Saturday, August 4, 2012

Game 40: Bristol White Sox at Bluefield Blue Jays

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

WHITE SOX (10-27)

1 Kale Kiser LF
2 Jake Brown 2B
3 Courtney Hawkins CF
4 Keon Barnum 1B
5 Eric Grabe 3B
6 Nick Basto SS
7 Jose Barraza C
8 Sammy Ayala DH
9 Juan Ramirez RF

LHP Jefferson Olacio (2-3, 4.50)

BLUE JAYS (18-21)

1 Jorge Vega-Rosado 2B
2 Dickie Joe Thon SS
3 Dwight Smith Jr. LF
4 Seth Conner 1B
5 Santiago Nessy C
6 Nico Taylor RF
7 Matt Dean 3B
8 Jordan Leyland DH
9 D.J. Jones CF

LHP Daniel Norris (2-1, 4.97)
RHP Tucker Jensen (2-1, 4.55) will pitch in relief

BROADCAST INFO: Sorry folks, none of the three home games with Bristol will be broadcast. We'll be back on the air for the final three Mercer Cup games in Princeton on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

WEATHER: 80 degrees with rain in the forecast. Keep those fingers crossed.

UMPIRES: PLATE Nick Garvey FIELD Troy Hodack

ABOUT LAST NIGHT...: The Blue Jays had their rubber game in Johnson City rained out last night. Because it is the final head-to-head meeting between the two clubs, it will not be made up as the Bluefield season is now truncated to 67 games. Bristol had their doubleheader in Danville rained out last night as well and those games will not be made up.

VS. THE WHITE SOX: Bristol has struggled this year, but two of their ten victories came against the Baby Jays. Bluefield opened up the 2012 season in Bristol and rolled to a 7-2 Opening Day win behind four perfect innings from Daniel Norris in his pro debut. 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 Virginia fom 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.

NORRIS: One of the most highly-touted prospects in the Toronto farm system, lefty Daniel Norris, struggled early in his start against Greeneville on Monday, but he settled in and netted the win. He allowed hits to five of the first 11 batters as the Astros scored three runs, but he set down eight of the last ten to finish his outing. Norris made his professional debut in Bristol on Opening Day on June 19. He retired all 12 batters he faced in picking up the relief victory. The 2011 second-round pick was rated by Baseball America 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.

JENSEN: Right-hander Tucker Jensen had his start rained out last night on his 23rd birthday and will pitch in relief behind Norris. He aims to bounce back from a rocky start against Greeneville on Sunday. He struck out the first two batters of the game in a 1-2-3 first inning, but he allowed runs in each of the next three. He only went four innings, giving up five runs and seven hits, though he did strike out a season-high seven. He is two innings short of the league qualifier, but his 1.04 WHIP would rank fourth and his 28/5 K/BB ratio would be fifth in the circuit. Last year, he allowed 14 earned runs in 11.1 innings in four starts for Bluefield. He excelled in eight Gulf Coast League starts to begin his career, pitching to a 1.77 ERA with an 8.9 K/9 rate to earn a one-game call-up to low-A Lansing. Between three levels he struck out 56 batters in 57 innings of work. A decorated hurler at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, FL, Tucker was named Sun Conference Pitcher of the Year in 2011, also earning NAIA Second-Team All-America honors. Tucker is the grandson of 1958 American League MVP Jackie Jensen.

OLACIO: 18-year old southpaw Jefferson Olacio has issued the most walks in the Appalachian League (28 in 32 innings) and will start the series opener. He has good hit and strikeout totals with 29 of each outside of his control issues. He pitched five shutout innings in beating the Jays on June 21. His last time out was a tough-luck complete-game 1-0 loss in a doubleheader in Kingsport. Hailing from Santo Domingo in the Domincan Republic, Olacio started the season with low-A Kannapolis and posted a 1.61 ERA in the bullpen while striking out 24 in 22.1 innings. But since moving into the rotation in late May, he was rocked in five starts (11.05 ERA) before being transferred to Bristol. A towering presence on the mound at six-foot-seven, Jefferson debuted in the Dominican Summer League in 2011, going 3-5 with a 5.50 ERA in 11 starts. So far in his pro career, he’s had a lot of trouble finding the plate as he’s averaged 7.7 walks per nine innings. Still, Baseball America has him ranked 15th among White Sox prospects.

WE’RE GOIN’ STREAKING!: Second baseman Christian Lopes doubled twice and scored twice in Thursday’s loss, extending his hitting streak to five games. During the run, he’s 7-for-18 (.389) with four doubles, two triples, five RBIs and six runs scored. Center fielder Dwight Smith Jr. ran his hit streak to six with an eighth-inning single. He is 9-for-26 (.346) during his streak, with a homer, five RBIs and four runs.

WHERE’S THE GLOVE?: Thursday night’s error-laden defeat set a new season-high (or low) as Bluefield made six errors. The Jays have committed 67 in 39 games to lead the league. They rank eighth in the ten-team league with a .955 fielding percentage. Despite throwing out 41.2 % of base stealers, catcher Santiago Nessy is tied for the league lead for most errors behind the plate with seven.

A BIRTHDAY AND MILESTONE SPOILED: Last night, Blue Jays manager Dennis Holmberg celebrated his birthday and managed his 2,500th professional game on Thursday, but it was a disappointing loss. He’s closing in on his 1,300th win in professional baseball. Over 25 seasons as a minor league skipper, he has a career record of 1,297-1,203 (.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 trip since 2002. From 2002 to 2007 his Auburn Doubledays made six straight postseasons, including a New York-Penn League champ-ionship run in ‘07.

Bluefield Blue Jays Game Notes 8-4
Check out the @BluefieldJays Twitter page for mid-game updates

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