Friday, August 17, 2012

Games 53 and 54: Bluefield Blue Jays at Danville Braves

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


BLUE JAYS (23-29)

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

RHP Jeremy Gabryszwski (3-0, 2.40)

RHP Justin James (2-1, 5.63) in Game Two

BRAVES (29-21)

1 Levi Hyams 2B
2 Ronald Luna SS
3 Carlos Franco 3B
4 Josh Elander C
5 Aris Alcantara DH
6 Casey Kalenkosky 1B
7 Blake Brown CF
8 Felix Marte RF
9 Kurt Fleming LF

RHP Frank Lafreniere (4-4, 4.44)

RHP Eduardo Castillo (2-3, 8.42) in Game Two


BROADCAST INFO: Listen live right here for all five games of the weekend on The games will also be broadcast locally on WKEZ 1240 AM Rooster Classic Country

WEATHER: 89 with cloudy skies

UMPIRES: PLATE: Jonathan Hodack FIELD: Nick Garvey

ABOUT LAST NIGHT...: Just as it was in Elizabethton last month, the Bluefield Blue Jays followed a series-opening loss and rainout with a doubleheader split. The league-leading Twins won 7-3 for the second straight game before the Jays avoided a sweep, snapping the E-Twins’ eight-game win streak with a 6-4 victory at Bowen Field on Thursday. In game one, the Twins scored in each of the first five innings, with two runs in the second and fifth. Bluefield built a picket fence with single tallies in the fourth, fifth and sixth frames but it was not enough. Deivy Estrada allowed six runs, five earned, on seven hits in four and one-third innings for Bluefield. Adam Walker hit a two-run homer off of Les Williams, but the reliever retired seven straight to finish the game. Hudson Boyd did not allow a hit in three and two-thirds innings before Eric Arce knocked a solo homer to put the Jays on the board. That would be all of the damage against Boyd, who was relieved by Chris Mazza. Mazza allowed a run in the fifth and sixth, including a homer to Santiago Nessy, who homered for the fourth consecutive game. Mazza still picked up the victory after Ricardo Arevalo closed it out with a 1-2-3 seventh. The Twins struck first in the nightcap as well. Max Kepler’s RBI double off of Tucker Jensen handed the visitors a 1-0 lead three batters into the game before Bluefield rallied in the third inning. Emilio Guerrero stroked a two-out, two-run single and he scored later in the inning on a balk to make it 3-1. The Twins quickly tied it up in the top of the fourth after a Guerrero error, a Travis Harrison RBI triple and a Kelly Cross RBI groundout. Jensen allowed three runs, one earned, in four and two-thirds innings of work. Brandon Dorsett (W, 3-1) recorded the final out of the top of the fifth and picked up the win once the Baby Jays pulled ahead for good in the bottom half. With runners at second and third and one out, Arce ripped a single to plate both Jorge Vega-Rosado and Guerrero for a 5-3 advantage. Nico Taylor added an RBI single for the final Bluefield run. Wil Browning set down the potential tying run in Kepler to end the sixth inning. Browning capped a 1-2-3 seventh with a flourish, striking out 2012 second-overall draft pick Byron Buxton to end the game.

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. Nico Taylor and Eric Arce both notched five hits in four games against Danville, but Felix Marte mashed for the Braves in Bluefield, hitting three home runs and driving in nine runs. 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 a game after a great pennant race. Bluefield was swept in three games in the Bowen Field-opening series from June 24-26, but took two of three at Danville from July 8-10. 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.


RHP JEREMY GABRYSZWSKI: 19-year-old righty Jeremy Gabryszwski has been the Jays’ top starter and it showed on Sunday against Burlington. “Gabby” held the Royals scoreless over a season-high six innings in a win. He allowed only five hits and walked one, snapping his streak of 24.2 innings without issuing a free pass that dated back to July 14. His 2.40 ERA is the fourth-lowest in the Appy League and he ranks third in WHIP with a 1.04 mark. That success has come despite having a K/9 of 4.20 that is the second-lowest in the circuit, thanks in part to his league-leading 0.80 BB/9 rate. The Crosby, Texas native was taken in the second round of last year’s draft, splitting time between the Gulf Coast League and Bluefield. After four and one-third scoreless innings in three GCL games, Gabryszwski moved up to the Appy League on August 29, turning in a shutout inning of relief at Danville. He relieved twice in the postseason for the Jays, allowing two runs in four and two-thirds innings. A graduate of Crosby High School, he had committed to play college ball at Lamar before signing with Toronto.

RHP FRANK LAFRENIERE: Right-hander Frank Lafreniere got off to a good start in 2012, but he’s had some rocky outings of late. After going 3-0 with a 2.45 ERA in his first five starts, he is 1-4 with a 6.86 ERA over his last four. He was rocked in a loss at Kingsport last Friday when he coughed up six runs, five earned, on 14 hits in six innings. He recorded a win over the Jays on July 6 when he grinded through five and one-third innings, scattering 11 hits and three runs. Lafreniere has surrendered the most hits in the league (62) and his .323 opponent batting average is higher than any other qualified pitcher in the circuit. The native of St. Bruno in Quebec was drafted by the Braves in the 47th round in 2010 out of St. Petersburg JC in Florida, the same school that produced Atlanta General Manager Frank Wren. Lafreniere had been drafted the previous two seasons as well (34th round in 2008 by the Giants and 43rd round in 2009 by the Phillies), but he did not sign.

RHP JUSTIN JAMES: Righty reliever Justin James draws another spot start for the twinbill nightcap. The Ponte Vedra, Florida native was pitching well against Burlington on Friday, but he was done in by one big mistake. Leading 4-1 with the bases loaded and two outs in the fifth inning, James served up a grand slam to Patrick Leonard that ended his night. The Jays came back to beat the Royals and give manager Dennis Holmberg his 1,300th career win. 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.

RHP EDUARDO CASTILLO: Trending in the opposite direction as the opening game starter Lafreniere, Dominican righty Eduardo Castillo has improved out of the bullpen after struggling early in the season. Over his first five starts, he allowed seven or more runs in three of them and inflated his ERA to 11.45. A move to a relief role helped as he posted five shutout innings in four appearances. He was pressed back into the rotation on Saturday in Kingsport. He held the Mets to one run on three hits, but he came up one inning short of picking up the win. After spending a year and a half in both the Dominican Summer League and the Gulf Coast League from 2009-11, Castillo moved up to the Appy League. In 54 GCL innings in 2011, he pitched to a 5.17 ERA.

NESSY IS A MONSTER: Bluefield catcher Santiago Nessy went deep in four straight games before staying in the park in game two last night. His homer yesterday went over the batter’s eye in center field. Among Appy League backstops with at least 100 plate appearances, Nessy leads with a .472 slugging percentage and .222 ISO (extra bases per AB).

Bluefield Blue Jays Game Notes 8-17

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

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