2016/17 ABL R3 – Brisbane Bandits v Melbourne Aces
02 Dec 2016 19:30 AEDT
Round 1 of the 2016/17 Australian Baseball League season features Brisbane Bandits v Melbourne Aces.
Brisbane and Melbourne enter Round 3 after a series split and a series loss. The Bandits won last year’s season series 9-3.
The key to Brisbane’s success this year and last year is their consistency. On offence, they rank in the top three in team batting average (.267 – second), team on base percentage (.371 – first), and team runs scored (43 – third). The Bandits are just as strong on the mound, with a team ERA of 4.37 (third), team WHIP of 1.34 (second), and 68 strikeouts (second).
Despite the series loss, the Aces’ pitching remains overall fairly strong. They hold an advantage of more than a run over the Bandits in team ERA (3.07 to 4.37) and lead the league in the category. However, their offence is one of the weakest in the league right now, posting a league-worst team batting average (.227) and sit tied for last in team runs’ scored (29). The latter number is in part due to their approach at the plate, which has yielded the fewest walks (24) and third-most strikeouts (63).
The Bandits’ bullpen showed a rare weak spot last weekend, allowing the Heat to rally and win late in the game. Brisbane needs to stay consistently strong, but if they falter, Melbourne need to be ready to capitalise. Fact: the Bandits are nearly unbeatable at home and the Aces struggle to win on the road. Both teams have had their ups and downs this year, but Brisbane has the clear upper hand this weekend.
Players to watch: Ronald Acuna (MEL), Keisuke Honda (MEL), Logan Wade (BRI), Daniel Nilsson (BRI)