, Griffin Murphy and Wil Browning held the Astros scoreless after the third inning. The visitors got on the board first, scoring twice against Norris in the second inning. Ariel Ovando and Terrell Joyce led off the frame with singles. Ovando scored on a Michael Martinez groundout and Joyce came home on Jimmy Howick’s double. The two sides quickly traded run-scoring groundouts before Bluefield broke out with two down in the third against Astros starter Daniel Minor (L, 0-1). Eric Arce worked a walk and Seth Conner followed with an RBI triple that just eluded the dive of center fielder Jose Monzon. Dwight Smith pulled a two-run homer for his fourth long ball of the season, but the Jays weren’t finished. Nessy singled before Christian Lopes hit another ball past a diving Monzon. Nessy scored and Lopes tried to come all the way around for an inside-the-park home run, but he was thrown out 8-4-2 on a strong relay from second baseman Jean Batista. The lefty Norris (W, 2-1) settled in for the Baby Jays. After allowing five hits to the first 11 men he faced, he set down eight of ten to grind through five innings and pick up the win. He allowed only the three early runs while striking out four and walking one. Griffin Murphy was excellent again as the first Blue Jays out of the bullpen. He struck out the first three batters he faced in a perfect sixth inning, worked around a seventh-inning walk with a pickoff and strikeout, then posted another zero in the eighth. The lefty is riding a 10 1/3 inning scoreless streak, and he hasn’t allowed an earned run in 13 innings over his last five outings.

VS. THE ASTROS: The Blue Jays and Astros split their six-game season series in 2011, with the road team taking two out of three twice. In Bluefield on August 3, the Jays scored two in the ninth to force extra innings, but Chase Davidson’s 11th-inning single won it for Greeneville. Bluefield won the middle game before the Astros won the rubber game. In Greeneville from August 22-24, the two teams split the first two contests and the Jays won the third game to win the series and earn a season split.


RHP KEVIN COMER: Baseball America’s 17th-ranked Blue Jays prospect, righty Kevin Comer is coming off back-to-back Mercer Cup wins over Princeton, one in relief and one in a start. His last time out was a start at Princeton on Thursday. He held the Rays to two runs, one earned, in five innings of work. 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.”

RHP ADRIAN HOUSER: Right-hander Adrian Houser starts tonight’s series finale for the Astros. The 2011 second-round pick has allowed two runs in each of his last three starts, going between five and six innings in each. He picked up the win over Kingsport last Saturday, striking out seven in five and two-thirds frames. Over a two-start stretch on June 29 and July 6, he threw 13 straight scoreless innings with 14 punchouts against Danville and Johnson City. With an even 3.00 ERA, he ranks tenth in the Appy League. The six-foot-four, 19-year-old Houser was a second-round pick in the 2011 draft out of Locust Grove HS in Oklahoma. As a senior at Locust Grove in 2011, Houser struck out 125 batters in 62 innings with a 10-1 record and 0.92 ERA en route to a state title.

MURPHY LAYS DOWN THE LAW: Lefty reliever Griffin Murphy has been dominant for Bluefield in 2012. With three more shutout innings last night, he lowered his ERA to 1.61, the fifth-lowest in the Appy League among pitchers with at least 20 IP. The 2010 second-round pick is working on a 10 1/3 inning scoreless streak, including three straight outings of three shutout frames. He hasn’t allowed an earned run in 13 innings (five appearances), dating back to July 5.

WELCOME BACK: Righty Joe Musgrove, who spent the first month of the season with the Baby Jays, returns to Bluefield for the first time since being traded to the Astros on July 20. Toronto and Houston made a ten-player trade that included the 2011 supplemental first-round pick. Musgrove allowed one run on five hits in eight innings of work for the Baby Jays prior to the deal. Joe went to the Astros along with 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 in exchange for RHP Brandon Lyon, LHP J.A. Happ and RHP David Carpenter. Musgrove is scheduled to toss two innings of relief after Houser throws tonight.

THE TERMINATOR: Seth Conner batted cleanup for the first time last night and contributed an RBI single in the sixth inning. He’s been on a tear for the Baby Jays, as he’s 7-for-20 (.350) with a homer, two doubles, a triple, five RBIs and four runs scored during a six-game hitting streak. That equals his longest hit streak of the season, a six-gamer that was run up from June 30-July 13. On Friday, the Rogersville, MO native hit his first Appy League homer, a three-run shot in the top of the first against Princeton ace Blake Snell. The converted third baseman has seen most of his playing time at catcher while Santiago Nessy missed two weeks with a hamstring injury, but with Art Charles called up to Vancouver, Seth has more recently played first base. Conner leads Appy League catchers (min. 60 PA) with a .322 batting average.

GETTING THE LAST LAUGH: Greeneville scored twice in the top of the second inning once again last night, but this time the Baby Jays came back to win. The victory snaps Bluefield’s string of losing 13 straight games in which their opponent scores first.  They are now 2-16 in such games compared to a 14-4 mark when they strike first. The only game the Jays had won after allowing the first run was on June 23 against Johnson City in the second home game of the year. The Cardinals scored twice in the top of the first inning, but the Jays rallied and won the game in the tenth inning on Jacob Anderson’s walk-off double.

Bluefield Blue Jays Game Notes 7-31

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

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