Monday, August 6, 2012

Games 41 and 42: Bristol White Sox at Bluefield Blue Jays

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


WHITE SOX (10-28)

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 DH
8 Zach Stoner C
9 Cory Farris RF

LHP Todd Kibby (2-4, 3.68)

BLUE JAYS (19-21)

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

RHP Kevin Comer (3-1, 3.74)



WHITE SOX (10-28)

1 Kale Kiser LF
2 Nick Basto SS
3 Courtney Hawkins CF
4 Keon Barnum DH
5 Eric Grabe 3B
6 Alex Williams 1B
7 Sammy Ayala C
8 Steven Nikorak CF
9 Juan Ramirez RF

RHP David Haselden (0-1, 9.00)

BLUE JAYS (19-21)

D.J. Jones LF
2 Dickie Joe Thon SS
3 Dwight Smith Jr. CF
4 Seth Conner 1B
5 Santiago Nessy DH
6 Jacob Anderson RF
7 Matt Dean 3B
8 Christian Frias 2B
9 Hector Alvarez C

RHP Justin James (2-0, 6.14)
FIRST-PITCH TIME: 30 minutes after the end of the first game

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: The rain has finally stopped and we're looking to get started on time

UMPIRES: PLATE Troy Hodack FIELD Nick Garvey (They'll switch for game two)

ABOUT LAST NIGHT...: A day after D.J. Jones capped a thrilling comeback for an 8-7 win, the Bluefield Blue Jays were rained out against the Bristol White Sox at Bowen Field on Sunday. The two teams will finish their series with a doubleheader of two seven-inning games on Monday at 5:00 p.m. The Jays will go for a sweep and manager Dennis Holmberg’s 1,299th and 1,300th career victories.

VS. THE WHITE SOX: Bristol has struggled this year, but two of their ten victories have come 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.


RHP KEVIN COMER: Baseball America’s 17th-ranked Blue Jays prospect, righty Kevin Comer, came up one out short of the win on Tuesday against Greeneville. He set down 13 of the first 18 men he faced and cruised through four and two-thirds innings, but three straight two-out hits put the Astros on the board and sent the tying run to the plate. Comer was replaced by Justin James, who got the last out on one pitch and picked up the win. Kevin was a supplemental first-round pick (57th overall) in 2011 after Miguel Olivo signed with Seattle. After the Shamong, NJ native pitched his Seneca HS team to the Group 3 state championship, the Blue Jays bought Comer out of his commitment to Vanderbilt with a $1.65 million signing bonus. Baseball America says the right-hander has “a clean arm action and delivery, and he gets good angle to his pitches.” They added that he has a “live fastball that generally sits around (91-93).” He also throws a curve that “some scouts think will be a plus pitch in time.”

LHP TODD KIBBY: Six-foot-four southpaw Todd Kibby starts the twinbill opener for Bristol. He was touched for six runs, two earned, in four and two-thirds innings in a loss at Kingsport last Saturday. The start before that, he pitched seven innings of four-hit shutout ball with eight strikeouts and no walks in a win at Pulaski to nab Appy League Pitcher of the Week honors. The 20-year-old from New Middleton, Ohio was a 37th-round draft pick last year out of St. Petersburg JC in Florida and is in his second season in Bristol. He was 2-0 with a 3.38 ERA in 17 games (five starts) for the BriSox in 2011. Last year against the Jays, he did not allow an earned run in three innings spanning two relief appearances.

RHP JUSTIN JAMES: Righty reliever Justin James draws the spot start for the nightcap. He was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Ave Maria University in Florida, where he was a Second Team All-Sun Conference selection as a senior after striking out 86 in 90.1 innings. James has registered the win in his last two outings, most recently on Tuesday against Greeneville. Kevin Comer was great for four and two-thirds innings before allowing three straight hits and sending the tying run to the plate. James was summoned from the bullpen and got out of the jam on one pitch before working a 1-2-3 sixth inning.

RHP DAVID HASELDEN: Right-hander David Haselden has taken a winding road to get to Bristol this year. The former Clemson Tiger was with the River City Rascals of the independent Frontier League when the White Sox held an open tryout on July 16th at Regions Park, home of their Double-A affiliate Birmingham Barons. Haselden and fellow hurler Michael Gunter both signed contracts and were sent to Bristol. Haselden’s MiLB debut did not go well against Elizabethton last Sunday night. He allowed seven runs, five earned, on ten hits in five innings and took the loss.

RAIN RAIN GO AWAY: Including a suspended game in Burlington, the Blue Jays have had nine rainouts so far this season, five at Bowen Field. Counting August 10, when the Jays will complete a suspended game from the first inning, then play a regularly scheduled contest afterwards, Bluefield will play five doubleheaders over the last 23 days of the season. The Baby Jays have already had their schedule cut from 68 games to 67 because Friday’s rainout in Johnson City cannot be made up.

SEEING DOUBLE: On Saturday, the Blue Jays knocked a season-high 15 hits and seven Bluefield hitters hit a single and a double. The Jays set a new high with eight two-baggers, the last being D.J. Jones’s two-run game-winning hit. That’s the most hit by Bluefield since July 11, 2007 when they also stroked eight as a Baltimore affiliate in a 13-3 rout over Greeneville.

MURPHY LAYS DOWN THE LAW: Lefty reliever Griffin Murphy has been dominant for Bluefield in 2012. With a scoreless seventh inning on Saturday, he lowered his ERA to 1.54, the fourth-lowest in the Appy League among pitchers with at least 20 IP. The 2010 second-round pick is working on an 11 1/3 inning scoreless streak, including three outings of three shutout frames. He hasn’t allowed an earned run in 14 innings (six appearances), dating back to July 5.

1,298 DOWN, TWO TO GO: Blue Jays manager Dennis Holmberg can record his 1,300th victory in professional baseball with a sweep tonight. Over 25 seasons as a minor leagueskipper, he has a career record of 1,298-1,203 (.519). He managed his 2,500th professional game on Thursday. 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 championship run in ‘07.

Bluefield Blue Jays Game Notes 8-6

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

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