The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (27-38) return to the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville following a fifth time of dropping a road rubber series game, at Biloxi’s MGM Park on Tuesday. The Bold City squad was able to earn wins in games two and three, 5-2 and 13-1 respectively over the Biloxi Shuckers (34-31) before a run drought from late in game three into the fifth one that spanned 21.2 innings. A go-ahead grand slam in the sixth inning Tuesday night sent Jacksonville packing with a 5-2 loss.
One of the biggest takeaways from the Biloxi series was Jacksonville recording its most lopsided win this season, 13-1 on Sunday. The Jumbo Shrimp drew a season-high 11 walks and received another strong start from Matt Tomshaw (6-3). Jax had a six-run third inning where Biloxi walked four straight Shrimp with the bases loaded. Four runs in the fourth would be more than enough to help Tomshaw earn the win as he threw seven innings AND did not allow a hit from the second through sixth innings. Austin Nola and Chris Diaz each had four runs batted in, which tied a season-high for a Jumbo Shrimp hitter this season.
Jax hosts the Southern League South Division leading Pensacola Blue Wahoos (38-27) – this year’s host for the Southern League All-Star Game next week – for a five-game set. Jacksonville looks for revenge as the Blue Wahoos won the first two series (one was a sweep), but it’s the first time they play in Duval County. Catch the Jumbo Shrimp at the Baseball Grounds from Wednesday to Sunday this week. Happy Father’s Day!!
- The Jumbo Shrimp will be hosting an all-you-can-eat picnic and pregame catch on the field for this Sunday’s 3:05 p.m. game. The Father’s Day Cookout package can be purchased here – http://bit.ly/2sHEpQE – and use the password shrimpdeck. The Cookout packages include reserved seats and the buffet of hamburgers, hot dogs, cole slaw, baked beans, cookies, tea and lemonade. Fathers who take part in the cookout package will receive a free Jumbo Shrimp cap. The buffet runs from 2 to 3:30 p.m. along the third-base line Shrimp Deck. Following the game, kids 12 and under can run the bases.
- The Shuckers best player and ace pitcher Aaron Wilkerson continues to play his best ball over the last month. On Friday night, the 28-year-old worked his longest outing of 2017 – 7.2 innings – while allowing three hits and two runs. Additionally, he matched his career-high with 11 strikeouts. Wilkerson has five consecutive starts of at least 6.2 IPs, but does give up the occasional homer. However, opposing teams are hitting a weak .230 against him. Wilkerson is one of three Biloxi pitchers named to the Southern League All-Star team. In the 6-2 first game victory, the Shuckers recorded its first-ever inside-the-park home run. Blake Allemand led off the 2nd inning with that impressive feat.
- It seems like a routine where the Jumbo Shrimp make national news at least once a month. This time it comes from the promotional side of the club. The New York Daily News and other well-known outlets covered how Thursday night Jacksonville will host You Might Be The Father’s Day. Adults may pick up a free pregnancy test at a concourse table. From the press release, “it will be an evening of suspense, intrigue and manila envelopes.” For all the week’s promotions, check out the team site. This week will be a good opportunity to see another Marlins big-leaguer in action once or twice with his rehab assignment. Right-handed reliever Junichi Tazawa, who has made 16 appearances for Miami, is recovering from rib cartilage inflammation. The eighth-year pro won a World Series with the Boston Red Sox in 2010. He last pitched at the Double-A level in 2011 for Portland in the Eastern League.
- Jacksonville right-handed starter Joe Gunkel recorded his first Southern League victory with the Jumbo Shrimp’s first W over Biloxi in seven tries, 5-2. Gunkel (1-2) worked a season-high seven innings while allowing five hits, one run, one walk and striking out three opposing batters. Jax’s Austin Nola notched three hits to guide the Shrimp to the Saturday win. With good run support, Gunkel retired the last nine Shuckers he faced. It took little time for the Marlins organization to recognize Gunkel’s best outing for Jacksonville. The next afternoon, Gunkel was sent up to Triple-A New Orleans. His work with the Jumbo Shrimp has included seven starts and a 4.72 ERA over 34.1 innings pitched. A corresponding move brought left-handed reliever Greg Nappo to Jacksonville after seven games for the Baby Cakes. It is Nappo’s third time back to the First Coast, where he has pitched in nine games with a 1.50 ERA in 12 innings. The New Orleans stint was short-lived for Gunkel because he rejoined the Jumbo Shrimp on Wednesday.
- The Pensacola Blue Wahoos will be at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville for the last series before the Southern League All-Star Game. The Jumbo Shrimp series will be almost like a mini-All-Star battle. The Blue Wahoos have four pitchers – Derek McGuire, Tyler Mahle, Ariel Hernandez and Jimmy Herget – on the South Division roster. A total of 10 SL all-stars will see action at the Baseball Grounds. Blue Wahoos second baseman Josh VanMeter and right fielder Gabriel Guerrero round out the six Pensacola players for the June 20 ASG. The Jumbo Shrimp dropped the last series against Pensacola – beginning the week of May 30 – three games to two.