Thursday, August 16, 2012

Games 51 and 52: Elizabethton Twins at Bluefield Blue Jays

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


TWINS (36-15)

1 Candido Pimentel DH
2 Niko Goodrum SS
3 Max Kepler LF
4 Adam Walker RF
5 Rory Rhodes 1B
6 Byron Buxton CF
7 Travis Harrison 3B
8 Jhonatan Arias C
9 Jorge Polanco 2B

RHP Hudson Boyd (2-5, 2.40)

BLUE JAYS (22-28)

1 Jorge Vega-Rosado CF
2 Jacob Anderson RF
3 Seth Conner 1B
4 Christian Lopes 2B
5 Santiago Nessy C
6 Eric Arce DH
7 Nico Taylor LF
8 Dickie Joe Thon SS
9 Emilio Guerrero 3B

LHP Deivy Estrada (2-4, 3.80)



TWINS (36-15)

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

RHP Angel Mata (4-2, 2.40)

BLUE JAYS (22-28)

1 Jorge Vega-Rosado CF
2 Emilio Guerrero 3B
3 Seth Conner C
4 Eric Arce DH
5 Santiago Nessy C
6 Nico Taylor LF
7 Matt Dean 3B
8 Christian Frias 2B
9 D.J. Jones RF

RHP Tucker Jensen (3-1, 3.52)

BROADCAST INFO: Today's twinbill is not on the air, but all five games of the weekend set in Danville will be on WKEZ 1240 Rooster Classic Country and

WEATHER: 79 and sunny...a beautiful day to play two

UMPIRES: PLATE Jordan Albarado  FIELD Jeremie Rehak (They'll switch for game two)

ABOUT LAST NIGHT...: Just as in their previous series in mid-July, the Bluefield Blue Jays and Elizabethton Twins had the middle game of three rained out, forcing a doubleheader to finish the set.

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 DEIVY ESTRADA: A native of Valencia, Venezuela, lefty Deivy Estrada goes for the Jays tonight trying to even the series. He has been let down by his defense time and again in 2012. In 42.2 innings, the southpaw has allowed 18 earned runs and 20 unearned runs. He last pitched on Wednesday in Princeton, allowing two solo homers in five innings. Deivy was in line for the win, but the bullpen lost the lead and the Rays won the Mercer Cup in the 13th inning. Estrada tied a career high with eight strikeouts in a start at Elizabethton on July 16. He allowed one earned run in three and two-thirds innings, but three errors behind him brought home four unearned tallies in a no decision. He posted a 2.25 ERA in the GCL in 2011, but he had an ERA of 6.94 in Bluefield upon his promotion. He did contribute the clinching victory in the Mercer Cup last year, turning in five shutout innings on August 10. He allowed only four hits, striking out six without walking a man. He took a tough loss in the final game of the Appy League Championship Series when he gave up one earned run in five innings, but was charged with the defeat. He spent the 2010 season in the GCL and was in the DSL in 2009 when he K’d more than one batter per inning (48 in 44 IP).

RHP HUDSON BOYD: 2011 first-round pick Hudson Boyd starts for the Twins. With a 2.40 ERA, he is tied for second in the league with teammate Angel Mata and Bluefield righty Jeremy Gabryszwski. Minnesota chose the 19-year-old 55th overall in the supplemental round, two picks after the Blue Jays took former Bluefield CF Dwight Smith Jr. and two picks before the Jays Bluefield RHP Kevin Comer. Minnesota had the pick as compensation for Jesse Crain signing with the White Sox. Hailing from Fort Myers, Boyd won a Florida state high school championship as a senior at Bishop Verot High School and had committed to the University of Florida before turning pro. He signed for $1 million, well over slot ($653,400) and is armed with a mid-90s fastball and a power curve that Baseball America tabbed as the best in the Twins system. With his 6-2, 264-pound frame, he has been compared to Jonathan Broxton. In a win at Johnson City on Thursday, he held the Cards to an unearned run in four innings, allowing four hits. He had a stretch earlier this year in which he went 23.3 innings without allowing an earned run. He faced the Jays in the opening game of a doubleheader on July 16. He pitched four scoreless innings of two-hit ball, but he walked three and was removed an inning shy of netting a win.

RHP TUCKER JENSEN: Right-hander Tucker Jensen wowed in six shutout innings at Princeton on Thursday and looks to build on his outstanding outing. He had a no-hitter going before a one-out single in the sixth inning. Tucker was the first Baby Jay to pitch into the seventh this year, but he gave up two singles to start the frame before being taken out in a 3-0 win. Jensen is five outs short of qualifying, but his 0.97 WHIP would lead the league and his 3.52 ERA would rank tenth. That ERA took a big hit against the Twins on July 16. Jensen pitched perfect first, third and fourth innings, but he gave up seven runs in the second, capped by a Max Kepler grand slam. Take out that ugly frame and that ERA drops to 1.88. 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.

RHP ANGEL MATA: 19-year-old Venezuelan Angel Mata has been one of the Appy League’s best this season and faces the Jays for the first time. He’s tied with game one starter Hudson Boyd and Bluefield righty Jeremy Gabryszwski for second in the circuit in ERA. His 1.09 WHIP is the fifth-best among qualifiers. He breezed to a victory in Bristol on Friday with five shutout innings of two-hit ball. Over two starts on July 23 (at Kingsport) and July 28 (vs. Greeneville), he put up ten scoreless innings, allowing four hits and one walk while striking out 17. Those brilliant outings netted him Appy League Pitcher of the Week honors. After signing with the Twins in 2010, he pitched one season in the DSL and one in the GCL.

ON THE MOVE: The Blue Jays and Astros pulled off a ten-player trade on July 20 that was completed today. Bluefield pitcher Joe Musgrove was included in the deal last month and now Baby Jays righty Kevin Comer was announced today as the “Player to be Named Later” that goes to the Astros as well. Toronto acquired RHP Brandon Lyon, LHP J.A. Happ and RHP David Carpenter. Going to Houston along with Musgrove and Comer were RHP Francisco Cordero, OF Ben Francisco, RHP Asher Wojciechowski, 2011 Bluefielder and LHP David Rollins and C Carlos Perez. A supplemental first-round pick in 2011, Comer went 3-3 with a 3.95 ERA in ten games (seven starts) for the Jays. Just as Musgrove was a month ago, Comer will stay in the Appalachian League. He has been assigned to the Greeneville Astros.

NESSY IS A MONSTER: Bluefield catcher Santiago Nessy has gone deep in each of the last three games. Tuesday’s blast was his seventh homer of the season, passing Art Charles for the team lead. Among Appy League backstops with at least 100 plate appearances, Nessy leads with a .457 slugging percentage and .210 ISO (extra bases per AB).

Bluefield Blue Jays Game Notes 8-16

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

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