Thursday, June 19 - 7 p.m.
Asheville Tourists (41-28)
RHP Zach Jemiola (2014 A: 64 IP, 6.47 ERA, 5.17 FIP, 16.5 K%, 5.3 BB%, .370 BABIP)
Augusta GreenJackets (34-34)
LHP Christian Jones (2014 A: 52.2 IP, 3.08 ERA, 3.48 FIP, 23.8 K%, 6.2 BB%, .279 BABIP)
The GreenJackets finished the first half .500 at 34-34, placing third in the South Atlantic League's Southern Division. It was a first-half filled with moving parts, as several players came in and out, and the team worked the disabled list pretty hard. A six-game losing streak in May put them in a hole they failed to recover from, although they had a better June that secured a third-place finish and at least a .500 record.
The GreenJackets enter the second half with an eight-game homestand, beginning with a tough assignment against a good Asheville team. The Tourists finished second in the South behind Savannah, which shows how strong the Sand Gnats were. As tends to be the case, the Tourists have several intriguing prospects.
Augusta throws Jones in the first game. The 18th-rounder out of Oregon has been a reliable arm for the GreenJackets, recording the third-best ERA in the rotation in the first half. Since taking a no-hitter into the eighth inning at Hickory on May 11, Jones has a 2.23 ERA with 10 walks to 26 strikeouts in 32.1 innings.
A big part of Jones' recent success has been the work of his new two-seam fastball. He first turned to it in the Hickory outing, and it has been a solid offering when paired with a strong changeup. Both pitches have similar movement and he shows a feel for both, which produces deception.
Jemiola was drafted in the ninth round in 2012 out of a California high school. The 20-year-old right-hander has struggled at Asheville, recording a 6.47 ERA with a low strikeout total. One bright spot has been a low walk rate.
Jemiola has had a better stretch over his past few starts, allowing 11 runs in 24.2 innings for a 4.01 ERA. He has 24 strikeouts over that span, which is a much better rate.
The GreenJackets aren't expected to add new players at the moment. Right-hander Joan Gregorio is remaining on the roster for now and should slide into a rotation spot in the coming days. A corresponding rotation move is expected in the next day.
Otherwise, it appears Augusta will enter the second half with the same faces. There has been no indication of potential additions.