Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Game 50: Elizabethton Twins at Bluefield Blue Jays

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

TWINS (35-15)

1 Candido Pimentel DH
2 Niko Goodrum SS
3 Max Kepler LF
4 Adam Walker RF
5 Byron Buxton CF
6 Joshua Hendricks 3B
7 Travis Harrison 3B
8 Kelly Cross C
9 Jorge Polanco 2B

LHP Brett Lee (3-0, 2.17)

BLUE JAYS (22-27)

1 Jorge Vega-Rosado DH
2 Jacob Anderson RF
3 Seth Conner 1B
4 Christian Lopes 2B
5 Santiago Nessy C
6 Nico Taylor LF
7 Dickie Joe Thon SS
8 Matt Dean 3B
9 D.J. Jones CF

LHP Daniel Norris (2-1, 6.10)


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 Jeremie Rehak  FIELD Jordan Albarado

ABOUT LAST NIGHT...: Everything went right for the Bluefield Blue Jays on Sunday. Jeremy Gabryszwski pitched six scoreless innings and teamed with three relievers on a six-hit shutout while the offense scored two runs in four different frames during the Jays’ 8-0 win over the Burlington Royals at Bowen Field. Bluefield took two out of three in the weekend set against East Division-leading Royals. Gabryszwski (3-0) held the team with the most homers in the league to four singles and a double. He walked Bubba Starling in the first inning to end a streak of 25 innings without allowing base on balls that dates back to July 14. The right-hander lowered his ERA to 2.40, which is tied for the fourth-lowest in the league with Elizabethton righties Hudson Boyd and Angel Mata. Les Williams, Colby Broussard and Wil Browning each posted a zero in one inning of work to close it out for Bluefield. It was the team’s fifth shutout of the season and tonight was by far the biggest blowout of the five. Burlington starter Yender Caramo kept the Jays off the scoreboard for three innings before Bluefield broke out in the fourth. Jacob Anderson was hit by a pitch and Seth Conner and Christian followed with singles to load the bases. Santiago Nessy hit into a 6-4-3 double play to bring in one run before Nico Taylor’s infield single sent home another. The Jays added two more tallies in the sixth inning on an RBI double from Lopes and another RBI single from Taylor. Anderson rocked Caramo for a two-run home run in the seventh. That would be the final inning for Caramo (L, 3-2), who gave up six runs on ten hits. Santiago Nessy led off the eighth with a homer off of reliever Tyler Mack, who allowed the final Bluefield run on an RBI groundout by Jorge Vega-Rosado. Taylor notched a game-high three hits. The six Burlington hits were all contributed by Bubba Starling, Humberto Arteaga and Alex Hudak, who had two apiece.

VS. THE TWINS: This is the second and final head-to-head series of the season. The Twins took two of three from the Jays in Elizabethton last month. Taylor Rogers, J.T. Chargois and Mason Melotakis combined on a two-hit shutout on July 14. The next day’s game was rained out and the two clubs split a July 16 doubleheader. The Twins pitched another shutout in the opener behind Hudson Boyd and Max Kepler’s grand slam off of Tucker Jensen. Bluefield avoided a sweep with a 14-7 rout in the finale as Eric Arce belted a three-run homer and a grand slam. The Blue Jays beat the Twins two games to one to win the first round of last year’s postseason and advance to the League Championship Series. In the regular season, they won the first two meetings in 2011, but the Twins won four straight to finish the regular season. The Jays won at Elizabethton on Opening Night in 13 innings on Art Charles’ game-winning double. Bluefield missed a chance at a road sweep when the Twins rallied for three runs in the ninth to win 6-5. They didn’t meet again until the final week of the season when the Twins swept three games at Bowen Field to almost ruin the Jays’ division-title hopes.

LHP DANIEL NORRIS: One of the most highly-touted prospects in the Toronto farm system, lefty Daniel Norris has struggled lately, but might have turned a corner in his last outing. He’s posted a 10.22 ERA in his last three starts, but he was lights out on Friday. In picking up his own suspended start from July 9, Norris retired all seven batters he faced and was pumping his fastball in the low-to-mid 90s, but rain cut his day short. A lengthy delay forced his removal after only two and one-third innings. Daniel’s 6.10 ERA is largely inflated due to bad luck. Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) measures what a pitcher’s ERA should be based on his strikeouts, walks, hit batsmen and home runs allowed, the elements a pitcher has the most control over in a given game. Norris has a FIP of 3.52, which suggests his 6.10 ERA is unusually high. The 2.57 difference between his ERA and FIP is the third-largest in the league. 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.

LHP BRETT LEE: Six-foot-four southpaw Brett Lee gets the ball for the Twins in the series opener. He put up a 2.16 ERA in 12 relief appearances before being pushed into the rotation on Wednesday against Johnson City. In four innings, he held the Cards to one run on three hits, striking out seven without walking a batter. This will be the second time he faces the Jays; he picked up the win with two scoreless innings of relief in a doubleheader opener on July 16. Brett was selected in the tenth round of the 2011 draft out of St. Petersburg College in Florida, which also produced Appy Leaguers Todd Kibby of Bristol and Frank Lafreniere of Danville. The Pensacola native had been drafted the previous two seasons as well, out of West Florida HS of Advanced Technology (2009, 40th round, PIT) and Bishop State JC (2010, 33rd round, LAD).

CLASS OF THE LEAGUE: The Elizabethton Twins are once again running roughshod over the Appy League outscoring opponents 327-177. At 35-15, they lead the West Division by eight games over the Johnson City Cardinals and have a magic number of 10. With a .700 winning percentage, they are on pace to be the top club in the circuit since the 2007 E-Twins that went 50-18 (.735). They have already locked down their 24th consecutive winning season. Their last sub-.500 year was 1988 when they went 33-37. Elizabethton’s average record during the run is 43-25. As a team, they lead the league by wide margins in all three slash categories, batting average (.288), on base percentage (.365) and slugging percentage (.455).

LEAGUE LEADERS: The Appy League leaderboards are littered with Elizabethton Twins. RF Adam Walker’s 12 homers are tied with Burlington’s Patrick Leonard for the most in the circuit. He ranks second in runs (38), third in total bases (96) and fourth in RBIs (38). CF Max Kepler is second in RBIs (40) and total bases (97) and is third in slugging percentage (.536). 2B/LF Candido Pimentel ranks in the top five in hitting (.347, 2nd), hits (58, 3rd), OBP (.408, 4th) and runs (35, 5th).

ART FINALLY HAS COMPANY: With three walks on Saturday, Twins shortstop Niko Goodrum finally tied Art Charles for the Appy League lead with 33. Charles has been alone atop the league despite having played his last game for Bluefield on July 22. The big first baseman was called up to Short Season-A Vancouver, but he’s still led the league for the last 23 days. In 17 games for the Canadians, Art is hitting .250 with three homers, 12 runs batted in and a .500 slugging percentage.

Bluefield Blue Jays Game Notes 8-14

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

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