Sunday, August 19, 2012

Game 56 and 57: Bluefield Blue Jays at Danville Braves

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

BLUE JAYS (23-32)

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

LHP Daniel Norris (2-2, 7.96)

1 DJ Davis CF
2 Jorge Vega-Rosado SS
3 Christian Lopes DH
4 Seth Conner 1B
5 Eric Arce LF
Nico Taylor RF
7 Matt Dean 3B
8 Christian Frias 2B
9 Hector Alvarez C

LHP Griffin Murphy (1-2, 1.20)

BRAVES (32-21)

1Jose Peraza DH
2 Levi Hyams 2B
3 Josh Elander C
4 Trenton Moses 3B
5 Casey Kalenkosky 1B
6 Blake Brown RF
7 Edison Sanchez LF
8 Ronald Luna SS
9 Logan Robbins CF

RHP Ernesto Silva (3-1, 3.81)
RHP Rafael Briceno (3-1, 6.67) in Game Two


BROADCAST INFO: Listen live right here on The games will also be broadcast locally on WKEZ 1240 AM Rooster Classic Country

WEATHER: RainRainRainRainRainRainRain. The twinbill has already been pushed back from 2 p.m. to at least 4 p.m.

UMPIRES: PLATE: Nick Garvey FIELD: Troy Hodack

ABOUT LAST NIGHT...: The Bluefield Blue Jays lost a see-saw 10-7 game to the Danville Braves on Saturday. The Jays made two comebacks to take a 6-4 lead in the top of the seventh, but Danville scored two in the bottom half to tie and four in the eighth to win it. The Appy League debut of Jays starter Alfredo Tirado did not go well. He walked two, hit a batter and threw two wild pitches to let in two runs in the bottom of the first. The 17-year-old who wowed in the Gulf Coast League was taken out after that rocky opening frame. Shane Davis excelled in relief as he held the Braves hitless from the second inning through the fifth. Bluefield came back to take the lead after building a picket fence on the scoreboard with single runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings. Matt Dean scored on a wild pitch, Seth Conner knocked an RBI double and Christian Lopes sent in the go-ahead run with a two-out single. Danville came right back in the sixth, scoring twice off Davis, although one tally was unearned. The Braves tied and took the lead with run-scoring outs on Aris Alcantara’s RBI groundout and Felix Marte’s sacrifice fly. The Jays rallied in the seventh against lefty Mike Hashem. Down 4-3, they loaded the bases with nobody out before Clint Wright was summoned from the bullpen. He struck out D.J. Davis and Jacob Anderson and had two strikes on Lopes, one pitch from wriggling out of the jam. Lopes belted a three-run triple to center field that turned the one-run deficit into a 6-4 lead. That advantage did not last long as Denny Valdez walked the eighth and ninth hitters to start the bottom of the seventh and they both came around to score after a balk and a Levi Hyams two-run single. Brandon Dorsett kept the game tied at six by striking out Alcantara to end the frame. The Braves big rally to win it in the eighth started with a bunt single by Marte. He moved up on a Ronald Luna bunt and a wild pitch. With the infield drawn in, Nick DeSantiago laced a single to shallow left field to give the Braves the lead for good. With the bases loaded and two out, Dorsett induced a grounder to second that should have ended the inning and kept it a 7-6 game. Lopes booted the ball and another run scored. Dorsett hit the next two batters to break it open at 10-6. The Baby Jays fought back in the ninth but fell short. Davis, who had two hits on the night, led off with a walk. Lopes reached on an error and Conner knocked an RBI single to plate Davis and send the tying run to the plate. Nico Taylor worked a good at bat, but rolled out to second to end the wild contest. Danville only had six hits, but scored ten thanks in part to a season-high eight walks and four hit batters issued by the Bluefield staff. The Braves had trouble finding the plate as well as they uncorked four wild pitches to Bluefield’s three.

VS. THE BRAVES: The Baby Jays won the first head-to-head matchup on July 4th 4-2 on Santiago Nessy’s home run, but they fell 8-6 and 13-3 to lose the three-game home series. The two clubs played one game in Bluefield on July 22, an 8-6 Jays win, but they were rained out the next two nights to set up this busy weekend series. The Blue Jays lost the season series to Danville in 2011, but they got the last laugh when they won the East Division title by one game after a great pennant race. The two teams were tied atop the division at 38-27 heading into the final three games of the season at Danville. The Baby Jays routed the Braves 11-4 on August 28, then clinched the title the next night when five pitchers combined on a three-hitter in a 5-1 win. Danville won the inconsequential finale 19-4, but it was the Jays who playoff bound for the first time since 2002.

TIME IS RUNNING OUT: The Baby Jays need to sweep this doubleheader to avoid elimination in the pennant race today. They trail Danville by 11 games for second place and the final playoff spot in the East Division. Even a split guarantees them at best a 34-33 season, which the Braves could top even with nine straight losses after today at 33-31. Danville’s magic number to clinch a playoff spot over Princeton is down to five. They’ve even drawn close to first-place Burlington, pulling to just a game and a half out with five straight wins.

LHP DANIEL NORRIS: The unexpected struggles of one of the most highly-touted prospects in the Toronto farm system continued on Tuesday against Elizabethton. Lefty Daniel Norris was rocked for seven runs and did not make it out of the first inning. Over his last four starts, Norris has allowed 21 runs in 13 innings (14.54 ERA). Part of the ineffectiveness can be chalked up to some back luck. His batting average on balls in play (BABIP) is an abnormally high .354, the third-highest mark in the league, meaning that balls hit off of him have found holes more often than they should have. 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. His FIP is a still-decent 3.99. The four-run difference between his FIP and ERA suggests that some tough luck has beeen involved as well. He still has struck out 33 in 31.2 innings 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.

RHP ERNESTO SILVA: Right-hander Ernesto Silva has been one of the most durable starters in the league, ranking ninth in innings pitched with 52. He’s also been very accurate around the plate, as he’s only walked five batters this season, giving him the second-lowest BB/9 IP ratio in the circuit (0.87). The 20-year-old from Puerto Armuelles, Panama last pitched on Tuesday in Pulaski. In five innings, he allowed five runs on seven hits, walking two and striking out one. Silva is a lanky one at six-foot-four and only 180 pounds. He started the season with low-A Rome, going 0-6 with a 6.53 ERA. A free agent signing in 2008, he spent his first two seasons in the Dominican Summer League (2009) and Gulf Coast League (2010) before spending 2011 in Danville (5-5, 5.49).

LHP GRIFFIN MURPHY: After 13 relief appearances to open the season, lights-out southpaw Griffin Murphy makes his first start to finish the twinbill. The Highland, CA native and 2010 second-round pick has been sensational for the Jays, riding a streak of 20.2 innings without allowing an earned run. The streak dates back to July 11 and covers his last nine outings, during which he’s lowered his ERA to 1.20, the lowest in the league among pitchers with 30 IP. The last earned run he gave up came on July 5 against the Braves, when he was reached for five runs, two earned. Among those with 30 IP under their belt, Murphy ranks third in opponent batting average (.182), third in WHIP (1.00) and eighth in K % (26%).

RHP RAFAEL BRICENO: Like Murphy, righty reliever Rafael Briceno makes a spot start in the finale. The native of Machiques, Venezuela started the season at low-A Rome and went 3-6 with a 6.55 ERA in 67.1 innings. Things didn’t get much better after going down to Danville to open the Appy League campaign as he put up a 9.45 ERA in three starts. He’s improved a bit out of the bullpen, with a 4.41 mark. He recorded the win with three shutout innings of one-hit ball in Kingsport on Sunday. The 2009 signee spent his first two seasons in the DSL before splitting last year between the GCL and Danville.

Bluefield Blue Jays Game Notes 8-19

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

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