Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Game 38: Bluefield Blue Jays at Johnson City Cardinals

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

BLUE JAYS (17-20)

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

LHP Jeremy Gabryszwski (1-0, 1.86)


1 C.J. McElroy CF
2 Ildemaro Vargas 2B
3 Adam Ehrlich C
4 Jeremy Schaffer 1B
5 Trevor Martin DH
6 Carson Kelly 3B
7 Cesar Valera SS
8 Dutch Deol LF
9 Lance Jeffries RF

RHP Thomas Lee (1-2, 3.47)


BROADCAST INFO: Listen live right here for Blue Jays pregame at 6:50. Tonight's game will also be on local radio on 1240 AM Rooster Classic Country.

WEATHER: 75 degrees with rain coming. Keep those fingers crossed. By the way, that is identical to last night's forecast. Oy.

UMPIRES: PLATE Jimmy Lott  FIELD Andrew Freed

ABOUT LAST NIGHT...: The Blue Jays waited out two rain delays, but hung in to beat the Greeneville Astros 5-1. Seth Conner led the way with four runs batted in. The Baby Jays struck quickly in the bottom of the first against Adrian Houser. Christian Lopes walked and Santiago Nessy was hit by a pitch and after they moved up on a wild pitch, Conner drove them in with a two-out double just inside first base and into right field. Greeneville manager Omar Lopez came onto the field to argue the call to no avail. Bluefield added two more in the third after Lopes walked and Dwight Smith reached on an infield single. With the runners at second and third and two out, Conner came through again, bouncing a seeing-eye single through the left side to make it a 4-0 game. Houser retired nine straight after the hit before a lightning/rain delay caused the game to stopped with two outs in the bottom of the sixth. The righty allowed four runs in five and two-thirds innings and struck out eight. Jays starter Kevin Comer allowed an unearned run and scattered seven hits in four and two-thirds innings. With the tying run at the plate, Justin James got the last out of the fifth on one pitch, then fired a 1-2-3 sixth with two strikeouts to pick up the win. Joe Spano pitched a scoreless seventh and eighth before Wil Browning closed it out.

VS. THE CARDINALS: The two clubs played an exciting series to open the 2012 Bowen Field slate in a rematch of last year’s Appalachian League Championship Series. In the Jays home opener on June 22, the Cardinals came back from a run down in the ninth to win in ten innings 4-2. The Jays bounced back the next night to win 5-4 on Jacob Anderson’s walk-off double. Johnson City won the rubber game on June 24, almost in historic fashion. They were one strike away from a no-hitter before Seth Conner broke it up with a clean single up the middle. In last year’s playoffs The Cards were defending champions and they swept the Baby Birds two games to none. Bluefield led the opener 3-0 the whole way until the Cards rallied with two runs in the seventh and two in the ninth. to walk off with a 4-3 victory. Nicholas Gillung and Logan Billbrough combined to one-hit Bluefield in the clincher in a 4-1 win. The two clubs split six head-to-head meetings during the 2011 regular season, with the home team winning two out of three twice. Bluefield won a home series from July 5-7, the middle game won on Daniel Arcila’s walk-off two-run homer in the 11th inning. Johnson City answered with a series win from August 6-8..

RHP JEREMY GABRYSZWSKI: The 19-year-old righty Jeremy Gabryszwski faced Appy League ERA leader Blake Snell in Princeton on Friday and outpitched the southpaw. “Gabby” allowed three runs in the first inning, but held the Rays scoreless after that as Snell was tagged for six runs. The Crosby, Texas native was in line for the win after five innings, but the bullpen blew the lead in the sixth and the Rays picked up a key Mercer Cup win. With a 1.86 ERA, only Burlington’s Colin Rodgers and Elizabethton’s Taylor Rogers have a lower mark in as many innings pitched as Gabby’s 29. His 0.93 WHIP ranks fourth in the league despite having a K/9 of 4.34 that is the third-lowest in the circuit, thanks in part to his 0.93 BB/9 (3rd 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 THOMAS LEE: After 11 relief appearances in 2012, right-hander Thomas Lee makes his first start of the season tonight. He was slated to pitch last night, but the Cards were rained out at home against Kingsport. He last worked on Thursday in Danville, called into action in the second inning already down 4-1. He tossed three and one-third shutout innings of four-hit ball with five strikeouts as Johnson City came back to win. His 3.63 ERA is inflated in part due to a batting average on balls in play of .397. With a scoreless ninth inning in the Bluefield home opener on June 22, he picked up the win when the Cards scored twice in the tenth. The native of Bakersfield, CA pitched at Division II Sonoma State and struck out 86 hitters in 88.2 innings to lead the Callifornia Collegiate Athletic Association in 2012. After earning First Team All-CCAA honors, the Cardinals signed him aas an undrafted free agent.

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 1,296-1,202 (.519). 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.

THE TERMINATOR: Seth Conner was the hitting hero for the Jays last night with two two-out two-run hits in the victory. The four RBIs tied his career high (7/5/2011 for the GCL Jays against the GCL Yankees). He extended his hitting streak to a season-long seven games, during which he is 9-for-24 (.375) with a homer, two doubles, a triple, nine RBIs and four runs scored. That’s one game better than the six-gamer that was run up from June 30-July 13. The Rogersville, MO native had an 11-game streak last season in the GCL that included five multi-hit contests. 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.
CARDINALS ARE RED HOT: The two-time defending champion Cardinals are riding a six-game winning streak heading into this series with the Blue Jays. The first three all came in extra innings, starting with an 11-inning win in Princeton. The next two went ten and 11 in Danville before Johnson City finished a three-game sweep in regulation. They returned home and beat Kingsport 6-2 and 3-2 before the series finale was rained out last night. 1B/DH Jeremy Schaffer is tied for the league lead in doubles (13) and extra-base hits (20) and has hit safely in ten straight games (16-43, .372).

Bluefield Blue Jays Game Notes 8-1

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

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