2016/17 ABL R8 – Canberra v Melbourne
14 Jan 2017 19:30 AEST
Round 8 of the 2016/17 Australian Baseball League season features Canberra v Melbourne.
Don’t miss seeing all the action right here on Epicentre.tv!
MELBOURNE (21-7) at CANBERRA (16-12)
The first-place Aces and second-place Cavalry collide for what could be a momentous clash in the capital this weekend. The two teams faced off in Round 4 in Melbourne, and the host Aces took that series 3-1.
Melbourne are any combination of four wins and one Bite losses away from clinching the Minor Premiership, their first in the history of the new ABL. Pitching has been the key to the Aces’ success all season long, and that’s continued with the addition of Major Leaguer Jeremy Guthrie, along with the overarching dominance of Mark Hamburger. Melbourne’s pitching staff has a collectively-competitive 3.07 ERA, and strike out, on average, one batter per inning. On offence, despite the loss of Ronald Acuna, aggressive baserunning remains a key part of Melbourne’s game. The Aces and the Cavalry rank 1-2 atop the league stolen bases leaderboard, with 36 and 31, respectively.
However, as dominant as the Aces have been as a pitching staff, the Cavalry hitters are just as on top of their game in the batter’s box. Canberra have led the league all season long with a team batting average that frequently flirts with .300 (it’s .295 right now). They don’t score runs at the same incredible pace as at the beginning of the season, but still average just over five per game, above the Aces’ mark (5.14 to 4.57).
The Fort at MIT Ballpark needs to batten the hatches for four games of closely contested, gritty baseball this weekend.
Players to watch: Mark Hamburger (MEL), Jeremy Guthrie (MEL), Kyle Perkins (CAN), Robbie Perkins (CAN)
Series prediction: Series split, 2-2