2016/17 ABL R8 – Brisbane v Sydney
15 Jan 2017 15:00 AEDT
Round 8 of the 2016/17 Australian Baseball League season features Brisbane v Sydney.
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Thursday: Sydney @ Brisbane, 7:30 PM
Friday: Sydney @ Brisbane, 7:30 PM
Saturday: Sydney @ Brisbane, 7:30 PM
Sunday: Sydney @ Brisbane, 3:00 PM
SYDNEY (11-17) at BRISBANE (13-16)
Two teams whose playoff hopes are starting to hang on the fringes face off this weekend in Brisbane. The Blue Sox hosted the Bandits in Sydney in Round 4, and the two teams split the series. Both sides were on the losing end of the overall results last round, with the Bandits falling to Melbourne in Melbourne and the Blue Sox dropping a series to the Heat in Perth.
The losses and win last weekend were fairly indicative of the Bandits’ strengths at the moment. Brisbane has emerged as the leading run-scoring team in the league, with 156 on the season (average of 5.57 per game), and also rank second with a .284 team batting average. The club scored 19 runs in their lone win last weekend, one of the highest totals in the league this season. However, the Bandits’ pitching staff, though recently reinforced with the addition of Ryan Rowland-Smith, has a league-worst 5.20 ERA and has allowed a league-worst 31 home runs.
The Blue Sox, on the other hand, have the opposite problem. They’re middle-of-the-pack in team ERA (4.47, third) and team WHIP (1.47, second). However, Sydney’s offence has struggled mightily, scoring the second-lowest runs (121) and posting the lowest team batting average (.240) and team slugging percentage (.336) in the league right now.
Though it’s been stated before, the mantra “win and you’re in” is especially true this weekend for the series in Brisbane.
Players to watch: Tucker Neuhaus (SYD), Jacob Younis (SYD), Ryan Rowland-Smith (BRI), Connor MacDonald (BRI)
Series prediction: Series split, 2-2
Reason: This one will be close. Slight advantage goes to the Bandits, since the Blue Sox, at 2-10, have the worst road record in the league.