2016/17 ABL R7 – Perth v Sydney
08 Jan 2017 19:00 AEST
Round 7 of the 2016/17 Australian Baseball League season features Perth v Sydney.
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SYDNEY (10-14) at PERTH (8-16)
Two sides with strong playoff histories and recent struggles to reach the postseason rematch this weekend in Perth. Sydney won the two teams’ Round 3 series 3-1, boosted by a series of strong pitching performances.
The Heat showed some pop late in last round’s home series against the Cavalry, taking the first and final games of the four-game set. Recent Major Leaguer Warwick Saupold joined the bullpen and made an impression in his first weekend back, assisting a staff that has a fifth-ranked 5.09 team ERA. An interesting note for the Heat this weekend is the return of legendary lefty Dan Schmidt to the roster. Though typically a starter and not listed as one of Perth’s probables, Schmidt’s arm can lend a level of depth to the Heat bullpen, and give solid support to a starter in trouble.
However, the other unfortunate reality of this weekend’s matchup between Sydney and Perth is that they sit fifth and six on the league rankings in both batting average and runs scored. Despite walking a league-best 108 times, Sydney have a league-worst .242 team batting average, and have scored a measly 97 runs (5th) in 24 games. Perth haven’t fared much better in either category, hitting .250 (5th) and scoring 88 runs (6th). The Blue Sox potential saving grace is the fact that the team’s pitching staff hasn’t been that bad by comparison, posting a 4.36 team ERA that ranks second in the league.
Players to watch: Trent D’Antonio (SYD), Tucker Neuhaus (SYD), Tim Kennelly (PER), Lex Rutledge (PER)
Series prediction: Series split, 2-2
Reason: The Heat are just 5-7 at home this season, the Blue Sox have a 2-8 road record.